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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

aka: DoW, Warhammer 40,000: Los Albores de la Guerra
Moby ID: 15117
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Description official descriptions

Set in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe, this RTS puts you in charge of the Imperial Space Marine Chapter "Blood Ravens" as they try to contain rising numbers of Ork invaders on the planet Tartarus. Leading your forces through an epic single-player campaign with eleven scenarios you discover the true reason for their presence on this world, and find out which roles the evil Chaos Marines and the mysterious Eldar play in this affair. And when the struggle is over, endless challenges await in the Skirmish and Multiplayer modes...

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a real-time strategy game with a heavy focus on real-time tactical combat, base-building, capturing strategic points and researching. In the main campaign the player takes control of the Blood Ravens space marines and, from time to time, some units of the Imperial Guard as well. In the Skirmish and Multiplayer modes it's possible to control any of four available factions:

  • Space Marines - these elite warriors of the Imperium are genetically and cybernetically modified to withstand the harshest of punishments. They are generalist soldiers, not specialized in anything in particular, but are resilient, possess a high morale and are the best long-range army in the game. They also have anti-daemon weaponry.
  • Chaos Space Marines - during the Horus Heresy nearly half of all Space Marines turned against their brothers and the Imperium to serve the forces of Chaos instead. This faction is similar to the original Space Marines because they don't excel in anything in particular and they are battle hardened as well. On the other hand they are focused on assaults using mobs and close combat units such as possessed marines, bloodthirsters and even daemons.
  • Orks - a widespread race in the galaxy and one that loves nothing more than war, the Orks rely on sheer numbers to overwhelm their opponents. They focus on close combat, but have little armor and resistance to damage.
  • Eldar - the remnants of a fallen empire, the Eldar are still one of the most technologically advanced races in the galaxy. They enjoy a wide variety of abilities, such as teleportation, and fast speed. Their units are highly specialized in one type of combat, meaning they may be bad at everything else.

To win in the campaign missions, the player needs to fulfill the main story-based objectives, while in Skirmish and Multiplayer it's necessary to meet any of the set victory conditions such as controlling over 66% of all strategic points, taking and holding at least half of all critical points, destroying all of the enemies' HQs, or even assassinating the enemy commander. Every strategic point, critical point or relic held generates requisition, which is the main resource of the game used for building structures, researching and recruiting units. Different buildings and units that make heavy use of technology also require another resource, power, produced by plasma and thermal generators.

Researching new technology and upgrading existing structures can give the player access to new things. In certain cases the upgrades improve the statistics of the respective unit or building. For example an upgraded listening post has increased firepower for the gun emplacement plus it generates extra requisition points. An infantry unit can receive better weapons, such as plasma guns, grenade launchers or flamethrowers. The order in which the buildings are constructed and the tech tree is explored defines the player's strategy: either focusing on mobs to overwhelm the enemy or on technology in order to exploit a specific weakness.

It's not possible to create infinite troops because there is a squad and vehicle cap in place. That's why the player needs to decide which unit to create based on its skills and the strategy employed, however it's very easy to kill your own squads in the game in order to free up space. All units have limited health. Once it reaches zero for a vehicle, it is destroyed; in the case of squads the members die one by one, so it's possible to replace the fallen soldiers with other recruits before the team is completely annihilated. Infantry units have another stat called morale--once it reaches zero the squad is broken and they do little damage to the enemy, however the player retains control over it. There are some leader units which can be attached to squads, such as the force commander, the librarian or the apothecaries. Besides bringing extra firepower they also have special abilities like boosting morale, orbital bombardment and others.


  • 战锤40000:战争黎明 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

219 People (199 developers, 20 thanks) · View all

GWI Project Manager
GWI Associate Project Manager
  • Nelson
Head of New Business Development
Group Intellectual Properties Manager
Creative Consultant
For Games Workshop Germany
For Games Workshop Italy
For Games Workshop France
For Games Workshop Spain
Animation Supervisors
FX Supervisor
Animation Technical Director
3D Team
[ full credits ]



Average score: 87% (based on 53 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 50 ratings with 1 reviews)

Fast and furious

The Good
Everyone knows the so-called RTS-games where one harvest resources for a long time, build up an army for another long time and fight a short battle. Well, Dawn of War is different, very different. There is no phase of resource gathering, the two available resources are harvested all the time. The energy resource is produced by generators, which you can build, and to produce the requisition resource you have to conquer strategic points on the game map. Of course your opponent want to conquer the strategic points too, so you have to keep your opponent under pressure to secure your income. Another aspect of this fast game is that infantry troops consists of up to eight single soldiers. A new recruited troop contains only half of the possible soldiers, the missing soldiers are recruited on the battlefield. Even if you suffer losses you can recruit new soldiers on the battlefield (of course only as long as the troop exists). By the way: Other games have a queue for the production of units, Dawn of War has also a queue for research and equipment.

Equipment is the catchword for the next section: The unit management. As I already wrote, you can enforce your infantry units on the battlefield. But that's not everything, you also can add one of three different support units to your infantry squads, a sergeant (for most of the different infantry types) and also new weapons. Everything on the battlefield, even during a battle! Some units can only have stronger weapons (like the replacement of the “normal” cannons of the Predator tank with laser cannons), while other units can be equipped with different weapons. Let me give you an example of the weapon equipment. The normal Space Marine Squad just have bolters (some kind of machine gun), which is effective against infantry. By spending some resources you can change up to four bolters to other weapons like the heavy bolter (much more effective against infantry), flame thrower (damages moral), rocket launcher (good in killing vehicles) and plasma guns (good against heavy infantry). What kind you weapon you purchase is your choice, for each unit. All infantry units have beside the hit points a moral. If the moral drops to zero, the troop will try to escape the battle. I guess it is needless to tell you that there are weapons and units which effect the moral. The army is split into two parts: Infantry and vehicle. Each unit costs an amount of troop points (e.g. The Space Marine Squad will cost you two infantry points), if you have not enough points to buy a new unit, you are not able to increase your army. That's a way to prevent player from just building a large army instead of using a tactic. And that also influences the multi player games. Will you buy the Space Marine Squads for two points each for the Terminators for four points each? It is normal for modern RTS that you have one or more heroes during the campaign. And so you have them in Dawn of War, too. As always, the heroes are strong, but not all killing gods. Very good (and relaxing too): The heroes have some kind of immortality. If they become killed in battle, they will arrive in your base a few seconds later. No more Mr. X has to survive mission goals, great.

What more is to say? Well, Relic Entertainment included a feature that is miss in nearly every RTS: Your units can move and fire at the same time, even in different directions. Or on different targets. Like the units in StarCraft the one in Dawn of War comment your orders or report enemy attacks. Sometimes they have a very strange opinion of the world. The graphic is excellent. Indeed the environment looks very barren, but the battles are wonderful. Flying bullets, laser beams cross the battlefield and all figures have some close combat animations. Great: Incoming artillery shells do not just drain hit points from the units, soldiers are also thrown through the air and become thrown to the ground. But really great are the battles of big units like the Dreadnought against infantry. These big units are able of close combat (and some of them have also close combat weapons!) and they will punch / kick the smaller soldiers.

The last entry on the good list is the AI, because:

  • Units step out of the way if they block the way of other allied units
  • The opponent AI attacks you from different directions and uses different units

The Bad
The AI is also the first entry in the bad list, because:

  • Sometimes enemy units broke off the attack, without any reason.
  • A few times enemy units do nothing, they just stand in the middle of the battlefield and wait for Godot.

For me all the major disadvantages are part of the story or it's presentation. The first fact is that there are four different races, but there is only a campaign for the Space Marines. Why that? Why not playing the elder, which a similar task like the Space Marines? Why just fighting one race after another? First I slay Orcs, then I displace the Eldar and in the end there are some battles against the Chaos Space Marines. But there is no mission where I have to survive against two opponents or three. The story is told with the game graphic, that is OK. But not OK are the big, fat, black bars on the bottom and the top of the screen. What should that be? Some kind of 16:9 cinematic presentation? It just looks ugly! Very disappointing is the end of the story. Or should I say the maybe end of the story? You won all 11 missions and that did you see in the outro? Just a cliffhanger, no real end for the battle. 11 missions are a strange number. Was a twelfth mission planned but not finished?

The Bottom Line
If I would just have a single sentence here, it would be: A great and fast strategy game with some problems in the storyline. Lucky me, I have more space. So I can write that Dawn of War has a new and very interesting scope on infantry battles, a damn fast resource gathering phase and also some spectacular battles. The campaign itself is, well, not so good. A better story or more enemies would be nice. Using this game in multi player is great, again the game is fast and allows you more than one battle per evening (in contrast to the table top game Warhammer 40.000).

Windows · by jaXen (261026) · 2008


1001 Video Games

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Blood Ravens

The Space Marine chapter that features in the Campaign, the Blood Ravens, were originally created for Dawn of War. They have since been integrated into the Warhammer 40K tabletop.


  • 4Players
    • 2004 – Best PC Multiplayer Game of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – Strategy Game of the Year (Real-Time)
    • March 2005 (Issue #249) – Best Opening Cut-Scene of the Year (Real-Time)
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – #7 PC Game of the Year
    • 2004 – Best Use of License of the Year (PC)


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Cadorna.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, DarkDante, Carl Ratcliff, Dave Mednick, Mark Ennis, Patrick Bregger, Plok, FatherJack.

Game added October 8, 2004. Last modified February 11, 2024.