Will you separate the two?  The commander (hero?) is powerful, Scouts are rather weak. I split them and send one for a Victory Point and another for an energy node. Hit F1. Do you build a Tactical Marine Squad, flexibile and upgradable, or a Heavy Bolter Squad, suited for suppresion and slow moving? I fo for the Tactical Squad. The first point is captured. Do you go for for energy, requisition or another Victory Point? I go for requisition. My Tactical Squad is complete. Do you… My commander (I play Apothecary) is in trouble. The Ork Warboss he is facing is tougher. Do you continue to fight or retreat? I stay in the fight, send the Space Marines in and hope there are not a lot of Sluggas around the Warboss. I promtly forget about my scout squad which gets slaughtered by Orks. I build another Scout squad, as I need the mobilty and like the Shotgun and Stealth combo they get long after the first two minutes. Has it been two minutes? Damn, I forgot to set the damn clock again.

Yes, I am playing the Dawn of War II multiplayer beta. And I like it. One of the reasons is the fact that the whole Warhammer 40,000 universe appeals to me. It’s in the future and very dystopian, focused on bringing out the fark element in each stiation and in each character. There’s continous war and there’s are a lot of very weird alien races in there. The other reason is that, with the base building taken out and the upgrades moved to the individual squads, the game is uniquely suited for multiplayer matches, especially head to head.

And there’s a shitload of choice. Above I’ve just listed a few of those which pop up in the first two minutes of a Head to Head battle, where you take on another player on a rather small map. I’ve actually made a lot more choices than I’ve written about. There are some mourning the lack of base expansion, saying that it limits the amount of choices. I don’t thing so. Each squad gets upgraded individually and, save for the commander unit, the upgrades are mutually exclusive. A Tactical Marine Squad can only have a flamer or a heavy bolter or a rocket launcher.

Choices. Meaningful ones, considering the limited population cap and the need to constantly adapt to what the enemy is throwing at you. Choices in the gear the commander can equip. Choices in how and when to use the abilities you get, both individual and global.  Choices in the way you devote resources to going up the three phase tech three or to building more units. Choices in statically defending a zone or choosing to roam around, responding to threats. meta choices in selecting from among the four races and from the three commanders, with different tactical focus, of each races.

I like choices, I like the Dawn of War II beta and can’t wait for the game to arrive. I am though a bit concerned about the singleplayer…