Dawn of War III has probably made enough money to cover its development cost, but the weakest critical reception of the entire series and abysmal user scores may be indicators that Relic Entertainment has definitely lost its touch.
First off, a confession. Telxvi is one of them 40K nutters. I have about 50 Black Library books sitting on a shelf behind me, a squad of Altansar guardians I never could bring myself to model and paint sitting in a drawer somewhere, have played every single computer game set in the grimdark that is 40K, and have even reviewed a few in recent times.
I'm only bringing this up so that you can understand where I'm coming from when I say that I haven't, and have no intention of playing Dawn of War 3 in the near future - and from the looks of it, I'm not alone in my lack of interest.
I have my suspicions as to why Dawn of War III has lost the attention of over 70 per cent of its user base since launch, according to SteamSpy and SteamCharts, and they have a lot to do with what Relic as a developer has become over the last decade, but that is a topic for a more lengthy treatment that is still in the works. For now, let us have a look at some CCU numbers, fan reactions and critical reception.
That image is taken from Dawn of War III's Steam page. Notice how there are no boasts about review scores from any of the more relevant gaming related outlets. Even the extended marketing machine of GameStop that is Game Informer gave the game a 7.75/10 score. The title currently enjoys a Metacrtitc score of 77 per cent, the lowest of the entire Dawn of War series, and a user score of 4.8 - a lot of users are crying you ruined DoW at Relic.
Relic has recently added an annihilation mode to the game in the hopes of salvaging the situation somewhat, but it doesn't seem to be working. Either the game's MOBA-centric mechanics are incompatible with the design U-turn, or fans and customers are unwilling to forgive what they perceive as a major slight against the series.
Digging through Steam user data a little, I found that almost as many people are playing the first Dawn of War's various expansions when put together, as are actively engaged with Dawn of War III - barely 2 months after the game has launched. This is in spite of the fact that SEGA deviously stripped the first game of its LAN component while nobody was paying attention. Let that sink in for a moment.
We will be looking into what happened with Relic since the glory days of the early 2000s, and exactly how or why things got to the point where one of the most renowned RTS developers in the history of the genre has lots its way in more detail next month. Small hint - it has nothing to do with MOBAs.