The RTSC Guide to Dawn of War
Part 10: Macro

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Builders Squads Morale Macro DPS Shortcuts

Caution! Work in Progress page

This is the least developed page in the DoW Guide. Expect things to shuffle around, paragraphs to change (or disappear; or reproduce), pictures to be added, subtracted and generally messed around with and format to come and go. Mind the sawdust!)

Macro refers to your big picture, your overall strategy in the game. While you might be a God at micro flatten your enemies with your l33t skillz it's still no guarantee of a win. Although it certainly helps!

In a Standard game, Dawn of War forces you to spread your Requisition between several things: building and reinforcing squads; building up your Requsition income and listening posts; building power; upgrading techs; and finally, "Tiering" up. You have roughly five or six things to do economically in a typical game, but you'll be lucky to have enough Requisition to spend on one or two of them at a time until you've seriously grown your economy. There's about five things you need to do: but you'll be lucky to be able to spend on one or two of them at any time.

There's a trade-off between spending your hard earned requisition on massing troops, capturing the map with Listening Posts and expanding your Requisition income, developing your Power so you can tech up, upgrading existing forces, and saving up and build your base so you can access next Tier units. There's as much to do building and teching as there is dancing and moving your troops around. In most cases, you can't afford to have any spare Req in the bank - its imperative to spend it all as early as you can - but on the right things at the right time.

Its a big race between you and your opponent. The order in which you build, tech and form and army often decides how the game plays out.

Your opening deposit of Req is easy to burn through; once spent your economy stalls as it switches to your meagre income. The lack of Power restricts you choosing an early Boss or one tech - but never both. There are a number of ways you can approach your opening building strategy. These "builds" are based on emphasising some aspects of your forces over others, becoming strong in them in to score an early advantage before they can be countered, or matched later on in the game. Assuming you and your opponent(s) have survived


This is fine art of building loads of troops with the idea of simply crushing your opponent early through numbers. Its a simple rushing strategy, and about as elegant as a brick to the head. The idea is to get as many guys on the field in the shortest time possible - skipping Power, upgrades, and in some cases, even with holding off Listening Posts. Massing doesn't require any power; and you can even pull it off without a Barracks using those light units from the HQ. Massers can scare the hell out of their opponents by seeming to pull vast hordes of troops out of nowhere in ridiculously short amounts of time. If you ever wondered how on earth your enemy grew so big so fast, you can be pretty sure that they've blown all their early reserve on guys and nothing else. The Fog of War hides the fact that they're probably a lot smaller than you might realize. Behind every mass there is a shrivelled economy just waiting to be put down. All you have to do is survive long enough to get to it.


B contrast, Teching is the fine art of producing the hardest, most formidable and buffed troops on the field in the shortest possible time. Your troops will overpower their enemies simply by having better armour, health points and improved firepower. In a fight between upgraded units and "vanilla" units, the upgraded units will usually win. Teching trumps Massing as a general rule, patch imbalances and player skill notwithstanding. But it always needs power, so straight away you have to hold off on an extra squad to spend on some power instead. Getting a Power Generator up early means you can slowly earn enough to upgrade an LP as soon as its built, or maybe build a turret - or simply replace a lost Boss. Trouble is, teching takes a lot of time and resources to pull off, and while you're furiously trying to building and research you won't have many guys on the field to defend or attack with. But the payoff is well worth the trouble. Teching players might be vulnerable early on, but they've infested in a big advantage later on in the game. A lack of enemy troops is a sure sign that your opponent is teching furiously, and thus extremely vulnerable to any early raid on their base.


is a little bit like teching, except you're saving up to afford the expensive cost of getting to the next Tier. I make the distinction between the two simply because you can tech up your forces many times, only to lose most of them to next-Tier units. In Winter Assault, Tiering trumps Teching. Tiering can bypass a lot of upgrades and techs, if not render some of them completely obsolete. Again, like teching, you have to sacrifice a lot to Tier up early. Not only does this cost considerable Req and Power, but also time: Tiers take ages to research, and just building all the prerequisites can be costly. The 1.5 patch levelled the playing field a little between Tier 1 and 2, but this rule of thumb still applies.


is the fine art of building up the biggest economy in the shortest period of time. The idea is to prioritise requisition and power production over all else, so that you can tech up and mass easier later on by building up lots of Listening Posts and Power early on. Once your economy kicks into high gear, you'll be able to mass, tech and expand all that much easier. The trouble is, like teching, you're wide open to harrasment - except this time you can't rely on techs to see you through. You have to rely instead your superior income to let you reinforce faster - but its likely you're going to lose some - or all - of that booming economy in the process.

In most games, its a combination of these three approaches that will consistently work for you. There's actually quite a bit of leeway on how you can set yourself up in Tier 0. If an opening build isn't working for you, sometimes the best solution is simply to shuffle the order you build things and surprise yourself with the results. Again, experience and practise is your best guide. Whatever you do, something things remain constant: you MUST get out of your base and secure as much of the map as you can.

It all evens out eventually, but initially, the order in which you do things can be mightily significant. That's the beauty of Standard games: there's a whole swag of meaningful build decisions that get comepletely bypassed in a Quickstart game. (Hence the hostility by some players to Quickstart)

For example: you might be able to mass troops, but you won't be able to tech them up or expand your economy. If you do tech early, you leave yourself wide open to a massed attack. Spending too much on building Listening Posts might cost you the game if your opponent skips a few Listening Posts to build just one extra squad ahead of you; but conversely, if they have lots of units you might wipe them out with a smaller group of fully upgraded units armed to the teeth with heavy weapons.

You can't spend your req on all these different things at once (although you can in QuickStart games, which is why they tend to be so popular). Deciding where to spend your req is an integral part of the trumping process. An early massing of troops might earn you map control and give you some big gains, but you'll lose out to a foe who micro's and dances their small force of units out of trouble in order to stall you long enough in order to slap you silly with the next Tier.

The cost and timing of your forces is significant, but so is taking the time and effort to tech up. While a large economy is usually a good indicator of how well you're doing, its still no guarantee of a win. It is possible for some armies to utterly flatten others with an economy half the size of their opponents, simply because they dropped the right hard counters on their opponent and used the right tactics. In fact, many DoW duels can frequently be turned on their heads when a player, beaten back to their own base, produces one or two killer units that destroys the attackers and retakes the map. There's still no substitute for map control, but you can lose it if you've sunk your whole economy into obsolete units.

Tiering: if you're losing that early battle, don't despair. You probably still have options - although your chances will be slipping fast. Teching and tiering can generally trump massed troops - but its not a forgone conclusion; you still have to work at it. A lot of players will simply harras with minimal Tier 1 forces, keeping their opponent busy and off balance as they save up and spend big on the next tier

Some things remain the same though, in spite of all the techs and trumps: you must still try and hold most of the map and keep your economy larger than your opponent's - and still spend enough on guys to fight. If you mass troops, you spending big on squads and reinforcements, but less on LP's, buildings and techs, You have an early advantage and can seriously swamp your enemy with guys, and possibly take them out through sheer numbers.

If you tech, then your req has mostly gone into building power (a prerequisite for upgrades) and the buildings necessary for upgrading your guys and unlocking better units - but you won't have enough money to build as nearly as many troops as a masser. A hard core techer is vulnerable to an early rush, and any smart player will surely take you apart if they sense that you just don't have guys on the field.

Don't hang around. A masser can be completely wiped out by better equipped and upgraded troops, as anyone who's unleashed a couple of squads of Heavy Bolters against a screen full of light infantry can tell you. Early on, massing gives you an advantage; later on, you're lack of upgrades and resources will surely kill you. But it takes time to tech, as it does to build numbers.

Its not all cut and dried of course (and especially since the 1.5 patch has addressed a few things) otherwise people would simply just mass (as they did in pre-Winter Assault games) or just tech (as they did in Winter Assault 1.4 and 1.41 games) just to score a win.

Its all part of the fun and strategy of the game - unless you play Quickstart games, which bypass all this interesting stuff and usually let most people slide into Tiers 3 and 4 with minimal effort. Even so, staying put in your base trying to build up before its "safe" to go out WILL cost you the game.

DoW Basics Resourcing Tiers Overwatch Infiltration Micro Armour Turrets Stances Top
Builders Squads Morale Macro DPS Shortcuts

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First created Fri, Oct 6 2006 by Lindsay Fleay