Dawn of War 2: Retribution Drops Games for Windows Live

One of the great things about the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II series has been the massive number of expansions and add-ons that Relic releases for each title.

The next release in the Dawn of War II series will break with the tradition of these add-ons, as it will be a standalone release. Before you get worked up over it, there’s a good reason for the change.

The Dawn of War II series has used Games for Windows Live since it launched, but that’s about to change. According to the Dawn of War II community site,

We are excited to announce that Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War II ® – Retribution™ will use Valve’s Steamworks networking and matchmaking to provide co-operative and competitive online play. This new back end will allow players to invite friends into matches from their Steam friends lists, and take advantage of the full set of Steam community features including groups, achievements, and Steam overlay chat channels. We are also going to include an all new matchmaking and ranking set up, built specifically for Dawn of War II – Retribution.

The move to Steamworks will also allow us to provide features like guest passes, free multiplayer weekends, pre-loading and the ability to provide fast turn-around on future patches and updates.

To accomplish this transition, Dawn of War II – Retribution will be a completely stand alone title in the series and will provide multiple campaigns to play, as well as all six multiplayer races, with new units for each of the existing five races and one new unannounced one. In a change from our previous strategies with expansion packs, we will not be patching this content back into Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising.

This means that there won’t be any LIVE achievements, but you can bet there are a ton of Steam achievements going in. This won’t be retroactive, as Dawn of War II and the Chaos Rising add-on will, “continue to operate on Games for Windows LIVE, in order to preserve the owners of those titles ability to earn LIVE achievements as well as their established friends lists.”

I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that Retribution won’t be compatible with the previous games in the series, but Relic’s easing that pain with multiple campaigns and six multiplayer races. I’m also excited by a little tidbit that was slipped into this announcement, saying,

Owners of Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising will get the chance to try out the full set of Retribution’s Steam features in a multiplayer beta that will take place in the new year.

Yeah, that’s right. Multiplayer beta next year. Color me excited.

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