The protection system in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III was significantly changed compared to previous installments. You can no longer hide units behind environmental obstacles to reduce the damage they receive. Instead, the developers have given players a system of heavy and stealth cover.
Heavy covers are specially selected points on the map. Upon entering them, you'll see a new progress bar on the screen - the same as when capturing resource points. When filled, a bubble appears around the units - it's a shield that absorbs most of the damage and the units inside it are safe. When the unit that created the cover leaves its range there is another progress bar that is systematically depleted. When the bar is empty, the shield will disappear and you will be able to re-capture the point.
Heavy cover is associated with several interesting facts, namely:
- Under heavy cover there can by no vehicles - there can be only light and heavy infantry units, and most elite units.
- A heavy cover protects the units inside from most ranged attacks. However, abilities such as a flamethrower, or those that force an attack on a unit (Taunt), are still able to get through the cover. In the case of the flamethrower, units will receive normal damage, and when provoked, just come out of the lid.
- Enemy units can't enter heavy cover. In exception of those troops that Counter Covers - in this case, the unit will be able to freely enter enemy cover. Most melee units have this ability.
- The heavy cover has its durability. When it is exhausted, the cover will break, will be destroyed and will no longer be usable. If the enemy stops attacking, the cover will slowly recover.
- If two hostile units enter the cover before you get there, the cover generation process stops, as in the case of resource points.
- The stages of escalation affect the number of health points of heavy covers - details in the Chapter devoted to this issue.
Heavy covers do not give as much as the cover system featured in the previous installments (or games from the Company of Heroes series), however the one in Dawn of War III still offers a lot of possibilities. This is due to the fact that most of the heavy covers are placed in crucial locations - a number of important resource points, in strategic places of the map, and on the route of troops.
The covers resemble bushes that can be found in the MOBA games, such as League of Legends or DOTA 2. Units that go inside become invisible to opponents who do not have their units under the same cover. This is perfect for preparing an ambush, as the enemy will pass them indifferently, or have to risk entering the cover and a sudden attack.
There are also several things associated with these covers, such as:
- Units that enter a Stealth Cover won't attack enemy units within their range automatically. Because of this they do not compromise their positions prematurely. However, when another unit, which is able to notice them, enters the cover, they begin the attack.
- The units inside the cover are invisible until they use special abilities or launch an attack.
- To study the "content" of the stealth cover one should select units with their own camouflage. These include Space Marine Scouts, Eldar Rangers, and Ork Gretchins. When they go inside the cover when using camouflage, the enemy will not be able to see them, unless there is his detector.
- In the stealth covers one can also erect buildings. If you manage to place the entire structure inside such a shield, the enemy won't know it's there until he enters the cover.
- Stealth covers can hide all units, including infantry and vehicles.
The stealth covers are best for ambushing and running. They often are on popular army routes, or even on resource points - in this second situation it can be useful to hide the Builder after he erected the Listening Post.