Relic plans to release a steady stream of free downloadable content as a way of rewarding people who buy their game and indirectly enticing pirates. "We really want to give our players a top-notch experience and we want to reward our players for playing our game," Jonny Ebbert, lead designer of Dawn of War II, said in an interview. "Free downlodable, regularly accessible stuff that enhances the game and then that's an incentive for people who didn't buy it."
Unlike DRM-based anti-piracy measures, Ebbert believes this incentive-based approach rewards gamers instead of punshing the innocent. "We want to give out steady doses of free downloadable content because we believe in rewarding people who buy the game and the reason we don't like DRM solutions is because they punish the innocent and they have to jump through all these hoops," Ebbert said. "We don't want to do that so we're going with the approach that Valve pioneered to just reward the people who actually bought the game with cool stuff."
So, Relic has big plans. Their track record for supporting their games isn't exactly solid, however, based on the example of the original Dawn of War. Relic, though, will be the first to admit to that. "Our support of Dawn of War wasn't up to snuff," Ebbert said. "We did that to ourselves by making a very difficult patching pipeline, so one of the firs things we did was make it very easy to patch Dawn of War II."
They seem to be stepping up their content delivery game already - a multiplayer beta for Dawn of War II will be available starting later this month. Owners of the Dawn of War expansion Soulstorm will get early access beginning on the 21st, while the general public will get their hands on the beta - which includes all the Dawn of War II races - a week later on the 28th. The beta will be available exclusively through Steam.