The RTSC Guide to Dawn of War
Part 13: Keyboard Shortcuts

Resourcing Tiers Overwatch Infiltration Armour Stances
Builders Squads Morale Turrets DPS Shortcuts

Know your commands!
Just relying on mouse clicking WILL lose you games. Learn these keyboard shortcuts and watch your game improve! These ones seem to apply to all armies and situations...

Move (V): as it says, this orders a unit to travel to a selected point. Most people tend to just right click on the patch of ground they want their units to travel to instead. Sometimes you can do strafing runs en passant (especially if you use infantry with flamers, Plasma, or Big Shootas) using a Move command. Move guarantees your squad will move up to the destination first - regardless of any craziness going on around it - unlike an Attack-Move.

Check your Control Options (hotkey: F10) (accessible only during a game) and make sure the Attack Move Default is disabled if you want right mouse clicks to be interpreted as a Move. Otherwise, right clicking on the ground will invoke an Attack Move instead.

Tip: Move is excellent for ranged units pursuing fleeing units. Attacking units tend to stop and start to fire, sometimes letting your quarry get away. Moving keeps them constantly in motion: your guys might be less accurate on the run (almost totally ineffectual in Dark Crusade), but they will cause the maximum damage for the longest period. It requires a bit of clicking and attention on your part, though.

Watch out! There is one big problem with the Move command. Moving squad members have a tendency to stop and wait at their destination for the whole squad to catch up. Its not unusual to see big squads standing inert in the midst of a battle, only to stir into action after the last member has rejoined them - or died. This can make waypointing a problem, even at the best of times. Be careful out there!Back

Stop (Q): Pretty obvious. The selected units instantly stop whatever they were doing, reverting back to their currently set stance. This "resets" your selected units; what they do next will be determined by their current stance and where opponent is and what they're up to. I use it all the time to instantly stop any ranged troops I've moved just a little too far away from a fight, or a dancing squad that is no longer being chased. Hitting Q instantly makes them spin about face and open fire.Back

Attack Move (A): can be done two ways. The first is to simply right click on the target you want your guys to attack. They will then attempt to fight and kill the target in a style determined by their current stance. If you've enabled Attack Move Default in your Control Options, then right clicking on the ground orders an Attack Move.

The second is to press A and left click on a patch of ground. Like the Move command, your units will navigate as best they can to the destination, except to stop and engage anything hostile they chance across along the way. Generally, this is the safest way to get your forces around, and it guarantees they'll instantly react to any threats instead of running past them and getting shot to bits. However, an Attack-Move can also see them getting distracted by the smallest thing along the way.

Tip: If you Attack-Move an overwatched close combat squad into the middle of your enemy you can get it to tie up more than one enemy squad at the same time. This is your classic "noob's move", which a.) can annoy "skilled" players and b.) more importantly, free up your micro to concentrate on the other squads in the fight. It can be dicey though - you're putting your trust into the game's wonky pathfinding and AI decision making skills. A good opponent can out-micro your randomly chopping guys if you rely simply on unit AI to do the thinking for you. But sometimes, you just have to do these things - especially when you have to be in three places at once!

Watch out! An Attack-Move will also stop a squad the instant a target is in range. This means, for example, that an eight man Marine squad with just one Heavy Bolter will stop at the Heavy Bolter's long range rather than the regular Bolter's shorter range. You'll wind up with seven guys twiddling their thumbs and one Heavy Bolter blazing away. Or - just as bad, you'll see a HB squad constantly setting and resetting as targets come and go at their periphery. To be honest, fast use of Move and Attack commands give you the best results.Back

Attack (A): For a selected turret, Waaagh! Banner or other armed structure, Attack orders it to fire on one specific target. This is essential for anti-vehicle turrets who always seem to shoot infantry first, and anti-infantry turrets who always want to fire uselessly into vehicles.

Watch out! You can only select one turret at a time, and you can't queue targets using SHIFT.

The target must be within range, shown by the red radius.

Once the target has died, the Turret will revert back to doing its own thing. It WON'T work its way through a target squad, but pick targets to its own criteria.Back

Attack Ground (G): any selected artillery piece or other bombardment unit will lob shells at the point on the ground indicated, disrupting and damaging any units and demolishing any structures. You'll see a red target marker appear on the ground. If fired into the periphery of your field of view or deep into the Fog of War, your Attack Ground command will become wildly inaccurate, allowing you to pepper the area with lots of lovely explosions.

If fired in a visible area, then your shots will be straight and true - dependent on the accuracy of the artillery piece, of course. As a general rule, bombardment never seems to miss much in Winter Assault, although in the original DoW it was wildly inaccurate and simply disrupted.

Watch out! You can't queue up multiple Attack Ground commands.Back

Melee Attack (Z): - exactly like a normal attack move, except your guys will attack using hand to hand rather than shoot at range. This is a rapid fire shortcut that can bypass messing around with stances in order to get the same result. Not the sort of command you want to accidentally give to a bunch of units that are hopeless in close combat - unless its absolutely necessary!Back

Infiltrate (I): - This is now automatic in Dark Crusade.Back

Bezerk Fury Skill

Jump or teleport (J): Any unit with jet packs or with the ability to teleport will fly or zap to the point you specify. Be warned: some units have to think about this a little before they actually make their move. There are three restrictions to this command:

First, you can only click on unoccupied ground.

Second, you can only jump within an operating radius, marked out by a big green boundary.

Third , the unit or squad must "recharge" before jumping again. Some units, like the Eldar's Warp Spiders, get enough juice to do two consecutive jumps. Ork's Big Mek only gets one. Chaos Raptors get... one and a half. Recharge rates vary between different units.

Warning! In some cases, selecting all your jump squads and jumping/teleporting them can lead to some unexpected problems. Not all of them may go! This is because some units were out of jumping range relative to the point you clicked.Back

UNload (N) causes any units garrisoned within a building to disembark straight away. They will pop out of the structure's default position, or move to the Rally Point you specified.

If uNloading a vehicle, you need to left click a destination on the ground. The transport will move to the location and any and all squads inside will pop out all at once. You can't unload into other structures or vehicles.Back


RallY point. Select a building and then hit Y to position a Rally point.

Better still, use your right mouse button. Any structure that can generate units, or garrison them, will send them to the rally point when they emerge. Rally points can be placed anywhere. You can even stick them on empty strategic points (units will automatically try to take them), buildings (they'll be automatically repaired, finished or garrisoned within) or even other units (they'll Move to where the rally-pointed unit is - but they won't follow it). Rally Points are a great way to streamline your builds and manage your forces more effectively.Back


What a useful key this is. SHIFT is used, in time honoured fashion, to queue up multiple orders. To add additional orders to a unit with existing orders, press and hold SHIFT, then add the new order(s). You can assign multiple building and repair commands, movement waypoints, and attack orders. Some commands can't be queued up, like Attack Ground. (What a shame!)

Tip/Warning! If you don't hold SHIFT, then your current order countermands the existing one(s). Naturally enough!Back


Following more hallowed RTS traditions, pressing CTRL and n (where n is a number between 0 and 9) allocates a group of selected units to a number. This is known as a numbered selection. Once you've set a group can can instantly reselect it later, regardless of where it is on the map or whether its actually in view on screen.

For example, you might assign 1 to several squads of close combat troops by selecting them all and pressing ctrl and 1 (grouping your forces by role); or assigning numbers to individual squads so you can micro them individually (and rapidly) without using the mouse to select them first; or assign several small armies (with all kinds of units within it) as numbered groups, so you can split your forces into mixed taskforces, and send them off in two different directions without losing control of them.

You can even assign a numbered selection to a production building like a Barracks, so you can instantly cue up reinforcements without having to drag yourself all the way back to your base to do so. There's all kinds of ways you can use numbered selections.

Tip: Numbered selections can overlap! You can assign your whole taskforce/army to one number, assign all the Heavy Bolter squads within it to another, and then your Hero, attached to one of those HB squads to a third. At any point, you can assign orders to your whole army, part of it or to a single squad all in a matter of seconds.

Tip: to add units to a numbered selection, select the selection, hold down SHIFT, select the extra squads you want with your mouse, and then Ctrl + n that bigger selection again.

Tip: to select multiple selections at once, hold down SHIFT, then type the numbers you want to select. Easy! And fast.

Tip: Wha-a-a-at?? You're NOT using numbered selections?! You fool! No wonder you're losing! :)Back


Pressing n (where n is a number between 0 and 9) selects a numbered selection you previously set. It doesn't matter where it is on the map, or whether you can see it. For example, hitting 3 selects the units you designated under CTRL + 3. For micromanaging squads, having a numbered selection no longer means trying to chase specfic units inside the big, messy, confusing mess of a fight. You can instantly select the right units and give them the right orders without tripping over your own feet.

Some examples: call in an instant artillery strike simply by pressing the number you assigned to your artillery, G (attack ground) and then the unfortunate enemies. You can disrupt enemy Commanders, nasty Heavy Bolters or a swarm of close combat troops in the same time it takes to touch type two keys and a make mouse click. In fact, you can constantly chase an unhappy enemy around you screen using numbered keys and artillery - provided they stay in range, of course. Ahhh...

Tip: Really - you can't go wrong. But for all this to work, you need a little preparation and a game plan. How do you want to organise your forces? As micro'ed single squads? A big messy army? Sort thgem out by role? And don't forget, a bit of practise! Things can rapidly spin out of control in a furious netgame, as we all know. No plan survives contact with the enemy intact. Once you've got numbered selections under your belt, you'll make life a lot easier for yourself and you'll be able to apply them in other RTS games as well.Back


Pressing n twice not only selects the numbered selection, but snaps the camera back to it. For example, hitting 3 twice flicks the camera back to the units you designated under CTRL + 3. This is extremely useful for flicking from home base to front line, or between different squads on multiple fronts or in a big messy brawl.Back

Buildin' 'n' techin'
You REALLY do need to know how to quickly switch from the big fight at the front line and apply an upgrade or start a new building in a matter of seconds. Fumbling with the mouse and clicking GUI simply won't cut it. You can take a LOT of pressure off yourself with a few vital key presses...
. Pressing full stop cycles to the next Builder, regardless of its current activity or status. Like Ctrl+R this is another of those incredibly useful shortcuts that lets you continue building or repairing while you're busy elsewhere.Back
B ...Build (B) brings up all the structures that your Builder can assemble. Individual structures have their own keyboard shortcuts - too numerous to mention here. Actual building shortcuts vary wildly different from army to army, and these are (or will be) described in the individual army pages.Back
REpair (E): gets your Builder to repair a damaged structure or vehicle. You can simply use the right mouse to select the item to fix - but anything that can garrison units also uses this right mouse click as well. Much safer just to use E!Back

DELetes a selected structure or instantly snuffs one selected unit or squad. If you have multiple items selected, it will kill the highlighted squad (use TAB to cycle through your potential victims). Repeated presses are required to bump off the rest.

For buildings, it will ask for confirmation. When you destroy structures (be they unfinished or not) you will get back only 50% of the resources that were needed to make them. For a Headquarters, you only get back 10%.Back

ctrl+R Cycle to the next building or structure with an available upgrade. This is an essential short cut that lets you upgrade your base in mere seconds rather than fumble around with your mouse. When you're up to your eyeballs in a big fight, being able to continuously upgrade back at your base is an important skill.Back
U Upgrade - most structures with only one upgrade will usually apply this keyboard shortcut. In particular: a Headquarters Add-On, any kind of Listening Post, defensive Turret, Plasma Generator, or Orky Waaagh! Tower.Back

Camera Controls
Sometimes your own frenzied fumbling with the in-game camera can lead to your undoing as surely as you stuff up your own hotkeys. We've all done it! Its nothing to be ashamed of, although its certainly good to know these shortcuts.

Pressing Home (its above the arrow keys on any standard PC keyboard) snaps the camera back to your first Headquarters. If you're on a laptop, you're almost certainly going to find this a bit awkward to do, assuming the HOME key even available to you.Back

BACKSPACE Pressing Backspace snaps the camera back to its default viewing angle. Lost the camera? Can't see what's going on? Zoomed in on something or staring at a patch of ground? Hit this key and solve all your problems. But be careful! Its right next to DEL... especially on a laptop. Oh dear.Back

Pressing apostrophe causes the camera to snap to a selected unit - or randomly pick a unit within a squad and then track it around the map until otherwise specified. Its good for playback, probably not that useful in an actual game. Pressing ' repeatedly cycles through all the members of a squad. If the unit you're following dies, then the camera will return back to some indeterminate default position on the map somewhere. If the squad reinforces, then the camera will stop tracking the squad.Back

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Last modified Wed, Jun 6 2011 by Lindsay Fleay