Dawn of War II beta deploys Jan. 28

Open multiplayer test for Relic's Warhammer 40K RTS arrives less than a month before full February 23 launch; Soulstorm owners gain one-week head start.

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Earlier this week, Relic Entertainment spooled out the minimum and recommended system requirements for its THQ-published Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II real-time strategy game. Along with the litany of tech specs, the developer also promised an imminent update on the PC-exclusive game's open multiplayer beta test.

True to its word, Relic revealed today that the Dawn of War II open beta will be available through Valve's digital-distribution hub Steam beginning on January 28. Relic also said that it would be rewarding those who purchased the stand-alone Dawn of War expansion Soulstorm, granting owners of Iron Lore Entertainment's final hurrah a one-week jump on the testing period.

According to Relic, the multiplayer beta will include all four of the game's playable races: Orks, Space Marines, Eldar, and Tyranid. Battles will play out across five different multiplayer maps, all set within Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 sci-fi universe. Players will be matched to those of similar ability by way of Microsoft's Games for Windows - Live TrueSkill matchmaking system.

Dawn of War II is slated to arrive for the PC on February 23. Check out GameSpot's recent hands-on with Dawn of War II's multiplayer for an idea of what to expect from the beta.

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