DoW had an OK story... what let it down was all those in-game clips... the voice acting sounded like something out of a b-movie.
But, yeah, for me it's always been about gameplay for RTS games. That's why Starcraft was so good... it was simple and more focused on strat than micro.
DoW, on the other hand, was the first RTS game I played in a long ass time that actually brought something new to the table. Like, most RTS games are just rehashed versions of that old formula set by games like Dune, C&C and Warcraft, but DoW had a new and interesting system. And don't get me wrong, heaps of RTS games came out with different systems, but I can't name any that actually worked well like DoW did.
It's just too bad that DoW never had the playerbase that it should have had.
Oh, and the mass expansions didn't help any.