Mass Effect 3 (Seriously, Use Spoilers People!)

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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

Belial wrote:That happens in video games all the time, though. Including other bioware games. The fight where you have to knock the villain down to a certain health level, thus triggering the cinematic wherein the next plot development occurs. The next plot development is often you getting thwarted anyway, to keep you on the chase.
Well, it might happen in other video games but it hadn't happened in previous ME games (or in DA:O, or in KOTOR I/II) so I really didn't expect it. The mission did leave me feeling pretty bad but it was a mix of feeling helpless (which I assume was the intention) and feeling angry at the stupid way the cut scene was executed (which I hope wasn't their intention). Kai Leng was just terribly presented in the game- insultingly easy to defeat in game (except for the infinite health) but much more powerful than Shepard in cut scenes. In the Thessia boss fight I didn't let him take a single step towards the temple- it took me under two seconds to deplete his shields each time and I was actually pushing him back while doing it so the cut scene that followed came out of nowhere. It didn't help that the guy had no personality and all of his cut scenes showed Shepard as incompetent for no good reason I could see other than 'Let's make Kai Leng utterly humiliate Shepard so the player hates him'.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Vaniver » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:13 pm UTC

Obby wrote:It doesn't matter how much damage you deal to Kai Leng, he still blows the whole temple to pieces.
Especially aggravating when you're used to your Black Widow turning heads into red mist, and then suddenly, you come across someone with a neutronium head.

If you want things to seem hopeless, the right way to do it is to strike where Shepard is weak, not where Shepard is strong. If my best-in-the-galaxy spec ops team goes up against one Cerberus ninja, and the one Cerberus ninja wins because of plot armor, that's laziness that destroys the internal logic of the game. If I have three clusters of allies, and Cerberus attacks all of them simultaneously, I can only save one, because I only have one best-in-the-galaxy spec ops team, and then my rage comes from watching security videos of Kai Leng killing one of my allies after saving another one of my allies from phantoms.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Xeio » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:and the one Cerberus ninja wins because of plot armor
Also, because he brought a gunship.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby ArgonV » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:
Vaniver wrote:and the one Cerberus ninja wins because of plot armor
Also, because he brought a gunship.

Which wouldn't have been a problem if there was a Hydra/Darkstar lying around
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby An Enraged Platypus » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:54 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
Belial wrote:
Dauric wrote:Agreed. Leng's the only "Space Ninja"

And suddenly in ME3 Cerberus (and only Cerberus) has a badly written Japanese guy using a sword*,


You know what really pissed me off? Kai Leng is a Chinese name. We're in the realms of the character being from "Asia", where everyone from a Mongolian to a Korean via a Japanese knows Kung Fu, relaxes at night with Tai Chi, and wields a Katana in service of his han. Fuck that shit.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Chen » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:56 pm UTC

ArgonV wrote:Which wouldn't have been a problem if there was a Hydra/Darkstar lying around


Really it looked like it had a glass cockpit so the Widow I was carrying should probably have been able to deal with it too even with its shields.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Vaniver » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:Also, because he brought a gunship.
A gunship, while able to do significant damage to others, is not useful at keeping your head attached to your thorax.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
ArgonV wrote:Which wouldn't have been a problem if there was a Hydra/Darkstar lying around


Really it looked like it had a glass cockpit so the Widow I was carrying should probably have been able to deal with it too even with its shields.
It takes a long time to bring down gunships on foot, as evidenced by the two missions in ME2 where you do just that.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Xeio » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:41 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
ArgonV wrote:Which wouldn't have been a problem if there was a Hydra/Darkstar lying around
Really it looked like it had a glass cockpit so the Widow I was carrying should probably have been able to deal with it too even with its shields.
It seems to be cannon that barriers/shields can deflect high powered sniper rifle bullets (given that Liara isn't dead). Though I'm still not sure to what degree this is applicable since there seems to be a lot of story/gameplay bleed in that respect.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:It seems to be cannon that barriers/shields can deflect high powered sniper rifle bullets (given that Liara isn't dead). Though I'm still not sure to what degree this is applicable since there seems to be a lot of story/gameplay bleed in that respect.

The games seem to have a frequent case of "it'd sure be convenient/cinematic if we forgot about shields right now.. so we will!". There are so many scenes where you're shown Shepard / other characters shooting at things, and those things dying from the first shot that connects, with no evidence of shields at all. Or even the fact that, starting in ME2, most enemies don't come default with a shield at all (which is very much against the established lore, but I just got myself to accept it as "everyone still has shields, just the enemies with a blue-shield bar have extra strong shields"). Actually, I wonder if it's so much forgetting about them as the people designing those visuals (either everyone or just the overall boss) doesn't understand the full implications of kinetic barriers? Or they just don't care.

In fact, the only time I can think of personal (non-biotic) shields actually showing up outside of combat in any of the games was on Feros when the nervous lady shoots you and Shepard just kind of shakes their head.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Chen wrote:
ArgonV wrote:Which wouldn't have been a problem if there was a Hydra/Darkstar lying around


Really it looked like it had a glass cockpit so the Widow I was carrying should probably have been able to deal with it too even with its shields.
It takes a long time to bring down gunships on foot, as evidenced by the two missions in ME2 where you do just that.
They also show Shepard is perfectly capable of bringing one down. Besides neither of those gunships could take half the beating I gave Kai Leng on Thessia.

Really, Kai Leng was just a lazily written anti-Shepard (but better). My annoyance with him, however, was quickly overcome by the utter let down of the ending. Now that I have (almost) successfully separated the existence of the ending from the rest of the game, I can go right back to feeling mildly disappointed by the whole main story of ME3. It was rather short and unrelated to the rest of the game but it still dampens my desire to replay the game.

I did start a replay though and so far I can say that I like femshep's and Kaidan's voice actors much better than their alternatives. Kaidan also dodged the crazy makeover artist which was a nice surprise.

P.S. I started re-watching BSG this weekend. It just reminded me how blatantly the ending of ME3 rips off the show.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

People keep saying that, but BSG was not about synthetics vs. organics. It was included as part of the plot, but BSG was actually about a bunch of refugees trying to stay alive in the face of shortages of essential supplies, internal conflict, and being hounded by the merciless enemy that annihilated their civilisation. That merciless enemy could have been anything. It could have been giant shape-shifting space bats, and it would not have changed the plot in any meaningful way.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:12 pm UTC

An Enraged Platypus wrote:
Dauric wrote:
Dauric wrote:Agreed. Leng's the only "Space Ninja"

And suddenly in ME3 Cerberus (and only Cerberus) has a badly written Japanese guy using a sword*


You know what really pissed me off? Kai Leng is a Chinese name. We're in the realms of the character being from "Asia", where everyone from a Mongolian to a Korean via a Japanese knows Kung Fu, relaxes at night with Tai Chi, and wields a Katana in service of his han. Fuck that shit.


This is another part of what I found so badly written about him. Given that on the few occasions I've recognized the nationality of a character's surname in ME1 and ME2 the character didn't really look like that 'ethnicity', which makes sense in a "one world government" setting where global travel or employment mobility wouldn't be restricted by passports or immigration, so family names are likely to show up anywhere in the world.

And then in the last installment we get "Pointedly Stereotypical Asian-Martial-Artist-Ninja Man". Even James has a traditionally English first name despite his obvious Latin-American upbringing.

maybeagnostic wrote: It didn't help that the guy had no personality and all of his cut scenes showed Shepard as incompetent for no good reason I could see other than 'Let's make Kai Leng utterly humiliate Shepard so the player hates him'.


Gawd, the escape on the citadel..

I'm playing an infiltrator, the sniper-rifle is my weapon of choice, even to the extent that I find it useful to carry a scoped assault rifle (If I'm not carrying the Plasma rifle I'm using the Mattock). I have a full charge on my Prothean plasma rifle, and at least full clip on on Viper if not multiple full clips, and Shepard pulls.... a handgun I don't even bother equipping, 'cause apparently he shoves it up his ass before he leaves the Nomandy.

Let ninja-man drive super awesome in his getaway car, have some of his Lazarus upgrades include 360-degree vision or personal radar/lidar arrays so he sees Shepard line up the shot and dodges at the last second. Don't have my trained special-ops character, who should be able to not only use but recite specifications while field-stripping and cleaning any weapon he sees even if the Geth manufacture it all while under fire, pull the least suitable weapon for a long-range shot when he's not only trained to use and has on his person a better weapon but he character has consistently favored it over most other weapons his entire career.

Okay, some of that rant may not precisely apply to other PC types that don't carry long arms like biotic-only or tech-only characters, but even tech-characters should have been able to send a VI drone after him and it gets shot down, or biotics throw some ability and Leng dodges out of the way. Something, anything other than a trained and battle-tested spec-ops commander utterly failing to know how to employ his personal arsenal.

Re: Snipers and Shields
As an infiltrator shields never bothered me. Disruptor ammo was usually more than enough to cut shields with a well-placed shot, especially with the Viper where I could rapidly follow up with a second or third round. If I was carrying a Widow (either vanilla or chocolate flavor) lots of stuff just didn't matter. Once I had a fully-upgraded Black Widow I couldn't stop maniacally giggling.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dark567 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

BSG stuff:
Spoiler:
SlyReaper wrote:People keep saying that, but BSG was not about synthetics vs. organics. It was included as part of the plot, but BSG was actually about a bunch of refugees trying to stay alive in the face of shortages of essential supplies, internal conflict, and being hounded by the merciless enemy that annihilated their civilisation. That merciless enemy could have been anything. It could have been giant shape-shifting space bats, and it would not have changed the plot in any meaningful way.
I disagree, the synthetics versus organics was secondary to survival but still very important. What makes them different from us(when they are identical down to at least the cellular level(if not DNA))? What does it mean that humans can reproduce with synthetics does that mean they are alive? Should humanity create AI after the cylons have been so devastating? These are pretty big themes from the show.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:31 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:BSG stuff:
Spoiler:
SlyReaper wrote:People keep saying that, but BSG was not about synthetics vs. organics. It was included as part of the plot, but BSG was actually about a bunch of refugees trying to stay alive in the face of shortages of essential supplies, internal conflict, and being hounded by the merciless enemy that annihilated their civilisation. That merciless enemy could have been anything. It could have been giant shape-shifting space bats, and it would not have changed the plot in any meaningful way.
I disagree, the synthetics versus organics was secondary to survival but still very important. The whole, what makes them different from us(when they are identical down to at least the cellular level(if not DNA))? What does it mean that humans can reproduce with synthetics does that mean they are alive? Should humanity create AI after the cylons have been so devastating? These are pretty big themes from the show.

Spoiler:
So they chucked in a few hackneyed questions about the nature of AI. That doesn't mean they were particularly significant parts of the show, and almost the exact same story could have been told if the cylons had been shape-shifting aliens. Robots were simply a more relatable enemy because HOLY SHIT THEY'RE ALREADY MAKING ROBOTS IN JAPAN WE'RE ALL DOOMED.


Back on topic, I'm going to go ahead and agree with everything Dauric just said. He was a badly written character who basically popped out of nowhere in the final game, and we're supposed to think he's some awesome badass. If he's such an awesome badass, where the fuck was he when the Collectors came a-knocking? They didn't even bother to give the guy a back-story beyond being a stereotypical oriental ninja guy. And cutscene-Shepard suddenly being handed the idiot ball whenever he was around got old fast.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:People keep saying that, but BSG was not about synthetics vs. organics. It was included as part of the plot, but BSG was actually about a bunch of refugees trying to stay alive in the face of shortages of essential supplies, internal conflict, and being hounded by the merciless enemy that annihilated their civilisation. That merciless enemy could have been anything. It could have been giant shape-shifting space bats, and it would not have changed the plot in any meaningful way.
Maybe I should have specified I was talking about the ending of BSG.
Spoiler:
1. Explicit Deus Ex Machina offers these choices out of nowhere (much better done in the show but still somewhat iffy) .
2. Choice between destroying, 'controlling' or merging with the synthetics (BSG chose synthesis, presented as the best option in ME3).
3. Garden of Eden ending where technology is lost and main characters find themselves on pristine world with a clean slate.
4. The sudden realization that this was all in our past.
This is especially jarring because BSG spent a long time building up to this but ME was a very different story that wasn't leading to this conclusion at all. It really makes me think that whoever wrote the ending to ME3 had just finished watching BSG and decided to use that ending for the game despite it not fitting at all.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Belial wrote:What is in the ultra-rare category, anyway? I've never seen anything of the sort.

Of course you haven't. It is just. that. rare.

I've gotten 1 ultra rare in ~15 spectre packs.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:36 pm UTC

What colour is ultra-rare?
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:41 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:People keep saying that, but BSG was not about synthetics vs. organics. It was included as part of the plot, but BSG was actually about a bunch of refugees trying to stay alive in the face of shortages of essential supplies, internal conflict, and being hounded by the merciless enemy that annihilated their civilisation. That merciless enemy could have been anything. It could have been giant shape-shifting space bats, and it would not have changed the plot in any meaningful way.
Maybe I should have specified I was talking about the ending of BSG.
Spoiler:
1. Explicit Deus Ex Machina offers these choices out of nowhere (much better done in the show but still somewhat iffy) .
2. Choice between destroying, 'controlling' or merging with the synthetics (BSG chose synthesis, presented as the best option in ME3).
3. Garden of Eden ending where technology is lost and main characters find themselves on pristine world with a clean slate.
4. The sudden realization that this was all in our past.
This is especially jarring because BSG spent a long time building up to this but ME was a very different story that wasn't leading to this conclusion at all. It really makes me think that whoever wrote the ending to ME3 had just finished watching BSG and decided to use that ending for the game despite it not fitting at all.
Not sure if that's a ripoff or just both series coming to a fairly reasonable point to come to.

ME3 also reminds me a lot of Xenosaga ending

Spoiler:
1. Series-long enemy has a plan to save the galaxy by destroying it.
2. Main character reaches them about to screw up plans.
3. Bad guy has a last minute conversion, allowing main character to try a third way to save universe.
4. Important character split from group on/near earth, other group lost in space far from civilization.
I wouldn't say it's an explicit ripoff of either series though. Mostly just ME3 trying to use some neat soft sci-fi concepts in its ending and horribly mangling them.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:This is especially jarring because BSG spent a long time building up to this but ME was a very different story that wasn't leading to this conclusion at all. It really makes me think that whoever wrote the ending to ME3 had just finished watching BSG and decided to use that ending for the game despite it not fitting at all.


I agree with the assessment here, at least in my subjective observation. The Geth/Quarian plotline was ME's dealing with synthetic/organic relations. The Reapers were more Lovecraftian "Horrors from Beyond", presented as unknowable entities of vast and alien intelligence and power. When Citadel-Child sums up their "unknowable"mission in a single sentence it not only ruined their otherworldlyness but changed their literary niche in the storyline and overlapped the Geth/Quarian chapter completely without actually acknowledging the prior outcome of the completely identical theme.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:47 pm UTC

Yeah, a great number of people have been saying the story would have been better off if the reapers' motivations had remained unexplained. "You exist because we allow it; you will end because we demand it." <- that is all the explanation they ever needed.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:00 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Yeah, a great number of people have been saying the story would have been better off if the reapers' motivations had remained unexplained. "You exist because we allow it; you will end because we demand it." <- that is all the explanation they ever needed.


I don't know, I rather liked the idea posited earlier in the thread about the Reapers being developed to solve a problem with Dark Energy that numerous civilizations hadn't been able to handle in their own organic lifetimes. It would have neatly tied in the mission in ME2 where you rescue Tali from the Geth and the bit with the sun going out, as well as various references here and there throughout the ME series about Dark Energy. It also would have been an anchor for expansion content where we find out the Reapers as much as they may resemble giant cosmic Darth Vaders, there's still the Emperor to deal with and his power is even greater...
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

How to make ME3 better...

No RTS component.

Your forces are split into 4 categories -- fleet, scientific, special ops, ground forces. In addition, you keep track of reaper losses.

As the game progresses, you are asked to commit some of them to some tasks, and are given a choice asto the order of doing others. There are such decisions after every mission you do. Sometimes you burn special ops to gain fleet strength, other times you are asked to burn fleet strength to gain ground forces. Some conflicts cause your forces to be committed to a theater, others cause losses, etc. In some cases, forces can act in a support role without being committed to a problem (which means they can be easily freed up for other tasks, and are less in danger, but are less effective at the task they are working on).

At various times you are asked to contribute forces directly to Earth. Special ops, ground forces, distraction engagements by a fleet to pull the reapers away from Earth, etc. Similarly, what you research varies with time.

The total demands asked of you far outstrip the forces at your command. Each time you say no, disaster strikes. Each time you say yes, you pay the price.

I'm not sure how Shepard can win, however. The ABC choice seems strained. But how can a single device win against the Reapers? And why would they think it could? Maybe because it doesn't do just one thing.

1) It cuts the puppet strings and makes indoctrination much harder. (Note that this also makes the Reaper control of their own ships harder)
2) It defends the mass effect relays. They become harder to destroy.
3) It controls the mass effect relays. You can turn them on and off. Or make them explode.
4) It interferes with FTL travel outside of the mass effect relay system.

If something like the above happened, it wouldn't be as dramatic, but it would give the living races a fighting chance. You could isolate Reapers to particular systems, bring the might of mortal races to bear, and then go onto the next.

The claims by the Illusive man that they could also be used to control reapers would make sense. The signal that interferes with indoctrination might be modifiable to feed back to the Reapers themselves, or to take control of the Reaper's servants and tools.

Some of the things you pick up as you go through the game end up enhancing the powers of the crucible, where the above is the "top" option. At some point, a deal with Cerebus where you can get their anti-reaper tech and take control of their tools is possible (with, naturally, a good chance that they will end up being the ones who actually control it).

---

An example of a decision: you get the part of the crucible that lets you destroy ME relays, and can use it once (before it needs to be charged-up). At some point, you manage to concentrate a huge reaper force near a planet -- do you destroy the relay and nearly every Reaper ship in the system? That will sterilize the planet. You are given this choice at multiple points in the game, usually for a different planet, with different expected casualties (to your forces, and to the Reapers, to your team, and to the population of the planet.)
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:How to make ME3 better...

No RTS component.


Actually I think you expanded on the RTS in interesting ways. The existing RTS mechanism had so little to do with anything else at all, but making tactical decisions about how and where to spend resources (not necessarily routine decisions, but the Admiral calls you up on the holo-comm and says "Shepard, we've got a developing situation and I'm looking for your input as you know Reaper tactics the best..." then have various optional missions happen or not depending on where you allocate forces ("Shepard, that STG force you had us send to Eden Prime need an extraction and the Normandy is the only vessel that can get them out without being detected by the Reapers...")

It would certainly be more interesting than the "fill the bucket" mechanic that was applied to the rest of the game.

As far as how to improve the end.. I wouldn't say "no RTS component", especially not after re-writing the entire RTS mechanic, but... well just erase the entire fucking ending, beat sense in to lazy writers, beat extended budget out of accountants, and start over from the assault on Earth.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dark567 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:As far as how to improve the end.. I wouldn't say "no RTS component", especially not after re-writing the entire RTS mechanic, but... well just erase the entire fucking ending, beat sense in to lazy writers, beat extended budget out of accountants, and start over from the assault on Earth.
The Galaxy at War thing just screams to me that they rushed the game and didn't finish the feature. It seems blatantly obvious that there was going to be more too it.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:56 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Dauric wrote:As far as how to improve the end.. I wouldn't say "no RTS component", especially not after re-writing the entire RTS mechanic, but... well just erase the entire fucking ending, beat sense in to lazy writers, beat extended budget out of accountants, and start over from the assault on Earth.
The Galaxy at War thing just screams to me that they rushed the game and didn't finish the feature. It seems blatantly obvious that there was going to be more too it.

This.

The poor animation rigging resulting in epileptic fits and poltergeist head spinning, the texture-map shading that made Illusive's first appearance look like he was a zombie and everyone else hadn't had a bath since the end of ME2, the deep emotional response to Tuchanka's events followed by a medium-good Geth/Quarian chapter then the mediocre Thessia and an atrociously bad finale, Leng the Ninja-Man and his contagious idiot spell..

Oh, and let's not forget that the Normandy's command deck needed a loading screen so they had that stupid checkpoint.

So much of ME3 screamed that they had to rush it out the door and then hope to patch-and-pray with DLC later on.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:What colour is ultra-rare?

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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:22 pm UTC

That isn't RTS. :) RTS is real time strategy, well, a SC2 style subgame.

And while "mission A" or "mission B" is cool, I'm assuming they are cheapskates. So what actually happens is "mission A first, or mission B first" -- you can still choose to skip missions, but (if you are a completionist) what you pick is the order and priority.

And these choices end up having costs. If you go for the Turian commander before the Krogan genophage, when you finally get to the genophage, something bad has happened.

Have you played those "multiple players against the game" boardgames? Like that -- the universe is going down hill, and you are constantly trying to push back, but it just gets worse and worse. Everything you do is seemingly counterbalanced with something bad happening elsewhere. Worlds fall to ash, fleets get wiped out, information is stolen by Cerebus before you can get there.

Because we are lazy developers, much of this can be in the form of extra bad guys on the missions, and different information in the between-mission reveals. The value of the information you extract is lessened if you didn't prioritize it in post-mission analysis, for example, because Cerebus destroyed more of it before you got there. Or you manage to get there first, and erase some information to Cerebus doesn't learn something...

The nice thing about that kind of narrative is that instead of Shepard holding the idiot ball so often, she gets to competently doing what she sets out to do. What you prioritize works (usually) -- it just isn't enough. You single-handedly destroy reapers (with the help of a fleet), and it isn't a pointless victory -- but while you where doing it, entire worlds have burned. Instead, the game jumps between scenes where you do that, and ones where you hold an idiot ball, all to keep you on a rail road to AB or C.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Gellert1984 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:46 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:I don't know, I rather liked the idea posited earlier in the thread about the Reapers being developed to solve a problem with Dark Energy that numerous civilizations hadn't been able to handle in their own organic lifetimes. It would have neatly tied in the mission in ME2 where you rescue Tali from the Geth and the bit with the sun going out, as well as various references here and there throughout the ME series about Dark Energy. It also would have been an anchor for expansion content where we find out the Reapers as much as they may resemble giant cosmic Darth Vaders, there's still the Emperor to deal with and his power is even greater...


I like this. But instead of having the reapers as Darth Vader have them setup as a sort of Omega force. They harvest the advanced populations of the milky way to build more reapers to defend against stuff out there so the younger races have a chance to evolve. Now that the reapers are gone (and some idiot set off superluminal explosions to let the universe know) giant sun eating andromedan space amoeba's are invading.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby omgryebread » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:29 pm UTC

Gellert1984 wrote:
Dauric wrote:I don't know, I rather liked the idea posited earlier in the thread about the Reapers being developed to solve a problem with Dark Energy that numerous civilizations hadn't been able to handle in their own organic lifetimes. It would have neatly tied in the mission in ME2 where you rescue Tali from the Geth and the bit with the sun going out, as well as various references here and there throughout the ME series about Dark Energy. It also would have been an anchor for expansion content where we find out the Reapers as much as they may resemble giant cosmic Darth Vaders, there's still the Emperor to deal with and his power is even greater...


I like this. But instead of having the reapers as Darth Vader have them setup as a sort of Omega force. They harvest the advanced populations of the milky way to build more reapers to defend against stuff out there so the younger races have a chance to evolve. Now that the reapers are gone (and some idiot set off superluminal explosions to let the universe know) giant sun eating andromedan space amoeba's are invading.
Except it turns out they're just eating suns because if they don't then giant system eating rabbits from the Maffei Group would think the Local Group is too tasty otherwise. And then you find it's all in a video game and you have to fight the players.

That kind of twist always leaves me really unsatisfied. A good story will give you attachment to the hero, a great story gives you attachment to the villain. Sometimes that's a sympathy or regret kind of thing, usually it's hatred. Mass Effect could have done a better job, but you did learn to hate Reapers. ME3 actually did this brilliantly. The destruction you saw combined with the feeling of helplessness the game created as Reaper's destroyed everything around you really made you hate the Reapers, you were emotionally bound up in what happened to them.

Switching immediately to a new villian for a DLC leaves you with some whiplash. There's simply not the emotional attachment to the new Big Bad there was to the first.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Gellert1984 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:13 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:Switching immediately to a new villian for a DLC leaves you with some whiplash. There's simply not the emotional attachment to the new Big Bad there was to the first.


The DLC would have you fighting cerberus remnants who're screwing with dark matter, at the end of the DLC you discover that they were harvesting dark matter from one of the big sun eating whatevers (a note, they don't have to be amoeba they can be anything, sentient planets or killer pink bipedal space bunnies with 3 boobs). Somewhere along the way you discover that the milky way has 100+ years until the shit hits the fan, long enough for everything to fall apart again, not so long that the legend of 'the shepherd' has faded out. Thus begins the intro to the next Trilogy, or MMO or whatever.

You get the continuation of the story, Liara's/Ash has had shep's babies theres a vast host of guy's, girl's and miscellaneously gendered species running around with sheperds name, some of them have rather familiar last names, like sheperd vakarian, or sheperd nar ryya, a geth cult of sheperd all kitted out in legion chic. While at the same time technologies advanced enough that you can ditch a lot of the old design schemes and go a little farther out.

Hell, you could really piss off the fundies and play as sheperds asari kid. The fox news stories alone would be hilarious.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Vaniver » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:23 am UTC

Yakk: overall, very solid idea that I wish they had gone with. But:

Yakk wrote:Have you played those "multiple players against the game" boardgames? Like that -- the universe is going down hill, and you are constantly trying to push back, but it just gets worse and worse. Everything you do is seemingly counterbalanced with something bad happening elsewhere. Worlds fall to ash, fleets get wiped out, information is stolen by Cerebus before you can get there.
How easy is it to fail? In the sense of, running out of resources and the Reapers winning.

In something like Arkham Horror, you want 20-50% of games to end in defeat. If it's less than 20%, people will think it's too easy- if it's more than 50%, people will think it's too hard. But RPGs are on a different timescale- it takes, say, 20-30 hours to play through ME3. People will replay a boss fight twenty times until they finally beat it- but a 30 hour game?

There are workarounds, of course- one of which is to let people skip any mission that they're beaten at that difficulty level or higher. Another is to have humanity (and possibly Shepard) always survive- but it's possible for the game to end, BSG-like, with a human (and possibly some alien as well) Migrant Fleet fleeing the Reapers. If you want a happy ending, well, that takes effort, and maybe a replay or two.

Notice that time pressure works against side quests, though, and as many RPG fans are completionists you may not want to punish them too much. The meteor ready to crash into the Earth politely waits for you because that generally does make for a better game. If the choice is between rescuing Garrus and rescuing Wrex and scanning some planets, one of those things is not like the others. But maybe it is best to get rid of the little things.

[edit]Wasn't the whole "the villain was really just fighting against a more evil villain" plotline done in Fable 3?
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby maybeagnostic » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:14 am UTC

I am not sure why everyone decided to anthropomorphise the dark energy scenario. I think the whole point of that is that it is likely a natural phenomenon that you can't shoot in the face. I mean Shepard is quite ingenious at shooting things in the face, having figured out a way to do it to two-kilometer long intelligent eldritch horrors and all, but I felt the whole point of the dark energy ending was that the Reapers are actually doing something really weird that is utterly beyond Shepard's comprehension. In the end the player gets a choice between 'Well, some more advanced species thought very hard about this for a long time and they decided Reapers are the best solution' and 'I don't care what some old uber-intelligent race decided, I believe all the races can work together to achieve this without the being forced to do so by this awful and painful process.' It's an interesting choice because the ending wouldn't tell you whether you made the right one or whether there is a right one at all. What seems to be the 'good' choice (cooperation without coercion) is tainted by the fact that you want to save everyone for selfish reasons and, as far as you know, each cycle before you has made the opposite choice (joining the Reapers).

Also, all DLC so far has taken place during the game proper. Adding content after the ending would be a very weird choice especially since ME3 has no after-the-ending part- it just spawns you before the final pair of missions even began.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby mosc » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:28 am UTC

I don't know what all this fuss is about. How could the ending have been that different? The first time I heard "the catalyst", I instantly thought that Shepherd was going to have to sacrifice thyself to stop the reapers. Hmm? That's exactly what happened? No shit. I liked the ending battle sequences leading up to the mad dash down the firing range of a reaper to get to the citadel. Yes, the space ninja was out of place and yes, the plot armor was particularly transparent in it's application but that's fairly normal. My complaints would be as follows:

1) None of the readiness crap I did had any effect. I wanted to hear "we're getting pinned down over here!" only to have that special ops team I rescued on the back end of nowhere show up and save em. I would have played an audio stream filled with callouts to the accomplishments of the player as they soldiered on through the jaws of hell and anytime they missed something, they'd hear people dieing.
2) Compatriots making it to the citadel with you would have been cool. The first thing I thought of when I was blown to bits was "Garrus, get over here and pick my bleeding as up". Instead he's magically transported to the normandy which is blasting towards a new planet? WTF? Missed opportunity for them to throw down some character specific contributions to the ending morality stuff. And maybe get some emotional goodness out of making shepherd kill THEM instead of the admiral.
3) I thought destroying all synthetic life didn't really fix anything in the galaxy and kind of dicked over the geth. "You're a person too Eddy, except when it's time to save the galaxy and then you're just a tool without a soul". I think there could have been a more pure good answer with an equally biting gotcha. How about you get what you want (reapers just stop working instantly everywhere) but then after all the happy happy joy joy you cut to some celarian making a baby reaper?

I liked the premise of synthetic life being the death of organic life and as such basically "merging" all synthetic life every 50k years and giving new organic life a new chance to survive. I liked the cyclical stuff they worked in through the prothean AI. I liked the illusive man getting partially indoctrinated. There was a certain reasonability in his answer of purposely becoming a reaper rather than letting them turn humanity INTO one. He saw it as completely different even though it was clearly similar.

EDIT: I do like the thoughts of a Star Control II type "hopeless galactic wide battle" that would have been cool to stretch over the game. Then, when you're nearly kicked, crucible time.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Belial » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:43 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:A good story will give you attachment to the hero, a great story gives you attachment to the villain. Sometimes that's a sympathy or regret kind of thing, usually it's hatred. Mass Effect could have done a better job, but you did learn to hate Reapers. ME3 actually did this brilliantly. The destruction you saw combined with the feeling of helplessness the game created as Reaper's destroyed everything around you really made you hate the Reapers, you were emotionally bound up in what happened to them.


Which is why I'm so baffled by the choice to uncenter the reapers so much through the game's final acts. It's like they said "We thought about a final showdown with Harbinger complete with a horrifying, mind-shredding chat akin to the first talk with Sovereign, but what we know the fans really wanted was more time with Space Martin Sheen. He's the real villain of this piece, right?"

No bioware. No he is not.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:09 am UTC

Harbinger was such wasted potential. After the awesome that was Sovereign, we're introduced to an even bigger and more badass reaper. He's setup to be the next overall villain, but then he just, kinda... taunts you for one game, then effectively forgets you exist immediately afterwards. They could have done so much with him, but didn't. I was really disappointed by that. I remember thinking on Thessia that I couldn't be that near the end of the game, because I had only spoken to one reaper yet, and that was just an unnamed nobody on Rannoch. Then I expected him to speak to me at the end of the game, because they even explicitly mentioned him. Nope.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby VectorZero » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:01 pm UTC

Still working my way through discussion; I like some of the suggestions for other possible endings - they're quite clever - but I'm still happy with the outcome offered, hanging threads notwithstanding.

As far as the feeling that the ending invalidates ones prior choices ... I see where this comes from, but I disagree. I think the choices one makes through the game shapes Shepard's/the player's view of the galaxy and gives them the foundation upon which that final choice is made. The final choice is the culmination of the total experience. 'Shep of the wired' was a satisfactory ending for my tired warrior ... YMMV.

Oh, that final dialogue box? 'Build that legend with DLC'? WTF Bioware?

As for Thessia... yeah, really disappointed about that actually. Gameplay/Story Segregation is sloppy at best when your character can do things in cutscenes they can't do in game. When you can't do something in a cutscene you've been seen to do in game ... it's Aeris and a Phoenix Down level of *facepalm*. When you get railroaded to a horrible plot point ... grrr. From a narrative perspective, fine, the crushing blow fits. But it's a game, and you've taken away player agency to make a point: there'd better be a damn good payoff.

And difficulty. Man, even on Insanity there were only a few tough fights. By the time I got to level 60 during the earth mission, I'd used only 1 medkit, during the final ardat-yakshi monastery fight. Used a couple more in the final battle prior to launching the thanix missiles, but still. Oh, and I finished with about 87 unspent skill points. No need - Energy Drain, Singularity, Warp, Rinse, Repeat.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Belial » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

It's not even that it invalidates prior choices. It's that it invalidates Shepard. Like...my Shepard was quick to point out to anyone who started the whole "The Synthetics are out to get us!!!" nonsense that synthetic life is just like organic life, just from a different source. That if we fail to get along with the geth, it's not substantially different from that time we failed to get along with the Batarians (also known as: all conceivable times). Shepard hit that note at every opportunity.

Furthermore, she also wasn't keen on being given ultimatums by high authorities. Sovereign says "we will destroy you" shepard says "Fuck you, you're going to die." Prothean VI says we can't save this cycle, Shepard says "fuck you, I'm going to try".

Then the Citadel AI says "You're clearly an idiot, synthetics will destroy you and must be stopped. As evidence, I offer the fact that I'm saying so, and also glowing" and Shepard says "Gosh, if you say so. What're we gonna do about it, star-tyke?"

Seeing the incongruity? She doesn't even question the premise. Much less tell him to go fuck himself (which is the really in-character action there). She just swallows it as given and leaps into choosing from the options spoonfed to her. That's not Shepard. That's not how shepard has acted at any point previous in the series.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby An Enraged Platypus » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:17 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:I don't know, I rather liked the idea posited earlier in the thread about the Reapers being developed to solve a problem with Dark Energy that numerous civilizations hadn't been able to handle in their own organic lifetimes. It would have neatly tied in the mission in ME2 where you rescue Tali from the Geth and the bit with the sun going out, as well as various references here and there throughout the ME series about Dark Energy. It also would have been an anchor for expansion content where we find out the Reapers as much as they may resemble giant cosmic Darth Vaders, there's still the Emperor to deal with and his power is even greater...


The leak in December last year suggested the following Dark Energy plot line was originally intended:

Eezo (over)use is what's causing stars to die and accelerating the death of the livable universe. The only technology that can deliver advanced travel like shipboard FTL and the Relays is based on eezo; advanced cvilisations as a point of anthropological-psychological-technological fact will always seek out this capability and use eezo to get it. The Reapers, to begin with, were an ancient civilisation that adjusted themselves to live in the lowest possible energy state and with minimal eezo usage. The point of the harvesting is twofold; firstly, the Reapers are trying to figure out a way to solve the Dark Energy problem for good, so they can get back to walking on two legs and putting burgers on the grill. The sheer scale of the problem demands that entire civilisations are set to computing the answer; simply letting intelligent life ignore it will result in the immanent, and irrevocable, end to all life. "Reaper" is a misnomer, "Conscriptor" is closer to the truth - it's enforced conscription to help solve a problem which petty political and hedonistic concerns will see killing us all. Secondly, becoming a Reaper reduces the eezo use of civilisations to almost zero, and because civilisations are always harvested before they build their own relays every civilisation's "eezo footprint" is minimal. The Reapers hang out in Darkspace in energy conservation mode inbetween, minimising the inflammation of the Dark Energy problem whilst steadily recruiting new minds to solving the bigger problem.

With proper prefiguring, this would leave a terrible dilemma at the ending. If you destroy the Reapers, you condemn everything you fought for to choke in its own eezo filth within a few centuries. Saving the Quarians, curing the Krogan, it all makes no difference because their suns will swallow their worlds while Shepard is still in mythical memory.

If you work with the Reapers, you do not guarantee that the universe is saved. You essentially gamble all that you saved now on a lottery ticket to win a future later, one whose everydayness is completely unknown to you. You annihiliate all the cultures, all the ways of life you have now, because there's one big cosmic joke in which they (and you) are the punchline.
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Re: Mass Effect 3 (To Avoid Spoilers -Don't Read)

Postby Belial » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:21 pm UTC

I honestly don't like the "We're here to save you from the dark energy" explanation much more than "we're here to save you from the synthetics"

I vastly prefer "You exist because we allow it, you will end because we demand it"
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