Mass Effect 3 EP24: Logic is for Sissies!

By Josh Posted Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 210 comments

Link (YouTube)

Remember that one time where the one species in the galaxy with any kind of proper defense against the Reapers (in the form of being able to just leave) decided to recolonize their lost home world that’s crawling with Cylons (sorry, Geth) because the Council was too busy getting its ass kicked by the Reapers to smack sanctions on them even though galactic trade has broken down on account of Reapers?

I hate you Bioware. I hate you so much.


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210 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP24: Logic is for Sissies!

  1. Chargone says:

    to be fair, that Particular kind of stupid is actually the sort of thing people (Especially politicians) tend to actually do. depending on the personalities of the admiralty board i can totally see that happening… (not that i’ve played ME3 (everything i’ve heard about it has put me off) or watch the video (due to data caps) but the basic event in question is more ‘believable character stupid’ than ‘incompetent writer stupid’ )

    1. Eathanu says:

      Agreed. It’s not eligible for the Golden Riter award because the non-Quarian characters (and to a lesser extent Tali) totally acknowledge how ridiculously stupid this timing is.

      1. Raygereio says:

        Lampshading stupidity does not make the stupid any less stupid.

        1. Thomas says:

          I would say that there are a quite a couple of modern conflicts between two people groups/countries that many people around them think are stupid and self-detructive to both, so it doesn’t have to be lampshading. Actually filling in the blanks probably breaks politics rules on Shamus’ threads. There aren’t many historical conflicts where I’m familiar with the common thoughts of people observing those events, but I’ll do some research and get back to you

          1. Thomas says:

            Okay how about this one: Chaco War

            Bolivia and Paraguay fighting over a strip of dessert which turns out to be completely worthless and barren. Both were some of the poorest countries in South America and had trouble even getting the weapons to fight each other. Each side lost between 2 and 4 of every 100 people living in that country through the conflict. At the time and before the war international countries were doing everything they could do to stop it, including forcing truces and limiting arms supplies but both countries went ahead and fought it anyway

            1. Dragomok says:

              […] and before the war international countries were […]

              Did you mean to say “international organisations” or “other countries”?

            2. Shmun says:

              “strip of dessert that turns out to be completely worthless and barren”

              Man, that’s the worst kind of dessert. Should’ve just gone to Dairy Queen or something.

            3. MadHiro says:

              Its a difference in scale. People have been fighting stupid wars over unimportant bits of land for as long as we’ve been capable of recording the fact that they’re doing it.

              If Bolivia and Paraguay were to engage in that same war while at the same time the entire world was engaged in a desperate struggle for survival against immediate danger and destruction, then that’d be a comparable situation.

    2. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

      I’d say this is a case of realistic vs. believable. Even when I hear news about this sort of stupid stuff happening I reel in disbelief, which is not something you want to invoke in a story.

      In this case for it to not feel like “bad writers” but instead “idiot leader”* you need to offer the player a chance to either argue against it or just comment about how bad the time is, so it becomes clear that the writers purposefully made the leader an idiot.

      Of course if I missed, and there is dialogue/a dialogue option where Shepard or someone else hangs a lampshade, then fair enough.

      *Edit: Generally speaking. For you what was is enough, but for Josh it wasn’t. That’s one success and one failure from a writing standpoint, and a pretty damn bad ratio for that.

      1. Lame Duck says:

        I think what it would really need for it to come across as bad leaders instead of bad writing is for the rest of the game not to be 95% bad writing. I might be willing to give the game the benefit of the doubt if Cerberus hadn’t eroded all good will I had towards it.

        1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

          That can help, but something that is irrefutable proof that the writers could tell the person is an idiot means you don’t have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    3. I’d say that most often this is the kind of thing politicians say they want to do to gain popular support, yet seldom actually do. It’s like a U.S. politician saying we should go invade China over our trade imbalance. They might get a few seats in Congress out of that, but if someone actually did it, they’d be insane (as would any who were letting it happen).

      Making that a kind of sub-plot would have been cool. You find out that the commander of this war was just trying to be the Uber-Admiral of the fleet and never expected those who supported him to actually wage a suicidal war on the Geth.

      1. guy says:

        You say this based on life experience in a world with nuclear weapons. Invasions of other countries for various stupid or incoherent reasons was a regular feature of pre-Cold War politics. I mean, World War II started because the German populace was upset about their crushing defeat in World War I, which included the French being upset about losing Alsace-Lorraine in their humiliating defeat in their last war with Germany among the causes. And in Republic era Rome, conquering sovereign nations to further political ambitions was incredibly common.

        1. It was, true, but it wasn’t seen as colossally stupid except in retrospect. None of those were throwing your whole army at an equal/superior force to obtain something that you knew an even larger and more unstoppable force would eventually come and stomp on.

          1. Raygereio says:

            To put more emphasis on the stupidity of this, a small correction:
            It’s not the whole Quarian army that’s being send to their deaths by their leaders for stupid reasons. It’s the entire Quarian civilization.

          2. Thomas says:

            I’d just like to note, that as people playing a game, we’re naturally looking at any situation in retrospect. We’re not living in that world, we’re judging it from a distance. And in pretty much every war in the course of history there have been a lot of individual people and movements that thought the war was stupid and unnecessary and possibly doomed.

            Okay here’s a nice example, look at all the countries that have invaded Russia and there’s another country here which I will exclude because of the politics rule. Whenever it happened in history lots of the third parties point out that no-one ever wins an invasive war in Russia and that the people are just going to involved in a long expensive struggle with lots of death that will lead to the defeat of that nation, the fall of it’s leaders as another (equal or less powerful force) wipes their nation whilst resources are tied into the fight with Russia.

            1. SleepingDragon says:

              Frankly personally I didn’t have that much of a problem with the war itself in this arc. I mean in the previous games (2 in particular) we can see that a lot of quarians have all but mythologized the whole homeworld thing into some kind of magical paradise that as soon as they obtain everything is going to be set right. Heck, even with the reapers coming for them I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them took the stance that if they’re all going to die they might as well do it on the homeworld or fighting for it. For that matter how much have the Quarians seen and/or heard of reapers, with maybe the exception that “it’s those space squids that are upgrading the Geth?”

              In short, even if this isn’t really the most logical thing to do I still think it’s justifiable, especially when compared to solving the entire Q-G conflict with “oh you just have to blast this one reaper and bam, plot magic”.

              1. Mike S. says:

                And insofar as they’re aware of the Reapers, it’s like a modern small country finding out an asteroid is going to hit Earth. All they can really do is a) hope it’s overblown or incorrect, b) hope that the big powers with space launch capacity and research budgets will be able to do something about it, or c) die.

                None of those really point to changing their own plans. If the Reapers kill everyone, they’re dead either way. If they don’t turn out to be the end of civilization then the quarians have their own concerns.

                Their historic enemy is in the process of vastly upgrading its capabilities: harnessing the entire power of a star, as a Dyson sphere does, seems likely to pretty make the geth uncrackable by a ragtag fugitive fleet. That goes some way, along with hitting them before the newly discovered geth vulnerabilities are patched, to explaining why the Admiralty Board thought it was now or never.

                (The game expects us to consider this a wrong decision, and I do. I just don’t think it’s a crazy or implausible decision.)

                1. ehlijen says:

                  The quarians are one of the powers that can do something about the reapers: they have the largest armed fleet in the galaxy filled with experienced spacefarers. They can either throw a lot of weight into the fight with the reapers or just hide between the stars and have a good chance of surviving the war.

                  But all that goes away if they throw their fleet into a meat grinder to reconquer a planet.

          3. Mormegil says:

            I can think of at least one example where it was declared as a bad idea before the campaign began. Crassus took on the Parthians for no reason other than he was sick of being just the richest man in the universe and he wanted a military reputation as well. The rest of Rome said it was dumb. Crassus went ahead with the campaign anyway. Crassus and his son both ended up as Parthian pincushions in the greatest Roman defeat since Hannibal.

            I will concede that this is an example from a time when one man’s ego could start a war and it wasn’t his entire race being put on the line.

  2. newdarkcloud says:

    Yeah. Rannoch. Ugh, the Quarians have such a poor sense of both timing and priorities. It’s like they all want to die.

    I was with Shamus in killing the Quarians until two things happened:
    1.) You could punch the fucking admiral for what’s he’s about to do!
    2.) It’s Tali you evil bastard!

    One softened the blow and the other softened my heart.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I liked Han Gaaral in the previous game -even as I was often inclined to side with Admiral whatever vas QuibQuib. He seemed like a good guy. I suppose some things -like his recklessness -are adequately foreshadowed by his recklessness pre-pilgrimage.

      But I wanted to do more than punch him. Throw him out an airlock, take off his mask and let Garrus cough in his face. Something.

      1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

        Take off mask, spit in face, glue the mask permanently back on so he can’t wipe the spit off.

        Assuming there’s no space magic cleaning it from the inside.

        Of note is that I don’t feel one way or another about the character, that just felt like the obvious approach.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          Unless they’ve got those Republic Commando windshield wipers.

          1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

            Those only wipe the glass, not the face itself. Where the spit should be going in my plan.

    2. Aldowyn says:

      I actually picked the Geth over the Quarians (since I had to choose…) specifically because the Quarians wouldn’t listen to reason. Although I guess it’s really just the admiral being dumb, not, you know, the vast majority of the Quarian fleet…

      What they did with Tali was pretty interesting. Also that psych-out paragon interrupt. (Which I believe they did with Mordin as well…)

      1. Thomas says:

        I was going to side with the Geth, but when it turned out the Geth were just as committed to genocide as the Quarians I figured they weren’t worth raising up

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          That’s a valid point. The Geth weren’t exactly behave in an intelligent way either. But since the Quarians were instigating the war, they are a bit more justified in their desperation.

          1. Mike S. says:

            On the other hand, they’ve voluntarily allied with the big enemy– after all of Legion’s assurances that they wouldn’t do so, and against all the philosophy he shared in the second game. You know their reasons, and they’re understandable. But the same thing is true of Saren by the end of the first game.

            On some level, in an existential war there’s an argument for choosing the allies that, however maddening they may be, you know won’t be tempted to join up with the implacable killbots when the going gets tough.

            1. Ateius says:

              Another example of Bioware’s unfortunate “continuity, what’s that?” approach to this series.

              1. Mike S. says:

                Do you think? The quarian/geth conflict actually strikes me as having a pretty decently consistent throughline. There are certainly continuity issues for the overall Mass Effect series, but what are you thinking of here?

                1. Luhrsen says:

                  If you used the virus in ME2 then they shouldn’t even be capable of making the decision to join the reapers. That’s a hole right there.

                  1. Mike S. says:

                    My impression is that the virus stopped the Heretics from actively worshiping the Reapers and desiring to use them as a shortcut to destiny. The geth collective in ME3 made a devil’s bargain with the Reapers as an alternative to being exterminated by the quarians. Both involve working with– or rather, for– the Reapers, and taking upgrades from them, but the motivations are different.

                    1. Alexander The 1st says:

                      Yeah, that was my understanding.

                      Before, it was about letting the Reapers decide the future of the Geth.

                      Now, it’s more “We either let the Quarians kill us off, or we side with the evil we know to combat the evil that’s currently killing us off.”

                    2. anaphysik says:

                      Would’ve been far more interesting to have the geth contact Shepard asking for help from her allies.

                2. Ateius says:

                  I’m referring specifically to Legion’s whole story about how the ‘heretic’ geth don’t represent the majority of geth at all, and they only worked with Sovereign because of a glitch in their programming, and the rest of the geth are totally into peace and love, man, and then whoopsie here the geth are working with the reapers. Again.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        I unlocked the Paragon/Renegade option to save everyone. Had I been unable to beat the shit out of Gaaral, I would have abandoned the hippie save everyone option in favor of slaughtering the Quarians wholesale.

        I’m not kidding. My only regret would have been not executing the Admiralty myself.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Really? Koris too?

          1. Mike S. says:

            Indispensible man or not, he was kind of a supercilious jerk. :-)

          2. newdarkcloud says:

            I like Koris and he is easily my favorite and the only rational Quarian in existence (except Tali), but sacrifices must be made in the name of my sanity.

            1. anaphysik says:

              “Koris too?” was specifically in response to “My only regret would have been not executing the Admiralty myself.”

              Because I would totally shoot Gerrel, Raan, and Xen in their helmets and let Koris take over and lead the quarians away from insanity.

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                Oh! If I could execute them myself, then I’d spare Koris. He would understand why I killed them, and then avoid the same mistakes for fear that I would kill him, even if I have no intention of doing so.

  3. Ira says:

    I thought they attacked the geth before it was clear the Reaper invasion was underway?

    I am guessing that I’m also going to be the only person who thinks the quarians are morally justified in taking back their homeworld from the robots who subjected them to genocide. And that Gerrel was more-or-less right. Punching Gerrel only makes Shepard look like a violent idiot with no sense of perspective…

    Actually, that sounds exactly right for Regina Shepard. Carry on, then!

    Though admittedly the sanction thing was stupid.

    1. Luhrsen says:

      You mean the Geth who merely fought back when the Quarians first attempted to subject THEM to genocide?

      The game explains this to the player for the second time in a little while.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        The first time I saw this, I thought it was interesting. It has not aged well. I can’t quite place my finger on why, but this whole sequence just makes the quarrians so stupid that I tend to side with our host: let’em burn -except that seems entirely out of character for any of my Shepards. Even Admiral Cartright Shepard (who wants the Geth to burn like Klingons) finds the Quarians stupid, and saves their hides exclusively as a favor to Tali.

        So in the end, the sequence ceases to be interesting and a neat twist and simply becomes “wow, the Quarians really are dumb as a post.”

      2. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

        There’s a rather good conversation tree in Mass Effect 1 with Tali about that, which is one of the few times I actually felt like Bioware gave me the possibility of choosing sensible arguments. Instead of, you know, an NPC saying all the smart bits or all of the “sensible” bits being completely nonsense yet the NPCs agree with it anyway.

        Back to the point: Even though Tali has, naturally, a biased story about the events there’s a very strong “the Geth reacted in defence” feel rather than “the Geth rebelled in order to usurp their creators” vibe.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          Not that she’ll ever admit it. Frankly, the fan reaction to Tali is one of the more disturbing things about Mass Effect and it’s fans. She’s horribly prejudiced and refuses to consider other positions save under truly extraordinary circumstances, and even then only grudgingly. (“Legion wants to tell the Geth that my father performed weapons tests on Geth that he frankensteined together from pieces I collected for that purpose; you can’t let him do that to my people Shepherd, it’s not fair!”)

          If Tali wasn’t designed to hit the “cute, nerdy girl” archetype I don’t think people would be any more willing to put up with her anti-geth bullshit any more than they’d be willing to swallow Ashley’s “I’m not a racist, but…”

          1. guy says:

            I can’t possibly understand why anyone would think handing valuable military data to their archnemesis was in any way bad except from prejudice.

            (That was sarcasm.)

            More seriously, the conversation actually indicates Legion took the weapons testing as a blank morality check to hand over all useful military information on the Migrant Fleet. While I do think he was justified in helping the Geth protect themselves, it’s an entirely reasonable thing for Tali to oppose.

            1. Keeshhound says:

              There are very good reasons for not letting Legion give the data to the Geth (the Paragon persuade option highlights them pretty well) the problem is that Tali seems to take it as a given that Shepherd OWES it to her to prevent the data from getting out because it would cause problems for the Quarians; she doesn’t give any real thought to how what happened was morally wrong or even that the Geth might be entitled to being treated with the same dignity as a Quarian (until Paragon Shepherd points it out to her).

              1. SleepingDragon says:

                A reasoning that, if it was pursued and developed upon in earnest, would actually work out well in reinforcing the driving concept of the ending: the conflict between organics and synthetics. I mean, I don’t remember it being explored very well but Tali actually fully expects Shepard to take her side not only because they’ve been hanging out for a while but because hey, we organics need to stick together, right? I mean, we can do whatever to these guys, we’ve built them after all, right?

                Every single time I explore this game in one way or another I can’t help but be puzzled at how it does its most to undermine its own points…

          2. Din Adn says:

            I think the difference in opinion might also have something to do with the respective societies those characters belong to [At least, it did for me]. Yes, Tali’s got some seriously biased opinions about the Geth, but that’s something that seems to be far more prevalent in Quarian society than pro-human bias is in human society. Ashley’s had a lot more exposure to moderate sentiments from others that share her culture [And, given that this is Mass Effect, I think it’s reasonable to use ‘species’ and ‘culture’ interchangeably, at least as far as the massively human-like aliens go]
            These are characters who are written in part as allegory for real world ideas and issues. It’s easy to condemn a character that expresses sentiments we disagree with, but in this case I think the ‘racist’ characters were included to show off some of the reasons why people in the real world hold similar views [And worse].

            Keeping in mind we are also talking about fictional characters here, who have been written by a small team of people. Tali is also given a more hard-done-by background, and is less blunt in conversation, and I think these things also do make her come across as a more sympathetic character.
            That said, I think you raise some good points, and I personally didn’t find the diplomatic opinions of one character or the other any more appealing.

          3. Daemian Lucifer says:

            The difference is that ashley grew up in a world of (relative) peace with other races,but hates them,while tali grew up in a world of constant war against the geth,and hates them for that.

            1. el_b says:

              I was never a fan of tali because of her warmonger attitude towards the geth even though she flat-out admits throughout the whole series and recognizes that her race started the conflict and keeps it going not simply just to get their own world back but to exterminate the geth.she even helps her father perform experiments on geth corpses to kill them more effectively.something tells me that if they could feel pain she would totally be Cool with torturing them as well. it goes a little beyond Bred in Cultural bias at The point where she is, koris and the others who favor peace prove that.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                But what would you do in such a situation?If your ancestors screwed up so bad,and you no longer see a way to rectify their mistake,would you try to respect your enemy that didnt start the war,but seems quite willing to continue it now,or would you do whatever it takes to keep your dwindling race as safe as possible?And dont forget that before the near end of me2 tali knew nothing about geth factions,and all the geth she came in contact with were all too willing to kill every organic they see,and never showed even a hint of willingness to surrender if outnumbered.

          4. Lame Duck says:

            Tali’s horribly prejudiced, little-bit-war-crimey tendencies are what make her an interesting character though. Without it, she’s just a cute, nerdy girl archetype, which would be unbelievably boring. I disagree with her perspective on the Geth, but I understand how she would come to hold it what with the culture she’s come from and who her father is and the fact that her first time off the Flotilla (the first game) she spends her entire time helping to stop the Geth from destroying the galaxy.

  4. Spammy says:

    I have not played Mass Effect 3. I’m a little over halfway through my first playthrough of 2 now.

    One little thing I wanted to say was that I boo the change of the Normandy’s lighting back to the Mass Effect 1 model. The Normandy SR1 seemed too dark and too metallic to really be home (not to mention there was nowhere to eat, sleep, or poop). In that regard it felt more like a car than a home. Except the interior of the car is lit like the labs in CSI: Vegas. All the walls and floors are dark and blue and the only things illuminated are in the centers of rooms. I can’t say I felt as attached to the interior as I do to the SR2’s interior in ME2. But then they threw that out the window. Yeah, I know, combat lighting. But why is combat lighting on all the time?

    Okay, now for my major reaction to this episode and how the Quarian/Geth conflict plays out…



    1. Luhrsen says:

      Theoretically it is because they found out the Geth were congregating all their programs in one place and thought they could wipe them all out at once. But then the Geth called Harbinger for help.

      1. Indy says:

        My favourite part is that if they waited a month, the geth would have just sealed themselves off and the quarians would face no opposition for Rannoch.

        Also, all those civilian ships are armed with any weapons the quarians could get their chicken-hands on. They’re all dreadnoughts. Joker later describes them as glass cannons.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Legion and Joker both point out how stupid and pointless this is and how it results in Quarian civilians being killed for no reason.

          Does NOT make it any less stupid.

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            I dunno, it kind of feels like a mandatory conscription metaphor (Despite the fact that the Quarians are technically still under Marshall law.

            If you were a French military commander in WWI or WWII, would you not conscript you civilian cars, outfit them with guns, and use them in the fight?

            Besides, as I understand, the civillian fleet is *mostly* used for cleanup anyways. The main fleets go in and do damage, the patrol fleets prevent flanking, and the civillian fleets cleanup while the main fleet moves forward. Something similar to that.

            It’s also worth noting that if Tali mentioned that Leigion mentioned that the Geth don’t want to kill the Quarians, that using the civilians would cause the Geth to fight less actively, trying to avoid innocent casualties. If your glass cannons aren’t being targeted, then there’s not as much of a problem anymore.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              Except the Geth automatically assume that anyone with weapons are combatants, which means the Quarians are signing up their people for wholesale slaughter.

            2. anaphysik says:

              “If you were a French military commander in WWI or WWII, would you not conscript you civilian cars, outfit them with guns, and use them in the fight?”

              First of all – ignoring the fact that that metaphor makes no sense – no, absolutely not. That’s something La Résistance could have done. But not a military commander.

              Secondly, THAT METAPHOR MAKES NO SENSE. We’re talking about arming liveships here. This isn’t putting guns on some cars, this is putting missile launchers on school buses, apartments, and all your farms, and then having them as part of your assault plan. While they’re still filled with millions of civilians.

              1. Alexander The 1st says:

                It *could* work.

                It’s just going one step further than the Second Ammendment in the U.S. consitution and *forcing* everyone to have a gun…and be trained in it.

                In fact, doesn’t Switzerland do this?

                Not trying to get political, and not arguing gun control, just saying that this kind of strategy has been considered in real life.

      2. The Geth should move their race to the Cloud, like the Pirate Bay.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          It’s what they’re trying to do.

    2. Ofermod says:

      I believe the reason for the civilian ships is that *every* ship in the Quarian Fleet is armed, even the civilian ships, and they figured they’d need all the firepower they could get.

      1. guy says:

        They actually stapled guns to them in preperation for the attack. Apparently the major liveships are now equipped with dreadnought-level weaponry. This, incidentally, makes them legitimate military targets, even with thousands of civilians aboard, and the use of civilians in an effort to deter attacks on military targets violates many treaties that prevent attacks on civilian targets. Mostly because doing it undermines the willingness of militaries to refrain from attacks on civilians. Likewise, medics are only permitted to carry sidearms.

        In one possible ending of the Rannoch situation, the above facts have predictable and tragic consequences.

        1. Alex says:

          Medics can carry heavier weapons, but they must forfeit the special protections of the Geneva Conventions if they do.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Which is exactly what guy’s post implied.

            Although these points do bring an important topic to mind. What regulations do the Council/Citadel races have to follow (other than the few that we hear about, like Farixen)? Do those apply even in cases where non-Citadel races (e.g. quarians) may come into conflict with the Council? Has regulation been a problem in the Reaper War?

            Most important to the universe would be questions like:
            Do the geth consider themselves bound by any internal mandates?

            (example: their belief in self-determination for all sapients)

    3. swenson says:

      Because Admiral Gerrel is an idiot who’s all YEAH WAR and drags the other admirals along with him. He also does such pleasant things as trying to blow up a ship with Shepard and Tali–who, remember, is an ADMIRAL–on board.

      To be perfectly honest, nobody even in-universe thinks this is a good idea, except for maybe Admiral Xen, and she’s certifiably nuts.

      1. guy says:

        Well, it wasn’t inherently a bad idea- no three people, even Shepard and an Admiral, are more valuable than destroying a two-kilometer long, state-of-the-art flagship and its signal relay capabilities in terms of pure tactical value. The problem was, this was a golden opportunity to just up and leave, then start trying to arrange a ceasefire and peace talks. I mean, peace talks turned out to actually be non-viable because of an unknown factor, but we don’t find that out until after admiral gung-ho throws the plan out the window and forces Raan to chase after the idiot to save his fleet.

        If Shepard said the plan was to take advantage of the confusion to press the attack, it would be a perfectly reasonable if coldhearted move. In fact, it’s exactly what Ruthless Renegade Shepard would do in that situation. After all, the ship could power back on at any time, and it’s the most powerful warship in system. But that wasn’t the plan!

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Considering that Shepard and Admiral Tali are the only ones that display even a limited competence in anything, the decision to attack the ship with them on board is foolish.

          And high-ranking individuals are highly valuable. Their influence can have profound effects. Just look at what Shepard has done.

      2. Zombie says:

        I hated Admiral Xen. “Hey, can I take apart the coolest character and really only sensible one in this whole plot arc? Its not like he really cares.” Apart from the Scout fleet admiral and the civilian admiral, I can’t remember their names, I would just kill all the admirals and then tell the Geth they can stop attacking now, we got rid of the problems, and, hey, want to help us destroy the Reapers?

      3. newdarkcloud says:

        Then why the hell did Shala-Raan approve of this!? Tali and Koris opposed the war, yet Raan, Xen, and Gaaral spproved it! All it took was for Raan to say “This is fucking stupid!” and war aborted. It would be finished. And we could have already had the Geth and Quarians on OUR side against the Reapers!

        1. anaphysik says:

          I know. I hate how we never get to call Raan out on her bullshit.

          Which is extra bullshit, because if she were as spineless as she seems to just go along with Gerrel and Xen, she ought to spineless enough for us (AND TALI) to convince otherwise.

          Of course, ideally something like this would have involved Tali as being the flip vote (with results depending a lot on what happened in a mythical not-stupid version of ME2). But that would involve not railroading us into situations, so….

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            I think the issue with this is that Tali was more or less given the Admiral position on the condition that she support the war effort. She mentions it mildly in the cutscene at 11:00 – she can’t afford to split the public opinion, and Raan probably feels the heat from the admirals *and* her own crew to go to war.

            She only links you at the end if you can speak on her behalf, and if Koris will back her up as well on you being backed up. The admirality board can’t revoke your admiral status, since you don’t have one.

            1. anaphysik says:

              “Tali was more or less given the Admiral position on the condition that she support the war effort”

              What nonsense is this? If Tali is an Admiral, she and Koris voted in opposition of the war. If she’s not, then Koris was the only one in opposition.

              1. Alexander The 1st says:

                As I understand, IIRC, they had already made the decision to go to war before Tali was made an admiral.

                Or at least, to retake the homeland.

                Whereupon they decided that Tali would be the best Geth expert – in the same way Garrus is the Turian’s Reaper expert, and Grunt is the Krogan’s Suicidal Mission expert.

                Oh, and Mordin the Krogan Health expert.

                EDIT: See Mass Effect 3 Ep 26 @ just after 4:30 in.

        2. swenson says:

          To be fair, in-game Raan only sends the Patrol Fleet to back up Gerrel’s Heavy Fleet because he charges in without asking anyone first, and without her support the Heavy Fleet would be ripped apart. She probably saw it as the only way to actually preserve the Heavy Fleet.

          But she’s kind of a pushover. As anaphysik points out, though, it’d be nice if Shepard could push her over too.

          1. anaphysik says:

            “it'd be nice if Shepard could push her over too.”

            Amusingly, also the battlecry of those looking for a Raan Romance DLC.

            Why am I so evil? Why do I have to charge words with horrible connotations like that in the name of “humour”? The world may never know.

  5. karthik says:

    The Quarians picking a fight with the Geth at this time did not strike me as some contrivance by Bioware.

    Instead, I got the feeling the Quarian admiralty had lost all sense of proportion and reason fighting their sad, indignant and pointless war over their home planet. This was a story arc I saw coming way back in ME2.

    Also, about Mass Effect losing the hard sci-fi edge somewhere between ME1 and 2–who at Bioware is responsible for this exactly? Do they have a designated lore keeper who gets to sign off on all scenarios, or do the writers just make up whatever suits their plotting? Basically, is there a third-party-sanctioned method to their madness?

    1. Irridium says:

      Well, the two people responsible for ME1’s lore/tone/setting were Drew Karpyshyrn (probably spelled that wrong) and… someone else who’s name escapes me at the moment. ME1 also had a small group of writers.

      After ME1, Drew was sent to work on The Old Republic, and the other guy just left I think. After that a new head writer came on, and they just hired a lot more writers. By ME3 only one writer from ME2 was still on the team.

      I’d assume the head writers have the final say. Though since the ones responsible for this whole thing left after the first game, and all but one were gone by the third, a change in tone and style were inevitable.

      1. Indy says:

        I wish they planned ahead. That’s all I wanted from this series.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And this baffles me really.They announced way back that this was going to be a trilogy,and yet looking at it now seems like they made me1,and then sat around and said “Ok,so how do we make me2?”.

          1. Thomas says:

            I think when we come to conclusion time this is really going to be the big one. It was cool and inventive for them to try a trilogy like this, but you can’t just say that you’re going to make a trilogy with choices that carry. You actually have to know what you’re going to make

          2. newdarkcloud says:

            Not seems like, that’s exactly how it happened. Drew himself admitted in a Eurogamer interview that that’s exactly what happened. He said something like “Originally Cerberus was just a random opposition group and we had no idea what to do with them. To think, if we had planned it, people would never have experienced ME2’s Cerberus plot.”

            He seemed to imply that that was bad.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Really?To me that sounds like “If we did our job right,people wouldnt experience that crap”.But then again,thats my point of view.

              And Im not saying that doing a series one step at the time can never work.Original star wars trilogy is proof that it can.But those cases are flukes,and not rules,as the prequel trilogy shows.And you dont need to write down every detail before you start any work,but at least have a solid beginning,middle and the end before you do part 1.And if thats obvious to me,an amateur,how can it be such an alien concept to professional writers?

              1. anaphysik says:

                original source:

                Of course, some of you are also pinging me to find out what the “original” ending of the series was when we started planning out the trilogy. Sorry, but that's not something I'm even going to attempt to answer. The collaborative creative process is incredibly complicated, and the story and ideas are constantly evolving as you go forward. Yes, we had a plan, but it was very vague. We knew we wanted to focus on some key themes and bring in certain key elements: organics vs synthetics; the Reapers; the Mass Relays. Beyond that, we didn't go into detail because we knew it would change radically as the game continued to evolve.

                A good example of this is Cerberus. When we wrote ME1, Cerberus was basically a throw-away group of pro-human radicals: a name we dropped for some side missions to play the role of villain. We didn't even have a concept of who was running them, and we didn't think they were that important. Obviously by the time of my Ascension novel and ME2, that had changed radically. The Illusive Man and Cerberus became central to the story and themes ““ that never would have happened if we had nailed everything down and refused to make changes to the story.

                So I don't like to say “here's what we originally were thinking” because it gives a false and very distorted impression of the process. Mass Effect was the creation of a huge team, with contributions coming in from many people at many stages of the project. Some things I liked ended up getting cut, some stuff I wasn't sure of worked its way in. That's the nature of the beast with collaborative works, and I think in the end it makes the final product stronger. But talking about the changes after the fact feels like I'm sitting on my throne and proclaiming, “That's not what I would have done!” It's easy to sit on the sidelines and say “I would do this or that”, but it's very different when you're part of the process, working with multiple ideas, trying to piece it all together and still hit your deadlines. Anyone who wasn't part of the ME3 team is an outsider ““ even me ““ and whatever they say about the creation of the game is just unsubstantiated speculation.

                In some ways, he’s absolutely right. A collaborative process done over many years is undoubtedly going to involve emerging ideas and constantly shifting plans. And really, that sort of thing happens even if your the only writer. People change their minds. People come up with new ideas they can’t believe they didn’t think of beforehand. Etc. (As someone who is writing collaboratively right now, I myself am experiencing those truths.)

                On the other hand, that’s all irrelevant, because planning or not what really matters is the quality of the story that you tell, and Bioware fucked up on that.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  But at the very least, you should have a rough idea of what you are going to do if you announce a new franchise as a trilogy. Feel absolutely free to change it if there are problems with the way things interact and/or any other reason, but going in completely blind is just shameful.

            2. Keeshhound says:

              Yeah, I kind of got that sort of vibe too. Throughout the interview he seemed to be singing the praises of spontaneous storytelling. I think it might be that he’s just trying to avoid saying anything REALLY negative about the development, but who knows for sure?

              Aside from him, I mean.

      2. Gruhunchously says:

        Chris L’Etoile was the other guy. He wrote the majority of the Codex and was presumably in charge of the lore. Naturally, he had no part in ME3’s development, having left the team after ME2.

    2. guy says:

      Yeah, people in the main plot are idiotic by accident, the Admiralty Board is idiotic on purpose. From an immersion and story standpoint that makes all the difference in the world. When someone is idiotic by accident, you want to punch the writer. When someone is idiotic on purpose you want to punch the character. And in this case, you totally can.

      My reaction to the sequence after the dreadnought: “Screw you Garrel, you ruined everything! Don’t you-Renegade Interrupt!-YES! Exactly what I wanted to do!”

      I mean, I still killed the Quarians, but I felt really bad about that beyond just Tali :(. I actually felt like Shepard was trapped in a situation where the actions of others had brought her to a pass where no possible good resolution existed, and the Geth had acted in self-defense so siding with them was a lesser atrocity in a situation with no non-atrocity outcomes.

      1. karthik says:

        Well, you can barter a peace between them. I don’t know what chain of decisions I’d taken led me to this point, but I was able to talk (shout) the admirals down make the Quarians play nice with the Geth.

        Yeah, it was a bit of a cop-out, but I can’t say I wasn’t relieved.

        My only regret here was that I couldn’t shove Han Gerel out an Airlock in the process.

        1. guy says:

          It takes some doing:

          1. You absolutely must get Tali exonerated via either paragon/renagade options or Kal’Reegar and that other guy standing up for her.
          2. Tali and Legion must survive
          3. Admiral Koris must survive
          4. Now you must gather “points”. Destroying the Heretic Geth is worth points, the fighter server is worth points, not losing the loyalty of either Tali or Legion in their opposed conversation is worth points (regaining one’s loyalty afterwards does not count) and I believe there are some other possibilities.
          5. You must have a high reputation. I think you need to hit the second-highest notch on the bar.

          So it isn’t a straightforward matter. I actually lined up everything except the reputation marker on my first playthrough, but I’d been deliberately trying to work towards Geth-Quarian peace in my ME2 run.

          1. Raygereio says:

            As with having everyone survive the suicide mission in ME2, it looks harder then it actually is. If you’re even remotely a completionist you can make peace without trying for it.

            1. Thomas says:

              This is my biggest criticism of this to be honest. I played on the gimped playthrough first and I had to either kill the Geth or the Quarian, and then watch Tali or Legion die. That’s powerful and good story.

              But then if I want them to live, it’s actually pretty easy and not particularly dependent on individual accidents. I don’t have to negotiate hard, I dont have to make tough calls (Except with von Quib Quib). I just have to grind the time, which drains all the impact of this story. It works better if you can’t win it, but they make it way too easy to win and it’s the wrong kind of challenge

  6. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    This was a pretty wide ranging episode.

    Select Thoughts

    1.) Why would Vega -a Marine -ever expect to command a ship? Shepard only does it because she’s a SPECTRE.

    2.) I was under the impression that the first game set up the alpha-numeric system to represent MOS and rank. So an N7 is a Commander in the Special Services. An N6 would be Lt. Commander, down to an N1 who is probably corporal or something (that would be a very thin enlisted rank, but maybe like Star Trek there are a lot of officers and the scut work is done by computers).

    That system was splashed by ME2 which made N7 a special program of some type.

    3.) I find it interesting -on multiple playthroughs -how little influence your dialogue has on the other characters. Vega joins N7 regardless of what you say, EDI becomes friendly to humans regardless of what you say. This could be an interesting comment on how much is self-determined about our lives. Or it could be bad writing.

    4.) I think it’s possible to have interesting character reactions with a slightly blank character. KOTOR II I think did it pretty well. And Dragon Age: Origins didn’t exactly botch it.

    1. anaphysik says:

      “Shepard only does it because she's a SPECTRE.”

      In ME1, Shepard was Anderson’s XO. She was well on her way to getting to command a ship.
      I have no idea if James is supposed to be an officer, but he sounds like enlisted to me. Maybe he’s talking about getting to command his own Kodiak? :P

      (In ME2, the SR-2 was technically a civilian/terrorist ship, so military rules don’t apply. In ME3, everything’s stupid, so I’m not even going to bother.)

      1. swenson says:

        James is a lieutenant. Shepard was a lieutenant commander, one rank up, when she was an XO. The XO’s in charge of the ship any time the ship’s captain isn’t onboard for whatever reason (hence the nice lady saying “XO Pressley has the deck” every time you left the Normandy in ME1). So I don’t think it’s that far out of the realm of possibility.

        1. anaphysik says:

          I know what an XO is. I didn’t know what Vega’s rank was.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Vega is excusable. He was a sergeant until last week. His promotion to Lieutenant is the result of losses against the collectors… at whatever planet he said it was, Lord knows I can’t keep’em straight anymore.

            He should still put on a uniform.

            I don’t remember Shepard being an LTCDR. I’m pretty sure he’s been a CMDR the whole time (and not promoted due to the whole dead, then working for Cerberus, then under arrest thing).

            In any case, BioWare can’t keep ranks straight to save their lives, so I suspect Vega is actually an O1 and no one at BioWare realizes that the appropriate naval rank would be Ensign (at best he’s an O2, Lieutenant Jr. Grade -but I can’t imagine he was field promoted to full Lieutenant -that’s going from commanding a squad of marines to a company of them, which is a heck of a jump).

            1. guy says:

              The rank structure in Mass Effect is a bit messed up by our standards. The Systems Alliance doesn’t have a hard distinction between marines and sailors and they use a combined rank structure with some from each.

              That is admittedly a “Get out of naval rank errors free” card, but a reasonable one.

      2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Early in the first game, Shepard is described as being the XO and commander of the ground forces. I don’t think he was in line to be a captain. Commander of a larger marine detachment, sure, but not command of ship. It’s not Shepard’s skill set.

        As is annoyingly demonstrated every time Normandy enters a fight and Shepard is hanging out in the Cockpit instead of in the CIC where she belongs.

        1. guy says:

          XO is totally in line for a ship command. It is what someone does before getting their first command.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Well, the real problem is that “XO and Commander of the Ground Forces” is a job description roughly equivalent to “Janitor and CEO.”

        2. Mormegil says:

          So really when that admiral bugged you back in mass effect 1 about the CIC being set in the middle of the ship the correct response was “yeah but I’m just going to stand next to the pilot’s chair anyway.”

    2. drkeiscool says:

      I think KotOR II was helped by 1) having excellent writers, and 2) because the Exile’s background is so integral to story.

      Now we shall see if you can overcome the weight of Malachor, and silence the echoes that beat from its heart.

    3. The Rocketeer says:

      The ‘7’ isn’t your rank, it’s more like your skill level in your job, comparable to the skill level in an Air Force Specialty Code, or whatever the other branches use.

      The N7 program actually sounds really sensible, in that light; in many AFSC’s, including mine, you have to receive particular classes and training to advance your skill level, to include flying off to a certain base for a training course. So for Special Forces, the ‘N’ designation, it makes sense to me, given this setting at least, that they’d ship you off to the Alliance’s Special Forces Summer Camp to earn the highest skill level within that designation.

  7. Otters34 says:

    That rotating tunnel thing reminds me a lot of Psychonauts. Only that was a platformer and that segment had an actual challenge to it.

  8. Vect says:

    I guess this is because Han’Gerrel is Space Loghain, and that man was also driven to fight an enemy that he really shouldn’t at the worst time possible.

    1. FalseProphet says:

      That’s true, but I think they built up Loghain’s backstory and motivations enough–namely his utter distrust of the Orlesians–that it didn’t seem like an asspull. And at the beginning of DA:O, even the “I idolize the Grey Wardens and want to be a hero of legend so bad” Boy King had doubts that the darkspawn attack was a real Blight. Whereas at this point of ME3, the Reapers have been trashing worlds wholesale.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        They did build Loghain’s motivations up enough – In the bloody DA-themed novels. What they completely failed to do was build the story up in he actual game, before the very final act when any reasonable played would just go “yeah, off with his head”.

        1. Lame Duck says:

          I’ve got to agree with X2 here. Throughout the whole game I was always waiting for some big revelation to explain Loghain’s actions, but it never came. In the end I just concluded he was a short-sighted jackass who I badly wanted to kill.

        2. Even says:

          This again? So is feeling sympathy for him unreasonable? I mean yeah, he absolutely deserves a punishment, but I can’t say I find this notion of killing him being the only “reasonable” option very agreeable. If it’s about giving the ultimate punishment or wanting to see him suffer, then there’s always fates worse than death. I can agree that he could have used more exposition, but you don’t really need a bookful of it to see beyond his facade. The decision suffers a lot more from being binary and always on you than from a lack of exposition. Still, if and when you’re willing to ignore a handful of plotholes concerning the Joining and the Grey Wardens’ contradictory secrecy policy, the other option for Loghain makes a lot more sense given the situation. Is it all fair? No, but it’s pragmatic (within the game’s own twisted logic). If there was anybody who deserved what they got, then that would be Alistair for being such a goddamn baby.

        3. Wedge says:

          The hell is up with BioWare doing this lately? I shouldn’t have to read a fucking *book* associated with your game (and sold separately) to understand the motivations of the *primary antagonist*. I’m entirely okay with having ancillary sources to fill out a world or expand on side-stories or characters, but for fuck’s sake, if it’s central to the fucking story of your game, put it in your game.

  9. guy says:

    To be fair, the Quarians were intentionally written with 3/5 admirals being crazy, stupid, or spineless (Xen, Gerrel, and Rann respectively), thus elevating the sequence far above all the ones involving characters who were one or more of those things by accident. Korris appears to actually have a clue and sanity.

    The robot has a fork of Edi’s core on it for exactly that reason, Shamus. It’s not even hidden, it’s somewhere in her first conversation tree, IIRC.

    It’s hard to call scale in space, but I think most of the ships are tens or hundreds of kilometers apart. Though the fronts of each fleet are indeed in reach out the window and punch them in the face range.

    Yeah, the zero-g section is painful. I played Shattered Horizon back on a steam summer sale, and the whole sequence reminded me of how incredibly much fun it was to pull wacky 3d hijinks in my shooter and sneak up behind people by thrusting up from behind an obstacle, powering down to kill my lights and vanish from sensors, then drifting through the void, before opening up with an assault rifle on someone who failed to cover their Z-axis properly. Also, it reminded me that Mass Effect does not let you do any of those things.

    I’m actually a bit unclear on the timing of the Quarian campaign. They had already gone into communications blackout and recalled Pilgrimages a couple weeks ago when you got to the Citadel. Did they start the attack on the Geth before they knew the Reapers were coming? I think they did, but it’s never stated in dialogue.

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      I always took it that the Quarians finally went ahead with their long-awaited invasion of Rannoch right before the Reapers rolled in and started steamrolling everything. It was just the worst possible timing.

      They don’t say it outright, but that’s certainly what I got from the context, and the alternative- that the Quarians intentionally used the Reaper invasion as ‘cover,’ as Josh asserts- is abominably stupid. Which doesn’t exclude it from possibility, but I still don’t believe it.

      1. Thomas says:

        I agree that makes things much much worse. I’d figured that they had been pretty much building up to invasion since ME2 and had already started getting things rolling before the Reapers, but I think Josh might be right that the game bugs out and goes stupid on us with that timeline at some point

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          Looking at it now, that comment about ‘sanctions’ makes it really seem like the chaos after the Reaper invasion really did kick off their war. I have no idea how I glosses over that. If that really is the way of it, I’m extremely disappointed; the entire Quarian section of ME3 was my favorite part of the game, and that would put a massive scar on it.

  10. anaphysik says:

    Chris is absolutely right: a game where the geth-quarian conflict is the major conflict would be ripe material.

    More and more I’m seeing a problem with the core conflict of the Mass Effect series, even going back to ME1 and Sovereign’s “our numbers blahblah.” It jut completely upstages anything else you want to explore in the universe when you’ve got giant space death machines coming that you can’t reason with.

    I think Babylon 5 has particularly soured me on this. The SPOILER Vorlon-Shadow conflict is similar to the Reaper threat, except that B5’s conflict gets resolved, oh, halfway through the third season. And then the show acknowledges what happened and moves on with the younger races’ lives (for another 1.5 seasons, because season 5 was boring and probably should have been edited way down and incorporated into 4 or earlier before calling it a wrap). B5 solves this by having the conflict be more about ideology and rejection thereof, as well as the by examining the existential nature of what it means to be an ‘ancient’ race among children.

    That’s one way Mass Effect could’ve handled it. It also could’ve had just, like, 5 Reapers or something, who really do use subterfuge and cleverness to wipe out portions of the galaxy, Sovereign being one of them. It would’ve required some drastic overhaul, but it would’ve given it a chance to not have to revolve around the fairly bleh Reaper-death-plot :/

    I dunno.

    1. FalseProphet says:

      If Season 5 seems really uneven and tacked on, that’s because it was a last-minute addition. PTEN was going to cancel B5 at the end of Season 4, so J. Michael Straczynski had to end the Shadow War earlier than anticipated in the early episodes of Season 4. Then he had to use the rest of Season 4 to wrap up the retake Earth plot. (Older fantasy and sci-fi epics, following Tolkien’s lead, tend to do this: after the Big Bad was defeated, there was still some cleaning up to do.)

      Near the end of Season 4, JMS got the word that TNT would pick up Babylon 5 for its fifth season, though with a smaller budget–and this was already a comparatively low-budget series. So there are fewer space battles, more episodes using the same three sets, and more character-based stories instead of major plot arcs. There are a handful of standout episodes: “View From the Gallery” and “Day of the Dead” are notable–but it’s mostly a whole lot of padding so JMS could get the 5-season-arc he always intended.

    2. ehlijen says:

      The B5 conflict you are referring to actually ended halfway through season 4, leaving just half a season by your count to show basically their version of the scourging of the shire, ie the part where the characters prove that they actually have the initiative and drive to deal with problems instead of pretending they don’t affect them/relying on Vorlons+Velen to tell them what to do.

      Season 5 was the leftovers after the writer was told ‘remember how we asked you to shorten it to the 4 seasons you now made? well, we want a 5th after all, so jump to’. Initially Season 4 was meant to be stopping the shadows plus maybe fixing Minbar and Season 5 was meant to be fixing earth and the telepath conflicts.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Yes, I was a faiiiiir bit off on that placement. Although the arc actually ends in S4E6, which still left 16 episodes in the season.

        The real point was narrative, though, not specific: the big conflict between ancient and young was not the ending. The show then continued on, following attempts to resolve the long-standing conflicts that had been left in the wake.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Yes, and that was a good thing. Not only doesn’t the story magically end when the load bearing boss snuffs it, they finish the more important and time critical main plot before getting to the smaller, almost sidequest like Minbar and Earth.

          Computer RPGs have really done a number in training people to work their way up the plots from least to most important.

    3. anaphysik says:

      I realize the humour inherent in me having to *actually write* “SPOILER” before some spoiler text just so people will actually know to take it seriously as real spoiler text.

      SPOILER I am not a robot.

  11. anaphysik says:

    The stupidity of the quarian leadership would be so much easier to handle if Sir Awesome’Koris were just able to say fuck it and get the hell out of dodge with his massive *civilian* fleet. If idiot Gerrel and spineless Raan (and Xen, but her fleet is less military) want to get themselves killed, and their military commands are still being followed, then yeah, da stoopid unz dy, and whoever you can convince to abandon this foolishness gets to live because they aren’t retarded.

    But that would be acknowledging that groups often form factions with, you know, widely differing opinions and aren’t just one big mass of ‘quarians’ or ‘salarians’ or whatever, and that would be a little too complicated for the goldun riters, I guess?

    (There are tactical reasons why simply breaking off and running is not that simple – but don’t forget that it’s the writers that control the situation as well. If they painted themselves into a corner, it was only their own fault – particularly if they do so intentionally.)

    1. guy says:

      I don’t think I’d call contriving the tactical situation the way they did “painting themselves into a corner”. They clearly and intentionally configured the situation so that the binary choice at the end contained the only two ways the war could resolve without Space Jesus telling everyone how it is. They wanted to force a Quarians or Geth choice for people who had not made a solid effort to make peace a possible outcome, so they arranged matters so as to make the forced choice between the only two options that made sense.

      It’s more Greek Tragedy than bad writing. Both the players and the developers know the Quarians and Geth could have acted differently and averted the disaster, but they didn’t. And unless you had already really worked for peace, there’s absolutely nothing Shepard or the player could do to change that.

      Meanwhile, in the Cerberus plot they force tragic outcomes or binary choices through making characters who are supposed to be intelligent really stupid. But on Rannoch you can punch Garrel in the gut and throw him off your ship because he’s supposed to be arrogant and bloodthirsty and ruining everything.

  12. FalseProphet says:

    Did the quarians seriously send the entire Admiralty Board over to the Normandy? That seems rather trusting.

    1. guy says:

      I think it’s more accurately described as desperate.

    2. anaphysik says:

      1) Shoot Gerrel.
      2) Shoot Xen.
      3) Shoot Raan.
      4) ??? High-five (high-three?) Koris
      5) Profit
      EDIT: 6) Blame it on a rogue cell. OF YOURSELF.

      1. ehlijen says:

        More like: immediatly leave the system and do every side mission ever/scan the galaxy. I’m sure the quarian fleet will be fine without them…

      2. swenson says:

        1) Punch Gerrel in the groin and throw Xen out an airlock.
        2) Pick up Tali.
        3) Go joyriding through the galaxy.
        4) ???
        5) Profit.

        You forgot the key step of picking up Tali, you see.

  13. anaphysik says:

    @16:43: It’s a setpiece hallway.

    Also, screw Kai Leng that sequence on Manaan.

    Also, in Dead Space, you CAN jump between walls. A little cheesy, but better than this.

    I’ve watched the DeliciousCinnamon playthrough of Dead Space Dubzspace. Actually looked pretty decent. I’m definitely going to utilize its mining-tools-as-weapons philosophy in the weird tabletop game I’m running (human spaceships that crash landed on a pokémon world, and the frontier culture that’s grown out of that in the centuries following…). Well, my players like it! :P

    1. SleepingDragon says:

      Oh goodness, in the W40k RP I’ve been running for quite a while now the team has confronted cultist and demons, dark eldar, hordes of orks and even some necron but no enemy is remembered, and dreaded, more than a mining servitor they were trying to hack. Their heretek rolled a negative crit and triggered some kind of “death to the enemies of the machine spirit” routine, and that thing had a mining drill. The heretek was the first to take the wrong end of that and after that it gave the rest of the team quite a chase and some bruises before they managed to put it down.

  14. I think Rutskarn’s magnetic bicycle idea has merit. That should be a free DLC.

    For $5 more, you get a unicycle.

    For $5 more, “Yakkity Sax” plays while you ride it.

    For $12, you get the above two items plus Shep will juggle multicolored balls (symbolizing the plot) while the ghost of Mordin sings a special up-tempo version of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

    1. Keeshhound says:

      I really wish you hadn’t suggested this, even as a joke. I shudder at the thought of a world where matryoshka DLC (DLC that requires you purchase a previous DLC, rather than existing parallel to one another) exists.

  15. swenson says:

    I’m replaying this bit right now (an insanity playthrough, and the geth are harder than expected seeing as I’m steamrolling through most other missions… but that’s what the infiltrator cloak is for, right?) and I was unaware you can punch Admiral Gerrel in the dick (assuming quarians have them?) after he tries to blow you up. I am now greatly saddened that my goody two shoes mostly Paragon original playthrough did not take advantage of this.

  16. Mike S. says:

    I don’t think it’s really accurate to call the quarians “one species in the galaxy with any kind of proper defense against the Reapers (in the form of being able to just leave)”. The quarians are never portrayed as remotely self-sufficient. They depend on Citadel civilization for trade goods, raw materials, replacement ships, new tech. Interaction is considered so critical that every single quarian is required to go out and mingle with people who consider them thieving space tramps in order to bring something useful back. They can no more head out into the black and survive than a convoy of long-haul truck drivers could use their trucks as the basis for a subsistence hunting and gathering lifestyle.

    (That doesn’t make the decision to take Rannoch rational, and the game doesn’t portray it that way. Ditto the geth, who really don’t need a garden world at all, and certainly don’t need to build their Dyson Sphere in the one system the quarians are guaranteed to contest tomorrow if they don’t do it today. But Legion made it clear that the geth aren’t as logical as they like to think back in ME2.)

    1. guy says:

      To be fair, moving every Geth in Rannoch’s star system to another star system would take a lot of work. And evidence suggests they were hoping for a peaceful resolution where the Quarians got Rannoch back.

      The effect of a Dyson Sphere around its sun on Rannoch’s climate is never addressed, though. Maybe it would be inside the sphere? Technically, I think it’s a Dyson Swarm, i.e. made up of a bunch of separate structures instead of being contiguous.

      1. Mike S. says:

        I agree that it’s separate structures, though that was Dyson’s original meaning. (Using Dyson Sphere to mean a solid shell was later SF writers.) But I’m sure Rannoch was supposed to be inside the orbital radii of the components, since after all their work preserving it they wouldn’t be likely to block it off from the sun.

        (There’d still be lots of waste heat coming off the shell as IR, but it’s still vastly reducing the insolation, which I’d expect would kill the ecosystem. Though… even though though the solar energy absorbers would be as black as possible, I wonder if reflection inside the radius would also cause problems. Maybe if you can harness a star’s worth of power, maybe you can just fix Rannoch using some orbital structures and geoengineering.)

        The geth clearly hoped for a peaceful resolution, and really, really wished mom and dad would get over their grudge over the geth winning the mutual attempted genocide thing– especially since they totally started it!– and move back home. (“We’ve kept your room just the way you left it! Except less crowded.”)

        That doesn’t make it rational or wise for them unnecessarily put all their eggs in a hotly disputed basket before attending to that minor detail. The running subtext (as I read it, anyway) is that the reason is that they’re made in the quarians’ image, and are just as attached to “Homeworld” as the Creators are.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    We attack the geth now,or we die!

  18. Wulfgar says:

    any chances for Witcher spoiler warning?

    1. Nordicus says:

      If they made it, it’d probably be blind.

      Witcher never comes up as a topic in these playthroughs even though its “formula” is very similar to modern Bioware games, so I suspect none of the Spoiler Warning crew has actually played it. Merely a suspicion though

      1. StashAugustine says:

        I know Shamus said he never got into the first one, I dunno about 2.

      2. IFS says:

        I believe they’ve said that Josh really likes the games and would like to both of them, but they’re very long.

        1. Nordicus says:

          You may have a point on the game length, but Fallout 3 and New Vegas are no short games either. I do however feel that an unedited playthrough of Witcher 1 could get boring (“mountainclimbing!”) because the game was padded with a lot of combat and backtracking.

          Now Witcher 2 on the other hand is a very eventful game by comparison. Although, even that game has the problem of having 2 SEVERELY different main story paths, and a player needs to play both to get the whole plot.

          Would they just pick one path? Would they pick both? Would they have 2 complete playthroughs or have the second playthrough start at the end of Act 1?

  19. Grudgeal says:

    …Why does the Geth dreadnought have airlocks and corridors anyway? Geth don’t breathe, and they don’t need physical bodies to interact with it. Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to build the whole thing rock solid as one big platform, with all its ‘crew’ being geth programs? For one thing, you’d make it a lot more solid for its size than any comparable dreadnought made by any organic species, and you’d make it impossible to board. If you need external Geth to interact with it, use wireless communication, or give it some external USB plugs.

    …Come to think of it, why would any Geth-build object ever have corridors, beyond the ones needed to transport or store the humanoid platforms?

    1. ehlijen says:

      You’d still need access corridors to all parts that might need fixing or replacing over time, plus, if you have that space, why not store some spare ground troop bodies in there in case you need to send a shore party or in case of enemy boarders.

      1. ? says:

        They already consider windows to be structural weaknesses for sentimental organics. There is no reason not to make all maintenance access corridors as small as possible for a platform to move through. Or make special ship maintenance platforms that are even smaller, possibly with some sort of magnetic rails to move around fast Weasley-style. Or store platforms in areas that might require immediate repairs during combat. Out of combat ship can go to shipyard and be partially disassembled for repairs. This is a dreadnought after all, why add convenient access points for meatbag boarding parties. Congratulations on breaching hangar area, if you wish to reach command server please upload yourself in this network socket. Writers remember that Geth are computer programs only when it is convenient for Normandy to exploit their blind spot (because while windows are weaknesses, there is no point of scanning the bit of electromagnetic spectrum organics tend to use as their primary sense, right?).

        1. Thomas says:

          This is part of the ME universe synthetic=magic thing. Pretty much at no point ever do synthetics behave like actual synthetics and it’s just part of the universe you’re meant to buy into. It makes no sense that the Geth would continue to look so anthropomorphic, or that their technology would keep pace with ours but not overtake it etc. I mean their ships have safety rails and interactable interfaces, it makes no sense.

  20. The Rocketeer says:

    Hold on, I could have sworn the Quarians had no idea the Reapers were invading and just happened to pull the trigger in the invasion they were planning in ME2 at the worst possible time?

    I mean, Tali knew it was a bad idea, but the rest of the galaxy- geth aside- didn’t have any clue about the Reapers. Going to war with the geth still might not have been the right thing to do, but there’s a world of difference between that and trying to take advantage of Armageddon.

  21. X2Eliah says:

    So, with the conversation with James in Shep’s cabin, there’s one thing that James mentions that sort of leapt out at me..
    He said: “[…] that civilian turned out to be a Cerberus spy working for the Collectors [..]”.

    let me repeat that: Cerberus spy working for the Collectors.

    Just… WHAAAAT

    Did Bioware completely forgot even Mass Effect TWO?! You know, the whole game where you had to work with cerberus against collectors? Where you, with the help of cerberus, DESTROYED the collectors? The game where at the start, cerberus is trying to find out what these collectors even are?

    What the hell. This remark from James makes absolutely no sense in any timeline – it cannot have happened before ME2 (Cerb has no idea what the collectors are, collectors don’t really do anything), it cannot have happened during me2 (its cerb vs. collectors), it cannot have happened after ME2 (no more collectors as such). I know that Bioware had no clue what they did in Mass Effect 1, but, seriously, they don’t have any idea what they did in the second game too? …. What the bloody hell.

    1. drkeiscool says:

      Well, since the Collectors were a rogue cell of Cerberus, and every cell of Cerberus is also a rogue cell, it makes perfect sense. There are even rogue cells within rogue cells.


      Spoiler Warning logic makes all the pain go away.

      1. Destrustor says:

        Bioware is a time-travelling rogue cell of cerberus.

    2. Shamus says:

      I heard that line for the first time when watching this episode. (I never had this conversation, and I talked over it while we were recording. :)) You’re right, it’s just stupid and broken.

      Also – since when do the collectors do espionage? I thought they were basically culturally dead, like the keepers. How would they entice and recruit spies?

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Probably “indoctrination!!!”. Or “assuming direct control”?

        Fair’s fair, the collectors did use some other species’ agents to spread the viral plague on Omega.. Iirc it also says that collectors do maintain shady dealings with some criminal factions for a trade of technlogy and stuff.. (And I kid you not, this is exactly as stupid as it sounds).

        But a cerberus-collector cooperation? what the bloody heck.

        1. Shamus says:

          That’s a good point. I’d totally forgotten about that work the collectors had been doing.

          1. Wedge says:

            You forgot? It was mentioned in one offhand line by TIM! How could you possibly forget something like that”½

            1. Mike S. says:

              It’s also in the Codex that the prior to this, the Collectors were primarily known for showing up, buying groups of people with interesting genetic anomalies, and paying with neat tech. That they were buying rather than kidnapping indicates the ability to talk and negotiate beyond “This hurts you” and “Assuming Control.” (Though to be fair, human mercs in ME aren’t the most interesting conversationalists in combat either.) If they can put in an order for a bunch of left-handed salarians and pay whoever provides them, it makes sense that they can pay spies.

    3. StashAugustine says:

      I’m calling this for “Dumbest thing Cerberus does ever.”

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        That’s a close call though.

        I think “Resurrecting a meteorite-esque Shepard to bring him back exactly as he is in order to fight the Collectors, the very people they are also working for.” tops it though.

        Followed closely by “Set Threwser Maws against a colony just to see what would happen.”

        Fourth place probably goes to “Attacking the Citadel and taking it by force.”

        It’s still a close race.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Don’t forget “place a bunch of scientist on a dead Reaper and then never check up on them.”

          Or that everytime that they “did anything.”

          Overlord is probably the only time they do something moderately intelligent. Thoroughly and irredeemably evil, yes, but not entirely retarded.

    4. el_b says:

      so they had TWO ships!

      consider that massive plot hole closed:)

    5. Joneleth says:

      It almost feels like there were multiple teams of writers involved, and none of them had any idea what the others were doing. Multiple, rogue cells of writers.

      Nah, that would never happen at Bioware.

  22. Thank you Josh for saying that the Quarian-Geth conflict should have been it’s own ME episode game.

    However I think that the “Genophage Cure” storyline should have been the focus of ME2.

    So that:
    ME1 – Prothean Legacy/Reaper Thread Discovery/Killing The Reaper/Crap, the Reapers (multiple) are coming.

    ME2 – Preparing for War/Gathering Allies/Genophage Cure/Legion quest/Tali quest/War Reporter/Snuffing out Cerberus for good/Prothean artifacts (the visions).

    ME3 – More Prothean artifacts, super weapon and super ship design/builds (prothean based?), Geth vs Quarian conflict resolution, forming Turian/Geth/Quarian/Krogan/Human/Rachni/etc alliances.

    ME4 – Reaper attack, some space fights (no, not Shepard in a fighter, but Shepard as a Admiral doing tactical choices (like Josh pointed out, why the heck isn’t Shepard an Admiral), then intel reveals (Liara’s Shadowbroker network maybe?) that the Reapers are planning something desperate (the Repears are slowly loosing and will eventually loose at current rate), Shepard and “the gang” now need to get on the ground and personal again to stop Harbringer that has infiltrated the Citadel and is turning it into a galaxywide weapon. (see what I did there?) Culminating in Shepard turning the weapon back on the reapers causing a feedback that temporarily disorient the Reapers allowing the alliance to mop the floor with them.

    Now..Anyone got a timemachine so we can get these ideas to BioWare’s ME2 team during the planning phase?

    And yes, I turned it into a quadrilogy, there is certainly enough lore for that.

    The ME trilogy isn’t “bad”, in fact it’s a damn good trilogy, one of the best easily rivaling the classic Star Wars trilogy. But the presentation changes from the start of ME2 to the end of ME3.

    Everything introduced in ME1 and that is carried over to ME2 and ME3 works fine from the start of ME2 to at least halfway through ME3.
    Everything introduced in first half of ME2 and that is carried over to ME3 works fine from the start of ME3 to at least halfway through ME3.
    Things introduced halfway through ME2 or introduced in ME3 start having issues near the end of ME2 through all of ME3.

    The borderline is not as clear cut as I make it sound, some plot threads go from the start of ME1 to the end of ME3 (and into the extended ending) and are fine for example.

    I know one of the guys behind ME1 left midway into ME2, but I doubt that alone was the catalyst (ME3/Shepard pun not intended) for the sidedrift issue, did more folks leave (either BioWare or the project), not unusual for folks to be shifted around projects.
    Now if the guy that left held the direction so well, then was it the guy that took over that position that failed to keep the direction or?

    As I said the trilogy is pretty damn good, it’s just messy. I mentioned the “Two Mass Effects” before and still hope Shamus will untangle the two in a future post, because I believe the ME trilogy is at almost “two” trilogies mashed together into one.

    You have the squad building/team gathering, the personal quests of the squad members, the genophage cure, the geth/quarian conflict, shepard backstory (we barely saw any of those backstory ME1 choices come back in a big way), prothean artifacts/lore quest, shepard abilities (if wielding biotic powers then Shepard is hinted at having a unique chip in his/her head), volus and all the other races (the citadel “mini” quests hints at so much potential there.)

    Some squad member personal quests actually stretch through the entire trilogy (Tali for example especially if in a romance, or Wrex/Mordin).

    So the trilogy could easily have focused only Shepards journey, gathering friends and allies and “exploring” the galaxy through 3 games,
    the reaper invasion stuff could have been put into a single 4th game, mainly focusing on that.

    And what of cerberus you say? Well, it’s obvious that Cerberus (and TIM in particular) is indoctrinated (TIM at least) and under the control of Harbringer without realizing it since, oh, around the middle of ME2 maybe? (hmm!).

    Hang on, Harbringer is the galaxy’s biggest troll? *looks at Josh* …Josh?! *backs slowly away*

  23. psivamp says:

    I agree, this conflict could have come to a head in the last game. It would have fit much better. No one really believes the Reapers are coming yet ( albeit because Cerberus has kept you from talking by implanting a chip in your head ), so the end of this generations long genocidal war is really the most important thing for the Quarians.

    After it is manifestly obvious to every race with the ability to process external stimuli that the Reapers are coming and everyone is going to die, this is clearly not about the homeworld any more and is just a holy war — stick it to them before we all get sorted out by someone(thing) else. Which is, as other people mentioned, something you can kinda believe some people or groups doing. But it fits better with the space opera setting for this race to be a little past that I think.

  24. Lame Duck says:

    They talk about the fact that the Geth don’t use windows means they’re completely blind to the stealthed Normandy, but do the Geth not have cameras or anything? Is their entire external sensory system supposed to be exclusively heat detection? That’s especially dumb since they know about the Normandy and it’s stealth technology, because one of them fucking served on it!

    1. Good point indeed. Especially about the stealth part, Geth ships would quickly get updated to handle stuff like that.
      Also, the Geth probably do not need to “see outside” like humanish species seem to do in Sci-Fi. But they would have sensors.

      Examples of sensors:
      Heat sensors (heat in space other than from stars or plants would be unusual)
      Particles sensors (ions, matter, whatever)
      Radiation sensors
      Radio sensors (hey don’t dis them, electronics make noise)
      Light sensors (any craft near enough for even long range combat would create a silhouette against any stars/planets/other ships)

      In fact another craft would block radiation and possible heat, again creating profiles. Add this together and the Geth (or humans today even) could easily make a 3d virtual model projected into a sector map of sorts. I mean, today Humans can actually see planets orbiting around suns lightyears away by looking at light or radiation. (radiotelescopes pick up lots of galactic chatter, a stealth ship would create a “mask” that could be detected)

      So given that Mass Effect is the future and the Geth is very advanced they’d probably out sensors any Human vessel without issues.

      The perfect “stealth” is when the object being hidden is indistinguishable from the background/surroundings.

      A “blotch” in space blocking light/radio/radiation/heat/particles.
      In space the best stealth is to stay far away, if you are close enough to be seen you are also close enough to be detected in other ways. So if you can see the enemy then the enemy probably can see you as well.

      I forget who wrote/where I read it, but the “joke” is that space is so big that you are just as likely to crash with another ship as you are to pass by one you can detect. Two ships could easily pass by each other quite “close” and never know it.

      Take a bowl of water, put a white dice and a black dice in a glass bowl. Put it on the ground. Walk away until you can barely see the glass bowl. Now turn around and have somebody remove (or not remove) a dice. Turn around and try to see which dice is still in the bowl. Not so easy huh? Walk closer and closer until you do. You will probably find you have to cross quite some distance to see which dice is there (or even if any dice are there at all)

      That’s how it is in space. Your sensors pick up some anomaly. You review it for a while. if it vanished quickly you have a decision to make (go and check the area or not). If it’s still there you can choose to do nothing, keep monitoring or go check the area.

      If you do check the area whatever was there is probably log gone by now or has moved (“slightly”) enough that they could easily be behind you now.

      You may or may not see what I’m leading to here. Point blank capital ship combat is silly and very Star Wars’y like Josh pointed out.
      But ships that close is actually pretty smart from a survival point.
      Ships in space can not turn too fast (Geth can handle more G forces though) as it’s easy to overshoot and you’d be a siting duck in that case. If you think of pirate movies whee they turn the broadside at each other and hammer away, that’s what these two fleets are doing.

      You see a dot (or dot’s) in the distance, and by the time you figure out what it is (fried or fo) you are already busy preparing to turn the broadside against them and prepping the canons to fire because as soon as you can see who they are you either light the fuse or you die.

      In space it’s similar only the distance is much greater.

    2. guy says:

      When in stealth mode, the Normandy is basically invisible to every kind of sensor except visual. Which is not very good for space uses in the Mass Effect setting, and as far as they know only the Systems Alliance has stealth at present. In fact both the Quarians and the Salarians have it as well, and the Turians helped invent it.

      1. Lame Duck says:

        Really? Because what I recall from ME1 was that the stealth system was basically just a couple of heat sinks so you didn’t radiate a great big heat signal through the coldness of space. I don’t remember them talking about blocking any other kinds of signals.

        Either way, I find it hard to believe that the Geth don’t equip their ships with cameras that can detect visible light. It’s not exactly like that’s beyond their technological level.

        1. guy says:

          Huh, I could have sworn the codex specified it stored all radiation as heat. However, it does specify that the sensors include radio detectors, and since no one ever picks up the Normandy on sensors while it’s in silent running, I think we can assume it hides from those too.

        2. Joneleth says:

          Even if Normandy managed to be invisible to passive sensors by blocking emissions of any kind, that still doesn’t explain how it can avoid detection by active sensors at point blank range. Let’s say they pulled that off, too. How do you prevent your enemy from detecting the gravitational fluctuations caused by your mass effect drive?

          That’s some serious space magic I’m trying to read into right there. My head hurts.

          1. guy says:

            The same way an F-22 Raptor does, probably. A coating and shape that doesn’t give a solid return on radar.

          2. Ooh I missed that, Gravity sensors, nice one.

            Hmm! I just had an idea, wouldn’t it be awesome if ME2 had allowed you to hunt for parts and resources to “build” Normandy 2? And only getting a proper ship at the end. The upgrades you did get however did not feel like upgrades. (was any of those upgrades actually visible in any way? I can’t recall…)

            1. guy says:

              Gravity sensors would be kind of hard to make in comparison to other sorts of sensors. We have aircraft-based radar already, but gravity detectors that could actually be useful are very large and fragile.

              The upgrades only influence one cutscene each, though the Thanix cannon was instantly memorable in said cutscene. However, Mass Effect 3 never depicts the weapons of ships confirmed by the codex to be armed with Thanix cannons in that way.

      2. *nod* AFAIK the stealth system the Normandy uses would be nice for sneaking through a system, which I believe is what it was used for originally in ME1?

        Also if the Turians invented it and the Quarians and Salarians built it, I kinda suspect that the Geth might have hacked info on it.
        Legion might know, but out of loyalty to Shepard kept it to himself (his platform) ?

        Wouldn’t that have been awesome? If you do not get Legion loyal, in the next ME game the Geth suddenly was using stealth tech, and if Loyal they would not? Oh, all the missed opportunities. (the ME universe is awesome, I just hope BioWare does it the honor it deserves)

  25. Lame Duck says:

    I was just wondering, since we’re making fun of Mass Effect’s action movie romance development, what games do people think handled player-driven romances well?

    1. IFS says:

      Dragon Age 2 still had plenty of biowares usual problems with the romances, but you only got the actual romance scenes in the second act after your character had known the other party members for a few years.

    2. No1. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (aka KoTOR or KoTOR 1 or KoTOR I)
      It even had a darkside “romance” that felt proper also (as far as a Sith would consider “romance”, the whole last chapter is split into darkside and lightside paths, I wish BioWare would do that again in a future RPG game).

      No2. Dragon Age: Origins if you go after the Morrigan romance (and the DLC/expansions that fully complete that romance/storyline.
      If it wasn’t for the fact that KoTOR had two (ightside AND darkside variants) I’d rank DA:O as No1 instead.

      Both those have a good and rewarding romance conclusion if you ask me.

      No3. Mass Effect Trilogy, The Tali romance through the 3 games flows very nicely. The only thing preventing it from stealing the No1. spot or at least a No2 spot is that at the end of the game Tali should have supported Shepard with her shoulder as they walk out of the Normandy in that end scene. Tali would never leave Shepard behind (if romance), heck even as a friend only she would risk her life to get Shepard/check if Shepard is alive. But the Tali romance thread through the games to the end of the “good ending” of the Geth/Quarian conflict, with Shepard and Tali sharing a moment on her world (oh and the joking about housing etc.) gold moment right there.

  26. IFS says:

    Josh the Geth had a dyson sphere (to store all geth programs at once) they were building, but the first thing the quarians did when they attacked was to blow it up, because the quarians are assholes now and instead of letting their enemy just finish the thing and leave the planet they had to blow it up and force the geth to defend Rannoch, thus making the fight worse for themselves.

    Also Josh you can’t romance Vega, though femshep will flirt with him regardless of whether or not you want her to, the Traynor romance glitched and didn’t give you the shower option, and I think the Liara romance can only be done if you did it in the first game. As for the reporter lady I never tried that so I don’t know if you screwed that up or not.

    1. Mike S. says:

      If they were going to fight with the geth, stopping construction of the Dyson sphere is a military necessity. A completed Dyson Sphere gives them the entire star’s output to play with.

      (Really, that level of energy use is out of scale with anything seen in the Mass Effect universe this side of the Crucible. They’d have to disassemble planets to get the material to build one, and if they could properly weaponize it they should be able to use Reapers for target practice.)

      1. IFS says:

        I don’t remember it being stated at any point that the dyson sphere could be weaponized, just that it was meant to house all the geth so they’d never be alone again.

        1. Mike S. says:

          And to power that they need 10^26 watts? I mean, I know we’re just cavemen without mass effect drives or AI, but we run an industrial civilization on a hundred trillionth of that.

          Maybe they do– I don’t know what sort of power requirements a geth hub has, or just how exponentially they’ve grown in three centuries. (The original geth population could demonstrably run plugged into the quarian grid, with room to spare for their other infrastructure.) But if some country explained that they needed to build a billion-odd nuclear plants, for entirely peaceful purposes, I suspect they’d at least get some questioning eyes.

          (Even if what we’re assured was a rogue faction hadn’t just invaded Japan and tried to take over NATO headquarters two years ago.)

          As players, and even as Shepard, we may take the geth’s claims about their ambitions at face value. (And there definitely will never be a heretic group that decides to take their 1% share of the star’s output and use it in a manner that might discomfit humanity.) But is it really plausible that the quarians would?

          1. anaphysik says:

            “The original geth population could demonstrably run plugged into the quarian grid”

            I don’t think this is true. Geth platforms originally had only a few geth programs running on them at any given time. It was through increasing interaction between programs that sapience developed.

            Yes, all the geth programs were operating using quarian resources, but they weren’t all concurrently interfaced with every other program. *That*’s the point of the geth’s megastructure (whether a megastructure is reasonable or not is a different question).

            (EDIT: why did this get flagged for moderation? why do the moderation filters hate me so much? TAT )

            1. Mike S. says:

              And whether it’s something that the other local powers can safely tolerate is another question, even if it makes sense for them. Just having the wherewithal to build it is pretty scary in itself. (“Why yes, we can disassemble planets and build a few square AU worth of solar collectors. Can’t everyone?”)

              Or given the current emergency, go the other way and do anything, up to and including sicing the turian fleet on the quarians, in order to secure a geth alliance. Who needs the krogan if there’s a potential ally that can reengineer solar systems?

  27. Paul Spooner says:

    Didn’t read the comments above, but could this whole “retake our homeworld” be the species level equivalent of catastrophe intimacy? I mean, it’s still a joke, but it’s a bit more understandable that way.

    Oh man! That underwater sequence was horrendous! I remember considering quitting the game, just so I wouldn’t have to go shamble around underwater again. And the controls were sloppy, and you had to get right up to those panels to repair them or whatever. It was like pixel hunting with an optical mouse on a mirror. Terrible.

    1. anaphysik says:

      You also had to be really careful, because those fishies could kill you pretty easily if you unpaused by accident.

    2. Destrustor says:

      But there was a glitch where you could duplicate equipment during that part!
      The underwater section was tons of fun for the cheaters!

      Not that I ever did it, of course… ahem.

  28. Ateius says:

    … so, anyone feel up to trying to explain away why the Geth dreadnaught has

    A) Hundred-meter long docking tubes sticking out at right angles from the hull, that

    B) Are fully deployed in battle where they can easily be damaged or destroyed?

    Because I sure can’t think up an explanation.

    1. guy says:

      A) is pretty easy; they use the dreadnought to house mobile platforms to load into shuttles. Plus, they do need to be able to load fuel and might have to pull certain components out to be serviced in a drydock of some kind.

      B) is rather more difficult. In some settings it doesn’t really matter how a warship is built because they explode when their shields are dropped, but Mass Effect has useful warship armor.

      1. Ateius says:

        Shuttles don’t need 100m+ of clearance, and I would hope a drydock would have its own airlock facilities – that’s like asking a supertanker to supply its own quays when it comes into harbour.

    2. Lame Duck says:

      One of the Geth accidently leaned on the awesome button.

      1. Ateius says:

        This can be the only canon explanation.

    3. RTBones says:

      A) Fighters, or attack shuttles could be a reason. A boat that big could hold its own fleet of fighters or attack craft
      B) Same as A, really. Though once the attack/defense force is launched, I would think you’d stow most of them to keep them safe. I could see them keeping a few up and ready for reloading/rearming the fighter force. Of course, that could imply that the docking tubes are areas that are well defended.

      1. Ateius says:

        Why keep your fighters attached to spindly docking tubes, instead of an internal hangar or just parked on the hull Cylon-style? Especially as (apart from the battle damage) there’s only one opening on that tube, so you’d need a separate tube for every fighter or shuttle.

  29. RTBones says:

    Put me in the camp of “the Quarian/Geth conflict resolution could have been a game unto itself.” The Quarians hold the trump card here in not having a homeworld of their own. Other than the reasons everyone else has already stated, the Quarians dont have to take out the Geth because the Reapers are going to do it for them. Even if they attacked the Geth before the Reaper invasion is underway, they can disengage, divide the fleet into lots of small chunks, and scatter to the four winds. The Reapers come in and do their bit, and when the dust settles THEN worry about your homeworld. Leave humanity and everyone else to fend for themselves in an effort of self-preservation.

    On another note, I had not heard that conversation with Vega before. I had always assumed he was a grunt, not an officer of any sort. The game certainly plays him that way. That conversations seems to hint that he’s an officer of some kind, which is the only way he’s going to get his own command.

  30. The_Zoobler says:

    So wait…. not only are the Quarians engaging in all of the stupidity that Josh mentioned above (making an attempt to entrench themselves in a war they can only win by running away), but they’re also locking their escape route and home in place whether they win or not (positioning the typically mobile fleet in one location to make war), and wasting valuable resources when the Reapers are already cleaning house with the rest of the galaxy(they WILL experience losses no matter how hard they win against the Geth, completely discounting the eventuality they lose the war).

    Hey guys, we know there’s a Mongol horde coming in a day or two, but in the mean time I think we should get half our village killed fighting that asshole tribe next door.

    The moment I saw the Illusive Man I immediately hated him, before he ever said a word, because of how transparently and piteously blatant he was. He was never a character, he was a one-dimensional, boring, generic, overdone, pretentious cliche.

    Then came all the stupid bullcrap that went with the Illusive Man, trying to turn Mass Effect 2 into some gritty cop show in space. That obnoxious Asari crimelord on the crime world. Samara the cop. Garrus the cop. Liara the manipulative corporate overlord??? Whatever, the side character stories are still good.

    Oh look. The Reapers were making a slushie Terminator. Okay.

    But this, this moment with the quarians, is where I think I have officially abandoned all hope for this game lol. The shark has been jumped.

    I loved ME1, liked half of ME2, and everything about ME3 just looks so in-your-face stupid I can’t imagine its even worth devoting a single moment to. If my friend were paying me to play his provided copy of the game, I still probably wouldn’t play it. It does look like the gameplay has improved. But the story… the setting… dear god…. I just can’t process it any more.

    I think I may need to play Jade Empire, because so far the only truly good BioWare game I’ve played is Mass Effect 1, and its clear how that turned out. DA1 was fun when I played it, but in retrospect just brown and ugly everywhere. Completely and totally visually horrible, which kind of ruined what could have been a much better game if only it had color. I tried to get into KOTOR recently and maybe its just the ME2-3 influencing me but I can hardly stomach the first planet you crash land on: just more stupid space crime and stupid space gangs in ugly environments (albeit environments with better color than DA1 or ME). SWTOR is enjoyable, I mean, it’s stupid pulp adventure, but at least Star Wars is established as stupid pulp adventure.

    I mean where did BioWare get its “good writing” rep? So many of their stories are truly mediocre.

    And with their tendency towards horrible art direction and tedious gameplay… I just don’t think BioWare is that great at making games lol.

    1. KoTOR is the gold standard I guess.
      But one thing is common for BioWare, good quality production (usually), awesome voice actors, games that actually last a while (no 4 hour games there), good NPC characters, deep lore. Overall a BioWare RPG is usually very “solid”. AFAIK no BioWare game has ever not been worth the money. So it’s hard to “go wrong” getting one of their games.
      Also, BioWare fans is a lot more critical than other fans. BioWare games already are a “AAAA” studio (I hate the guy that coined that 4A crap) and have been for many many years. Sadly this also means that any flaws stick out way more than in other games.

      The Mass Effect trilogy is probably the most favorite game that Shamus and the gang just “love to hate” to use that expression.

      1. lurkey says:

        KOTOR of all things is the gold standard? But…but it’s so stupid! Like, “Sunday morning cartoon for preschoolers with brains yet too soft to understand Harry Potter” stupid! :( You may argue that it’s not KOTOR’s fault what with it being a part of not too brain-straining fairy tale universe, but, well, lets settle on not completely KOTOR’s fault.

        Unless you’re talking about coherence – as in, no horribly glaring plotholes, fleets of deus ex machinae, grand pianos leaping out of bushes, these sort of things. In that sense, KOTOR is well manufactured indeed. Well manufactured quality product, on the case of which I kept looking for a “For ages 3 to 6” label. :|

        1. Well if you consider political and religious persecution or genocide “ages 3 to 6″³ that is… I seem to recall that at least physical abuse (not sure of rape though) is even touched upon in KoTOR.

          That is also one of those other things BioWare is good at, really dark subtexts, like Jack’s back story in Mass Effect, she went though hell and back twice at the least.
          BioWare’s target is if you could call it that… are childish adults, which I’m a proud card carrying member of.

          Then again BioWare also manages to get Miranda’s ass-shot in the way of my story as well, once is cute, but ass and boob shots/angles grow old really fast. DA:O and DA2 also had text/dialog/subtext of really nasty things going on.

          I’d love to see BioWare do a mature game. (i.e. not a “mature” game with teen stuff in it but an actual adult game with adult stuff in it and ignore the “teen” market fully. ME trilogy shows mature themes and text here and there, and then it goes all juvenile again, etc, really weird if you ask me.

          1. lurkey says:

            Depressing themes present in the setting are not enough to turn it mature, IMO. In KOTOR’s case, the main reason I dismissed supposedly horrible things as planet go boom was lack of believable motivation in villains. And KOTOR’s villains is reason No.1 why I remember it as kiddy stuff (No. 2 is your character’s dialogue choices with no big wurdz but plenty of exclamation marks. You’re either playing Forrest Gump or evil psycho Forrest Gump).

            They all act like everything they do is “for teh evulz”. There’s a scene to introduce some evil lieutenant, who force-kills some random engineer at a console for no reason at all, just because he felt like it. That’s Sunday morning cartoon thing. (It also would’ve been cool if some time later the ship was flooded with feces because the shot dude was in the midst of sewer calibration, but alas). Compare Dean from F:NV’s “Dead Money”, who once ruined the man out of petty jealousy – just because he always bounced off bad things with optimism and serenity. That’s evil.

            And then there’s an absurd, hammy, ridiculous scene when the Big Bad tortures this lady into…being evil. Just like that. There is some handwaving later, but it’s even more stupid. By itself, torture is very dark, ugly and yes, mature theme, but come on – am I supposed to take it seriously in this context?

            I might have cared about slavery thing more if all the Wookies haven’t had personalities and depth of carpets. I might have noticed planet getting razed if I didn’t have to shoot stupid ships in stupidest minigame in Bioware’s history. Perfect chance to make boring good guys more layered and interesting by pondering on morality of brain washing? Wasted. Letting murderer go just because the victim is one of our enemies? Okay, that one was good.

            tl;dr version – Bioware seldom bothers with question “Why?” and that hurts their attempts at maturity (like, “Death and taxes” maturity. Not to be confused with “Tits and ass” “maturity”).

            I apologize if I seem caustic, it’s just…KOTOR is to me what Neverwinter Nights 2 is to Shamus, only he is lucky enough not to see NWN2 praised as gold standard of anything. :-)

            1. KoTOR villians are like all Sith villains, no freakin’ clue why they are like that. Sith on average seem to be Chaotic Evil to use that classification.
              The cool thing though is that there are hinted to things about a major character and in KoTOR 2 Obsidian actually runs with it, just a shame you don’t get to follow that particular plot further (there is a novel that does though), so not all Sith are Chaotic Evil, but instead Lawful Evil or possibly Neutral from a certain point of view (yes very Obi-Wan’ish I know).
              Malak though is the typical “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” etc.

              “That's Sunday morning cartoon thing.” not sure if that is a joke or not, but I can’t recall people being casually killed on sunday morning cartoon shows in Norway at least, nor casually killed in any cartoons intended for kids at least. Anime aimed at mature audiences on the other hand…

              “Compare Dean from F:NV's “Dead Money”, who once ruined the man out of petty jealousy ““ just because he always bounced off bad things with optimism and serenity. That's evil” I understand wat you mean, but that basically sounds like your average CSI tv episode.

              “Big Bad tortures this lady into…being evil.” yes the lightning etc. But it is assumed this takes place over many days (it’s barely mentioned but hyperspace travels usually take a few days to week on average) movies, books, games rarely depict that as it’s boring as hell though. Also, a jedi (or non-jedi person) getting turned involves a lot of brainwashing. Look at Luke during Star Wars VI and you’ll see that Luke and The Emperor are having a staring contest, but in reality the emperor is trying to break down Luke’s mind (and succeed to the point that Luke loose control and attacks etc.)

              Stuff like that should be better told to players though IMO, finding a few jedi holocrons (could act as a codex etc.) would have helped clarify such things.

              As to Wookiee personalites, I agree. Maybe it’s the “species” that is the issue or I don’t know…Any wookiee seem to be modeled after Angry/Happy/Neutral Chewie. The myriad books does a better job, but when wookiees are named stuff like Lowbacca etc it makes me groan. If you look at the classic trilogy there is hardly much depth to the character other than Han’s hairy pal. So whomever tried to add depth to the wookiees beyond that infallibility kinda failed. (and that Star Wars Xmas Special did not help either).

              The “space combat” minigame? Holy crap yes that was annoying, and Obsidian payed attention to avoiding that in KoTOR 2, ditto with the underwater space walk, though Obsidian went kinda silly with space walks, I’ve never seen nor knew before KoTOR2 that space sprinting was possible *laughs*.

              And I agree, instead of the spacefight minigame, having some cutscenes (while hyperspacing) where the crew/squad/team interact, talk, add depth would have been ideal. After all, this does happen in Star Wars IV (Obi Wan talks and Luke trains, C3-PO plays chess etc.) Awesome missed opportunities, which brings us full circle back to Mass Effect, where they actually do that. (see BioWare is trying, just a shame they have selective amnesia other times) ;)

              Caustic? Nah, it sounds like KoTOR is the game that “you” love to hate.
              And by the gold standard, I mean if all games was at that level, things would be really fun. These days I’ve actually had situations where I stopped playing a game and not completed it for various reason. A lot of AAA games go “gold” these days and they are nowhere close to KoTOR in quality (and I’m sure upcoming AAAA *sigh* will also be just as crappy).
              I bet you’ve played through KoTOR several times by now huh? I sure have and lost count even. :)

              PS! Did you notice that most of your issues with KoTOR that you pointed out is with Star Wars lore and not with the game itself? ;)
              Obsidian did something awesome with KoTOR 2, they tried to break the Star Wars sterotype characters, unfortunately due to deadline rush KoTOR2 has a load of other issues so…

              1. lurkey says:

                Starting from the P.S. – yep, I suspect it might be a SW problem, although I only saw the movies and the Bads weren’t that random, but I hear things about extended universe. Still, I presume they weren’t contractually obliged to write idiot villains, so why not to put those famed Bioware writing madskillz to good use? It’s not like they don’t know how to do it – Baldur’s Gate series had good villains, so did Jade Empire.

                Another reason of my reaction is that I played I KOTOR2 before KOTOR and found Avelone’s take of SW universe v. much to my liking. So going back to ye olde black and white again and discovering that the infamous tactical genius Revan was a dunce who couldn’t string up a sentence longer than 5 words was like getting a cold gas station’s hot dog instead of a bloody steak you expected.

                And speaking of Wookies, I loved Obsidian’s one, Hanharr. Batshit crazy, but with a method to his insanity. If you chat him up, it’s possible to emphatize and understand why he is broken like that – and it all stems from canon things like slavery and life debt.

                As for cartoon thing – aren’t all those Skeletors, evil X-men mutants and such always plotting to kill off something and the coyote to eat the chickie or whatever that is he’s hunting? And, well, it’s not mass murder that’s cartoony about KOTOR villains – it’s their cheese’n’hamminess and comical ineptitude. Seriously, minutes in meeting Malak I nicknamed him Iznogoud.

                …and yes, I played it something like 3 times, I think, it had some totally good parts, likeable NPCs and pretty environments and it was fun. So it’s not a game I love to hate per se. It’s a game I love calling silly. :-)

                1. anaphysik says:

                  It’s usually a Saturday-morning-cartoon thing, not a Sunday-morning-cartoon thing. At least ‘back in the day’ it was…

                  @Iznogoud: wow, what a whiny little worm.

    2. KoTOR is the gold standard I guess.
      But one thing is common for BioWare, good quality production (usually), awesome voice actors, games that actually last a while (no 4 hour games there), good NPC characters, deep lore. Overall a BioWare RPG is usually very “solid”. AFAIK no BioWare game has ever not been worth the money. So it’s hard to “go wrong” getting one of their games.
      Also, BioWare fans is a lot more critical than other fans. BioWare games already are a “AAAA” studio (I hate the guy that coined that 4A crap) and have been for many many years. Sadly this also means that any flaws stick out way more than in other games.

      The Mass Effect trilogy is probably the most favorite game that Shamus and the gang just “love to hate” to use that expression.

    3. Mike S. says:

      “Hey guys, we know there's a Mongol horde coming in a day or two, but in the mean time I think we should get half our village killed fighting that asshole tribe next door.”

      I thought about using the Mongols as an example, since that sort of thing happened. (Or more often, the Mongols’ next target would team up with the Mongols against the current target, which was pretty much the geth response.) Alexander Nevsky (in a bit that somehow didn’t make it into the movie) didn’t just fight a civil war with the Mongols on his doorstep, he led them in, in exchange for their chasing his brother off the throne.

      See also: a handful of pale beast-riders from over the eastern Sea have shown up in shiny helmets. Clearly we should put aside our local squabbles and stand together against the aliens… *or*, *or*… we can see if we can use them to finally give the Azteca what for!

  31. Scow2 says:

    No… this conflict DID need to be in Mass Effect 3, not shoehorned into the end of Mass Effect 2. I think the team here keeps backdating Mass Effect 2 events into Mass Effect 1.

    In the first Mass Effect, the only Geth you have contact with are Saren’s forces. Yes, there’s a hint that the Quarians started it, but as far as we know, all that did was push the Geth to irrevocable villainy. It wasn’t until Mass Effect 2 that we saw that not ALL Geth were ruthless anti-life killbots, and were actually sympathetic. Not letting the subplot stew until the third game would have left the plot feeling “rushed”.

    As for the space combat – I’d say that what we see is actually just a cinematic shorthand – the actual distances involved are MUCH greater, but we want to be able to see both factions and all ships involved in the battle, even if relative distance and size get skewed in the process.

  32. Possibly has been said before and I don’t know how long does this has been, but I have to say this: Saying that space battle is what one would expect from Star Wars is just wrong. Episode III battle made me think the same as it is said before, that a space battle like that is ridiculous. George Lucas generally sucks big time in strategy and tactics. Curiously the only time regarding that he’s got it decently is the only thing I’ve read or heard complaints about. But if you play the X-Wing / TIE Fighter series, this is totally not what you expect in Star Wars (that battle was a disappointment from first second because of that). Dog fights between fighters, sure, but never capital ships at point blank range.
    It makes no sense that capital ships will fly next to each other to shoot. I don’t say it can’t ever happen to see two capital ships so close to each other, there may be some circumstance in which one may want to get very close to the other, though then never if it’s about shooting at it to make it blow up: you don’t want the explosion’s debris to make mincemeat of your ship. Capital ships: a good distance away, one may be more keen on getting closer to stay in firing range than the other, but never in blank point, unless very specific scenarios involving not wanting to destroy the other ship.

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