Mass Effect 3 EP31: You Should Not Have Charged That

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Nov 6, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 170 comments

Link (YouTube)

Josh talked about the FOV thing in this episode. This is one of those usability issues (like invert mouse) that’s either crucial or completely irrelevant, based on your gaming habits, history, play style, muscle memory, eyesight, and equipment. One person finds the thing to be almost unplayable, and another can’t imagine a situation where they would even notice, much less care.

I played shooters back in the days when an 85 degree field of view was standard. I don’t actively notice the tight FOV the way Josh does, but when I switch from 60 to 90, it does create an incredible sense of relief, like turning off a light that was shining in your eyes or silencing machine noise that had been going on for so long that you’d forgotten about it.

The Champions Online bit we were talking about can be found here.


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170 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP31: You Should Not Have Charged That

  1. Amnestic says:

    Josh: “Is it just me or have Brutes gotten way lamer?”

    By the end of the game I think you end up against 5 Brutes at once plus some other Reaper units (Cannibals, maybe some Marauders/Banshees).

    My main problem with Thessia is that it accomplishes nothing. It doesn’t give Liara that much development (if at all) and it doesn’t really advance the plot (Kai Leng interrupts that).

    Cut out the combat and the mission is talk to barricade lady who directs you to sniper lady->talk to sniper lady who directs you to temple->talk to Prothean VI who reveals nothing because Kai Leng turns up and reveals…nothing.

    Thessia is the heart of the Asari, arguably the most powerful race in the galaxy, and they never managed to sell me on that fact. It’s a homeworld! It should’ve been a major mission destination. Sur’kesh shared this problem now that I think about it, but at least while you were there Wrex and Mordin were distracting you from that fact.

    Oh, and I play my Xbox on my TV. My TV is right next to my computer monitor though. :D

    Another thing that bothered me? The Asari gunships were the same model as all the other ones we’d seen. They were the same as the Blue Suns mercs in ME2, they were on the Salarian Planet. I’m fairly certain we’ve seen them elsewhere. I know making a whole new model just for this sequence might be a bit much, but they could’ve done something to differentiate it, even if it was just switching out the gun from the standard machine gun to something a bit more Asari-like. Like a gun which fired Singularity shells.

    Rant off :p

    1. Irridium says:

      Thessia does give Liara development!

      If you have the $10 Prothean squad member DLC.


      1. ThomasWa says:

        Did anyone say Artistic Integrity (TM)?
        Yeah, it gets hard to argue against a changing of the ending when the devs themselves are more than willing to f*ck with their story for bucks.

        1. SleepingDragon says:

          I think the uplift reveal should have been earlier, like game 2 earlier. Have Shepard discover it, then by game 3 have the rumors spill into the general asari populace, have this cause a sort of cultural identity crisis…

          Let’s be honest here, a lot of stuff should have been in the second game. Looking for ways to fight the reapers, building up alliances. Heck, can you imagine the cliffhanger if Shepard found the “last prothean” in the collector base?

    2. StashAugustine says:

      But there is that brain-churningly bad plot twist with the Prothean uplift. That was the first moment in the game I actually got angry for more than a quick “Really?”

      I did think it added some character depth to Liara, and provided the opportunity to do so with Shepard. The reactions when you get back to the Normandy are pretty good imo. (Although they would be way better if not for the whole Kai Leng debacle.)

      1. Amnestic says:

        Ah! That reminded me of another thing about Thessia which bugged me. Shepard gets back from Thessia and is all mopey just because she failed. Once. They’re acting like it’s the end of the universe even though a) we know who stole it, b) we know that it has the information we need and c) we have contact with ex-Cerberus agents who know exactly where the Illusive Man’s Stronghold is.

        Which also reminds me of another plothole/gap. Miranda. In the intro sequence to ME2 we see her, physically, on the Illusive Man’s ship. She clearly has knowledge of its actual location. Assuming you didn’t murder her at the end of ME2, why did she never think to tell you this? We end up extrapolating it from some technobabble but we’ve met Miranda repeatedly throughout ME3. At any point she could’ve given us the heads up. At any point could she have given the Alliance the heads up.

        But no. Because Shepard is too stupid to ask and Miranda is too stupid to tell.

        1. Artur CalDazar says:

          Apparently that space station is mobile, or it is in the books, or something.
          That seems to open up new issues though, if it is even true.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Yes, because putting plot relevant information in the novel is clearly the best way to make a game.

            I don’t mind the Asari uplift story, but again -it goes nowhere. We could tell a story about how the Protheans refused to go politely, and instead sowed the seeds of reaper destruction. Instead we get Javik being a dick.

            Great storytelling, guys.

          2. Cody211282 says:

            How do you move something that big, it doesn’t even have engines on it! It would be a lot easier to swallow if they had made it a ship.

          3. Keeshhound says:

            That makes sense; TIM can’t let himself be tied down to just one sun.

            He’s a rambling terrorist-astronomer with no home! He’s got a rogue cell on every planet, and a sun in every system!

        2. StashAugustine says:

          This is just my opinon, but I did buy Shepard’s sadness after Thessia. Not because of the Kai Leng bullshit, but rather because the Reapers took the planet. Every other time, you end up killing the Reapers with magic space guns and stuff. This time, there’s nothing you can do.

          1. Luhrsen says:

            But they aren’t doing any more damage to Thessia than they did to Palaven (Turians), or Khar’shan (Batarians), or Dekunna (Elcor), or Kahje (Hanar/Drell)if you let it fall, or even Earth if you care about that one. So you, a single person, are supposed to be able to do something signifigant to help the oldest and most technologically advanced race in the galaxy prevent damage to their world when you didn’t do anything for anyone else in the same circumstances yet?

            1. StashAugustine says:

              It had happened twice before.

              1. Luhrsen says:

                You didn’t prevent any damage to the other two planets.
                We saw a grand total of two reapers killed in situations where there was only one reaper to fight. In the ones I mentioned it was dozens of reapers at once. At this point we have no reason to believe we can fight more than one reaper at a time so it’s silly to be broken up over a single planet suffering the same fate a several before it.

        3. anaphysik says:

          A reasonable excuse would be: Miranda is drugged or space-blindfolded when she visits, to keep it’s location secret. I don’t know whether she ever says anything like that or if it’s just my familiarity with spy stories that’s bringing that trope to mind, but they could’ve used something like that.

          A more reasonable excuse would be: wait, you *didn’t* get Miranda killed? You poor –“I’m not poor!”– Err, you unfortunate bastard…

          Hm, seeing as google’s giving nothing, I’ll just say right now that that was an obscure Samurai Jack reference in the strikes.

          1. Mike S. says:

            She doesn’t really need to be drugged or blindfolded, just kept out of the cockpit. How would she be able to know the route, or where it ended? (If you’re really paranoid that she’ll, e.g., take a picture and run it through a sky map database, don’t put windows in the Cerberus Base transport ships.)

            1. anaphysik says:

              Like how Sherlock Holmes would, obvs. Because Miranda’s so awesome and perfect, the gaME SAID IT SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

              1. anaphysik says:

                More seriously though, “just kept out of the cockpit” would fall under the category of ‘space-blindfolded.’

  2. JPH says:

    I don’t want to spark a political debate here, but I’d just like to say, thank you, Shamus, for not ordering me to vote today like the rest of the Internet is.

    1. Primogenitor says:

      Especially those parts of the Internet hinterlands that can’t vote today because they are “foreign”.

    2. baseless research says:

      Oh, we’ll need to rectify that, won’t we.

      GO VOTE OR THE MAIAN CALENDER WILL END!! (Which would be bad?)

      1. Irridium says:

        My calender will end this year too, you don’t hear me saying it’ll be the end of everything.


        1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

          It’s going to be the end! For your calendar!

          1. Dave B. says:

            THE END OF DAYS!

            In this year.

      2. StashAugustine says:

        No it won’t be bad, since we’ll start having elf babies and become magicians. Protip: Stay away from Native American reservations.

        1. MikhailBorg says:

          I voted for Dunkelzhan. A bit early, I know…

          1. anaphysik says:

            *zahn? ‘Dark tooth’?

            EDIT: And now I see it’s some dragon-president Shadowrun reference. Shows you where my knowledge lies, I suppose.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well then,lets rectify that:
      click me

  3. Ryan says:

    The Thessia mission is really designed with Javik in mind as your companion- I’ve never done it without him, and he adds so much to the temple segment that I honestly can’t imagine it without him.

    1. gyfrmabrd says:

      Neither could the devs.

    2. Cody211282 says:

      It totally is, and that fact blows the “we didn’t rip him from the game” defense they had over him as day 1 DLC to shreds.

      1. Mike S. says:

        Some of Liara’s dialog points the other way– e.g., her suggesting the Prothean VI is detecting a Prothean presence because of Shepard’s ME1 imprinting, and Javik sardonically replying “Or maybe it’s the Prothean standing right next to you.” That feels more like a patch for already-recorded dialog, since it requires Liara to stretch for an explanation while missing the blindingly obvious.

        1. Luhrsen says:

          That and the VI ignoring the authentic prothean and talking to an alien it’s never seen before instead.

  4. el_b says:

    in dead space, I’m not sure if it was a tight field of view on just that You were zoomed right into Isaacs back, but It really did seem to add to the claustrophobia of being trapped in blackened corridors full of monsters. It never really has the same effect in an action game though.

    1. Eric says:

      Too bad it made the game annoying as shit to play (plus the horrendous mouse lag/acceleration).

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Interestingly enough I don’t notice the mouse acceleration so much in the game, but in menus? I can’t aim at ALL.

        1. Mattias42 says:

          Both games have problems with that, but for some reason it almost disappears if you turn of V-sync. It’s apparently a engine fault they cant get to without ruining a lot of other things.

          I realize this is hardly a “ZOMAGOD, I need to try that game again!” thing, just posting it for posteritys sake.

          I thought the camera in Dead Space 1 & 2 was excellent for the genre, shoving just and moving fast enough to make you realize how much you weren’t seeing at the time, while not being annoying.

          Rely added to the sense of dread, I thought. But to each his own.

          1. anaphysik says:

            The thing that interests me most about Dead Space is the ‘gun’ design – specifically, how all (save one actual weapon, which is fittingly actually sort of shit) of them are really just repurposed mining tools. Which is an excellent aesthetic and is being worked into my current tabletop RPG setting.

            That, and Peng. There’s always Peng.

            1. Mattias42 says:

              The pulse gun is awesome.

              The thing is that it needs better aiming then all the other “guns” combined to reach it’s full potential.

              Once you know where to aim even Brutes go down in seconds to it, without needing to get behind them even!

              And since the ammo is so plentiful you may apply it to all threats, it simply takes a bit longer on the more beefier enemies. Dakka, dakka, dakka!

              But speaking of Peng, I hope there’s some-kind of twist or revel in DS3. “All profits on Peng go to the Unitology corpse preservation fund!” or something. It’s a cute ester-egg, but I’m curious for the in game reason why they are so valuable…

              1. anaphysik says:

                Ah, ‘ester eggs,’ eggs high in carbonyl-ether structures. We have dismissed those claims.

                Unless you count cholesterol. BADUM-TSH! Which you totally shouldn’t, since it’s a false cognate with ester. Cholesterol has a measly hydroxyl group and nothing more; chole-bile and stere-solid is where the name comes from.

                Anyway, I’m pretty sure there’re some fatty acid esters in eggs, but how can I pass up a joke?

  5. The Hokey Pokey says:

    Oh hey, we’re coming up on the worst part of the game! I can’t wait to hear Josh and Rutskarn’s reaction to the boss fight.

    1. Theminimanx says:

      When I heard Chris telling Josh to savor his anger for later, I litterally did an evil laugh. This is going to be amazing.

      On a side note, wow, do I miss the higher FoV. Looking at this, I’m surprised I was able to make it through the game as a vanguard.

    2. guy says:

      When Josh announced that he was doing this part blind, I realized we were seeing the birth of something wonderful.

      Man, I never fiddled with my FoV setting, and now I suddenly realize why my Vanguard run made me constantly feel like I couldn’t see anything: I could not see anything.

    3. Pyradox says:

      My favourite part was Shamus and Chris talking about how great this section is compared to the Geth/Quarian one with not a hint of insincerity in their voices. That’s some professional trolling right there.

      1. Klay F. says:

        Oh man, when I heard that, I thought I was witnessing the set up to the greatest troll in history.

        Finally, someone has successfully trolled Josh. XD

      2. guy says:

        Yeah, that is really something.

  6. Spammy says:

    I’m still right with Rutskarn that the Asari as a species are poorly designed. I’d like them better if they looked and sounded androgynous and had a genderless culture. And wore sensible armor. And weren’t the galaxy’s strippers. Or chicks. Or breathy voiced Troi types. Or…

    I want the Asari to not be the fanservice race. Because I cannot take fanservice seriously and it ruins any attempt by the plot to be serious.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      The one Marina Sirtis actually voiced was one of the deeper and more interesting characters of the series. So of course she died in ME1.

      1. scowdich says:

        Her cleavage was among the deepest and most interesting in the…
        You know what? No. That’s awful. I can’t. Sorry.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          You should be.

        2. Spammy says:

          Sadly, you’re pretty much on the money, because every time she’s on screen it’s to show off her impractically low neckline.

  7. TMTVL says:

    “Hey, we’re here for your ancient priceless artifact.”


    “It’ll save the galaxy.”

    “Okay, go ahead.”

    Yet shops insist on charging you for weapons (or whatever, I haven’t played ME3 and I never will).

    1. anaphysik says:

      To be fair, a significant number of people, especially in the early game, don’t recognize that this is impending doom rather than just another war. (Hint: This is the writers’ fault, since they never let us do anything to prepare.) Others are looking to make big profits in the post-war rebuilding phase, like Mr. Elkoss.

      An interesting mechanic for a ‘the world is doomed, save the world!’ plot that I’ve never heard implemented before: have shops/inns/etc react to the plot (in a more complex way than the usual ‘the bad guy blew up our town therefore the shop is gone’). Frex, start out with normal shops, but as the world-dooming-whatever becomes more obviously world-dooming (and as the hero/band of heroes becomes more well known) have them basically give the heroes whatever they need for free.

  8. Deadpool says:

    What REALLY bothers me about the Asari’s lack of diversity is that, storywise, their preferred mode of reproduction is WITH OTHER SPECIES. Most Asari we meet are only HALF Asari and they all LOOK THE SAME.

    They have the best excuse to look completely different and they are the ones that look the most similar to each other.

    1. Tse says:

      They are not half asari. All of the genetic material comes from the mother. I’m not sure how scrambling their own DNA works, though. Wouldn’t most of their children be unable to survive?

      1. False Prophet says:

        It seems like they inherit superficial personality traits from the father’s race–e.g., krogan rage, salarian intellect. Probably makes no sense biologically, but even the most highly-regarded hard-sf classic stories, however accurate their math and physics, usually get biology wrong.

      2. Deadpool says:

        It never makes much sense… Still, they take the traits of the father through space magic, WHY NOT MAKE THEM TAKE PHYSICAL TRAITS AS WELL?!?

        At least then we’d have some sort of diversity with the race…

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Because they’re biologically completely incompatible through classic reproductive systems? It’s not like they take DNA.

          1. Mattias42 says:

            I chalked up the differences to nurture rather then nature.

            It just seemed natural (Pun intended!) for someone raised in part by a Krogan to be more gun-ho then say, someone with a Salerian parent.

            The Assari belief that the “Daddy” contributes more on the spiritual side would probably encourage such behavior on a cultural basis as well. “She’s a bit violent with the other kids don’t you think? Well, uhm, you see, when I where a dancer I had this thing with a Vorcha… Oh…”

            1. anaphysik says:

              But how do you explain the allergy to dairy? :P

          2. Deadpool says:

            You’re missing the point. Why are they like that? Because the writers CHOSE that way.

            Point is, they had the perfect hook to have the Asari be the most visibly variable alien species in the game and they avoided it.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      This goes back to the poor design. They are all monolithic, but their abilities, culture, and reproduction are really interesting. Until you think about it and realize: space magic.

      And again, other than a handful of “pureblood” insults, nothing is ever made of it. The Asari could have been the Anti-Protheans. Instead, they are the blue-skinned step children.

  9. Deadpool says:

    Btw, I have an Alienware that can’t run any current gen games…

    1. Tse says:

      Well, over 50% of what you paid was just for the brand name…

      1. Deadpool says:

        Roomate paid for it, but yeah.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I got a budget Dell 2 years ago, and it can’t run XCOM. On the other hand, I got the XBox precisely so that I could a desktop speced for work, rather than shelling out massively for graphics and games.

    3. anaphysik says:

      My integrated-graphics laptop runs current-gen games….

  10. PureIrony says:

    The thing I’ve always found strange about the asari is that they’re largely taken seriously in the games, and in-universe they’re considered very powerful and respected and portrayed in a positive overall light…

    While from a lore perspective, they’re creepy as hell. I mean, they’re blue space babes that can mate with anything, whose society encourages them to mate with other species, are considered universally attractive and go through(not entirely clear how universal/subjective) different phases of their life, which can be summed up as:
    1.Hedonistic Stripper/Mercenary/Valley Girl

    2. Dedicated Mother

    3.Magic Oracle with huge cans

    It’s a really weird dissonance. It’s like there were two different teams both trying to accomplish entirely different goals with the same race.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      The maiden/matron/matriarch progression is just a physiological manifestation of fairly typical societal progression. Basically, single to mother to grandmother.

      They just put way too much emphasis on the fanservice aspect that their reproductive system apparently implies (It’s a mental thing, not a physical thing, from what I’ve seen), and I’d rather had seen more of their mediation and diplomacy skills, which is really why they’re so important in the story. They wasted a lot of opportunities in ways they didn’t with most of the other races.

  11. Tse says:

    I don’t think it’s that good that consoles haven’t progressed in such a long time. I don’t have a problem with the graphics, but I’m sick of corridors and small rooms in my games. I have the RAM to render huge detailed spaces, but most games are released on multiple platforms, making console limitations applicable to PCs.
    I liked how in FarCry you have the ability to snipe people from a distance of a kilometer or two and the option to approach from any angle you choose. I liked Crysis for the same reason, even though it was somewhat constrained. I hated how Crysis 2 turned into a corridor shooter.
    I just hope the next console generation will compensate for the shortcomings of the previous one.

    1. Shamus says:

      I can certainly understand this desire, although I'm doubtful a new console generation will help. There's two things you need to make a scene “bigger”:

      1) Do we have the processing to draw it?
      2) Do we have the money to produce it?

      A new console generation will greatly expand our capacity for #1, but DECREASE our potential output with regards to #2. We'll be able to draw more polygons, but they'll cost more than ever.

      This is why I'm always pushing for less graphical bling. With lower-fidelity graphics we might not have as much detail, but our worlds would be larger and we could see more of them.

      1. Tse says:

        I’m not talking about graphic fidelity or quantity of content. I just want the same content in bigger chunks. As in, don’t make this level a series of twenty small rooms, make it into 2 big halls and 5-6 smaller rooms. And don’t give me corridors, arrange the same assets in an organic environment.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Sorry, but publishers and developers can’t help themselves, even if it eventually destroys them. The race for photo-realistic graphics is still very much alive. I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop it.

          1. Bryan says:

            About the only thing we can do is stop buying the games. Eventually one of three things will happen:

            1) The publishers will die, spending themselves into oblivion, and new ones will show up that know what the heck is going on and why photorealism is so harmful

            2) They’ll all die and new ones will need to be taught the same lesson (cue the next cycle)

            3) Not enough people will care and you’ll be right; there won’t be anything we can do to stop it.

            Sadly, I suspect you’ll be right. Too many people are too unaware of what the high costs of games are causing to happen to them — extreme risk aversion — and what this ends up causing. :-(

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              Thing is, they are not making huge profits. They are tanking regardless of how well/poorly they do. Example: Prototype 2 was the number one selling game of it’s opening month and it STILL wasn’t enough to keep the studio a float.

              Regardless of our input on the matter, they seem to be spending themselves into oblivion.

              1. Tse says:

                And the worst thing is that a big part of the money they spend goes toward marketing. Some failed games would’ve been successful if the marketing budget was smaller than the development costs.

              2. False Prophet says:

                How much longer will we still have dedicated gaming consoles? This generation has already seen consoles become living room media centres (I myself was using my PlayStation 2 as my DVD player 10 years ago, although I was a poor grad student at the time)–and consoles are the device most Americans use to access Netflix.

                It’s impossible to predict anything with certainty anymore, but I can see a future where you have an all-purpose media centre in your living room for TV, movies, and games, and another gaming market for phones/tablets. And I really hope the general purpose PC is still an option for the rest of us.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  If we start making media centers, then consoles will be in direct competition with not only PCs but only Smart TVs, which are already implementing that kind of thing. Competing with a product that is required to use your own (TV) is a bad idea.

                  And then PC competition. My laptop is my media hub for the most part. Competing with that is an even worse idea because PCs have become media hubs for so many people.

                  1. anaphysik says:

                    For me, consoles *already* came into competition with PCs. The newest console I own is the *Gamecube*. (The most recent one I bought, though, was a PS2. Or an NES; can’t remember which one I got more recently.)

                    Why would I spend hundreds of dollars on a console so that I can spend scores of dollars on games, when I can get games via Steam sales and play on my laptop (which I /already/ need for school/work/web/goofing off)?

          2. drlemaster says:

            There is only one possible solution, we have to force all the publishers to go bankrupt, to save them from going bankrupt from attempting photorealism. Of course, the next generation of publishers will attempt the same thing, so we’d better make some giant robots that can also cause them to go bankrupt when it is time. And the next group of publishers as well. The cycle must continue.

        2. Steve C says:

          Tse said:”I'm not talking about graphic fidelity or quantity of content. I just want the same content in bigger chunks.”

          Strangely enough you are talking about fidelity and quantity of content. They are linked. Shamus has written about the issue and why it’s a problem a few times. Like here at the bottom where he’s referring to portals. (The comments give even more info.)

          It’s not an insurmountable problem as solutions exist. However every solution has tradeoffs. Project Frontier was all about what you can do if you make the other tradeoff. The consensus here is that game developers are making the wrong tradeoffs and that giving them more powerful hardware will only encourage bad behavior.

          It’s the old story: “When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Giving them a bigger hammer will just make it that much more likely they’ll overlook the perfectly good screwdriver next to it.

          1. Tse says:

            That’s why it’s so sad this console generation has such a small amount of RAM. Because just improving on that would’ve made big non-barren open spaces easier to achieve. With improved all-around hardware everyone will rush to make the next even smaller graphical leap and things will become even worse.
            Also, wasn’t there software to calculate which polygons to render on the fly, without using pre-made portals?

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The bit where you get to fight kai leng,and lose in a cutscene is better than something?HA!

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      That losing in a cutscene is the worst. Especially since he’s such a pathetic jerkwad that there’s no real reason why he get’s the upperhand, even with a gunship. I mean, we took down tons of those things in ME2 and that one looked no different.

      1. Deadpool says:

        I don’t mind the cutscene takedown in theory, but it has to be done well. We have NO reason to believe Kai Leng is more capable than Shepard in any way and the scene does nothing to prove that (which is generally the point of the cutscene takedown).

        1. lurkey says:

          There’s this part when that mudcrab grabs Liara and tosses at your second squaddie, sending them both flying like bowling pins. My second squaddie was Jimmy “Walking slab of concrete wall” Vega. The scene was funny.

      2. Aldowyn says:

        We didn’t take down TONS of them in ME2 (I bet you could count it on one hand), but you definitely COULD, which is enough.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I am more then certain that those things are heavy, weighing in at at least a ton. :3

    2. Ofermod says:

      In my opinion, the worst part is that after you “lose” to him, he sends you an email taunting you about how much you suck. Yes, that’s right. You get taunted by Kai Leng after you only lose to him because you’re being railroaded. It’s as bad as being forced to work for Cerberus, and then getting chewed out by everyone for being dumb enough to work for Cerberus.

      1. Pyradox says:

        I realize that letter’s supposed to make me mad, but I don’t think it’s supposed to make me as mad as I was at the writers.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          Mad? I feel bad now. That letter is just so poorly written; I think Kai Leng must be, well… a bit “special.” All this time I’ve been getting pissed off at him for being so bullshit unstoppable, now I think he’s just Cerberus’ Make-a-Wish project.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            This is the same guy who was juvenile enough to eat Anderson’s cereal. I think that kind of writing is in character.

            Kai Leng: Cereal Killer

          2. Phantom Hoover says:

            It reads like one of those 14-year-olds who think they’re Professor Moriarty, with all the clumsily-constructed sentences that try to sound eloquent.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thessia is also the final proof that bioware sucks now.Not because its bad or anything,but because of this.An extremely huge impact on the story,an actual living prothean,and its being treated as a side guy and sold as a dlc.Youd expect something more from a person talking to their actual god than a few meaningless lines of dialogue.But nope,we cant focus on that when we have more important things to show in our game,like some kid dying and then spouting nonsense in the end.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Even worse is the fact that DLC in this case refers to Disc-Locked, not Downloadable, Content. Javik is one the disc and ready to use, but you need to download the mission that unlocks him. It was sold as Day 1 DLC, locked on the disc, and blatantly ripped from the game.

      Fuck you, Bioware!

      1. Tse says:

        Yea, it was funny how a lot of people were saying that part of the DLC wasn’t on the disk while a modified .exe (21MB) was enough to unlock it without any extra downloading.

        1. Ranneko says:

          Never been able to actually get confirmation that you fully unlock it. Because a) most pirate copies (where the crack is used) also include the DLC.

          Was able to get confirmation that you can get Javik as a squadmate for all the actual combat segments, but not as to whether the mission where you unlock him or any of the shipboard/citadel interactions with him which is where the more interesting content lies.

      2. Ranneko says:

        Except that the bit that you really like about this was not disc locked. The squadmate code is on the disc, but not the dialogue or any of the shipboard interactions.

  14. ThomasWa says:

    From what I’ve read in the comments, a terrible boss fight is about to happen. Wow, the similarities to Hotline Miami don’t seem to end!
    (Actually, they end quick. Miami’s a good game. Epilog’s a bit redundant, though.)

  15. el_b says:

    it would have been great if when the crucible is finally built you find out it works like the halo rings, killing everything the reapers could harvest, you could have the option to destroy the universe to spite them as you bleed out.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      We kill ourselves,or we die!

      1. IFS says:

        Both are so enticing…

    2. Aldowyn says:

      I’ve been comparing the way to defeat the reapers in ME3 to the Halos since the ME2 season. I’m sure it’s on here somewhere.

  16. Eric says:

    I’m glad you brought up the FOV issue.

    If your game has a low FOV to the point of discomfort, I immediately take it as proof that you do not understand PC games or PC gamers, that you do not care about the quality of your PC port, and that you probably care less about ensuring good playability than you do in ensuring your precious graphics are displayed exactly as you intended.

    It’s just as bad as a lack of attention to colour blindness, poor key binding options, lack of subtitles, etc. Yet it always seems to get a free pass as being a “sign of the times.” It shouldn’t. It’s wrong and I think it’s worth actively boycotting a game over.

    Even some games with FOV adjustments, like Dishonored, seem to miss the point. As good as the PC port is, it also maxes out at 85 degrees, which is 5 less than the standard 90. What’s more, apparently the developers never realized that Unreal Engine 3 cuts off the top and bottom of the image in widescreen mode rather than expanding it, so when playing on a widescreen display, that 85 FOV is more like 70. In Mass Effect 3? “Derp, using an FOV tweak online gets you banned forever from multiplayer.” Thanks, EA.

    I just don’t understand how these problems can pass you buy, unless you either do not care, or don’t have people experienced with PC gaming on your team. It’s probably a combination of both.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I honestly never thought too much about FOV until I started to play PC Games during the summer drought. As a console gamer, I’ve had no reason to worry about it.

      But in ME3, and even 2, I could tell that the camera was way too close. There was no reason for that.

      1. guy says:

        I’m a PC gamer and I totally zone out when it comes to things like FOV, but I knew something was wrong with ME3’s third-person even if I couldn’t exactly pinpoint what.

      2. Eric says:

        For me it’s not a matter of the camera being “too close.” A low FOV causes disorientation and nausea. It’s like staring at a piece of paper that’s too close to your face and trying to make out the words, or like looking at the world through a magnifying class. I don’t see how you could not notice it.

        An FOV of about 60-65 degrees is used on console games for two reasons: 1) to limit the amount on-screen in order to save on rendering 2) because at standard TV distance, the human eye’s “real” FOV is roughly 60 degrees, if you discount what you’re not seeing outside of the TV’s borders. The problem is that when you move closer, like on a PC monitor, you’re taking that 60 degrees when in reality it should make up more like 90 degrees to feel natural. That’s what causes the zoomed-in feeling and is so off-putting – your brain thinks you should be able to see more due to the distance you are sitting at.

        Not having FOV options in games is lazy, because it’s very simple to implement, and furthermore it shows a disregard for usability and comfort. This is the sort of thing that just about anyone who’s sat down and played PC games extensively should be able to pick up on, either personally or through interacting with people with a PC background.

        1. Mattias42 says:

          Regarding Dishonored, since it is a multiplatform release perhaps they couldn’t?

          I don’t even know anyone that bought the console versions, but IF they also have the FOV options, then perhaps 90 degrees on a console leads to a slideshow. Just speculation, but considering how old the 360 and PS3 are starting to get…

          Of course no reason not to add it to the PC release, but personally I was vary impressed by the dept of options. There’s even an option to just remove rat shadows!

          *EDIT* Oh, and regarding FOV in general? I’ve been gaming since I was 7-8 something. Both on PC and consoles and I extremely seldom notice FOV. Only when things are rely bad.

          To again point to Dishonored, I could not tell you what’s different between the lowest and the highest setting, I’m so used to variances in FOV that my mind glosses over it.

          I do find a higher number more comfortable, but most of the time it is simply not a issue for me.

          But then again so is colorblindness modes and if that allows more to play, then it boggles my mind that so few studios care about customers with these kinds of problems.

          1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

            Being multiplatform is not a valid reason, since you can just disable an option (not show it) on consoles while still having it on PCs. Not a big loss since it’s not nearly as important on consoles to begin with. If it has a multiplayer mode, then you might want to turn it off there for all platforms, but that’s about it.

            Edit: “Multiplayer” meaning competitive multiplayer here. And of course people should be notified about the FOV lock in MP before purchase.

        2. Piflik says:

          The FoV issue is the complete opposite for me actually…I don’t really play games on my PC, but when I am doing 3D modeling I usually use a FoV of 45° to look at my models. Even the 60° FoV some model viewers use by default is so distracting that I have to turn it down, since it distorts the proportions and things seem to be longer/higher when seen in such a high FoV…90° is completely unusable for me.

          But then again maybe my monitors are too small/far away from my eyes and with a single big widescreen monitor it might be a different situation.

          1. X2Eliah says:

            I’d guess that also quite probably a single viewport you are using for the 3d aspect is not taking up the whole display.

            Also – at least on 3ds max – it seems that the perspective angling it is using is very very different from within a 3d game. Idk why, but it just feels very different in how angles and distance-convergence of sightlines is concerned.. Almost as if super-emphasized.

          2. Eric says:

            Well yeah, there’s always a slight fisheye effect whenever you have perspective involved (even in real life, you just don’t notice it because it’s in your peripheral vision and you are so used to it). Switch to orthographic view if you have trouble with perspective. :p

        3. SleepingDragon says:

          I actually didn’t have the problem with FOV in ME3, but I was playing a biotic so the combat pace felt much less hectic, I did experience the “uncomfortably close” thing Rutskarn mentions though. Plus if the tech can handle it there’s really no good reason not to use the FOV that most people are comfortable with (or, better yet, ability to switch it). If the default one causes a lot of people discomfort it must be pure joy in multiplayer…

        4. Steve C says:

          It’s been said before but Guild Wars 2 has exceptionally bad FOV and camera angles. It’s completely unplayable in windowed mode.

    2. Ofermod says:

      As bad as poor keybinding? You mean like binding every action to a single key and not allowing them to be split up?

    3. Deadfast says:

      I physically cannot stand low field of view in games, it makes me motion sick. So good job Bioware, your game is full of plot holes, uninspired graphical design and it would probably make me feel like throwing up if I were to play it.

    4. Eruanno says:

      I played Mass Effect 3 on Xbox (and a lot of other games, my sofa is very comfortable, okay?) and even I wanted to back away two or three steps from Shepard. And don’t get me started on playing a Krogan in the ME3 multiplayer. He takes up half of the damn screen. It’s like wearing blinders.

  17. IFS says:

    About having all companions with you at once the only reason I can think of for why they wouldn’t do this is that you would be too powerful with a full team on your side. On the other hand if they designed it for this to begin with the game would just have to have a bigger tactical element (which could be good or bad), it would also let you get to know all the characters better, make it easier to script dialogues, remove the stupidity that is the arbitrary party limit. If it had happened in me2 it would have reinforced the whole “building your team” part of the game and make it more enticing to recruit new squaddies. For me3 it could easily be used to reinforce the “we need to work together to fight the reapers” idea. It might also decrease replay value, but if they handled it right it wouldn’t affect it that much.

    1. Amnestic says:

      Harder to do linear corridor shooters when you have 5 party members with you (I think ME2 got up to 10+ party members by the end?) :p

      1. Aldowyn says:

        ME2 eventually ended up with a “dirty dozen” set of people, I believe. Certainly a LOT to have in a shooter.

        1. Amnestic says:

          It made that whole “every squad member boards the shuttle and leaves for no real reason” scene even more ridiculous. Twelve people, including a Geth and a Krogan, crammed themselves into that tiny shuttle?

      2. IFS says:

        Yes but if they designed with that number of people in mind from the begining then the environments would presumably be changed to fit that better. But that would mean designing more interesting environments consisting of more than just hallways and chest high walls.

    2. ThomasWa says:

      As far as I know, FF6 is one of the only games to have that entire “use ALL of the characters” thing figured out. In FF7 it was (almost) pointless.
      Suikoden 2 is another example of how to do it well. Three consecutive battles with three parties of six, against the same enemy, followed up with a duel between said enemy and the protagonist. Epic.

      (Actually, Suikoden was a series I’ve been meaning to bring up some time during this season, since those games handle the “The plot’s about armies and stuff, yet the core combat isn’t” very well, by simply having additional modes of play, such as the aforementioned duels, as well as strategy segments.)

      1. Matt K says:

        Yeh, Suikoden was such an excellent series. That battle was appropriately epic.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      I don’t about making dialogue scripting easier. After all, there is still the possible of losing BOTH Kaiden and Ashley (at least one of them has to die anyway). Also, Garrus and Tali could bite the dust before the game either begins.

      Even if you include all the characters in a conversation and bring them all with you, then you’d STILL have issues to address. Possibly even more issues.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Example issue: I can’t stand character X, why do I still have to listen to them?

        1. Aldowyn says:

          The answer to that is make recruitment optional, I’d say.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Optional recruitment / variable recruitment order actually makes the writing harder (remember, Ruts’ point was about making it easier), since now some of the people you expected to spew lines or retorts or whatever wouldn’t even be there. It further encourages the modular nature of dialogue writing that ME has as is. Just pointing that out.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont think the problem is that youd be too powerful.It can be balanced.The problem would come from the combat ai.Just imagine how much stupid youd witness if you had your whole team with you.And you dont want to constantly micromanage 6 guys,so combat ai would be crucial here.

    5. guy says:

      The arbitrary party limit can be infuriating in games with a full influence system like Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansion. In Mask, it’s extra-annoying because all the characters are cool and there’s precisely one more than the party limit. So I used console commands to add the leftover.

  18. Kel'Thuzad says:

    It’s possible to build a computer better than the 360 for 100$? How? I’m not a computer whiz but that would be a great price.

    1. Wedge says:

      That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but their second point is more valid: that it’s impossible to build something as weak as a 360 using components that are currently on the market. If it *were* possible, though, you could probably build something for roughly that price.

  19. Vect says:

    With the Asari, I just sorta assumed that was part of the whole Star Trek sci-fi experience: A race of (insert color)-skinned Alien Babes for those who want to roleplay Kirk. Similar to how there’s obligated to be a race obsessed with fighting stuff (Krogans). That and to appeal to the mass audience.

    1. Spammy says:

      See, that excuse just falls flat for me. If they wanted to have rubber forehead aliens, they should have rubber forehead aliens. But when you have one race that’s basically a person with a funny head piece on and three races that all have different proportions… it doesn’t mix well. I’d have accepted all the aliens looking like people in costumes. I’d have accepted none of the aliens looking like people in costumes. But you can’t mix the two.

      1. Vect says:

        Well, I just believe that the Asari mainly exist for fanservice and to fill a classic Sci-Fi niche: Alien babes that look humanoid enough to be physically attractive, like the Twi’lek from Star Wars. Not saying it’s necessarily a good thing, just that it’s a niche.

        That and it saves time to have bipedal humanoids for the aliens.

        1. Spammy says:

          But Star Wars is full of aliens that look like people in costumes, so the Twi’leks don’t stick out from the crowd. You could maybe do a Turian costume, although I’m not sure what you’d do for the hips. A Krogan costume would be difficult because of their proportions. I have no idea how you’d fit a human head into a Salarian costume. There are the Quarians, sure, but they had an interesting culture to set them apart and the whole mystery aspect of their appearance.

          My point is that the Asari aren’t as alien compared to the other big races. They’re basically human where the others have different proportions.

          Putting things exteremely, it’s like telling me the Na’Vi and Lovecraft’s Elder Things, Yithians, and Mi-Go all come from the same thing. I can’t really accept the different levels of alien-ness.

          1. Vect says:

            I get what you’re saying now.

            Unfortunately, the only answer I have for you is that the Asari are simply meant to fill the Alien Babe niche. Probably because at the time Bioware thought that no one would probably want to romance the females of species like Turians, Salarians or the Krogans. I guess they could try to have slightly less humanoid yet still somewhat physically attractive races like space catgirls or something, but they probably decided that “Blue Chicks with Head Tentacles” is “exotic” enough.

  20. anaphysik says:

    I like how at 2:12, Ruts just *baaaaarely* manages to avoid saying “EDI’s pose really rubs me the wrong way.”

    It’s learning…

    @4:19: Shepard: “you can’t think about it. You could spend all day counting casualties.”
    See, that’s why Shepard stopped counting at 1.

    @”You’re lookin’ at it!”: Chris, the problem was not the line. It was that Shepard *still* had to ask for clarification for a dummy.

    1. anaphysik says:

      *for clarification *like* a dummy.

  21. About the FOV issue which is a symptom of Consolitis (Sp?).
    Josh is right, it is the TV far away vs monitor close to your face issue.
    Myself I got a the monitor about 1.5x the depth of my keyboard. If I where to stretch out my arm I would knock down my monitor.

    And my monitor is 21.5 inch 1920×1080 (thus a very high pixel density compared to almost all other Full HD (1920×1080) screens)
    Although I haven’t checked, I seem to recall 90 degree FOV being something I preferred in older games (where this could be adjusted in the game options).

    I may remember this wrong, but I seem to recall there is at least one modern game out there that let you specify how many feet away the screen is. (that info combined with the display resolution should allow a quick and ok FOV adjustment without confusing laymen about FOV values)

    Ideally the monitor/OS should provide the physical size of the monitor in addition. As you really need viewing distance + display size + screen resolution to properly create a “hole in the wall” to the game world.

    Shamus, maybe you could add a setting to Project Frontier that let players enter the distance they sit from the screen? Maybe even the “inches” as well. (you can get the aspect ratio from the width/height).

    With screen size, viewing distance and aspect ratio and resolution you can easily cut a hole in the game world and make it look nice whether on a PC monitor or a TV regardless of how far away it is in the room.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      It’s pretty intuitive how FOV issues have to do with distance from the screen. After all, a computer screen typically takes up more of your IRL field of view than a television screen, right? I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the root of the problem.

    2. Bryan says:

      X has automatically configured DPI settings, which (when combined with the pixel resolution) tells you the physical dimensions of the screen. So yeah, we had this figured out in 1970. :-P

      (“xdpyinfo | grep dimensions” to get the info out, if you’re on an OS that has xdpyinfo. The X server, at least on my machine, gets the DPI info from EDID data, pulled directly from the monitor; that info is also accessible via get-edid and parse-edid if you have them, or via nvidia-settings and some manual parsing if you’re running the nvidia binary drivers.)

      So in short, if you can get at the EDID data (and if it’s correct), you can trivially figure out how large the physical screen actually is; that plus a distance from the user’s eyes to the screen trivially determines a pyramid, which should determine the FoV — though it’ll be different along the X axis than the Y axis. Most games seem to not care.

      However, I should also note that automatically calculating the FoV this way can still have issues. If the user wants to see more of the game world even though they’re sitting farther away from the monitor, there’s no way to do it unless the calculations can be overridden…

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      If they know my TV screen is 7 feet away, why do they make the subtitles and splash-screens so bloody tiny?

      1. Eric says:

        Don’t you have perfect eyes and a 60 inch TV?! You moron, you’re going to make their bone-headed looks-over-function UI designers cry!

  22. guy says:

    So, as mentioned in the Twitter feed, a female Turian was unveiled.

    Looks pretty good, and I dearly wish they’d designed the model earlier so we might have actually seen one in-game.

    1. Amnestic says:

      Link for anyone who doesn’t feel like googling.

      Still not sure what I think about the Turian female model. The cynic in me says that this is just a marketing gimmick. Like they were saving the female turian so that they could drop it in a DLC.

      What I will say is that the neck looks too thin to me. Face looks okay and I suppose they deserve credit for not Male Turian+Boobs.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Link’s doing that annoying thing where it goes hyperlink-text-coloured-and-stuff, but doesn’t actually work. Crops up fairly often on Shamus’ blog comments. Not sure why. Different tags? a tags with an href attribute usually work for me here…

        1. Amnestic says:

          Odd. Regardless: was the link I was sending you to since it was the one I was using :p

      2. Indy says:

        The “lipstick and boobs” comment is amazing. How did these guys become character designers for a massive game company? That’s just… aggravating to me.

      3. drlemaster says:

        Why do the females have to look different at all? Here on earth, in real life, we have animals where the adult males a females are so different you’d think they were different species, and some where you can barely tell them apart. Of course, with all that variety to work with, they go with the tried and true model of: males look like some fantasy race, females look like an attractive young woman wearing sexy Halloween costume of said fantasy race.

    2. Otters34 says:

      Problem I have with it is that…you know how Garrus’ face-plating IS his face to most people? Well, the turian lady looks like someone wearing a turian face-plate mask. I know that and the larger eyeholes and the overall appearance is so people can go “Oh, that’s a female turian.” but it still feels like making the alien prettier just for ease of recognition. Which would be less of an issue if the female salarians weren’t so similar to the males, meaning they COULD make slight differences work.

      Of course, complaining that the alien looks too pretty is mad, but it would have been nice if there were just very subtle indicators that told you the turian was male or female, due to their very rigid and uniform society being such a big deal in the lore of the series.

    3. Klay F. says:

      I’m probably in the minority here, but that character model just looks all sorts of wrong, and it makes me feel really uneasy looking at it.

      First off, the head shape…WHY? It just looks like a person in a mask with a shaved head. Compare Garrus’ head shape, to the female’s head. Its fundamentally different.

      Also, it looks like the female has actual lips. *shudder*

      1. burningdragoon says:

        I don’t really like it from what I’ve seen either. It reminds me of the alien from Species.

      2. Luhrsen says:

        She has the same cheek extentions as Saren. Does that mean Saren was female? Where is the fringe that Garrus said females have in place of the crest? Why is her head human shaped instead of reptile shaped? Why did they make the ‘lipstick’ comment and then put lipstick on her anyway? Why are her eyesockets so huge compared to males? Why are her irises catlike instead of the round ones males have? Why does she have eyelashes? Why does she have a giraffe neck so much longer and thinner than males?

  23. smejki says:

    I don’t know where i read about it but a certain article brought up an idea that the higher the FOV (85-95 instead of current 75) the more information for the player and thus more tactical behavior of the player. Maybe this is the main reason why so many modern games look more frenetic, chaotic and direct action oriented. Sure it is more convenient for a console player to have 75 FOV and have things bigger and more of a tunnel vision when he sits so far from he screen. But on the PC, so close to the monitor? Only 90 is optimum. And not many many game enable this change easily not to talk about default value.

  24. False Prophet says:

    I know this trope is invoked to simplify things for the audience. But I’ve always found it puzzling that all these different races have different cultures and biologies–and every military force uses the same Anglo-American ranks system.

  25. GM says:

    it kinda look´s like the fov is 55 same as a game called Darksiders 2 way too low for pc´s.

  26. Squash says:

    I remember playing Quake 2 and being able to set the POV to any value at all. Running around with a POV of 180 was trippy.

  27. Din Adn says:

    You know what I realised this episode?

    If Shepard had been male, there would be no female humans available for their squad.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Well, Ashley is the only human female for a squadmates, so that’s statistically likely. Most people probably killed her over Kaiden.

  28. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

    The talk about the FOV brought to my mind the discussion about the camera in Guild Wars 2. And I wonder if the problem with not seeing sights in Guild Wars 2 naturally is not in fact a problem with the camera placement or where it is pointed, but the low Field Of View.

    Granted, with MMOs FOV isn’t as simple as “do you have the hardware to run it higher” since when you can see more you also need more data from the server about other players, mobs and so on. And it could hurt the PvP, although the game could just change your FOV temporarily to a specific one when in PvP.

    1. Tse says:

      I always thought MMOs sent info on everything around the player, enabling you to turn around sharply without characters popping in from thin air.

      1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

        I have no clue on how it actually works in a lot of them since they have such strange slow-downs and pop-ups that seem to be related to the connection. So I’m basically guessing that at least for longer distances servers only send data for stuff that’s in front of you.

        Of course if I’m wrong, then all I can say is “why the frell don’t we have FOV sliders in MMOs?”

    2. Kdansky says:

      Guild Wars 2 has a beta-option to increase it to a more bearable ~75, which is still painfully small, but at least just “annoying” instead of “claustrophobic”.

      Some devs (like the mentioned Arenanet) also don’t know about how 60° FoV in 2000 is a lot more than 70° in 2012. Because those numbers are about width, and our screens went from 17″ 4:3 to 30″ 16:9, while our eyes didn’t change. My current gaming screen is literally about twice as wide (DPI is nearly the same, which is another huge problem, but I digress) as the screen I used when WoW was released. Does the angle need to change? Of fucking course!

      I mean:
      1280 x 1024 at 19″ in 2005
      1980 x 1080 at 30″ in 2012

      Height is all but identical. Guess where those 11″ size increase went?

  29. Phantom Hoover says:

    A pet peeve of mine is Liara’s comments about the Banshees. She’s been fighting at Shepard’s side while humans and Turians and Krogan are being processed en masse into Reaper footsoldiers, so it makes it sound like her attitude is “oh my god, they’re doing it to US now as well? The bastards have gone too far!” And the Asari have it pretty easy — only about 1% of their population are even able to be turned into Banshees.

    1. Tse says:

      Well, they are the goddess’s (a.k.a. Protheans) chosen, after all.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        Unintentional theme of Mass Effect: Nobody gives a shit about other species.

  30. Neko says:

    I can’t stand low FOV games. Borderlands 1 gave me headaches from playing it until I realised it was the FOV, hours of .ini file hacking later and it’s one of my favourites. Same with Saint’s Row 3 – I could not drive a car without crashing into things until I downloaded a fix.

    The point about distance-to-screen is a very valid and important one, but there’s on extra bit of detail I think should be mentioned. A lot of discussion about FOV goes into how many degrees would be appropriate for the human eye, while assuming that “Player’s Camera” == “Character’s Eye”. It’s not.

    The player can control the character’s head position and where they’re aiming, but it seems the character’s eyes are assumed to be glued into their heads locked in a front-facing position. If you include the fact that our eyes are supposed to quickly scan left and right when looking at a scene, the effective “field of view” that I would find useful is much higher. Anything else feels like I’m wearing blinkers and a neck-brace.

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