Mass Effect EP18: Bow Chicka Wow Wow

By Shamus
on Dec 14, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Warning: This episode contains Mass Effect’s infamous XXX hard core pornographic sex simulation*. Viewers strongly cautioned.

* And by “pornography” we mean, “a fleeting side view of a bare female bottom”.

This whole sex scene feels like a thirteen year old trying to seem adult by cussing and spitting on the ground. Look at me! I’m a mature medium with adult themes! I have sexytime scenes just like in the movies. TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!

And as bad as this is, Dragon Age was even worse. The clothed sex scenes were funny, awkward, and embarrassing.

I think Randy’s suggestion about being able to break down doors is actually an interesting idea. Not in a “all games should do this” kind of way, but more like, “What would happen if this was an option?”

Say the player encounters a locked door, according to the ancient videogame traditions. The design doc calls for a five-minute excursion into the nearby mook factory to get the key. However, you also offer the player the option to just bust the door down, and you make the door-busting gameplay take about as long as the mook assault. The gameplay could consist of some interactive but not stimulating system where you have to alternate between shooting the door, kicking the door, and ramming the door with your shoulder, gradually wearing down the structure of the thing. (Or burning, hacking, lockpicking, spraying with acid, or whatever is appropriate for the setting.) The point is that the player shouldn’t be able to tape the X button down and walk away. They have to stand there and make it happen.

How would players respond to this? How many would choose the boring but safe route, and how many would choose the typical videogame route? How many would take offense that the option simply exists, even though it’s just an option? How many die-hard roleplayers would feel obligated to do things the boring way because it’s the most in-character choice to make?

I’m not saying it would be good. I’m just curious how people would respond.

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202020206There are now 86 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. baseless research says:

    Couldn’t you do that in Deus Ex? Pretty sure explosives were a useful alternative to finding the nanokey or using lockpicks.

    Now that I think about it, Thief had a better system. You could use your sword to bash down doors (they would open, not break into pieces) using your sword. However, it made a LOT of noise, and it took several swings.

    • Dev Null says:

      Thats what I was going to suggest (forgot they had it in Thief; time for a replay…) At the first hit on the door, enemies should start gathering on the other side. By the second or third someone should just start shooting through the door…

    • Mattias42 says:

      Dishonored as well, but balanced by that all the ways to do so are noisy as hell.

      Not that that matters on a “kill them all” run where one usually employ such tactics…

    • Deadfast says:

      Yes, with the exception of reinforced metal doors most could have been blown up into smithereens.

  2. Harry says:

    A fleeting side-view of a bare female bottom? BAN THIS SICK FILTH, what about the children, etc, etc

    • Nyctef says:

      Yeah, personally I thought ME’s sex scenes were generally tasteful and well done, it was the whole media outcry that made them seem childish and silly.

      • Taellose says:

        Agreed. Particularly the ones in ME1. The ones later in the series were alternately awkward and overly conservative most of the time. But ME1 achieved the goal of making it clear what was going on, being just that little bit racy, without being tawdry or clumsy.

        DA:O missed the mark, mostly because they were afraid to remove the underwear from the models, and fell into the uncanny valley of in-engine model interaction a bit too far. DA2 was less bad about the latter, as I recall (though I’ve only ever seen the ones for Isabella and Anders with a female Hawke, myself).

        • StashAugustine says:

          DA:O felt a little more natural story-wise, more of “the end of a long relationship” and less “I talked to you four times, fuck me now.” DA also let you define how fast the relationship went (although it unlocked the achievement immediately after the Warden had sex, which just feels tacky.)

        • False Prophet says:

          DA2 was better. It avoided most of the dating sim logic like “I told you in conversation #3 that I liked leather boots. You gave me leather boots in conversation #4. Take me now, nameless Warden!” (There were still gifts but you couldn’t buy NPC love with them alone.) NPC Romance in DA2 was less of a game and more of a choice. If you wanted a romance, you chose the flirt option. If you didn’t, you didn’t choose the flirt option. It made the romances more about “role-playing” than “roll-playing”. And the sex scenes were a tasteful fade to black. Given how silly these character models look knocking boots, I’d say that’s for the best.

    • Torsten says:

      I bet the whole outcry would not have happened if that bottom was still wearing a thong.

      • Wedge says:

        IIRC, a lot of the outcry also came from bigoted homophobe-types that were appalled that one of the options was for your female character to get it on with another female(ish) character.

        • Raygereio says:

          Correction: the entirety of the outcry came from people who knew absolutely nothing about the game and just stired up a little outcry to pander to their fanbase with the old rock&roll… err, I mean videogames are ruining our kids shtick.

          Never mistake directed malice for general stupidity.

          • StashAugustine says:

            The thing about the ME sex controversy was that it was so ludicrously overblown. At least Hot Coffee existed, with ME people were basically making it out to be a pornographic MMO. Anyone who realized that one of the pairings was same-sex (from a certain point of view) would have to have done enough research to notice what the game actually contained.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If only we had human revolution back then,we would have such a funicular with this episode.

  4. spelley says:

    Seems like in a Deus Ex-style game you could actually make the door bashing mechanic mildly interesting (at least as interesting as a hacking mini-game or equivalent). The system could take these factors into account:

    Door Material:
    Metal – Hard to break, can’t bust down “traditionally”
    Glass – Easy to break, mild noise, no extra skills, leaves a lot of glass (could be used for environmental damage)
    Wood – Moderate to break, can bust the door down, makes a lot of noise if you bust down

    Hinges:
    Are the hinges easy to get to? Are they sturdy? I’ve seen hard, solid doors with weak hinges. What material are THEY made of?

    Skills:
    You could have skills that make it easier to get through doors. Maybe you have training breaking down wooden doors quickly (but loudly). Maybe you know how to use a glass cutter to get through a glass door without breaking it down. Basic handyman skills to know how to unset the hinges, etc etc. Along with basic strength or agility-style checks

    Items:
    You have a glass cutter, or a ram, or some tools, or acid, electricity etc. that helps you get through a door.

    —————————————

    Basically, you can make it so that all doors have a “pick-lock” mini-game based on various factors. QTE would work well for this purpose, as well as a simple “Going for the hinges/locking mechanism/the door itself” targeting mechanism. It could piggyback onto whatever your “pick-locks” variant is in that game as picking the lock is just another option that has other benefits (the door is open quietly, and there is no obvious damage)

    This would encourage different doors for different purposes, and would actually cause the level designer to think about things like “this door is supposed to be super secure that only 1 person knows how to open…so why is it just a plain-jane wooden door? What consequences would happen if they just busted it down?”

    As long as you made the above “modifiers” only increase/decrease the length/difficulty of the challenge involved. You can EVENTUALLY break down any door…but if you aren’t equipped well to do it, it takes you the appropriate amount of time.

    ….

    I have probably overthought this.

  5. MrGuy says:

    Honestly, I’d just like to have C4 occasionally lying around. Much, much less than there are doors, but some. So, if you have some, you can say “y’know what? Screw this plot door fetch quest” and blow the door. You can’t skip them all, but you can skip any particular plot door quest you desire.

    And really, there are games that DO have logical equivalents to this, just not with the “use explosives on door” literal gameplay. Fallout’s a good example, actually. Fallout 3 lets you can skip the entire “bust the kids out of Paradise Falls” quest by speech checking the head guy in…that place. New Vegas allows you to skip the whole Come Fly With Me quest by breaking into a room and stealing the info you need (as shown in spoiler warning).

    • Amnestic says:

      I forget, but isn’t it a perk (“Child at Heart”) which is required for Little Lamplight rather than a speech check? A perk which otherwise is pretty much entirely friggin’ useless?

    • Wedge says:

      This came up in the ME3 playthrough, but it’s a problem that a lot of developers seem to have–they want to give the players “choice”, but only if that choice doesn’t allow them to skip their precious content. For some reason, devs seem absolutely TERRIFIED of the idea of a player missing content, and this philosophy hamstrings attempts at making meaningful choices in games. Imagine if killing the Rachni queen in ME1 meant that the Rachni queen mission in ME3 just hadn’t been there? It would have made a lot more sense, and given weight to the decision you made way back in ME1, but instead they just hand-wave it.

      I have to give Bethesda credit on this one–the entire TES series is based around the idea of laying out an enormous buffet of content in front of the player and saying “here, take whatever you like!” Maybe you’ll never get to the jellied prunes/Markarth missions, but someone else will, and that’s okay! And as for choices, they even got that right with the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim: instead of joining the Brotherhood and doing their entire quest arc, you can instead choose to just go fucking kill them. If it had been BioWare, they would have found some way to *still* force you to join the Brotherhood even after you made the decision to fight them.

      • Dasick says:

        Skyrim has way too many essential NPCs, especially compared to Oblivion and Morrowind.

      • Mattias42 says:

        To act as devils advocate, Bethesda did that mistake in Skyrim with the thiefs guild.

        Not only are they a bunch of horrible bastards, they are stupid, horrible, immortal bastards that make dark deals with lovecraftian horrors for the evulz.

        Honestly, the main-character has a chance to end organized crime in all of Skyrim, but the game just says “Nope!”

        • Wedge says:

          Yeah, Skyrim definitely wasn’t perfect on that front. It bothered me that, given that you CAN decide to destroy the DB, that you couldn’t do the same with the Thieve’s Guild, or the Companions for that matter.

          • Amnestic says:

            Could’ve done with an option that wasn’t the Empire or Stormcloaks too. What if I think the Stormcloaks are a bunch of racists and the Empire isn’t right for Skyrim either – but I also don’t want the war to continue? Say I wanted to have Balgruuf become High King.

            Or, hell, how about I become High King/Queen?

            • Dasick says:

              Too many options for a modern game to give you.

              And in the end, it would probably change nothing, considering the way Skyrim handles player choice.

              • Amnestic says:

                I don’t think it is impossible. In fact, the way I’ve described it offers four – the exact same number of choices as New Vegas. You’ve got Empire (NCR), Stormcloaks (Caesar), Balgruuf (Mr. House, I guess?) and the Dragonborn (Wild Card).

                I agree, it’d probably change nothing, but it’d be something at least.

                • Jingleman says:

                  But the New Vegas choices didn’t change anything. Skyrim goes on indefinitely after the Civil War ends, and the ramifications of your choices are supposed to be evident throughout the world afterwords (and it was still limited and underwhelming). In New Vegas, you could have had twelve dozen choices, and it would just have been a voiceover at the end saying “…and he made choice 87B. Doesn’t war suck?”

                  If a game intends to change the game world based on player choice, I don’t think technology is there yet to make more than a very few options viable. I hope that it eventually becomes easier and less costly to develop games and that memory limitations become irrelevant, so that the kind of multiple-faction war you suggest could become commonplace.

          • Mattias42 says:

            A bit more consistency in such matters would definitely not have gone amiss.

            Still, why are Assassins worse then The Mob according to this game?

            You can (usually) only kill a man once, shakedowns and protection-fees can last a lifetime.

            • Ciennas says:

              I would have been satisfied with an option to destroy them both, myself. And then deal with the repercussions in game; the thieves guild thugs start trying to kill you, and try to frame you for misdeeds you didnd’t do, while the dark brotherhood could always send a spectral assassin or two. Cicero’s still out there if you destroy the sanctuary, and Dawnstar would still hold him.

              (Alternately, just note that both are near impossible to eradcate, but you broke their finger holds in the region.)

              Of course, last time they gave us a lot of choices (Morrowind), they dropped a friggin asteroid, detonated a volcano, launched a demonic invasion, and for good measure had an angry mob torch whatever was still standing afterwards.

              And after that, they dropped in a continent wide war, if you liked Cyrodil.

              So, yeah. They apparently don’t like giving choices that stick for very long.

              I would rather like them to incorporate things between games myself. If you played the previous game, answer a few questions, that would set flavor text flags properly.

              For instance, if you side with the empire or stormcloaks, they mention how they’re ruling skyrim in the next game. You know they won’t let you come back there, so it wouldn’t hurt too much, in terms of manpower or writing.

              (Relatedly, since we know they’re not going to let us come back here, they could maybe drop most of the essential tags, like on the head of the Black-Briar family. Tell me no one here would consider a pro bono assassination on that lady.)

              • Indy says:

                Unfortunately, Maven Black-Briar is a Jarl and so can’t be killed. She only becomes Jarl if the Empire wins but to keep up that possibility, she gets tagged as essential.

                • Ciennas says:

                  Still could have been done. Remove essential tag, and in the event of Jarl death, spawn a third neutral Jarl who would side with whoever won. Like with the Housecarls- they don’t exist until you become Thane. That would have been slightly more work, but it would have been nice to have the option.

                  Alternately, in the event of Jarl death, return/elect remaining Jarl, flag remaining as essential. Player choice, up to enough of a point. Record one or two more lines of dialogue explaining the changeover of power.

                  So it coulda been done. And in my naive state, I don’t see how that could break anything or lead to too much work.

      • Thomas says:

        I thought the Rachni queen mission was optional?

        • Taellose says:

          In ME3 it is, but not in ME1. But I think he meant that if you kill the Queen in 1, the RACHNI are absent from 3. As in, no Ravagers at all. And, of course, you also don’t get the War Asset of having the real Rachni assist on the Crucible. Would have made for an interesting trade-off–combat in key places becomes easier, but at the cost of fewer resources in the final battle.

          Of course, the War Assets should have been more transparent or better balanced. It drove me crazy that, as-released, the little green bar fills up WAY before you’ve actually got an optimal amount of resources marshaled, and there’s no way to know how many ARE optimal, except to go online and hunt for guides, or replay the game repeatedly to discover all the variations. And now, they’ve simply invalidated the system entirely by lowering the threshold to a ridiculous degree. They “addressed” the problem the same way they did all the flaws of ME1: they essentially removed it from the game entirely, to all practical purposes.

          • Wedge says:

            No, the war assets just shouldn’t have existed in the first damn place. Reducing all the “your choices matter!” decisions down to numbers on a fucking spreadsheet is the biggest, laziest copout they could have possibly done.

          • Thomas says:

            Okay well that’s different from the developers being terrified of players missing content (because they specifically gave you the option to skip it =D) I guess that’s thoughtlessness, or not wanting to balance most of the later levels of the game for two enemy sets. (It would have been braver to give the players a less challenging game by not having Rachni, but then we’re talking about making players play about 40+ hours of game just so that they can play levels flow balanced to the appropriate difficulty level. I barely died in ME3 as it was and about half the time I did it was to a Rachni)

  6. Torsten says:

    Remember, this is a game that gives the player several times options to murder unarmed civilians who are begging for their lives, option to commit a genocide of a self aware species, and a lot of other acts that can be seen as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet all the uproar was about possibility to develop a romantic relationship.

    The sad thing is, all these years after ME is out, video games and culture regarding them is still just as messed up when it comes to nudity and sexuality in games. If a dating sim and a FPS both get rated for mature audience, you can bet that only the FPS is available in stores, be it retail or digital.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its not just video games,but all form of media.For example,you can show someone being shot(provided there is no blood),or killed in plenty of other ways,and the movie will be just 13+.But show some naked women,and its suddenly 16+.

      • Dasick says:

        The media is a bit more tolerant with regards to violence, but it’s not that much of an imbalance. Blood and tits is where the media draws the line as full on violent and sexual imagery respectively.

      • Mattias42 says:

        I’m a filthy European and would like to point out that the violence/gore = good, sex/love = bad viewpoint is mostly an American thing.

        At least here in Europe the opposite tend to be held as true, but, well…

        Hollywood, need I say more? Whatever else you think of it, its massive global cultural influence is undeniable.

        • Thomas says:

          I’d say it translates a little bit to the UK too. I mean we’ve been repressed in that regards for quite long periods in our history (and unrepressed in other admittedly). We invented the ankle thing =D

          This is a nice summary the opinion of continental Europe on American attitudes though(and my natural instinct was to put a NSFW warning for the first panel and not the second =D)
          http://www.4players.de/4players.php/comics/Spielkultur/182662/BraCry.html

          • Mattias42 says:

            Thank for sharing! Sadly the page doesn’t seem to allow saving, but nice comic.

            For disclosure, I’m a Swede and for 3/4 of the year here it’s either cover up or lose bits, but I live in the middle of nowhere and I have still seen more skin then that on the local beaches.

            Honestly, a fit woman standing topless in front of you… I cant even bring my self to make a “the horror” joke. Id rather see that then a skull turning to red mist in real life, I’ll tell you that at least.
            Besides, she has a flame dancing in her hand and about to for some reason use it on your character, personally I would focus on that.

            I’m frankly fine with both in my entertainment, I just think that the outcry as soon as a nipple is animated is extremely silly.
            Besides, that is what the age ratings are for.

    • Dasick says:

      Even Jack Thompson called out the Sex Effect controversy as being stupid. I still suspect the controvery may have been engineered/promoted to get mass market coverage.
      http://ca.kotaku.com/349423/jack-thompson-defends-mass-effect

      Genocide and war crimes aren’t as visually apparent as your garden variety war and violence. Someone has to actually play the game and pay attention in order to pick those out.

      I’ve seen Katherine on shelves in game stores. I accept both cash and cheques.

  7. Dasick says:

    “Mature” isn’t a theme. How you handle your themes is what determines whether it is mature or not.

    If you give the player the boring but safe option, it is the optimal move. (Of course, with quicksave+quickload anything you do is safe and devoid of tension, but at least we can pretend) There is no in-game incentive to do anything BUT bash the door.

    This is the same thing as the Human Revolutions gun selling exploit. If you give the player the clear optimal move, you can’t balance it by making it boring, because you’re not making the game interesting, you’re just pissing off the gamer trying to play optimally.

    • Tohron says:

      Boring-but-safe isn’t always optimal in an RPG – you don’t get as much XP that way. I know that in some of my later ME runs I fought many of the Mako enemies on foot (including several Thresher Maws) – you get a lot more experience for doing it the hard way.

      • Amnestic says:

        Yep. I think killing enemies in the Mako cuts your XP gain down to about 1/3rd of what it is on foot, so for those min-maxing playthroughs you really want to be circle strafing Thresher Maws on foot (which actually works really well, it just takes forever).

      • Dasick says:

        Well, the given example about breaking down a door is a boring, safe, optimal move. Also, depends on the stated objective and structure of the game. Is the objective to get to the end, or is it to get the highest experience level possible? Can you ‘win’ without all that bonus experience?

        Also, RPGs are the home of grinding, an activity so safe and boring people liken it to just farming monsters for xp. While mass effect is missing that option, easy to kill trash mobs are kind of expected in the genre.

  8. Deadpool says:

    I do believe most people would agree with Achilles on this one honestly…

    Btw, Fallout let you shoot down doors with Shotguns… But not Plasma weapons. Go figure…

    • Ciennas says:

      Well of course not, silly. Shotguns break the door. Plasma lights the door and surrounding countryside on fire.

      Which, incidentally, would be an interesting reason to justify still using bullets in the far future. Mutually assured destruction of all parties, unless one of them is wearing a sealed environment suit.

      Plus, you’ve collaterall’d at least a building, even if you made it out of cinder blocks.

  9. TraderRager says:

    Having recently watched several episodes of Buffy, it strikes me how much in common Oz and Joker have in common. I wonder if Seth Green just plays himself in everything he’s in.

  10. KremlinLaptop says:

    Completely off-topic:

    http://kotaku.com/5967965/obsidian-almost-made-baldurs-gate-3

    Yeah, colour me forty shade of REALLY depressed by that. Also that’s why I keep liking Obsidian.

  11. Taellose says:

    With respect to the proposed door mechanic – it would probably depend on the circumstances, in my own case. It sounds like the unlocking process would be deliberately tedious, so I’d likely only use it if I were currently in bad shape for combat – low health, lack of special power resources, or whatever. And honestly, I’d do so only reluctantly in most games, as I tend to get obsessive about going everywhere and doing everything.

  12. Irridium says:

    BAN THIS SICK FILTH!

  13. gyfrmabrd/unnamednpc says:

    I demand an option to romance the door. And by romance, I mean have teh sexies with it. And by having teh sexies with it, I mean having my bare elbow sort of brush against its out-of-focus sideboob for a few seconds. Hello, my name is Bioware, and I’m an adult!

  14. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I’ve soured on the BioWare sex scenes as I’ve gone along. I think that’s at least partly because they’ve gotten worse.

    As with most parts of a story, the sex scene has to be written in well -which Mass Effect actually did. The relationships with Liara, Kaiden, and Ashley all start early, develop slowly and organically, so the “sleep with me tonight for tomorrow we die” ending makes perfect sense.

    By comparison, Shepard need only be nice to Miranda, and not a complete jerk to Thane. Only the Garrus and Tali romances are even remotely set up, and 90% of the set up happened in the first game.

    By ME3, the lover just shows up in the 3rd act and might as well be holding a sign that says “Doin’ it for the Fans!”

    DA2, sex just happens.

    But DA:O was the worst incorporated sex scene in the lot. When Morrigan makes her offer -if the Warden agrees -the next scene plays the exact same music and motions as if it were actually a consensual, non-negotiated act. This is a tragic and horrific event -especially if the Warden actually loves Morrigan -and this is cast aside to play the soothing lovey-dovey “let’s get it on” music.

    • Thomas says:

      Um? We just had an episode where they accidentally ending up sleeping with Ashley even though they were trying to hit on Liara (and couldn’t even remember speaking to Ashley) and it involved dialogue cues such as ‘get in my bunk’ and Shepard ordering Ashley to go with him.

      So ? I guess. At least in ME2 you have to reach the dialogue end and they make it explicit that you’ve entered an official relationship before people start having sex. Technically sex is forbidden when they have it in ME1

      • Tse says:

        I think Liara just needs more conversations than Ashley. In my playthrough they both came to me and told me to choose. Sadly, they didn’t want to make it interesting. I blame Ashley and her alien-hating ways. In the end, I chose the blue butt…. wait a second… This reminds me of the ME3 ending, you choose between 2 butts and the only difference is the color.

        • anaphysik says:

          “You have three choices. You can choose red butts, thereby destroying all butts; however, you will also destroy butts, and even you are partly butts. You can choose blue butts, thereby controlling all butts. Or you can choose green butts, thereby merging butts and butts. However, all choices will destroy toilets.”

          “Um, no.”

          “SO BUTTS IT.”

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I don’t count Spoiler Warning Let’s plays. They skip the side-stories, and are a magent for bugs.

        • Thomas says:

          I’ll be honest I’m still not buying it. Do you know I accidentally ended up in a relationship with Kaiden in ME1? They’ve both got really stunted dialogue trees compared to normal crew members (because Kashley has a short limit potentially) even the other ME1 one crew members and they take the slightest positive comment as a ‘commit to a relationship thing’. Maybe my conversations with Kaiden, Liara and Ashley were just unmemorable, but I don’t remember them saying much at all. Kaiden had his biotics thing I guess. Liara kinda threw herself on me right at the beginning which I found unpleasant.

          Thane makes you speak to him time and time again, slowly building up trust ganing hope, letting you into secrets. And it takes ages. And when it does it felt more character appropriate than the Face acid that spoiler warning just let me watch.

          I’m mean Bioware relationships really suck. Really really suck. This whole repeated conversation plus paragon option thing is the stupidest way to do a romance possible. But ME1’s romances repulsed me a bit and at least I consented to Thane in order to not break his heart.

          Technically ME3 has the most involving and established, because you’ve got to lay the ground in the previous games and they work on a point system rather than the +dialogue of previous games. But I never followed a romance in it and they all seemed uninteresting to me so I can’t judge where it fits in. The points system wasn’t good enough for the system to still not be stupid

          EDIT: Okay I did some digging. Liara will express love to you if you speak to her just once out of chocie and you don’t have to hint any sense of affection in your one conversation with her. Presumably this is why it felt like she was throwing herself at me.

          And in ME1, anything but a renegade response will continue a relationship

    • Ofermod says:

      Baldur’s Gate II did pretty well as far as romance and when in the relationship the sex happened; even giving you a bad romance end if you said yes to one of the interests too early. I mean, it didn’t exactly handle the pregnancy bit that well in ToB, but…

  15. ACman says:

    The way I usually set up things in table top is that simple doors require a simple strength check or simple lockpicking to break down.

    Barred doors and small gates require multiple strength checks or some sort of ram or explosive.

    Large gates require a several rams or explosives.

    Vault doors require multiple explosives or special tools.

    Then you can add things like alarms, guards, traps, magical enchantment to make it more difficult.

    A door should be a thing for a player to apply his or her skills against not an excuse for a fetch quest.

    The exception is probably when there is some sort of Lovecraftian entity sealed inside of mesa behind massive leaden doors inscribed with eldritch symbols and can only opened by sacrificing a black goat in the circle of light created by lensing the light from three balistraria using the gems of corinth. But that’s a sort of end of campaign thing.

    Any other sort door should be openable using skill or tenacity or brute force. Or you could just knock.

  16. Mike S. says:

    Probably a little late, but the Codex actually addresses the issue of how the nebula around the Citadel manages to stick around for millions of years. (I don’t offhand know if it was in ME1 or if it’s a retcon from one of the later games, but they did give it some thought at some point:

    “At first, the Serpent Nebula was assumed to be made of microscopic construction debris. Prevailing theory holds the Protheans used molecular nanotechnology to manufacture the incredibly durable materials used to make the Citadel. But unlike other nebulae, the Serpent does not dissipate over time. Therefore, it must be replenished constantly. The current popular theory is that the non-recyclable waste collected by the Citadel’s keepers is somehow rendered down to the atomic or molecular level, and ejected into the clouds.”

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