Mass Effect 2: Mordin Solus Part 1

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 18, 2010

Filed under: Game Reviews 120 comments


Half a year ago I promised that I’d write more about Mass Effect 2. After scourging the lame-brained main plot, I felt like I needed to explain why I liked a game despite the failings of the story. I mentioned that Dr. Mordin Solus was the best part of the game. It’s true, but it’s more than that. He’s the best character in the game, and his backstory is linked to the best mission in the game, which stems from the most interesting elements of the Mass Effect universe. Mordin stands above the other characters in the game because his dialog is good, and his dialog is good because he’s perched atop a mountain of lore. I feel like I can’t talk about him until I talk about the mountain. Which is why it took me half a year to write this. Every time I sat down to write 1,000 words about Mordin I found I needed to write 3,000 words about other stuff first.

If you haven’t gotten the clue yet, this series is going to be a long ramble about stuff that many of us will already know. Also, I’ve sprinkled the text with TvTropes links because I’m feeling sadistic.

In Mass Effect 2, the story of Dr. Mordin Solus doesn’t begin when you meet up with him. It begins two thousand years before the opening of the first game. So before we meet Mordin, let’s meet the galaxy…

Mass Relays


In Mass Effect, the only practical way to voyage across interstellar distances is to use the ancient and mysterious mass relays. Not a particularly original setup, but every sci-fi universe needs to tackle the subject of getting around in our obnoxiously spacious universe before it can tell a story that takes place on more than one planet.

Two thousand years ago, it was perfectly acceptable to fly around looking for new mass relays and popping them open to see where they went. There was nothing to suggest that this wasn’t a reasonable thing to do. Then at some point somebody opened a mass relay leading to Rachni space.

The insectoid Rachni were powerful, aggressive, and not really interested in diplomacy. They poured through the mass relay Zerg-style and proceeded to clean the galaxy’s clock. Note that the good guys didn’t open the Rachni relay because of greed or lust for power. They were just exploring and blundered into a previously unknown danger. It was inevitable, really. What were they going to do, not explore the galaxy? Any species with that temperament wouldn’t make it off their home planet.



The story has always been a little coy about the technological makeup of the Rachni. We aren’t told if they had armor, ships, zap guns, or what. During the first game the player runs into a few feral Rachni – basically lion-sized space bugs – and they prove to be quite a handful. They’re leaderless, unarmed, and naked, but they tear through defense systems and armed humans with little trouble. If the Rachni also had the ability to arm and armor themselves, gather intelligence, and organize their attacks, it’s easy to see how they would be almost unstoppable. Having said that, the story doesn’t really talk about them using technology. There are no “leftover Rachni ships” and indeed at a couple of plot points it seems like the only reasonable explanation for the Rachni being somewhere is that they posses an innate ability to travel through space.

Now, this is where your typical sci-fi writer would stop writing and crown the Rachni as their main villain. They would contrive a way to stow the Rachni and then unleash them again at the opening of the story so that the player could face off against this ancient evil. Maybe throw something about a prophecy in there and call it a day. And that would be good enough. (And in fact, this sort of thing does happen in Mass Effect.) Dragon Age did this and it got the job done, story-wise. But here the authors of the Mass Effect universe set up a very interesting chain of events…



It starts with the Salarians, a race of fragile, brilliant, but short-lived amphibians. Their race is characterized by an affinity for using stealth, technology, and guile to overcome their foes as opposed to using numbers and brute strength. They stood with the other races against the Rachni threat, but the Rachni had everyone outgunned(?) and outnumbered. Which is when the Salarians discovered the Krogan…



Like the Klingons and Wookies before them, the Krogen are the archetypal honorable brute race of Mass Effect. Huge, strong, aggressive, clan-based, fearless. According to the codex, the Krogan are a species of large reptilian bipeds native to the planet Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environments, scarce resources, and overabundance of vicious predators.

If I could quibble with the writers here, I think the “scarce resources” idea is a misstep. I assume by “resources” we’re talking about forms of energy, and if so then Tuchanka ought to be brimming with energy. If you want to see a really violent food chain on Earth you need to visit a high-energy, high-moisture place like a rain forest. You need a tall food chain to support a lot of really big predators, and the predators on Tuchanka are bigger and badder than just about anything still alive on Earth. They have huge, fast-moving, spike-shelled, poisonous, claw-wielding carnivores. Something like that needs to consume a ton of calories to keep going, which means it would starve in a place with “scarce” resources.

We have places on Earth with low energy and moisture (tundra, deserts) and they don’t really feature a huge array of hulking, aggressive beasts. (Polar bears are big, but they feed from the sea where the rules are a bit different. They would never be able to find enough food inland.) Low energy environments favor the cautious, patient, and efficient over a noisy rampaging behemoth.

With its densely populated surface covered with large fast-moving predators, Tuchanka sees an incredible amount of energy being burned. Which means there must be a lot of energy available.

But I digress…

The Krogan are phenomenal badasses. Large. Thick skinned. Redundant organs. They reproduce at an astounding rate – a single female can lay perhaps 1,000 viable eggs, which means they could conceivably out-Zerg the Rachni. They mature rapidly so that it only takes a few years before a Krogan is large enough to fight. They are intelligent enough to build industrial-age weapons and can use more advanced stuff if available. (And here is another reason the “scarce” resources thing doesn’t work for me. It would actually be a huge disadvantage to waste energy laying 1,000 eggs if you weren’t going to have enough energy (food) to get most of them to the point where they could contribute. Having numerous offspring is only an advantage if your leading cause of death is attrition from predators, not scarcity.)

Yet despite all these advantages, they never really subdued their home planet the way other races in the galaxy did. The predators on their homeworld were fearsome enough that Krogan still wound up getting eaten on a regular basis. As powerful as they were, they still struggled with the most basic fundamentals of survival – food, water, safety.

And then the Salarians got a bright idea: Let’s arm these guys and throw them at the Rachni problem. You could argue that the Salarian solution was foolhardy and short-sighted, but since the alternative (if you can call it that) was extermination, that line of thought is a tough sell.

I love this about the history of Mass Effect. There are no easy answers. Games are always so quick to portray the generations past as a bunch of reckless idiots. But even with the benefit of hindsight it’s hard to be certain we could do better than the peoples of Mass Effect if we found ourselves in their shoes. And when the people of the past did make mistakes, their mistakes are understandable to us and perhaps even seem inevitable. Mass Effect’s history is a series of events and reactions by actors who were simply trying to do the best they could with incomplete information in an imperfect universe. It’s a history of consequences, not contrivances.


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120 thoughts on “Mass Effect 2: Mordin Solus Part 1

  1. Ouchies81 says:

    I got from the game that their prodigious reproductive rate was because of a sever lack of safety in the face of predators and the childeren were often taking down a la carte.

    This reproductive capability only became a problem when they sorted out the predator issue for the most part and then turned on each other for what dwindling resources (probably arable land- even rainforests make for horrible crop fields, minerals) they had to support themselves- and then the cycle more or less repeats itself.

    1. Gale says:

      That’s the thing, though – they lay a thousand eggs because a survival is a crapshoot, but if they were lacking in food, then feeding just one litter for a few days is going to cause a serious problem. Especially when you consider that, if Krogen mature quickly, then they [i]necessarily[/i] have to be consuming a great deal of food in childhood, simply to support their fast growth. Mass-birthing, large size, heavy natural armour… These are all problems that can only be possible when food supply is simply not a problem. The dinosaurs were driven to extinction because the dust winter killed most plant life, and anything bigger than a rat had no chance at finding enough food to support itself. When energy sources are limited, life just can’t afford to be large.

      I think, if anything, Tuchanka was probably fairly lush and verdant, and the “lack of resources” referred to good quality ore, oil, etc. The Tuchanka we see in ME2 is only a wasteland because the Krogen themselves nuked the hell out of each other, mostly because Krogen are just that violent. I don’t know what the excuse is for all the bear-sized predators and Thresher Maws hanging around, tho’.

      1. Michael says:

        Well, and it gets weirder when you consider that the krogans have natural resistance to the new environment. The game talks about how they expanded violently onto other planets, but, really, exposure to spaceflight, and the destruction of their world should have provoked a mass die off.

      2. Tessa says:

        I think the thing is, one thousand viable eggs does not make one thousand offspring. I expect many of the Krogan’s predators are ovivorus, and only a small portion of each litter would even reach hatching.

  2. Moriarty says:

    We DO know that the rachni are able to build ships, if you saved the queen from ME1, there will be a news broadcast in ME2 about sightings of ships strangely similar to ancient rachni scout ships.

    Also: I think the “low ressources” part about tuchanka means the things you can probe with your ship as “ressources”. So they have enough stuff to eat or build guns, but no Element Zero to boost their biotics or none of that other stuff to build or power spaceships.

    1. Ouchies81 says:

      Dude. Good catch. I remember that now. Doesn’t the conversation *SPOILER* in ME2 with the Asari acting as a envoy/diplomat/psionic puppet say as much too?

      Edit: And for what it is worth, the Wiki mentions that the Rachni queen egg from ME1 was on a derelict ship too.

    2. Shamus says:

      I completely missed that detail.

      Although… do they NEED ships to get around? After you spare the life of the queen, “naked” Rachni show up on other worlds. And there’s that Asari you meet in the second game that talks about them migrating to another world.


      1. Psithief says:

        Shamus, finding plot holes in Mass Effect??

      2. Menegil says:

        The Rachni only show up in other worlds because they were brought there by Double Helix researchers, according to in-game dialogue and quest resolutions, in the first game. Added to the Rachni’s revelations by said Asari lady, along with other information we find on Mass Effect 2, we discover that the Collectors were the ones responsible for giving the Rachni space-faring capacity. Remember, we are constantly barraged with comments on how the Collector uber-ship is so very similar to those Rachni ships from hundreds of years ago. Given the Rachni Workers’ capabilities, it seems not just possible but feasible that their genetic memories allow them to reconstruct whatever they wish and become a very capable spacefaring species.

        1. Moriarty says:

          Where do you get the idea the reapers are responsible for the technologic prowess of the rachni?

          The only connection I found was the asari acting as a reaper messenger mentioning a “cruel voice forced the other to sing in cruel tones” or something along those lines. I always figured the reapers managed to indoktrinate the entire species because of their hivemind strukture.

          1. Veloxyll says:

            That was my thoughts on it too, I thought the Rachni messenger just suggested that the Rachni’s warlike tendancies came from Reaper/Collector influencing, rather than the Rachni being uplifted like the Krogan were.

            I thought some of the other Rachni were Cerberus, or was Cerberus only the random space Tholian creepers?

            1. krellen says:

              Cerberus did experiment with Rachni as well as Thorian Creepers.

              On the subject of Rachni aggression, the war started when the “song” of the Rachni was replaced by a “single, sour yellow note”, according to the Rachni Queen on Noveria. While we might blame the Reapers for this note, it’s also entirely possible that it was just an adverse reaction to the unfamiliar technology and space-warping of the Mass Relays; the implications I got from the story was that the Rachni were unaware of Mass Relays until the Council accidentally stumbled upon them.

              The Rachni are so unlike the other species of the universe that it’s possible they just don’t interface well with Reaper technology. Honestly, we don’t know enough about them to really say what happened. I suspect we’ll learn more in Mass Effect 3, and I suspect much of it will be as lame and tacked-on as most of the lore of Mass Effect 2 was.

              1. Falcon says:

                Yes the Rachni had spaceships. The Rachni on other worlds were planted there, and it is implied deliberately, by Double Helix supply vessels. They were being tested as weapons. It was a fallback of sorts. It gave Bioware the ability to put Rachni into sequels regardless of the player choice of what to do with the queen.

                Actually most player choices had little effect on the game, save the queen, save Wrex, kill Ashley, and the minor choices were only referenced in e-mail. It makes me wonder what they will do for ME3. Since everyone can die how do they work around this? I posit that ME3 takes place 100 years in the future (remember the reapers were flying at sub light speeds towards the galaxy, from a huge distance away) so all primaries will be dead from ME2, and have ME3 start with a fresh cast, I don’t see how else they can make a coherent ‘shoehorn all player choices to one storytelling bottleneck’. Of course as Shamus has pointed out, not being coherent might not stop them…

                1. thebigJ_A says:

                  I more got the impression they were sitting outside the galaxy, waiting. Maybe dormant. Remember, the ME1 Reaper was trying to signal the others to let them know the time had come. They were going to use the citadel as their entry point. Now they can’t, but I doubt a hyper-advanced race like the Reapers don’t have access to some of the Mass Relays they themselves built. There are a bunch of them still undiscovered, and others that only one end has been found (which won’t be opened by the council races after what happened w/ the Rachni).

                  I just don’t see The Reapers approaching from outside the galactic disk at sub-light speed. Which, by the way, would take thousands of years, not hundreds.

                2. Bobknight says:

                  Asari have thousands of years of lifespan. They would not die. Same with Krogan.

                3. Roll-a-die says:

                  Human lifespan is also said to be increasing(At least I think I recall hearing something about the oldest human alive reaching 190yo.), we’ve also never heard about Turian lifespans either.

            2. Swimon says:

              I don’t think that the Rachni were given technology after all the queen seem to remember the old days so to speak so she would probably remember that. I just think that they were indoctrinated, if the “singing” that the Rachni do work the same way the indoctrinatio signal do then it would make sense that they would peeceive it (“our song replaced by a single sour note” remeber).

              It actually makes a lot of sense that the Reapers would control the Rachni. After all the council reacted by outlawing the exploration of new mass effect relays which would make it a lot easier for Sovereign and their other plans to hide right? The Rachni were a well written story, it made sense it was pretty interesting and it makes the real villains look smart and threatening. If only the collector plot line was half as good…

        2. Factoid says:

          The interesting thing that just occured to me is that perhaps the Collectors are actually a blend of Rachni and Protheans. They certainly look much more bug-like after their transformation, so maybe that’s where the Reapers gathered those genes.

          1. Michael says:

            Kind of unlikely. I mean it’s a good theory, but the collector that gets grafted into the prothean beacon message in 2 is probably meant to indicate that the collectors haven’t changed that much from their original appearance.

            The second problem is the reapers collect all space fairing biological life, which would have included the rachni. Unless you mean the reapers grabed a few and then grafted them into the collectors later, via Harbinger… but that still has a problem where the collectors would have probably been compelled to create a rachni reaper rather than sitting on their hands or waiting for the humans to come along and kick them in their teeth.

      3. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Maybe they can survive in space without ships,but still need them for interstellar travel.You know,like a human can walk,but still needs transportation if he wants to travel thousands of kilometers.

        1. Nyaz says:

          Maybe they can just throw themselves at mass relays!… er, wait… maybe not.

          1. Trix says:

            I think it would be entertaining to see what happens when one of those bugs gets shot out of a relay like that :)

      4. kingcom says:

        When it comes to space travel the rachni seem to appear similiar to the warhammer 40K Tyranids. A race of beings that while not severely affected by the vacuum of space, fail to actually develop any kind of real momentum (plus im guessing there is some kind of velocity problem that could hurt them using the mass relays) and hence were extremely fraigle while travelling from planet to planet (though they could reasonably do so). Hence the reason for creating a heavily armoured blob of a ship do effectly protect the swarm and transport them to another area.

        1. Changeling says:

          The Rachni Queen seems quite skilled with Biotics.

          Biotics are a kind of Mass Effect fields created by living organisms.
          A lifeform with highly developed Biotics might be able to travel through space…

        2. Michael says:

          Honestly, I was just getting that thought myself when Shamus was talking about their ability to travel through deep space. And I’ve been assuming that the rachni ships where another biological form of rachni.

          But, in a non-sequitor, if the Rachni are based off the ‘nids, then the similarities between Dragon Age and WHFB are a lot harder to shrug off…

          1. Roll-a-die says:

            The nid’s are based off the Xenomorph, which is in turn inspired by Starship Troopers. Really any of those would/could be the influence behind the Rachni. Dwagon Daze is bare-bones Tolkien fantasy dipped in black coffee and dusted with blue gelatin mix. So it likely does take a large amount from other fantasy games and books.

      5. Factoid says:

        Considering the Rachni queen seems to have the ability to control minds, it’s not inconceivable that she just ran off tot he starport and brainwashed someone to transport her around.

        I never got the impression that they could somehow fly in space without ships, but hey it’s Science Fiction…anything is possible.

      6. LintMan says:

        IIRC, there’s a mission chain in ME1 (I think) that has you discover that a freighter supplying several worlds was infested with Rachni, so all the worlds it visited now had Rachni on them.

        About the lack of resources on Tuchanka – I think it means the higher-end resources of industrial civilization rather than basics like food and solar energy. Possibly metals, fossil fuels, and/or radioactives.

        I think I remember reading somewhere in the lore that the Krogan worked their civilization up to the point of developing nuclear weapons several times, each time nuking themselves back to post-industrial technology.

        1. DancePuppets says:

          If I remember correctly it’s the brutes from the Halo Universe that were the ones that had climbed up to the nuclear age, had a big war that knocked them back down to pre-industrial level technology and dragged themselves back up having learned nothing from the experience. Yes I know ho incredibly sad it is for me to know that and I know how hated Halo is, but I quite enjoyed it.

          1. Soylent Dave says:

            Also the Thraddash in Star Control II.

        2. Nyaz says:

          No, I don’t think they actually nuked themselves back to post-industrial technology, they just… nuked everything. A lot. Because krogan live to fight. And nukes make big booms.

    3. Greg says:

      About those Rachni ships – I’ve always wondered if “build” is the right word. They seem more like a “grow” race to me.

  3. ahluka says:

    … MOAR!!!

  4. Menegil says:

    Tutchanka is described as a vibrant world full of life prior to the Krogan nuking the living hells off it. It seems to me, from the playthroughs and readings I’ve done of the in-game lore, that resources only became scarce after the krogan blasted their planet’s ecossystems into kingdom come.

    1. swimon says:

      I was thinking that too but I can’t find any lore proof concerning pre-nuke Tuchanka, might be true though. That said it’s far from impossible that they got the science wrong the ME series seems pretty well researched most of the time but there are some flaws in the design (like hiding in space).

      1. Michael says:

        What’s weird with Mass Effect’s science is how egregiously it goes wrong when it does.

        In this case, the nuking of Tuchanka should have instigated a mass die off for just about everything, and the krogan would have been another dead race when the salarians found them.

        For example another one that really bothers me is, the genetic diversity thing from ME2 which makes less than no sense. Humans share something close to 97% of our genetic material with every other life form on the planet. And we’re the most diverse creatures in the cosmos? More genetically diverse than a race that cross breeds with other species? (And no, the Asari must be getting genetic material from their partners, in spite of what ME2 says, otherwise they’d be limited to effectively cloning or be subject to random generational mutation. Or their genome is far far more complex than anyone has hinted at indicating far more possibilities for diversity.)

  5. Sean says:

    I sort of interpreted “scarce resources” as meaning scarce material resources, explaining why the Krogan, despite their advantages, never managed to truly control their planet. Imagine where human history would be if iron were so scarce that mankind never advanced beyond the bronze age. It’s even conceivable that the Krogan could have developed industrial level technology on a small scale, but been unable to mass produce it without more resources.

    Alternate theory: Krogan are highly evolved Tribbles. They certainly seem to come from the same world.

    1. Menegil says:

      Lore states that the Krogan had achieved fusion-bomb weapon technology capabilities, and that the excessive use of these nuclear devices was what turned Tutchanka into a planet-wide Fallout-like world, prior to the Salarians finding them. They are, by no means, scarce of brain – they were simply technologically uplifted to Space-travel capacity by the Salarians, much like the humans’ finding of the Prothean ruins on Mars (though humans had already developed primitive spacefaring technology already, something the krogan hadn’t achieved).

    2. tremor3258 says:

      That was my thought to – and the whole ‘bombing each other to oblivion’ thing didn’t help (See – Broken Window Fallacy as 1) here in the layer of the beast.

      This probably means Krogan’s have a lot of technology designed to reclamate used objects, so the whole war thing was probably built on the smelted hulls of Council ships…

      1. Primogenitor says:

        Maybe the Krogan COULD get into space, but they didn’t bother. Would the USA have gone to the moon if the cold war had been hot? Why go somewhere else in the universe if your enemies are all next door?

    3. Slothful says:

      Yeah, I took the whole “scarce resources” bit to mean that they didn’t have the space equivalent of iron or space oil or space coal or space bronze or something like that. By that reasoning, most rainforests are very scarce in resources. And then the Krogan probably threatened the rest of the galaxy by doing exactly what Japan and Denmark managed with scarce resources…take over everywhere in the general vicinity.

  6. Ubikivitaarinen says:

    Looking good.

    And about the scarcity, I recall reading that rainforest environments have very little “resources” (that is, for the inhabitants)available because of the density of wildlife and plants. Actually, pastures are much more likely to host hulking animals due to its high turnover ratio.

  7. lupis42 says:


    1. Psithief says:

      Zeg-Zeg? The TvTropes links are sadistic enough.

  8. Gil says:

    Thanks for coming back to ME2. Love the first entry and can’t wait for more! Itching to play through again, already.

    1. Shamus says:

      Same here. Writing this makes me want to play again.

      1. Primogenitor says:

        Reading this makes me think ME2 isnt a complete pile of rubbish.

        1. Retlor says:

          Mass Effect 2 is either a complete pile of rubbish with a vast quantity of diamonds buried in it, or a pile of diamonds smeared with rubbish.

          It depends how much you can ignore the main storyline (which advances the overall “Reaper” plot not at all, and wastes some potentially interesting villains in the Collectors) and focus on the almost universally fantastic recruitment and loyalty missions.

          1. Lalaland says:

            I’d agree I just picked up cheap in the high street and I’m hooked. It annoys me though on a higher plane where I quibble over the loss of choices, the horrible decision to remove weapon hotkeys (really whyyy??????) and the melding of the buttons for ‘run’ and ‘stick to that box facing the heavy robot’.

            I love the exploration parts of ME1 and they nerfed that by making every mini game give credits or (all too rarely) tech upgrades. I love me some incidental e-mails, random setting noise (radio, tv, etc) and getting 6000 credits from a datapad in a long abandoned base Geth space is just lame not to mention 4th wall breaking. Is it too hard to just label them ‘Antiques’ or ‘Ancient data’ and let me sell it to traders?

            It seems to me that Bioware have decided that ‘world building’ = ‘Codex’ and removed any actual fiction from the game environments.

          2. Nyaz says:

            Absolutely. The main storyline is completely “meh” to me. Fortunately, there was so little of it, and the majority of the game is doing pretty much everything else, and that part is -really- good.

        2. krellen says:

          The good parts Shamus is going over here were established in Mass Effect 1, not 2. It’s entirely possible that ME2 is still rubbish.

      2. somebodys_kid says:

        So does this mean that Spoiler Warning Season 4 will be Mass Effect 2? (Please say yes)

        1. bit says:

          Hopefully. I’m missing Randy and his reporter punching, Kaidan nuking, civilian shooting ways.

  9. Joshua says:

    Yes, should be Zerg-style, not “Zeg-style”.

  10. Velkrin says:

    Well I would read this article but someone who will remain nameless linked over to TV tropes and now I’m stuck reading links there for the next three months. I’m sure there was a warning in there somewhere but years of reading news articles have taught me to ignore the first three or so paragraphs.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yes,mordin!I love that guy,and was really looking forward to you writing about him.

    As for tuchanka having few resources,I think that refers to the planet after the krogans pushed it into nuclear winter.I dont remember if theres actually any info about what the planet was like before that(yes,there are some stories about how it was full of predators,but nothing about its plant life and such).Even when salarians met them,they were already dying in their nuke made mess.

    1. jdaubenb says:

      There was some information on the state of Krogan society before the uplift during a conversation in Mass Effect 2, presumably with Mordin or his former protegé. They weren’t so much dying as being thrown back into the Middle Ages technology wise.
      Or I may be remembering this wrong just as well.

    2. Menegil says:

      Methinks the planet info on the space explorer map sheds light into that (don’t remember, have no copy of the game on my laptop). According to the game’s sources, Tutchanka was quite a vibrant and lush planet, though every bit of it was very aggressive. Plants, fungi and so on had a taste for krogan meat – see Grunt’s loyalty mission, whereupon we are treated with descriptions of how the krogan have done constant battle with their environment since their inception as a species.

  12. Mathygard says:

    Typo alert: Zeg-Style.
    (Edit: apparently the typo was fixed while I wrote this comment. Feel free to delete this, now pointless, comment. (furthermore, I just noticed that at least three other pointed out the same before me, making my comment doubly useless))

  13. Nalano says:

    Energy can also mean coal, oil, uranium.

    Tuchanka wasn’t such a wasteland until they nuked themselves, after all.

    And we humans haven’t exactly solved the problem of food and shelter for everybody quite yet either.

    1. Michael says:

      Yeah, but humans didn’t evolve in an environment where the infant attrition rate was so high that we needed to pump our offspring out by the legion. Even if that seemed like a good idea, there aren’t nearly enough resources to support that for more than a generation.

      Basically, you need an evolutionary environment where food isn’t a concern or this reproduction pattern cannot evolve.

      EDIT: In this context energy means caloric intake. Intake far higher than the Tuchanka we see could possibly support.

      1. Nalano says:

        So we can probably assume, considering Krogan are giant amphibious assholes, that the planet, before it was under a nuclear winter, was something of one big jungle Pangaea free-for-all. Technically, anything less than infinite is limited.

        Hell, it’s not like we haven’t had “pump babies out to continue this stupid bloody war another generation” events in our history… Israel/Palestine comes to mind.

        1. Michael says:

          The caveat though is, with humans, we’ve never really been able to exploit that tactic because it effectively takes 16 years to pump out another generation. With the krogen its like a soldier puppy farm. Which suggests an evolutionary imperative, not a political/strategic tactic…

          …though maybe the Children’s Crusade and Child soldiers count… I’m not sure.

  14. Jeremiah says:

    Ha, perfect timing. I just finished Mass Effect 2 for the first time.

    Speaking of Mordin, one of my favorite parts was the Salarian Scientist song.

    1. Nyaz says:

      The Scientist Salarian-song was absolutely epic. First time I heard it I was howling with laughter.

      1. Rosseloh says:

        I was like, “wait, you sang?” just like the dialogue option. So I clicked it.


        I just wish there was the option to congratulate/snicker at him afterwards, but no, it was right back to business.

        1. Nova says:

          I’d… completely forgotten about that. I must go and watch it again on youtube. It made me giggle so much, and definitely made Mordin one of my favorite characters.

  15. Emm Enn Eff says:

    I’m pretty sure that the Rachni queen spoke of the corruption of their song that she remembered as an egg – with an implication that they were controlled by the reapers at the time.

  16. Kdansky says:

    This sounds like solid story-telling. This is the kind of content I want in my games. Dear Bioware: Make the main plot as compelling as this summary, and I will buy your games.

    1. =Dan says:

      I so agree…I played through ME2 as soon as it was released, every loyalty mission, every recruitment mission; every tiny bit of lore made me ignore how bad the main questline was turning out to be… Unfortunately when I got to the end all joy was sucked out of my experience. I was unable to believe that people who could write so much wonderful flavor text (codex) and such intriguing side quests could come up with such a dreadful ending. I haven’t touched the game since. I’ve been tempted to go buy the DL content (I am on XBOX) and play through again but there are two main reasons I haven’t:
      1) No choice is given to the player. From the beginning you are only allowed to decide who to recruit and how to make them loyal.
      2) The ending will always ruin the experience.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        You don’t have to play the ending; Pretend rocks fall when you enter the Omega 4 Relay and call it a day.

      2. Avilan says:

        Personally I loved the ending.

  17. Specter says:

    yay, made it through without clicking a single trope-link :P
    bring it, shamus ;)

  18. Bodyless says:

    And noone remembers from ME1 that they found the rachni egg on a rachni ship? i am pretty sure they did not made that up for the german translation.
    i think the scientiest on the ice planet in the bottom floor of the lab tells you that. the one that gets killed by the rachni.

  19. swimon says:

    There is some really good lore about the krogans (which surprises me since “proud warriors with four testicles” sounds as boring as can be) especially about the blood rage gene or whatever they call it. Apparently it was very uncommon before the nuclear winter and those who had it was viewed as psychopaths basically (they locked them up I think) but after the war they were the only ones who could survive which is why 90% of the krogans have it.

    I really like this little piece of lore because it makes the krogans make sense. In the first game it was a little unbelievable that such a violent people could’ve survived themselves at all (or design technology for that matter) but the explanation that the only ones left of their society is the ass-holes and the psychopaths made a lot more sense.

    It just hit me, this comment is pointless.

  20. halka says:

    Personally I love the journal entry, which basically says: “Before gunpowder was invented, the number one [reason for casualties] were still predators. Afterwards, it was death by gunshot.”

    1. cassander says:

      I remember reading this. Perfect writing.

  21. GTRichey says:

    Been wondering when we’d see more on this (or if we would at all since it’s been so long). Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the better (that is, not central plot) parts of ME2.

  22. Nyaz says:

    Oh damn you, Shamus. Now I’m itching to play through Mass Effect (1 and 2) again.

    And to me, Mass Effect is the sci-fi crown jewel of storytelling, if we disregard the whole business with the Collectors who are quite bland, and that stupid Terminator at the end of ME2. Actually, lets disregard the main plot of ME2 entirely. It was pretty dumb. It is fortunate there was so little of it.

    1. Yes and no, the “main” plot of ME2 was gathering a new team. The collectors (and more Reaper backstory) and the illusive man (or rather Cerberus backstory) was there to.. well not exactly be a placeholder but to help tie ME1 and ME3 together.

      Unfortunately BioWare may have made the “bridge” a bit too obvious (or not obvious enough for some that seem to forget this is a trilogy and ME2 and ME3 in particular was planned together)

      I’m sure both Shamus and I would have done thing differently with the overarching plot(s), by either going deeper into the lore or alternatively truly making a “bridge” episode by simply spelunking around exploring the Salarian homeworld, the Turian home world, maybe visit Earth etc.

      I’m sure that even BioWare in retrospect would have done some tings differently. I just hope what they’ve done for ME3 makes up for the “bridge” episode.

      I sometimes wonder what the “feel” would be if ME1 actually ended in the middle of ME2 or something, and expanded ME2 to continue that and explore the lore and characters more and then do what they are planning with ME3.

      Also the PS3 version of ME2 (to be released this winter?) is supposed to have extra content, if this means DLC’s included or previously cut content I have no idea…

      1. krellen says:

        I’m sick of the “it’s a trilogy” excuse. Plenty of other trilogies don’t have utter crap in the middle. All the good ones have good fillings.

        The Collectors are a stupid and pointless side distraction that came from nowhere and went nowhere. And Shepard had already built a team in ME1! The only reason it was gone in ME2 is because the moron that took over writing incorrectly decided having Shepard die in the first five minutes was not the worst idea ever.

        1. acronix says:

          I think the Collectors existance was only there to justify a major “What the hell, hero?” for the third part. If you didn´t blow up the base, then you´ll be reminded that you shouldn´t have because it was eeeeevil. And if you do, then you´ll be reminded that if you had left it to Cerberus then you would have had a major help in the upcoming battle.
          That´s what it looks like to me.

          1. krellen says:

            Which is stupid.

            1. acronix says:

              I didn´t say it wasn´t!

              1. LassLisa says:

                I don’t know, at the end of ME2 it was pretty straightforward about which was the ‘right’ choice. I played it through once where I was legitimately moved by their pleas to let us learn from the great technology etc etc, thought it sounded very reasonable, and eventually was swayed by the fact that it was the ‘paragon’ option. Then after the final conversation with the Illusive Man I came out thinking more or less, “Why don’t you just rub your hands together cackling while you’re at it?” I don’t remember exactly what was said but I had to go load a save game and try it the other way… and that one I felt pretty good about. Including, but not limited to, the part where I got to tell the Illusive Man to eff off.

                1. krellen says:

                  Unless there’s been a patch since last time I played, “keep the base” is not the Paragon option.

                2. Will says:

                  But it really should be.

                  ‘Destroy the Base’ should be the Chaotic Stupid option.

                3. Avilan says:

                  …Um no. The options are perfect as they are. Keeping the base is beyond Evil.

                  1. Shamus says:

                    We’ve had this discussion before during my Mass Effect 2 review. The short version is: The game TELLS you that keeping the base is evil, but it does a very bad job at justifying why. The problem is the false binary choice: Nuke base or give base to terrorists. As the foremost badass of the galaxy, these should not be your only choices.

                4. Avilan says:

                  Oh I agree to that. The obvious middle choice would be to turn it over to the Council or the Alliance instead of Cerberus. As it is now it is a twofer: Not only it is extremely likely that indoctrination would occur, just like with the derelict reaper, but the even bigger reason to say “no” to give it away is because to whom you give it to.

                  The Illusive man does not need more power, in fact he needs to be put in his place ASAP.

  23. smudboy says:

    Here’s my character analysis of Mordin:

    1. Michael says:

      I’m not sure how Shamus feels about cross links like that, but good stuff. It’s also nice to know I’m not the only one who calls him Tim.

  24. Legal Tender says:

    If I may interject,

    Shamus, I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate and thank you for all the hard work you’ve done trhoughout the last few years in moderating this place (and for all the brilliant commentary you’ve provided but that’s another story) for the benefit of all your readers.

    It just hit me that, had this topic been posted in pretty much any other gaming fourm it would have devolved into a fanbois vs douches flame war by post 10.

    I think the fact that you regularly reply to our comments is a big part of that; which makes me think of all the effort that must take (substracting from the time you can allocate to your work projects, family, other hobbies, etc.) to read a good chunk of them, if not all then enough that you can still apply the breaks when things get a bit nutty.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    On topic: All I can say is that I savored every line of dialogue and every location related to this bit of the game as one savors every drop in a single shot of 18 yo whisky. Can’t wait to read the rest of your thoughts on it!

  25. Wolfwood says:

    Scarce Resources i got from the first game was the lack of building materials. I honestly had the same line of thought too that they couldn’t be what they are if they are short on food and water. SO i just imagine they meant the stuff that would make their lives a bit safer.

    Then i played ME2 and got on their homeworld and realize it is as you had assumed. No food or water but plenty of everything else. And it boggled my mind. Guess you can’t fault writers for not being biologists. XD

    p.s. If u have a bag of feed corn, a chicken that lay eggs and your stranded on a desert island, what do you do? (assume water is not an issue.)

    answer: eat the chicken out right and feed yourself with the corn.

    1. swimon says:

      Well it’s a wasteland because the krogans nuked it to global ecological devastation what the planet was like prior I don’t know but it is possible that it was all lush greens or something. I would have to guess that the planet is somewhat cold though (probably like earth or a little colder) because all the animals are quite large and in a hot climate being that size means that you’ll overheat easily.

      1. cassander says:

        The opposite is the case. Warm environments produce larger animals, cold environments smaller. Think the dinosaurs, which existed at a time when the earth was a LOT warmer than it is now. When there are a lot of food and water available, animals get bigger to compete with each other, smaller when the biggest challenge is FINDING food.

        1. Jan says:

          [citation needed]
          Really, people keep saying that, but
          1. Warmer != more food (see any warm desert)
          2. Cold != small animals (woolly mammoths come to mind)
          3. Less food != small animals (there are elephants living in partial deserts)
          4. And of course, dinosaurs aren’t the biggest around. The blue whale is bigger than any other creature known to have existed, and it’s living in all the deep waters of the ocean, including those near the Antartic and Arctic.

          What is known that animals get smaller on small islands.

  26. Heh Shamus you do realize you are basically going through the entire Mass Effect universe backstory (minus the Reapers and the Humans stumbling into space, the Turians and Asari etc.)

    I think the Rachni are underused in Mass Effect, sure I like the mysterism that lack of hard facts (in-game) about them.

    But I really hope that saving the Rachni queen or not in ME1 “will” affect ME3.
    The only result of this in ME2 was a message (if you saved the queen) that indirectly said that she and the Rachni was there for you should you need them.

    So I hope this carries over to ME3.
    If you killed the queen then you will have some other supporters instead of them, but if you did save her you will get (in addition to whatever other allies you have) a huge Rachni fleet flying with the Normandy into battle.

    And if you spared the queen but where an ass to everyone else the Rachni might end up as your only ally at worst.

    So I really hope BioWare makes more use of the Rachni in ME3.

    But who knows, maybe they are saving the Rachni for ME4 rather than the Sheppard arc (ME1, ME2, ME3) *shrug*.

    There is also the untapped potential of the Turians, Asari, Salarians, in particular the Turians and Salarians who’s homeworld we haven’t seen yet. (though we might in ME3)

    The Geth (and Legion in particular which also has a Queen/King position like the Rachni Queen have) will probably play a part in ME3 based on your choices.

    PS! For those wondering, it’s possible that saving the queen only carried over to ME2 but won’t be carried further. But… whether you speak to the Rachni ambassador will most likely be carried to ME3 (does anyone know if the Rachni ambassador shows up on a fresh ME2 start?)

    One thing is for certain, BioWare has created an amazing universe with Mass Effect, the lore and feel easily compares with that of Star Wars etc. (surpasses in many cases as well, and this is a classic trilogy Star Wars fan saying this :)

    1. jdaubenb says:

      Here’s to hoping that saving the queen can and will totally backfire.
      I would be *thrilled* to see Bioware breaking from their usual mold of having the “good” decisions always pay off in a positive way. It would be so great, at least in my eyes, if rolling up to the Reaper-fleet, guns blazing with the Geth and Rachni in tow, only for the Reapers to reintroduce their virus back into the Geth and reprogramming them and simultaneously befouling the Rachni’s song again turning both controversial (in the sense that the council will probably have a few stern words with you about that) allies against you.
      [And my main Shepard is a Paragon, so don’t fire any “Renegade, nye”-jabs in my direction.]

      1. acronix says:

        Imagine you are one of those that din´t want to kill the rachni, but neither wanted to let them free. In ME1 you had a binary choice: you burn the queen or you let her free; you can´t just walk away. If Bioware introduces backfiring in any of those choices, then a lot of players will be royally annoyed because the writers put them in a railroad track that crashes the train against a cliffside at full speed.

        I agree that it would be an interesting change, but it wouldn´t be wise to aplicate it. Besides, there´s a tendency nowadays about making nasty and repulsive stuff look good and awesome, so the rachni will obviously be agood and awesome.

        1. jdaubenb says:

          Wasn’t there the choice to do literally nothing and let the mind controlled Asari free the Queen?
          If (big if) that choice was there I can still hope for the “noble, misunderstood bug people” to be mindcontrolled into messing the final explosionfest up.

          1. acronix says:

            When you tell the queen that you´ll kill her, the mindcontrolled zombie tries to reach the controls. I think that´s what you are refering.
            I just checked with some videos in youtube, anyway. There were three options:

            1) “I won´t kill you.”
            2) “I´ll free you.”
            3) “You die here by my hand.”

            1 and 2 ended in Shepard freeing her.

            1. jdaubenb says:

              There goes that pipe dream circling the drain.

        2. Mik says:

          Then just make either choice bad – that’s the wrenching of morality; not choosing between good/bad, based on what might happen down the road, it’s choosing between not-so-good/also-not-so-good with the information you have at hand and the contents of your conscience.

          After all, it’s entirely possible that the Rachni would stay out of the conflict either way – either the queen keeps her promise to be peaceful in a most aggravating way (no, we won’t help with the menace), or she prefers to protect her fledgling brood to mop up after the council races are wiped out (no, we also won’t help you with the menace). Is the choice about getting a benefit or about how you sleep with your actions and their consequences?

          I was hoping that there would be more of that type of decision-making in Dragon Age and the Mass Effects, but I think binary “Press A to save puppy, press B to kick puppy” has really taken hold in the writing department. Makes the flowcharts easier.

          Can anyone thing of a game where character choices were between several “goods” or “bads” instead of Paladin/A-Hole?

    2. Josh Vaughn says:

      Bit of a nitpick here: We haven’t seen the asari homeworld yet either. Illium was a planet owned by asari corporations, on the fringes of asari space.

      On topic: Mordin Solus great character. Clipped speech patterns fascinating. Reasoning for genophage sound. Yet not flawless argument. Mixture of guilt and pride… unusual.

  27. Jeff says:

    Our favorite Salarian states that the adjusted genophage results in a survival rate equal to that of pre-uplifted (pre-industrial) Krogan society.

    So pre-industrial age Korgan had ridiculously high infant mortality rates.

  28. Gandaug says:

    Can’t wait for the next installment. A thousand times better than anything WoW related. Even if I already know about Mass Effect.

  29. Dan says:

    I love the Mass Efect Lore, and Mordin.

    Anyway, I took “scarce resources” to mean more along the lines of “contested resources” – there were plenty of them there, you just had to kill a Thresher maw to get at them, hence why the planet was a constant warzone.

  30. Aldowyn says:

    Mass Effect is pretty much THE game with the best thought-out lore (Franchise games, like KotOR, don’t count). It even beats out Dragon Age for depth and interest, at least so far, and that world is HUGE. It also happens to appeal to me, for some reason.

    You mentioned the honorable brute trope, and that’s a common Bioware thing. The Qunari (Like Sten) seem to fit, and Mandalorians aren’t all that far off. (More skill and tech than brutish strength.)

    Final note on the whole lack of resources thing: I imagine they mean mineral resources, not the kings of things you need to live, or even thrive. Things like iron, oil, uranium, etc. etc, not purely biological things. So you have a lush world, with a low amount of natural resources. Think Pandora minus the unobtainium. (Sorry, someone made a reference recently and it was on the brain.)

  31. Henebry says:

    The Krogan, with their harsh home planet (“scarce resources”) sound to me like a nod to Frank Herbert’s Dune, both the Fremen of Arrakis and the Saurdaukar of Salusa Secundus. In the Dune universe, all the sentients are people of one kind or another, but Herbert had a theory about a harsh environment yielding fierce warriors, and it’s become something of a standard trope in SF.

  32. Zaxares says:

    As others have said, I think the “scarce resources” claim refers to mineral resources like oil, uranium and other chemical elements needed for a lot of high-tech industry. These elements probably did exist on Tuchanka, but in a far lower ratio than that on Earth, or perhaps they were buried so deep inside the planet’s crust that extracting them proved physically and economically unfeasible.

    I agree with everyone else though; Mass Effect has one of the most brilliant, interesting and captivating lore-universes that I’ve ever encountered. It’s morally grey story-telling in a hard science fiction world (galaxy?)

  33. James says:

    Note about the Rachni flying through space;

    It’s already canon that purely organic creatures (things?) can fly through space with the Leviathan of Dis.

    Is it not infeasable that a Rachni Queen could breed/cultivate it’s very own bioship?

    Also – in terms of propulsion for the ship – biotics?

    All living creatures have the ability to become one, so it could be used as thrust, and the Rachni could certainly breed biotic potential.

    It would be like the Teltin facility experiments, but on a much larger scale, and no need to worry about wasting, or running out of, biotic potentials.

    A biotic-propelled Rachni bioship seems feasible, and ties in with the canon.

  34. Mik said this earlier, but due to the somewhat messy nesting/threading view here I’m starting this as a top thread here…
    Can anyone thing of a game where character choices were between several “goods” or “bads” instead of Paladin/A-Hole?

    Alpha Protocol actually manages to do this to a certain extent.
    It won’t change the plot, but it does change the story.
    And at least at one point you need to choose to sacrifice one thing or the other. (actually Mass Effect did that too forcing you to make a choice that will sacrifice one of your squad mates, as did Dragon Age, heck Dragon Age even throws self sacrifice into the mix).

    But I have to agree, very few games do this.

    And even fewer games let you actually be truly “evil” in a game.
    The more restrictive Dragon Age 2 does seem like it might be able to deliver on that. (it seems much darken than Dragon Age)
    But despite how good BioWare is I still suspect Dragon Age 2 is mostly written around the “good guy prevails” angle.

    Which is a shame as I prefer to play through a game like this:

    I always try this first. The way I feel like it, I make decisions for what benefit me in the long run, this may mean siding with the bad guys or the good guys if it benefits me. all choices I do are geared towards whatever will strengthen me in the long run, and even more so if the future is unknown. NPCs may hate me or like me for this, I may even “lie” in my interaction with NPCs (playing good or evil even though I’m neither, and essentially I’m lying to the game as well), I may choose to kill off someone because later they could become a issue for my goals, or not, but while in the short run it may be bad, in the long run it may be beneficial if they where dead.
    Very calculated in other words.

    Usually second. This is my “true evil” play, in some ways it’s remarkably similar to the 1st play but it’s all about appearances, fear or worship are some of the goals here while the 1st play would carefully select whom would fear or worship the 2nd could care less, anyone more powerful or with the potential to become more powerful than myself would be struck down, regardless if they would ever be an actual threat or not. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely the old saying goes.

    I sometimes don’t bother doing this if I can avoid it. This is more rare, it’s usually played truly pure, in other words a complete doormat, people constantly take advantage of his good nature, and he runs off on the silliest suicide missions and reusing any rewards (due to his stupid… erm kindness).

    Unfortunately too many games fit the 3rd play style which is heroic fantasy,
    a few might fit the 1st which is more logical in reality,
    very few allow the 2nd play style.

    I played through Dragon Age using the 1st style, and tested the other two but preferred the 1st style. Although it did railroad me into the 3rd style constantly. *sigh*
    Just like Mass Effect, but it was at least more of a mix of style 3 and 1 (felt that way anyway, in particular with ME2, we’ll see about ME3)

    Dragon Age 2 seem to have the potential for style 1, we’ll have to wait and see I guess.

    Alpha Protocol surprisingly enough was very accommodating to style 1.

    Knights Of the Old Republic is a classic, but some people tend to miss the fact that it actually leans towards the 3rd and 1st styles rather than 3rd and 2nd style that most believe it to be.

    Jedi Knight: Academy on the other hand is basically 3rd and 2nd style only.

    It’s a real shame you can’t lean over to the “game engine” and whisper like you would to a GM “Psst! I’m only acting as a good guy, I’m actually very evil, could you play along with that and make things more interesting?”

    Or maybe I’m just taking the “Role” in Role Playing Game of a RPG too literally… Or I’m just a old idealist dreaming of better times? (Ed: And by saying that actually meaning all hell to break loose!)

    Edit: Actually the only game I can think of in the near future that should allow all three styles, even intermixing them would be Fable III, but we’ll see if it’s apparent promises actually delivers. I hope they do and it becomes a giant success so that other game companies (and publishers in particular) follow suit in roleplay style choices.

    1. Nihil says:

      > Jedi Knight: Academy on the other hand is basically 3rd and 2nd style only.

      There’s a grand total of one (1) choice in the entire game, and it’s a binary endgame one, so that’s not exactly unexpected. It’s a really great game, but nobody ever called it an RPG and with good reason, since it’s less of an RPG than, say, STALKER.

    2. Lovecrafter says:

      “Can anyone thing of a game where character choices were between several “goods” or “bads” instead of Paladin/A-Hole?”

      Now I don’t think many of you have ever heard of this game, but “Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor” for Nintendo DS offers something like this.
      The “Shin Megami Tensei” series in general commonly uses three paths you can follow:

      – Law: Side with the angels. Usually leads to a society of absolute order in the name of God.

      – Chaos: Side with the demons. The path of absolute freedom, but also a world where only the strong survive.

      – Neutral: Side with humanity. Results vary more than the others, but often involves beating up the two other paths.

      Now “Devil Survivor” has a slightly different system, where you don’t choose a path, but instead side with one of the supporting characters. Of course, both Law and Chaos are represented, as are several Neutral paths. Spoilers follow here:

      The game revolves around the sudden appearance of demons in Tokyo. The government issues a lockdown of the city and your customizeable main character and everyone else is trapped inside.
      After more plot happens, it turns out a server is responsible for the demons’ sudden appearance. Choosing a path means choosing what to do with the server:

      Amane’s path: Use the server in God’s name and become the ruler of the world, guiding humanity according to his will.

      Naoya’s path: Naoya, your cousin, is in fact Cain of biblical legend, made immortal by God so he can think about what he did to Abel, of whom you turn out to be the reincarnation. You become the king of all demons, waging war against God to preserve humanity against His wrath, and to take revenge for what He did to Naoya/Cain. Sidenote: Naoya is the token evil guy, and completely unrepentant.

      Kaido’s path: Same as Naoya’s path, with some differences in dialogue.

      Atsuro’s route: Atsuro wants to use the server to control all demons, and then turn it over to the government. This leads to Japan becoming a dominant force in world politics.

      Gin’s route: You use the server, combined with a song to destroy all demons.

      Yuzu’s route: I find this route very interesting. Yuzu’s been constantly complaining about how she hates the lockdown and how she wants to leave, which is understandable, what with all the demons and people going crazy. So, her path has you doing exactly that: breaking the lockdown and getting the hell out of there. No final boss, no server, just a moderately hard fight against angels and SDF forces. You leave, the lockdown is broken and demons overrun the earth. The game goes out of it’s way to call you out on how you fled from your responsibility and it does a good job of making you feel like a bastard for doing so.

      All in all, I like how the game offers you choices that are not just straight out Good/Evil. And even then, the way you portray your Protagonist is somewhat independent of the path you choose: you can be a moderate A-hole, and still choose a Good path, for example.

  35. Shamus wrote:
    “If I could quibble with the writers here, I think the “scarce resources” idea is a misstep. I assume by “resources” we're talking about forms of energy, and if so then Tuchanka ought to be brimming with energy. If you want to see a really violent food chain on Earth you need to visit a high-energy, high-moisture place like a rain forest.”

    Um, dude, the megafauna creatures on earth that you’re talking about here aren’t JUNGLE creatures but SAVANNAH creatures. You generally don’t get a lot of REALLY BIG animals in jungles because they actually tend to be poor in AVAILABLE resources. (This is why slash-and-burn agriculture is a poor strategy because the soil in a forest is usually nutrient-poor and two or three crops will use up the available nitrates/phosphates and render it virtually sterile.) Plains, on the other hand are where you find large numbers of megafauna. The dense growth of grasses and other small plants yields a lot of available food resources for big animals which in turn can be hunted by big predators. So a world with, say, the sort of climate setup that turns large portions of it into grasslands would be a prime place for LOTS of big predators which would in turn be VERY dangerous to humanoids.

  36. Joush says:

    Just a quick point..

    Rachni build ships, pretty much like anyone else. The egg for the queen was found on a derelict Rachni ship. Several news reports in ME2, if you didn’t destroy the queen, report sightings of ships that match with Rachni scout ships.

    And they can rebuild ships, doing so for their Asari messenger you meet on Ilium. They aren’t any more able to travel in space without ships then anybody else.

    Queen’s ancestor memory allows them to remember how to build ships, of course. The whole reason they went after them is they can remember things other queens knew.

    Oh, and the Krogan’s home world was very high resources.. but they constantly ravaged it with warfare. In fact, haveing found out about nukes on their own they had decimated the planet’s ecosystem when they were found, making survival exceedingly difficult (and driving natural selection for only the most brutal Krogan.) See the entry on the Blood Rage. It was a rare trait before they reduced their world to a Mad Max wasteland, and now nearly every surviving Krogan suffers from it.

    Yeah, they aren’t barely smart enough to use gear. They discovered atomic power -on their own-. “Until the invention of firearms the most common cause of death for Krogan was ‘eaten by predators’. Afterward, it became ‘gunshot.’ “

  37. Don J says:

    As someone who hasn’t played either ME game, I am thrilled that you are writing “a long ramble about stuff that many of us will already know”. And since I’m so far behind on my RSS reading I probably won’t have to wait long for more! Yay!

  38. Char-Nobyl says:

    Late reply, obviously, but eh.

    It might’ve already been said, but the reason for krogan producing so many offspring is because, quite simply, it’s how most egg-laying creatures ensure that their population continues to grow. Eggs are delicious and helpless, so you either make a ton of them, or you’re probably going to be going extinct. Mammals tend to have a few offspring at a time, born alive, and then are fiercely protective of them. Reptiles lay piles of eggs, and a few of them are practically guaranteed not to get eaten.

    I know where you’re going with the backstory stuff, but I may as well say here that Mordin states that the genophage put the krogan population back to the rate it was at when they were only on Tuchanka. So…yeah. The reason why they were able to expand as wildly as they did after being ‘lifted’ into space was because they’re a textbook case of an invasive species: lacking their natural population controls (predators, hostile environment, etc), their egg-laying reproductive system ensured that their population boomed out of control.

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Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

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