Experienced Points: Marketing Effect 3

By Shamus Posted Friday Mar 2, 2012

Filed under: Column 306 comments

I really have fond memories of the original Mass Effect. Sure, it had its silly moments. (“This evidence is irrefutable!”) But it still felt like a season of a really good sci-fi show. Each planet was an interesting place to discover. Like an episode of Trek, you visited a new place, got to know it, and solved some problems. And in each episode, you moved the overarching plot forward a step, building up to a season finale.

And yes, we really did savage Mass Effect 2. Over time, my opinion of the game has grown worse: It was weak in exactly the way it needed to be strong. The gunplay changes made sense to me from a marketing perspective – popup shooters really are king of the world right now – but there was no reason to turn the story into hash the way they did.

But even after unloading all this hate onto Mass Effect 2, EA, and BioWare, I still feel a certain connection with the game. I still love the original, and I still hold out hope that Mass Effect 3 could give me what I was hoping to get from Mass Effect 2. And so I find myself defending the game from its own publisher. (Protip: This link leads to the actual article.)

The Mass Effect 3 campaign and DLC circus is just really sleazy. I understand that EA doesn’t value their products as anything other than a source of revenue, and doesn’t regard them as artistic endeavors at all. I get that. But aren’t they supposed to pretend their stuff has some sort of merit?

A lot of this goes back to the Extra Credits Open Letter to EA Marketing. It’s not that these people are shallow and money-grubbing. I can understand the grubbing of money. But their own marketing seems almost infused with this raw contempt not just for the medium, but for the audience itself.


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306 thoughts on “Experienced Points: Marketing Effect 3

  1. Irridium says:

    Did you see the live action trailers as well?

    Ugh… Heavily action-based. Focus on Shepard being a badass and saving Earth and humanity and all that crap. However they were aired during Walking Dead, which I found pretty funny.

    Oh, and about the demo, you know how in ME2 when Shepard would take cover his head would stick out? It still does that. And this time it actually hurts when you get shot in your stuck-out head. Meaning you can die because Shepard is an idiot. Happened twice to me in the demo.

    At least there’s an option to pretty much skip the combat though. Found it just as boring as ME2’s combat, so the option made me glad.

    1. krellen says:

      I’ve been trying to avoid ME3 marketing, because I really honestly don’t care about the franchise any more (ME2 was that bad). But I watched the latest trailer and that live action one – I couldn’t stay away.

      It was like watching a train wreck.

      I’m almost moved to tears by this, not because the marketing or the game are actually impressive or moving, but because they remind me so much of what I hate about “gamer* culture”, about the gaming industry, and about gaming in general.

      I’ve started feeling like I’m just too old for video games.

      *I have a real hard time saying “gamer” to mean someone that plays video games. My brain still insists a “gamer” plays tabletop RPGs.

      1. Bryan says:

        Yeah, these kids need to get off my lawn too. :-P

        1. krellen says:

          Seriously, what is with kids and lawns? Don’t you know how much work goes into that?!

          1. Jarenth says:

            Have you ever tried rolling around in a well-done lawn? It’s one of life’s greatest joys.

            1. Syal says:

              It’s also a rather unfortunate way of finding out if the owner has a dog.

          2. James says:

            Krellen, i went to your lawn last night, i was totally all up on that thing, with my newfangled hippety hop and bippety bop, and things dood. thats how the kids talk these days right??

            1. krellen says:

              *shakes cane*

              1. Michael says:

                *Shakes Zimmer frame at Krellen*

      2. Klay F. says:

        I’m starting to feel that way too, and I’m not even middle-aged. Its kind of disgusting how the industry seems to be stuck in such an “immature 16-year old” mindset. The worst bit is how so much progress the industry made during the 90s maturity-wise had been completely undone in the following decade. I’ve long since accepted that I’m not the demographic AAA games are aimed at, but I have to wonder how long it’ll take for everyone else to wake up and realize the vast majority of games are utter garbage.

        I hate saying this because deep-down I still love videogames, but we are long overdue for a crash.

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          When I read this, my first thought was “just like Hollywood movies”.
          What big Blockbuster in the last few years actually had a story to tell that was worth the budget?*

          Either I’m just spoiled or the mainstream (whoever that may be) just doesn’t give a damn, as long as there are big asplosions.

          *I’m actually unable to answer this question myself, since I’ve stopped watching those or caring. The last Hollywood movie I saw was Transformers 3, and I was dragged there by a few friends who agreed afterwards that we should have turned it into a drinking game.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Inception and rise of the planet of the apes were (surprisingly) smart.

            1. TSi says:

              The latter still had it’s dumb/stupid characters and moments that broke the entire movie for me.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Sure,it has its flaws,but still way better than plenty of other movies that came recently.

            2. Zak McKracken says:

              Not sure about Planet of the Apes (though certainly much better than the Tim Burton version … man, and I usually like Tim Burton!), but inception seems to be a good one, that’s right.
              Still it says a lot that it’s also two years old now.

              Point is: Pretty much of what comes out of Hollywood is expensively produced, polished … nothing. Remakes and sequels, movie adaptations of game adaptations of movies…

              Similar thing for the music industry: Much that is on the radio may be produced well, people hit the notes, it is well played, well produced etc … but how many songs are there that really stand a critical review? It may be okay for background noise, but could you actually spend time just listening to regular music radio these days?

              This just seems to be the sort of stuff that “the industry” earns money with. And in any genre, I think the “Quality” stuff will always be the minority, like the people to whom this is important enough to write about it on the interwebs.

              At the same time: The same people who were entertained by Transformers III may not understand why I’m drinking that cheap coffee, or driving that completely unsignificant car, or dressing in the first thing I find in the closet. Everyone has their obsessions and priorities, no hard time. So all this lamenting doesn’t mean the world was stupid. it’s just that if you want to sell to the masses, there’s little gain in also selling to the “high standards” people, but a lot of effort.

              Anyways, yes, Inception is on my list of movies to watch eventually.

            3. Jack says:

              I haven’t seen Rise, simply because it’s a Remake, the Original’s a Classic, so no point, but Inception was complete smeg! The Characters have no personality, which especially in an ensemble Action Movie (which is all it really is) is a huge mistake, since I end up just referring to them as “Michael Caine”, “Ellen Paige”, and “Indian Guy”, and when it gets to the Third Act in that mountain fortress I completely lost track of what everyone was doing, not that I cared anyway. And can someone please tell me what this “Philisophical Message” is supposed to be? If you travel into people’s dreams too much you’ll lose track of reality? Because that’s the closest thing to a Point it has, and it means nothing. That’s where Hollywood is today: make a crappy Action Movie confusing enough, add a few lines that sound vaguely intelligent (as opposed to the ones that are just laughable, like “Extraction is much harder than Inception” and people think you’re a Genius.

          2. Klay F. says:

            Yeah, I was going to say Inception, or really, any movie made by Christopher Nolan.

            Whether they are worth the budget, well, that depends on the viewer.

        2. Zagzag says:

          The sad thing is that I actually am the demographic most AAA games seem to be aimed at, (not that I’m an immatiure 16 year old) (also is it me, or is there an inverse corellation between the standard of gaming and the use of the term “AAA”), and I still have problems with the way the industry as a whole is handling gaming. I honestly think that if they started being a bit more mature it wouldn’t actually hurt them, and might even introduce new people to gaming who are being put off by the immaturity at the moment. Sadly I doubt the industry is going to take a risk by changing from what is making it so much money at the moment.

      3. tengokujin says:

        I still need to run a BESM campaign, one of these days…

      4. Winter says:

        It’s not that we’re too old, it’s just that gaming is now a general culture thing, instead of a niche subculture/counterculture. Gaming is something you do in between doing things that are important–the new TV. So for most gamers, the idea that the game is all flash and has no substance is irrelevant. Substance is wasted on them, they just want to enjoy being Space Bruce Willis (or whoever) on cue, then wander off with no actual attachment to the game.

        In contrast, oldschool gamers want a game that can be explored, mastered, and understood on its own terms.

        I know that sounds pretty harsh, but it’s true. It’s not strictly age-segregated either–there are lots of kids growing up looking for hardcore/oldschool experiences, but they get drowned out by everyone else.

        Maybe over time this will change as the general public grows tired of meaningless, shallow games backed by the million ton freight train that is EA’s marketing division–or whoever–but i kind of doubt it.

        What i think will happen, instead, is that games will develop an “indie/art game” subculture, and i think this is what we really should be focusing on as hardcore gamers. Not EA/Actiblizzard/etc–those companies are already lost. Games like Dark Souls show that you can still make a pretty good amount of money on old style games, it’s just that this is never again going to be the headline game–even if it does briefly steal everyone else’s thunder by virtue of being better than every other game.

        Most of the companies are going to try to appeal to the lowest common denominator and so we’re going to see things that make what’s going on right now look principled and tame. Stuff that makes Mass Effect look downright tame. However, i expect that we will also see companies catering to individual markets rather than just trying to see if they can make a game that’s more popular than everyone else’s. We can already see this starting to happen with the catastrophic game development costs for this generation.

        What’s going to happen is like indie/art movies. You know all those art critic people who go to independent film festivals and unironically like documentaries and spend all their time talking about the camera techniques, costuming, or alternative storytelling methods in obscure films nobody outside their circle has ever heard of? That’s us. Or it will be–if we’re lucky. I think all but the most obtuse games (ie I Wanna Be The Guy) will still be accessible to the mainstream, unlike with indie films where the distribution just isn’t possible in the same way.

        1. delve says:

          I totally just saw Shamus with a two thumbs up logo. The only question is, who was the second thumb?

    2. Ringwraith says:

      The only game I’ve known to not make you automatically immune to gunfire coming from a certain angle, even if the thing you were hiding behind was clearly not right to perfectly hide yourself was Alpha Protocol.
      I actually found it interesting as it meant there was quite a bit of cover around which protected you from most gunfire but all of it.. Meaning it was bad idea to stay there for extended periods.
      Besides, you can shoot any exposed parts of enemies sticking out of cover, seems only fair they can do the same to you.

      1. Sumanai says:

        I think it would be far better if neither side had their parts sticking out of cover. That way it wouldn’t feel like a bunch of inept dumbasses being inept at things they’ve been trained for.

      2. Keeshhound says:

        I hadn’t noticed that. I guess it’s because I usually didn’t stay in one place very long in AP anyway, it being primarily a stealth game and all.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          It’s most notable in the museum, as hiding behind the low display cabinets doesn’t stop you from getting hit every so often. Which also makes the proceeding firefight there fairly difficult, as only the pillars actually safely protect you from gunfire.

    3. Keeshhound says:

      You mean Hepler got her way and they added a “skip combat” button?

      1. krellen says:

        That would actually be a good thing.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          It would be a good thing if the story was strong enough to stand on its own. I am… dubious of that possibility.

      2. Ringwraith says:

        It’s the counterpart to the ‘skip choices’ option you can pick, and it’s funny how despite how much bile people threw at her idea, everyone complained more about the ‘skip choices’ option than the ‘skip combat one’.

    4. tengokujin says:

      I was rather happy to see the Adam Jensen’s head usually doesn’t stick out of cover. It’s sad when something so small is “amazing”.

      1. Winter says:

        You wanna hear amazing?

        Okay, check this out:

        In Dark Souls you spend a lot of time climbing ladders–even more than in DXHR, even! However, unlike pretty much every other game ever you don’t just “play ladder animation” and then get slid up or down the ladder at X move rate, you actually climb up and down in a “realistic” manner. They didn’t cheat, either–it’s almost completely accurate. In addition to this, you can do attacks while on a ladder (either punching people above you or kicking people below you). They didn’t cheat there, either–when you are positioned so you would, in reality, have your weight on your left leg you use your right leg to kick and vice versa. This actually has some (very minor) gameplay implications.

        I’d make a video of it, but i can’t record PS3 output so no luck :(

        It’s really cool, though.

    5. Eric says:

      To those people who are saying “ah, it’s just trailers, and the demo was geared towards the Madden crowd, the real game would be good”… sorry. You’re wrong. I’ve seen extended portions of the full game. It is just as stupid if not stupider than the demo’s contents. Dialogue choices have been significantly reduced (and when a chance to make a real choice comes up, they make Shepard reply automatically even in RPG mode), there are quest compasses and “follow the bouncing icon down the corridor” objectives everywhere, and the military theme and thinly-veiled pro-US (because Earth = US, duh) bravado are being pushed hard with this one.

      Oh, and the in-game romances are absolutely hilarious. If you thought hot dwarf-on-elf action from Dragon Age was side-splitting, you haven’t seen anything yet.

      Sorry guys, time to go home. Mass Effect has gone Full Retard and no amount of Tali fan-bait will change that.

      1. TSED says:

        I live in Canada and BioWare’s HQ are just a few hours away from me.

        The fact that ME has become so pro-US is one of the few things about the game that doesn’t drive me into a nerdrage. I’m too busy LAUGHING at how INCOMPETENT that is.

  2. Eruanno says:

    What really strikes me as weird with the Mass Effect 3 marketing in general is that they are trying to sell it as a fist-pumping Gears of War* where Earth is THE thing to save which is super-duper mega-important. But they way I understand it, you LEAVE Earth after about half an hour into the game, to go galaxy-touring like in previous games. And they act like Earth is a big deal, despite the fact that we’ve never really been there in the Mass Effect universe at all, and have built no relation to it whatsoever.

    I don’t give a crap about Earth. I want to hang with the fast-talking Salarians, the brutish Krogans, the awesome Turians… if I wanted to care about humans and Earth, I’d be playing a completely different game. The galaxy… now THAT I care about. Earth? Pff. It’s just one little planet.

    I like the shooty-shooty of Mass Effect. But that is not what defines it, what makes the Mass Effect series great.
    What defines it for me is being able to charge into a Krogan, elbow him in the face and curse as I forgot to reload my shotgun – but to also return to the Normandy and have long-winded conversations with Legion about what it means to be truly alive, talking to Mordin about morals, having Liara describe what it is like to live for hundreds of years…
    If BioWare bothers to make a great world and characters for these games, they should show it all off! Not just the guns and explosions!

    * = I actually like Gears of War, but for completely different reasons.

    1. Ringwraith says:

      It’s almost like the marketing department has only seen the demo of the game, and nothing else.
      They keep bringing up the wrong things about it.

      Then again, this might be because they pretty much know that the people who are there for the story are already going to be buying it, and they’re simply trying to get a different audience to pay attention to it.

      1. Sumanai says:

        Or they know how to market shooters, but not how to market story and character driven games.

      2. Eruanno says:

        Urgh, they are marketing it to the Call of Duty crowd, and then that crowd comes to play multiplayer with me in ME3…

        …I don’t like where this is going.

        1. Dragomok says:

          It could be worse! They could have been marketing it to the compulsive yodelling crowd and leave out the option to turn off voice communication!

          …Actually, that would be pretty awesome.

          1. Eruanno says:

            Dude, I would play that. And I would learn to yodel. I could make new, awesome friends.

            1. Mr.Soggy says:

              You sir, just made my day.

            2. delve says:

              Teach the rest of us how when you’re done.

    2. tengokujin says:

      So, you mean, things like this?

      1. Eruanno says:

        Oh dear God, yes.

    3. Irridium says:

      I feel I should bring up the Halo ads for the current-gen Halo games, and how they made them look like emotional thrillrides. Especially Halo 3’s “Believe” ad campaign.

      They didn’t market to the “shooty-shooty” crowd, and each game was a big success. Now, you could say that’s because Halo is a hugely popular series and would sell no matter what… well you could also say the same thing about the Mass Effect series.

      You could also say that Halo 3 came out before CoD4 (when Call of Duty started seeing stupidly huge success), so it couldn’t market to its audience. Well, ODST and Reach both came out after CoD became a huge success, and both still stuck to making the games look like emotional thrillrides and not focusing solely on “shooty mc-epic” stuff. They just did their own thing, and it seems to have worked just fine.

      I wish they did their own thing with ME3, instead of making it look like just another shooter.

      1. Eärlindor says:

        Yeah, and I’m beginning to fear that may change as well. I recently saw a couple vids for Halo 4, and they were talking about how they wanted it to be “more serious and dark” with “the biggest threat Chief has ever faced.” … as opposed to… what, the stuff before?

        Anyway, my point is I don’t think this bodes well. I’m starting to see dark clouds on the horizon.

  3. rrgg says:

    Ah, marketing your book by creating new content to market your book from.

    Very clever. . .

    (btw, the link seems to be taking me to the forum instead of directly to the article)

  4. Sheer_falacy says:

    The earth focus also makes the reapers look pathetic. You’re going to go muck about the galaxy for an undefined amount of ingame time and get back just in time to either save it or see it fall, I’m sure. There are multiple reapers attacking each city and they can’t do whatever they’re doing (killing everyone I guess) quickly – imagine how long the entire galaxy would take to cleanse at that rate.

    1. taellosse says:

      Actually, as I understand it (though I’ve been trying to avoid delving TOO deeply into articles about the game, to try to avoid spoilers), the invasion of Earth is just the initial assault point. But there are many, many more Reapers, and as the game progresses, I believe you’ve got to deal with simultaneous invasion points all over the place.

      You’ll probably still end up “saving Earth” at the end somehow, but you’ll also be fighting them off everywhere else in the galaxy throughout.

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Even the first game has mentioned typical Reaper tactics, which are basically divide & conquer, as they target one system at a time, cutting them off from the rest of the galaxy before wiping them out.
        It took them a few hundred years to fully clean up the protheans, and even then they missed a spot.

        1. Keredis says:

          Yes, but that was because they could control the Mass Relays from the Citadel and isolate everyone at once, rather than a single system. Here, it’s them attacking Earth, which gives everyone else a chance to rally to one spot and force a full engagement.

          1. Dragomok says:

            Speaking for myself, the problem with “the Reapers are attacking Earth” premise is not the fact that the game doesn’t end 5 minutes in with a screen saying

            Congratulations! Every space faring race is now extinct because of all that time you spent playing around with shiny eyed cyborg-bug-people instead of trying to do anything to stop evil machine Cthulhus from arriving. Game over!

            Have a fantastic day!

            but rather is the dissonance between what the opening sequence tells us about Earth’s situation and the fact Earth can be saved at all. Oh, and also what the first game told us about the Reapers, but that has been undermined by the whole “but they are organic deep inside, too!” business in Mass Effect 2 already.

            (demo spoilers below)

            Fifteen minutes after the character import/creation human fleet is decimated, Moon colony is lost, Reapers are attacking every major city, most military leaders die, there are undead Batarian cyborgs with guns everywhere and we even see a Reaper destroying a goddamn DREADNOUGHT in less than five seconds. Yes, on of the it’s-so-powerful-the-galactic-oligarchy-imposes-production-limits-even-on-their-own-races ships. In five seconds. Five. Seconds.
            With a single ray.
            The Blue Planet should be a toast well before Shepard reaches the closest relay in her precious little ship.

            PS. More content in DLC.

            1. thegrinner says:

              I’ve gotten the impression they’re very selective when they kill a species off – why ruin habitable planets that you can potentially harvest later? I’d guess they destroy things like Luna Colony straight out because there’s no real reason not to (no life bearing capacity), but maybe they’re obviously being more selective with Earth (seeing as how they aren’t bombarding it with rocks from deep space).

              As to how you can run off, have adventures, recruit allies, and still make it back in time to save Earth… there I’ve got nothing.

              1. Keredis says:

                Except that, at least in ME2, there are at least two worlds that had been “Garden” worlds or whatever, but were pocked with craters (implied to be from orbital bombardment). I think. I could be mistaken. And after all, what’s stopping the Reapers from destroying all surface life, and then terraforming/reseeding the planet?

                Do you know what would actually make me eat my hat? (Well, buy a new, cheap hat that tastes good, not eat one of my awesome hats): If Earth can’t be saved. If you leave Earth to go rally the galaxy/whatever, but by the time you get back, the entire planet is dead, and the Reapers have already moved on. That would be a nice touch that I’d approve of, and that would make sense.

                1. Dragomok says:

                  I’m afraid BioWare writers didn’t go with thegrinner’s idea, judging solely by this clip.

                  As to what can and can’t be saved, according to the rumours about Authentic Leaked Scriptâ„¢, ALL of six endings result in all mass relays and, possibly, Citadel being destroyed/permanently deactivated, thusly shattering the entire multi-species communion as well as effectively destroying human civilisation – you know, with the capital planet being (practically?) destroyed, so you better start looking for that hat.

                  1. Michael says:

                    I’m starting to suspect that Bioware is deliberately trolling their fans… and that the plot of Mass Effect is some kind of monumental Twin Peaks style joke on the audience…

                    1. Dragomok says:

                      Actually, I’m pretty sure BioWare is doing that only so the next games in the series – even back when the first Mass Effect was released, EA claimed they wanted to publish at least six games – will have less than a handful of variables (from the endgame save) to take into account (like survival or extinction of some minor races) because they are already having problems with dealing with the choices from the first two games.
                      You could argue that there were dozens of much more elegant ways to handle this. Personally, I feel both pity and contempt for them – they have set out to accomplish something revolutionary (impossible?) that hadn’t been done before on such scale, failed miserably and still pretend it works as intended.

                      Anyway, this kind of reminds me of Gothic trilogy, where – in order to justify player’s character level reset – Nameless One dies under falling rocks at the end of the first game only to be resurrected in the second one’s intro and between the second and the third one goes on a sea voyage that is so long he loses all his gold, items and forgets how to cast spells or how to fight with anything that is not one-handed.

              2. Winter says:

                …why ruin habitable planets that you can potentially harvest later?

                Because your new nemesis–the one who has done something nobodyever–in, as far as we can tell, millions of years has done: successfully defy the Reapers.

                If i were them i would burn the whole planet, throw it into the sun, then explode the mass relay on your way out. (Or just destroy the mass relay remotely, that could be even better although it’s not the route i would take.)

                I realize not every species or intelligence thinks the same way, and in fact we may not even realize weaknesses in alien thought processes or differences in priorities/etc. That said, if the game doesn’t at least hand-wave it (just some random character going “that’s weird, why didn’t they blow us up instantly?” would be sufficient, even if that question never gets explicitly answered) it’s going to be a pretty significant plot hole.

                Of course, this is presuming Earth actually matters at all when the game itself has been setting itself up such that Earth does not and the Citadel is what’s important. Of course the marketing team seems to be aiming… a little lower, with this game, so the priorities have shifted from “interesting multicultural space government” to “AMERICA, F___ YEAH!”

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But thats wasteful.When finding an enemy that actually managed to deal a blow to you,its much more practical to incorporate their strengths into you in order to more easily combat the next such enemy that arises.

                  1. Pete says:

                    Funny how that is exactly what they tried to do in Mass Effect 2. How did that work out again?

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      True,but that they tried with their minions,not by themselves.

            2. guy says:

              Oh man, that reminds me. The Reapers now move with Horror Movie rules, in that it apparently takes them zero seconds to get from the Sol Relay (AKA Charon) to earth, a distance of several light hours.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Ftl travel has already been established in mass effect universe,and is used for traveling withing a solar system.Relays are used for traveling bigger distances,because ftl travel is still too slow to cover it quickly enough.

                1. guy says:

                  Yeah, I know FTL is used in-system, but it’s not so fast that they could arrive at Luna instantly.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Its not that fast for us,but reapers had that technology for eons.Why should weapons and armour be the only things they have better than us?

                    1. Michael says:

                      As much as I loathe applying logic to the series now: It stands to reason that the reapers may actually make use of technology that is flat out not possible for organics. Remember the line from Joker about Sovereign making a turn “that would have sheared any of [their] cruisers apart”?

                      I’ve always kinda suspected the reapers my have a separate technological advancement scheme independent of the Eezo tech everyone else uses, or at the very least, have advanced that technology far beyond anything any race could hope to achieve in 50k years. (Remember, the reaper in ME2 has been sitting there for millions of years.

                      Though, at the same time, it bugs me that every race in the galaxy uses the same technology, and that no one has ever developed another technological basis. Contrast and compare to Babylon 5 where most of the major races had fundamentally incompatible technology.

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      The races use compatible technology because of the reapers.They have ensured with the mass relays and the citadel that every space fairing civilization will discover and use eezo,which practically replaces almost everything else.

                    3. Michael says:

                      Yeah, I still find it a bit of a stretch that no civilization ever developed along a different technological path.

                      I know the reapers, or the protheans, or whomever, seeded the technology on a lot of worlds, but, seriously, it strikes me as strange that every major spacefaring race in ME is using the beacon network, and the same underlying technology. That no one developed some alternate FTL technology, or based their technology on what they had at hand.

                    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Well,the rachni did develop on an alternate path,so theres that.And we dont really see that many races in this one cycle.Its just one small sample.

            3. Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Oh, and also what the first game told us about the Reapers, but that has been undermined by the whole “but they are organic deep inside, too!” business in Mass Effect 2 already.”

              Actually,thats one of the few things from 2 that makes some sense.To have pure machines do something as stupid as purge the galaxy every 50k years for the lulz makes no sense.But to have a cyborg civilization reproduce and slowly evolve by incorporating new genetic material into themselves makes a lot of sense.Its a good setup that can be used to explain why they would invade earth and then slowly process every human there.Why doesnt make sense,however,is why theyd simply destroy buildings and escape pods,instead of trying to capture as many humans as possible.Warships,sure you dont want the beef to fight back,but unarmed shuttles?Thats wasteful.

              1. TSED says:

                The genetic thing makes zero sense.

                What you’re basically implying is that if a rock and a rubber tree love each other very much, they get together and make super-cyborg-spaceship babies. There is no way to take organic material and improve on mechanical devices with it.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  And there is no way to decrease the mass of an object,speed it up to almost the speed of light,then increase its mass back up.So,whats your point?

                  1. TSED says:

                    That is answered in the first seconds of a new game of Mass Effect.

                    Seriously. SECONDS.

                    The entirety of the MASS EFFECT universe is built around element zero, ie what makes the MASS EFFECT happen.

                    You’re comparing a science-fiction handwaved physics which is one of the cores of the setting (and has a large amount of flavour text expanding on how it works) with an undescribed process which RETROACTIVELY plays just as large a part in the setting.

                    Difference: Mass effect is explained and justified. Reapersex isn’t.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      It was handwaved just as much.If you listen to what mordin has to say about collectors and observe the sparse evidence about eash purge.Just because it isnt spelled out in the codex doesnt mean it wasnt explained in other ways.Or do you think miranda is badass and garrus from me1 isnt because miranda keeps telling you how she was built to be perfect?

                      EDIT:Actually,now that I think about it some more(dear god,why),it is spelled out specifically when you reach the liquification chamber.

                    2. TSED says:

                      No, it wasn’t. They spell out how it works and all sorts of political and social ramifications of it, not to mention technological ones. Directly and indirectly. They explore things that have nothing to do with the space opera in relation to it.

                      Compare that to… “killing us is its version of having sex.” Why does it kill things to have sex? No, don’t go off the stock answer, think about it. Why would this race of superships do that? They’d need to be built like that in the first place, meaning this was a stated goal of technology.

                      Which makes no sense.

                      Different laws of physics that make no sense but just ARE are one thing. Technology that makes no sense is completely different.

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      So the reapers were built to extinguish all life in the galaxy,then disappear and reappear again to repeat the deed?Just because they were built doesnt mean that they couldnt have changed their programing.They are a sapient race after all,despite having machine parts.Theyve realized long ago that in order to advance,they need to incorporate something new into themselves.But how can they achieve that if machines cannot evolve?By introducing organic parts into themselves.First reapers probably were pure machines,but the ones they created were cyborgs.

                      Take a look at geth.A race of pure machines,that still have the urge to evolve themselves,and the means to do so with just machine parts(building their dyson sphere).They werent built to evolve as a species,but they still want to do so.But what would they do then?Machines cannot advance further from having all of them coexisting in one megastructure.At least,not on their own.Which is probably what the first reapers realized.

                      You just accept ezzo because it was introduced in the better of the two games,despite it being just as ridiculous and just as developed as reaper reproduction.

                    4. Michael says:

                      Honestly, the cut dialog makes more sense. Originally the line was something about the collectors liquifying the colonists as an autopsy at a cellular level, with all of the data from that being fed into a new AI core.

                      The final boss, apparently, would have been a partial reaper and not the Space Terminator Baby we got.

                      Anyway, (going backwards for a second) the genetic diversity thing never made any sense to me given that house cats have more genetic diversity than you. Though honestly, this is just one of MANY MANY places where science in Mass Effect doesn’t make any damn sense.

                    5. TSED says:

                      Here, let me give you an analogy. This is the difference between magic existing in a fantasy setting (once you “know how it works” you don’t think twice about it) vs some frog people civilization researching a spell that turns every baby in the world (including and especially their own) into zombies.

                      Just… why? Yeah, so they have an AWFUL lot of zombies at their beck and call, but they also have an AWFUL lot of USELESS zombies. Likewise, rather than incorporate genetics (which means nothing), the reapers could have, I don’t know, RESEARCHED? They’re made of super-brain, so I don’t think it’s hard to believe that they could devise algorithms that would figure out optimal personalities to plug holes in any distribution that the reapers currently showcase. You get a super-oddball race (which humans SHOULDN’T BE, ughhhh), and you can study and devise them in secret to plug holes before you even assault.

                      I much would’ve preferred Reapers going a-reaping to, say, put off the heat death of the Universe while studying a way to stop and/or reverse it to this modified sex drive. Just as an off-the-top-of-my-head example. As the point you’re attacking my argument from (which is really only anciliary), yes, reapers lost all presence as villains when it turns out they’re just violent murder-rapists on a societal scale.

                    6. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      Sure,science behind it makes no sense,but this never was real world after all.


                      Your analogy is flawed,because reapers werent building more collectors.But,if they were turning every other species into normal frogs,which they could later turn into themselves with a spell they already have,that wouldve equate the situation we have in mass effect.Would that be stupid?

                      And if they were just getting rid of sapience in order to postpone the heat death of the universe,the cycles would make even less sense:Why not just get one sweep through the galaxy and destroy all the habitable planets?Allowing space fairing civilizations to emerge already wastes energy.Repeating the cycle wastes far more energy than doin one single sweep.

                      Sure,they couldve tried to devise new personalities,but that is limited by what they can think of.And evolution can develop in way that we couldnt even dream of.

                      You may not like this,thats fine.I dont like plenty of other things in the game that others didnt even consider.But this is at least consistent with the story that was set,which cannot be said for plenty of other things(cerberus,for example).

              2. Dragomok says:

                Now, when you present it that way, I completely agree with your point.
                Still, I am rather dissappointed BioWare went that way instead of following “full machine” concept (even though I played the first game way after reading Shamus’ plot analysis of Mass Effect 2). Conversation with Sovereign was definitely the most climatic dialog I have ever had in a videogame(*). It conjured in my mind an image of (try not to laugh here, please) lovecraftian mechanical maniacal bonsai gardeners, who let it “plant” (organic life in general) grow to some extent (“We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, […]”) and then cut it back into the desired shape (“[…] and you will end because we demand it.”), all because that’s what they think is beauty and/or their life goal.
                Because of their completely alien minds, not of “Can we keels all live? LULULULULz!”.

                I thought that at least some people would think alike, since it is coherent (for me). There are humans out there that climb giant rocks risking their lifes for entertainment, think melanine levels in skin are a good indicator of sentience or manage a pro-animal organisation that claims the best fate for animals is to be isolated from any human contact and the best way to do so is to kill the majority of them.

                * I have never played Planescape: Torment, KotOR and my best gameplay Fallout had 01 Charisma.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  What about neverwinter nights:hordes of the underdark?I mean really,what can top a conversation that ends up in you making a 5 meter giant devil into a maid in your inn?Yes,that is really one of the actual endings you can get.This type of humour really makes you wonder how come the same people can come up with crap like the original nwn,or me2.

                  I agree though that the sovereign conversation was pretty good,but it left much room for an explanation of such behavior.And practically anything couldve fit there.From the need to procreate,to religion,from a bug to unchangeable code in their programing.And while biowares explanation is an interesting one(to me at least),the presentation of it was…well,lets just say lacking.

                  Oh,a minor nitpick:
                  “think melanine levels in skin are a good indicator of sentience”
                  if you meant intelligence (or equivalent),then the correct word would be sapience.

                  1. krellen says:

                    The trick is that, while it’s the same company, it’s not actually the same people.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      True,but in some cases they are same people.Same people who made the boring story of nwn,also made the kick-ass story of hotu.Heck,sometimes its in the same game:The same people who wrote the train wreck of the main story in me2,also wrote some of the best side missions for it,the same people who wrote illusive man also wrote mordin.

              3. Otters34 says:

                Problem with that line of argument is that that’s what machines DO: perform a task over and over again. That is what they are FOR.

                Simply put, someone or some people in the distant past must have made the Reapers in some form, and unleashed them on the galaxy. Things like that don’t just spring out of Thoth’s head fully-formed. Of course, the lingering mysteries prevent us from making anything other than speculations on who and why for what.

                The explanation that they use new races as material to make cyborgs and add to their ranks would only make sense if A.I.’s like the EDI didn’t show that you could have an accurate simulation of a mind. Besides which they’re unlikely to ever NEED to be much smarter, since they overpower everyone else by several orders of magnitude, and because they show up at roughly the same time at galactic development, they can be assured nothing will be able to oppose them in any significant capacity, only this cycle has a miniscule edge over the last ones because of the Protheans.

                To be honest though, my main beef with the revelation that they’re cyborgs is that, as has been said many times before, is that it makes them so much less strange and threatening. A horde of utterly alien machines that destroys for reasons we can never really understand? The stuff of nightmares. Cyborgs that need to turn whole races into liquid to make more of themselves and picked humans because they got lucky in one fight? Baffling, but still scary, just nowhere near as memorable as something wholly inexplicable and carelessly powerful.

                That and it kind of doesn’t fit the record of ME1, where the Protheans were simply obliterated. If it was the plan all along to reveal that this was what the Reapers did, shouldn’t Vigil have mentioned something like “…and the few billions not slaughtered were taken captive, and taken into the depths of space where no Prothean had ever dared travel”? Then when the Collectors were revealed to be Prothean the player could get an inkling that something was up, with the final reveal of the human Reaper making it all clear: “Of course..they Reap, they harvest the sapient life the galaxy, these aren’t mere destroyers!”

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  “Problem with that line of argument is that that's what machines DO: perform a task over and over again. That is what they are FOR.”

                  Sure,but we already saw machines break from what they were designed to do in order to do something else.These arent just machines,they are sapient machines.

                  “Besides which they're unlikely to ever NEED to be much smarter, since they overpower everyone else by several orders of magnitude, and because they show up at roughly the same time at galactic development, they can be assured nothing will be able to oppose them in any significant capacity, only this cycle has a miniscule edge over the last ones because of the Protheans.”

                  We dont know that.Maybe there was another opportunity in previous cycles,but it got squandered,just how shepard couldve failed for numerous reasons countles times.We dont know how many cycles the citadel was used for.We dont know if its defenses were tweaked,if the keepers were there from the beginning,etc,etc.We only know a bit about the last cycle,and thats it.

                  Actually,scratch that.Ive just remembered that we do know of at least one other instance of a rebelion:There is a dead reaper.So they do need to improve themselves,they arent all powerful.

                  “That and it kind of doesn't fit the record of ME1, where the Protheans were simply obliterated. If it was the plan all along to reveal that this was what the Reapers did, shouldn't Vigil have mentioned something like “…and the few billions not slaughtered were taken captive, and taken into the depths of space where no Prothean had ever dared travel”? Then when the Collectors were revealed to be Prothean the player could get an inkling that something was up, with the final reveal of the human Reaper making it all clear: “Of course..they Reap, they harvest the sapient life the galaxy, these aren't mere destroyers!””

                  With that,I agree.They shouldve put much more thought into the sequels and use more foreshadowing.

      2. Dragomok says:

        But there are many, many more Reapers, and as the game progresses, I believe you've got to deal with simultaneous invasion points all over the place.

        I have read a preview which mentioned a sequence where you have to destroy a Reaper fighting a thresher maw, so probably it is.

        1. TSED says:

          … Why is that even a thing?

          In ME1, I killed a thresher maw on foot with a min-maxed assault rifle. That’s years ago in continuity.

          BioWare, I think we need to have a talk. ):

          1. Dragomok says:

            I destroyed armored anti-vehicle turrets with a pretty standard pistol(*), so your point might be a little bit uns… Actually, it just shows gameplay-lore dissonance, so it’s completely valid.

            * Hi there.
            I’m an original Mass Effect‘s engineer. That means I solve problems.
            I solve problems by throwing things at people.
            Not problems like “Should I shoot them with my assault rifle or my other assault rifle?” because, clearly, that’s primitive and unsophisticated.
            I solve…
            **suddenly, a Krogan runs into the scene and kills Shepard by slapping her twice**

            Critical Mission Failure

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              You know,someone really should work out a way to make xp in a crpg come in a way that wont encourage people to abuse the gameplay in order to get it to max.

            2. TSED says:

              Pistol had highest burst DPS, but AR had absolutely incredible sustained DPS. Mooks didn’t do anything but die, and bossfights weren’t really bossfights because of it either. On insanity difficulty, of course.

              And yeah, you latched on to the key point. I got the impression that thresher maws were dangerous, maybe even capital-D Dangerous, but still they are taken out by talented individuals on foot. ME2 upped them in-lore with that whole Wrex-Grunt-Shepard thing, but it was silly because I had way more problems with the dogs than the maw. Also because it seriously wasn’t even hard.

              Now they… you know… fight THOSE things? No. No no no no no no.

  5. Some Random Jerk says:

    Remember Lorraine Williams? You know, the lady who took over TSR, had utter contempt for the customers, milked TSR for money via her family’s license for Buck Rogers, and then watched it all go up in flames?

    EA kind of reminds me of her.

    1. Chuck says:

      I’ve made a similar link in my mind.

      It might help if they advertised the other aspects of the game in a separate commercial. Or the same one. How do you do that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an RPG advertised well.

      1. tengokujin says:

        Not even Deus Ex: Banana Hammock?

    2. TheMerricat says:

      Difference is, EA makes money doing it. Because they market to a larger, always churning, demographic that has been trained since childhood to accept crap as entertaining…

      Think back to how many cartoons, movies, video games, and books you were into as a youth that when you look back at them now you realize were absolute crap, now realize that’s been going on since folk realized they could market to kids easier than adults.

      1. Sumanai says:

        What do you mean “look back at them and realize”? There are forty somethings that insist Dan Brown is a good writer who has a good grasp on history. There were a couple in the Escapist several months back who insisted that the Sparkle Vampire movies were actually good.

        Hell, I like Van Hellsing. I think it’s the hat.

        1. Keredis says:

          That hat makes anything awesome. ANYTHING.

          Actually, how has photoshopping that awesome hat (Or Solomon Kane’s, same thing) onto everything not become a meme yet?

          1. Sumanai says:

            I’m kinda happy it hasn’t. There’s still time, but I suspect it happens with a bigger hat.

        2. TheMerricat says:

          As schlocky as those things are, I think you would be hard pressed to make an argument that they were worse in terms of quality or depth of story of say – the 80’s ‘toy commercial’ cartoons or the ‘trading card game’ cartoons of the 00’s.

          Crap aimed for adults tends to at least have a far higher ‘minimium effort put into it’ bar than crap aimed for kids.

          1. Sumanai says:

            Yeah, but that minimum effort is focused on the wrong part, so I find it doubtful these people recognise their childhood entertainment as bad. At least not for the right reasons.

            1. Sumanai says:

              (Can’t edit the comment for some reason.)

              Not that all of children’s entertainment is bad as such. But a lot of it is, and everyone has spend time watching or reading those.

          2. Michael says:

            As someone who has to read a lot of pop literature for work, I think I can comfortably say the “minimum effort” bar isn’t that much higher for adults.

            That said, most of the Teen Paranormal Romance genre makes me want to claw my eyes out and puke blood until the pain subsides, so you may be on to something.

      2. X2Eliah says:

        I still think cartoons like “Ed, Edd & Eddy”/”Dexter’s Laboratory”/”Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”/”Courage the Cowardly Dog”/”Samurai Jack” were pretty damn good. I still think books like Asimov’s Foundation, or Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potters, are pretty good. I still think the first Matrix movie was great.

        I don’t know.. I somehow don’t remember liking crap when I was a kid. It’s not a universal thing, you know.

        1. Sumanai says:

          Or you remember the crap ones as being good because you haven’t seen them for a while.
          Or you don’t acknowledge them as bad, because you enjoy them.
          Or you just don’t remember the bad ones, instead your mind focuses solely on the good.

          It is possible that you didn’t watch crap, but Ed, Edd and Eddy? Yeah, I don’t think that’s the truth. :D

          1. Jarenth says:

            Last time I watched Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy was in 2009. I’m tempted to give the point to Eliah here: it was still good.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Yeah, but you have no taste. (I don’t remember half of Ed, Edd n Eddy, and it has been four to six years.)

              1. Pete says:

                Maybe, and this might just be me, but maybe the problem, good sir, might indeed be on your receiver after all.

                In other words, who exactly are you to decide what cartoon is and isnt good again?

                1. Jarenth says:

                  In fairness, normally I would follow Sumanai’s recommendations to the letter. That kind of clout doesn’t come easy.

                  1. Sumanai says:

                    I think you’re putting too much weight on my opinions. As I said above, I liked Van Helsing. And it’s not the worst movie I like. And I don’t think it’s ironic liking either.

                    I don’t like Michael Bay’s Transformers though. If I go watch a movie in a light drunken stupor and I get bored, something is wrong.

                2. Sumanai says:

                  I wasn’t being serious. While I didn’t like Ed, Edd n Eddy, I didn’t hate it either. It’s on the “better” side of entertainment, but it’s not for me. In my opinion, obviously.

            2. Michael says:

              Without really having watched it, the impression I’ve gotten was, it’s appeal shifts as you get older. It’s not as subversive as say Ren & Stimpy, but it’s headed in that direction.

      3. Klay F. says:

        This is a publisher who is on record as saying that “Your mom will hate this” when marketing a game. Even when making a game that is (allegedly) for adults, they still market it to the “immature 16 year old” demographic. This, unfortunately, is the main demographic of triple-A games. Whether you are actually 16 years old or just mentally 16 years old matters little.

        Its time to just accept that these games aren’t for us and let them go.

  6. Kdansky says:

    I have another great one! They actually try to use an online platform where people can petition the UK gouvernment with serious business. Like laws and shit. And they try to get the signatures to actually bother real government agencies with it. Which means they use tax money for a marketing stunt.


    1. This is the worst part. I don’t even care about the trailers because this is happening.

    2. GiantRaven says:

      The worst thing is that they’re starting a petition for information that is apparently already released.

      1. Ringwraith says:

        So they can’t even research properly?
        How many times do they need to shoot themselves in the foot? They’re running out of feet here.

        1. Eärlindor says:

          Wait, how many do they have? 0.o

          1. Bryan says:

            Not sure, but my brain has started to compare them to Ungoliant thanks to this comment. Hmm…

            1. Dovius says:

              At this point, it’s more like the Luggage than Ungoliant.

          2. Michael says:

            None. A lot of governments have opened up their archives on UFOs and the like. Most of it ends up just being weird random stuff, balloons, crash test dummies, what have you. Which conspiracy theorists promptly jump on as “signs of a cover up” as they proceed to write the plot of Deus Ex 4.

    3. Gamer says:

      Wait, how the fuck is this supposed to sell to a video game!?

      The cross-section between people who play sci-fi, space opera RPGs and people who look for UFOs is incredibly marginal! Even if you include the UFO hunters that just do it for fun!

      1. Dragomok says:

        If you follow “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” rule, the reasoning behind this goes like that:
        There is a chance that some big newspaper or television programme or news site will mention this, which will make people think about how stupid this is, which will generate interest, which will – inevitably – attract new customers.

        1. Sumanai says:

          The thing is, if this gets into the eyes of government officials in the UK, EA could be in trouble. Or at least I hope so. Wasting tax money for the sake of a bad marketing push should have serious repercussions.

          1. Dragomok says:

            Or, if UK government takes no immediate action, it could create a precedence which will lead into more companies using it for cheap marketing, and, as a result, for shuting down the website.


            For the first time in my life, I really hope someone is sued.

            1. Michael says:

              Wasn’t EA sued over one of their marketing stunts a couple years ago?

              Not the balloons thing, that was THQ, and not the road side boxes that got detonated by bomb squads… anyone remember what happened?

  7. swenson says:

    The way I’m dealing with the Mass Effect 3 marketing is ignore any DLC trailers (ESPECIALLY weapons ones). I should’ve ignored the stupid live action one too.

    Well, at least the “real” trailers are mostly all right, although I do wish they were less Earth/human-centric, because a major theme of the games is that everyone is in danger and needs saving, not just Super Special Humanity.

  8. Zak McKracken says:

    “Sure, if I pre-order at Gamestop I get gun A and if I pre-order through Origin directly I get gun B, but so what? I haven’t played the game yet. I don’t know which one is better or more fun to use.”

    Right, you haven’t played the game yet, so you don’t know if it’s any good. So why would you preorder it?
    Not to say you shouldn’t, but I guess people who preorder a game without having tested it can be expected (from the view of the marketeer) to also preorder it from a specific place in order to get some doodad they don’t know much about, either.
    The fact that two different stores are offering a similar thing is maybe just “they did it, so we’re doing it too”?

    1. Keredis says:

      I’ve preordered games before (Guild Wars comes to mind), but there, my preorder decision was made based on what class I thought would be appealing. I liked the look of the Ranger class, so I preordered from the place that gave you the bow. Which was a good weapon, decent for a solid portion of the game, but would eventually be outclassed.

    2. Michael says:

      I thought it was a shotgun/assault rifle choice. Origin was the Shotgun, most everywhere else was the assault rifle?

      Thing is, the place I first remember coming across this one retailer gets X, other retailer gets Y was the original Dragon Age Origin, where every freakin’ retailer had something different. At least here it’s Gamestop has X, everybody has Y, and Origin has Z… so not quite as bad… I think ME2 was the same way (except it was the Digital Deluxe Edition that had Z not Origin.)

  9. Paul Spooner says:

    You know all the stuff you were complaining about with marketing your own book? Well, here’s the other option. Either break yourself doing publicity, or hire it out to someone who knows nothing about you or your audience. What? A third option? Good luck!

    Here’s what I think happened though. You are hoping and dreaming, in your heart of hearts, that ME3 would be Starflight. The buildup is all there! The Mass Effect universe has space opera, the inorganic race which enables faster than light travel but is also bent on destroying all organic life, the various unique races, your own spaceship, landing on planets and stuff. The narrative and the universe walked right into your Starflight mindspace and made itself at home. The problem is, ME is a big dumb slob. It can’t carry on an intelligent conversation, no matter how hard you try.

    Having never played either Starflight or any of the ME series, I could be way off. But it doesn’t hit me quite so hard either. I’d be glad to be wrong. Just, don’t force ME3 live up to your dream. It’s not fair to either of you.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      Interesting that you compare it to Starflight, someone else compared it to Star Control 2.


      The comparison isn’t perfect, but if the ME series had been just a little bit more like Star Control 2 I think I would have liked it more.

      1. Sumanai says:

        “…perhaps the greatest and least known video game of its time…”

        That I can’t play, because I suck at Star Control 2 so hard.

        1. krellen says:

          Are we sure that article is talking about Star Control 2 and not Starflight?

          1. Sumanai says:

            Haven’t played Starflight, and know very little of it, so I’m kinda out of the joke. It’s in Gog.com, so I should probably purchase and play it.

            1. krellen says:

              The joke is that Starflight is better than Star Control 2, and less known than Star Control 2. ;)

              1. Sumanai says:

                How is the combat done? Because that’s the part that stops SC2 for me. I don’t think there’s a race I haven’t run into that hasn’t kicked my ass.

                1. krellen says:

                  Sort of turn-based. Each move is a “turn” (though if you do nothing turns still happen slowly). Missiles can be dodged, lasers cannot. Your crew’s skill determines accuracy when you fire.

  10. paronomasiac says:

    I commented the same on the Escapist forum thread, but I wanted to reiterate here for those that don’t read the comments there: to get the entire suite of day one DLC available for Mass Effect 3 will cost approximately $870.

    This is completely ludicrous.

    1. GiantRaven says:


      It really makes me sad seeing all the people buying into this rubbish. It isn’t $870 dollars for all the DLC, it’s $870 for all the ME3 tie-in merchandise which comes bundled with free DLC. There is a significant difference.

      After reading about it for a while, it also seems like a lot of the stuff comes with the same bits of DLC, the overwhelming majority of which appears to be tied in with the multiplayer component of the game. Stuff that can be unlocked in-game anyway, and the DLC only facilitates receiving the unlocks quicker.

      A whole lot of fuss about nothing if you ask me. So far the DLC cost (as in actual worthwhile new content) stands at this – $10 for the Day 1 DLC.

      1. If you can’t get said DLC without buying the expensive other stuff, then effectively yes, it is $870 for the DLC.

        1. GiantRaven says:

          I also forgot to mention that quite a lot of the stuff gives out the same DLC, meaning that if you just want the DLC (which, if I recall, is merely just an assault rifle for multiplayer) then you don’t have to buy nearly as much.

          1. Ringwraith says:

            You can also get said assault rifle by simply buying a certain art book if I recall correctly, making any purchases of hyper-expensive hardware unneeded (except to upgrade that rifle, but it’ll quickly get outclassed by all the upgrades to the normal weapons you’d be getting anyway).

          2. peter says:

            buying one that gives the rifle gets you the rifle. buying two nets you an upgrade to your rifle, etcetera. if you want all the dlcs have to offer, you DO have to buy all of them.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Or play the multiplayer, if memory serves. Apparently there are random boxes occasionally that have those weapons, and if you run into the same weapon later it boosts the existing one.

              Which doesn’t sound good, but for unrelated reasons.

              1. Ringwraith says:

                You purchase random ‘booster packs’ containing one-use items, weapons, weapon mods, or classes (which comes with XP) with credits you earn.
                It’s actually rather fun and ensures you never progress the same way as anyone else.

                1. Winter says:

                  It's actually rather fun and ensures you never progress the same way as anyone else.

                  (This is terrible for multiplayer, though. Multiplayer is the least appropriate place for this sort of mechanic.)

                  1. guy says:

                    It’s co-op, not competitive, so it avoids horrible grinding balance issues, sort of.

                    1. Keredis says:

                      Balance, yes, but it just means that the horrible grinding is even worse, since you have no guarantee that you’ll get what you want within any sort of reasonable amount of time. It’d be like if, in D&D, you could buy random feats (and that was the only way to get feats). Sure, you might get that one feat you’ve been meaning to get, but you could also get a feat that you will never ever use ever.

                    2. Ringwraith says:

                      Seeing as one of the major things you may/may not get out of the random packs are weapons, and that even more common weapons which have been upgraded quite a lot are better than rarer weapons, it doesn’t have much of an effect there.
                      Unlocking classes isn’t so bad either, as you already get a basic human version of each class to start with, so unlocking other races for them just gives you a different set of powers. The races within a class also share XP as you level the classes, not the specific race/class combinations.
                      At the very least it forces diversity and makes you adapt to what you’ve got.

                2. Sumanai says:

                  That sounds worse. I’d liken it to gambling, especially if you’re using real world money, and I don’t like that sort of stuff in my games. It’s bad enough that luck dictates what you get, and what you get can be the difference between dropping behind (which is possible even in co-op, it’s just that you’re pulling everyone else down with you) or rushing ahead.

                  Even if the equipment and races are balanced, the differences between those dictate the play style. And if the style options given to a player doesn’t fit their abilities, they’re hosed. Of course a game can’t support all the styles, but here we have a case of artificially limiting the pool until you pay (with real or imaginary cash) and get lucky.

                  And there’s another problem if real money is used for this.

                  1. Ringwraith says:

                    Yeah, you can’t buy these things with real money, aside from getting some extra for free with certain merchanise purchases, but the in-game cost is rather little anyway.
                    The only thing that may fall behind is your weaponry, as your powers will be at the same strength regardless of your luck with boosters as XP is earned separately.
                    Therefore if you’re having really bad luck with weapons, you can just build your character to throw powers at everyone and/or punch them in the face.

                    1. Sumanai says:

                      I don’t think I said this clearly enough: If there’s a power that only krogans have, that would fit my play style so well it would improve my efficiency, but Random Number God dictates I don’t get to unlock them, I’m not being as good at the game as it would be possible.

                      Unless the system is made so that each “purchase” is guaranteed to have a new race unlocked, luck will have too much of an effect on gameplay for the people who fall into the extremes of the bell curve.

      2. TheMerricat says:

        Once again proving that unless you are a MP junkie, waiting for AAA games to be out in GOTY editions (and preferably 50% off on Steam :-P) is a better proposition all around.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Mass Effect 2 never had an edition with all the DLC bundled.
          The closest was the PS3 version, which had all the major (i.e. mission-containing) DLCs included apart from Arrival, as that hadn’t been released yet.

          1. Sumanai says:

            Which I think many should consider as proof that the smartest thing is to wait for the GotY bundle with all the DLC.

            (You know, because ME2 isn’t that good and if you’re still waiting for the GotY, that means you haven’t played it and therefore haven’t suffered first hand from plot stupidity let alone paid for the privilege.)

  11. Ambitious Sloth says:

    Mass Effect was good. I hadn’t played any large, epic story RPGs for a while and when my brother bought for himself to play and then later get border of halfway through (not enough shooty bits). I loved it because it was something different and I’m always open for something different. For me it was a world to interact with and get lost in while driving a mako sideways up a cliff.

    Mass Effect 2 had most of that but There were a lot of dumb bits. If ME 1 was a really good sci-fi show, then ME 2 was a Star-Gate spin off. Tired and just sort of running around and doing nothing. It sort of pandered to a different audience which while not bad – different isn’t bad – it didn’t improve upon it’s scope or goals. ME 2 didn’t feel bigger it was the same size but a little worse and for that seemed a little smaller.

    ME 3 is being advertised as seeming even smaller. Every time I see an ad for ME 3 I just want to shout at it, “You KNOW there’s a galaxy out there. I’ve SEEN it the 2 other games were all ABOUT saving the galaxy.”

    1. krellen says:

      I liked Stargate Atlantis, but I never really watched SG-1 (I tried, but couldn’t get into it.)

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Did you start near the beginning of SG-1? As it was never the same without O’Neill.

        1. Nimas says:

          There were only 8 seasons of Stargate, and the last was a bit meh. Then they had this weird crossover with Farscape, without nearly as much hilarity.

        2. krellen says:

          Yes, I watched SG-1 when it first started and never got into it. I watched Atlantis years later on Netflix on the recommendation of my brother.

          1. Ringwraith says:

            Well, the first series of SG-1 does feel rough around the edges compared to the ones after.

            1. krellen says:

              McKay was my favourite character in Atlantis. From what I hear, if I watched SG-1, it’d ruin him.

              1. ehlijen says:

                He was a lot more disgustingly creepy than hilariously egocentric in SG-1, that’s for sure. But he did only appear in 2 or three episodes.

                The bigger worry is that seeing Te’alc will make you realise what a sorry excuse for a carbon copy Ronin is :P

                1. krellen says:

                  Oh, I know that. I am actually familiar enough with SG-1 to know Te’alc.

                  1. krellen says:

                    Oh, and incidentally, I considered Ronin to be a poor copy of Tyr from Andromeda anyway.

                    1. ehlijen says:

                      That’s harsh indeed!

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Judging by the demo,that line “We fight or we die” is shepards big plan to combat the reapers.

    On the bright side,also judging by the demo,this time they say “everything that happened in me2,simply forget it”.

    1. Irridium says:

      While I like that, quite a bit of people seemed to like ME2. Gonna be fun to see how that goes over.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah,but most of them liked it for the gameplay,not the story.

      2. taellosse says:

        Well, like it or not (I love most of the characters in ME2, and want to kill whoever wrote the central plot, personally), they’ve kinda got no choice about the matter. By taking the “bold step” of letting it be possible to literally get everyone in your team killed during the final battle, they pretty much have to come up with a way to compress the significance of the entire game to its absolute minimum. I’m actually mildly surprised that Garrus and Tali will be available as main squad members in this game, since they get no plot-protection either at the end of ME2. Every single other character you recruit in ME2 is going to be only supporting cast this time around, though, you notice? Because they can’t make ANY of them core characters in any way now. They’ve ALL got to be secondary, replaceable people like Wrex was in ME2 (since you can kill him in the first game). And so, since that means hiring two voice actors, writing two sets of dialogue trees, and modeling two characters for each of them, they’ve GOT to keep those character’s screen time to a minimum or blow the game’s entire budget. By limiting each of them to one or two missions in a support or temporary squad role, they save themselves having to worry about any of them having a big impact, and can replace them each with some nobody introduced just for that mission.

        I think this is also why ME2’s entire plot is one massive sidequest in the larger arc of the trilogy, too. Because they realized coming off of the first game, with the wide range of variables they were already going to have to account for (are the rachni resurrected? Who’s in charge of the Council? Who in your team survived to the end? None of these are minor things in the big arc of the franchise) that if they A) tried to let all of those variables have a substantive impact on the second game AND B) created a second game with a similarly substantive and widely variable final outcome, they’d have an impossible task on their hands in the third game. So instead they made a second game whose plot allows them to push everything that happened in ME1 into the background so it has little or no impact (and thus costs little or nothing to incorporate), and at the same time make it all about something that doesn’t have to carry forward in any meaningful way into game 3. So now, functionally speaking, they’ve got the variables from game 1, and some stuff in game 2 they need to mention in a minor way but not dwell on.

        Honestly, I love the idea of this whole carry-your-choices-through-the-series concept Bioware’s come up with for ME and DA, but, technically speaking, I don’t think it can really be done very well given the cost of making these games. Ironically, it probably would have been a lot MORE feasible 10-15 years ago, when making a game was much cheaper, than now.

        1. MatthewH says:

          This makes sense to me. Though I don’t mind the main plot as much as others do. I expect to see Mordin or Garrus appearing as guest party members (like Liara in ME2’s DLC) or as NPC-non-party members like the marines in the Bug Hunt planet of ME1.

          1. Vect says:

            I think Garrus and Tali are important enough to be mainstays if they survived rather than NPCs.

            I do agree with the whole thing about how Bioware kinda wrote themselves into a corner with the middle game not being able to make any major impact.

          2. guy says:

            Garrus is going to be a member of the party, but it is unclear how much content he’ll have.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          They can always go the Dragon Age 2 route and just have the characters alive regardless of what happened to them in the first game.

          1. Keredis says:

            They did that in Baldur’s Gate 2 as well. You could even call them out on it, too. “Didn’t I kill you once already?”

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Although I know in at least one case in Dragon Age 2 it was actually a bug that they always turned up alive regardless of the imported save’s status.

            2. krellen says:

              To be fair, Resurrection is a thing that totally exists in the Baldur’s Gate universe.

              1. Zukhramm says:

                Considering Mass Effect 2 opens with one it exists in the Mass Effect universe too.

                1. krellen says:

                  Mass Effect 2? I don’t remember any 2. They just made a packaging error when they went right to 3.

                2. Keredis says:

                  That would actually be rather amusing. You find out that Cerberus sold its research on the Lazarus project or licensed it out for royalties or something, so now anyone who died can be brought back, provided there’s enough money and time involved. You get life insurance policies which, rather than pay someone else on your death, pay for you to be resurrected. This also explains how Cerberus can afford to continue feeding colonists to Thresher Maws and other such amusing hobbies of theirs.

                  1. Dovius says:

                    And eventually you stumble upon Cerberus’ base and find the Illusive Man in some kind of super-vault filled to the brim with hookers, blow, booze and solid gold statues of himself.
                    “Human superiority? Screw that! I had to buy another planet just so I wouldn’t drown in money!”

              2. Infinitron says:

                “Baldur’s Gate universe”? It’s called The Forgotten Realms, my friend.

                1. krellen says:

                  Yes, I could have said Faerun, or Toril, or I could have made the statement in a way that didn’t alienate people without that knowledge.

                  1. Parkhorse says:

                    I think krellen just forgot :-P

                    1. krellen says:

                      I actually first started writing “a thing that totally exists in Faerun”, then opted to not use technical language instead.

                    2. Parkhorse says:

                      Sorry, forgetting the forgotten realms was funny to me. Not meant to be a slight ;-)

                2. X2Eliah says:

                  Oh really? After that sort of snobby comment, I’m itching to say “Actually, it’s called “The Basement”.”

                  1. Keredis says:

                    It’s no more snobby than saying, say, “The Lord of the Rings Universe? It’s called Middle-earth, my friend.”

        3. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The problem* wasnt that they condensed the story from ME1,but in parts where they used it,they completely ignored it.Ashleys conversation,cerberus,reapers,ammo,etc.No one expected a call back to everything you did in 1(heck,even those short emails were quite enough),but no one expected that when a previously established thing does pop utp,it would end up being completely opposite of what it was before.

          *With continuity at least.Lots of problems in ME2 were due to other things,not continuity.

    2. Ringwraith says:

      They’ve said the game cuts out most of the specifics relating to previous games if you don’t import a save, thus making sure new players aren’t lost while still having all the usual little references to what you’ve done previously like ME2 had.

      Although, after all, not much was actually done plot-wise in 2.

    3. X2Eliah says:

      “We fight or we die” is shepards big plan to combat the reapers.

      I actually really, really like that. Why? Because it makes sense considering what Shepard is. (S)he is not a brilliant tactician, not a fleet admiral, not an espionage ring leader, not a billionnaire, not a head of a rogue Cerberus cell. Shepard is a foot soldier, trained for infantry ground combat. That her/his plan for beating the reapers is to shoot bullets at stuff only makes sense, as that’s pretty much all that Shepard has ever done and knows how to do.

      I also am holding out hopes that the ME writers stay reasonable and write it into the plot that the Reapers simply are an unbeatable force – and all the pitiful efforts to shoot them in linear corridors will not work, no matter how much Shepard upgrades the “Avenger asault rifle +5”.

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Well, the shooting down corridors is a means to an end.
        Sovereign wasn’t beaten by Shepard shooting geth invaders, it was beaten by the Alliance fleet turning up and ganging up on it.
        …which was only possible by Shepard shooting geth in corridors.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Except shepard never was just some random grunt.She started the very first game with a team.Heck,even her backstory can have her as a leader of a team.And then she spent quite a lot of time with the command of her own ship.Also,lets not forget that the end of 2 has you manage your whole team in order to achieve victory.Granted,its just rudimentary stuff,but still it paints her as an officer,with training in tactics and planing.

        Furthermore,its not just that the line is “we fight or we die”,its the fact that shepard says that while standing next to an admiral,who never interjects with “Well thats all good,but heres my plan on how to actually fight”.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Of course, everyone is mostly just burying their heads in the sand about the Reapers at this point, which is what Shepard is fed up with by this point.
          They’re not ‘fighting’ or even preparing to fight, just carrying on as normal.

          1. Winter says:

            I hate to do this twice in one thread, but here’s my second “If i were in charge here’s what i would do”:

            Shoot the SOB who isn’t listening, then go find the smartest/most strategically advanced person available (probably an AI) and do a little “You just got promoted!” dance.

            At this point that sort of behavior really does cross over into Darwin Award territory–i’m just skipping a couple steps.

            (What kind of military leader isn’t super paranoid about all possible threats, anyway?)

            1. Bubble181 says:

              So, Sat Wars Imperial Promotion Methods are the key to victory? Who knew. ;-)

          2. krellen says:

            That is actually one of the most unforgivable things about the series for me; the end of Mass Effect gave no indication whatsoever that the Council didn’t take the Reapers seriously. That whole subplot came out of literally nowhere, and existed only to railroad the player into cooperating with Cerberus, whom the writers got a sudden hard-on for after the first game.

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Except it seems they still aren’t taking them seriously, and not you’re working with Cerberus anymore.
              Mind you, I maintain I was never working for them, just stealing all of their resources, personnel and technology and running off with it.

          3. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Even if they are carrying out as normal,this doesnt make sense.Humanity is still fighting a war with the geth,and even if they though sovereign is a geth ship,they still shouldve prepared for the attack of a similar one.

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Anderson states in 2 that it’s no longer a ‘war’ anymore, and just cleaning up the last isolated pockets of geth, so they’re mostly just winding down their operations and rebuilding what they lost in the battle for the Citadel.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I want to draw a parallel with the real world here.Remember the years after ww2,and how usa and ussr were rebuilding after the war?Yeah,there is no excuse for these idiots to not be prepared.

    4. Henson says:

      Daemian, you hit the nail on the head. The demo does not give me confidence in Shepard’s “plan”.

      I sometimes get the impression that Bioware wanted to make Mass Effect a trilogy, but didn’t quite know what to do between ‘discover the Reaper threat’ and ‘fight the Reaper threat’.

  13. zob says:

    Shamus you are forgetting the most important thing :) They are profiting so they must be unquestionably right. (reference to an earlier discussion here)

  14. Zaxares says:

    Oh, the fanbase IS complaining about the DLC dance, Shamus. (And about many other things.) Vociferously. They’re just doing it on the Bioware forums. Trust me, I’m there myself, so I see it every day.

    For the record, I couldn’t agree more with you. The DLC dance for preorders and retailers in particular fills me with seething rage on bad days, and weary resignation on good days. Most gamers won’t really care about the pre-order bonuses, but for a completionist like me, who loves getting and collecting every single item in a game, it’s like a knife in the gut. I miss the days when you could just buy the Collector’s Edition and get EVERYTHING. :(

    1. X2Eliah says:

      Then again, they are also examining if quarians would die if having sex with turians on those forums, so you can’t exactly put any stock it what goes on in there.

      1. Zaxares says:

        If Tali’s romance is anything to go by, the answer is “not if they prepare properly beforehand.” ;)

  15. GiantRaven says:

    I’m not sure I agree here, ‘Lunkhead’ is exactly the term that I feel best describes any Commander Sheperd I’ve ever played.

  16. MatthewH says:

    I rather liked the gamestop ad. Reminds me of Garrus’s inability to take a hint from Tali. “I have a shotgun.” “We’ll talk later.”

    “Garrus! Little help here!” “Oh, right.”

    As for the DLC, I’m rather indifferent. A new gun. Neat. Differentiates the products slightly. And they’ll probably be assembled as a $5 pack down the line (like the Firepower Pack for ME2).

  17. Alex says:

    I couldn’t care less about the DLC. But I downloaded the demo on the Xbox 360, and this happens:

    “You must have an Origin account to access the multiplayer-“

    What’s that you say? You DON’T want my money? Even though I’m one of the only people who preferred the direction you’re taking with the sequels more than the original?

    Great marketing, EA.

    1. Sumanai says:

      I’ve got a similar thing with nu-Syndicate. I’ve got a weak spot for co-op games, and seems like it would be good. But I’m not paying that much for a multiplayer only game (the campaign can go jump off a cliff) and I’m not going to install Origin until EA clean their act.

    2. Indy says:

      Is that true? On the Xbox? But you’ve already signed up for games on Xbox. That’s what having a LIVE account is about. I don’t feel like making a Origin account to go along with my Uplay or Rockstar accounts. I’ll just play system link… oh wait.

  18. Just once, aside from Fallout and maybe the original Deus Ex, I want to play a genuinely smart character. One who can actually plan, and knows the lore and isn’t the dumbest, least informed person in any given room. Make the codex accessable from dialogue, then if you look at a relevant article, dialogue appears based on it. If you look at several, maybe you can form connections or something – it’s adventure game stuff, but it’d be fairly intuitive, and mean you didn’t just play someone completely clueless all the time.

    I mean, a Commander should be able to plan and strategise – that should be their greatest strength, hence why it’s their job. At best, Shepard is a commando, which makes me wonder if someone misspelled his rank early on.

  19. Keredis says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who couldn’t stand that “We fight or we die” line.
    Sadly, it’s in the part of the demo taken from the first level of the game. So it looks like it’ll be a part of the actual game.

    1. Otters34 says:

      You know who else was baffled by that line? The people Shepard said it to. Then again, they weren’t the Cool Military Dudes who are hip to Shepard’s jive and all.

      But yeah, that line is downright painful and foolish.

      1. Gamer says:

        I didn’t like that line. But I did like the response to it.

        Shepard: “We FIGHT or we DIE!”

        Human Consul (paraphrase): What the fuck is that supposed to mean!? I got that wise-ass! Do you have an actual plan!?

    2. Michael says:

      Oddly, Anderson’s “I won’t be responsible” line strikes me as much funnier.

  20. Infinitron says:

    Why was so much rage aimed at Portal 2, and so little aimed at Mass Effect 3?

    Shamus: You’re out of touch. The Internet Hate Machine has been on the warpath against Bioware and their products for well over a year now. And they love Gabe Newell and Valve.

    1. Sagretti says:

      I’m not sure if you’ve forgotten or missed it, but the reactions to Portal 2’s launch were absolutely savage. Between the cosmetic dlc at launch and the Indie game ARG, the amount of vitriol directed at Valve hit levels usually reserved for Activision or EA at their worst. I’ve seen plenty of negative reaction towards Bioware, but nothing that organized or extreme. Still, the game doesn’t launch until next week, so there’s still a chance for something to come up by the time it’s all over.

      1. TheMerricat says:

        I attribute it to people having higher expectations for Valve & Portal than they do for EA & Mass Effect.

        When Michael Bay makes a movie, people expect a slightly misogynistic circus of explosions and tripe with zero thought given to the story, so little outrage is expressed when the entire story line could be written in one paragraph by a 3rd grader.

        When Terry Gilliam makes a movie on the other hand, folk sorta expect more.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The reason is much simpler than that:The people who bitched about portal 2 are the same ones that wanted MOAR GUNZ 4 MAS EFECT!AND MAR B00BZ!They got more boobs and guns,so they have no reason to hate the game.They didnt get that with portal 2,therefore IT IS TEH FAGS!

          1. Sumanai says:

            Also the DLC was “teh lam0rz” since it didn’t contain guns etc. Certainly not all of them, but some claimed that because the DLC was “worthless” it should be free. Never mind that if it is worthless, you can ignore it.

      2. Chris says:

        To be fair – as someone who got a Golden Potato and worked his butt off playing games way past the time he was done with them to unlock the game early, the ARG was still completely botched.

        My guess – and this is a shot in the dark, but it makes sense – is that EA and/or GameStop moved in to protest the digital release of the PC version of the game a full three days early, and Valve acquiesced. By that time, though, the ARG was in full effect and there was no time to provide any meaningful compensation; the game hinted at an early release of GLaDOS and there was a countdown in motion, so they fudged the numbers so that, hey, what do you know, the ‘early release’ was effectively midnight EST.

        I get that there a million business relationships that would have been hurt by their releasing the game early, but they should have cleared the ARG with all parties involved before making people play round after round of Toki Tori thinking they were making Portal 2 come out more quickly.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Is there anything actually pointing towards the original plan being to release it days, not hours, early? Because if not, why assume it was?

          My only complaont would be that golden potato, forever taunting me for having other things to do than gathering the last few potatoes.

          1. Chris says:

            The first few days of effort pegged the release almost a week ahead of schedule (thousands of people plugging away at achievements will do that). Then the speed *quickly* dropped off to almost nothing. It became apparent that sometime after the countdown and buildup of “potato energy” or whatnot that they had intended to release the game early but quickly changed course when that proved infeasible.

            I mean, why else have an ARG building up to an “early release” including hints of “waking her up early” etc, only to release at 11 PM EST the day before you’re ostensibly supposed to go on sale instead of 3 AM the day of?

            Valve’s great and everything, and a lot of the indie games you needed to play to unlock Portal 2 were absolutely fantastic, but that whole affair was frustrating.

            1. krellen says:

              It’s possible you’re overlooking the fact that the counter was probably synced with Valve Time.

            2. Zukhramm says:

              How can the counter have pegged the release a week ahead of schedule when it appeared only half a week before the planned release date?

              Why have an ARG if it’s only hours early? I don’t know. Is there a specific time frame a game needs to be released that is required to allow you to make an ARG about it? I don’t see how expecting half a week was reasonable in the first place.

              1. Pete says:

                A wizamathematician did it.

        2. The reason for this was revealed in Valve’s post-mortem of the ARG, released some time after – they held off releasing it for press reasons – it was going to be released at the end of the first countdown, but they decided to add another to drum up a bit more publicity before they released it. They noted that people hated that and they never intended to do it again.

          At least, that’s what I remember reading, it was a while back.

      3. Infinitron says:

        And I’m not sure if you’re aware how much of a laughing stock/whipping boy Bioware is at the moment, among the movers and shakers of Internet culture.

        The Something Awful goons discuss the “Incredible Bioware Backlash”. http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3457860&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

        The 4chan Video Game “Awards”. Notice who they hate and who they love. http://vidyagaemawards.com/results.php?votes

        A famous Youtube video. Recently DMCA’d by EA (despite containing nothing that wasn’t publically available) and reuploaded. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJMJN8FeOIs

        1. GM says:

          Skyrim got awarded worst writing and voice.
          Makes me wonder if that can be modded away heh.
          Or too much work.

          1. Infinitron says:

            Eh? No it didn’t. That would be DA2 and TOR, respectively.

        2. X2Eliah says:

          Riiight, because 4chan and “something awful goons” are movers of the Internet culture..

          As if.
          Nobody cares about those groups of kiddies outside their respective forums.

          1. Dragomok says:

            But they are the chaos and the rage of the Internet embodied!

            I have always thought of them as the purest specimens of Homo Internetum Useris.

          2. Infinitron says:

            If those aren’t mainstream enough for you, how about TotalBiscuit, a highly popular vlogger?
            This anti-ME3 video of his currently has over 800,000 views.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              Yeah, TB is awesome and all that. And sometimes far too self-righteous and pretentious – it’s not that hard to see.

              1. Sumanai says:

                Why isn’t calling someone pretentious, without explaining why, not considered itself pretentious?

                1. Sumanai says:

                  I think I need to expand: I’ve heard people call other people or works of other people as pretentious so much, and almost always without a justification, that the word is fast becoming meaningless.

                  It’s just one of the words people throw out when they don’t like something but can’t tell what exactly it is that bothers them.

        3. Dragomok says:

          I am genuinely shocked that Minecraft got “My Eyes Are Bleeding” Award.

          1. Infinitron says:

            I think their antipathy towards Minecraft is more of a hype backlash than an actual judgement of quality.

        4. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I dont follow game press,yet even I was very well aware of the backlash about portal 2.With bioware however,not counting this blog,I saw nothing nearly as bad about their new games.

        5. tengokujin says:

          Woohoo! DX3 is “Least Hated Game 2011”! :p

        6. JPH says:

          The fact that they heaped so much bile on Minecraft of all things makes me wonder what the /v/GA voters were smoking.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Guys,be realistic here:Just because you like minecraft,doesnt mean everyone else has to.For example: http://www.blisteredthumbs.net/2012/03/hog60/

          2. youngoli says:

            As Infinitron said above, and from what I’ve seen on /v/, the whole thing is pretty much just hype backlash. People are pissed because they feel like Notch hasn’t delivered on the stuff he promised back during survival test.

            That said, /v/ isn’t one person, and for every user there that hates Minecraft with a passion there’s usually one who loves the game.

    2. I can never tell if he’s being rhetorical when he asks those kinds of questions. It seems pretty obvious to me.

  21. TheArtfulNudger says:

    It’s somewhat weird being exposed to such remedial and peurile writing in a Bioware game, but all the more strange when compared to something similar which more effectively captured the ton of facing an undefeatable enemy who simply views your existence unworthy of allowing. I’m talking about the card game Magic: the Gathering.

    WAIT! Read the rest before commenting.

    This is specifically in reference to the set Rise of the Eldrazi which sees the release of the Eldrazi, titanic Cthulu-like monsters that destroy and warp all life around them with utter contempt (seem familiar?). Contrast one already mocked line from the ads with the flavour text from the card Time of Heroes:

    Shepard: We fight or we Die!

    flavour text: No one spoke. There was no need. The threat of the Eldrazi presented a simple choice: lay down your weapons and die for nothing, or hold them fast and die for something.

    See the difference? the first one is ridiculously obvious drivel(gee we’re under attack-wonder if we should fight back?) whereas the second drives the particulars of the situation home. It’s a bit of a worrying comparison in light of what is normally held up as Bioware’s ace quality.

    1. Dragomok says:

      Indeed, MtG‘s flavour texts are usually one of the finest sentences I have ever read.

    2. Keredis says:

      Wow. That is infinitely better than Shepard’s line. Clearly, Bioware needs to start recruiting from WotC.

    3. Indy says:

      I think everybody would enjoy Mass Effect dialogue a lot more if they could say “A wizard did it”. That paragraph is so well written, it relates to the world it inhabits and it’s on a playing card. Bioware needs to learn about this writing style.

  22. Eleion says:

    The horrible, horrible Gamestop DLC ad is the only Mass Effect 3 ad I have seen. Multiple times. Over and over. I hated it the first time I watched it, and it’s only gotten worse. Maybe my experience is unique, but you’d think they’d want to put some effort into getting people to by their game before they moved on to getting people to buy a stupid gun for the game. The Gamestop ad has nothing in it that would make someone interested in the actual game.


    1. Eruanno says:

      I seriously did not know the Gamestop ad existed up until this point. I wish I could un-see it now. Wow. Just wow. That was AWFUL.

  23. acronix says:

    I´m glad I haven’t bothered to check anything ME3 related, except for that cheap “Vote for female Shepard’s look!”

  24. lurkey says:

    Well, you cannot say they aren’t learning. DA2’s hype had at least two idiot slogans (“Button-awesome!” and “Think like a general, fight like a Spartan”), I’m pretty sure there were more, everybody was making fun of them and so now there’s only “We fight or we die”. Countless DLCs apparently were lapped up quite happily, and so they cranked that up.

    Also…I’m afraid it is marketed as something big, dumb and loud because it is big, dumb and loud and that’s exactly what majority of audience wants, it seems. Look at, say, SA forums. Script leaks – “Oh my Gooood, ’tis so stupid with a robot sex on top! That’s it, ima cancellin’ me preorder!” Demo out – “Well, multiplayer totally rocks bro, ima shootin’ stuffz with mah gunz, ima heabuttin’ Kroganz hurr durr! Preorderin again!”

  25. Dragomok says:

    I just wanted to say that I’m very happy that Experienced Points are regular again.

    Thanks Shamus.

    1. Jarenth says:

      I second this notion.

      1. Gamer says:


        Experienced Points is what brought me to Twenty Sided. I’m glad it’s back.

        1. Eruanno says:

          Fourth…ed? You are a word-wizard, sir!

  26. Gamer says:

    I will counter with two potential points in an effort to play Devil’s Advocate.

    1.) Prehaps that commercial had more to do with Gamestop then with EA. Maybe EA gave the green light for a commercial and then was as surprised as we to find out what the fuck Gamestop was thinking. I’ve seen Gamestop do this to multiple games, not just ME3.

    2.) As bad as it is, it still beats Dead Space 2 (OMG ur mom hates tis gam!) and Dante’s Inferno (God hates this game!) advertising.

    1. Dasick says:

      Actually, the voice actor for Garrus in that video is not official (“Ah yes sorry” is the only line by the official voice actor, and that was ripped from ME2) and the lip synching is just someone deforming the image of Garrus in photoshop.

      So yeah, you’re hating on EA for all the wrong reasons.

      1. Gamer says:

        I didn’t know they ripped that line of dialogue from the game, but I expected that the VO wasn’t the guy who plays Garrus. I’ve heard his unaltered voice in the Behind-The-Scenes stuff: He sounds nothing like that.

        Damn it Gamestop, why do you make me defend EA?

        1. Sumanai says:

          EA greenlighted an advertisement without caring what it will be like, they’re partially to blame. If I hand over an automatic rifle to a twelve year old and he kills someone, I’m going to be in trouble for it.

  27. Astor says:

    I only played the first part of the demo (ie. the start of the game). It was awful, nothing the characters said or did made any sense. How come nobody did ANYTHING while Shepard as in the cell? How come nobody did anything while they lost Pluto and had something “massive” on long range scanners? What was getting Shepard and asking him questions going to accomplish?? Don’t this people have some evacuation protocols?? If I was Shepard and this retards suddenly released me to tell me they are losing comm with EVERYTHING while something MASSIVE approached, I would’ve punched them in the jaw, took over, issue evacuation orders, issue TV to tell everyone to evacuate Earth, all the while screaming madly and then run off to my fucking ship. I wouldn’t waste time talking nonsense (“we fight or we die” right after I said this was about “survival not tactics&strategy” LOL). Then you have the idiocy of Reapers attacking Earth and Shepard going off to get help. If Reapers attack Earth it wont last two days, so good luck arriving before total annihilation. And then why concentrate all your Reapers on Earth??. And that’s (and more) all just in the first 5 minutes. Sigh.

    At least we’ve got some Clint Mansell to enjoy.

    1. Keredis says:

      Ugh, that entire bit with the Admiralty board or whoever they were just… ugh. How do you get to be a High-ranking naval officer without having the basic “command decision” drive? What should have happened was, like you said, immediate evacuation and orders to the effect of “We’ve lost contact. All forces on immediate alert. The entirety of Sol System is now to be considered a war zone. All hands, man your battle stations. All personnel, get away from giant windows.” Instead, we get “What do we do? I’m an indecisive high-ranking military official who can’t comprehend that you kill things that try to kill you without being told it!”

      Also, sadly, the “We fight or we die” line was not the worst, I think. You just reminded me that I hate that other line even more. Paraphrased: “Our enemy is smarter than us, stronger than us, and outnumbers us. This isn’t about tactics or strategy.” I’m not exactly Sun Tzu, but I’m pretty sure that when you’re up against a superior force and diplomacy is not an option, tactics and strategy is quite literally the only option you have.

      1. Sumanai says:

        And not just the only option, but the tools for survival.

      2. Astor says:

        haha, yeah you are pretty right on that. The sad part is that the good dialogues are still there (there are some exchanges that work fluidly and some little jokes still make me smile). Also some scenes, while totally cheap, are good enough to be indeed effective: I did care for Earth getting owned.

        So I will be getting it and playing it (though I shall try to refrain myself until it gets cheaper/releases a version with DLC), the fact that it moves us to rant here *says* something. It’s just I don’t expect much.

  28. zootie says:

    “But their own marketing seems almost infused with this raw contempt not just for the medium, but for the audience itself. ”

    In my experience, many marketers do have a contempt issue with their audience, but that’s always been personal ego talking, usually with a few drinks in it. In the workplace, the attitude is more that marketing believes the world revolves around their efforts, and the rest of the company is completely dependent on marketing to keep the world going ’round.

    This attitude casts the the actual buyers as aliens from outer space that are of course impossible to understand, so naturally, marketing’s only recourse is to poke them with a stick until they hit spots that cause money to come out, then poke those spots until no more money comes out :/

    1. Sumanai says:

      Then panic, blame someone else and keep poking it until someone else pokes another hole that dropped money and then ape them.

  29. Dasick says:

    Mass Effect 3… What a strange game. It seems the only winning move is not to play at all.

    1. Dragomok says:

      Coincidentally, the only winning move in Origin is to not install Origin.

      A game within a game, huh?
      This is the time when someone makes a “Gameception” joke.

      1. Tzeneth says:

        *inserts Gameception joke. ;)

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          *makes a lame gameception pun…or is it a lameception pun?*

          1. tengokujin says:


            1. Eruanno says:

              BWOOOOOMMMMM (Sorry.)

    2. krellen says:

      Woo hoo! I win!

      1. Jarenth says:

        We’ll see who’s laughing when Mass Effect 3 has Mordin singing three complete operas.

        1. Sumanai says:

          Anyone who knows how to search for videos in Youtube.

        2. Even says:

          Only we don’t know if the new voice actor can actually sing.

      2. Bubble181 says:


        When ME came out, I was planning on playing it – seemed like a new, sligthtly-less-awesome-because-of-lack-of-Jedi KOTOR.
        When ME2 came out, I gave up o nthat and decided to just wait it out a bit.
        With ME3 coming and seeing what and how – I’m glad I’m not at all invested in the ME universe. I’m a scifi and RPG junkie, yet this train passed me by, and it seems I should be glad of it(unlike, say, the original Neverwinter Nights. Played it a couple of months ago for the first time. Damnit!)

        1. SyrusRayne says:

          There are still Neverwinter Nights servers around, if that’s what you’re lamenting. Many are just traditional high-fantasy, but the one I play these days is actually a modern, zombie survival setting. It’s even in the name. Modern Zombie Survival 2. Original, right? :P

  30. Vect says:

    The thing about Shepard sounding like a “Lunkhead” does make sense to me. Shepard is, for all intents and purposes, a sufficiently awesome Space Marine. S/he’s no Legendary Tactician nor does he have any particularly scientific background. S/he is a soldier that’s good at killing mooks and has the Bioware RPG Trait of “Informed Charisma” that gets various characters to follow him/her and the most that s/he can do is (attempt to) make “Inspiring Speeches” rather than spouting statistics and stratelogical whatsits like s/he’s the bastard of Zhuge Liang and Erwin Rommel.

    A major problem with stating that Shepard is a “Master Tactician” is that it’s not likely going to lead to Gameplay/Story Segregation since if it’s somehow done in gameplay in some fashion or another it’ll lead to players failing to live up to the stated expectations. If it’s simply a stated thing, then it’ll just be an Informed Trait. So all they have to go on is “Has Whatever It Is That Gets People To Follow Him/her” and generic Chosen One traits.

    I admit that I’m no fan of the Marketing. The one about Garrus putting on an announcer voice seems to just be them trying Rule of Funny more than anything. There was one for ME2 about the Black Hole Gun where Thane asked about where any mooks that got sucked in went before cutting to a toilet where you hear the mooks screaming for help.

    And unfortunately, I’m pretty sure they are advertising to the shooter audiences, most of which seem to care more about the shooting and the explosions and the Fistpumping-Dudebro Machismo more than going around space, learning about different species and meaningful character interaction. That itself is a good audience for making money.

    1. Sumanai says:

      S/he is commanding a group. In fact, her/his rank is “commander”. S/he is supposed to be good at tactics.

      Didn’t the previous games make a deal about Shepard being able to get people to follow her/him? How does s/he do that when s/he is nothing but a mindless grunt?

      1. Keredis says:

        Being inspiring is different from having tactical ability. In D&D terms, it’s the difference between having, say, a high Charisma and the Leadership feat vs. a high Intelligence and Skill Focus: Knowledge (Military Tactics). One is going to have a lot more people lining up to follow them, while the other is going to be far better at coming up with effective, efficient plans. Ideally, you’d want to pair someone like Shepard off with some sort of Tactical Genius, and have them work in tandem. The Tactical Genius comes up with the plans, and Shepard builds/inspires the force to execute them. That would actually be a nice addition to the crew of the Normandy: A Tactical Officer who doesn’t go on missions, but comes up with the plans for you to carry out (and gives reasons as to why these plans work best with only three people).

        1. Vect says:

          Evidently Garrus is considered the Tactical Genius of Shepard’s team. Being a Natural Leader doesn’t really go hand-in-hand with being a Tactical Genius.

          I’m now reminded of that other guy who did a Mass Effect 2 analysis where he insisted that Samara should have been awesome at every form of combat imaginable since she’s nearly a thousand years old when there’s pretty clear in-game evidence explaining otherwise.

          1. Niall says:

            So to put it as simply as possible Shepherd is Mike Singletary… a leader who if he told you to run through a brick you’d sure as hell try. But at the same so tactically naive that he might actually let his troops keeping battering away until all thats left is a pretty bloody wall and a pile of concussed grunts

            1. Sumanai says:

              Wait, Shepard is Zapp Brannigan?

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Almost.Shepard had sex with a sober partner.

                1. Bubble181 says:

                  You had me laughing out loud at work. Bad, bad Internet Guy :-D

                2. Sumanai says:

                  Yeah, but they’re often part of the chain of command and beneath Shepard. That’s still creepy.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Depending on who you pick,sometimes shepard is the one beneath them*wink*.

                    1. Sumanai says:

                      I heard about that today. Damn creepy.

              2. CalDazar says:

                Remember the spoiler warrning teams opinion on the Ruthless reputation for ME?

              3. GiantRaven says:

                Hmm…a space-themed Futurama RPG? I could totally get behind that.

            2. Vect says:

              That’s more of a Renegade Option. Paragon would probably be to do something that puts him/her at risk.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Paragon shepard:”We talk with them,or diplomacy fails!”

      2. Vect says:

        S/he’s not a mindless grunt and I’m sure that s/he’s good at commanding troops. S/he’s probably not a Master Tactician of Light Yagami levels that’s capable of commanding every armada of the galaxy to compete and total victory with minimal loss.

        1. Sumanai says:

          People who defend the stupid dialogue/monologue that has been revealed is in ME3 seem to think s/he is. And my argument builds on from that, so I have to take the same position.

          1. Sumanai says:

            Okay, so I don’t remember the point I was originally making, so just ignore me.

          2. Ringwraith says:

            They have said they took a lot of dialogue options out of the demo however. So there’s probably more lines in it than we’ve seen.

            1. Sumanai says:

              I wouldn’t hold my breath. But I’m not really interested in ME3 itself nearly as much as the conversations that surround it.

          3. Eruanno says:

            Actually, if you look at the intro for Mass Effect 2, there weren’t all that many dialogue options. It was pretty much “argh, the ship is on fire, run” or “SERIOUSLY, the ship is on fire, RUN!”

            Although I guess that intro was shorter than ME3’s intro, so maybe it made less of an overall impact.

        2. MatthewH says:

          My take from the previous two games is that Shepard is a special forces operative, not a strategic thinker. I’d almost invoke the Peter Principle that Commander is the top of the ladder for Shepard. Shepard’s job is to lead the ground team and make tactical decisions -but otherwise rely on the higher-ups for orders. First Anderson, then the Council. In the first game, Shepard never makes a command decision without consulting with the entire team -not exactly demonstrating the traits I expect to see in a Captain. In the second, EDI, the Illusive Man, or Miranda provide all the strategic support. In Arrival, Admiral Hacket even ask (paraphrased) “how did you interpret my orders to involve destroying a star system?”

          Shepard’s great asset is symbolic. He or She was the medal-of-honor winner who saved the Citadel.

          Shepard is Audie Murphy, not Patton (let alone Eisenhower).

          1. Ringwraith says:

            Shepard is also the person you send in if you want stuff done, although the results may not be quite what you expected…

  31. Kian says:

    I don’t know that Shepard isn’t a strategic thinker. Depending on the background choice, with War Hero he took a bunch of civilians being raided by pirates and organized a resistance that lasted several hours until reinforcements arrived. Beyond the necessary leadership skill required to get civilians to fight without breaking down, actually defending a place like that would require him to organize the defenses effectively.

    Granted, he showed himself to be good at the shooty bits when he repelled a breach single handedly, but there being a breach implies that the rest of the defenses held. Defenses he propped up with just a bunch of scared people. That requires skills beyond just being a good ground troop.

    1. Vect says:

      I would believe that Shepard should at the least be competent at leading ground troops and such, though unfortunately that’s only limited to how good the player is at such things.

      For example, in the suicide mission Shepard should be able to easily understand which squad member is the best suited for the roles with the information given but if the player is either amazingly incompetent, intentionally going for a Mass Kill run or just plain lazy in gathering resources then Shepard proves to be a poor decision maker and an utter failure as a commander.

  32. RCN says:

    This is utterly ridiculous! Good Gods! I heard the Ads for Mass Effect 3 were getting bad to worse, but this is unadulterated BULLSHIT. This kind of thing makes me glad so little game ads get shown in my country at all.

    This reminds me of Darkened Skye (remember that? Have you ever heard of that? If not, here’s a nice link http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/09/12/crap-shoot-darkened-skye/)

    It reminds me of that not because of the product placement trying to disguise itself as best as possible. It reminds me of that because of the deep, visceral internal struggle that happens inside gaming corporations. In Darkened Skye a game designer was ordered by a boss “Make me a skittle game”. She answered “I’d rather be fired”. They said “ok then”. And she said “FINE!” And went on to make a Skittles game that tried to pretend as hard as possible skittles didn’t exist, and when it did, it was with contempt.

    I can picture, clear as water, in my mind. Someone at EA coming to one of Mass Effect game designers or writer, and saying: “Yep, that space opera thing is really cool! I know! You see how much loyal fans you got! Now… since they already love the series, we need to expand our demographic, you follow? Now, that Calling of Duty and Gearing War are selling pretty well. Can you write something more awesome? Like that? And, while at that, can you tone down the Cold Universe and Humans are nothing tone? I mean, our research has shown that our white supremacist demographics are uncomfortable with those Saladvegans and Tug-of-warians being large in the spotlight, so make humans awesome. Also, this Eldritch Horror Indestructible and Immortal machines is no-go, it is scaring kids. Make Shep punch those in the face and then say at the top of his lungs ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’. No biggie, right? What are you doing with that noose? Don’t joke around. We have to appeal to the housewife demographic as well.”

    Humanity truly IS doomed…

  33. youngoli says:

    That line about Metacritic bombing ME3 seems a lot funnier now that it’s holding about a 3 average in user scores. The contrast with the critic reviews is striking.

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