Mass Effect 3 EP18: Our Buddy Hackett

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 307 comments

Link (YouTube)

For the record, I don’t actually think the video holograph phone needed to be in color. In a world aiming for photo-realism, having a 3D video projector that is also photo-realistic can be kind of weird. It’s easy for the player to get confused about what they’re seeing. Wait, which people in this conversation are real, and which ones are projections? Now we’re talking to Wrex in a different room, but I thought he went somewhere else. Is he a projection? No, they just shook hands, okay. It wouldn’t kill the game or anything, but it would befuddle some people. If someone is new to the series, or if they put the game down for a few weeks, then they might not recall who is on the ship and who isn’t. The classic sci-fi grainy hologram trope (I’m betting it’s a trope, but I’m not going to go hunting for it) solves all of this so the player can focus on what’s being said.

The genophage is a pretty classic “ends justify the means” question. Ozymandias posed the same question at the end of Watchmen. Would you kill N people for certain to avert what you believe is the likely death of N*1,000 people in the future? By fiddling with the values of the multiplier and the level of certainty you can usually tip the scales one way or the other, but if you make those two values uncertain enough and the timeframe long enough, you can create an intractable problem for the audience to ponder.

I don’t object to the fact that Mordin changed his mind and decided the genophage was wrong. I don’t object to the way different players conclude one way or the other. That was the point of the exercise. I do mind that the game itself seems to be taking a position on the question. This is the hazard of the stupid and contradictory renegade / paragon arrows. Sometimes those are methodology. Sometimes they’re about right and wrong. Sometimes they’re about being nice or rude. Then you throw the flashing red and blue prompts into the emotional climax of the game and suddenly this shades of grey question turns into a black and white binary decision.

Even beyond the renegade / paragon prompts, I felt like the choices were boiling down to genophage=evil, cure=good. Again, I can understand why someone would come to that conclusion, but I really felt like the game itself should have remained aloof about it.

And if you’re curious why Rutskarn was suggesting it was Business Time, now you know.


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307 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP18: Our Buddy Hackett

  1. l3f4y says:

    If Wrex is dead (and therefore Wreav is the leader of Clan Urdnot), Maelon’s data wasn’t saved (and therefore Eve dies), and you don’t want to cure the genophage, you can convince Mordin to walk away. He goes into hiding and becomes a decent War Asset. He also gets a cameo way later if he’s alive.

    1. Klay F. says:

      I seem to remember Mordin singing to the tune of Modern Major General during his last scene, I’m wondering why he didn’t here.

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        Does it have anything to do with the Paragon interrupt, maybe?

        1. Tse says:

          No, the interrupt is you trying to hold him back by the shoulder and him shrugging your hand off. It’s completely ineffectual. I think there is a similar one in the geth mission if you side with the geth. You try to stop Tali from killing herself and you fail.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Confirming existence of said spoilered interrupt. Nice bit of meta usage, there.

          2. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

            I know the interrupt doesn’t stop him, I’m just wondering if it changes whether or not he winds up singing the song at the top of the tower. Sort of a delayed result, as it were.

      2. Lord ZYRK says:

        He only does that if you saw the original scene of him singing. It makes sense since if you missed the opportunity to ask him about singing before it certainly wouldn’t make sense now.

      3. Lord ZYRK says:

        He only sings at the top of the tower if you talked to him about singing before. If you hadn’t watched him sing before then they don’t show it at the top of the tower. The only question is if it’s better to have characters randomly burst into song at tense moments or not.

        1. aldowyn says:

          Personally I much prefer the “It had to be me” sendoff. The singing seemed like pandering to the fanbase. In ME2 it was just a random thing he did, not really important to the character at all except for establishing that he was more than just a scientist.

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            Also, the reference to Solus wanting to study the seashells.

        2. burningdragoon says:

          I wouldn’t say the singing is better or worse, but I believe if he’s singing he gets blown up while he’s working, not after, which I do think is better than him just standing there waiting for the boom.

      4. Zukhramm says:

        Why does he even do that? He’s gone from “likes singing” to “likes singing this one particular song because people will recognize it from the previous game”.

        1. Thomas says:

          Well, if you ask someone to sing for you, them choosing to thing their favourite song isn’t unreasonable. Shepard didn’t request a particular one, and he sings a different one to Eve but admits it’s not his favourite

          1. anaphysik says:

            “choosing to thing”
            I thee you have a bit of a lithp. :P

            1. Thomas says:

              =D I can’t believe I did that

        2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          He didn’t even like to sing in the previous game. He did it as inter-species understanding, and was slightly confused why he was always given the patter songs.

          I like the send-off, but it’s flanderization in the 9th degree.

          1. Thomas says:

            That’s definitely a valid way to look at it. But it’s reasonable to think the other way too. When people say ‘I’m not really interested in that sort of thing. I dabble in painting a little maybe…’ it’s very common for that to mean that they love doing that thing a lot and really want to show it off but don’t want to be boastful. ‘Oh this painting? It’s really not very good, I just paint a little in my spare time. What do you think? I mean I’m no artist, and this is rubbish compared to what a professional people will do, but do you see this little bit here? And have you seen this painting, it’s not my favourite but I like the way the sun catches the grass. It took me half a year’

            And the considering that on the smallest inquiry into his little hook he immediately burst out into song without being asked, well that’s exactly what people do when they use ‘a little’ in that way

            1. Jeff says:

              Yeah, he didn’t just reply “I did a bit of Gilbert and Sulivan”, he burst into song, Shepard stares at him, and Mordin coughs a little self-consciously before the dialog continues.

    1. Adam says:

      For the love of God, man, be careful! You’re linking to TVTropes unprotected! At least put on some kind of warning label!

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        TvTropes Will Enhance Your Life! Click now to discover how!

        Is that the kind of warning you meant?

          1. Open Source Idiom says:

            Speaking of tropes;

            “The classic sci-fi grainy hologram trope (I'm betting it's a trope, but I'm not going to go hunting for it)”

            Shamus, there’s very little in the way of science that went into TV Tropes as a website, given their policy regarding notability and fact checking — amongst other trends. The website’s done a lot to give people a platform to talk about trends in fiction, but its packaged often in a very misleading way.

            To the point where the word “trope”, as your using it, is really problematic. A trope means something very specific, in terms of academics and semiotics, to the more colloquial way you’re using the term. So you probably should be using “Trope” instead of “trope”.

            Furthermore, nearly anything can be a Trope give the barest of consensus. Including: “The End To Metal Gear Solid 2”, “Hetrosexuality”, “Tropes Are Not Bad” and “People Sit On Chairs”, a trope that was introduced to specifically counteract the trend. It didn’t help.

            So, basically, when you’re alluding to Tropes you’re on very shaky critical ground.

            1. Shamus says:

              “Shamus, there's very little in the way of science that went into TV Tropes as a website”

              Which is good, since we’re having an informal conversation about videogames, not an academic study.

              “So, basically, when you're alluding to Tropes you're on very shaky critical ground.”

              Not at all. I might be on shaky academic ground, but I don’t think using the word hurts the point I was making. Generally speaking, everyone gets what I’m saying, in that I’m using “trope” to mean, “thing which is used in stories so often that people have noticed”. If the word means something else to you, then I’m sorry the masses have swiped your word. In defense of the masses: We really needed this one, because “cliché” was too ambiguous and negative.

              1. Open Source Idiom says:

                I’m sensing some sort of sarcasm here — is that right? I’m sorry if this came across as a personal attack. You’re certainly right in that I completely understand the point you’re making and I’m sure others do too. You’re very clear in the way you speak, where as I’m probably not the best communicator.

                In case you thought otherwise, this isn’t some sort of knee-jerk reaction to hearing the website’s name. I like the website, and post there often. I do worry that TV Tropes propagates a misleading understanding of media response.

                I realise that this is slightly irrelevant — you’re right to call me out on it. It’s my soap box. But I’ve got no intention of turning it into an ivory tower of academic elitism.

                To imply something to be “a trope” is misleading, given that it gives some authoritative endorsement to a website that’s not often recognised as being as problematic in ways that aren’t curt dismissal.

                You’re also right in that there need to be useful terms to talk about fictional practise which aren’t misleading in their connotation. I’d argue that “trope” is just as misleading, given its broad non-specificity, the way in which trope-based arguments are often implemented and the way that phrases that have been adopted as tropes have become denatured (e.g. its affect on feminist arguments vis-a-vis, or The Manic Pixie Dream Girl) resulting in a lot of problematic methodology. e.g. Feminist Frequency — a program which makes such a hash of an agenda I’m often very much behind.

                You’re not guilty of anything like that yourself, and like we’ve both acknowledged this is largely irrelevant. But maybe you’ll find this interesting? Or perhaps that’s just prideful of me.

                1. anaphysik says:

                  Bah! Down with your prescriptivism! ‘The meaning of ‘trope” is dead, long live ‘the meaning of ‘trope’!’


                2. Atarlost says:

                  It kind of sounds like your problem is that feminists argue badly because of tvtropes.

                  People have been giving feminism a bad name as long as feminism has been a thing that can be given a bad name. No cause so noble it won’t attract its share of dickheads and all that.

                3. Zukhramm says:

                  What’s so broad and non-specific about “trope”? In the sense we’re using it here, it’s narrow enough. And that different words can mean different things in different contexts is not a problem, and has never been.

                  1. Open Source Idiom says:

                    “It kind of sounds like your problem is that feminists argue badly because of tvtropes.”

                    It’s more that tv tropes lets people argue badly, and Sarkesian’s just one example.

                    “What's so broad and non-specific about “trope”? In the sense we're using it here, it's narrow enough.”

                    Is it? If anything it’s too narrow. He’s conflating technique with TV tropes definition of “trope”, which might seem perfectly fine, but…

                    A trope is, by the website’s definition: “Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.” But there are a great deal of “tropes” that don’t follow this tradition, like “Nightmare Fuel” or “Exactly What It Says On The Tin”.

                    Shamus seems to be alluding to a canonical set of tropes in his argument (in admittedly, one line, but it’s an opinion that’s been expressed before in these videos) and I’d argue that there’s no such thing. I could easily make a trope, say, “Sheep Don’t Wear Sunglasses” (which satisfies the definition) that aids in the degradation of the entire archive.

                    There’s a fundamental problem with a crowd sourced dictionary, which is self-admittedly less reliable than Wikipedia, being used to back up any kind of argument.

                    Not that it really is being used for that here. Like I’ve said (twice now, sorry for the repetition), Shamus is just talking it up.

                    1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

                      “Sheep Don’t Wear Sunglasses” would almost certainly be a People Sit On Chairs sort of scenario: “It doesn’t matter how commonly it occurs, this is something that never carried any meaning to begin with, making it Not a Trope.”

                      Also, not everything on the site is considered a Trope. They admit it. “But not everything we record are tropes, nor is everything in storytelling tropes. […] things that aren’t tropes may still be notable enough to get their own pages.” (Nightmare Fuel is amongst the things specifically listed as an Audience Reaction rather than as a Trope, for instance)

                    2. anaphysik says:

                      Hey, Ofermod, thanks for writing my response for me :]

  2. Zagzag says:

    I thought that you might be interested to know that your Guild Wars related writings are causing gold selling ads to appear on your site. I’m not sure if you can do anything about it, but here is one anyway. I remember you saying that you need a picture to be able to do something about it.

  3. Klay F. says:

    Oh God, who ever came up with that title needs to face corporal punishment…

    1. Geoff says:

      Speaking of titles, that title should be “Mass Effect 3 EP18: Our Buddy Hackett”. This switching between posting the old videos with new post commentary and the new videos all of the same trilogy is getting confusing. o_0

      1. swenson says:

        Ditto. I thought this was an ME1 post.

      2. Lord ZYRK says:

        I hear that. I saw this episode pop up in my feed and thought “there is no way the old Mass Effect episodes are up to 18! What did I miss?!”

    2. Volfram says:

      Really? It was one word short of parodying a carpentry show I used to watch ALL THE TIME when I was very young. Brought back some major nostalgia for me.

    3. anaphysik says:

      Hm, I don’t get it. What’s the (probable) pun?

      1. Volfram says:

        only because you asked.

        Corporal and Major are both military ranks.

        That was my assumption, anyway. The episode title reference escapes me, but it reminds me of “Our old buddy Norm” Abrams from the New Yankee Workshop(which I watched religiously when I was… about 6) and “Our Man Flint,” which is kind of an American James Bond series. One is too obscure, and the other too distant, though.

        1. Duneyrr says:

          I also watched ‘New Yankee Workshop’ religiously as a kid! That man had so many fantastic woodworking tools…

        2. anaphysik says:

          Okay…. I was actually asking about the episode title (Our Buddy Hackett), since it sounded like Klay was ‘mad’ at some indecipherable pun embedded within it.

          I’m not sure where the ‘Major’ pun is though (unless you simply meant that the ‘corporal punishment,’ um, pun-ishment was playing off of ‘Modern Major General‘?).

          Besides, that seems like a rather rank-and-file theme for our puns, which are generally up to better standard and usually contain at least a colonel of wit. They’re especially good for filling the thread when the video’s still private. And yes, those were all first class puns :P

          (Hopefully that will marshal the other punners to this thread.)

          1. Shamus says:


            The episode title was my doing. It is a pun because of this:


            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              Man… now I feel old.

              15 seconds of Buddy Hackett doing his thing. Except the bell-kicks. He could never get the bell-kicks.

              1. Klay F. says:

                Man, now I’m wondering why the original can’t be found anywhere in full on youtube except for that retarded Family Guy version.

          2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I dunno, having inflicted all that on me, I think your corpus should be sent on up to Major Payne.

            1. anaphysik says:

              It’s part of the portfolio I’m submitting for my degree from RutskarnU. I’ve already passed all the corps classes there, you know.

  4. Ron says:

    One of the things that annoyed me the most was that renegade was always wrong, at least in regards to galactic readiness. An example of this would be the rachni mission. I was really excited when I found out that the rachni queen betrayed you if you let her live. I wrongly assumed that it happened whether it was the cloned queen or not, considering they’re both indoctrinated. Or at least they should be. I can’t imagine why the reapers wouldn’t indoctrinate the non-cloned queen. I was excited since, for the first time, BEING LAWFUL STUPID HAD CONSEQUENCES.

    But of course, if you saved the first queen, it all works out and you get ALL THE WAR ASSETS. Just like the rest of the game.

    1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

      Maybe the Rachni queen is resistant to indoctrination due to being the head of the group-mind dealy, but her children are susceptible? I think there was something where the colonists who had been possessed by that giant plant (Thorian?) were resistant to indoctrination as well.

      1. Din Adn says:

        That’d be really interesting.

        Just from watching these few episodes of Spoiler Warning, the cloned Rachni Queen does seem to be saying something about being purpose-built by the reapers to make dronebabies.

        It’s another one of those moments where either the writers were doing something subtle and clever or just something plain dumb, and it’s hard to know without having them on-hand to answer questions.

      2. krellen says:

        The conversation with the Rachni Queen in ME1 suggested that Rachni were highly resistant/immune to indoctrination; the “sour yellow note” drove them mad, making them into animals, which isn’t what indoctrination normally does. She also promised she could restore the song to its proper tone – which makes the fact that the Queen was suddenly indoctrinated in ME3 very annoying to me (it should have been a clone slave willingly working for the Reapers, or a caged saved queen forced to reproduce offspring that the Reapers could then Huskify.)

    2. StashAugustine says:

      Renegade option on Legion’s loyalty mission makes it easier to convince the geth and quarians to play nice, and sabotaging the genophage with Wrex dead allows you to get krogan and salarian support.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “Renegade option on Legion's loyalty mission makes it easier to convince the geth and quarians to play nice”

        Although that makes absolutely no sense. The ‘Q-G peace’ option is all about convincing the quarian fleet to back down. *Why* would they be more likely to do that when the they’re the stronger force? Guh-huh?

        (Now, an argument might be made that if the quarians are willing to back down even when they have the advantage, that’s an excellent sign that the peace will last. But again that has no bearing on how the actual option plays out.)

        Also, in addition to the two you mentioned, if you can’t C/I/Rally on Tali’s loyalty mission, choosing Renegade keeps her from being exiled (at the cost of her loyalty). Presumably if she survives the Suicide Mission anyway, then she should be an Admiral in ME3 and thus make the Q-G peace option easier to get. (I have not confirmed this, but it seems like that’s what would happen.)

        1. Thomas says:

          Maybe you could argue that since their primary motivation is fear, they feel more comfortable when they’ve got the larger army. Or that they’d lose less ships if the geth are weaker so they’d hold less of a grudge.

          …those are pretty flimsy justifications. It’s weird though, the person who decided that must have had something in mind, I’m just not sure what

          1. anaphysik says:

            The quarian’s motivation isn’t fear. It’s basically zeal – or at the very least, that’s Han’Gerrel’s motivation (y’know, the guy you in-game have to convince to back down).

            Which reminds me: Shala’Raan is a spineless toad in ME3. She could’ve simply voted with (SIR AWESOME’)Koris and non-exiled-Tali instead of with the warhawk and the crazy lady, and prevented the war from ever beginning. I hate how you don’t get to even discuss how stupid the quarian admiralty is being in ME3, outside of a few really rare instances (e.g. punching Gerrel).

            But seriously, Zaal’Koris is awesome and has always been awesome.

            1. Thomas says:

              I’m taking a complete beating in my ME knowledge today (mainly from you =D) that was a bad mistake

              1. anaphysik says:

                Well… since we were already at it… :P

                This episode on Anaphysik’s Continuing Quest to Earn Codex Honour by Correcting Thomas!:

                It’s “salarian.” Not “Solarian.” Spelling, and if you wouldn’t capitalize ‘human’ in its place, don’t capitalize the alien species name.

                Tune in next episode! Same manta-time, same manta-channel!

              2. anaphysik says:

                (Also, Aldowyn’s doing an ME2 playthrough thing where he’s letting some TwentySiders act as commentators. I’m definitely going to lend a voice when he’ll let me, and it sounds like he’s got at least a few others well interested as well; if you’re also interested, may as well give him a shout on his youtube channel to see if he has some free slots :] )

                1. Thomas says:

                  I’m less worried about the spelling :), I’d prefer to type what comes out and let people choose what the words are meant to mean =D Also my voice is the last thing people need to hear =D If I had a fine welsh accent like I was meant to… but sadly I share the accent of the English enemies. I’ll keep an eye out for you, and thanks for the heads up :)

    3. swenson says:

      In the case of the rachni queen, I saw it more as being about consistency. If you stick by your guns and kill her both times or stick by your convictions to save her both times, you’re rewarded, but if you change your mind, that’s where the punishment comes in.

      I haven’t actually run the numbers for which gives you more War Assets, though, so I’m not sure if this is actually true or not.

  5. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

    Those point values are ridiculously numerated, so I’m going to rehash a previous post I made on the subject.

    The Destiny Ascension, with “almost as much firepower as the rest of the asari fleet combined,” fully repaired, with upgraded shielding and firepower (according to the Codex), is worth… 70 points. That's not bad, considering a standard fleet is 90. I could see a super-dreadnought being worth almost as much as a standard fleet, if it’s that strong. However, this 70 points is less than any INDIVIDUAL item of the following:
    A Squadron of Cerberus fighters
    Any three former squadmates (i.e. Miranda, Jacob, and Kasumi).
    Two Alliance Shanghai-class cruisers
    Three Asari Nefrane or Cybaen-class cruisers
    The Normandy with EITHER improved Shielding or improved Armor
    Jack's students (if you took the Renegade option to have them fight on the battlefield)
    One single promoted Multiplayer character
    Any two groups of Aria's mercenaries (Blood Pack, Blue Suns, Eclipse)
    Alliance 103rd Marine Division
    Krogan Mercenaries
    Turian Blackwatch
    Turian 43rd Marine Division

    1. Eric says:

      Yep, they made almost no attempt to balance EMS in a convincing way. They probably just stuck all those war assets in and marked them up/down based on player testing to get a nice even number of average EMS rather than stopping to think about it.

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        Huh. I hadn’t even thought about them doing it that way (in reverse, as it were). It does make sense that that’d be the easiest way to do it from a gameplay perspective.

      2. SleepingDragon says:

        This. A lot of these shouldn’t even be “war assets”. Oh we could get some broad blobs like ground troops, fleets or R&D though even with these I think broad categories rather than specific numerical values would be better. But the endgame should be played like an expanded version of the suicide mission, in the general mechanical sense, with various forces playing different roles, various assets having different, though not obvious to the player, worth in several key points and it all coming together…

        1. Aldowyn says:

          The problem with that is Shepard doesn’t have control over the armada at all :/ I suppose you COULD have Hackett going “What do you think we should do with the fleets, Commander?”, but that’d be kinda dumb

          1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

            Shepard’s not an admiral, though. Fleet tactics aren’t their specialty. Not really trained in large-scale ground tactics, either. Shepard’s an N7 special operative. So it makes sense that Shepard wouldn’t really be the one with any control.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              What if we switched to Shepard, Anderson, and Hackett all being in the Normandy’s War Room, since it is supposed to be a mobile base, then you play the final battle RTS style, with your resources determining the starting strength and positions of your overall fleet. The more you have, the easier it will be to defeat the Reapers.

              1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

                I think the problem with that would be getting the difficulty right, since it’d basically be a one-shot minigame, without time for there to be a learning curve. Also, RTS controls are notoriously difficult to implement for consoles.

              2. hborrgg says:

                But Shepard doesn’t like strategy games!

                The main problem is that I don’t see adding a completely different game onto the very end as a very feasible course of action. Even if they tried I highly doubt they’d have the time to come up with anything good, at best just a reskin of someone else’s mechanics.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Then we can at least use the set-up for that as a way to get the player to call the shots during the suicide mission. Instead of it being Shepard, it could be all three of them coming to a decision.

                  Or rather, we could expand it further by having the representatives of the races you’ve gathered all together with those three in the war room. That way, we could also see the inter species politics at the forefront while at this critical juncture. See what each race’s recommendation is and then have the player (through Shepard, Anderson, and Hackett) make the decisions.

                  1. Luhrsen says:

                    Exactly how you did it in the second game. :)

                    1. newdarkcloud says:

                      Yeah. A large scale “suicide mission” would’ve been fantastic. Say what you will about ME2’s plot, but the suicide mission was an ambitious concept and it did tie together everything you did in that game.

                2. SleepingDragon says:

                  Well it kinda worked for the suicide mission (for me at least). It actually seemed like a progression to me: by the end of 1 you make this one, big strategic choice, by the end of 2 you make a series of tactical decisions and the whole mechanics is introduced, I was expecting it to be expanded and built upon by the end of 3.

                  Actually who would be giving the exact orders and such is a technicality, if they wanted to do it suicide mission style they’d find a way to do it, yes, it could be something we’d nitpick about later but if the sequence itself was cool most of us would let it slide on that alone.

                  1. Thomas says:

                    I think if it’s not tactics you choose but ‘do you commit these people’ would be okay, because it’s fairly natural that every person involved in this has used Shepard as their representive and owes Shepard a bond. So if it were Shepard asking the Primark to commit all his troops now, he’d probably do it.

                    It would open up some nice levels of nuance too. If you strong-armed someone into helping you, maybe they will stay with the fleet and not obey your specific request. If you like someone, you can risk getting a good ending by not requesting them to take a suicide charge.

                    Basically it should be similar to the Last Stand part of the suicide mission. You make some choices, but there’s also a numbers game going on behind the scenes that has an affect. That way you can keep things pretty broad maybe committing ‘Turian forces’ as a whole rather than individual assets to bring down prices.

                    You don’t even need them to necessarily have much consequence on ending. Just having some people get obliterated and some not is a kind of reward. But broadly speaking, military assets should give you time with the crucible and scientific assets flexibility. So making the right R&D commitments allows you to meld or control as well as destroy, making the right military choices gives you time to maybe get out of there, or have your body recovered, or at least give time for the Normandy to escape

                    1. newdarkcloud says:

                      I do love that most of us agree that something akin to the Suicide Mission in ME2 on a massive scale would’ve been an awesome way to end the trilogy.

                    2. Thomas says:

                      I hadn’t even thought about it until you suggested it, but once it was mentioned, it just seems so natural. The suicide mission was really breaking ground, I was so shocked to actually be using all that knowledge of character the main part of the game had built up to have a nice impact on the ending. Now the ideas in my head, it’s almost surprising after inventing something so cool and loved as that that they _didn’t_ choose to do something like that for the ned

                    3. anaphysik says:

                      @newdarkcloud: Seeing as how the entire structuring of ME2 around the Suicide Mission was one of the absolute WORST choices of Bioware’s game design in it….

                      Well, ending ME3 with something like a fleet-version of it would’ve at least redeemed that a bit. Making the best of bad prior game design, and certainly a lot more engaging this time around.

                    4. Thomas says:

                      Well even when we agree it’s good to know we still completely disagree on the reasons for agreeing =D

                3. anaphysik says:

                  “But Shepard doesn't like strategy games!”

                  Nonsense. Shep fails at chess because she thinks of it like real life rather than like a game with defined rules. That would make her great for a ‘real-life’ RTS!

              3. meyerkev says:

                You could pull a Dragon Age, where you can bring in the allies you’ve collected. Don’t know how it would work with the Quarian Fleet (or any fleet), but “Oh gods, I’m dying [Call in Krogan reinforcements]” would be really cool.

                1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

                  Why not both?

                  Shepard has more immediate experience with both the Reapers and the Allies than any other single person in Citadel Space. Seriously, whe do you think the last time Victus spoke to a Rachni or Quarian was, and Esheil makes a point of never speaking to a Krogan.

                  So Shepard can provide advice, just like at the start of the Suicide mission.

                  But then Shepard is also in a place to be the ground force commander for part of the liberation of London (which we forget, before being James Bondized, Shepard was paid to be a ground pounder) where he could call for help from various groups.

              4. Dasick says:

                Can’t do that. “Story” mode. Have to keep story and game separate to maximise playerbase. Blending alienates purists, and is no longer effective.

                Hepler mode. GRRR.

                If we were concerned with making a game, as opposed to piles of money, I’d suggest we add the ground squads as extra allies during final fights and have airships give air-support powers, a la CoD4.

                1. anaphysik says:

                  What? What does story mode have to do with this? Story mode is basically ‘skip all the combats / make them super easy,’ which considering how totally divorced the fights have become from the narrative is actually probably *better* than the nonsense we have currently. Story mode is basically just a Super-Extra-Very-Easy shooting difficulty setting. And if you have problems with the option to play on an easy difficulty setting… *shakes head disapprovingly*.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      While I agree with the larger point, I’d also allow that the Destiny Ascension could also just be a lousy ship.

      Everything I’ve seen in 3 games makes me believe she is useless in the contemporary fleet engagements. She’s so big, she can’t turn fast enough to aim her main gun, so she gets easily swarmed by Geth in the first game, and contributes next to nothing in the second.

      Her captain should have been worth something, though.

      1. Thomas says:

        There’s probably something in that, if all their ships are easily outgunned by the Reapers and maneuverability is the one advantage they have, the DA might not be so useful. I can’t believe Bioware were thinking about that though

        1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

          I’m of the impression that Bioware would have made it known if they thought that the super-dreadnought they spent so much time hyping up was, in fact, actually a lousy ship. There’d be a comment to that effect somewhere in the game, by someone, even if it were just a throwaway line of chatter.

          1. guy says:

            I’m pretty sure the Destiny Ascension is actually pretty useful. It did poorly in the battle for the citadel because the Geth absolutely swarmed her and she wasn’t really designed for a knife-fight anyhow. I mean, War Assets indicates that 1/6th of the entire human fleet has to be sacrificed to save her. Consider what that says about the power of the ships attacking her even after the DA has already been fighting them. Also, if refitted with a Thanix Cannon, she would seriously be up in the realm of Reaper Dreadnought specs.

            If anything, I’d think that being horrifically outgunned would make a ship that might actually be able to pierce Reaper barriers solo extremely valuable.

            1. Thomas says:

              But it’d get ripped to pieces by a concentration of Reaper dreadnoughts pretty quickly, the smaller ships have a chance of staying longer in the fight.

              Also the Destiny Acension, whatever its firepower, can’t fight with the rest of the fleet, if the rest are relying on manoueverability, they can’t slow down for the DA, and none of the other ships would stand a chance in full on battle. So the DA wouldn’t be able to be deployed effectively with a fleet

              (also like to reiterate that I don’t for one second believe Bioware ever considered this stuff)

              1. anaphysik says:

                “(also like to reiterate that I don't for one second believe Bioware ever considered this stuff)”
                And yet, as long as we keep that *well* in mind, we’re having more fun and producing more interesting discussion because of it.
                Imagine how badly they could’ve bungled things if they’d tried to tackle half the ideas we bring up *~*

  6. TheLurkerAbove says:

    The very worst part of the War Asset menu is if you get your total high enough (from multi-player) it flat out says the allies are holding steady and even pushing the Reapers back in places.

    Hardly sells the idea we need to make a last ditch effort for Earth/the Crucible.

  7. meyerkev says:

    To a certain extent, this is a problem with the whole top = Paragon, Paragon = good, therefore top = good (repeat for Bottom, Renegade, evil) thing the conversation wheel forces. It also doesn’t help that this is one of the few places where a Paragon/Renegade choice is truly Paragon/Renegade*, instead of being clearly good/evil or nice/’not nice’ (in the interests of avoiding moderation).

    * So basically, you have a choice between:
    1)Cure the Genophage, be nice, loose the Krogan on the galaxy, trust in the kindness of everyone involved to resolve future problems, and lose the Salarians in the process. Very, very Paragon. Doing what is right.
    2)Don’t cure the Genophage, keep the Krogan in check, stop all the problems now, betray Wrex/Wreav and hope that they don’t figure it out before the Reapers are gone (and the Dalatrass did say she would help you with this), and get the Salarians as a bonus (They’re worth bupkis, but you don’t know that at the time). Very, very Renegade. Doing what is necessary.

    And it’s not black and white, especially if Wrex and/or Eve are dead. Does anyone think that Wreav is going to be able to (or for that matter, want to) control the Krogan? Stopping Mordin, while drastic, was extremely necessary in that case. Cruel, yes. Necessary, also yes. (And I like that the game lets you convince Mordin instead of shooting him if Wrex and Eve are dead).

    /Very similar one, though not as good, with Geth/Quarians. Pick a fleet, unless you did everything right and then you can cut the Gordian knot (just like here), and get them both.

  8. Din Adn says:

    That is something that bothered me about the whole Paragon/Renegade system. At times it was interesting and a refreshing take on video game morality systems, but at others it really got confused over which stood for what, and whether a decision you made fell into one category or the other. Case in point [and incidentally one of my favourite ‘morality’ choices], Legion’s loyalty mission from ME2.

    You have the option to destroy a Geth commune wholesale, or overwrite its identities, and save their lives [to a given value of ‘save’], at the cost of potentially creating something horrible for the Geth as a species. You have very little information given to you, and what little you have only serves to highlight how different a mode of consciousness it is which you are making decisions on behalf of.
    Now, that in itself is pretty cool [EDIT: and by ‘cool’, I mean, ‘would be horrific IRL’, as is sometimes the case with fiction], but the options are then assigned paragon and renegade points. Renegade makes ‘splosion, paragon saves their lives. But, each decision also has a mass of complicated knock-on effects and issues attached to it. It’s not a simple decision in the thread of insulting someone vs. kow-towing. It’s a big decision with far-reaching consequences for a species you know precious little about at the time you make it. Regardless of that, each choice gives you a neat little package of morality points. This serves to both muddy the ideologies you’ve been offered a choice of, and to make the decision seem that much shallower by attaching definite values to the outcomes.

    I’m not sure if you already talked about this earlier; it’s entirely possible that you did and I’m just making something of a fool of myself. That said, I did enjoy ‘paragade’ a lot better than the traditional Good/Evil, if only because morality is a really complicated subject.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Hm, I actually thought that Legion’s loyalty was one of the better examples of a clear-cut Paragon/Renegade choice. Basically everything leading up to its end confuses you as to what the actual effects of ‘saving’ them are. Is it brainwashing? Just a second chance? Could they revert? Could they ‘infect’ the “true” geth collective? Would they splinter off again? Basically, you have no idea what rewriting them will actually do – except that you do know they won’t be destroyed. Whereas you very definitely do know that destroying them will remove them as a problem. (insert Blatant Lies TvTropes article here, since *of course* Bioware wouldn’t let your choices have an actual effect…)

      So the choice is between the two tilts of ‘I don’t know what rewriting will do, but I do know that destroying them will remove the problem.’
      Paragon looks at the situation and says ‘it’s better to trust in the unknown and hope for the best than go for a known which necessarily leads to a non-ideal result’ and Renegade looks at the situation and says ‘better to take the known quantity and remove the problem than potentially exacerbate it with an unknown quantity.’

      It’s very similar to the rachni queen choice in that manner.

      (Unfortunately I can’t remember if Shepard does any stupid moralizing beyond the above when making that choice though, so it’s possible that its actual narrative impact might be marred by poor dialogue.)

      1. Keeshhound says:

        But you can just as easily argue that subverting an entire group of people by brainwashing them into believing something more convenient for your own purposes is the ethically wrong, but pragmatically sound decision too, with killing them (between the two choices which you are forced to take, this being a Bioware game) being the more ethically “Right” answer, making that the paragon route.

        It’s a good philosophical dilemma, but attaching points to each decision and trying to force it into a system of binary morality severely detracts from it.

        1. anaphysik says:

          A good part of my point is that Shepard and Legion never seem to be clear on what ‘rewriting’ actually does. (Heck, for all we know, they’re brainwashed right now, and rewriting is the tech equivalent of using a break enchantment spell!) This uncertainty is compounded by the fact that we don’t how geth psychology works (which is not at all surprising considering we frequently don’t even understand human psychology), and we only understand the basics of their philosophy of mind; plus, *Legion* neither fully understands it nor seems able to fully communicate what he does understand.

          The salient point is: Destroying has known effects. Rewriting has unknown effects.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Legion seems to be pretty clear that the heretic geth aren’t brainwashed. (Or perhaps it would be closer to say indoctrinated.) He goes out of his way to indicate that neither side is wrong per se, even though they’re coming to different conclusions. It would be easy and a lot more straightforward to say that the heretics are basically the machine equivalent of, e.g., Benezia, and the game makes sure that the best available source tells you otherwise.

            So while we don’t know, the information we get is that by rewriting them, we’re taking the choice they came to and replacing it with our own. And Legion is very, very conflicted about whether this is the right thing to do, which is why it (and the rest of the True Geth) abstain from the decision and put it in the hands of Shepard-Commander.

            As far as my Shepards were concerned, the Paragon choice was to cleanly kill them (losing their assistance, but giving them the respect even enemy sapients deserve) and the Renegade choice was to effectively enslave them for the greater good. And so one gained an uncharacteristic sliver of orange on her bar and the other gained a bit of blue on his.

            (In neither case did it create gameplay problems later– so far; Mal Shepard hasn’t gone through ME3 yet– so I don’t really see it as a big deal.)

            The thing that creeped me out about Legion’s loyalty mission is that even if a Shepard thinks that geth are people and rewriting is the right thing to do, they have to shoot through a whole bunch of servers (i.e., geth cities) to get to that point. If “this unit has a soul”, Shepard is responsible for more deaths there than in the rest of the game combined.

            (At least up to the end of the Rannoch mission and/or the ME3 ending, which can completely dwarf it.)

            1. anaphysik says:

              “shoot through a whole bunch of servers (i.e., geth cities) to get to that point”

              Legion also references this, particularly in relation to the hubs you destroy in ME1 iirc.

              But I mean, heck, I felt kind of bad about shooting geth in ME1. I wanted to interact with them, but my only options were observation and bullets, and the latter was required.

            2. Thomas says:

              The problem with that I always felt, was that wiping them out is essentially changing and eliminating every choice they have in life. Your rewriting everything they might hope and strive to acheive in life with a clean 0.

              The correct option is to give the heretics the choice. You don’t know if they’d choose to follow the Reapers despite total annhilation and by deciding that for them in annhilation you’re still basically wiping their choices. But if they choose to die, fair enough. If they feel their decision isn’t worth death, also good.

              If you look at our legal system, essentially when someone disgrees and disobeys we lock them up until we can change that decision. We talk about rehabilitation, readjustment etc. Unless that person would have rehabilitated on their own then we’re still causing them to change opinions that they wouldn’t have had without our interference, it’s just that the difference is we still give them the space to make that change on their own.

              I can see why that’s not practical however. In which case neither way is moral, but if you don’t kill them you have more flexibility to make it up later on

              1. Mike S. says:

                A plurality of my Shepards considered mind control a fate worse than death. (And qualitatively different from persuasion, even in the form of “shape up or we’ll lock you in a tiny cubicle and surround you with sociopaths”.)

                One issue I did have is that by the time Shepard reaches that point, the game has pretty much thrown every other possible permutation of mind control at Shepard, and it’s always a tool of the villains: every victim of Reaper indoctrination, the Thorian’s thralls, at least two iterations of vat-grown krogan armies, the hijacked geth in Overlord, Cerberus’s new troops in ME3 (who turn out to just be another variant of indoctrination, but we don’t know that for sure at this point).

                To me, that’s a strong pointer to the idea that this isn’t a tactic that good/idealistic characters use. It’s part and parcel of being a bad guy, like reanimating corpses or engaging in wholesale mass experimentation/liquifaction on sapients. (Whereas as a military officer in a war, killing the enemy is a basic and conventional tactic. Destroying geth is, to a first approximation, Shepard’s main professional pursuit in the first game.)

                Of course, a Shepard might also reject the idea that there’s such a thing as illegitimate means in a war for human survival. There’s a strong argument that giving the enemy a monopoly on a useful tactic is just fighting with one hand behind one’s back. You don’t get partial credit at the end of an unsuccessful existential struggle because you were the good guy.

                But– at least where it’s not being used to signify corruption or jerkiness instead– isn’t that the essence of what being a Renegade is all about?

                1. Thomas says:

                  The difference between their mind control and this mind control though, is this one changes one detail. If you were to completely enslave someone, I could understand that being a fate worse than death, because not only are you denying them all their right to self-deteriminate, you’re also possibly actively countering what they would wish to do with their lives.

                  On the other hand, here we ruin their ability to self-deteriminate on one thing, whereas death removes their ability to self-deteriminate in every single matter.

                  If you look at it like, the best choice as I’ve said, would be to ask them what they wanted, however that’s unavailable to us. So we have to assume they’ve answered one way or the other. If we kill them, then we’ve decided that they chose death above everything and we have told them that they will definitely have to live with the consequences of that with no choice in the matter. If we use the rewrite option, then we have not made the choice for them, because there’s still the opportunity to ask what they would have decided and allow them to self-determinate

                  I’d say that if you have the tools to end a war without causing death, than every other alternative would become the extreme and unnecessary one and relying on convential wisdom, when no such possibility existed before is the sort of thing that leads to Somme disasters in military matters. It’s always the responsibility of the people in charge to use the available technology to end a war as painlessly and quickly as possible.

                  It’s an interesting question and probably one of the most complex they’ve ever posed with the most interesting consequences in the continuing game, but I’ve never really been able to be convinced that there is any difference between killing a person and completely removing their ability to self-deteriminate. So partially removing their ability to self-deteriminate but leaving the rest intact has always persuaded me. I went through a short period of thinking that God chose the destroy option by letting people ultimately tread the path in life they want to, even if it leads to destruction, but the big difference to me is that he gave everyone the choice to be rewritten if they wanted to and would prefer it if people selected that option (I imagine that this post will go into moderation and if you think that this is pushing to far into the forbidden areas then I’m very much okay with you deleting it)

                  This incidentally is one of my reasons for hating the Extended Cut. Control seemed by far the best option because it wouldn’t forcibly annhilate an entire race (the Geth), it wouldn’t kill all the AI, it would kill all the wounded and etc who would die from the loss of high level technology that destroy causes. And best of all, there’s chance that you’ll even be able to give the Reapers a shot of life, free from their original programming constraints and objects. But in the Extended Cut it shows Shepard mind controlling them utterly into Shepard slaves even in Paragon, which is at all what my Shepard would have done

                  1. anaphysik says:

                    If we want to go into the *deep* metaphysical, then we should also consider the point that geth are not individuals that is, an ‘individual’ geth program lacks sapience, and only develops it when networked with several other geth programs in a platform.

                    One could think of these individual non-sapient programs a bit like ‘soul fragments’ or something. If the heretics are destroyed, the programs are lost forever, whereas if they are somehow kept, then those fragments can find their way into future networks.

                    [EDIT: I kind of forget where I was going with this, but it’s an interesting idea to consider. Rewriting doesn’t necessarily reincorporate the geth programs into the collective, but I do think it’s one of the implied possibilities. And there’s still the matter of whether changing a few bits of those programs constitutes a total change in nature. But it’s still something to consider. Both destroying and rewriting destroy the heretics’ sapience (or could be argued to), but only rewriting allows their constituent programs to be involved in future sapience.]

                  2. Mike S. says:

                    I can see where you’re coming from here. On the other hand, the one detail Shepard’s denying them in this case is incredibly, unprecedentedly important to them. If we can believe Legion, it’s the only significant difference of opinion the geth collective has experienced in three centuries of existence, and it produced a total schism between them. It’s also, as far as we know, the only manifestation of a religious impulse any of the geth have been willing to cop to.

                    (I put it that way because the “true” geth collective places all its eggs in the disputed basket that is Rannoch, when they don’t even need a garden world. That one choice potentially leads to their extinction, and it makes no sense outside a powerful, irrational attachment that in organics would likely be either religious or ideological. The way the geth talk about the quarians themselves also has a tinge of religious awe.)

                    Analogies with mass intelligences made up of thousands of software subroutines are going to be tricky in any case. But for whatever it’s worth, responding to a human religious sect that engaged in violence by editing the religion out of their brains without their knowledge or consent would strike me as more extreme and dehumanizing than responding to deadly attacks on the sect’s part with deadly force.

                    (And at least in the West, governments have renounced any right to force religious conversions, while none as far as I know has renounced the right to go to war.)

                    That said, I understand why you’ve come to the opposite conclusion. And, after all, there’s every indication that whichever Bioware writer did Legion’s loyalty mission agrees with you, not with me.

                    1. anaphysik says:

                      “And, after all, there's every indication that whichever Bioware writer did Legion's loyalty mission agrees with you, not with me.”
                      Only if you’re thinking Paragon = right. (IMO, Legion’s loyalty choice is one of the closest decisions in any of the games, with both choices having good rationale both for and against. Though my Shep did choose Rewrite in the end, for reasons I may have elucidated above.) Also, FWIW, even though it makes *NO* sense, destroying the heretics makes it substantially easier to achieve geth-quarian peace in ME3 by talking Gerrel down. So in that sense, there’s another writer-on-board saying that Destroy = right :/

  9. meyerkev says:

    Also, it’s a Paragon interrrupt because you told Wrex about the sabotage. You basically get to say ‘Good luck, buddy’.

    1. anaphysik says:

      I think you actually say something like ‘I’m sorry (that it has to end like this).’
      To which he responds with an almost-chipper ‘I’m not.’ Followed by ‘Had to be me. Someone else would’ve gotten it wrong.’ Because we can’t go five seconds without Mordin saying that line in this game….

  10. IFS says:

    And so ends the best part of the game, it will be missed.

    Also Josh just check the map when you get to each floor of the ship, it’ll show you who is on each floor and where on the floor they are, saves you a lot of time if you are trying to talk to everyone after each mission.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      And next we get to see Kai Leng. With the exception of one bump in the road, it’s all downhill from here.

  11. Hitchmeister says:

    I have to assume that Rutskarn could not read the terminal text on the live stream, or he would have commented on Wrex’s email about forming babbys.

    I think it would be an interesting idea to make an RPG adventure game about pointless side-quests. What I mean is, set up the standard “save the world” scenario and establish the formula with a couple side-quest that aid the goal. Then trip the players up with something inconsequential and point out after they’re done that they’ve made things worse by wasting time. From that point forward, it becomes part of the gameplay to determine if any given quest you’re offered is worthwhile to your overall goal. Putter around doing trivial nonsense too much and the space dragon eats the world before you ever get to face it. Don’t do enough side-quests and you’re not actually ready when you do face it. The main problem, in this day and age, is people would just look up on the internet what quests to do and which to avoid to beat the game.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      FTL has a little of that, since you’re on an aggressively short time limit and resources are really, really scarce.

      1. Dasick says:

        Quests provide resources, but you have to invest resources (namely time, but also ammo, potions, and whatever) to get them. Randomise certain variables of the quest (quest-give, location 1, 2 and 3, etc) as well as the resources given. Problem solved, so long as no resource is clearly Unobtanium.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      They already did. It was called Dragon Age II.

      1. Dasick says:

        “Putter around doing trivial nonsense too much and the space dragon eats the world before you ever get to face it.”

        That in Dragon Age II??

        Ummm… is that really how it works?

  12. Gravebound says:

    This has nothing to do with the episode, but I just wanted to express my appreciation for Spoiler Warning. I just bought a PS3 a few days ago (finally, I own a current generation console) and the first game I bought was Mass Effect 2. If I had gone into it cold, not knowing about the forced-to-play-along-and-not-bad-mouth-Cerberus angle I would have been furious the whole game through. But thanks to you guys I can put that in the background and still enjoy the little atmospheric/ambiance touches sprinkled around. Too much shooting-in-corridors, move forward, shooting-in-more-corridors, but still…

    Also, a question: will there be any one-offs, or mini season between the high-profile, AAA games?

    I’m just asking because I think it would be nice to do an older game (that I might have actually played). I would love to see one of you try out a simulation game set full-real :) (A well made one, not like that train episode). Or an old Wing Commander/X-Wing, Sid Meier’s Pirates or classic console game.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time (especially Josh) to make these things.

    1. FalseProphet says:

      Is it too late to return the game? Even for store credit? I only ask because BioWare’s releasing the whole trilogy for PS3 in November , possibly with all DLC included. You’d finally be able to play ME1 on the PS3, which wasn’t an option until now. If that interests you, keep it in mind.

      1. IFS says:

        Its certainly the only thing about the trilogy release that interests me, though I’m wondering why they haven’t released me1 for the PS3 before now.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Microsoft published the first Mass Effect, meaning PS3 gamers like me were out of luck. Now that this collection is coming out (although I’ll just be buying ME1 digitally through PSN when it comes out), we have access to things like Verner and Major Kirrahe.

          I am curious as to how they managed to do this. Maybe Microsoft’s contract expired or something. Either way, it’s a huge win for me. :)

          1. Thomas says:

            Do you know if the decisions we make in ME1 will be able to carry over? I’m worried they won’t have bothered coding/including the interactions on the PS3 disk versions

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I would imagine they’d patch that in. It’s not something they announced, but really it’d be highly inappropriate of them not to do that. More-so than Javik.

              If they don’t, it’d be REALLY stupid. Especially since I’m sure the Verner and Kirrahe files among others are in the game, just not available due to quirks in the system.

              1. Zukhramm says:

                “If they don't, it'd be REALLY stupid.”

                Hasn’t stopped them before.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  But that would be stupid even when compared to all of the OTHER stuff. Especially since it’s so obvious.

                  1. Thomas says:

                    It might be a big job though. Luckily the PS3 doesn’t exactly lack disc space so I imagine they weren’t too fussed about stripping away useless assets, but I don’t know how much work it takes to adapt all the code and stuff from one console to another and whether it would require a conscious decision to include it, or be there naturally. Because I think they said in an interview that they were tracking something like 900 different variables from ME1 and if it’s a conscious effort that could really build up.

                    But then since they’re selling a trilogy pack then they’ll have had to do that work at some point… well as long as they don’t screw up on this basic thing, then they’ve really just received free money from me

                  2. anaphysik says:

                    Don’t give them ideas, ndc! They’re constantly trying to one-up themselves, don’t you know!

          2. anaphysik says:

            Conrad’s appearance is – and I am not shitting you here – probably *the* best part of ME3.

          3. Dasick says:

            “Either way, it's a huge win for me. :)”

            So the PS3 crowd missed out on the better part of the trilogy?


        2. Irridium says:

          ME1 was published by Microsoft. I’m guessing EA either bought the rights to the game or struck a deal with them somehow. Or perhaps the rights just went to EA after a set amount of time. It seems that it comes out pretty much right when ME1 first released, so maybe it was a 5 year exclusivity deal or something.

      2. Aldowyn says:

        They’re being sneaky about the DLC, some kind of announcement planned it seems.

        “@GambleMike: Looking forward to the Trilogy release? Thank @LesPaulDuJour . He’s been working day and night to make sure it’s comin’ together!”

        “@Aldowyn (me, obviously): @GambleMike @LesPaulDuJour I want to ask… are any of the DLCs going to be included in the Trilogy? ”

        “@LesPaulDuJour: @Aldowyn @gamblemike we’re not ready to talk about DLC just yet, but really soon… “

      3. Gravebound says:

        Well the game was only $10 (used), and the first game is the only one I would want out of that trilogy. The third one doesn’t even have sort of appeal to me.

        In fact, I would buy just the first game re-released if they upped the variety of the side quest planets (and fixed the randomly generated landscapes for better drivability) and included a revised inventory. I’d give $15-$20 new for that.

        But that will never happen :sadface:

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Also, a question: will there be any one-offs, or mini season between the high-profile, AAA games?

      Heh. Go dig up the Trainz episode. And I still kind of want to see what Josh could do with “John Deere: Drive Green”…

      1. anaphysik says:

        “Trainz” has the extremely rare event of Shamus playing, actually, unless you were aware of that and making a sort of unrelated comment?

  13. Eric says:

    To be honest I thought the Shroud was colossally contrived and Mordin’s death felt cheap. It was a sacrifice which the game only made necessary in the last 10 seconds. Mordin died for symbolic reasons but not for reasons that made practical sense. As you pointed out, why didn’t he just run faster? Why does he have to ride up to the top of a giant tower to press a button and die, a tower that was apparently specifically built for that exact reason?

    A sacrifice needs to emotionally resonate with us, but it also needs to be well justified for us to accept it and it just felt like cheap drama to me in Mass Effect 3’s case because *of course* Mordin has to die to resolve the plot line.

    Still the best part of the game and I do like how the choices you make in prior games impact it in a lot of nuanced ways, even if the overall setup is stupid and you can nitpick a lot of the details. Even when BioWare put effort into something it still tends to break down under even the slightest scrutiny.

    Also, Shamus, what do you mean about Hackett? We only heard his voice in the first game and he was just a dude who gave you side missions. In Mass Effect 3 he is just a retextured Zaeed and serves to give you mission updates. In neither game did he have any real personality other than “I am a grizzled old admiral who has seen a lot of stuff in his years.” I guess that is high praise for Mass Effect that it is able to provide characterization that does not involve a fanservice romance or an illogically convoluted evil scheme?

    1. Shamus says:

      Yeah, I guess we’re grading on a curve. Among the leaders you deal with, (the council, etc) he comes off as reasonable and pragmatic.

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        He’s a leader who actually Gets Things Done, instead of being constantly obstructive/not believing Shepard. Makes the player start to like him, since he’s someone they can actually work with.

        1. Eric says:

          Sure. But you have a pretty sorry universe when “basic competence” is such a rare quality. No wonder the Reapers want to wipe everyone out.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Hehehehehehehehehe. Can we please not get into why the Reapers want to wipe everyone out just yet? I’m saving that anger for a later episode.

          2. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

            Except that, even with “basic competence” being so rare, the Reapers fail. Which means that they’re even less competent.

      2. Spammy says:

        Hackett has one other great quality, which is his voice. I’m almost done with ME1 now and I always thought that Hackett just had the perfect voice for a character handing out at least semi-clandestine missions.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          Lance Henriksen FTW.

        2. anaphysik says:

          I liked Hackett in ME1 even when he was just an awesome, cool/calm/collected voice on the intercom.

          He was nothing astounding, but simply solid in a definitely good way.

      3. Kian says:

        It’s more than him being reasonable and pragmatic. Of everyone in the game, Hackett is the only one that consistently and implicitly trusts Shepard. That counts for a lot.

        Hackett has had you solving the ugly bits that the Alliance can’t handle since ME1. If you check the Shadow Broker files, he’s been screening the Alliance for you behind the scenes, so they don’t get in your way. If you play Arrival, he tells you that he’ll eventually need you to turn yourself in, but he doesn’t ask you about what happened because he knows you took the best choice.

        In ME3, he basically writes you a blank check. He pretty much tells you to represent humanity, with full authority to make any deals you deem necessary to secure aid. He makes you some kind of super ambassador, on top of being a Spectre and an Alliance officer. Which is probably why Shepard can get away with as much as he can. And when you present a plan, which not even the galactic government believes in, he agrees with you and gets to work on that while you do your thing.

        Now obviously, a lot of that is rail-roading. You don’t really make any of the choices. The designers put in a character that basically agrees to go with their plans. But they could have made him obnoxious and had him lead you by the nose. Instead they made you tell him their plan, and had him agree. The emotional impact is still there though.

  14. It’s an old saw, but not even a minute in and it REALLY looks like Shep recently got botoxed or something. I think the only visual emotional expression we get is her eyes widening.

    Unless I’m mistaken, I think Bioware has stolen the “most unnatural facial animation” trophy from Bethesda. I mean, as hideous as the faces were, even the avatars in Oblivion were capable of smiling or frowning.

    1. Thomas says:

      You are judging against the mangled mess of a face that Josh left her with to save time though. You can make her face look normal with some time

      1. I’m not so sure. It was really evident in this installment (unless I’m just not seeing it at this resolution) where her expression while sounding exasperated was the same as the one she had when getting up from a bomb going off and knocking her over. She seemed to have no expression whatsoever, not even the “wrinkling” effect they talked about in the first episode.

        1. lurkey says:

          Nah, methinks it’s just that particular scene was giving Shepard trouble – she’s a soldier, not a professional actor, so of course she cannot fake “I totally care about this kid” believably.

    2. anaphysik says:

      Pretty much everything looks worse in ME3, imo. Animations, faces, charge, etc.

      The change in art assets for faces was *especially* unwarranted.

      1. Speaking of “Charge,” that makes me wonder: Much in the same way one could exploit some flavors of D&D rules to create a peasant railgun, I’d love to see some powerful biotic who has a fortress that’s only accessible to other biotics by virtue of having some sacrificial mooks whose whole purpose is to stand on one side of the bottomless chasm surrounding their fortress so that someone can use them to charge across the gap.

        I’d like to think a particularly harsh biotic city would use captured Cerberus personnel as a kind of charge-based transit system.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Except that you can’t charge to someone that you can’t pathfind to. See for example several of Josh’s numerous deaths in the ME2 playthrough, since Charge didn’t have legal targets.

          Also that idea makes no sense because flight.

          (Lore-wise, Charge basically turns you into a mini mass relay. So really you ought to just be able to teleport at will.)

          1. That was kind of my joke, there, pointing out how the game’s restrictions limit your logically available actions.

            Biotics have “lift,” but we never see them using it to get something across the room, turn on the lights, vacuum under furniture, etc.

            1. Alexander The 1st says:

              Kaiden talks about those mundane tasks in ME1.


              On the other hand, I now have this image of biotic yelling “I will destroy you!” while doing said mundane tasks.

  15. hborrgg says:

    The whole “single person is worth more than a small army” trope is a problem that seems to show up in a lot of games, books, talkies, etc. but it didn’t really bother me so much here. The fact that “Heroes” were worth so much could be pretty easily explained away by assuming that number maybe included improved moral, additional support or resources their presence brought in, or maybe they each come with their own elite retinues like total war Generals.

    Now if they had actually tried to show that one Salarian taking on a huge number of enemies with just his fists or if they decided to throw him into the game with inexplicably over 9000 health, then we might have a problem. But as it is even if that’s how the writers were picturing it I’m glad they managed to hold themselves back from exposing even more stupid.

    1. Thomas says:

      The way they wrote it, it can make some kind of sense for some of the things. For example, Kasumi is the best thief in the galaxy, so she has the ability to lay her hands on literally anything. Having someone who can get them any Prothean relic they like in the galaxy is probably worth a lot more in terms of crucible building, than a platoon of grunts.

      Equally Kirrahae is able to improve the effectiveness of squadrons and increase the success rate of lots and lots of missions because he’s a really good leader.

      And it even makes sense that a lot of these people are close to you, because in ME2 you really did seek out the best of the best. Samara, Jack, Kasumi, Zaeed are the best at what they do and they’ve got knowledge and skills to bring to the table that hosts of other people can’t and the text tends to explain just what it is they’re doing that’s special

      Where it doesn’t work out is when the Elcor fleet is worth nothing, or Jacob provides a large bonus. There’s some quirk with it not really being established how useful military is compared to R&D but they definitely get some of the numbers wrong

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        Even when you compare military to military, it makes no sense. For instance, Alliance frigates are generally mentioned as being 15, with cruisers coming in at 25 and 40, depending on the class. Fair enough. The standard Alliance fleet (The 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th fleets are all the same base point value) is worth 90. So that’s… three to four cruisers per fleet? Six frigates? Given that at least one of the fleets is mentioned as having a dreadnought for a flagship, (and assuming that a dreadnought is worth more than a cruiser), that would mean that the “Fleet” must be… one dreadnought and three frigates? That’s smaller than the task force in a game of “Battleship!” The numbers make no sense.

        And whatever happened to humanity being carrier-focused rather than Dreadnought focused? There’s no mention of carriers other than the “rogue fighter pilots” asset, and a throwaway line in an asset you get if you don’t save the council in ME1.

        1. Thomas says:

          Yeah I went back and looked at your post and realised you’re right, the military stuff was all over the place. I think the R&D stuff hides it better because we’ve got less of an understanding of it.

          Although saying that, I think it was probably scale that started to screw Bioware over on it. When you’ve got assets that contain a fleet and a single squadron of soldiers (and it would be pretty hard to develop a system without those two on the spectrum) any value is going to make no game sense. Either the fleets matter so much more that the rest might as well not be there, or the two have to be so unreasonably close together that it leaves no space for all the stuff in the middle, so a mid sized fighter squadron has to be either like a bunch of foot soldiers, or like a fleet because they don’t have enough meaningful numbers inbetween.

          And once they realised they were screwed they probably just stopped caring and let the mess that it is take place and just weight the assets by gameplay value. (I don’t know if there are too many that are particularly out of sync by the effort taken to acquire them)

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            That’s another reason I advocate the “suicide mission” like ending. You wouldn’t need to assign arbitrary point values to each asset. You could just give them things that are good at and things they are bad at.

            I mean, you would still need numbers of course, but they could stay under the hood if Bioware wanted.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        It’s also worth noting that Kasumi is a tech expert in her own right. She is able to hack through the tubes and survive during the suicide mission and hack through high security vaults.

  16. StashAugustine says:

    Did anyone else think that ME1 had kinda the opposite view- that the genophage was justified? On Virmire, the dialouge with Wrex doesn’t seem to have an option to sympathize with him, it’s either “You deserved it” or “There’s no time for this.”
    Point about ME3 portraying genophage as pure evil still stands (even though I did consider it pure evil.)

    1. Aldowyn says:

      I’d agree with you there, although I’m not sure it was seen as pure evil in ME3. Perhaps I’m just assuming that’s not what it was going for. I do that. Anyways, I thought that it was more of a “it was needed then, but no longer and it must be cured”

    2. anaphysik says:

      There are some very stupid dialogue options in a few of the conversations with Wrex. E.g.: when he first talks about the turians deploying the genophage, your only response choices are ‘yeah, they tried to wipe us out too’ or ‘yeah, we beat them when they tried to wipe us out’ (both referencing the First Contact War), which are both such horribly stupid, ignorant things to say in that situation. Especially since not only Shepard should know better, but *the player* should know better; by that point in time, there was plenty of opportunity to learn about the genophage/etc. from the codex, Avina, etc.

      Certainly there seems to be far less variability than with what opinions Shep can express on the geth while talking to Tali in ME1.

      1. Spammy says:

        That was exactly my reaction when I got to that dialog choice. I’d read to Codex, so unlike Shepard (apparently) I knew about the Genophage and I winced so hard when Shepard made that comment. Wrex’s “Did they try to sterilize your people to? No? Then shut up.” comment was entirely justified.

      2. ehlijen says:

        Actually, should Shepard really have known?
        Part of the setting of the game is that humanity only just showed up in the galactic playground and is demanding equal playtime on all the toys wihtout knowing anyone.

        I actually find the idea that a 5 minute conversation with someone you met a few days ago with no counterpoint from the Turian accross the cargo hold overriding your outlook on the world just as off.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Seriously, we are talking basic galactic history here – especially since this is basic galactic *military* history. We’re not talking about something Shepard would have heard in a conversation 5 minutes ago – we’re talking about something that Shepard would’ve had to learn during her officer training. Heck, we’re talking about stuff that would be put in giant bold letters in children’s Galactic History textbooks.

          The Systems Alliance was granted an embassy on the Citadel when Shepard was 11. That is prime time for a huge push towards widespread knowledge of galactic history.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Given the extent to which students absorb history now, I can easily see the typical human not absorbing much about the Krogan Rebellions and their resolution. How much does the average college graduate know about the Mongols (significantly more recent than the Krogan Rebellions in ME) beyond the name Genghis Khan? There’s thousands of years of galactic history to absorb, at a time when humanity is just figuring out the current situation. That the turians are currently powerful probably looms larger than the specific circumstances of how and why they entered the galactic stage.

            As someone who does find history important and interesting, I’d be the first to say that the turian solution to the krogan problem tells humanity something very important about how they respond to threats. But that argument doesn’t motivate a lot of people to pay much attention to it now. (Just yesterday, I was asked whether the War of 1812 was the same as the French and Indian War.)

            Of course it’s all in the service of narrative convenience: exposition is served by making the central character kind of dense so that they have to ask a lot of questions. (Even after Harry Potter has been in the wizarding world for nearly half his life, he’s still asking newbie questions that none of the other Muggleborns seem to have trouble with.)

            But Shepard having paid more attention to the classes in commando skills and Commanding a Three-Man Team than Intro to Galactic History doesn’t seem much of a stretch. Especially since most of the backgrounds suggest a sketchy pre-Academy education. (Earthborn was skipping school to run with the Reds, Colonist’s was probably pretty basic even before the batarians melted the schoolhouse and stuck a slave collar on the schoolteacher.)

            1. anaphysik says:

              Several problems with that comparison.
              There are folks who *fought* in the Rebellions who are still alive; for the asari and krogan, the Rebellions were ~one to two generations ago. The Rebellions *continue* to inform Council policy. There’s frequent debate about the enormous krogan statue on the Citadel. The Rebellions are *excellent* military case studies for the military doctrine of all the major species, and the genophage in particularly is a classic case of the difference between SOP for the salarians vs the turians. Any military structure coming into contact with the Council would absolutely want to know its last big war in-and-out. And the Council would absolutely want them to know that they’re serious business and can exert such power.
              (Hell, using unmapped relays (the action that caused the turians to attack human ships and thus led to the First Contact War) is precisely what led to the conflict with the rachni, which is what led to the Krogan Rebellions.)

              The Krogan Rebellions aren’t the equivalent of our Mongol conquests. They’re the equivalent of our WWII.

              (Anyway, the real point was that it’s trivial for the player to learn the extreme basics about the genophage before you even meet Wrex, let alone have that conversation with him. And if for some reason the codex seems too OOC for you, talking to Avina is clearly in-character, and for most of the things it says *Shep can even try to form opinions about* (through leading questions, which Avina can’t answer). Hell, humanity *even now* considers biological and conventional weapons and warfare to be totally different, which makes Shep’s ignorance in that Wrex dialogue even more glaring.)

              EDIT: Also, I’m being really long-winded this morning (see also below). What’s up with that? WHERE ARE MY USUAL STUPID PUNS.

              1. anaphysik says:

                (I have since rectified my lack of stupid puns in one of the threads nearer the top of the page.)

              2. ehlijen says:

                I didn’t mean that shepard not knowing about the genophage was believable. Just that him not truly understanding the meaning that it has for the krogans is as believable as deciding to hold wrex’s hand on virmire because he absolutely does.
                Humans have only just started dealing with cultures that consider millenia the way they consider generations. That will take some getting used to. Breaking down a thousand years of clearly remembered history into a class schedule for someone who doesn’t remember it is not an easy task.

                WW2 is important, but even that is not always truly understood by everyone today. And that’s not even getting into WW1 which is even less know but just as important; in this metaphor it would be the rachni war.

                Anyway…(dang, can’t think of a pun. Fail.)

                1. anaphysik says:

                  Rachni War as WWI certainly was an implied comment in my post :]

                  And still, we’re talking about a *military officer*, not just random people (or 5th graders, who would know the textbook facts really well for 6 months and then immediately forget them after their standardized tests :P). And more than that, a military officer who’s being considered for a position in the *alien* special forces. Putting forward a candidate to become a Council Spectre who doesn’t even know *vital* informative history… Yeah, I’m sure that would go over great…

                  1. ehlijen says:

                    Again, there is a difference between knowing of an event and being able to not come accross as insensitive while talking about it.

                    You’re saying several thousand years of history (which has not been empty since the krogan rebellion) for several species is suddenly required reading for a course in buttkicking for goodness?

                    The player knows the genophage was important because the codex glosses over the other 990odd years of recent Krogan history, but shepard does not have the convenient filter of plot relevance.

                2. Alexander The 1st says:

                  Yeah, I mean while we know about wars, generally generations tend to not care about the effects of history over survivors. For an example on the WWII thread, it’s more like the Cold War during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Older folks can tell me that it was a horrifying time that they remember where they were when it happened and all that stuff…

                  Or to use a more accurate example, and more relevant one (Although political – sorry Shamus ) – the territorial fight between China and Japan over what, to me at least, feel like islands so small it’d be the equivelant of France getting angry if Canada bought the St Pierre et Miquelon islands. Most Canadians would see it as necessary for economic sense, but I have no idea how France would care about it. Hopefully not as overkill as China though…

                  …And yet, I’m missing context here, probably, that explains why it’s a much bigger issue than Quebec becoming Britain territory during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is today.

                  So I could see Shepard missing context on the Krogan Rebellions that would lead to “The Turians almost wiped our race to extinction too – but we got over it, why can’t you?”

            2. Dasick says:

              I agree that it’s exposition vehicle. Many people wouldn’t read the codex/ talk to Avina/ etc, yet Wrex is a majro part of your crew. Bioware wants you to know about genophage, they need you to know about it, so they put that scene in the game. Not the prettiest solution, but it works.


        2. anaphysik says:

          Also I’m not sure what you’re implying with the “5 minute conversation with someone you met a few days ago … overriding your outlook on the world” part.

          For reference: Wrex was my bestie, but in ME1 I always got the feeling that the genophage was ‘necessary but wrongly implemented’ – the events leading up to the Krogan Rebellions showed that the natural krogan birthrate (biology) was incompatible with non-Tuchanka-esque ecosystems (and thus totally incompatible with spacefaring); krogan culture would obviously need to adapt to mitigate this incompatibility, and something effectively like the genophage (i.e. *something*, whether biological or cultural, to reduce their population expansion rate) would be needed to check that birthrate. So the genophage was necessary.

          But the genophage was also a stopgap measure used to end a war – it focused on simply solving the problem without actually considering the consequences of and reactions to that solution (which is not exactly a condemnation of it, btw – merely an observation). So we end up with something that should explicitly be viewed as *NOT* a long-term solution. Wrex tells us horror stories of piles of stillborns, and krogan devolving into mercs with no will to live. The mechanics of the genophage are *horribly* ill-defined and frankly sound contradictory in a number of places, but it’s clear that biologically they are poorly implemented (frex, the fact that we even hear the terms ‘fertile females’ and ‘sterility plague’ are bad signs). And it’s clear that the cultural reaction of most krogan to the genophage was downright insidiously maladaptive. As Wrex hammers on about in the first and second games (yeah, that’s right, there’re are some really good parts of ME2, and Wrex is one of them that’s often forgotten in comparison to the Mordin/Legion/Migrant Fleet awesomenesses), krogan cultural practice needs to change to mesh with their reduced birthrate. But those are problems of *implementation*, not idea. The genophage – and I mean the *specific* implementation of a ‘reduced birthrate’ effect which we call the genophage – is wrong, but the idea of a ‘reduced birthrate’ effect is absolutely not. This was clear to me in ME1, and is a major reason why the genophage arc in ME3 offends me so much: the options are ‘do something heinously ignorant’ and ‘do something heinously treacherous,’ all the whole showing absolutely no conception of the cultural nuance that surrounds the situation. This is of course ignoring the nonsense that is inherent in supposing that ground troops are somehow supposed to help against giant-space-metal-cuttlefish, but I think someone already covered that well enough (Earlindor?).

          And as to the other, as yet unmentioned, case where a “5 minute conversation with someone you met a few days ago” likely fixed some people’s viewpoints… in all my talks with Tali, I consistently saw through her cultural bias and concluded that the initial actions of the geth were justified, and could see how their later interactions with other organics would arise. I simultaneously pitied the geth for having their minds poisoned by the attitudes of their creators, understood that they were entitled to their worldview, and vowed to violently stop any hostile action from them. Which is a weird set of feelings. Also, I desperately wanted to communicate with them, but my only options were bullets. (Plus, I enjoyed every chance I got to even faintly observe their culture, such as on Feros (you know the scene) and during the Geth Incursions sidequest.)

          So even though I would’ve been more than willing to push for quarian embassy / new homeworld / etc. rights and that sort of stuff, I never bought into the Evil Geth rhetoric we got in those “5 minute conversation[s] with someone you met a few days ago” with Tali. The geth weren’t evil, just hostile.

          So I guess my long-winded point is that anyone who didn’t look at the cultural perspectives of the people they were talking to and take those well into account before deciding how to incorporate that newly obtained knowledge into the larger framework they’ve been building (their ‘opinion’)… well, those people are damn fools and should never attempt to profess any sort of sociological expertise. And for reference, I’m an engineer….

        3. newdarkcloud says:

          Shepard should at least know as much as what’s in the codex. If the player has access to it, then the main character be assumed to.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Know, yes. Understand how that affects Wrex? Not neccessarily.

            1. anaphysik says:

              It’s not about understanding Wrex’s viewpoint. It’s about knowing basic facts. Shepard seems oblivious to the very idea that the genophage =/= ships pewpewing at each other.

              There are far better ‘rudimentary knowledge’-type responses Shepard could have had without sounding like an ignoramus. And none of them would stop Wrex from tearing into them.

              (Technically there could be one element of extreme subtlety incorporated there, wherein human textbooks downplay the methods of warfare between the Krogan Rebellions and First Contact War and maybe even draw comparisons between krogan and humans both fighting turians, and so Shep’s idiot dialogue reflects idiot rhetoric she’d heard – except that would be absolutely retarded and make no sense. Why compare yourself to the losing side when you’d want to promote the First Contact War as you holding your own? Why compare yourself to a species fallen from glory? Why preach (open) turian hate when you’re relying on them eventually inducting you into the Council?)

    3. PurePareidolia says:

      I don’t think the game really picks a side as much as this implies. The “right choice” actually does change depending on which combination of Wrex, Wreav and Eve are alive. If Wrex and Eve are alive, the game says “the Krogan have a future because their leaders are responsible and educated”. On the other hand if it’s just Wreav, you can convince Mordin it’s a bad idea and he’ll agree with you because the Krogan are being lead by a vindictive warmonger.

      It’s a standard sci fi trope – the people are what matter – the race isn’t inherently destructive, under responsible leadership they can be lead out of their dark age. Perhaps the genophage was justified in a scenario where the Krogan were actively harmful to the galaxy, but in a situation where they aren’t, it’s no longer necessary. It means that ultimately, the value of the species lies in its people, just like any other.

      1. anaphysik says:

        But the problem *wasn’t* that the krogan were ‘evil’ or whatever. It was a simple matter of unsustainability, with competition for space leading to conflict. Natural krogan birthrates are simply incompatible with non-Tuchanka-like ecologies.

        Which is one reason I’m so friggin’ pissed that Bioware changed Wrex from ‘we need to adapt our culture’ to ‘rawr me am watn babbys.’

        1. Thomas says:

          I think the game does say it was because the Krogan were war mad and unstable. According to the Solarians they were just uplifted before the could develop the culture to use their technology properly.

          I think it’s implied that the Krogan actually had plenty of empty planets to settle on, but were choosing Turians ones in a similar way to the way Hitler demanded ‘living space’. There was plenty, but the Krogan wanted a fight and this was their excuse

        2. Dasick says:

          Actually, in the codex, it is implied that Krogans are adapting to their new environment. Battlemasters, for example, are an important change to Krogan military tactics. BG (before genophage), it was all about zerging your opponents. AG Krogans are all about maximising their k/d ratios.

          You can tell there is a major difference between the two strategies because I’m using two terms from vastly different kinds of games to describe them :D

    4. Lord Nyax says:

      I don’t really agree. In ME1 it never occurred to me that the genophage could be a good thing. Heck, it wasn’t until I started reading Shamus’s posts about how much he love Mordin here on the blog that I realized there were two sides to the debate. In my own mind I was just like “Genophage=evil. Duh. You should make genophages.” I was gung-ho about trying to find a cure. When I read about the other side of the debate I thought to myself “Huh, they must have added that stuff into ME2.” But you say ME1 was biased toward the genophage. Now I’m really curious. Was I just completely oblivious during my entire playthrough or was I just so personally opposed to the idea of the genophage that all the arguments in favor of it just faded from my mind as unimportant.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        I was pretty damn opposed to it too. It wasn’t so much “in favor” (should have worded it better) but I never really felt like my Shepard could really express her opinion on just how wrong it was.

        1. aldowyn says:

          You got a VERY biased view of the genophage from Wrex in ME1. It’s a little hard to objectively determine how necessary a sterility plague (or whatever) is when the only source you have is someone who is directly affected by it, especially when you can’t directly see the reason for it.

          1. StashAugustine says:

            I would argue that the methods it used are themselves immoral, so the reason is irrelevant. And that’s as far as I can go before tripping Seamus’s Politics-o-meter.

    5. anaphysik says:

      “On Virmire, the dialouge with Wrex doesn't seem to have an option to sympathize with him, it's either “You deserved it” or “There's no time for this.””

      Hold on a tic, I’d like to go back to this point. Where there some crazy variations in the dialogue available at that point? Because ‘this isn’t the way to help the krogan’ was definitely an option in my playthroughs.

      Unrelated: Chris also used the term ‘deserved’ in relation to the genophage being instituted upon the krogan – which may be something Shep could express, but Chris claimed that as *Mordin’s* opinion. Chris, may I kindly ask what THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING? *Ahem*, sorry about that. Yeah, that’s not AT ALL what Mordin expressed in ME2. Frex, as he describes, it would have been pretty easy to make an *actual* sterility bioweapon – but that would wipe the krogan out, and losing an entire species like that would be a horrific sacrifice, both to the original salarians who designed the genophage and to people like Mordin looking back at the event. Gosh, how many times have I seen people forgetting that Mordin didn’t *make* the genophage; he was just part of its upkeep, part of its continued institution – culpability nonetheless, but a distinctly different kind of culpability. Mordin expressed deep relief that the krogan were able to continue to exist and interact with the galaxy. He also thought that the *salarians* were to blame for the krogan actions that led to the deployment of the genophage, and notes that if he had been around during the Rachni War, he would have argued against uplift.

      Chris, I normally enjoy hearing your thoughts, but I feel like you’ve been off a lot during this arc :/
      Oh well, here’s hoping for a return to usual high quality discussion in future episodes. Also, I demand that you start producing cancer-inducing puns like the rest of the cast, got it? :P

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        But Chris has made puns. They have been exceptionally awkward.

        “If you’re in to Turians, does that make you a turry?”

        1. anaphysik says:

          I did specify “cancer-inducing puns.”

          I also like how my main point is ignored and my goofy strike text is replied to. That means someone’s reading these! BWAHAHA!

  17. Deadyawn says:

    Hey, uh, Shamus? It says this episode is mass effect not mass effect 3. You might want to look into that, especially considering the whole rereleasing old mass effect episodes thing. Kind of confusing.

    1. Deadyawn says:

      And it turns out someone already mentioned it so nevermind.

      After wacthing the episode I must say that I was in a similar position to Josh. The whole scene certainly seemed to be quite well executed but I simply wasn’t invested in it. I’m still not entirely sure why but I suspect it was at least partially due to me being privy to many heated discussions about the ending which had sapped a lot of my enthusiasm.
      Also Mordin had a different VA in this game although that’s not really anyone’s fault.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “Also Mordin had a different VA in this game although that's not really anyone's fault.”
        Other than Bioware’s, you mean?
        Though we’ve never gotten a straight answer on why Beattie was dropped, I’ve heard that he said they simply never called him…

  18. Mintskittle says:

    Hackett: “Sheperd, work on the Crucible is grinding to a halt, and the morale of the workers is dropping. Our supply of coffee and donuts is running out. We need you to go to the Krispy Kreme corporate offices and convince the CEO to send ships with coffee and donuts so our engineers can get back to work.”

    1. ThomasWa says:

      Nets you 500 war assets. Paragon option: Decaf.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Isn’t that Renegade?

        1. ThomasWa says:

          Damn, you’re right. I got them mixed up.
          Just like the writers did, frequently throughout the game,OH SNAP!

        2. Keeshhound says:

          No, because too much caffeine is bad for you, so the paragon option is to make the workers cut back, even though it might delay the construction.

          Lawful Stupid and making decisions for everyone involved without consulting them! Paragon at it’s worst I mean best!

          1. IFS says:

            Exactly, also its the middle option to just get regular coffee, the renegade choice is to put illegal stimulants in the coffee to make them work harder!

    2. Khizan says:

      I heard that in Hackett’s voice :(

      1. aldowyn says:

        I do the same thing with the reports on the Multiplayer operations on the bioware blog. It doesn’t sound ridiculously distinctive, but throughout the series you’ve heard it giving you meaningless sidequests for SO LONG…

      2. anaphysik says:

        I always find it really amazing how we can ‘think’ in someone’s voice, how we’re able to unconsciously pick up subtle phonological cues and reproduce them onto words that the speaker has never actually said.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          Proper story’s supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one.

          1. anaphysik says:

            *broad smile* Loves me some Bastion.
            (Except since that’s a direct quote, it doesn’t relate to what I was talking about; unless you were intending for people to read it in Hackett’s voice?)

            1. Keeshhound says:

              Proper story needs a proper ending. Ain’t so simple with this one.

              1. StashAugustine says:

                +1. That’s the funniest ending joke I’ve heard since Gav’s Call Me Maybe joke during his concert.

                (didn’t go, just saw it on the Escapist.)

  19. Irridium says:

    There’s a few good reasons why they don’t do the whole spray-can thing or using needles to inject Krogan with the cure. Mainly because it’d take a lot of resources to manufacture that stuff and it would take a long-ass time to cure each Krogan with ’em one by one.

    Plus, who would manufacture it? The Turians, who are currently in a bitter fight for their home planet? The Salarians, who would rather the genophage stay in effect? The humans, who are busy using all their resources to build the Crucible? The Asari maybe, but who knows what they’d do, they might not come to a decision in time to save Palavan, and even if they do agree to help they wouldn’t be able to do much since Thessia gets attacked by the Reapers pretty soon. The Quarians are fighting the Geth for Rannoch and don’t have anything to manufacture this with anyway. The Batarians are broken and scattered. As for the Volus, Elchor, and Hannar… they’d be too busy trying to get their people to safety since they’re not exactly fighters and would be easy pickings for the Reapers.

    Spreading it through the atmosphere is the best thing they could have done in this situation. It cures all the Krogan on Tuchanka, and sends a message. “Land on Tuchanka, and you will be cured of the Genophage.” This news would spread, Krogan far and wide would come home, and perhaps Krogan society would begin to rebuild.

    Of course, there’s still all the other problems with this (with the Shroud destroyed, doesn’t that mean Tuchanka’s atmosphere is screwed? Are there other Shrouds? Are Reapers camping those as well? Why didn’t they just blow it (or them) up in the first place?), but them distributing the cure through the atmosphere isn’t one of those problems. To me, at least.

    1. Dirigible says:

      Tuchanka’s atmosphere is fine, the Shroud was used to rebuild the atmosphere before the Krogan Rebellions, it just hasn’t been dismantled since. It’s like the Eiffel Tower, no-one bothered to dismantle it after the World Fair, and then it was used for a different purpose (radio tower in WW1) because it was there, and convenient.

  20. Peter H. Coffin says:

    By fiddling with the values of the multiplier and the level of certainty you can usually tip the scales one way or the other, but if you make those two values uncertain enough and the timeframe long enough, you can create an intractable problem for the audience to ponder.

    The punchline to this particular joke is usually “We’ve already established that you are. Now we’re haggling over the price.” Whether this is for the services of a whore or a mass-murderer, the gag’s still the same.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      A modified version of that is why I wanted the genophage gone. I was fine with the turian bomb. It’s a sensible precaution, and it wouldn’t do anything worse than an actual war would. The genophage, on the other hand, affects all krogan, and I’d argue that the kind of population surpression it does is actually worse than just shooting them.

  21. Spammy says:

    What are you talking about? If Vega is anything like Wrex then it’s easy to have a conversation with him! Everyone remembers the heartwenching “Shepard.” “Wrex.” “Shepard.” “Wrex.” “Shepard.” “Wrex.” “Shepard.” “Wrex.” conversation!

  22. hborrgg says:

    Soooooooooooo, Shamus. . .
    Have you played FTL yet?

    Oh and whoever it was in the comments that I told I wouldn’t be getting this game: fine, I’m sorry, shut up

    Also oh yeah, ITSFUUUUNNNNNN!!!

    1. anaphysik says:

      I saw the (primarily of Vietnamese Crystal fame) DeliciousCinnamon crew play FTL:

      Looks pretty awesome! But, right now it’s $10 and me no spend money often. I’m damn tempted to get it anyway, but…
      Also, technically I should have zero time to play games. That hasn’t worked out as well as it should’ve recently :P :/ :(

      Their playing of Super Amazing Wagon Adventure made me get that. That thing’s pretty fun.

      Both FTL and SAWA have a sort of Binding-of-Isaac-feel to me. By which I guess I mean that all of them evoke a particular variety of roguelikes, despite differences in specific executions.

  23. Attercap says:

    People give Vega a hard time and I think that’s because they didn’t take him on missions. He was one of the chattiest squadmates to take along and had some really funny moments, too. I think the only thing that topped Vega was romancing Ashley in ME1, switching to Tali in ME2, sticking with her, and then bringing them both along and counting the times Ashley made a catty remark.

    Also, this episode sort of brought up the one thing I wish there had been more of in the prior ME games–life aboard the ship. Squadmates didn’t just stay in their little cubbyholes waiting for Shepard to talk to them, they would talk to each other (politely waiting for Shep to catch them) and their conversations were the highlight of the game for me. Actually, if I had to pick the best thing out of all three Mass Effect games, it would be walking in on some of those conversations.

    1. aldowyn says:

      +1 to that last paragraph. The Normandy felt a lot more like a ship with an actual crew this time around. They did a pretty good job with the random conversations on the Citadel too, although it essentially being the only hub is a bit of a bummer.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Indeed. Who could forget moments like Tali’s “emergency induction port” and Garrus trading barbs with James and sharing jokes with Joker. They all felt like people doing their best to liven up the downtime.

    2. Vect says:

      Yeah, I sorta feel sorry for him in how the group’s giving him a hard time for his thuggish look. I mean… He is a thug, but a likable one with actual character.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        The moments I went and talked with him, I liked the dude. He’s a very likeable guy. He fills the down to earth role better than Jacob did in ME2.

        But Garrus and Tali and Liara and EDI. I’ve grown attached to these guys. I want to fight with THEM!

        1. aldowyn says:

          I don’t like EDI being put in the body, I liked it better when she was the disembodied AI voice :/

          I mean it’s an okay character arc from her perspective, but… still.

          The situation with Vega seems vaguely similar to the situation I had with Sten. I had him pegged as the classic Bioware “proud warrior race guy” like Wrex or Canderous/Mandelore, but he has a lot of good lines and things :D

          1. anaphysik says:

            It’s okay from her arc perspective (but still dumb). It’s downright criminal from the perspective of the her+Joker arc.

          2. newdarkcloud says:

            I don’t like the body either tbh. I wish developers realized that “pretty” or “not ugly” does not mean “stripperific.”

            That said, I do still like her character.

            1. anaphysik says:

              (Hell, case in point I actually think ‘Dr. Coré’ looks fairly ugly :/ )

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                I’m glad you said it before I did.

                Seriously, who gives their spy bots a camel toe!?

                1. anaphysik says:

                  Heh, I didn’t even notice that crap until someone pointed it out; I’m quite the cold-prude-space-boy, I guess.
                  Mainly I look at the face/head and then go ‘EEEUUUGHH’ and then stop looking at the face/head as best I can.

                2. Aldowyn says:

                  Apparently they were super lazy and just stole Miranda’s model. If you notice both her alternate outfits look kind of like Miranda’s outfits, and her original skin (no clothes) doesn’t have that.

      2. “Thug” isn’t the problem for me. It’s the “derp” that his model radiates. He looks like he’s either unfinished or the person putting him together was trying to make fun of someone they knew. His eyes look like they’re bugging out of his head, his mouth is far too wide, and it doesn’t help that he (like nearly every other human character) never seems to change expression.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          So that’s what, the third example of “good character, horrible design?”

          1. And they got Freddie Prinze Jr. to voice him. I have a hard time with anything he works on, most days. I think it comes from actually having watched “Wing Commander” in the theater.

            Yes, we saw it in the theater.

            It was so we could see the trailer for “The Phantom Menace.”

            Yes, that does mean we were double-dumbasses, even beyond the kind Captain Kirk envisioned.

            1. Attercap says:

              Nah, for me Freddie Prinze Jr is Donny Crane. The non-son of Denny Crane from Boston Legal. And, hey, a William Shatner connection to the quote above!

  24. CaptainMaybe says:

    Ugh. Traynor’s character really annoyed me. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t like her personally, because she made Liara’s status as Shadow Broker obsolete, or simply because there were more lesbian romance options than straight romance options for femShep. Or maybe because I accidentally stumbled upon that awful shower scene.

    Also, Mordin’s character arc (i.e. opinion on the genophage), while interesting, probably should have been shown on camera rather than off–it seems like a huge change to have happen behind the scenes.

    1. meyerkev says:

      Not really as far as Mordin’s character arc. Mordin moves from “The genophage was terrible, but necessary, and worth the cost to the Krogan’ to ‘(My recent alterations to) The Genophage was(were) terrible, possibly unnecessary, and not worth the (ongoing) cost to the Krogan’. It’s not a terribly huge change, and I can totally buy it, especially after talking to Eve a bit.

      /It’s sorta the Hot/Crazy line equivalent of Evil Stopped vs. Evil Done in Name of Stopping Said Evil.

    2. StashAugustine says:

      Traynor I have an irrational liking for, mainly because she isn’t Kelly. (We can say that now, right?)

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      The thing you bring up about Liara and her position as the Shadow Broker really felt like an ass pull to me personally. Oh dear, CERBERUS invaded and attacked her base. I guess it makes sense since they gave us the intel in the first place, but it really negates that entire arc. They could have done so much with that. It was a missed opportunity.

    4. Mike S. says:

      Re the bit in the spoiler tags: even if Bioware wanted to avoid anything like the PG-13-level scenes of the first installment in their M-rated game (because that rating’s just for people’s heads exploding and the occasional foray into Anglo-Saxon), have they never heard of strategic camera angles?

      (I was forcibly reminded of how Morrigan put on more clothes for her romantic scenes than than she wore fighting darkspawn or meeting with dignitaries.)

    5. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Forget the animations, the scene itself is just creepy. A CO inviting a subordinate to use her shower is already pushing the lines of decorum. To then invite herself into the shower with the subordinate is crossing into predator territory.

      And the guys are even worse, because Traynor at least drops a hint that she’d be OK with FemShep stepping in. The guys are just harrassing their intel officer.

      I have a character I dub “The Wicked Witch of the West” exclusively because having such a morally loathesome character is the only way I can justify some of these options.

      1. Thomas says:

        It’s not quite that creepy because Traynor is already basically inviting you when she has the shower. If you don’t mention the shower you’re just good friends with each other and neither of you want anything more. But if she takes the shower and you don’t stop in then she becomes disappointed and the game is written that she is in love with you and you didn’t return it. So the minute the shower is mentioned it becomes a romance thing, and the inappropriateness is of a commanding officer and a subordinate having a relationship, not really so much about overstepping each others privacy boundaries.

        It’s one of the cool things Bioware did with the writing in 3 (along with designing the conversations so that ‘more info’ actually naturally leads back to the correct subject) that the game universe kind of rewrites itself to fit with your choices. If you didn’t think the genophage should be cured so got rid of maelon’s data and things like that the in universe answer begins pushing you towards the sabotage option. Or if you choose to not romance Tali, she builds up that relationship with Garrus which is established as a being there from the beginning sort of thing, but if you romance here that it’s written so that her and Garrus have never shared that sort of relationship and theres a more comerady thing between them. There are parts where they’ve made the decision that whatever you do is right, but the universe is different to make it so. Paragon Shepard saves the day and keeps hold of his virtues whilst Renegade Shepard was right to not trust those treacherous scum who would have turned on her without her firm action.

        It’s not omnipresent but I thought it was a really clever change up from 2.

        1. Mike S. says:

          Agreed. And while Shepard getting into relationships with subordinates strikes me as a bad idea, that’s been the game’s MO since 1 (where 2/3 of your choices are an officer at heightened risk for mental instability and an NCO who’s already got enough bad stuff in her jacket without fraternization).

          If anything, Traynor is in a less vulnerable position since her real career track is planetside. (Though what with the planet being on fire, this may not be as comforting as all that.)

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            A point is made in the first game that the relationship does not happen until after they are mutineers.

            1. Mike S. says:

              Though if you flirt with both Ashley/Kaidan and Liara, they’ll jointly confront you with an unambiguous, wildly inappropriate for a subordinate exchange to the effect of “Which of us do you want to be in a relationship with?” way before you mutiny.

              1. Matt K says:

                Oh definitely, which at least with Fem Shep you can propose a three some and Kaiden gets all weird (so I had him do up the bomb)

                1. Mike S. says:

                  Thus providing pretty much the most extreme possible example of the problems that arise from romancing subordinates, no? :-)

                  1. Thomas says:

                    I don’t know what you’re talking, seems like a legitimate way to solve both romantic and military problems in the most efficient way possible. The military like efficiency right? =D

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:


    1. Gruhunchously says:

      Plot holes aside, I was genuinely moved by Mordin’s sacrifice. I was once again invested in the series, even if it was momentarily. And less than five minutes later, that stupid dream sequence with that stupid kid showed up again. I was busy grieving over the loss of one of my favorite characters, but I obviously should have been mourning that random kid instead, ’cause he was apparently real important to my Shepard. It was insulting, heavy handed mush, and I’d really like to know who on the Bioware writing team was responsible.

      1. anaphysik says:

        And in the conversation right after the dream, choosing the ‘ones we’ve lost’-type option leads to Shepard blathering about the Kashley that got nuked on Virmire. Uh, no, Shep, I don’t really care about Ash. Kinda preoccupied with one of my *actual* best friends and sources of inspiration just having died, you know?

        Same bullshit occurs after Legion’s death, too, iirc.
        Anyway, at least you do get to hear their voices in the stupid dreams – though Mordin’s line is almost nonexistent, Legion does at least get his key line.
        And thankfully I don’t think I ever noticed a Miranda line in those dreams. Heheheheh…..

        1. Irridium says:

          I wish in the dreams you were chasing your dead squadmates, instead of some stupid kid we never knew.

          Yeah, maybe the people who are starting on the first game won’t know and won’t have a connection, but they won’t know the kid either, so it’s the same result. Only with squadmates those who played the previous games know who they are, and perhaps the people who just started will be motivated to check out the previous ones to figure out who these people are.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Except that still fails to work, since 1) not everyone is going to feel emotional attachment to the squadmates that have died, and 2) due to the specific mechanics of how squadmates can die in ME1 and ME2, those that are dead are *very likely* to be the ones that players cared least about.
            (And that’s before we get into people engineering the deaths of certain squadmates.)

            1. Thomas says:

              Can you imagine Shamus and Joshs’ reaction if the game had tried to use Miranda’s death as emotional bait =D

              1. anaphysik says:

                At least it would be a moment of solidarity.

                I was *furious* that at the end of LotSB, your only real response to the topic of ‘those who died on the Suicide Mission’ (i.e. Miranda for me) is ‘they were HEROES.’
                It was annoying enough that they tried to ploy me with Ash’s death. It was laughably derpy that they tried to ploy me with some kid’s death. But yes, it would be ‘frothing at the mouth’ if they tried to ploy me with Miranda’s death in such a fashion.

                1. Thomas says:

                  In some sense’s, there’s probably only so far in-universe Shepard would go in deriding these people. You hate Miranda, but you’ve got some out-universe thinking there. I guess there’s a renegade ‘they were expendable’ but even that’s a little extreme, ‘they did what needed to be done’ is probably fair game and something like that should have been included. Renegade crew interactions tended to be a cold formality style of thing I think

                  1. anaphysik says:

                    “some out-universe”
                    ‘Some’ being the operative word. And it should be noted that extreme Cerberus hatred can *very definitely* be justified in-character, for those that met them in ME1 and went anti-pro-human(? lol).

                    1. anaphysik says:

                      (But to clarify, I do understand your point. It’s just particularly annoying that they can’t give you the option to *not* make a big deal out of it. Plus, sometimes Shep can express pretty nasty hate for characters (hell, consider for a moment that you can *personally* murder-death-kill the three best characters in the series: Wrex (twice), Mordin, and Legion – and Legion particularly sadistically), but BW’s pretty careful about letting their favoured characters off the hook for that. To be fair, luckily you can at least be mean to Miranda occasionally during ME2 (e.g. right before the TIM meeting, and during the Jack/Miranda fight), though at other times you have no choice but to praise her out of the blue (frex the “you’re very confident” bs). Like, I’d say that Liara gets more of a pass. (Just an observation; I neither like nor dislike Liara – find her kind of boring myself. But the options should be there.))

            2. Irridium says:

              Still better than some random kid we don’t know. At least with the former squadmates some people will care.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Awww,you didnt do the mordin singing,twice,and giving sex advice to joker and edi.There are some nice little things that theyve added to the ship parts.

  27. karthik says:

    It’s interesting that everyone questions Mordin’s change of heart on the genophage, possibly suggesting that Bioware did this to force a heroic sacrifice into the arc. (Considering the nonsense ending, they do seem to think heroic sacrifices make everything epic and bittersweet.)

    But in my Shep’s conversations with him, Mordin asserts that curing the genophage is the best option at the time, just as reinforcing it was the best option a couple of decades ago. His “change of heart” seemed to me to be purely pragmatism, and Mordin struck me as a pragmatic scientist before a philosopher or ethicist. Of course, I also got the sense he needed to justify his actions to himself, and I haven’t played through any other situation besides the one where I’ve told him of the sabotage and let him do as he wishes, so maybe there’s more to this.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Yeah, I guess you’ve never heard his “I made a mistake!” dialogue…

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “But in my Shep's conversations with him”

      But thats exactly it.If you want to tell a linear story,dont offer branching paths.Linear stories are told differently from branching ones,and you cant star one,and then end another.

      1. aldowyn says:

        This is a big issue with ME3, one that I’m considering writing a blog post about. Maybe even trying to make a full publishable article over it… (characterization in video games, especially RPGs, and the advantages of branching paths and linearity)

  28. JPH says:

    Anyone else seen Flight of the Conchords live? Nobody else? Just me? Awesome.

    1. anaphysik says:

      I’ve seen youtube videos of them live… Close enough and a lot more free :P

      “We’re, uh, actually very popular back in New Zealand…”

  29. Off topic, but since I don’t tweet, you know…

    Check out: metacritic on carrier command

    “3 days 7 hrs 14 mins 13 secs until game release” metacritic says,
    and so far there is only 1 review (odd in and of itself),
    and it’s a mediocre score of 45 (IMO, but marketing would call anything below 75 a failure *shrug*)
    and if you click the “Read full review”, it’s not there, impulse gamer (the review site) pulled the review it seems.

    There is only 3 reasons a review gets pulled (IMO):
    1. The reviewer went rogue and writes inappropriately/breaks some rules in the review. This is very rare, and the extract on metacritic seems fine to me. Or…

    2. They published the article too early, but this is even sillier since even if by accident, leaving it published is still much better than pulling it, because…

    3. I suspect the review site where told to pull the review by the publisher of the game, maybe there was date agreed or they did not like the review, in either case there is no way “I” can trust a reviewer that pulls a article without stating why it was pulled, a dead link is very suspicious.

    I’m pretty sure the reviewer wasn’t bought, in that case the score would be in the 80 range at least. So the review site was bribed or threatened then? I really hope some journalists run with this and see what they can dig up about the truth.

    1. ehlijen says:

      Wow…homeworld, but in NOT SPACE!

      Colour me meh.

  30. burningdragoon says:

    I think at this point you missed doing Jack’s side mission, yeah? She’s supposed to show up later at the Cerberus base as a special Nemesis I think.

    1. aldowyn says:

      What? If she’s dead or something? Oh, I suppose Jack was a side-casualty in the quest to murder Miranda, wasn’t it…

      Living Jack is an important part of the Grissom Academy mission (which I still haven’t seen because by default Jack dies), and I’m not sure if the SW crew did that one or not… at least she doesn’t have a clone.

      1. anaphysik says:

        No, we established this in one of the earlier threads, where I at first also mistakenly believed Jack to have died. (Then I showed some math and stuff and proved that she couldn’t possibly be dead (someone corrected one detail of that, but the end result was still that someone still alive would have died before her (Legion)).)
        Only Miranda died holding Josh’s line.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Really? Spectacular. I mean, I don’t mind Miranda as much as some, but that’s just an impressive achievement in and of itself. Someone give Josh a medal XD

          1. anaphysik says:

            Well, Josh only got her killed by accident. They got really lucky that the numbers worked out in their favour, since their original plan for killing her fell through.

            *I* carefully worked out a plan to get her and only her killed in my playthrough.

      2. burningdragoon says:

        I’m pretty sure after Tuchanka the Grissom Academy mission fails if you haven’t done it by then. Or maybe it’s after the Citadel invasion, I dunno.

  31. burningdragoon says:

    I think the logic behind the default playthrough having all the worst options was more “Okay, well since they don’t know who any of the previous characters are, there’s no reason to give them any role in their game.”

    I mean that’s a) ignoring people who may not of kept old save files and b) dumb, but it sounds like a reasonable decision.

    1. The issue however is that wit6hout a save there is no way of knowing.
      Obsidian did a cool thing with KoTOR 2 though, a few dialog options let you set a few key parameters about the previews game, this could have been done with ME2 and ME3 if no savegame is imported.

      As to the default “cast & choices” the game(s) start with, never played them so I can not comment that much about them. But I assume that in that case they hopefully tried to make ME3 feel somewhat free standing, a new player at this point knows as little about Wre3x as they do Grunt etc. They have no clue about the Rachni Queen etc.

      I doubt the most obscure choices are the defaults, it’s more like the more unlikely choices (BioWare did have the ME1 and ME2 stats after all).
      And I can’t fault them for that. Heck it wasn’t until someone here hinted that Jack might become an enemy that I realized that is even possible (!?)
      I have no idea about the parameters that ME3 will import from ME2 (which imported in turn from ME1), but anything but a “grey” start is almost impossible to pull off.

      If ME3 started with perfect results from ME2 and ME1 people would get upset (and might not want to use their save games at all as they could have screwed up a few things in ME1 or ME2), if ME3 started with the worst possible params they that would be a nightmare as many reviewers may not review with a ME2 import, nor can BioWare insist they do as that would be directing the review which is a big no-no.

      For all we know the start params of ME3 could simply be the averaged choice of all ME2 and ME1 params changed by players. In which case BioWare is not to blame for the ME3 start params, we are… *cough*

      1. aldowyn says:

        Dead jack, dead samara, dead thane, living jacob. I’m okay with living Miranda, but… jacob? Really? >.>

        Also you’re totally screwed for BOTH of the big decisions in the game, because Tali was exiled and you didn’t rescue the data in Mordin’s mission.

        1. anaphysik says:

          “I'm okay with living Miranda”

          SHUN HIM.

          (Miranda’s the only squadmate I killed. Jacob is boring, but he didn’t bother me any more than ‘why are you here? you have no reason to be a Mass Effect squadmate.’ (A problem which most of the ME2 squadmates have, imo.) Although gorrammit FemShep, can you possibly say ‘I’m more interested in just talking for a bit’ in a more annoyingly flirtatious voice. blechhhhh.)

          1. Thomas says:

            I was surprised at first who they let live or die (mostly because the way the option is presented to you, they make it sound like all your squad survived) but the choices weren’t bad in the end. Thane gave too much of a good thing story wise, for it to be fair to give to the first default playthrough. It would be making the importers feel perhaps like it was better to not import their save and do default instead.

            And to be honest, Jack’s quest is in many ways better with the dead Jack version, whilst I’m not sure if Jacob’s substitute is as good and he fits the tone of that mission well. Equally Grunt’s substitute works well .

            The only questionable choice is probably Samara, because her quest is enhanced so much by having her in it, it’s a whole lot weaker without her and she might have been better choice to keep alive than Jacob even. But there’s a lot to swallow if you’re not familiar with the character so maybe that’s why they kept her out of default (I imagine there are plenty of people who chose to keep more people alive, even if they hadn’t played previous games)

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Also you're totally screwed for BOTH of the big decisions in the game, because Tali was exiled and you didn't rescue the data in Mordin's mission.”

          Not really,because wrex is dead,so you can save mordin and get the krogan support.

          Also SHUUUUUUN!

      2. Thomas says:

        They do give you the option of setting quite a few parameters at the start, more than KotoR2 let you do actually (but not in such a cool way). The problem was, as is said above, if they gave you the options that let you win the best options, players importing would feel cheated because they’ve got a potentially worse playthrough despite putting in the time.

    2. anaphysik says:

      For reference, here’s one list I could find of all the default ME3 choices:

      Mass Effect 1 Default Choices

      * Characters Recruited: Garrus, Wrex
      * No DLC or sidequests are counted.
      * The Asari Shiala is killed by the Thorian.
      * The Rachni Queen is killed.
      * The colony on Feros is not saved.
      * Wrex is killed on Virmire.
      * Shepard does not enter into any romantic relationships.
      * The Council is killed, with the ship the Destiny Ascension, during the attack on the Citadel.
      * Udina is appointed Counselor.

      Mass Effect 2 Default Choices

      * No DLC, sidequests or Loyalty Missions are counted toward Mass Effect 3. This includes two DLC exclusive characters, Zaeed and Kasumi, who count as never being recruited.
      * Tali is exiled from the Migrant Fleet.
      * Shepard does not enter into any romantic relationships. Again.
      * Grunt is not recruited.
      * Legion is not recruited, and no choice is made for the Geth.
      * Samara is never recruited. She is killed by Morinth trying to escape from Ilium.
      * Suicide Mission Survivors: Mordin, Jacob, Garrus, Tali and Miranda.
      * Suicide Mission Survivors (Normandy Crew): Joker and Chakwas. All other crew members are considered killed.
      * Suicide Mission Deaths: Jack, and Thane.
      * The Collector Base is destroyed.
      * Although the DLC is not considered completed by Shepard, the events still occured. The Batarian System is destroyed, and Liara is the Shadow Broker.

      typos (“counselor” lol; Udina would be a hilarious couselor) and nonsense (Shiala killed by the *Thorian*? say what?) are [sic]
      similar list in the spoiler of the first post here:

      Though for some reason I seem to recall some place where you could change settings, e.g. I seem to specifically recall a setting wherein you could put ‘Numerous’ as the number of squad deaths on the Suicide Mission. hrmmmmm.

      1. Thomas says:

        When you start a default character you get a couple of choices (i remember being told 6?_ about the backstory. You can choose who the Virmire survivor is, whether almost everyone died or whether some people survived in ME2, whether you kept Maelon’s data (but not if Wrex survived). I think you can choose you romance and maybe what you did with the collector base? And then where you were born, personal history etc

  32. (kinda pointed at Josh) You know what would have been the ideal Paragon interrupt when Mordin walk to the elevator?
    Shepard punching out Mordin, then taking the elevator herself and then the “gang” look on worried as the tower blows up, only for the camera to shift angle and we see Shepard carrying Mordin, cue hero music.

    I’m not saying that Mordin’s sacrifice wasn’t good writing.
    I’m just saying that a Paragon shepard would not have let Mordin do the sacrifice thing. A Renegade Shepard however would have do exactly what Josh did. (if going the route of allowing the cure that is).

    1. aldowyn says:

      Plot holes everywhere >.> “It had to be” Mordin because he was the only one that knew how to fix the sabotage, IIRC. And the obvious “how did Shepard survive?”

      1. Plot hole? Easy fix… Shepard pick’s up Mordin’s datapad that we saw him drop when he was punched out. Hole patched! :P

        1. Thomas says:

          I’m okay with Shepard surviving the lift, but I wouldn’t be okay with him doing the Shroud. He’s not a tech expert, this shouldn’t be as easy as punching in some numbers, and really the only person good enough to circumvent Salarian STG sabotage should be an STG member himelf. Shepard being able to fix the shroud would be like Shepard being able to do the tech role on the suicide mission. And Mordin understands the cure whilst Shepard doesn’t have a clue

          1. anaphysik says:

            Unless of course you *are* a tech expert cl- ohhhhhhh, of cooooourse Shepard’s a Soldier. I guess she could pull out a default weapon that I’ve never used nor carry and just shoot it.

            I actually think the whole idea is dumb, but in the goofy campy way such that I’d enjoy it over silly enforced ‘dramatics.’

            1. StashAugustine says:

              To be fair, engineers might not be experts in how to distribute biological agents. The inverse is certainly true- sending Mordin on the tech part of the Suicide Mission gets him killed.

              1. Thomas says:

                Also Shepard is a _soldier_. Not class but character, it’s a fixed trait that you’re not able to change because it jars with me every time because I always create an unsoldierly character in my head and then the minute dialogue starts the image breaks (some of the flaws we talk about 2 introducing were really the logical conclusion of full voice acting. Probably even accounts for lack of story flexibility and the budget constraints that ended up killing 3)

                . So even when Shep. is a tech expert, she’s a tech expert in a military way. She knows how shields work, combat drones, military software, weapons programs etc. She still doesn’t know how atmosphere dispersal systems work, or covert biological sabotage

                1. anaphysik says:

                  This and the above are completely logical approaches to the suggestion.

                  However, as much as I’d like well-thought-out narrativistic connections and payoffs, if we’re going to face the facts of what modern Bioware is actually capable of providing us… well, then I’d still rather have dumb goofy action than ham-fisted nonsensical dramatics :P
                  At least the first one can recognize its own camp while still being not-intrisically-awful. (Any ham-fisted nonsensical dramatics featuring Aku as voiced by Mako are naturally fully excepted and are beyond wonderful :P )

    2. anaphysik says:

      Okay, that would be kinda cool. I mean, if you’re going to go all action-hero-badass-y for the series, you’d may as well go all the way and *actually* make it something badass.

      1. Yeah! People may have many vies on Shepard, but I think most will agree that Shepard is a walking meatshield with a bullseye painted on him/her.
        It’s like “Shepard, don’t go out there you could get shot” “Shepard: I Laugh at bullets!”

        Nothing negative about that, I just wish I’d get to be even more over the top. Take The Force Unleashed games for example3, you can say what you will about the plot or story there. but pulling down a Star Destroyer, or going bonkers with force powers was as enjoyable as Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy was back in the day.

        They shou8ld have exponentially “amped” up Shepard between the games (and during them); to the extent that a actual reaper would take a step back of uncertainty if it encountered Shepard.

        After all, no mere “mortal human” could survive all the crap Shepard has one through in those 3 games.

        I also missed seeing some thugs turn tail and flee once they recognize Shepard. Anyone else miss that i games? That your uber hero actually get reactions to their level of power and the thousands in body count they got under their belt?

        “GameMook: Is that Shepard w2ho killed thousands and a Reaper and nearly took down three syndicates almost single handedly? Yeah! I’ gonna shoot him with my laser. Pew Pew! Oops I’m dead!”

        “MoreRealisticGameMook: Hostile. Pew Pew! darn missed, why can’t I seem to h…wait did some one just call him(/her) Shepard? Holy shit, screw this I’m outta here!”

        I’d love it if in one game just even once the faceless NPC mooks that attack you would suddenly just panic and flee for once, I’d laugh my ass off for sure.

        And damn you Shamus for making me say “mooks” all the time.

        1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

          That “Mooks panic and flee” thing *kind* of happens in Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. As in, a bunch of vampires are about to attack you, realise who you are… and then attack anyway, since they figure they’re done for either way.

          “You… you are a powerful one of your kind. I can smell the murder in your heart. You shall never let us live, I would think. Come, then, my children… we die this night, once and forever, throwing ourselves on the merciless blade that is this godling!”

        2. StashAugustine says:

          Cerberus troops on Mars respond with “Oh, shit! It’s Shepard!”

          1. Aldowyn says:

            And then continue shooting you because they’re cerberus mooks.

            Although I didn’t notice that the first time. “Do these LOOK like standard alliance marines!?!”

            It was pretty funny actually :D

        3. Alexander The 1st says:

          You know, having the Reaper with the Thanix missiles in the endgame step back a moment and perhaps to the side after the camera switches to its view and focuses on us before the missiles launch would’ve been pretty awesome, I think.

          I mean, do the Reapers not notice that you took out the one on Rannoch with a modified laser pointer*?

          *Also, a fleet. Said fleet likely in the skies above Earth during this endgame fight.

  33. Paul Spooner says:

    Just wanted to say I’ve been enjoying the past couple episodes quite a bit, and this one is no exception. Feels like you guys have hit your stride (again?). Maybe it was a particularly good recording session or something. Whatever the case, good work fellows! Take it away!

  34. Ateius says:

    Okay, so this 200-300 years to conquer the Protheans thing.

    Since when?

    I’m not the only one who remembers ME1, right? And the last functioning Prothean VI who can fill you in on some backstory? And it tells you how the Reaper invasion happened so fast the Protheans didn’t have time to mount a defense, that it was over almost before they knew it had begun?

    I’m thinking three hundred years is enough time to cobble together one hell of an armada. Especially considering what Shepard manages to muster from the ad-hoc alliance inside of … what’s the timescale of ME3? A week? A month at the most?

    It just seems like a sudden and very drastic retcon to justify how the Reapers haven’t managed to wipe out one planet by the time Shepard returns with a superweapon and massive space navy.

    1. Shamus says:

      This revelation came from the first game, during the conversation with Vigil, the Prothean AI. He said something to the effect that wiping out a galactic species was a long process.

      I always understood this as a long mop-up period. Like, their communications were wiped out in minutes. Their government was wiped out in hours. Their infrastructure was gone in weeks / months. But roaming around the galaxy, stomping on each and every Prothean anthill… that would take a while. They would be scattered and starving and hiding, but the Reapers were slow and methodical.

      That was how I understood it, anyway.

      1. Plus the fact that the Protheans may not have dealt with the situation ideally either, they where kind of a “master race” so support by other races may not have been so easy.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Someone, maybe Javik, claims that their downfall was in significant part due to homogenization of strategy, tactics, and capabilities, more so than lack of ability to marshal support. Since the Javik-Protheans ruled everyone, they imposed their culture and technique onto them.

          1. Even says:

            Another thing he mentions was many of the subservient races abandoning the fight out of desperation which affected their ability to fight back. He laments later on there never being a “united call to arms” (or something along those lines) with all the capable races coming together to fight the Reapers like there was during this cycle.

          2. ehlijen says:

            But if homogenity was the downfall of the protheans, why is uniting the galaxy under one command a good idea again?

            The diversity = better odds of winning line seemed a bit forced to me. The series made a point that the Reapers leave enough clues and relics (eg the relays) to make sure all civilisations develop along the same track, technologically (though why would they if preventing the inevitable outcome of that preset track is their purpose?!?!) so we have a bunch of different races using fairly similar technology being united under one banner so they’ll use fairly similar strategies…where is the diversity? The only diversity I see is in more different husks (and that’s on the other side of the battle).

            I don’t actually see how cultural diversity helped the current races and lack thereof hindered the protheans.

            1. Even says:

              “But if homogenity was the downfall of the protheans, why is uniting the galaxy under one command a good idea again?”

              The difference is in the method. Not that it necessarily makes it better, but your groundwork is standing on a whole different ground. You’re not coercing but convincing that it’s in their best interests.

              “I don't actually see how cultural diversity helped the current races and lack thereof hindered the protheans.”

              With what you can gather from Javik, the main weakness of their empire was a lack of unity which lead to the whole system collapsing when the push came to shove. I think the idea that they were trying to bring across here was that with different cultures filling different dynamics and functions with each bringing in their own specialties you’re stronger as opposed to cultural homogenization.

              In reality it’s not really that simple, but the idea does have some merit. It can be better, but all really depends on the circumstances.

      2. Jace911 says:

        I always thought it went something like this:

        1. Take Citadel, decapitate government, isolate star systems. Hours.
        2. Swarm every single star system one by one with all the Reapers. Centuries.
        3. Search deep space around each star system to make sure there aren’t any sleeper ships. Decades.
        4. Leave.

        Not only does this plan cut off every star system from each other, but it also frees up the Reapers to use their entire force to secure each one (Sovereign’s claim that their numbers would darken the sky of every world doesn’t seem so ludicrous now; just not every world at the same time).

        1. StashAugustine says:

          5. Profit.


      3. Ateius says:

        I honestly don’t recall that part of the conversation at all, only emphasis on how lightning-fast their downfall was. But, I can’t be bothered to replay Mass Effect to find out, so I guess I’ll defer. An extremely lengthy and thorough mopping-up (that, er, missed several hundred Protheans in their stasis chambers) makes more sense than three centuries of actual warfare, at least.

    2. Gruhunchously says:

      The Reapers shut down the mass relays when they first took the Citadel, as well as crippling government and communications, like Shamus said, and seizing all relevant Prothean data (or so they thought). It’s difficult to build an armada and mount a successful counter attack when nobody can talk to each other across systems and it takes months to years for ships to go anywhere.
      Again, why didn’t the Reapers just go straight for the Citadel and do the same during the current cycle, is a reason ever given?

      1. Irridium says:

        Nope. Maybe since Sovereign failed, they thought it wouldn’t work a second time?

        That’s what I figure, anyway.

        1. Jace911 says:

          Because if one Reaper nearly succeeded but failed, then hundreds of Reapers would surely fail as well.

          Yeah they never explain it at all.

      2. Mike S. says:

        The Citadel is supposed to be essentially impregnable with the arms closed. (That’s why Sovereign needed Saren to open them for him.)

        That raises the question of how the Reapers took the Citadel at the end of ME3. We aren’t really told directly. But given that it ties into the Illusive Man being indoctrinated, not being present at his HQ when Shepard raids it, and being on the Citadel at the endgame, it seems pretty clear that it was TIM who was the key player there. Cerberus has a history of infiltrating and taking over hard targets (the Shadow Broker’s ship, Omega) and made an almost-successful attempt on the Citadel itself earlier.

        (And yeah, even with Horizon providing the answer to where they’re getting all the manpower, Cerberus’s logistics are pretty unbelievable. But if they can do everything else in the game, then acting as the Reapers’ catspaws at the end fits.)

        The real question is why they can’t then use the Citadel to control the relay network as Vigil described. We can handwave an answer (say involving the Protheans or C-Sec or the STG or the Spectres or Chorban and Jahleed throwing a spanner into the control system). But we aren’t given one, and unlike the above there aren’t any deliberate clues that I can see.

        (If I were Bioware, I might make that the subject of a future DLC. But if I were Bioware, the game would have ended rather differently, so… :-) )

        1. Gruhunchously says:

          Doesn’t the Citadel have a massive hole where the Presidium is? You’d think they’d be able to get past the defenses that way…

          1. anaphysik says:

            No, the bottom part of it actually does have small shields that retract over it. They’re easy to miss, though.


            (that is in fact an official reference, btw, used with Bioware’s permission)

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          “The real question is why they can't then use the Citadel to control the relay network as Vigil described.”

          It’s kind of explained in the first as to why Sovereign can’t just send the signal – the Keepers don’t respond anymore, and Sovereign needed a sleeper agent (So, in this case, TIM), *and* time to unlock the one relay they needed.

          And given that it appears there’s only one interface for Sovereign (The giant Citadel tower), more Reapers might not help for decrypting in time, against what they presume must be a cycle prepared for them (They usually use it with surprise.)…

          Oh! Also, there’s the QEC’s for communication – new technology, but I’d be surprised if the Citadel didn’t have at least 5 of them connected to the outside world.

          Much easier probably to just activate the thrusters and relay it through to Earth. It’s also worth noting that the Reapers didn’t attempt it until TIM used the prothean beacon to reveal that the catalyst was the Citadel, and helped piece together the idea that the Crucible was non-operational without it – therefore giving the Reapers an agro-mcguffin. If they took it to the Far Rim instead, Shepard would go there – instead, they choose to solidify their forces in the one place they have a strong hold over – that is, Earth.

      3. anaphysik says:

        We cannot comprehend their giant space derpness or something like that. Basically they all got dropped on their space-baby-Arnold heads somehow, except for Sovereign, who developed a superiority complex when he got left behind for being too moderately competent.

        That’s totally canon. *Thanix* cannon. *sunglasses* YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

      4. ehlijen says:

        I assumed that Sovereign died before he could warn Harbinger and that Harbinger wouldn’t launch a second attempt before he discovered exactly what took out Sovereign and to prevent that from happening again.

        It wasn’t just one reaper who failed. It was one reaper, a geth armada, geth commandos relaying into the citadel, inside intel from Saren and a supposedly obedient Keeper crew that failed to open the citadel relay.

  35. Jace911 says:

    Josh, you should totally initiate the Traynor romance and then shut her down during the chess scene. It is the funniest thing.

    1. anaphysik says:

      What’s annoying as far as that romance goes is that *you don’t get the actual chess scene* unless you shut her down. My Shep would’ve been fine with romancing Sam except gorrammit she got invited to play space chess and by Sovereign she’s going to play some gorram space chess!

      (The chess scene is also funny and endearing. The romance scene is kind of weird and awkward (i.e. par for the Bioware course).)

  36. Supahewok says:

    About that point you brought up, Shamus, on Bioware making the default choices based on the fact that the majority picked the others so that there was an evenish distribution of who saw what…

    No. No. I’ll bet you any price you care to name, Bioware (or EA, but who’s counting the difference at this point) made sure to give us the rarer choices because they are crap to encourage newcomers to the series to pick up copies of the older games, so that they could play through them to have the actual good/smart choices. Squeezing out every last little drop of profit they can from them.

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