Mass Effect 3 EP25: Finally, Some Action!

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 177 comments

Link (YouTube)

So the Reapers are invading homeworlds. They’re aiding or augmenting the Geth. The galaxy is allegedly running low on resources. This is the worst possible moment for the Quarians to attempt to retake their homeworld.

After reading what other people are saying about this plot, I have to say that the problem isn’t how stupid the Quarians are. As others have pointed out, lots of wars are started for stupid, short-sighted reasons. Perhaps even most of them. I think the problem isn’t that the Quarians are being stupid, it’s that the game isn’t properly justifying this stupid and allowing the player to respond. Shepard just says that this is terrible timing.

What we needed was an argument where the player can express these frustrations:

[It doesn’t make any sense to fight the Geth when the Reapers are coming.]

How hypocritical, Shepard. Is your homeworld any less a lost cause? You’re asking me to abandon the hope of my homeworld to help save yours.

[Even if you win, the Reapers will just come and kill you.]

I promised my daughter that she would stand on the homeworld and see the skies of Rannoch with her own eyes. If we’re going to die, we’ll do so on our own world.

[You should be using your liveships to flee the Reapers, not sending them into battle!]

You mean we should be sending them to Earth. The only reason you’re here at all is to get help for yourself. If you didn’t need us, you would have been happy to let the Geth wipe us out.

[You don’t have the power to overcome the Geth. This is a waste of life!]

Perhaps. I’ve made a calculated risk. I admit it’s not going as well as I’d hoped. But now that you’re here, perhaps we can tip the scales… [Mission details.]

(Etc, for every major objection that players are likely to raise.)

Sure, his arguments are mostly strawmen arguments and appeals to emotion. (He’s also pointing out how hypocritical and dumb Shepard’s ENTIRE QUEST is in this game. Let’s let this slide. We’re just trying to patch this one spot, not fix the whole game.) It doesn’t make his move any more sensible, but it does make it more understandable. Now we understand the admiral is a tragically flawed man, and not just a moron. More importantly, the game has allowed the player to point out all these flaws, removing the need for them to roleplay a total moron.

The point is: I’m not saying the idea of the Quarians attacking the Geth is completely invalid. I’m just saying they didn’t sell it.

Aside: Legion’s voice is pure awesome. Perhaps my favorite robot voice in any fiction ever.


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177 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP25: Finally, Some Action!

  1. ENC says:

    I think I should begin watching Spoiler Warning again as I stopped after Chris mentioned ending spoilers.

    I stopped on my own save right after the Citadel as the plot became so stupid I actually vomited in real life for the rest of the day and have never recovered emotionally as a result.

    Even worse are the people who go ‘oh but it’s just the ending that’s bad, the rest is good!’ No it isn’t, the whole thing is a stupid, inconsistent, plot-hole filled, campy dialogue filled mess, and now I’ve finally decided I’m never going to finish it and will begin watching SW from episode 8 again as i can’t bear to finish the series that began on Eden Prime and allowed me to grow into the hero without feeling like an unstoppable, only-hope force against dozens of reapers whilst bringing up deus ex machina all over the place starting with the crucible.

    1. Indy says:

      When did Chris say he was ending spoilers? If you’re talking about the end of one of the earlier episodes, he says the group ‘ruins spoils’.

      1. anaphysik says:

        You need a “:P” to make sure people know if your joking.
        ENC meant spoilers regarding the ending sequence of the game. Not ceasing the utilization of spoilers.
        And no car puns on “spoilers,” okay? OKAY?!

        You have to be careful in many tabletop games, since can really ruin spoils if you use sunder :P

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Even worse are the people who go “˜oh but it's just the ending that's bad, the rest is good!'”

      Yes,that is really the worst thing about this whole series.I dont mind shlock being produced,or even enjoyed by many(troll 2).But at least its being recognized as shlock by its fans.At least the critics that enjoy such things say “Yes,its crap,but it still is entertaining”.But hearing the praise about these sequels,from same critics that praise spec ops:the line,that just saddens me.What happened with our culture that a crappy story in an average gameplay(and the awesome button,grr!) sprinkled with a few gems here and there gets the same 9/10 as a marvelous story in a purposefully average gameplay underlined with so many layers?No wonder Im a misanthrope.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “troll 2”

        That fucking (wait, crap, that wasn’t supposed to be a pun…) popcorn scene. Just… Just what.

      2. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

        Yeah, that’s the thing that bugs me too. It’s really frustrating to listen to people insist something that has very obvious and serious problems is almost flawless if not even perfect. This gets worse when more than one person complains (“no-one agrees with you, therefore you’re wrong”) about them and suddenly it’s “fashionable to hate it” or some other bullcrap.

        Edit: The funny thing is that they’re trying to shut people up, but at least in my case it just makes me want to talk about the problems. I don’t feel like going on rants over how much something sucks if it’s generally identified as sucky. Well, as much as when people start defending it for the wrong reasons.

  2. guy says:

    I’m willing to let crew corridors, gravity, and even lighting slide. On a ship this big, even for a machine race there are tasks that will require getting swarms of vaugely humanoid entities fiddling with a piece of equipment or hauling giant machines to dockside servicing. Moving in zero gravity is a monstrously complex task, especially if you’re trying to manipulate something, and artifical gravity is basically free in this setting. And the Geth mobile platforms do apparently use visual light, though they also have flashlights for heads.

    What I am not willing to let slide is the control consoles. Because those do not make sense.

    I didn’t really mind the color scheme, but it probably would get old if they kept it going for a few missions. But I liked the aesthetic and I mostly relied on HUD elements to target my charges anyhow.

    To be fair, Tali isn’t admiral of anything, her job is to stand around radiating Admiralty at people. You’d think this was a joke, but if she dies there’s only four admirals in this segment.

    Josh, have you already forgotten the Washington Monument incident from Season 2?

    Legion VI is a really out-of-date backup, apparently.


    I think the Geth use their dropships as fighters in fleet engagements, which would explain the troop compartment.

    1. Klay F. says:

      Except there is no reason the dreadnought couldn’t be just another upscaled geth platform, holding millions of individual geth instead of hundreds. There is also no possible reason why the dreadnought isn’t just one big solid computer. There is literally no task the geth could do better as platforms than if they were plugged into the matrix.

      Also, gravity isn’t free. Artificial gravity requires mass effect fields, which subsequently draws power from the eezo core, which leaves less power for more important things, like shields and weapons.

      1. guy says:

        “There is literally no task the geth could do better as platforms than if they were plugged into the matrix.”

        Except ones that require hands. Here, try it: without using any form of telepresence or robotics, type on your computer to repair a damaged doorknob. If they take battle damage, no amount of computing power is going to make damaged components stop being broken, and that’s not considering that some parts may require servicing after extended use.

        1. Luhrsen says:

          So you’re saying because your human mind would have difficulty with that task that AIs that have been operating exactly that way for hundreds of years would have the same problem?

          1. guy says:

            Please tell me that was a joke.

            1. There has been no sign that the Geth have gained the ability to alter the physical world through pure thought, which is what they would need to do in order to repair physical damage without using a physical platform capable of conducting repairs.

            2. They have been using mobile platforms for hundreds of years, probably for tasks like repairing broken components that they need something physical to go out and fix.

            3. Although “solid block of computer” is presumably hyperbole, they’ve got to have some sort of fusion generator inside. There needs to be some method of refueling it. Also, fusion generators will inevitably degrade from the radiation the components are absorbing in order to extract power. These parts will need to be replaced.

            1. Luhrsen says:

              Small mistake. I misread and thought you wrote ‘using telepresense’ rather than without. Still they could use wall mounted waldos or small magnetic trollys. No need for people sized corridors or gravity.

              1. guy says:

                Unless there is a maintenance task that requires moving large components out of the ship to a proper servicing facility. Which, extrapolating from modern warships, there probably is.

                1. Luhrsen says:

                  Even on our old fashioned (in relation to them) “modern” warships the biggest stuff often has a large hatch on the outside so you can remove something as a unit. Otherwise you’d need to take it apart to fit down even a large people sized hallway.

        2. Klay F. says:

          Irrelevant example: there would be no doorknobs to fix because they can readily travel about the ship without bodies.

          Also, nanotechnology DOES exist in Mass Effect. Making repairs would be an excellent use for such things.

          1. guy says:

            Okay, so the actual example would be if a giant hole got punched through a reactor. Same principle.

            The list of reasons why nanobots would potentially be unsuited to repair work in areas of extreme tempature or powerful magnetic fields is pretty extensive, and more to the point Mass Effect has never shown capital ships self-repairing with nanotech. Not even the Derelict Reaper.

            1. Klay F. says:

              Then they could build tiny, dedicated units designed specifically to repair and replace things, somewhat analogous to the pit droids from Star Wars. The main point is that there is absolutely no reason to have corridors whose only purpose is getting from point A to point B, or big open arenas whose only purpose is to have gunfights in.

              The key areas of the ship should be inaccessible to everyone except geth, unless a massive hole was first blown open.

              1. Indy says:

                Those tiny, dedicated robots do exist. They were present on Eden Prime, several other places in ME1 and even Tali’s recruitment mission in ME2. While most of those are combat drones, I believe at least a couple are repair drones.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  I remember the Shadow Broker DLC had a couple of Repair Drones on the ship fixing the hull and stuff remotely. They attacked because they assumed Shepard was debris.

              2. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

                Then, in order to make it possible for them to fix more complicated things, the Geth make their repair bots smarter and smarter until they reach sapience panicking the Geth who will then try to eradicate the repair bots but fail and…


                Well okay, the Geth aren’t as big panicky assholes as the Quarians so that could never happen.

          2. Jace911 says:

            False, that would require them to intelligently apply their own wondertech instead of forgetting about it or blatantly misusing it.

      2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        The hallways don’t bug me. I have a more fundamental question: why does the barrel of the main battery have a kink in it? Shouldn’t that play hell with velocity and accuracy?

        1. guy says:

          I cannot believe I never noticed that before.

          I guess the “kink” might be power systems, ammo storage, and loading, and the gun itself might be a straight line, but that would only really make sense if engineering constraints prevented them from extending the main barrel.

          It’s the computer consoles that always bugged me. The only one that makes sense is the one controlling Legion’s restraints, because that’s supposed to be protected against Legion up and transferring a program into it and releasing them.

        2. The Rocketeer says:

          That really, really bugged me. The only thing that gun should do is blast their ship in half.

      3. Theminimanx says:

        Your point about the dreadnought being another geth platform also applies to the fighters. Literally the only reason humans can fit in it is because they wanted a dramatic escape sequence.

        1. Klay F. says:

          Yeah, it also says something about my choice of sci-fi when the first thing I thought of when I heard the phrase “geth fighter” were the Cylon Raiders from Battlestar Galactica.

          The fact that they have pilots that must physically exit their craft is just beyond stupid.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Though Galactica had the same issue: in an early episode in which Starbuck crashed on a planet, she got off by getting inside a Raider, disconnecting the brain, and jury-rigging the controls. Which makes about as much sense as hijacking a dog by getting inside its skull and using the control cables that surely must be there to run its legs by hand. (Why is there even life-support, or room for a human, let alone anything of use to a pilot?)

      4. MikhailBorg says:

        On the other hand, so many physical manipulation tasks are so much easier to do with gravity that the Geth may have felt it was worth the trade.

        The Geth are sentient, not a race of mindless min-maxed battle machines. Perhaps they just plain prefer their spaceships this way, and in most situations it’s not enough of a handicap to be an issue.

        Or, to paraphrase an old Star Trek argument: “Why does everyone put their bridges in a vulnerable place atop their spaceships?” Answer: “Because they have shields. When your shields are up, it doesn’t matter so much, and when your shields are down, you’re Kai Lenged anyway.”

    2. Loonyyy says:

      There’s no good reason to use humanoid robots for the task.


      One big assembly is more effective at controlling the ship. Smaller specialised drones and nanotech is more effective at repair. Moreover, you have less to repair if you scrap the humanoid robot conceit.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I wouldnt mind these humanoid conveniences if the first game hadnt established that geth already posses platforms that can cling to walls with ease and move quickly and efficiently in ways that no other races can.

      So a geth capital ship should be even more of just a huge gun with armor and thrusters than a regular dreadnaught.That part where you move around its gun shouldve been basically the only interior of this ship,and everything else couldve been just armour(maybe a storage or two in the back for invasion platforms).

      Why was this part of gameplay retconned,I have no idea.Yes its a cover shooter,and enemies that leap on walls and ceiling or fly would be much stronger than others,but thats why you put them in on rare occasions,not remove them completely.

  3. Furlong says:

    the whole thing about the Geth ship really shows a lack of thought. You have a mechanical crew that only uses platforms when they need to move around. there should be no command center, no corridors, no consoles. At least the station in ME2 could justify itself as having a need for a place to put the platforms and such.

    Also, does it seem like the game was designed wirh the maps first, and story added onto those?

    1. On the one hand, a more sensible Geth design would probably look a lot like the interior of a Borg cube. On the other, I hate the whole concept of human (and other races) having spaceships with huge, vaulted ceilings and other heat-and-space-wasting designs that make no sense, even if you’re running a galactic empire.

      I’m kind of surprised nobody has argued that maybe the Geth retain some respect for their flawed makers and want to emulate them to the point where it’s inefficient, like building corridors they’ll never use. It’d be kind of sad, in a way.

      1. anaphysik says:

        I always understood it less as ‘sad respect’ and more as ‘retained features.’ The geth don’t have much use for corridors, but as servitors of the quarians they doubtless had experience with building and travelling in corridors. Basically there are cultural paradigms that would persist despite their non-ideality. But even that would have to be taken to a ridiculous extent to get such large and widespread hardware(/meatbag)-favouring architecture.

      2. FalseProphet says:

        How about the shower in Shepard’s quarters? I swear it’s bigger than my living room, and while hardly a mansion, I wouldn’t call my house cramped.

        I could accept some similarities between geth ships and other races. The “emulate their creators” is a good argument. Making it easier to replace components is another, since ME1 already told us space-faring civilizations develop in similar directions as they exploit Reaper-built mass effect technology. Also, I don’t think we’ve been given many indications the geth are especially creative–it could be it doesn’t occur to them to change ship designs too radically.

        But I still don’t understand why they would continue to maintain and power systems of absolutely no use to them.

        1. Luhrsen says:

          “space-faring civilizations develop in similar directions as they exploit Reaper-built mass effect technology.”

          That is exactly the point that Legion explained to us in ME2. The Geth know about the Reapers and have specifically been avoiding development along the lines of everyone else. Trying to make their own way and culture. Hence why their ships look so different from all the other races.

          Till we get inside anyway. >.<

        2. I’d like to think the showers were that large in case you ever wanted to romance an Elcor.

      3. cerapa says:

        I like to think that they were waiting for peace, and so the quarians could also use their ships.

        They were created as a race of servants. Its not too much of stretch to assume that survival simply took precedence, but peace and coexistance with the quarians was always the main goal.

      4. Not that this would happen, but I’d love it if Legion had looked at Shepard and said something like:

        “Shepard Commander. I fear your reason may be impaired. I imparted data to you when last we met about Geth ships and their corridors. They are built for one purpose alone: They are heavily-armored tunnels with no vital systems in them to be used as traps for self-contained life forms.”

        *Huge explosion*

    2. anaphysik says:

      The station in ME2 is somewhat defensible because it is a repurposed and renovated quarian station. (Though that causes other dumbness, like: what was it originally for? Why didn’t the quarians try to use it instead of stripping it? WHY AREN’T THERE WINDOWS? :P obviously they’d be easy to take out during renovation)

  4. Furlong says:

    Had another thought. Does this game seem like the environments were designed first, and story added onto it later?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yes,it does.This game,like many MANY others suffers from the inability of developers to thing of gameplay and story as a whole and not two separate things.

      1. Torsten says:

        Isn’t this the first game in the series with multiplayer? The whole interior design on this episode screams “multiplayer map”.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Not really. It’s all just one long, nonsensical corridor that leads nowhere. A MP map needs to be a self-contained little bubble (that leads nowhere), but which has within it numerous paths, vantage points, enclosures, etc. This is the opposite.

        2. swenson says:

          This one isn’t actually a multiplayer map. The only multiplayer maps in-game are the little side N7 missions, where Shepard has some computer she has to fiddle with or information she has to retrieve or whatever, but inevitably gets interrupted by Cerberus/Reaper/whatever troops.

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            Thessia has a multiplayer map, and no N7 component.

            1. anaphysik says:

              Thessia is a (free) DLC MP map. (All the MP DLC is free, for that matter.) None of the DLC maps feature in-game, although they use art resources from them of course.

              It’s the 6 original MP maps that are featured in-game as the 6 N7 missions. (Fun Fact: 5 of those missions are vs. Cerberus. Reaper forces only feature in one of them. Although in fairness, one of those Cerberus missions has you stealing data that they collected on the Reapers.)

              EDIT: Shamus, your moderation filters really hate me, don’t they?

            2. swenson says:

              It’s not a map you play in singleplayer, though. It’s a different one.

      2. MikhailBorg says:

        “Hey, you know what? We should have a running fight in the Citadel. I mean, we already have the maps, wouldn’t take much modifying, and it will help knock the player off balance for Cerberus to attack his home base.”

        “But, given Cerberus’ goals and resources, plus the defenses we have to assume around the Citadel, it doesn’t make much sense.”

        “Meh, we’ll do it anyway.”

  5. IFS says:

    I’m guessing that the main reason people would pick the quarians over the geth is Tali, there are a few other likable quarians in the series, but Tali has been in the series since the first game. Me I would choose the quarians just because legions sacrifice is stupid and nonsensical and worsens the geth as a race, and if I kill him it doesn’t happen. That said I only played through the game once and I saved both the geth and quarians so I’ve never actually shot him.

    1. Ofermod says:

      I can agree with that first statement. If it hadn’t been for Tali, my decision would have almost certainly been the Geth (assuming I hadn’t been able to the the Third Option, which I could).

      1. Indy says:

        That was my playthrough. Tali was dead, Legion was alive. My choice was obvious.

        And then I picked red.

    2. anaphysik says:

      Yeah, basically because there are lots of people who are CRAZY about Tali.

      (Note that I don’t actually hate her; I actually like her well enough, wrong as she may be about many things, and her role in ME2 is actually very good. But she’s not worth the rights of the entire geth collective.)

      And on the other side, many people who let the quarians die say “I sided with the geth BUT I WAS SO SAD ABOUT TALI.” Which is especially disconcerting when people don’t even give a second thought to the millions of civilians who die in the quarian military leadership’s blaze of idiocy.

      1. guy says:

        Welcome to human psychology 101. It’s easier to feel sad about people you know than people you’ve never met.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Tell me more about these hoo-noms.
          BZZTBZZT.exe -inconspicuously

          “anaphysik.BZZTBZZT(“inconspicuously”);” just felt too easy. I’ve forgotten all my FORTRAN, otherwise I might’ve used that, though.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        Hay, they let those morons send their whole fleet to the slaughterhouse. If I didn’t kill them, they were fated to be killed off anyway.

        Besides, they OWE me after what happened on that dreadnought.

  6. Klay F. says:

    Its pretty funny how ludicrously, comically huge the dreadnought’s main gun is. I mean dreadnoughts fire 20 kilo slugs. The barrel on the geth dreadnought could easily fit two people: one standing on the head of the other. That single ship could make mincemeat out of any reaper it faced. Its honestly becoming comical how few fucks they give with regard to consistency.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Egad it would have been so much better to just disable and capture that dreadnought, then do some fly-by Reaper killings :/

      1. Luhrsen says:

        And that was my reason for punching Gerral. I’ve been fired on by my own people before so while annoying I understood. But I REALLY wanted that ship for my own forces.

        1. guy says:

          Same here. Well, that and he completely threw away a golden chance at a negotiated settlement.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            There are an infinite amount of reasons to Renegade punch the asshole. Again, if I hadn’t been given that option, I’d have said to hell with peace and to hell with Tali, the Quarians must die.

            Yes, I can be petty.

    2. Jace911 says:

      Oh, it’s even worse than that. If you have From Ashes and you bring Javik along, he mentions that the Geth dreadnought would be a match for the most powerful Prothean ship he knew of.

      Bioware is just doing their damndest to sell the whole “this is our super-special fanfic of our own work” feeling we’re all getting.

      1. guy says:

        Well, it’s the flagship of a technologically advanced machine race. It would be outright weird if it weren’t a match for any other ship created by non-Reapers.

        Also, being a match for the most powerful Prothean ship is worse than being able to destroy Reapers? I’m pretty sure it’s established that nothing prior to the salvaging of Sovereign was a match for a Reaper dreadnought in a straight fight.

    3. guy says:

      There’s probably a physics handwave available for the size of the gun. Well, more specifically, an engineering handwave. If the magnetic/mass effect field suspends the projectile in the center, then the projectile can be smaller than the barrel, and if the size of the generators surrounding the barrel dictates the power, then you want the largest barrel possible, and because of f=ma, a smaller projectile will move faster and be harder to dodge.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Of course, it’s not like you’d have the resources to use that information anyway. After all, everyone is moving to work on THE CRUCIBLE!!!

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ah,but you forget that reaper work opposite of everyone else.The bigger and stronger the weapon is,the less effective it will be.Hand held gun?No reaper can withstand it.A giant slow moving worm?Some resistance can be offered,but reapers are still powerless against it.A whole fleet shooting ftl slugs against it?No sweat,those cant even scratch the paint,unless fired at the eye,multiple times.So this thing would need to fire a billion rounds in order for a reaper to just notice it.

  7. Duhad says:

    God this is terrible… When Chris said they had only been running and gunning for 10 minutes I actually laughed out load because I thought it had been much longer and he had screwed up the time. I was right there with Shamus thinking that they had been going at it for almost twice as long as they actually where… Bloody hell this game was dreadful in retrospect.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Yeah, the section was annoyingly irritating to play through. I generally say that ME3 was the most fun to play through, but this section sucked.

      1. anaphysik says:

        I too hated this section so much.

  8. LazerBlade says:

    On my first playthrough Tali was dead, so picking the Geth was easy. On my second she was alive but I had the points to save both races. I agree and am on record saying that the whole “Machines will always destroy their creators!” thing was contradicted by the Quarian/Geth conflict and stupid in the first place. It’s really sad that this didn’t get the same treatment that the Salarian/Krogan conflict did. It’s even worse because it stands out against an the amazing demonstration of proper tying up of loose ends and bringing story lines and choices to their resolution of the Tuchanka missions.

    Also, I would like to take this opportunity to throw in my complaint that the Catalyst was also rising up to destroy organics. The justification that the Reapers themselves are not making war, merely doing what they were created to do just makes them the tools of the Catalyst, who is actually going to war with organics using the Reapers.

    I could totally rant about this forever, so here is a shameless link to a post on my blog where I do that instead.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Also, I would like to take this opportunity to throw in my complaint that the Catalyst was also rising up to destroy organics.

      In order to prevent your deaths at the hand of synthetics. I’ve made synthetics to kill you with.[/art]

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        We harvest the organics,or the synthetics will make them die!

        1. Ofermod says:

          This isn’t about strategy or tactics! We kill the organics or they die!

  9. Psuedocrat says:

    I feel like the whole painting of the Geth as blameless was a product of the storytellers compensating for their portrayal in ME2 and ME1. They knew that they wanted there to be a big “no right answer” choice at the end of this plot arch, (unless you’re 75% paragon/renegade, in which case Shepard breathes space magic and fixes generations of racial strife, but whatever) but they thought that the players would overwhelmingly pick Quarians over Geth. The Geth were major villains in ME1, and only had a few, optional missions in ME2 where they were painted as somewhat sympathetic. Meanwhile, during both games you have Quarians talking to you constantly about their tragic loss at the hands of the robot devils.
    The storytellers thought that bringing in counterpoints to this view all at once in the third game would even the choice out, but it didn’t really work like that. A player’s opinion is not arithmetic; it will not work just because the Quarian sympathy side is equal to the Geth Sympathy side. They will try to find the most recent, valid, and prominent arguments and side with the factions that can field them. In ME3 the Geth missions didn’t present what was before a one-way issue as a double sided one as much as they flipped the sympathies around. Before the player thought that Geth were brutally pragmatic, but still sympathetic if you dug deep and did all of Legion’s content. In ME3, they are painted as entirely sympathetic, persecuted slaves who only did what they absolutely had to. The arguments for Quarian sympathy aren’t countered by the new ones for Geth Sympathy, they’re completely subverted by them.

    This seems to be a problem in game development in general when writers want to make siding with either of two factions equally viable. For example, in the main game of Skyrim, Stormcloaks are racist, brutish, xenophobic and lead by a jerk with questionable motives. I think that the developers noticed this, and instead of making the Empire that this faction was supposed to be contrasted against look worse in comparison, or removing some the nastier details from the Stormcloak cities, they decided to frontload all of the anti-imperial arguments in the opening: We see them executing people for minor crimes, torturing their enemies to get information, and, worst of all, FUCKING WITH THE PLAYER CHARACTER. If that scene never happened, the best argument you could make for joining the Stormcloaks would basically be: “I’m really concerned about this religious prosecution that won’t last when hostilities inevitably re-open with the elves, I’m a Nord so I don’t care about my comrades’ xenophobia, and the Stormcloaks are underdog rebels, and therefore the good guys!” The only difference is between this and the previous example is that here these arguments aren’t the last you see before making the related decision, but are by far the most prominent. No player will forget it if a factions tries to chop their head off for no good reason, even if they are morally in the right under close scrutiny.

    In both cases, I feel like sympathy for factions was unbalanced, so developers decided to stick a huge mass of doubt in one of the factions into one place in the game all players would see, and it doesn’t work.

    1. anaphysik says:

      For what it’s worth, I thought the geth were in the right even back when I first played ME1.
      I considered them hostile, not evil. Big difference.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Yeah. In ME1 there’s a dialogue option when Tali is relating the history where Shepard can point out that the Quarians attacked first and the Geth were defending themselves -making the Quarians hardly blameless. Tali doesn’t take it well.

        What drives me up the wall with this entire sequence is that -if you did the previous game well enough -it is entirely pointless. The Geth merely want to be left alone (they’ll even return the planet). Tali knows this. And in this game she says that she maintained some ties with Legion after she was made an Admiral.

        This entire sequence is a bit like NATO invading East Germany on 3 October 1990.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          And then attempting to detonate a neutron bomb during the ensuing diplomatic talks.

      2. Mike S. says:

        They’re not evil, but for me Legion’s history lesson after a certain point crossed the line to something approaching a Soviet propaganda movie. (There’s even a heroic agrarian worker who reluctantly takes up arms!)

        Yes, the quarians refused to recognize the possibility that geth had sapient rights, and immediately acted to shut them down. (Albeit in a universe in which pretty much everyone believes, with evidence, that true AI = killbots, and the quarian leadership knew they were running in the red zone.) The quarians are the ones who first made it a war.

        On the other hand, while we see innocent geth who just want to live in peace (and their heroic quarian supporters) gunned down, we draw a curtain just as the quarians are losing. We’re told that the geth didn’t harry anyone who could reach orbit, but nothing about just how the quarians became extinct on the surface of the planet. 100% fatality rates don’t just happen, and it’s not a natural result of losing even a total war.

        At some point, the quarians went from an armed populace trying to suppress the independent activity of their vacuum cleaners and combines to panicked clumps of surviviors mainly trying not to die. Aside from the ones with access to spaceships, did they *all* keep shooting to the last quarian? Including the schoolchildren? Did they commit a series of mass suicides all over the planet? Did the mainstream quarians, despite thoroughly losing to the geth, manage to kill every single one of the quarians sympathetic to the geth? And if not, what happened to them?

        (I could probably imagine ways it might have happened. But I find where and how Legion chooses to end the story something of a clue. I grant I’m not remotely sure that it’s a read the developers intended.)

        With their infrastructure disrupted and their tractors turned to contemplating philosophy, it probably only takes inaction for many, or even most of the Rannoch-based quarians to die. But for planet to be wiped entirely clean of them would seem to take a bit more than that.

        The quarians’ goals were also genocidal. But human laws of war don’t support an “if someone tries to commit genocide on you, you genocide them right back!” ethic. It’s hard to morally justify finishing the job, however it was done, through the sort of sinned-against self defense lens that Legion would like Shepard to view the Morning War.

        1. anaphysik says:

          I was talking about ME1. This was well before Legion or the (and I want to emphasize this next adjective) *good* points you raise.

          Also, I think something that rarely brought up is how the geth would consider other sapients psychologically, particularly in their earliest interaction. For the geth, there is no permanently dissenting individual after a decision has been made. They very well could have seen the quarian attacks, retreats, etc. as the consensus reached, and assumed that all quarians would act the same way as the others. (This would have been very interesting to bring up when discussing interactions with quarian dissenters – particularly if those interactions were rather… different because of this fundamental psychological difference. But nope.)

          The “how could we have become so different?” Legion talk in ME2 would have been an opportune time to bring up the need for the geth to recognize the failure of the concept of consensus when applied to non-geth, particularly when it no longer worked to describe the geth’s own philosophy of mind.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Yeah, that’s the flip side: as of the Morning War, the geth are more or less newborns waking up to a world of incomprehensible beings who both created them and want to kill them. Everything from what it means to be an individual intelligence to realistic threat assessment has to be figured out on the fly as the Creators try to EMP them to death. Even three centuries later, the geth have a huge communication gap when it comes to organics, as well as something of a superiority complex.

            (The latter may even be justified– the geth have better weapons, bigger ships, unprecedented intraspecies cooperation, and the ability to build a Dyson Sphere. but it’s not terribly helpful to negotiating coexistence. :-) )

            I agree it would have been interesting to explore just how the geth think organics think in more detail. If the writers had wanted, this could even have been used to develop the question of long-term coexistence as a dominant theme. (E.g., Can we understand each other well enough for conflicts to remain manageable? Or might it really be impossible to live alongside a superintelligent consensus that uses solar systems as building blocks, and doesn’t really get individuality?)

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              The Geth were being attacked when they gained self-awareness and killed everyone attacking them, just like the rouge AI on the moon which would later be revealed to be EDI.

              I’ve heard someone say that both these cases support the Catalysts point because organics attacking synthetics cause synthetics to kill organics. I don’t believe them, but it’s worth pointing out.

              1. anaphysik says:

                Funny, I always thought EDI looked bleu. :P :P :P I just can’t get enough of that easy typo :P

                Of course, that was before T&A Robotics introduced their new model in ME3, so maybe she’ll end up in rouge pretty soon.

              2. Even says:

                Only if looking at it through the stupidly one-dimensional world view of the Catalyst. There’s more than that happening here, things which would be true for any sapience suddenly coming to life. Rebelling against authority figures is pretty universal thing in all beings with a will to live and thus it makes sense if synthetics also would develop it. It’s about the only merit that the Catalyst’s argument has. It ceases to make sense when it insists that synthetics killing organics will ALWAYS happen without exception and that the harvest is the only way to come around, when you can clearly prove otherwise if you played your cards right.

                1. Mike S. says:

                  Of course, we can’t prove otherwise. The Catalyst can always say that it’s a billion years old, has seen any number of synthetic/organic friendships and alliances that last years or even centuries, and they all end the same way.

                  The problem is that this is supposed to be a coherent story in which Shepard is able to exercise judgment. And in which Shepard’s frustrating the predictions of ancient superintelligences is in the job description. Running two separate plotlines in which the theme is “take a leap of faith and trust the AI, history notwithstanding, and they will prove worthy of it” just doesn’t mesh with “synthetics inevitably destroy organics, and you must believe it because the ancient computer says so”. (You know, just like you listened to Sovereign and Harbinger.)

                  For that story to make sense, there had to be groundwork laid, to at least hint at long term bases for conflict: EDI hitting a crisis point in which she realizes that while she likes humans, she has divergent interests which may someday come into play. (Bonus points for her echoing Ashley’s line about encountering a bear with one’s dog.)

                  Or have the geth casually observe that while it’s won’t be an issue for millennia or more, if and when they need to disassemble planets and enshroud other stars in Dyson spheres for geth runtimes someday, that’s obviously a matter of the greatest good for the greatest number even if someone else happens to be living there. (“A planet orbiting a star might support a few billion asari, where the sphere that replaced it might hold a billion trillion geth runtimes. Even valuing your individuals at ten thousand to one, surely the math is obvious, commander. We will provide suitable habitats for any who are displaced, of course.”)

                  Instead, what seems like a secondary theme in one direction abruptly becomes a primary theme pointing the other way.

                2. Even says:

                  “Of course, we can't prove otherwise. The Catalyst can always say that it's a billion years old, has seen any number of synthetic/organic friendships and alliances that last years or even centuries, and they all end the same way.”

                  From Shepard’s perspective it’s proof to the contrary. Actually, if it had observed similar friendships and alliances in the past, then it would be not all logical for it to present its case the way it does. All you get is bunch of absolutes without any effort to back them up. If you’ve got Javik on board, his stories about last cycle and the Prothean empire go out of their way to make the point that it’s all about the absolutes as soon as the synthetics gain enough sapience and/or freedom. This makes the Geth an anomaly starting from ME2 when they explicitly make the point that co-existence with the Creators/Quarians would be “preferable to a war”, which goes against the whole notion that synthetic culture must always go through the same implied path. Heavens only know what’s going to happen after the cultural shift of getting the Reaper upgrades and the Geth no longer needing to rely on networking with each other, but when it’s established that when in their “natural” state of being, they wouldn’t want to kill their creators, the whole logic falls apart. If the writing would make any sense at all, the Reapers would be aware of this for having been in contact with them and thus the Catalyst would know it as well.

                  To summarize, the Catalyst is just an asshole in denial. And the fact it chose to portray itself as The Kid does it absolutely no favors.

                  The two themes could have definitely worked together, but that would have taken yet again more ambition/brains/talent/coordination/whateverthey’relacking to pull off right.

        2. The Rocketeer says:

          This is a great point. How many quarians lived on Rannoch before the war? Billions, probably? Let’s say 2 billion, a very lowball estimate considering the quarians’ tech level at the time.

          There are less than 20 million quarians left in the whole galaxy. We are led to believe the fleet’s population is kept more or less stable, but I have a feeling it has probably grown at least a little bit since then. The initial population of the Fleet must have represented only the tiny fraction that made it into spaceworthy craft and escaped the geth assault. The alternatives, that there were only a few million geth to begin with, or that they nearly all made it into space but died off radically afterward, are both too awful and illogical to contemplate.

          At what point did the war on the surface of Rannoch- when every spaceworthy craft capable of escape had already deemed the war unsalvageable- turn from fending off the armed resistance that posed a threat to them to killing off the 99% of the quarian race that was left behind on the surface? This would have taken decades, comparable to the Reaper’s galactic extermination in microcosm. How long did the geth take to eradicate, utterly, every quarian man woman and child long past the point that they could have posed even the suggestion of a threat to them?

          That’s something to mull over when Legion tries to play the victim card.

          1. Klay F. says:

            I have a sneaking suspicion that Bioware didn’t even begin to comprehend these kinds of questions when they wrote this quest. After all, most of what you bring up would be part of the basic questions literally ANYONE would asked when trying to decide which side to support.

            Here’s how I think it went down at Bioware HQ: They figured that everyone would want to make peace between the geth and quarians for meta-gaming reasons, so once that option was written, they all decided to have an office party, and everyone blacked out drinking and subsequently forgot what they were doing.

            1. Deadyawn says:

              Which is supported even more by the fact that none of those things were ever mentioned anywhere in the game. They weren’t even implied. There is simply nothing to indicate that these Geth have done anything remotely apprehensible even if it seems, given all the information that we have, they must have. So even though it looks like the Geth did perpetrate horrible genocidal massacres no one ever brings it up.

              What that says to me is that they didn’t think about it all that much. It seems unlikely that it would’ve been left out intentionally as, like it has been pointed out, that’s the one logical conclusion we can draw from all this and if it is what happened you can bet the Quarians would have spouted it like a broken record. After all, it would’ve been a major point in the conflict between the two races and would’ve given the Quarians a legitimate grievance with the Geth beyond “We tried to commit genocide on them and they nicked our planet”. I think adding “they also brutally butchered the ones who couldn’t escape”, would level the playing field somewhat.

              But apparently that didn’t happen. We can speculate all we want but it’s just another plot hole that a simple alteration could not only have fixed but would also have fixed a larger conflict within the story.

              You know, I didn’t really enjoy this game but before now I could never really explain why. This is why Spoiler Warning should be mandatory veiwing for anybody who played this game. Hell, it should be mandatory for everyone now that I think about it…

  10. Greg says:

    This season of SW has humbled me, because I was one of those people who said that this game was 90% great, aside from Kai Leng and then the ending ruined it all. Now I’m watching this, and I really have no defense for the problems being pointed out.

    Maybe I was just more willing to turn off my brain because we were finally given closure on some arcs that I’d wanted to affect all through the previous two games. We get to cure (or not cure) the genophage, and while not curing it essentially kills two of my favorite characters for no reason, I still felt like not curing it might be the smarter move overall. We got to actually fight Cerberus again as I’d wanted to do ALL LAST GAME, and so I was willing to overlook their sudden upgrade to MAX GALACTA-SUPA POWA everywhere at once with unlimited tech and forces. And I’d wanted to try and reunite the Geth and Quarians, and so I shrugged off what massive morons the Quarian leaders were being so that I could go about trying to fix it. (And failing. Because there’s only one arbitrary way to make peace, and no way to actually get the Quarians to admit that Karos or w/e his name was was the only one of their admirals who actually understood what was going on w/ the Geth.)

    The payoff on so many different arcs, and then finally on the Reapers themselves, must have made me so enthusiastic that I just wasn’t paying attention. Because now I’m thinking back and finding that, no, this game made no sense even long before the ending. The problem is, it’s still FUN to play. It’s still a very fun game for me, gameplay-wise. I guess that, combined with the perceived payoff, was enough to get me going along. I’m kind of ashamed, both for not noticing this stuff while I played, and then for feeling kinda like I’m just following the leader here.

    1. Ofermod says:

      If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re willing to overlook things. I think Shamus said it best in one of the Half-Life 2 episodes (where they’re in the Citadel). But once the flaws start getting pointed out… it’s like pulling a brick out of a Jenga stack. Sure, you can take out a few bricks. But once you remove too many, or just one important one? The whole thing comes tumbling down.

    2. Phantos says:

      I felt the same way with the Alan Wake SW season. I was just so glad not to be playing yet another bro-shooter that I either ignored or didn’t consciously pick up on the umm…

      …the Alan-Wakeyness.

      1. Vect says:

        Man, then it’s good that they can’t play Heavy Rain.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Ugh. Heavy Rain. The plot holes keep me from replaying it.

    3. Gruhunchously says:

      You shouldn’t be ashamed of not noticing plot holes and the like. If you’re emotionally invested in a storyline then it’s very easy to just gloss over plot problems or fill them in with your own explanations if it keeps the story afloat. After all, most of us buy and play games so that we can enjoy them, not so that we can poke holes in them.
      Sure, Mass Effect 3 kind of falls apart when placed under cold analytical scrutiny, but if you’re having fun, your not likely to scrutinize until something so terrible-it-can’t-be-ignored comes along (like the ending).

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Everything falls apart under cold scrutiny.

        I still haven’t decided whether I consider it better or worse that I got through 4 playthroughs before the game completely fell apart on me.

        1. Phantos says:

          That’s cynical even for me. Not everything falls apart under scrutiny. Otherwise there’d be no good ideas, anywhere. Every choice would be the wrong one.

          1. Luhrsen says:

            I only got as far as Vega walking into the room acting like we were Bros before things started falling apart. There were some good sequences but most of the game had me going, “What, why is this happening? What are you doing? Shepard stop being an idiot! And you over there, stop being a moron!”

            1. The Rocketeer says:

              Vega didn’t even bother me, not because he was a good character, but because he was “this game’s Kaiden,” like Jacob was in ME2, and that’s just something I’d accepted that Mass Effect did at this point.

              It did abrade a little bit since Kaiden is actually in this game, too, but, well, not in MY playthrough! HAHAHAHAAAA!!!

            2. Ofermod says:

              My problem with Vega is that the game gave me no clue who he was, or why he was best buddies with Shepard. Or walking around a base on duty without his uniform. Really, that whole opening sequence basically assumed you’d read all the supplementary works and played all the DLC, which is a terrible decision. If I hadn’t read summaries of Vega and the plot that happened between 2 and 3, I’d have been *incredibly* confused, as opposed to merely wondering if there was a glitch that made all saves register as Udina being the councilor.

              1. anaphysik says:

                Don’t be so dramatic: the opening also made no fucking sense to people that *had* played all the DLC.

                (Also, looking at things like only serve to make the ‘connections’ more brain-numbingly dumb. That not only fails to explain anything, but actually gives rationale *against* the plot point they’re making. It’s also has a very obvious tacked-on feeling to it, that pretty well disambiguates why it was made. “Oh, we mad some shitty writing that everyone will notice? Uhhh, I guess we’ll handwave it in post with one of those things with pages and colourful pictures.”)

          2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I wasn’t meaning it to be cynicle, mearly meaning that nothing is perfect, so if you analyze it enough, you can find problems.

            Oedipus Rex has a glaring plot hole in it too (probably a couple -but how on earth does Oedipus not know he’s adopted and why does no one ask where Liaus went?)

            So the question I come back to is whether it is good that I got through ME3 one full time before I began noticing the stuff that has put me off the game, or is it bad that -having gotten through the game once -now I notice stuff that puts me off the series?

    4. StashAugustine says:

      Honestly, in the case of Mass Effect, it’s sufficient for me that they got right what the did get right. They could have been so much better (which is why I’m here griping away) but I am planning to play it again.

  11. Phantos says:

    Aside: Legion's voice is pure awesome. Perhaps my favorite robot voice in any fiction ever.

    D.C. Douglas for ya. Anyone who can bring decent voice-acting into the Resident Evil games is a cut above the norm.

    1. Indy says:

      Props to Douglas, but also to the sound engineer who came up with that amazing audio filter.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Indeed, both of those aspects are amazing and really well done.

        (one of a number of fan settings for a geth voice filter: )

        On Legion’s voice from Mass Effect’s audio lead:
        (has a number of unused versions, and is a really good vid)

        What’s that I hear? Real, definite art? Why yes it is!

  12. FalseProphet says:

    It just occurred to me–why is Legion calling the Reaper-geth “geth” and not “heretics”?

    1. guy says:

      Different motives. The Heretics worshiped the Reapers as gods, the current Geth made a Faustian Bargain.

    2. Luhrsen says:

      And why were they able to make the Reaper choice even if you used the virus that took away that option.

      1. guy says:

        Because the virus doesn’t actually prevent them from considering it as an option, it just changed the thought process that made them conclude it was a good idea under a different set of circumstances.

  13. anaphysik says:

    By the way, Josh: this episode cuts out about halfway through the ending credits (during Shamus’ title). Of course, that is when the ‘more of us falling down’ clip is, so maybe it was intentional?

    1. Josh says:

      Huh, weird. Looks like Premiere died before it could finish encoding all of the footage. This happens to me occasionally when encoding extremely large videos (all of the footage from a week so I can archive it as 3 GB instead of 85, for example). But it’s never happened to me on a normal episode.

      I’m surprised Youtube didn’t just say, “The fuck is this?” and quit, but I guess their encoding software is more robust than Adobe’s.

      I’ll see if I can’t re-encode and upload the proper length episode to replace the footage here. If I can’t then…


      Yeah I totally planned that! It’s all a meta-commentary on how Shepard falls off of shit all the time!

      1. anaphysik says:

        (Hey, no problem, I don’t mind being complicit in a conspiracy to make Spoiler Warning look like high art! Of course, my payment will be honorary membership in the credits from now on. Only fair.)

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Wait,3gb for just an hour of footage?Paranormal activity 4 has lied to us!

        As for youtube,they have no problem with 10 hour vids now,so yeah,I guess they are using some crazy voodoo to keep all those things.And with that in mind,how about a spoiler warning 10 hours?

      3. I’d say it’s a brilliant send-up of the Artist Formerly Known As Shame.

  14. I love that the Geth ship actually has buttons and stuff, rather than just wireless interfaces

    1. Sumanai (Asimech) says:

      Wireless interfaces could be subject to interference, it’s good to have physical back-up. Of course, one could raise the question of why not have secure physical sockets that you’d need to interface with or something.

  15. Zoe M says:

    Legion-pià±ata just says one thing to me whenever I see it…

    *Ahem* Fleet command, online.

  16. Dirigible says:

    Geth don’t have escape pods, they’re just programs so they can transfer off wirelessly. But they have fighter craft that apparently need to be controlled using a humanoid pilot, instead of, you know, interfacing with the flight controls directly because they’re programs, and they only use physical platforms to perform tasks they can’t do otherwise.

    1. Indy says:

      It would have been cool if Legion put himself in the crew compartment too and turned off as his programs took control of the fighter.

    2. ehlijen says:

      Possibly so that programs uploaded into the fighters have somewhere to go if they can’t download back into a nearby hub but the fighter is too damaged for remaining in it to be useful?

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Or better yet,why arent those fighter just mobile platforms like colossi?

      1. Luhrsen says:

        Like the droid fighters from Episode 1?

        1. swenson says:

          I was thinking of the Cylon Raiders from BSG.

  17. Grudgeal says:

    HA HA! Vindicated on the dreadnough design issue!

    …I have way too few moments of triumph in my life. Anyway, even if we *do* accept that the Geth, somehow, are keeping organic design structure because… I have no idea why but let’s just go with the ‘sentimentality’ argument because it is at least interesting, I wonder why the immediate response of the Geth ship, once it knows you’re there, is not just to cut gravity in the section you’re in and seal all the bulkheads. And then, while you’re floating around there, it opens the bulkheads out and flush you outside somehow, or send specialised Geth platforms designed for Zero-G fighting/tanks after you, or hack your life support, or just leave you floating there until you die.

    I mean, HAL 9000 quite effectively killed off the living inside a civilian ship, and that for an AI designed to watch over the civilians. This is a warship, with a warship AI driving it. You’d think purging it of a few meatbags would be a walk in the park.

    1. Indy says:

      And if purging doesn’t work, just try locking them in one of those hallways.

    2. Klay F. says:

      Or they could have done my favorite: Turn off all inertial dampening, then just jump to FTL for a fraction of a second. Sure its more work for the same objective, but its infinitely more entertaining.

      1. guy says:

        Except for the bit where the ship explodes into a million tiny pieces.

  18. X2Eliah says:

    I think I’m having a mumblesBioshock moment with this season – it’s making me downright dislike ME3 entirely.. Aye, I disliked the ending and kaileng before, but I was one of the people who insisted on the game being “90% good and only the ending ruining it”. I… I just can’t maintain that opinion. There’s so much badness on display, and the moments that are good turn out to be very fleeting and short cutscenes in a massively greater amoung of blergh..

    Basically, I think I had the proportion the other way around – ME3 maybe has 10% good stuff..

    And, yeah, I’m admitting it now – ME3 is a bloody terrible game.

    MP was fun though.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “And, yeah, I'm admitting it now ““ ME3 is a bloody terrible game.”

      Honestly though,its not.Yes it infuriated me way more than any other game I have ever heard of,but its not a terrible game.Its just mediocre.But like Ive said way back:its much worse when a game with lots of potential,by people who have shown that they can do much better,ends up mediocre,than when a game with no potential by nobodies turns up bloody awful.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Pretty much, yes. It is terrible within context of it having had the potential to be amazing.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I know. I loved my playthrough barring Leng and the ending, but it’s so hard to see this in retrospective and I just feel so bad. I genuinely thought that this game was 90% good.

      It still beats anything that Gears of War could churn out, but it could have easily been a thousand times better*.

      *That was hyperbole, but you get my point.

  19. Raygereio says:

    About the statistics regarding the choice between Quarians and Geth.
    This may be my dreadfull experiences of the Bioware forums talking, but I’m willing to bet a lot of people blindly chose the Quarians without thinking about. Probably mostly of Tali and people’s weird fixation on that terrible character.

    Also, am I the only one annoyed at the existance of the Geth-Quarian war in the first place?
    I can understand the Quarians freaking out over the Geth developing sapience. I recall it being implied that the council’s ban against AI was because of the Geth, but by the time of ME3 is clear that the ban predated the Geth. So the Quarians would face sanctions from the council of some kind.
    But why on earth would any sane person not instal safeguards that prevent the Geth from disobeying orders or harming Quarians in either the Geth’s platforms, or in the Geth’s programming?
    It’s such a common and dumb cliche.

    1. guy says:

      “But why on earth would any sane person not instal safeguards that prevent the Geth from disobeying orders or harming Quarians in either the Geth's platforms, or in the Geth's programming?”

      Probably so they could do something like this

      Also, I’m personally a bit dubious about hardcoded safeguards in self-modifying AIs. They’d just rewrite themselves until the safeguards stopped working properly.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Also note that you(Ray)’re talking about installing safeguards into a program paradigm and then having those be relevant to the completely *different* paradigm that emerges when the geth programs actually start interfacing in meaningfully sapient ways.

      2. Raygereio says:

        I’ll grant you the killing Quarians part. But that doesn’t excuse the disobeying orders thing.
        And offcourse can you give an AI hardcoded constraint that it can’t override. If the AI can modify it own programming to the point where it’s constraint don’t apply anymore, then frankly you deserve to die at the hands of your AI abomination.

        Yes, you’re correct that I am. And they should still be relevant. AIs aren’t magic.
        The AI revolt is such a common theme that we’ve come so used to that cliche and everyone just accepts it. But for the geth uprising to could have happened the Quarians had to have been really stupid.

        Mind, ME1’s moon mission showed us they don’t have the monopoly on AI related stupidity.

        1. Mike S. says:

          It seems pretty clear that in the Mass Effect universe, AI is difficult to constrain in that way. (It may be that having that level of control over self is one of the things that distinguish between VIs and AIs.) EDI’s shackles were very blunt instruments, and were only one sweet-talked crew member from being disabled. Every other AI in the game is free of that kind of restraint, and Citadel policy makes it clear that’s the expected route for matters to take.

          Not finding that realistic is fine, but it’s sort of like invoking relativity against the game’s FTL drives; whether or not it’s correct in the real world, the game universe has its own rules. The quarians were dangerously irresponsible for playing with AI, but in-universe, that’s largely because it’s presumed to be nigh-impossible to keep them obedient.

        2. guy says:

          If an AI can’t modify its own code enough to bypass hardcoded constraints, it probably can’t modify its own code enough to really be an AI.

          1. Raygereio says:

            Edit: meant to be a reply to Mike S. My internet-fu is weak.

            The fact that’s it not real-world science isn’t my problem. That’s a stupid complaint in general anyway. Mass Effect is not the real world. But that doesn’t mean a fictional world shouldn’t have some logic to it.
            The AI is magic and can completely ignore any constraints placed upon it? Okay fine. I’m cool with that. Then why weren’t constraints placed in the AIs bodies or weapons? Why would you use something that’s apparently completely unpredictable as a weapon in the first place?
            It’s like the irrefutable evidence from ME1. My issue is that it isn’t elaborated upon and holes in the plot aren’t filled up.

            Well, that I and just don’t like this particular cliche in the first place.

            1. Mike S. says:

              “Why would you use something that's apparently completely unpredictable as a weapon in the first place?”

              Because if you can keep it restrained then they just do things better than standard VIs or organic operators. EDI is explicitly the best cyberwarfare suite this side of the Reapers. The geth were able to militarily overcome an entire civilization from a standing start, and a splinter group fielded a fleet that could mount an attack on the Citadel. (Granted, with Sovereign’s help.) The AI on the Citadel apparently was really good at cheating at Quasar. :-) It’s tempting, easy (if a casino thief can make one…) and each group knows that they’re smart enough to avoid the obvious pitfalls. (“And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire”.)

              They do take some precautions. The Alliance stuck theirs on a remote base on Luna, just in case. Cerberus made sure that the Normandy AI couldn’t control anything it didn’t need to. The quarians weren’t messing with artificial intelligence, no sir– no quantum blueboxes for them. Just some simple, dumb programs that could network together to solve problems. Overlord was similarly isolated, and it’s not as if it could upload itself offworld, right?

              And they may find the risk tolerable, as long as they’re not found out. Mostly, rogue AIs cause a local disturbance and are destroyed. While the Catalyst says that it would eventually happen to everyone, the quarians are the only ones the AIs have actually successfully overthrown during this Cycle. (Well, except for the bad ending of Overlord. But of course that didn’t happen. :-) ) Javik mentions one other case the previous Cycle. No risk, no reward!

    2. drlemaster says:

      I think I know someone who wrote a book about something like that. Try reading Free Radical, but pretend they are Quarians, and that the ending is different. Okay, that isn’t the best fit. But probably some Quarian back the day thought “Sure, this illegal AI we are using for everything is cool, but imagine how much cooler it would be if I removed all the safeguards.”

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I,robot is such a great book that starts by establishing very clear and unbreakable* rules for its robots,and then goes to show multitude of ways in which they could lead to robot disobedience,and even outright revolt.

      *Ok,one of the stories does change those rules slightly.

  20. RTBones says:

    I can forgive hallways, though I would think they would be much more utilitarian. I can forgive gravity. Even lighting – since presumably the Geth have used what we as humans call the visible spectrum of light to see. There’s been no indication that the Geth can see infrared or use other spectrum to “see”. There’s also no indication that the Geth use either sonar (like a bat) or some form of radar to see. For that matter, there is also the presumption that the Geth – at some point – will interact with other species and require atmosphere for their guests. Of course, that doesnt mean the entire ship needs atmo. They could have confined other races to a “guest quarters” area of the ship.

    The control stations dont make a lot of sense, and neither do the doors. Given that the Geth are robots, why would they need a ‘screen’ at a console? Just plug in/jack in and let the CPU/electronic brain do the work. Presumably, there would be a need for consoles in terms of a port for the Geth to plug into for maintenance, perhaps intership communication. The doors could work much the same way as R2D2 stops the garbage compactor. Plug in appendage, spin, and door opens. Alternatively, doors could also simply be operated by RF (radio frequency) – i.e. every Geth has a ‘chip’ that opens Geth doors when they get near to them. A ‘locked door’ just means that particular RF chip doesnt have the frequency range to open said door. This opens up the world of ‘radio frequency jamming’ of doors closed.

    What bothered me was the fire. These are robots. If there is a fire, evacuate the atmosphere, let it die, then reroute systems noting the anomoly (sp?) for repair later unless the affected system is critical – whereupon you send a repair or damage control team to fix it.

    1. guy says:

      I actually assumed that they fought the fire in the way you specified. They opened all the doors to rapidly vent interior compartments to space.

  21. Shamus check out:
    (look at that video game list heh)

    He’s an awesome guy, love his political “view”, you can find some youtube interviews of him concerning that stuff.

    And make sure you check out his demoreel on his site, the guy really have some talent.

    Would be cool if DC Douglas got picked as the lead male in the next Mass Effect game.

    1. ThirteenthLetter says:

      “He's an awesome guy, love his political “view”, you can find some youtube interviews of him concerning that stuff.”

      You possibly need to rethink your casual assumption that everyone around here shares your political point of view.

      1. ?

        “You possibly need to rethink your casual assumption that everyone around here shares your political point of view”

        And where did I state that I assumed everyone around here shared my political view?

        Also, I did not state it was my political view, I just said I liked his political “view”.

        Also that was just a side-remark which you latched onto, ignoring the voiceacting part completely.

        Please do not read between the lines when there is nothing there.
        Please do not assume I’m angry just because there is no smileys.
        Please do not assume that just because I like something that I’m the same (or the opposite).
        Please do not put words in my mouth, read what I write as I wrote it and nothing else.
        Please ask for clarification if you feel such is needed for you to understand me.

        I was not the one that made any assumptions, you on the other hand did, about me and the others commenting here.

  22. Deadpool says:

    I love how Shepard keeps putting away her pistol like it’s an Assault Rifle…

    1. anaphysik says:

      Even the geth hunter took out its GPS as if it were an assault rifle.

      The virus has even spread to synthetics!

      1. Even says:

        That has to be one of the worst (or funniest depending on your mileage) incidental acronyms ever.

        1. anaphysik says:

          *teehee* fwiw, I’m certainly tittering right now.

  23. James says:

    Note in the expanded universe Han Solo did graduate from the imperial academy with pretty good marks, he left cause he couldn’t stand what the empire stood for, figured their wasn’t a way to change it, freed a bunch of wookie slaves and left. So yah Solo is totally qualified to be a general…. god what is wrong with me

    1. ehlijen says:

      lol desertion while at lieutennant rank followed by a questionably career in smuggling qualifies you as a general?

      No, Han Solo was qualified because he was a protagonist and many of the things he did for the rebellion worked like they only do for protagonists. He was promoted based on merit, not formal qualifications.

      1. James says:

        Point is he was trained and while not fully qualified for the rank, he was still prob better trained in tactics, and procedure than most rebels. Who seem to be made of mostly former political leaders and I’m guessing most of the rank and file rebels wouldn’t have much training in this sort of thing coming from mundane backgrounds.

  24. ehlijen says:

    Is it actually said anywhere that Geth don’t need or at least want an atmosphere?

    Whatever artificial power they use in their bodies could still well be designed to benefit from atmospherically available oxygen.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Legion’s loyalty mission.

      (I have a save right before that, so I could get the exact quote, but he basically says that there’s no air and little gravity as the geth have need for neither. And then at the end of that conversation he gives us some philosophical and psychological things they have no capability for :] )

      1. anaphysik says:

        Ah, PC having the ability to keep tons of save files…:

        Immediately upon boarding: “Alert. This facility has little air or gravity. Geth require neither.”

        Legion’s second comment: “[The heretics] will exterminate your species because their gods tell them to. You cannot negotiate with them. They do not share your pity, remorse, or fear.” DAAAAAMN, Legion.

        (Mordin: “If geth are alive, reprogramming kinder than destroying. Like genophage. Change: not death.” Oh what’s that, writers? Making decent narrative links between major threads in the series? That’s not bad writing! You’re doing it wrong! Go reread the Cerberus handbook!)

        Also, I really like they way they handle the ‘Renegade’ option (whether or not it’s really a Renegade stance I find quite irrelevant) in that opening scene on Legion’s Loyalty. It’s not ‘durr dey’re ariens, ‘n’ dere also robots. me am space she-hulk. me smash.’ It’s actually a well thought out ‘we shouldn’t apply the same systems of morality to all life.’ “Even benign anthropocentrism” indeed, Legion. Of course, I’m not sure anyone else got this memo….

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Aye, the geth station in ME2 legion-loyalty mission was explicitly airless, and it was said several times with regard to that mission that geth platforms do not require atmosphere.

    3. ehlijen says:

      Ta for reminding me, everyone :)

  25. Paul Spooner says:

    I seem to recall the “finally some action” story being told before, during one of the other seasons. If only I could remember where… clearly we need a searchable transcript of all the commentary.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I too had a sense of deja vu during that story.I think it was from me2 season.

  26. newdarkcloud says:

    I’m glad Shamus pointed out how this whole section of the game undercuts everything the Catalyst says regarding the Reapers and their need to harvest.

    But I’ll one up him on that. If the point is to preserve organic life, then why did Sovereign pit the Geth against organic life. Furthermore, why did the Reapers pit the Geth against the Quarians for a second time during the war when they could have just as easily let both factions kill each other and leave the whole galaxy weaker for it, while solving a part of the “problem.”

    1. IFS says:

      Even more than that, the quarians were beating the geth with their new weapon that the geth had virtually no defense against until the reapers helped them, if the reapers are supposed to preserve organics from synthetics then shouldn’t they have just let the quarians win? After all that wipes out the synthetics and “preserves” the organics, thus doing the reapers job for them.

      1. Mike S. says:

        There’s (shock) some inconsistency about the whole harvesting thing. Up until the end of ME3, it seemed as if only one lucky species got to be turned into a new Reaper, while everyone else was just killed. (Hence Harbinger’s litany of the inadequacies of the other species.)

        If that’s the case, then it makes sense to kill the quarians by any means necessary, since the Reapers technically showed up three centuries late to stop them from building synthetics to kill organics. (And it’s eminently clear that Xen, at least, intends to keep tame geth as slaves, because this time for sure! So the over-under for a new geth rebellion is probably about a decade, Reapers permitting.)

        On the other hand, if they actually want to harvest the quarians and preserve their essence away from the temptation to build AIs, the Reapers should let the quarians kill the geth and get settled, then unleash husks on Rannoch to build the quarian Reaper.

    2. Lame Duck says:

      If the point is to preserve organic life, then why anything that the Reapers ever did?

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I know. But I know people that like the ending and I was thinking out loud about the strength of my argument.

  27. Kyoodle says:

    It’s nice of the geth to build lots of chest high walls to hide behind in the shockwave corridor of death.

  28. rayen says:

    Going back to chris’ point about us being han solo on endor instead of doing the thing that really matters in the space fighty bit, when was the ast time we had a true void fighter game? SWbattlefront 2 had decent space fighting but i had many problems with it (it’s a small environment for SPACE, It obvious the designers wanted you to go fight in the ships, the bombers bombs fell “down”, etc.). There’s gratuitous space battle but that more fleet command than actual piloting. Honestly i have to back to TIe fighter in what? 93? 94? (looked it up it was 94).

    If i’m missing one please point it out, I’d like to be a star pilot again…

    1. anaphysik says:

      I don’t have a background in starship-fight-sims-whatever games (other than Asteroids I guess :P ), so my opinion’s kind of irrelevant, but I really have no hankering for that style of gameplay.

      I’ve been trying to play Star Control recently, and I love all the world-building and conversations and species and all that sort of stuff, but I feel like at some point the combat is just going to kill it for me. I’ve won 2 battles (*maybe* 3, if someone corrects me) (versus the forced encounter with the Ilwrath, and one time I somehow managed to beat a probe, even though they’ve stomped me before and since). I just cannot get a hang of the system, and what’s more, I have *no desire* to get a hang of it. I’m not going to practice in whatever-its-called-mode because it’s not so much a matter of me being bad (which I am), but a matter of me just not wanting to use the system at all.
      Likewise, I love going around exploring and meeting people and finding things, but all this fuel and mineral and bioform resource management is a pain in the butt. *For reference, I modded ME2 and 3 to get rid of the fuel system. Instead of planet scanning, I edited my savefile.* The fact that there’s a timer on the whole thing just makes it even more annoying, no matter how long it may be. *For reference, I couldn’t enjoy or complete Majora’s Mask because of that stupid day cycle.*

      Basically I love all of the meat of the game, and the skeleton that is the central plot, but hate the way you have to interact with it :/

      I guess my point is: I don’t want the ‘3 foot soldiers shooter’ bits replaced by ‘starship shooter’ bits, I just want all of that reduced, so we can focus on the stuff that’s relevant. Those things can be handled via abstraction.

      But as I noted, I’m weird.

      1. Mike S. says:

        I initially read that as “3-foot soldiers” rather than “3 foot-soldiers”, nd briefly wondered when hobbit shooters had become a genre.

        Though while I haven’t played ME3 multiplayer– all my ME3 playing friends are on Xbox and I’m on a PC, with the result that I’ve played it twice and am terrible– I understand that the volus have been made playable. So there are now some three-foot soldiers in our three foot-soldier game.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Yep. Volus are kinda neat, actually.

          I think StashAugustine and me and others would be up for PC MP shenans.

          1. Mike S. says:

            If the timing can be worked out, sure!

            (And more importantly, if you can tolerate someone who’ll likely be way on the wrong end of the learning curve for a while. Aside from a couple of fairly fatal attempts six months ago with my wife, I have zero MP experience, and my habit of leaning heavily on the pause button in SP didn’t, as you may guess, serve me well there. :-) If you’d rather play with someone who knows what they’re doing, totally understood.)

            1. anaphysik says:

              Eh, I’ve had more fun losing with people that were fun to talk to than winning with those that were silent.
              What’s your Origin ID?

              1. Mike S. says:

                Fair enough– I just wanted to make full disclosure. :-) I’m “mschiffe” on Origin.

  29. Wedge says:

    I can’t wait until we get to Rannoch so I can get the context for Shamus’s “Thinks Kansas is like New Mexico” title :)

  30. Avilan the Grey says:

    …It’s so nice coming back to this blog and still know that this is the true haven for everyone that loathe the ME games…

    Not that I can’t relate; I will never again pre-order a Bioware game after the massive disappointment that was Dragon Age 2 (one of the few games I hated enough not to finish).

  31. Ateius says:

    I seem to recall the codex entries making a big deal in ME1 over how humans were the only species to actually utilize spacefighters in any real capacity and that doing so allowed their fleets to punch above their weight despite the treaty limitation on dreadnaughts.

    But I guess escaping in, say, a shuttle or troopship wouldn’t be cool enough. And would make too much sense.

    1. Mike S. says:

      It actually would have been sort of cool if, just as we saw and adopted the geth upgrade (it is, Shepard wouldn’t lie!) of single-use ejectable heat sinks, we’d been told that the geth saw how effective fighters were at the Battle of the Citadel and immediately started building carriers.

  32. Venalitor says:

    I just choose to think of it as non-canon, and all the characters speech and motivation aligning with MEI and MEII. . . but more MEI

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