History Analysis / MassEffect3

20th May '16 9:21:56 AM skilaatara
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For argument's sake let's consider that the Big Rip will happen fifty billion years from now and that the Reapers are attempting to ward it off. Is what they are doing an effective way to do so? No!! Because this Big Rip will span billions of galaxies when it hits. Will slowing down eezo use in one Galaxy make any difference? Not if billions of other galaxies are going to be affected anyway. By doing this it is the Reapers who are [[IronicEcho dust struggling against the cosmic wind.]]

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For argument's sake let's consider that the Big Rip will happen fifty billion years from now and that the Reapers are attempting to ward it off. Is what they are doing an effective way to do so? No!! Because this Big Rip will span billions of galaxies when it hits. Will slowing down eezo use in one Galaxy make any difference? Not if billions of other galaxies are going to be affected anyway. By doing this it is the Reapers who are [[IronicEcho dust struggling against the cosmic wind.]]]]

** Who says only the Milky Way has its Reapers?
10th May '16 4:35:54 AM erforce
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When you play the game for the first time, most of the players will likely feel like a total badass that is like [[Film/{{Terminator}} John Connor]], [[Franchise/{{Halo}} Master Chief]], and [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Jean-Luc Picard]] all rolled into one as you gather more and more allies mission after mission, side quest after side quest. With the expectation of being able to be the hero that saves the day at the end, naturally many of us were shocked at how the ending changes very little no matter what you did previously.

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When you play the game for the first time, most of the players will likely feel like a total badass that is like [[Film/{{Terminator}} [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} John Connor]], [[Franchise/{{Halo}} Master Chief]], and [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Jean-Luc Picard]] all rolled into one as you gather more and more allies mission after mission, side quest after side quest. With the expectation of being able to be the hero that saves the day at the end, naturally many of us were shocked at how the ending changes very little no matter what you did previously.
8th Jan '16 3:13:50 PM manofwarb
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! Would conventional victory have even been possible?

Although Hackett tells you many times that there is no way to defeat the Reapers conventionally, many of the people who felt slighted by the Refusal ending, argue that it should have been possible to achieve a conventional victory with a very high EMS. Although the deeper meaning behind Effective Military Strength is analyzed above, let's see if such a victory was actually possible.

To achieve a conventional military victory, the defeated force must be in such a state that fighting is just not possible anymore. In the old days, this was achieved by just slaughtering enough enemy soldiers to the point where any organized resistance was futile. Later on, geography and logistics became incorporated, and therefore, if you cut off an enemy's supply lines and boxed them into an untenable location, you won. As technology advanced, victory became less and less about killing your opponents and more about starving them, routing them, capturing them, encircling them, and eventually out producing them. Ultimately, a conventional war will boil down to "Who has more reserves?" Who can produce more reserves?

The Reapers produce at least one capital ship every 50000 years. And from the age of the Reaper corpse recovered from Dis, they have been at it for about 1 billion years. So they ought to have about twenty thousand Sovereign class capital ships maximum. Given that some will eventually be lost during harvests, it is fair to say that they have about sixteen thousand. All those species that cannot be turned into capital ships become destroyers. In this cycle alone, there were about ten other space faring races besides the humans. If this same number of species achieve space flight every cycle, then the Reapers can create up to 10 destroyers per cycle. That can be a maximum of two hundred thousand. Even assuming some losses in prior harvests, that could still be about one hundred and sixty thousand destroyers. With each capital ship also capable of carrying fighters, and assuming that this fighter complement is the same as a standard aircraft carrier I.e. About 80 to 100 fighters per ship, we are looking at about two million fighter craft.

Now compare that to what the combined fleets of all Citadel races could muster up. With the 5:3:1 ratio dictated by the Farixen treaty, and the [[SpaceRomans Turians]] having only 35 dreadnoughts, this leaves the other three council races supplying a max of 63 dreadnoughts, and even if all others produced upto their maximum capacity, they could only add about fifty or so more. The Quarians apparently exceeded their limit with their live ships, resulting in 10, and the geth apparently have as many as the turians - 35. With all of them combined, that is barely 200 dreadnoughts. While no limits have been placed on smaller ships, it may be economically impossible to build more than say five hundred per species. Sure, the Quarians have 50000, but the majority of those are transport ships. So at the most you could expect about five thousand combat capable ships. They are already outnumbered about 30 to 1. The codex also tells us that three dreadnoughts are the minimum of what is required to bring down a Reaper capital ship. So when we need about sixty thousand dreadnoughts alone, we have only about two hundred. That is a gigantic deficit.

Sure, you could forego dreadnoughts and use carriers to deploy fighter wings. But remember, that besides humans, all other races are only now getting familiarized with large scale fighter deployment doctrine. There is no way they can ramp up production and training to field enough fighters to bring down sixteen thousand dreadnoughts.

So, a simple battle of attrition just won't work. Can we win by starving out the Reapers? No, since their power sources appear to be sufficient to keep them operating at peak for at least a century, while the Volus estimates that our own economy will collapse within one year. Can we outmaneuver them in any way? No, since they are about 30 times faster and can control the relay network. Can we use the environment against them somehow? No, since they've placed relays far away from any cosmological hazards that could threaten them - since those hazards threaten us too.

Therefore, Hackett was absolutely right. Conventional victory was never possible.

14th Oct '15 7:34:46 PM manofwarb
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The turians only require three assets to be scanned and located - the scout flotilla, an ancient regimental banner and [[CallBack that spiteful]] [[VideoGame/MassEffect little]] [[DLC runt]]. These aren't just random fetch quests - they are indicative of how the turians are faring against the Reapers. They have no units or ships stranded in some remote planet because their forces are still holding against the Reaper onslaught. A scouting unit is cut off behind enemy lines, just like scouting units have been since the dawn of warfare. And Pinnacle Station is a very remote outpost jointly run by turians and humans. However, the fact that an ancient regimental banner buffs their dreadnought fleet by almost 50% indicates that while their line is holding, it cannot hold for long. This onslaught is slowly eroding the fight out of them because for the first time in probably ever, they are facing defeat.

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The turians only require three assets to be scanned and located - the scout flotilla, an ancient regimental banner and [[CallBack that spiteful]] [[VideoGame/MassEffect little]] [[DLC [[DownloadableContent runt]]. These aren't just random fetch quests - they are indicative of how the turians are faring against the Reapers. They have no units or ships stranded in some remote planet because their forces are still holding against the Reaper onslaught. A scouting unit is cut off behind enemy lines, just like scouting units have been since the dawn of warfare. And Pinnacle Station is a very remote outpost jointly run by turians and humans. However, the fact that an ancient regimental banner buffs their dreadnought fleet by almost 50% indicates that while their line is holding, it cannot hold for long. This onslaught is slowly eroding the fight out of them because for the first time in probably ever, they are facing defeat.


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The asari need assets rescued from three systems, and those assets are a mixture of civilian and military items. Unlike the turians and humans, they don't have an Engineering Corps, they only send a science team. Their engineers are a. random gaggle that needs rescuing.. More telling is the fact that one of their ships you rescue is found in their home system! And their dreadnought fleet essentially needed to reacquire their equivalent of Sun Tzu's The Art of War for its value to get anywhere close to the strength of a dreadnought fleet. Even their ground forces are scattered with two units you'd expect to find on Thessia, being stranded in a completely different star cluster. This is indicative of just how decentralized the asari are, and how that decentralization is affecting them.

The species that benefits the most from search and rescue - humans. You find a total of six ships and three infantry/spec ops units and the human engineering corps more than doubles in strength by finding Prothean artifacts. But tellingly, you don't have to find some ancient artifact to rally humans to fight, like you need to for the turians, Volus, Elcor and asari. Humans are willing to fight. However, their entire military doctrine is for them to act like cavalry, rapidly rushing in to the rescue. That cavalry has been routed by an enemy with superior firepower and numbers, but not actually annihilated because that cavalry never tried to regroup quickly and try to HoldTheLine. And this routed cavalry needs someone to rally and shepherd them back together into formation for the counteroffensive. Your role is to be that [[MeaningfulName Shepard]]
14th Oct '15 6:56:03 PM manofwarb
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The turians only require three assets to be scanned and located - the scout flotilla, an ancient regimental banner and [[CallBack that spiteful]] [[VideoGame/MassEffect little]] [[DLC runt]]. These aren't just random fetch quests - they are indicative of how the turians are faring against the Reapers. They have no units or ships stranded in some remote planet because their forces are still holding against the Reaper onslaught. A scouting unit is cut off behind enemy lines, just like scouting units have been since the dawn of warfare. And Pinnacle Station is a very remote outpost jointly run by turians and humans. However, the fact that an ancient regimental banner buffs their dreadnought fleet by almost 50% indicates that while their line is holding, it cannot hold for long. This onslaught is slowly eroding the fight out of them because for the first time in probably ever, they are facing defeat.

Volus assets consist of one dreadnought with everything else being put towards funding or building the Crucible. This is indicative of their hat as the ProudMerchantRace. Also indicative of that hat - the fact that an ancient book has to explicitly instruct them to take off that hat in order to aid the war effort. This will probably be a seminal transformative moment for them.
9th Oct '15 3:12:28 PM manofwarb
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[[folder: Search and Rescue]]

The where and what of the whole system scanning and retrieval of assets can be read about above. However one crucial aspect not discussed is why. Why are certain assets neccesary? Why some races require you to obtain special artifacts while others don't? Why are certain assets in the location you found them in. That will be examined as follows.

[[/folder]]
9th Oct '15 6:34:12 AM manofwarb
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All in all, the Council based War Assets scenario allows us the player to examine the pitfalls of retaining or replacing leaders who initially failed a challenge that was previously unknown, unique and difficult. Retaining them gives you the possibility that these leaders might learn from their mistake and adapt. But it also brings about the possibility that because the challenge has passed, they might revert to HeadInTheSandManagement. It all depends on how comfortable a leader is with risk and change. On the flip side, replacing leaders who fail might seem like the right thing to do, but it brings about the caveat that their replacement may be equally as clueless about the problem as their predecessors were. And those predecessors have something that these new people don't have - past experiences of approaches that didn't work before. The new people could unintentionally make the same mistakes their predecessors did.
9th Oct '15 5:53:38 AM manofwarb
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This one seems obvious right? After all you get two militaries instead of one and avoid having to commit genocide. And the fact that you pulled it off flies in the face of the Catalyst barking that it could never ever be done, just adds to the CriwningMomentOfAwesome doesn't it? The only issue is that to get it you have to make some seemingly strange choices. Let's examine those in closer detail.

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This one seems obvious right? After all you get two militaries instead of one and avoid having to commit genocide. And the fact that you pulled it off flies in the face of the Catalyst barking that it could never ever be done, just adds to the CriwningMomentOfAwesome CrowningMomentOfAwesome doesn't it? The only issue is that to get it you have to make some seemingly strange choices. Let's examine those in closer detail.


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[[folder: Council]]

Optimal solution: Save the council and do not allow Kai Leng to off the salarian councillor. Upon looking at the assets you get, the same fleets are given to you by the turian and asari councillors no matter who they are. You get the Destiny Ascension for saving the council, but that doesn't numerically make up for the Alliance cruisers and Mikhailovitch's scout flotilla that were sacrificed to save it. However, the fleet given to you by a surviving Valern more than makes up for that deficit. Alternatively, the task force that the female councillor gives you is only just above half the strength of Valern's fleet. So in the end it wasn't about saving the entire council, it was about saving the salarian councillor.

Why does saving the salarian councillor matter so much? Because if you read the codex on the council races, they reveal that the salarians are constantly thinking, analyzing, inventing and are therefore more adaptable than the conservative turians and asari. Reading up on human diplomatic relations reveals that the humans and salarians are starting to form a bloc to act as a bulwark against the conservatism of the turians and asari. When talking to Mordin, he reveals that he knows about the Reapers. Even in the first game, Kirrahe's STG team is the only backup the council sends. Maelon also seems to know all about Reaper indoctrination. In the first game Valern seems to be the only councillor who shows an initial interest in what these Reapers are. Conclusion drawn - the salarians knew all along about the threat the Reapers posed and in those two years were preparing for it. The dreadnought fleet that Linron gives you for sabotaging the genophage cure is the strongest individual fleet after the Quarians and Geth fleets. So why does saving Valern matter? Because Valern created an actual military asset to counter the Reapers while Ishil had to set up that task force to play catch up. You don't get stronger assets from the surviving turian and asari councillors because they ostriched up and didn't take the Reaper threat seriously.

[[/folder]]
8th Oct '15 4:48:21 AM manofwarb
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1) Tali and Legion must be present. Why won't it work unless both of them are present? Because they were the only quarian and Geth who have ever cooperated on any mutual problem in a long time. Their friendship or at the very least collaboration is needed to convince both sides that it is possible to collaborate. With Tali dead, no other quarian is inclined towards cooperation and with Legion dead, the Geth don't have its perspective on peaceful contact with organics.

2) Tali must not have been exiled. If she was, this erodes trust on both sides. On the Quarians side she is seen as someone who if not betraying the fleet, exercised poor judgement that jeopardized the fleet. And now she's advocating peace with their longtime nemesis! Why should they even listen to her? On the Geth side, only as an admiral do they see her talk of peace actually getting anywhere. Furthermore, it is possible they now know the reason for her exile.

3) Shepard had to go into the Geth server and disinfect the Reaper code. Aside from the obvious tactical benefit of disrupting Reaper command and control, this mission builds trust with the Geth. Look closer, and this mission is much more about reconnecting the Geth with archived memories of either peaceful times with Quarians, or of Quarians fighting and dying on their behalf. Why were the Reapers attempting to cut the Geth off from these memories? Because they firmly believe that organic synthetic cooperation is never ever possible. Unless this belief is dispelled for the Geth, peace cannot happen.

4) The heretics were destroyed. While not essential for peace, this greatly aids the cause. It is also a counterintuitive decision, as you would think that sparing Geth would build trust. The reason why killing them builds that trust instead, is because for the Geth it is all about perspectives. The heretics chose to follow the Reapers based on their perspective, and when they were rewritten, those perspectives were not erased. Said perspectives were still able to persuade Geth that peace is not possible. Either that perspective had to be completely erased, or failing that, a lot more counter arguments with data were needed to refute that perspective. One big counter argument was

5) Brokering actual cooperation between Tali and Legion during their loyalty fight. An actual truce is one where both of them are convinced to help each other. The Renegade resolution has you pull a DI gambit where they cooperate or face your wrath. The Paragon resolution however is more poignant as it convinces each of them to want to cooperate. If this is not done, you have to convince the slighted one to play along to keep the other one invested. This kind of manipulation doesn't help any when trying to broker peace.

Now, a deeper reason why this peace is an optimal choice. Although more war assets are always better, the timing of this arc is significant in influencing the available endings. Before you begin this arc, unless you have played a lot if multiplayer, your maximum EMS is somewhere in the 2000 to 2400 range. Saving only one side brings your EMS to around 2800, while saving both brings it past 3100. What is the significance here? Synthesis requires 2800 while Destroy with Shepard surviving requires 3100. At 2800, everybody achieves synthesis on the Reapers' terms, while the Destroy with Shepard surviving allows for a more gradual form of synthesis to occur on our terms. Shepard's survival ensures that the Geth and their sacrifice will not be whitewashed away and be able to advise galactic society that some solution must be found to head off organic synthetic conflict.
8th Oct '15 3:45:48 AM manofwarb
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[[folder: Rannoch Arc]]

Optimal decision: Quarian Geth peace
This one seems obvious right? After all you get two militaries instead of one and avoid having to commit genocide. And the fact that you pulled it off flies in the face of the Catalyst barking that it could never ever be done, just adds to the CriwningMomentOfAwesome doesn't it? The only issue is that to get it you have to make some seemingly strange choices. Let's examine those in closer detail.


[[/folder]]
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