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  • The Illusive Man's chair has 3 legs. 3-legged seats are notoriously difficult to keep balanced - you end up falling over if you lean too far in any direction. Plus he's usually sitting on it with one leg on the ground and the other on his knee. Every scene in Cerberus HQ basically shows just how imbalanced TIM really is.
  • That curving slash through the Mass Effect logo isn't just some cool bit of graphic design, it's the Normandy's profile.
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  • If a Renegade Shepard doesn't use the Med Bay to heal his scars, s/he begins to look like Saren. Heck, even Paragon Shepard is slowly becoming Saren's inverse: The geth? On your side thanks to Legion. The krogan? On your side thanks to Wrex. The rachni? On your side thanks to the Queen you spared on Noveria. A sapient ship - at your command instead of it commanding you, all thanks to unshackled EDI. You even have a very powerful and influential T'Soni advising you. And a different (almost) matriarch on your side. With former enemies like these, who needs friends? (Though you probably made a lot of those, too.)
  • Sirta Foundation (i.e. the one making all the medkits) is a human-owned company. So naturally their med-kits would have symbols that humans would recognize. It isn't remarked on much, but the translation programs omnitools use on speech also work on written text, such as signs. It's not inconceivable that they also translate basic iconography (and it's hard to find an icon more important and likely to be translated than "medical attention here").
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  • The reapers and their cycle of extinction provide the perfect answer for the Fermi Paradox.
  • Sovereign is less composed than Harbinger, it seems. Why? Because Sovereign is a total fuckup. He's been trying to start the Reaper invasion for several hundred years. He tried starting with the rachni, but they withstood him. Then he tried starting with the geth, despite his hating the living guts out of them (because they can't be turned into Reapers, for one, and Catalyst was created because synthetics kept getting out of hand in the first place, for another), and they failed by the end of Mass Effect. By the time he's invading the Citadel, he's out and out desperate.
  • The name 'rachni'? Try Arachnid.
  • Until it's pointed out, few notice that the humanoid geth look like quarians. In fact, most people looking at the cover for Mass Effect: Ascension would immediately assume that the novel involves geth, because of the "flashlight head" on the cover. It isn't until one looks closer that it becomes apparent that the cover is actually showing a quarian helmet.
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  • Why is Sovereign all put out and annoyed (more than usual) and says you wouldn't comprehend its reasons when you ask him why he and his kind carefully bait civilizations so they can destroy them every fifty thousand years? Would you be annoyed if someone you really don't like asked you why you needed all that technological help to have sex? And further, why is the entire Reaper race so angry with Shepard? S/He's an entire species-wide cock-blocker of monumental proportions! As of the end of Mass Effect 2, the Reapers probably consider Shepard guilty of murder, grave-robbery, desecration of the dead, and child-killing (or forced abortion). No wonder they look pissed.
  • Star System naming conventions:
    • In the Exodus Cluster, there is a star named Utopia which Eden Prime orbits. The thing about this system is, every planet orbiting it is named after a philosophical Utopia. These planets are: Arcadia, named after an area of Greece where people lived down to earth and close to nature; Eden Prime, after the Garden of Eden where the bible says that Adam and Eve lived until Satan made them eat the apple; and Zion, a term used by Judaism to describe the promised land where God will dwell with his chosen people; Nirvana, where according to Buddhism someone ascends to when they no longer require to be rebornnote . The last planet is Zanadu, which isn't the idea of a Utopia, but the name of the city where Kublai Khan made his capital and had is "Pleasure Gardens".
    • The Boltzmann system objects are all named after famous theoretical physicists, Enoch system are all based on the Old Testament, Fortis are all based on Latin words for virtues, etc. The names span a large number of cultures, too, which can either indicate that various human cultures settled different systems, or that humans have a worldwide culture that isn't nearly as Anglo-centric as most depictions of the future.
    • The Pamyat system is another excellent example of the above statement. Pamyat means "memory" in Russian and the planet names are that of Soviet cosmonauts who died in the line of duty.
    • In modern culture, stars and such get to be named after whatever the discoverer wants (which is why a number of things tend to sound more like pop culture references). In the time of ME, the Alliance is a multinational organization that celebrates humanity's diversity and achievements (look at the name of their ships). Those outside the Alliance would be the same (proud and probably a united group to colonize a system). The choice of naming schemes would be completely intentional as to the diverse names.
    • The various systems in the Hades Gamma cluster are named after various places and characters encountered in Dante's Inferno. Plutus, Antaeus and Dis are cities located in various circles of hell, while Farinata is a posthumously excommunicated lord and Cacus is a Centaur that dishes out punishments. This ties in to the fact that the side quests you encounter in that system occur in particularly hellish situations. The planet you land on in Antaeus has both a Thresher Maw and a Huskification device in close proximity, Dis' planet contains a gang that gets you hooked on drugs then sell you into a form of particularly brutal form of slavery, Cacus contains a hostage scenario involving Mind over Matter types using drugged people as shields, Farinata contains people who've had to endure horrific medical complications and bureaucratic apathy, while Plutus has a particularly hellish planet with volcanism, excessive heat and two Thresher Maws.
  • OK. So let's talk about Udina. He's a cold, uncharismatic toad. His decision making is absolutely lousy. He clearly lacks any ability to be a good politician. So why on earth did he get such a high position? The answer comes from Anderson: "Udina has his uses. If you want to get anything done on the Citadel, he knows who to ask." Of course. He's not a politician; he's a bureaucrat. He's a very good bureaucrat. As an assistant to a decent politician, he'd make that politician's career - People would praise that politician as decisive and capable. But Udina is also ambitious and doesn't know his own limitations. It's a combination that got him promoted above his level of competence... right to the point where he could help end all organic life, in fact. This is also why the various turians in office tend not to like Udina and why the turian council member quickly warms to Udina when Shepard proves Saren guilty. Turian society teaches (and of course, those in power would probably more closely identify with this social trend) that individuals should be introspective enough to understand their limitations and the limitations of others. People should not promote others or be promoted if they're not ready yet. Thus prior to all this, it's likely that the turians Udina worked with saw him (and perhaps by proxy, the humans) as basically being rude for promoting someone into a position they weren't ready for.
  • Go look at the map of the Citadel Council Chambers in Mass Effect 1. That's it, really get a good look at the shape of it. Seem familiar? This gets a look freakier when you consider the Catalyst. If the Catalyst is housed in similar technology like the Reapers (which is maintained by the Keepers in secret), what's a better place to put it than in plain sight? The Citadel itself is the core of the Reapers and is an immobile control point for them all! The Widow Nebula where the Citadel is located also has a shape that is none too inviting... Which is a Fridge Brilliance itself, considering what a widow is supposed to be... get it? The Citadel itself is a TRAP!
  • If you read the Codex entry on the Unification War, you'll note that the turians have a thing about a member of their species who has no facepaint markings, as it apparently is taken as sign of someone who can't be trusted because they have no declared allegiances. Unsurprisingly, Saren's face is unpainted, but the real brilliance comes in Mass Effect 2: Warden Kuril of Purgatory has no facepaint, which should be a subtle warning sign that he's going to betray you. That, and he's voiced by Fred Tatasciore, the same guy who voiced Saren and Balak in Mass Effect. Joram Talid, the turian politician in Thane's loyalty mission is a bareface as well. Well, in Mass Effect, "barefaced" is a turian slang for "politician"...
    • Sidonis is also barefaced, but it could be he removed his face paint out of shame for his actions, sort of the Turian equivalent of Beard of Sorrow — humans stop shaving, turians stop applying face paint.
  • In the second game, some fans don't like the way your Charm and Intimidate checks are completely tied to your Karma Meters rather than an upgradeable skill. However, it makes a whole lot more sense this way because it means that your reputation is preceding you. If you behave politely to everyone you meet (as a Paragon would), then you would have difficulty trying to actually intimidate someone without it sounding somewhat unimpressive. Likewise, bully your way around the universe by shooting people in their feet, and it would be hard to act pally and charming with someone without it sounding insincere. Having Charm/Intimidate checks tied to your Paragon/Renegade values makes a lot more sense than arbitrary assigning skill points to abstract skills because that's how people behave in real life! Someone who would be considered a Paragon would have a lot more success in charming someone than intimidating, and vice-versa. The system in the first game makes sense as well. When you add points to the skill, you're basically training it offscreen. Think Apollo Justice and his Chords of Steel.
  • As long as you don't use the medbay upgrade to heal your scars, those could tie in as well - while a Paragon Shepard's scars heal and make them look more like a normal human, Renegade's get worse, and when someone with eyes and scars that glow red threatens you, you're probably going to be inclined to listen.
  • It was explicitly stated in the manual for both games that the Paragon-Renegade meters are measuring reputation. That's why they are separate instead of being a single value; people don't forget the colony you wiped out on Feros just because you revealed corruption on Noveria.
  • At first glance, the Vanguard's Charge ability doesn't seem to fit within the various powers of mass effect fields. The power to move at insane speeds and phase through solid objects en route to the target? That doesn't make any sense based on what we've seen so far, until you look at the mass relays, including the Conduit - which actually did allow Shepard's crew to phase through the Citadel walls. Biotics are, after all, just a way for organics to generate mass effect fields, so theoretically an organic can do anything an ME-based technology can pull off. Looking more closely at it, it becomes obvious: Charge is essentially a short-ranged, much slower, one-way version of a mass relay jump.
  • Throughout the numbered trilogy, only two characters are shown using Charge in combat: Vanguard Shepard and Tela Vasir, both Spectres. Shepard can do it because they're using Cerberus-developed L5 implants, which operate on a high power level and don't follow Alliance/Citadel safety regulations for biotics. Vasir is powerful enough with her asari biotics to be an even match for Shepard while injured and losing blood, and can ignore the same regulations as part of being a Spectre. Considering the physics of what Charge does and who does it, it's possible that lesser biotics either lack the power to perform the move or don't have the skill to do it without killing themselves.
    • Furthermore, the way Shepard and Vasir use Charge reflects the difference between the human factions and the Council. Vasir uses hers to keep herself out of harm's way and dance around her enemy. Vanguard Shepard uses theirs to bowl the enemy over, then finish them off with guns and other powers before they can get back up. The Council dodges responsibility and dances around the issue. Cerberus and the Alliance go straight to the heart of the issue and gets done what needs to get done.
  • Geth weaponry:
    • You could buy a license to geth weaponry in the first game, which seemed to make no sense at all. However, with the reveal in the second game that the geth working under Saren are rogue and the real geth are benevolent (or at least neutral), it makes much more sense that geth weaponry could have been leaked at some point, maybe even intentionally. Especially since Legion mentions that the geth often leak information to organics in order to study their behaviour.
    • Alternatively, it's possible that someone in Citadel space is manufacturing these weapons using heretic blueprints (and also those krogan armor sets they sell) — Saren. (You may be secretly funding your nemesis! But that's okay, because he's building weapons for you.)
  • In the first Mass Effect, Saren's goal is to preserve the existence of organic life by proving that it can be of use to the Reapers — that submission, to paraphrase one of his lines, exists as a preferable alternative to extinction. Naturally, everyone thinks he's crazy, and that the Reapers would wipe out all organic life anyway. It's not until Mass Effect 2 when you discover that the Collectors were once protheans that you learn he was right — the Reapers would have preserved organic life, though almost certainly in a very different form than what existed. Not only that, but it's likely that Saren KNEW the true fate of the protheans, which is why he was trying to prove that organic life should be spared once again. Submission really DID exist as an alternative to extinction (though "just beating the hell out of the Reapers" was obviously better than either of those choices).
  • On the flip side to the Collectors, also remember the keepers - more than likely, a different race modified as the protheans were (long, long, long ago). Considering the important role the keepers play in the Reapers' plans, it's likely that the keepers were involved in the very first cycle (or at least, for quite some time).
  • Harbinger and Villain Override:
    • In the second game, minor mooks can be buffed by Harbinger ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL. Now go back and notice what happens to Saren once you "kill" him the first time in the original. Sovereign tried the same trick.
    • The fact that Sovereign was controlling Saren when you kill him is what weakens his actual Reaper form enough to be destroyed by the Normandy. This is also the reason they show the cut scene of Harbinger releasing the last prothean before the station blows up to avoid the same fate.
    • Note, that when Harbinger possesses one of the Collectors, it glows gold. In the ending cinematic, Harbinger's hologram is also gold. When Sovereign possesses Saren, he glows red, and Sovereign's hologram on Virmire is red.
  • Collectivist societies:
    • Remember how Tali kept talking about her people, rather than herself, back in ME1? It's because the quarians have a highly collectivist culture from living in the flotilla for so long and having to depend on each other. Tali is simply not used to talking about herself as a person, and instead prefers to talk about her people as a group. Some Earth cultures are like that, too. North Americans and Europeans only find her behavior strange because our culture tends to be more individualistic. Sure enough, after she starts show her own feelings in ME2, she apologizes for being "selfish and unprofessional," even if we (and Shepard, in at least one dialog option) consider that sort of thing to be perfectly normal. A quirk that was probably planned as an excuse for Shepard to keep talking to her in the first game was explained by one of her defining traits in the second. Brilliant!
    • As a point of contrast, consider also Legion. Legion also come from a highly collectivist culture, more so than Tali. Thus it's use of 'we' and 'geth' aren't signs of a lack of individuality but equivalent to Tali talking about herself as 'we' and 'Rayya/Neema/Normandy'. That is, as the platform/ship she's associated with or in Legion's case, the race. This is also why Legion uses 'odd' naming for Shepard and Tali. Creator-Tali would be a creator... but the adding of Tali would, to Legion, be the same as marking her as a complete nation (an entire geth station) unto herself. That is, to Legion, the quarians are like the Reapers. Individual (every quarian is different) even as they are also of the same race (quarian). As for Shepard-Commander? Note the reversal of words. It's not race-individual (Creator-Tali). There's no reason why Legion would use a different naming scheme for Shepard even with emotional ties. Thus, Legion considers 'Shepard' to be not just a nation unto him/herself... but an entire race unto him/herself. Commander is Shepard rather than Shepard is Commander. Legion doesn't know how to react to Shepard because, in some ways, Shepard is, conceptually to Legion, something much more profound than the Reapers and quarians. All this in turn can't be something the geth picked up from the quarians as the quarian naming convention is individual-clan-ship and by extension, race (Tali'Zorah vas Normandy of the quarians) so Creator-Tali would be the same as saying "quarian Tali'Zorah etc etc". Commander (individual) John (clan) Shepard (ship) of the humans would, if the geth were treating Shepard the same, would be "human-Commander John Shepard".
    • And, to a certain extent, Legion would be right. Shepard possesses one of the few L5 biotic implants. Shepard possesses the cultural imprint of the protheans. Shepard has died and been resurrected... with cybernetic implants. At this point, Shepard could logically be called something other than human. More or alternatively, he could be called a synthesis of other races: the durability of krogans (and their ability to avoid death thanks to that). The mechanical nature and collective culture of geth and reaper. And so on and so forth. Practically everything the geth could hope to be.
  • Here is some epic foreshadowing. In Mass Effect, you get to hear a poem from Ashley. "O captain, my captain." Shepard can point out. "Didn't the captain die?" Sure enough, in Mass Effect 2...
  • Tali:
    • You know how Tali has the strongest shields of any party member in ME1? Of course she has the strongest shields, she's a quarian! Suit ruptures would be damn near fatal to her no matter how much or little damage the actual bullets did, and she can't wear that heavy armor, so it would be natural for her to be intensely paranoid about getting hit. She wasn't expecting to be thrust into heavy combat constantly, explaining her lower shields when you pick her up, and as time went by she probably grabbed every shield upgrade she could find and welded it to her suit. Two gameplay mechanics explained at once.
    • Her loyalty power in the second game is the same way; it empowers her shields by draining an enemies', giving her a boost in durability and nicely replacing her old, obsolete Overload power. A perfect fit for someone as shield-conscious as Tali. The Shadow Broker Dossiers reveal that she got it from Admiral Han'Gerrel, possibly (if you cleared her) in apology for her treatment during the trial or (if she was exiled) as part of the supplies that "treason through negligence" offenders receive.
    • Also, Tali has spent much of her life scavenging and researching geth technology. The geth are also known for having very advanced shield technology, so it's not out of the question that she incorporated some of their tech into her own suit.
    • In Mass Effect 3, when remembering the first time she was fired upon, she says that she was naive, young, and didn't have her shields up because she wasn't expecting an attack.
  • It's noted on the main Mass Effect page that the planet Klendagon is described as having a massive scar carved from a mass effect weapon fired either at or by the Reaper you board in 2. But notice what's in the orbital just outside Klendagon? An asteroid belt. Boom.
    • That's not all. Klendagon's moon is "a nightmare of jagged, overlapping ridges and shock zones created by some ancient disaster." Guess what the projectile was?
  • Wrex:
    • Wrex's famous line, "You ask a krogan if he'd rather find a cure for the genophage, or fight for credits, and he'll choose fighting — every time. It's just who we are, Shepard. I can't change that. No one can." It shows how bitter and jaded he is toward his fellow krogan. However, if he survives the first game, his rule has begun to do just that: change the krogan and save them from their own brutal selves. Wow.
    • When asked about the genophage in Mass Effect, Wrex asks Shepard "When was the last time you saw a krogan scientist?" In fact, if you keep an eye out, Shepard does meet quite a few people that could qualify. In Mass Effect, the krogan supervising the breeding program on Virmire is arguably a scientist, and in Mass Effect 2, Okeer (the creator of Grunt) is somewhat of a scientist as well as most of Clan Weyrloc that are undertaking tests to try and cure the genophage. There's also a krogan Scientist in Wrex's camp. While krogan scientists aren't exactly widespread, there are a few.
    • This also draws a really weird parallel between Wrex and Mordin. Shepard mentions krogan scientists to Mordin as well, and Mordin says something along the lines of "never met krogan worthy of the term." Since Wrex and Mordin can basically team up in ME3 to help cure the genophage, it's pretty interesting that both of them judged or misjudged the krogan species in exactly the same way.
    • If Wrex and Kaidan are in the elevator together, Wrex will make fun of how "civilized" people think that all krogans think only of fighting, all the time. After seeing Krogan scientists and poets, I understood: Krogans don't think only about fighting. They think about it all the time, while ALSO thinking about anything else in their lives.
    • Wrex not only asks Kaidan that question, but Ashley and Garrus too. And all of them are surprised by that question. This is because humans and turians have a hierarchical professional military, while Krogan only have tribal clans. Krogan believe that Asskicking Equals Authority is the only way one attains leadership, while Ashley, Garrus and Kaiden being soldiers, believe that other qualities go into the appointment of an officer to a command. This is classic Warrior Versus Soldier differences here.
  • Gameplay changes:
    • Pretty much every gameplay change between the first and second games has an in-universe justification. Ammo? It's heat sinks. No Mako? Probes. Appearance and class change? Project Lazarus wasn't perfect. However, what if a Paragon player in the first game decided to be a complete asshole in the second? It's mentioned a few times that Shepard's personality may have changed due to brain damage - turning them from a nice guy to a jerk, vice versa, and everything in between. Plus dying can really change how you handle things. A Paragon Shepard who gets resurrected would probably realize that yeah, shit's gotten real, and s/he really doesn't have time to screw around. Power cool down is a game mechanic that changed in the second game but didn't receive an explanation until the third. In the first game, after you used a power it would take about a minute for that power to recharge, but you could use any other power during that time. In the second game, after you used a power you had to wait for all your powers to recharge, but it only took seconds. The change doesn't make a lot of sense until you look at another mechanic in the third game, where you can equip as much or as little weapons as you want, but the more weapons you have equipped and the heavier they are, the longer it takes for your powers to recharge. Now notice that in the first game everyone has every type of weapon equipped at all times, while in the second game they only equip the weapons they are proficient with. Mind...blown.
    • From the other direction, a Renegade Shepherd who turns Paragon in 2 might have taken a moment to reassess their life while floating in deep space awaiting death, concluded that acting like an asshole hadn't actually made them happy, and when given a second chance, decided to actually take it.
  • "Metaphorically", if you would like, it seems like Joker was, indeed, born to fly. Think about it: hollow bones. Like a bird's... This may be intentional; it explains the surname "Moreau" (half man, half animal) and, y'know he's really ungainly on foot but soars like a leaf on the wind when flying.
  • Many players found it annoying how NPCs always turn their head in one direction before exiting the area (usually after you fulfill a quest for them). But there's a reason for it: Mass Effect is a Space Opera. Opera is usually acted out on stage. The NPCs are all playing roles for Shepard and the crew to interact with. After their moment in the spotlight, they leave. The NPCs are stage actors and are signaling their exit from the scene instead of announcing it. Looking left and walking means "Exit Stage Left!" Likewise, on Tali's loyalty mission, each quarian you have a conversation with turns away when the conversation ends, but doesn't move. They're brought up in a culture of massive overcrowding in most situations; turning away is just a signal that they're done talking, not as automatically rude as it might be to others.
  • During ME2, Harbinger could only possess one Collector at a time. In the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, however, multiple Collectors can be possessed at one time. Now, think about how Reapers go into hibernation between cycles to conserve power, and how the epilogue of ME2 shows the fleet powering up and moving towards the galaxy. Harbinger was the only Reaper that was active up until that point.
  • Why does the turian government tend to look down on the human government (notably, the turian councilor and the human one) and the humans as a whole? Well, sure, there's the First Contact War. But also remember one part of turian culture/the typical turian mindset. That is, you don't promote people to a position they're not ready for (ie turians don't get chances to prove themselves, they prove themselves and then get the position). The failure of someone in a position to them is -not- a mark against the person but against the person who put them in that position (ie a soldier who dies is considered a point of failure on the officer). Now, put this into context of some of the things you see in the game. Udina being... well, Udina. Pretty much everyone know he's a diplomatic incident waiting to happen. To the turians, his failings would reflect on the people that put him there. Harkan in his C-Sec days. Again, he was put there for humanity's political push... however to the turians, such a drunken reckless lowlife would reflect on the politicians that put him there. Re-think the First Contact War and the Occupation of Xianxi. The turians would see the provocation of war and the events leading up to it (explorers activating an unknown relay) as reflecting upon that fleet's commanders. The Occupation would be seen as the commanding officer essentially throwing away his troops as cannon fodder, at least at the early stages of it (as the turians didn't necessarily know about the fleet and such) and acting upon orders from further up. Thus as a whole, the turians would see all this reckless behavior and associate by proxy all the way up to the highest levels of the Alliance. To the turians, all the bumbling and mistakes humanity has made tends to look like some incompetent person put a bunch of people who weren't ready into positions and duties they weren't ready for. And, ironically, Ashley's grandfather would probably be seen in a somewhat better light to the turians than to the humans. It leads to another epiphany. The leaders of many human governments are placed there by vote, yes? So if a president screws up and makes a bad decision, the turians would see it as the fault of the populace who voted him/her into that position. No wonder they have such a bad opinion of us!
  • All but two of the major races in the game have the same basic design as humans. They're all bipedal, land dwelling species, with four limbs. All of them except for the volus survive on an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and are about 6ft. tall at adulthood. Even the hanar and the elcor are not that exotic, being basically alien jellyfish and elephants. It was even worse with the asari, each one basically a blue human female with a cuttlefish on their head. However, it was confirmed in Mass Effect 1 at one of the prothean sites that they experimented on early humans - and the hanar worship the protheans as the "Enkindlers". Who's to say that the protheans weren't involved in the development of all species now in the galaxy? ME3 confirms that the protheans were at least aware of the races, and were heavily involved with influencing the primitive asari. Take a good look at the legs, feet and hands of turians. Now take a good look at the legs, feet and hands of quarians. That is all.
  • The menu in Mass Effect is blue. In the Darker and Edgier sequel the menu is orange. The same colours as the Karma Meter. While your employer in the first game is Paragon friendly, your employer in the second is Renegade friendly. And in the final game, the title screen is dark blue with flaming orange debris; essentially combining both, which is actually exactly what happened to the separate Paragon and Renegade meters into a single reputation bar.
  • Interrupts:
    • The Renegade interrupt button, on the 360 at least, is the right trigger, or fire button. The Paragon interrupt button is the left trigger, or aim button. Renegade interrupts are usually violent and immediate, like firing a gun. Paragon interrupts are usually making someone rethink what they're doing (though not always in a violent way), like pointing - but not firing - a gun at a mugger or someone like that. On the PC, the Left Mouse Button (Renegade) is the fire button and the Right Mouse Button (Paragon) is the aim button. Renegade actions are acts of violence, the same as firing your weapons, while Paragon interrupts, using the zoom button, are when you take a closer look at a situation.
    • Paragon interrupts often involve exploring alternate options to a violent confrontation. Renegade interrupts focus on immediate and often violent action. In the Windows version of the game, Paragon interrupts are triggered by clicking the right mouse button when they come up, and Renegade interrupts by the left mouse button. In the default settings of the Windows operating system, right clicks bring up a context menu (more options) while left clicks are an immediate selection and default action on whatever it is you're clicking on.
  • The idea of Spectres in general beautifully aligns with the setting designers' effort to justify everything that happens in-game. The Council, essentially, gives Shepard the in-universe license to act exactly like an RPG player character.
  • The bar Afterlife is not a just some cool name, and the other bars are similar. Flux? Yeah, pretty cool name, but take in to consideration what it means: the music we can hear is just damn flowing in the ears- not to mention the influx of money you can get from the casino! Or, in a state of Flux: Neither one way or the other! Okay, how about Chora's Den? According to Greek philosophy, Khora is often linked with sexually-coded maternal overtones; words often associated with it are mother, womb, nurse- wait a minute, Freudian much?! And Eternity is an obvious reference to the asari "embrace eternity" thing. All the names of everything in Mass Effect is always relevant. In Liara's side mission, you are tasked with finding the Observer. Then you discover she's spying on Liara.
  • The Mako and the Hammerhead are hard to drive. Of course it would be hard to drive it! Shepard is a soldier through and through, not a driver/pilot! The difficulty of controlling the vehicles is just an in-game example of how Shepard can be a bad-ass because of killing people, but NOT because of his/her brilliance of driving.
  • Why do the geth only have one eye? Because they have a ton of sensors in that one eye that can accurately measure the distance of an object from their point of view (think radar, sonar, etc.). Having two eyes would be redundant, since depth perception can only approximate distance, which the geth can already do far more accurately than any organic.
  • Legion mentions that the heretic virus introduces a mathematical error in low-level geth processing, resulting in the same operation returning 1.33381 versus 1.33382. At that time, it just seems like a typical Layman's Terms analogy. However, Legion was actually referencing the Pentium FDIV bug!
  • Ever wonder why, when traveling to another cluster, you simply don't take the shortest route? Even if two clusters are close together, the route to them from another could be completely different. It's the way mass relays are connected to each other. A relay in one system might not be connected to a relay in another, nearby one. You might need to take a roundabout route to get to your destination, but because of the way the relays work, that won't take too long. It's all in the Codex. Major relays come in pairs. They can only reach each other. Minor relays are omni-directional but are also much more short ranged. Thus the flight paths are first using major relays to get within the general area and then minor ones to get to the actual destination.
  • In Mass Effect, being called by the name of your species by someone close to you is often the ultimate insult as you're no longer Commander Shepard to them, you're just some arrogant whelp who likes to think you deserve their respect, without earning it. Beyond not earning it. You diminish any positive thoughts they might have had for you. Despite your over all intentions, you and your methods are still inferior, and with calling you "human", they make sure you know it. Then remember when Tali's mission ended with giving the evidence, while she was mad at you. She didn't called Shepard "Human" as an insult. She holds enough respect for Shepard to accept that s/he had reasons for handing over the evidence but she needs time to get over the fact her father is a Broken Pedestal and she was now responsible of what path she takes to find homeworld. Either through peace with the geth or like her father, hunt down every geth if possible. Which makes you realize that the volus merchant in the lower market on Citadel does show you great consideration by calling you "Earth Clan", since he's referring to your planet of origin and how much clans are important to the volus.
  • Probably unintentional, but in old English literature, a "thane" was someone who was basically a hired killer. The title later became something more honorable, but its original meaning was that of a mercenary or assassin.
  • This could possibly even fit under Foreshadowing. There's an incredible amount of indications in Mass Effect as to what the Reapers are really like which is revealed in Mass Effect 2 being hybrids of synthetic and organic material. First there are the husks which were organics that have their bodily fluids and organs taken out and replaced with technology. There's Saren, who was implanted with tech and boasted about how the Reapers made him a combination of organic and synthetic, "the strengths of both and the weaknesses of neither". Then there are the Collectors, who are also organic beings who have had everything that made them sentient beings with free will replaced by tech. As Mordin said, "No glands, replaced by tech. No digestive tract, replaced by tech. No souls...replaced by tech". At the end of the day, the Reapers are just a reversal of this, organic material melted into metal to create new Reapers. When you think about it all like that, what may have originally looked like a bit of an Ass Pull becomes an incredibly well-foreshadowed plot point that both games have been hinting at.
  • So why was Tali romanceable in the second game but not the first? Well when you first encounter her she is on her Pilgrimage, here rite of passage into adulthood. Tali was only a child by quarian standards, and LoliShep is one meme we don't need. Not to mention that quarians are apparently far less comfortable with casual sex than humans, turians, salarians or asari, due to the suits. The maturity issues aside, Tali just wasn't comfortable enough (or brazen enough) to even consider Shepard as a possible partner. Then again, if you do start a relationship with Tali, Liara will later say that Tali was really all over him the entire time, and Shepard was just being Oblivious to Love.
  • If you look at the galactic history in the Mass Effect universe, you'll notice one constant: every time the Citadel civilization has been at danger of being eradicated, a newcomer species with no previous contact with them has been necessary to save the day. First the Rachni Wars that were resolved by the uplifted krogan. Then the Krogan Rebellions that were resolved by the newly encountered turians. And finally the Reaper invasion, presumably to be resolved by the human upstarts. Basically, it seems that the Citadel civilization, based around the Mass Relay technology that no-one quite understands encourages cultural and technological stagnation, and helplessness against outside threats. The Reaper social engineering is more insidious and clever than the straightforward Indoctrination might insinuate.
  • The name of the ship you command throughout the series is Normandy. The Battle of Normandy is known for being the the largest mobilization of a diverse group of military organizations ever seen in a single operation. The British, Americans, French, Dutch, Canadians and the Polish, just like the humans, turians, asari, geth, and the quarians. On a related note, on the ME3 mission to London, the initial drop is really, really reminiscent of fictional representations of D-Day. So does that make Commander Shepard's invasion the second invasion of Normandy? And the tactic used by the enemy? The Blitzkrieg, in which they use overwhelming force as rapidly as possible to destroy their enemy off-guard, and then clean up the resistance afterwards. Normandy is the beachhead to the counterstrike that turns the war around. And if you're wondering if this refers to the Reaper War or WWII, the answer is "yes."
  • All asari are bisexual, right? There's a reason for that. They're an all female race. They don't know what it's like to discriminate based on gender, because they can't do it themselves.
  • When romancing Garrus, he often provides a bottle of some alcohol, despite the fact that dextro and levo species can't really eat each others' food/drink. Alcohol is one of the few organic substances that is achiral, and thus should be drinkable by either chirality. That explains the cut line from the turian groundskeeper in ME2 about human creativity with our liquor.
  • Two separate things regarding Legion: First of all, his loyalty power lets him get all his shields back instantly. Ordinary geth have this, too - it's how they can spontaneously create shields when you fight them. Second, there's a lot of similarities between him and Tali. They both come from a collectivist society - Tali rarely uses "I", and Legion never uses it. Their power sets are almost completely identical - they both get AI Hacking and Combat Drone, and their loyalty powers let them recharge their shields. They're both the most normal, relatively speaking, of your squad. They're both tech-savvy, to the point where both of them are good choices for the tech specialist in the first part of the suicide mission. Their places on the Normandy are centered around tech - Tali is near the mass effect core, and Legion is in the AI core. Their personalities are even a little similar. Perhaps BioWare is saying that the geth and the quarians are Not So Different?
  • In Mass Effect Wrex has an armor he can wear called the Warlord. Guess what armor he's wearing while chieftain of the Urdnot clan in ME2?
  • A side assignment in Mass Effect has Shepard wrecking a secret Cerberus base and copying some sensitive files. A Shadow Broker agent calls Shepard on the comm asking for the files. There's no reason to trust the Shadow Broker with the data at the time, beyond general apathy for terrorists' secrets. After Mass Effect 2, though, it seems sending the files would have been a great thing to do, since they'll eventually end up in the hands of the next Shadow Broker — Shepard's loyal friend/loving girlfriend Liara, who can use it to help against the dubious Illusive Man.
  • Shepard's name is obviously a reference to how she has to get everyone moving in the right direction constantly, and without him/her they tend to wander off like confused sheep... (eg: the Council). Plus the obvious historical references. It also happens to be a reference to Alan Shepard, the first American to go to outer space. And before anyone says anything, Neil Armstrong was the first guy on the Moon. Not in space.
  • Why are krogan biotics rare? Because of the genophage. People can only become biotics if they are exposed to eezo before they're born. However, only one in ten thousand (or so) krogan foetuses actually get born, and most eezo exposures don't result in anything. It may also have to do with their incredible durability which includes redundant organs. That kind of durability would likely also mean a high resistance to dramatic mutation which eezo exposure would naturally be. Thus for a krogan to have noticeable biotic ability, they would need to be exposed to enough eezo to, basically, give a krogan cancer. Which in turn explains why krogan battlemasters are so powerful even without training - they're carrying an incredibly high doze of eezo in their body.
  • The formation of the asari Justicar order makes relatively little sense, at least of one goes by the standards of human governments. However, look at how the asari political structure is formed. The Asari Republics are made up of hundreds or thousands of individual city-states that form a continuous consensus between them through constant debate and communication (like the geth, actually, just magnitudes of order slower). Such a political structure would not lend itself well to an international police force that would potentially threaten city-states' sovereignty. However, within such a structure, an apolitical religious/martial order of vigilantes/criminal hunters would make sense, especially one which is so viciously strict with its rules that all asari automatically agree that their actions are automatically justified. The justicars are the only international police force that could operate in the Asari Republics. In fact, you could look at the Justicars as a Reconstruction of the Jedi Order, and how such an organization would be seen in a grittier sci-fi setting. Shrouded in Myth, terrifyingly powerful, strictly self-regulated, and very few in number.
  • Apparently, the encounter with über-fanboy Conrad Verner on Illium where he claims you treated him like crap whether or not you really did in the first game was caused by a bug that prevents the more positive dialogue from triggering on imported saves. However, there is another way to look at it in context: Conrad says you were a big jerk to him because, one way or another, you derailed his heroic fantasy when you convinced him not to try to become a Spectre. The Paragon option had you tell him what he needed to hear, and let's face it, hardly anyone wants to hear the things they need to. And then when you get killed by the Collectors, Conrad, obsessive that he is, restarts his fantasy in an attempt to fill the void left by your death (for a bit of bonus Fridge Sadness, Conrad's dialogue about his wife's support of his new galactic crusade implies that she's actually glad to be rid of him and his delusions of grandeur though she turns out to not exist). The bit about you sticking a gun in his face (the final Renegade option from game one) can even be explained, too: In your second encounter with him in the first game, you can let him take a picture of you with your pistol drawn. When he's talking himself up to the bartender on Illium, even if you didn't actually point the gun at him, you did have your gun out if you let him take the picture, and now he's embellishing his story to make himself sound more badass than he actually is. The best part, though? If you resolve the situation with the weapons dealer that's conning him with the Charm option, you convince him that he unwittingly helped you stop a terrorist plot, and he apparently gives up trying to be like you and ends up founding a charity in your name. By telling him what he wants to hear this time, and letting him think he's an actual hero for once, you allow this otherwise somewhat pathetic man to make an actual contribution to the well being of the galaxy.
  • The first mass relay that humanity discovers is frozen in a ball of ice which was previously thought to be the moon Charon. In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman responsible for transporting the dead across the river Styx, just as the relay ferries ships across the interstellar void.
  • Cerberus, in Greek mythology, was the three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades. But it wasn't just for keeping people out; it was also for keeping people in.
  • The name Miranda means 'she who must be admired.' It becomes even more meaningful when you consider her relationship to the Illusive Man in ME2. He's very much a father-figure to her, more than her real father ever was (not that it'd be that hard, admittedly), and she's the only person ever seen in the same room with him. So if she's Miranda, that would make him Prospero...and Shepard Ferdinand — whether or not you romance her, Miranda will side with Shepard rather than The Illusive Man should you decide to destroy the Collector Base. If she's with you in that final battle, she'll even tell off the Illusive Man directly, before cutting the communication.
  • You know Klendagon? You know, the planet that got glanced by the shot that killed the reaper? Well so did Bioware back in ME1. The description for that planet in Mass Effect 1 specifically mentions the large geological formations in the planet that were formed by "an ancient mass accelerator weapon."
  • Look real close at both TIM and Saren. Their eyes look really similar, don't they? In TIM's case, it probably foreshadows that he's been touched by Reaper technology just like Saren was. It's less obvious with Saren because his eyes are smaller and the graphics aren't as good.
  • The entire point of the Reapers is to put control to the organics' "chaos," that organics would eventually create synthetics and the synthetics would rebel and destroy each other. The Reapers avoid this by arriving every 50,000 years so that organics reach too far. Well, if you play it right, that's exactly what you do. You've united the entire galaxy, including the synthetic geth, thus breaking the cycle by merely bringing them together against a single enemy.
  • If you choose Legion as your hacking specialist during the suicide mission in the second game, you might notice that it uses both the "I" and "we" pronouns when referring to itself. At first, this is assumed to be a writing mistake that got overlooked. But in the third game, the significance of Legion's use of singular pronouns is confirmed and the importance of that is shown. Legion sliding between pronouns in the second game is actually character development, showing how it was already beginning to change.
  • In ME1, Sovereign says "The pattern has repeated itself more times than you can fathom. Organic races rise, evolve, advance. And at the apex of their glory, they are extinguished." He's talking about what the Reapers do, right? Well, yes, but he's also talking about why the Reapers were created in the first place.
  • The quarians have thin, slender bodies with ... "exaggerated" assets - wide hips for females and broad shoulders (and pronounced crotch bulges) for males. When you finally get to Rannoch, the planetary statistics screen shows that the planet has less surface gravity than Earth, and it is also "hotter". Quarian physiology makes a lot more sense in that sort of environment. A high surface area to mass ratio means the quarians can dissipate heat faster, and planets with lower gravity hypothetically could encourage a lanky body structure.
  • Mordin describes the genophage in detail: it essentially rewires glands in the bodies of krogan females that control fetal growth, causing deformities that are lethal to 999/1000 of the resulting offspring - the genetic equivalent of teratogenesis I.E. thalidomide babies. That seems a pretty sick thing for a matriarchal society to do to someone, until you think hard about salarian civilization; males compete for the right to sire progeny on females, and females barter breeding rights as the source of their authority - just like post-genophage krogan. Salarian females aren't Mama Bears. Given the rarity of salarian females and how salarians consider science their most potent weapon, wouldn't a Dalatrass screwing up a rival female's ability to bear offspring be the equivalent of America nuking Hiroshima? The salarians did design the genophage as a terror weapon for the purposes of deterrence (not unlike actual nukes). It was the turians who used it — they don't understand how deterrence weapons are supposed to work, because turians can't be deterred. Neither species understood the psychological effects it would have on the krogan, because both salarians and turians are used to collective action (salarians in the case of their incredibly intricate breeding politics, turians in the case of... everything) and so would have banded together to overcome the obstacle. The krogan, in contrast, are highly individualistic and so the individual's inability to breed, regardless of the hypothetical survival of the species, drove them to despair.
    • It Makes Sense in Context too. We humans are horrified at the absurdly high number of stillbirths caused by the genophage because we are mammals that gestate our young inside us before giving birth to them fully formed. To a mammal a miscarriage or stillbirth is traumatic because once the fetus starts growing inside it, it starts to develop the maternal bond. Salarians are egg laying amphibians. They don't form bonds with younglings until after they hatch so a failure to hatch is probably only as traumatic to them as an inability to get pregnant is for humans. The Krogan are also reptilian and from their talk of clutches are probably egg laying too. So stillbirths were presumably not as traumatic to them too. Krogan aren't bitter about the genophage because they see the use of a biological weapon that targets fetuses as inherently immoral, these were the same people that used nuclear weapons against each other, committed genocide against the rachni and were all too willing to Colony Drop a moon onto the turian home world. They are bitter because they see it as a cowardly dishonorable way to defeat Proud Warrior Race Guys like them.
    • It's also a matter of the number of offspring. It's not just being a mammal, but humans being mammals with a K reproductive strategy: few offspring, intensely cared for. It's pointed out by Mordin that biologically the genophage reduced survival rates of the krogan to what they were in pre-technological times, living as they were on a Death World, so massive numbers of infant casualties were normal for krogan to begin with, and the salarians assumed the krogans would accept that. What they didn't take into account was how the krogan would culturally react.
  • Speaking of salarians, there is a logical reason as to why they are so shortsighted and can't see why history would repeat itself if they elevated the Yarg the same way they did the krogan; they lack an understanding of their own history. Takes for example the first World War - most children are taught that because some guy assassinated a Duke - it caused a cascade effect in treaties throughout the world. But its not that simple. Military historians have spent decades deciphering the exact details, but few of those make its way to common knowledge and with so much to cover, teachers try to keep it extremely basic and not very interconnected. The brilliance comes when you remember that salarians live to about 40 and have a culture than spans millennia , they literally do not have the time to go into the complexities. They might have been taught that they elevated the krogan and saved the universe and then a later class would teach that the krogans were another problem, unrelated to the first. They repeat their history because they do not have a good grasp on their own history!
  • Saren was a rogue Spectre who ended up cybernetically enhanced by a race who wants to destroy all races. Not to mention that he deeply believed in the merging of both organic and synthetic evolution. Shepard was (for a time) a rogue Spectre who is also cybernetically enhanced by a race (or at least TIM and Cerberus and extremists) who wants supreme control over all races. Oh the irony...
  • Quarians are essentially quarantined in their suits.
  • Ships named Normandy feature a door in the front that opens by dropping down to form a ramp. Kind of like the landing boats used by the Allies during the Battle of Normandy.
  • Why are geth weapons so effective against Reaper forces in both Single and Multiplayer? Because they do NOT follow the path of technological development that the Reapers intended.
  • In the original game, it is mentioned in passing that the geth (later revealed to be the geth heretics) worship Sovereign as their god. Sovereign is insulted by this. Why? Because, as revealed by the Catalyst in the third game, the Reapers were created to stop the organics from creating synthetics capable of going Rampant and wiping out the Organics. The geth represent what the Reapers were created to prevent.
  • Each of Liara's parents specialize in one of her trademark biotic powers. When you fought Benezia in the first game, she and her commandos would constantly use Stasis on you (to annoying effect), which became Liara's loyalty power in 2 and 3. Aethyta, on the other hand, threatens Conrad Verner with a Singularity when he tries to lock down her bar in 2. We never see her actually use it, but it does indicate that she's at least familiar with that ability.
  • In ME3, it is established that the power needed to destroy a Reaper is the megaton levels at best. However, the Klendagon Rift, judging from its size, was created by a blast in the billion megaton range. Why would the weapon's builders need such an overkill? Then you remember all the data about the indoctrinated undermining resistance attempts... they must have sabotaged the gun to waste all of its energy reserves in a single shot, instead of a number sufficient to actually destroy the Reapers..
  • The hanar have to take anger management courses in order to talk with other species. First, they "speak" by blinking with different colors and intensities, while pretty much every other species communicates via sound, tone, and posture. Second, the hanar tend to be methodical, even having their true names truly mean something specific, while other species tend to have more colorful expressions, and more ways to convey the same language. Third, language was a gift the Enkindlers, aka the protheans, gave to them at the beginning of their civilization. So, for them, every other species is butchering language, which is a gift from the gods themselves.
  • Long unbound hair is extremely uncommon in this setting. It's even noticeable on the Eva platform, whose 'hair' is designed to be short. Why is that? Well, aside from humans it appears that the only species in the galaxy with long flexible filaments growing out of their heads are the quarians, who don't show it anymore and are considered disgraced by the Citadel races. Most humans are trying not to stand out too much; maybe other species find it weird and repulsive to see long hair swishing around. The only characters shown to have long hair that isn't completely bound up are Ashley in ME3, Miranda, and Kai Leng - all decidedly humans-first, though Ash more morally than the others, and unlikely to change their appearances to make other species more comfortable. Another reason: Long, unbound hair would get in the way in zero-gravity, or make it more difficult to get on and secure a space-suit's helmet. It's the same reason female pilots in Starship Troopers shaved their heads.
  • It seems odd that Jacob is unfaithful to a Shepard who romanced him, when any other love interest is utterly loyal even if Shep was dead for a couple years. But think about it. To every other romanced squad member, Shepard means a lot. note  Jacob... He's the most psychologically healthy of the crew, so Shepard can't be integral to resolving his issues. His loyalty mission deals with his father, yes, but he's not massively impacted by that, it had been ten years and he'd already mourned. She doesn't get him to rethink anything big. He's impressed and he likes her, but her deciding to pursue and sleep with him doesn't have the same degree of impact as it does with the others. It was basically Friends with Benefits to him, so when he met Brynn and hit it off in a way that affected him personally...
    • James is also the most psychologically centered, being reckless during the beginning of 3 due to his guilt over a command choice notwithstanding. He enjoys sex with FemShep, but he's not attached to her emotionally — again, Friends with Benefits. Javik? He and Shep got drunk.
  • Javik, evolution, and the Crucible:
    • Javik's schtick about evolution and how the strong dominate and the weak perish/are dominated is based on what we consider outdated views, and many complain how this is not how evolution works. But the thing is, it's not how evolution works. Evolution favours the adaptable. The Prothean Empire was completely screwed over when the Reapers came, because their monolithic culture could not adapt at all (not to say they would have won, but Javik does note that their monolithic culture worked against them). Javik said that the protheans conquered and assimilated other races until they were essentially one culture. While TIM probably wouldn't take it to such cultural extremes, it sounds very much like what he was planning... perhaps the Reapers nudged him into attempting the same mistake?
    • This is also why the original council races would never have been able to build the Crucible and defeat the Reapers. They are all both genetically and societally immutable. They are comfortably nestled in their respective Planet of Hats, asari genetics doesn't have much potential for variation without xenophilia and exogamy, turian genes are prevented from excessive mutation by their metallic carapace and salarians practice a form of eugenics. Their entire makeup is highly resistive to change.
    • And that is why everyone eventually rallies around the humans to build the Crucible and defeat the Reapers. Human genes have the highest potential for adaptability and individual humans, even their military doctrine is based on adaptability. A human admiral Hacket is the first to realize that unconventional means are the only way to defeat the Reapers, another highly adaptable human Shepard gathers the fleet together by browbeating, diplomacy, peacemaking, deceit, even turning an enemy towards a Greater-Scope Villain to win. The other races can't even contemplate doing all these things. It has to be noted that the one Turian who becomes Primarch had been hampered in his career by using wildly unconventional strategy, and The Miracle of Palaven has to have been one of his "unconventional" gambits.
    • It's pointed out in-game that the existence of the mass relays and the Citadel by the Reapers/Catalyst was specifically designed to create a galactic monoculture which the Reapers could exploit when the time came. It's much more efficient when it comes time to round up the herd for the slaughter if they've been trained or learned to do certain things so you know when to find them. So Javik isn't entirely wrong: the ones who adapted fasted to the artificial environment created by the relays and Citadel would be the strongest...in being the leaders taking the herd strolling into the slaughterhouse. This may also be a reason why the Reapers have such a directed hatred toward Humanity; they didn't stick with the script.
  • The revolutionary Tantalus drive (which, instead of ejecting mass in order to move the ship in the opposite direction, creates a powerful gravitic pull in front of the ship for it to "fall" into) is named after a man who constantly stretches his neck upwards, almost as if as he's being pulled by the tempting grapes dangling above him...
  • It's been already mentioned here and there, but let's go at it with more details: Go and watch the Longest day scene when the allied fleet is first seen from Normandy. Then rewatch the arrival of the fleets: the point of view changes, but It's pretty much the Normandy Landings all over again. In fact: look at the Council Races: the ancient advanced civilization of the asari are the British who spent most of the last two centuries under the reign of two long-lived matriarchs. The salarians are the USA: the tech-savvy ally with a much smaller standing army before the War and powerful politicians in favor of isolationism. The turians are the USSR: an authoritarian meritocracy which takes the brunt of the damage and manage hold long harrowing sieges of its biggest metropolises. And finally, the Earth alliance is France: its homeland is occupied early, it suffers greatly from the influence of a well connected collaborator, but there is still a sizable and increasingly organized resistance which manage to interfere with their plan and play a vital role with a very important and symbolic battle (London instead of Paris), with the help of an exiled officer turned political leader with a taste for Rousing Speeches rallying the forces of Earth/France colonies and forced through sheer force of will the other three powers to give his world/country a seat at the great powers table. Yep: we're all French now.
  • So, the Human-Reaper and his three pupils/eyes. Kinda obscure, as so many noticed, for something based on human, but then came Mass Effect 3 and Javik, the last living prothean, who have two eyes on each side and two pupils in each eye. Either way, suddenly everything came into its place: strange eyes, studied collector on the Collector Cruiser. It wasn't a human-reaper, it was human-prothean hybrid reaper!
  • Early in Mass Effect 3, Cortez makes a comment about not knowing what Cerberus was thinking when they decided to put the Armory on the CIC, stating it makes more sense to have it on the Shuttle Bay because you get off the elevator, pick your gear and head into the shuttle. It makes sense for Cerberus when you think about the differences in Alliance and Cerberus deployment. Alliance deployments are much more like a traditional military, quickly dropping off soldiers into combat. Cerberus on the other hand focus more on highly coordinated, pre-planned assaults that rely on stealth a lot more. Their soldiers always use the same weapons and armour, so they would likely be prepared far in advance of the mission. Having the armory on the CIC is also handy for when the ship is boarded, which helps the crew arm themselves more quickly ( for example, when Collectors board the ship, which explains why all the crew on the CIC were packing heat but everyone else wasn't). Bonus because Cerberus isn't exactly the galaxy's favorite organization. If another force manages to board the Normandy (Collectors, Alliance, pirates, what have you), they'll head for the CIC to make sure the ship doesn't jump to FTL speeds. Alliance military vessels would just have security around (like those guys on the first Normandy whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to salute you when you walked by), but Cerberus lacks the manpower to have dedicated security officers permanently toting guns around and waiting for something to happen, so weapons have to be close at hand. Cerberus also expects your armory on the SR-2 to serve as a prototyping lab (2 is the only game in which you research new equipment, including new heavy weapons). For this reason, it has to be located adjacent to the tech lab.
    • This also explains why there are weapons down in Life Support: it's another likely target, so any crew who get there before invaders should be ready to defend it.
  • Humanity is seen by the other species as aggressive bullies who force their way through things. We don't exactly argue this point because we are human and see it as being part of our nature. However, when you realize that First Contact only occurred about thirty years prior to the start of the first game, meaning many characters we meet were born before humanity encountered the turians, means that humanity is still in the process of reacting to the existence of aliens. And, because the first aliens humanity encounters led that encounter by attacking them in accordance with Citadel laws (laws humanity had no way to know existed), humanity's reaction is still in defensive mode, which is lash out, scream, shout, raise all sorts of hell until you feel reasonably secure again. Which is why humanity pushes so hard - they don't feel secure yet. It's also telling that even the asari, renowned diplomats and known for being calming and understanding of others, do not pick up on this. It's part of the overall problem of the Council, that they are complacent - the last major first contact that they had was the turians, 1500 years ago, so they are unaccustomed to interacting with new species, which is why the drive and push of humanity is so unnerving to them. Humanity wants to keep finding out more, and the Council seem content with the status quo. And it's why things seem to fall apart so easily once the status quo gets knocked off kilter in the third game.
  • The Yahg believe in Might Makes Right, Are likely to be the leaders of the next cycle, have space travel early on in the cycle and happen to have multiple eyes. Who else fit all those? Protheans.
  • By the end of The Lair of Shadow Broker DLC Liara says that the previous Shadow Broker studied prothean works to find a way to fight the Reapers. Then ME3 rolls along...
  • The fact that you need to spend fuel continuously in the second and third games to get to your destination within a cluster seems like Space Friction at work. You should just be able to accelerate toward the target system and then use momentum to keep going while enveloped in the mass effect field. But keep in mind one of Shepard's comments to a store clerk: "Why are we turning around, the ship's only halfway there?" The first half of the fuel expenditure to reach the next star system is acceleration, and the other half of the trip is counterthrust to slow the ship down.
  • One can notice that all the in-universe music (so not the combat music only the player can hear) in Mass Effect has no spoken lyrics whatsoever - this is explained by the fact everyone owns a translator, and lyrics would sound really weird when translated automatically since most rhyming and poetry would be lost in the process, so artists stopped relying on lyrics altogether in any piece designed for a sufficiently broad audience. The exception would be Fleet and Flotilla, which apparently does have lyrics, but which is aimed mostly at quarians and turians - and when performed by Tali in the Citadel DLC, the lines don't rhyme (or at least the last one doesn't).
    • Of course if you're romancing her she might be changing the lyrics to drop some less-than-subtle hints regarding what she wants to do with Shepard **after** the movie...
  • The quarians have a slightly bizarre collection of accents that at first doesn't make sense, until you realise that they've scavengers and impoverished by the standards of most Citadel species, they probably got their Translator Microbes from a variety of different sources and second hand at that especially given that humans are such newcomers on the galactic stage, all of their human language translators must be comparatively recent purchases. It's also possible that the accents represent separate dialects that the quarians have developed over the years. Many tightly insular, isolated communities that commune relatively infrequently (with the exception of the Captains and Admirals, who are a minority) are the perfect environment to breed dialects and accents.
  • Changing from cooldown-based weapons to thermal clips seems like a huge step backward, what with the fact that you no longer have unlimited ammo, but there's no reason a thermal clip couldn't be reused once it cooled down. Carrying an assault rifle and a half dozen thermal clips is functionally the same as carrying half a dozen old-style rifles and just switching to a new one whenever the one you're using overheats, but with a lot less to carry. The only reason it doesn't work that way for Shepard is the same reason you get One Bullet Clips: Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Yeah, no. I'm guessing you don't have Zaeed's DLC? Thermal clips being ejected is used as a plot point in that DLC.
  • The most obvious traits of the three Citadel races in the games (turians, salarians and asari) correspond to the three skill sets that make up character classes (combat, tech and biotic). Turians are famed for their military prowess, salarians are famed for their scientific skills, and asari are famed for their understanding of biotics.
  • Ever wonder why is it that your non human crew integrate so well onto an Alliance ship in the first game without causing any culture clash based incidents? A closer look at them reveals some surprising reasons why
    • Tali has no problems fitting in because her entire species' culture revolves around being good and valuable crew mates on a space ship. Furthermore, The Reveal in 3 that Quarians resemble humans the most, even more so than the asari means that the people around her don't seem like weird looking freaks.
    • Wrex is in it for the good fight so he has no reason to interact with the crew at all. And being a millennium old mercenary means he has had lots of experience just bunking on a ship and keeping out of everyone's way. But his lack of integration with the rest of the crew probably is the reason why he is willing to turn against you on Virmire.
    • Garrus fits in well because because a conversation you have with him in 2 reveals that he is actually not a model turian. He displays many characteristics typical of humans. He refuses to follow stupid orders and back down from his investigation into Saren, acting not like the dutiful turian but like an upstart human. He also clashes with his superiors over their handling of Saleon, acting not with a My Country, Right or Wrong mindset of a turian, but with a Cowboy Cop mentality of a human. That is why he integrates well into a human crew - he is a lot more like them.
    • The reason Liara fit in so well is All There in the Manual. Asari maidens go around adventuring while human study for a profession and enter the workforce as soon as they reach maturity. Liara did what a human normally does - get a college education (PhD) and then enter a profession as an archeologist instead of spendin' her wild maiden years strippin' or in merc bands. She initially is put off by humans being so rushed and high strung compared to the take it slow asari, but soon realizes the merit of that attitude - probably because she herself has that same human like dedication to her chosen field.
  • Liara plays "Vigil's Theme" on a piano (which in the soundtrack is extended to Liara's Vigil). If you pick the Refusal Ending, it becomes a Bookend to the entire series, as Liara becomes Vigil herself, to Fling a Light into the Future.
  • TIM vs Saren
    • Both of them are indoctrinated without them knowing it, both are encountered in person at the end game on the Citadel and both need a very high bar to reach in order to persuade them to step aside. However while Saren's persuade option was attainable as long as you maxed out your Charm/Intimidate points, TIM's persuasion is a much more difficult thing to unlock, even requiring some multiplayer play to increase EMS upto 5000. Why is his bar higher than Saren's? It is because of what they were trying to accomplish. Saren was looking to appease the Reapers, wherein selling out and appeasing an enemy is a huge taboo for Turians. He therefore was already suspecting his own indoctrination due to his behavior being so off kilter from normal turian behavior and was thus willing to be persuaded. TIM on the other hand was looking to outright annex and enslave the Reapers, to repurpose them as enforcers of human supremacy. Even a non-indoctrinated racist xenophobe would have these tendencies and it would never even cross their mind that a zeal to accomplish this goal is a subtle form of indoctrination. That is why it takes Effective Military Strength to convince him. Only by measuring losses taken by Cerberus does he realize that pursuing control is outright wrecking his organization and humanity as a whole.
  • Spectres getting no funding from the Council or their respective species' governments makes a lot of sense. Since these individuals are given carte blanche to do as they wish to protect the Council, it is natural that they would want the best possible equipment, which also costs a lot. If a budget was appropriated for them, there is a high probability that they would exceed their budgetary allotment. The Council race with the most influence is a direct democracy. Altering this budget in any form would involve first getting it through a plebiscite, then negotiating that with other council races. That would take way too long. And even if the Spectre stayed within budget, there will definitely be some form of budget oversight committee similar to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, that will be monitoring how this appropriated money is being spent. The Spectre might get mired in either a political squabble on how to spend their money, or bureaucratic red tape in having to get every purchase approved. To avoid all these hassles, having a Spectre fund themselves is a more effective option.
  • It's a galaxy filled with highly advanced technology, and befittingly, most computers are utilizing holographic displays and interfaces. Despite this, they still suffer a serious case of Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future. However, pretty much every computer is connected to the extranet, which is a bit like our modern-day internet... except instead of just one planet, it covers the entire galaxy. Now, what's one of the best ways to ensure critical data keeps moving smoothly across such vast distances? To keep the packages as small as possible, which means stripping down all the fancy graphics. It's entirely possible that they have displays that can view all the newest funny and cute varren videos from SpaceTube in glorious 4K, but doing so would be highly impractical, since streaming from a server located in another galactic arm could take days.
  • Female turian anatomy:
    • Why is a "supportive waist" an attractive trait in female turians, according to how Garrus tries to flirt with Female Shepard in Mass Effect 2? It may be a health issue: At least the species native to Earth (and likely almost all species native to the ME Milky Way, too), attractive traits tend to root into those traits that indicate how appropriate breeding partner the other individual would be. These traits include indicators of health, appropriate age, and traits helping with survival and/or aiding with raising the descendants (for example, for humans, smooth flawless skin indicates good health and young age, and sense of humor indicates intelligence and social skills). Then, turians have shown to have usually proportionally narrow waists, over which they tend to have heavy upper torso. The weight of their upper torsos is also increased by the metallic carapaces over their bodies, coupled with the gravity of Palaven that is 1.14 times greater than that of Earth. Therefore, despite the wasp-like proportions of turian bodies, they actually need thick enough waists to support *badumtssh* their heavy upper torsos.
    • Also: Compared to female turians, Shepard's waist IS (proportionally) very supportive.
    • Could metallic carapaces also limit how much a female turian's stomach can stretch during pregnancy? (They give birth to babies apparently like mammals.) Narrow volume requires more stretching to obtain desired volume. Therefore, having stocky enough waist from the very beginning ensures that there is enough room for a baby turian? ...assuming that this is the part of the body where the fetus develops...
    • A supportive waist appears to be a big deal in turian beauty standards, as it (in addition to an appealing fringe) is one of the first things Garrus would mention when complimenting a female turian's appearance.
  • Plenty has been said about Kaidan/Ashley not trusting Shepard because s/he was working with Cerberus. Note, however, that they were the only squadmates introduced prior to the third game that did not have a loyalty mission. Garrus, Wrex, Tali, and Liara all have a proto-loyalty mission in the first game that addresses some personal issue of theirs. Neither Kaidan nor Ashley had any such thing. One might point to Virmire, but that had nothing to do with their personal issues, so it didn't count. Meanwhile, Garrus, Tali, and Liara, the three most devoted to Shepard, effectively had two loyalty missions. Liara in particular is noteworthy because her first loyalty mission was also part of the main story, so her personal issue in the first game is guaranteed to have been dealt with even if Shepard didn't take her along. Where does that leave Kaidan/Ashley? Shepard has to gain their loyalty just like they did the squad in 2. The tension on Mars, talking things out with them in the hospital, giving them advice about becoming Spectres, and talking them down during the coup was their loyalty mission. It was just spread out over a significant portion of the game instead of being condensed into one episode like everyone else's. And like everyone else's loyalty mission, players who mess it up or just ignore it will pay.
  • Ashley in 3:
    • Compared to the other returning squad members, Ashley's power set in 3 is by far the most radical departure from her abilities in 1. However, Ashley mentions in 1 that she is afraid that she won't be able to keep up with the other five, who are a mixture of Genius Bruisers and Badass Bookworms, some of whom have psychic powers, while Ashley could only shoot things. Ashley's power set in 3 is remarkably versatile. Marksman reflects her original job of just shooting things, Disruptor Ammo covers shields, barriers, and synthetics, Inferno Grenades cover armor and organics, and Concussive Shot gives her some control over the battlefield, while combining all four allows her to cause considerable area-of-effect damage with Tech Bursts and Fire Explosions, all things that the rest of the original squad can do with tech or biotics. Ashley deliberately trained in combat techniques that would bring her up to the same level as the other members of the first Normandy.
    • Additionally, Disruptor Ammo is good against synthetics. What took out her entire squad, attacked both her and Kaidan and forced Shepard to make a choice between them, and (they thought) forced Tali, who's like a sister to her, off her home planet? Geth.
  • Why is it that Shepard can survive a hit from Harbinger's main gun, survive being violently thrown up into space by the Citadel beam, even survive a deliberate targeting of onboard cybernetics during the Destroy ending, but succumbs to Morinth? Miranda's logs of project Lazarus reveal why - Shepard was recovered with a fully intact brain and the cybernetic implants were to reanimate the rest of the body. Therefore, those cybernetics could resuscitate Shepard from almost any damage taken by the body. However, there are no cybernetics in Shepard's brain, because TIM wanted the commander brought back with no changes in personality. So Shepard's cybernetics can do nothing at all if the brain takes damage. And how does Morinth kill? She overloads the nervous system to such an extent that it causes the brain to hemorrhage.
  • Humans having much more genetic variance compared to other species, initially appears to be a blatant use of the Humans Are Special trope in Mass Effect 2, but a closer examination of those other species reveals a surprising reason why this "special variance" exists.
    • The Turians come from a planet that receives higher levels of stellar radiation from its sun, so you would expect that turians would have even more variation through mutation than humans. The reason why they don't is because they evolved a thick metallic carapace and have thulium in them to mitigate the effects of all that radiation. So the levels of radiation on Palaven may have been a case of "too much of a good thing" as it forced life to evolve too much of a counter to that radiation.
    • The Salarians as the codex tells us, practice a form of eugenics through selective breeding. Since they are very picky about only allowing superlative genes to replicate via reproduction, they intentionally make themselves less genetically diverse.
    • The krogan due to the genophage have a very small population, with appallingly low levels of growth. Due to the genophage overriding all other hazards, this forces successive generations of Krogan to select only towards being able to reproduce in spite of the genophage. Selecting so strongly for one criteria means that variation in the gene pool is unintentionally curtailed.
    • The Asari Bizarre Alien Reproduction merely uses foreign DNA as a template, as opposes to actually incorporating it into their genetic diversity. They've also received genetic enhancements from the Protheans in order to be naturally biotic, further explaining their standardized genetics.
    • The Vorcha are outright stated to not evolve anymore since their Adaptive Ability makes it unnecessary, so their gene pool would be limited to the first Vorcha with said ability.
    • Harbinger outright states the Drell have an insufficiently small population (the codex puts the original survivors at 375,000). The Quarians have a similar problem. Other races (Hanar, Volus, Elcor) have biological quirks that limit their potential population compared to others (water and ammonia breathing, slow acting).
    • While being ammonia breathers does not by itself result in low genetic variation for the Volus, the location of their home world does. Irene is located right outside the trailing edge of their sun's "Goldilocks zone" and therefore doesn't receive much radiation compared to what a planet inside the zone would. The only reason life formed there was because of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect only traps heat in, not radiation in the entire spectrum. This is what limits Volus genetic mutation.
    • While low numbers might have been the final reason for the Quarians' lack of diversity, it isn't the main contributing reason. Quarian biology evolved to be highly symbiotic with everything else around them, hence their propensity for dangerous allergic reactions. Similarly, every other life form on Rannoch evolved to be symbiotic with them. There is therefore no "genetic arms race" that would have normally driven adaptation, such as predator and prey, parasite and antibody etc. The fact that it would take them 600 years to adapt to even a garden world capable of supporting life, indicates that their biology isn't very adaptive to begin with.
    • The Rachni breed through queens, limiting their diversity to the number of queens currently available. Their genetic diversity was further limited by the Protheans who wanted to tailor them into warlike shock troops. They intentionally culled all except the most bellicose and cunning of the queens, then had to cull them too, when their experiment got out of hand.
  • Asari look female because they give birth to live young. Wide hips are a necessity for giving birth, and mammary glands to provide milk would also be needed. Therefore it's totally justified on a biological level for a humanoid monogendered species to appear female.
  • Even though the codex states that Spectres usually work alone (and in fact most Spectres you encounter in the game are working alone), why does Shepard always conduct missions with a squad of three (unless explicitly ordered to go alone in the case of Arrival)? The very first mission on Eden Prime showed that even a well regarded Spectre like Nihlus can get caught off guard when working with no backup. Shepard learned that lesson well.
    • Shepard spent much of his/her life as an Alliance soldier before s/he was made a Spectre. The Alliance is the galactic evolution of modern-day militaries in real life, and so its soldiers are conditioned to think, act, and function cooperatively as a group as part of their basic training. Nihlus getting killed for going it alone only reinforced the Alliance's reasons for that conditioning, and Shepard's reasons for sticking to it after being given Spectre status.
    • By the time Shepard was made a Spectre, s/he'd already seen the other Spectre involved in Eden Prime use his Spectre status to cover up his involvement in the geth attack. Before boarding the Normandy to leave the Citadel, s/he learns that he had a history of using his Spectre status to cover up other heinous acts of terrorism by killing anyone with evidence against him and discrediting any witnesses that lived long enough to testify against him (just like he did at the trial). That's a Moral Event Horizon Shepard's not too keen on crossing. Working alongside the crew of an Alliance warship with the Council on speed dial and a ragtag team of the galaxy's most powerful/dangerous badasses means that Shepard is constantly surrounded by people that can and will bring him/her to justice the moment s/he starts going rogue like Saren did.
    • And Spectres do work together, because they are all in the same "whatever it takes" mindset. Shepard's crew are so attached to them, they'll do morally questionable things if asked to.
    • Shepard became a Spectre while still actively working in an Alliance vessel and crew (with additional aliens helping out), so he never really started the I Work Alone that most Spectres start with. He never started as a special agent. By the time 2 and 3 roll around, he's just used to having a crew, and his successes are due to having loyal people (or "minions" if you want to be cynical) who will do what he says.
  • Throughout the trilogy, the Reapers seem surprised that Shepard resists them so stubbornly, and even racks up win after small win against them. And right until the end, they just don't get why. Even the Catalyst waves it off as "organics are clearly more resourceful than we anticipated." Yet when the Leviathans find Shepard and probe his/her mind and Shepard stubbornly resist again, the Leviathans instantly understand why the Reapers perceive him/her as such a threat. Why such a difference from two very similar entities? It is because Leviathans are organic they recognized the power of mule headed stubbornness because as organic life, they are capable of it too.
  • The Quarian Admirals' opinions on the war with the geth in Mass Effect 2 are entirely identical to the choices Shepard gets in the very end of the third game. Han'Gerrel seeks way to destroy the geths, Daro'Xen wants to return them under Quarian control, Zaal'Koris is striving for alternative ways to resolve the conflict (and later in a "good" outcome in Mass Effect 3 geth become symbiotic with Quarian suits) and finally, Admiral Raan is unable to choose a side. The four main endings of the trilogy are Destroy, Control, Synthesis and Refuse.
  • The fourth game now provides us with an in universe justification for why so many of Matriarch Benezia's commando entourage joined her in her quest to be a moderating influence on Saren. In the fourth game, Cora who served with a Asari huntresses by the way, in case you didn't know, mentions an important concept of the Tiamna - a bodyguard who displays Undying Loyalty to her charge, even under the most trying circumstances. And this concept was stressed very heavily by a commando named Sarissa, whose battle manuals are supposedly required reading for all huntresses. It was this Tiamna concept that may have forced many commandos to accompany Benezia even if they had reservations about Saren.
  • It seems from the beginning Wrex and Eve are Like an Old Married Couple, with Eve knowing a lot about Wrex... until you realize... they were already a married couple. There's a reason Wrex became a loner merc and Eve became a shaman, and why Eve rejects Wreav's advances. They were married and in the middle of a separation! The reason? Who do you think urged Wrex and Jerrod to try to reconcile?
  • The volus shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a Council seat, because their main hat is commerce — and that makes them profoundly unsuitable for holding a leadership position, due to conflict of interest.
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