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     Plague on Omega? Why is anyone even surprised? 
  • So why is everyone so convinced that the Omega Plague has to be a bio-weapon? I know, it actually is, I'm talking about people jumping to that conclusion and not even considering it could be natural. "There's a Plague, SOMEONE MUST BE RESPONSIBLE" seems like quite the jump in logic. The surprise shouldn't be that there is a Plague, but that there aren't Plagues appearing ALL THE TIME. Think about it for a second. Omega is heavily populated, has people coming and going from all over the galaxy bringing who knows what with them, is said to be home to many narcotics and addicts, has old busted up technology controlling it's life support systems, has no government oversight, and is easily the filthiest place in the galaxy. Perfect conditions for plagues to evolve naturally. It's a wonder anyone ever takes off their airsuits when they land there.
    • If you paid attention while talking to anyone in the plague district, they'll point out that the plague is jumping across species from entirely different planets. That is not a natural thing when you've got a dozen different biologies and opposite sides of the chirality spectrum getting infected. Viruses and microorganisms that infect living creatures are extremely selective in their targets and have difficulty infected across species. The Black Plague, for example, infected and killed humans but did nothing to various carrier species - and that's on two animal life forms that evolved on the same planet. You do not get a naturally occuring plague that infects and harms multiple species who evolved on different planets unless its engineered.
    • The fact that humans of all species can't get infected, lends more evidence. Nobody cares that the vorcha can't get the plague, due to their extreme adaptability, but humans are just as vulnerable as any other species, to disease. Something that jumps across chirality but spares humans has to be bio-engineered. And this isn't that bad an assumption to make, given the evidence. What they don't know is that the humans are being singled out for A Fate Worse Than Death.

     Tank-bred 

  • If Okeer was able to mass-produce krogan like that, then how come that didn't become the primary method of reproduction on Tuchanka?
    • Krogan utterly despise the idea of cloning their own species. The conservative krogan - which is most of them - think that they're an abomination and unnatural, and even Wrex admits that tank-bred krogan are killed very quickly because they are viewed as "clan-less." Okeer and his tank-bred were widely considered insane by even the korgan standards.

     Gene masters can't cure genetic diseases? 
  • It's standard practice to genetically modify Alliance soldiers. The Salarians could make stillbirths a species wide genetic trait in a species ideal for survival at any cost. Miranda's father basically genderbent his clones to make daughters! So how come people can't fix tiny details like Ardat-Yakshi genes or Vrolik Syndrome? The latter is particularly odd, considering Cerberus used tech to make Shepard's bones more dense and Joker needs denser bones.
    • Genetic engineering isn't magic. Just because one cure exists doesn't mean that other cures exist. The asari have been trying to cure the Ardat-Yakshi genetic disorder for thousands of years with no luck, and the fact that Joker is even alive with a severe case of Vrolik's Syndrome is credited to advanced modern medical science.
      • A real-world equivalent question is often asked: if we can successfully identify, treat and cure multiple types of cancer, why can't we cure them all? The answer is, sadly, that it's way more complicated than the average person realises. Just because you can do x, doesn't mean that you can do y, no matter how much the average layman thinks you should be able to.
    • But the point is that they're doing stuff that seems to clearly be in that weight class. Galactic civilization is capable of heavily modifying genetics on a species wide level. You'd think a race capable of something like the Genophage could suppress Ardat-Yakshi genes. Nevermind what the Asari are capable of. And couldn't doctors detect the Vrolik syndrome defect in utero and fix it before the bones fully form?
    • Who knows? Maybe the asari genome is more difficult to work with than the krogan, or there's complications associated with repairing those faulty genomes that make a cure unfeasible. Genetic engineering is not magic, and it's explicitly stated that the asari haven't developed any known cure. In addition, the genophage was a desperate genetic weapon developed in the midst of a total war scenario with massive backing by the Salarian Union, whereas the Ardat-Yakshi issue is a smaller-scale problem that is not presenting an existential threat to the asari and which they want to keep relatively quiet. There wouldn't be as much backing to cure it as there would for the genophage development, especially as most Ardat-Yakshi can be treated with psychological therapy. As for Vrolik's Syndrome, its probably not something that can be easily cured in utero or it could be overlooked. It clearly either wasn't detected in Joker's case, or they couldn't correct it without causing other complications.
    • There's also the fact that we're learning that individual genes don't just deal with one specific trait. The Moreau's choice might have been "We can cure your son of Vrolik's syndrome, but it will dramatically increase the likelihood of his being either epileptic or autistic." With the asari, it may just be that the specific combination of genes and environmental factors has not yet been identified, or that eliminating one or the other factor may not be an option.

     Animals on Helyme? 
  • The information you read before landing on Helyme says that "all animal life forms more complex than zooplankton" was wiped out when the Reapers attacked the arthenn who lived there. After you land, you seeing groups of giant beetles, and a flock of birds. Am I missing something?
    • Most likely, the Citadel species reintroduced an ecosystem, intentionally or unintentionally. The plankton were there, which means small fish could survive, and then larger fish, and so on. 300,000 years gives at least 6 galactic cycles to reintroduce fauna to the planet. As for the claim that all life was wiped out, remember that we can even know find evidence of a bottlenecking event while not living during it, as the damage has already been repaired.

     How can Shepard be so vital? 
  • I honestly have no idea if this has been asked before, but why is Shepard suddenly the 'it' person? Previously they were the vastly under qualified upstart who was in the wrong place at the right time, now they're basically a superhero and everyone loves and admires them who isn't a villain. If it even has to be inferred from the context, is it ever outright explained how and when Shepard went from Accidental Hero to Super Hero? If besting Saren and assisting in thwarting Sovereign’s efforts makes you (quite reasonably from a players' perspective) such hot stuff, why aren't your teammates similarly lauded and gushed over?
    • Part of the problem here is that you seem to consider Shepard to even be an Accidental Hero or that Shepard was ever "under qualified." Shepard isn't either; Shepard either A) singlehandedly held off an entire batarian army, B) survived combat against dozens of thresher Maws and escaped, or C) wiped out most of a pirate base with ruthless and brutal tactics, so we know Shepard is quite a capable soldier. Also remember that Shepard was being considered as top pick for the fucking Spectres. There's only about a hundred Spectres in the entire galaxy, drawn from populations of hundreds of billions of sentients. And considering the capabilities shown by the other two Spectres encountered thus far, you pretty much have to be a superhero to be a Spectre. Not to mention that by the end of the first game, Shepard is a virtual demigod of war considering how you tear through hordes enemies with ease. And your teammates are lauded and gushed over, each in their own way. That being said, they're not the ones in the spotlight that are the central rallying point. Shepard was the leader, Shepard gets the attention, and Shepard is the one that TIM recognizes as valuable as both a commander and a symbol.
    • That makes a lot of sense. But if those parts of their past are so pivotal to Shepard's creation as a superlative soldier and leader, why not have the player actually DO those things as the first bit of gameplay(of course, doing those things makes no sense at level one, but there are several work-arounds for that)? In-game, you are barely given even the option of being a good leader, you're either one of the stronger biotics, tech-users or gunmen on the squad. Tactical ability in the game rarely extends beyond saying "Go there" or "Stay here" and you never need anything more. I said Accidental Hero because it was by a quirk of chance (Kaidan/Ashley accidentally getting too near the Beacon on Eden Prime) that made Shepard able to do what they did. If they hadn't had the message, Saren and Sovereign's efforts would have been almost impossible to stop due to needing to know where the Conduit was. As for being a 'demigod of war', that says more about the technology available to you than real ability, considering your AI allies can kick just as much ass as you can. I have no trouble with Shepard and co. being lionized after what they did(for what the PLAYER accomplished), but TIM(why did the writers choose Cerberus?!) basically saying "He's the only one who can save us!" sticks in my craw due to how many other impressive individuals are being sidelined in order to make the player feel important. Part of the problem I guess is that it's a freaking video game, and thus has severe restrictions on what they can actually let you do; the player can't lose a fight unless huge roadblocks are thrown in their way, no enemy can be so powerful they aren't beaten by the end of the game(with exceptions), and the player can't really make a 'wrong' decision because that would penalize them for doing what the game was asking them to do.
    • I think you're looking at the wrong trope: Accidental Hero is "guy is thought to have done something special, but didn't", while "guy does something special because he happened to be there" is Right Man in the Wrong Place. Now, Shepard, as mentioned, was an outstanding soldier before the game began, which is part of the reason s/he became the first human Spectre. Shepard then rescued a scientist from loads of geth, survived a rachni infestation (and either killed/released the Queen, to boot), repelled a geth invasion on a backwater colony before destroying a hostile and very powerful unknown alien, assaulted Saren's base with nothing more than his/her crew and some salarians from the STG, and stopped Sovereign by destroying all of his defensive forces and rendering him vulnerable during a critical moment. That in and of itself speaks of incredible combat prowess (all done by the player), but Shepard's also one of the few who believes in the Reapers. TIM has very good reason to believe that the Reapers are behind colony abductions before it's confirmed, but telling anyone that would be like screaming about the boogeyman because of the Council's coverup. Shepard's pretty much the only person who has the right combination of combat experience and belief in the Reapers to be able to do anything.
    • Thank you, Right Man in the Wrong Place is indeed more appropriate and I apologize for the misuse of Accidental Hero. I simply don't understand the logic behind Shepard's adept use of technology and people skills making them the Only Hope. Their knowledge of and experience with(not to mention acknowledgement of!) the Reaper threat is indeed valuable, but there isn't any reason for the coverup anyway. In short, why not have the player team up with several other SPECTR Es and with their help find a solution to the Reaper threat(if one exists), while the Council publicly downplays the threat of the space demons?
    • The Council downplays the Reaper threat because they don't want to acknowledge it. If they admit the Reapers exist, they're basically saying to the galaxy, "These bazillion-year-old sentient starships are going to come and kill us all, like they've done a thousand times before - literally. They have much better technology than us and control over the mass relay network. We're pretty much screwed. Have a good last year of life." They're either in deep denial over the Reapers, or they really do believe Sovereign was a geth warship. As for Shepard's people skills, she kept his team - which was formed almost purely by circumstance - together for a month after Sovereign's attack, and they broke up almost immediately after she died, making it clear that Shepard was the only thing keeping them together. Shepard can convince people like no one else, and is hard enough to keep people who hate each other's guts from killing each other. Shepard's one of the few people who could form a team good enough to assault on the Collector base (not that TIM knew what was on the other side of the Omega-4 relay at the time, but that's beside the point).
    • Shepard doesn't lead a team of Spectres because Shepard has become friends with his team. There's respect and even friendship between Shepard and the others. Besides, the Council doesn't believe in the Reapers. Shepard, Garrus, Tali, and the others all do. Besides, no one else in the galaxy has the mix of leadership, strength, experience, knowledge about the Collectors/Reapers/Protheans, skill, and just raw will that Shepard has. He/she is one in a trillion.
    • Shepard also doesn't lead a team of Spectres because Spectres generally work alone and don't have ranks. Shepard also has no idea who any other Spectres are, save for Tela Vasir, and she's both an enemy and dead. Spectres also generally answer to the Council, and the Council's basically disowned Shepard in all but name. On top of that, there are very few Spectres out there, all out doing their own thing — why the hell would they join up to help an allegedly delusional human Spectre fight a menace that the Council says doesn't even exist?
    • Not to mention if you look at the context of folk heroes, Shepard was already a hero and absolute badass before the events of Mass Effect. Shepard's initial purpose is to be evaluated as the first Spectre for humanity, ensuring that he/she will become an icon for human progress and acceptance. I think the question is a bit misguided because Udina isn't all that impressed with Shepard which pretty well establishes their relationship through the series. Through the events of Mass Effect Shepard spearheads the assault on Saren, utilizes the Alliance to either save the Destiny Ascension or not with humanity forming the core of the Council. Either way, there will be a massive increase in galaxy-wide status which prompts the reason to resurrect Shepard in ME2. Ordinarily I agree that main characters can be somewhat over-lauded for their skills but Shepard earns every bit of acclaim he/she has from beginning to end. I won't even get into everything Shepard does in ME's 2 and 3, but by the time the series is over Shepard has reshaped the entire galaxy politically. That alone is enough to ensure memetic god status...
    • I think we're looking at the wrong angle here. TIM isn't just focusing on Shepard's badassery - although he certainly has reason to - or knowledge of the threat, but more on that curious ability Shepard has to bring completely awesome people together, forge them into a team, and then proceed to do the impossible. Anything Shepard can do, so can someone else on the team - Tali can hack, Jack can use biotics, Garrus, Grunt, and Zaeed can all run and gun - but none of them (save possibly Garrus) can be the Magnetic Hero and bring a team together before going ten rounds with Cthulhu. Nobody else can be a symbol. Except maybe Garrus, although he was just following Shepard's example on Omega. All of Shepard's team are experts in their own fields, at least in ME2 - in the original it was just people you picked up. There might be someone better (except for Thane and Kasumi, who are acknowledged in-game as the best assassin and thief in the universe) but they aren't available - for example, Wrex couldn't come with you, and he debatably would have been a better Krogan teammate than Grunt with his combat experience and biotics. Miranda could get a team of Cerberus operatives together, but they wouldn't be a substitute for Shepard. If TIM had brought in Tali, Garrus, and a handful of other operatives, it's unlikely that they would have had the same results simply because you can bring together a group, but Shepard will make them into a team. As Hackett says in the third game, "You can pay a soldier to fire a gun. You can pay him to charge the enemy and take a hill. But you can't pay him to believe." Shepard isn't just an awesome soldier and an absolute badass, but has the strange ability to win the hearts and loyalty of just about anyone.
    • True and true, but you missed a most important point, important point for TIM anyway: Shepard is a human.
    • Cerberus stands for protection and advancement of humanity (no matter the cost). Thus TIM's chosen champion has to be a human. So yeah, no way Cerberus could hire Garrus (Turian) for the leadership role even if he's nearly as capable and committed.
Also adding to posts above:
  • Shepard's the best human hero there is, and to Cerberus: humanity's ticket to rallying the Galaxy (and perhaps place humanity on top). Even from the prologue TIM and Miranda already stated their intention to recruit Shepard for Cerberus cause. Commander Shepard's apparent death gave TIM exactly that chance.
  • In ME2 Shepard could assemble a team even from personalities who are anti-cerberus, eg: Tali, Jack, perhaps others too.
  • No way you can imagine Jacob/Miranda, or Ashley/Kaidan (or even Udina/Anderson, heh) doing that. So yeah, Shepard's the only one fit for the job.
  • The Citadel DLC in 3 reveals another point. Miranda remarks that Shepard's crazy ability to triumph in the face of impossible odds is exactly why they were brought back. Even with everything that happens in all the games and Shepard's backstory, no matter what happens, Shepard does not lose. It is not part of who Shepard is. Which is why (besides everything above) they brought Shepard back specifically. If you're gonna drop four billion credits on resurrecting someone, you want to make sure they're going to get the job done.
  • Then again, consider the entire saga backward from the point of the epilogue; an old man and his grandchild, walking through a snowy wood as he tells her a story. One could easily argue the whole thing was a story he told to entertain her. This could easily explain Shepard's place as the indomitable and unbeatable center of things. And remember, she asks grandpa to tell her another story about "the Shepard," which he agrees to do. This could be interpreted as the opener to a new ME chapter (which I know isn't going to involve Shepard, but it fits the line of thought).
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    The new ammo system 
  • The justifications for the new ammo system bug me on several levels. First off, it's stated that the thermal clips are derived from Geth weaponry. But you got to use Geth weaponry (Pulse Rifles become Randomly Drops once you're high enough level) in the first game, and they worked just like your normal guns. And if the meta reason for making the change was that the overheat mechanic was too forgiving, than by definition, the thermal clips are not more efficient—and being unable to cool down without them likewise means the gun's cooling system has definitively been downgraded from Mass Effect. And just how did they change every gun in the galaxy to use the new system in only two years, so that even in the galaxy's worst havens of criminality and black market trading, you can't buy an old model gun, nor can you find someone tinker with your guns to put them on the old system? The thing that bugs me most, though, is that the meta goal of making it more difficult to just hold down the 'Fire' button and forget could have been achieved without the need for explanation (and I could only presume would have been easier to program) by making guns overheat more easily, and/or cool more slowly.
    • Several things you need to keep in mind...
    • It's never said that the thermal clip technology was 'invented' or 'engineered' or 'discovered' after the attack on the Citadel. It's said the Alliance switched over. There's no reason to believe that the technology didn't exist and wasn't in widespread use by various groups across the galaxy (such as the crew of the Hugo Gernsbeck) long before Shepard came along. In fact, in one of Zaeed's stories he explicitly mentions "ejecting a clip," which surely took place years before. And since Shepard's been a soldier for ten years, s/he easily could have come across the technology at some point and gotten familiar enough to recognize and use it on Lazarus Station. Conversely, there's no reason to believe every soldier across the galaxy switched over. After all, not every enemy drops thermal clips. There might well be entire armies that still use the old system or another system entirely.
      • Those examples (such as Zaeed saying 'didn't have to eject a clip') are simple oversights. The crew of the Hugo Gernsback should have all had old weapons - it IS explicitly stated that the technology was only used because it brought weapons into parity with Geth weapons. The writers clearly didn't really care or think about it hard enough. The old heat system was clearly better, but Bioware were probably strong-armed into coming up with an ammo system by EA in order to make the game more like existing cover-based shooters (can we say Gears of War?)
    • The geth didn't upgrade their weapons until after the Battle of the Citadel. Why would they? It's stated explicitly in the Codex that the geth upgraded after reviewing their combat data. But they didn't have any combat data until the events of the first game. They had been isolated for the past 300 years. So geth weapons in the first game behave exactly like they should.
    • There's no reason to believe that just because Shepard's guns have limited ammo, every military across the galaxy does too. Shepard's missions are all well supplied and well supported 'get in, get out' recon and assault missions, not prolonged battles of attrition where ammunition is a serious concern. So his/her guns need to be customized to put out maximum damage in minimum time, not to last months without a resupply. Other soldiers could definitely have guns built halfway between the new system and the old.
      • Except where it says in the codex that everyone adapted to the thermal clip system because it apparently made fighting the Geth easier.
    • Apparently the Developers wanted to utilize a mix of both, normal cooling over time, or extracting a thermal clip for immediate cooling when you needed it. Playtesters disliked it, so they switched to the "ammo system", but the old system is still buried in the code, unbalancing the guns massively.
    • Realistically thought I thought the new ammo system was miles better. Using the assault rifle as an example, with the old system you could only either fire it in bursts to keep it from overheating but giving you less firepower, or you could lay on the trigger and overheat it but then you'd have to wait several seconds for it to cool down. During those several seconds you have no way to provide covering/suppressing fire and the enemy has enough time to get close and flank you or find a new position. In the new system, you just hit a button, eject a clip and keep sending death downrange. Only about a second break in the action, and no time for the enemy to get to a better position. In fact in real life most battle are won by whomever sends our more lead in the least amount of time. In WWII entire squads of Germans armed with the technically superior Kar 98 rifle were falling to Russian squads armed with only submachine guns.
      • Wrong. In real life, the side that fires accurately and actually hits the enemy win battles. The Russians in WWII won because their weapons had massive drum magazines - and the fact that they had overwhelming numerical superiority.
    • The new ammo system works to make gameplay function as a good FPS, but it's also a serious case of Artistic License – Physics as it completely violates the laws of thermodynamics. That is, the thermal clips only exist to absorb heat, but somehow, that heat is treated as a constant. You can fire one shot from a weapon and the heat stays there, somehow, even if you don't fire again for 20 minutes. This is treated as perfectly constant despite the very different environments you visit-some of which don't have even have atmospheres and, therefore, should result igreater use of thermal clips since there's no conduction/convection to help bleed off the heat. It's a bit annoying but, if you like having an ammo system, it's a Necessary Weasel. The bigger question is why they stuck with this idea of heat transference when it stops making scientific sense, rather than just making the guns use actual ammo to power their ammo system.
      • That's because programming the different responses of heat to the many different environments is horrendously time-consuming. They had to go with what fit within their budgetary constraints. Not many people would even notice if it WAS completely accurate.

     Time Standards 
  • So, there's some mention of Galactic Standard Time in planet and codex entries but what exactly is it? The game takes place in 2185 which I presume to be human years. Shepard is human so I suppose it makes sense to give us something to relate to, but then comes the fact that he discusses the passage of time with aliens (the clerk at Saronis Applications comes to mind). Weeks, months, and of course the all-important "two years" are discussed with aliens who should have no concept of these Earth times unless they were VERY well read into an alien's culture (humans'). Or are we to assume Galactic Standard Time just so happens to line up with human time?
    • We can reasonably assume that galactic standard time does roughly line up with human time, at least on a yearly basis. Almost all species in the galaxy (excepting the volus) come from planets that normally form in the life belt around a star, so they'll have roughly the same amount of time per year, give or take a few weeks' worth. From there, we can reasonably assume that any additional times are translated when conversing with aliens. Note that it is very rare for the series to actually give any concrete passage of time, and translators are apparently advanced enough that when an alien does speak of time units, those time units are translated into the appropriate type and amount to a human listener.
    • One of the prologue books explains this in detail: A "galactic standard" second is about half as long as an Earth second, but there are a hundred in a minute, and a hundred of those in an hour. This results in an hour about 15% longer than the human one. I can't remember how hours go into days into years, but that's the start.
    • The same book also mentions that a galactic standard year is close to an Earth year in length.
    • It's not unreasonable that the translators also translate time and units of measurements into ones that the user would understand.
    • But Shepard probably does understand those measurements, having been raised in the latter half of the 22nd century. As a Spacer he would be going by GST because he lived on a ship. Colonist is probably similar. Earthborn is the only one where he probably grew up without it, but nevertheless, he's doubtless lived on a starship for months as a marine. So any way you go about it he knows the alternate measurements somehow. But it could be translating them to something that the audience understands, rather than what Shepard him/herself hears.
    • I don't think it's ever made clear if they're using Earth time or not. Maybe they were talking in GST all along and we didn't even know it.
    • That last part is crucial, I think. Sure, Shepard would be able to put any galactic standards into context, but the audience wouldn't, and if they had used "but you were gone for two space/Thessian/whatever years!" instead, we'd probably get a headscratcher about why they didn't just use a unit of time that makes sense to the average gamer.

     Asari reproduction 

  • If I'm correctly understanding how asari reproduction works (which I'm not sure if I am), then technically, does that not make asari asexual? I mean, it says that they DO need a partner in order for it to happen, but that during the process of "reproduction" the asari never takes any genes from her partner, so all the DNA that goes to the offspring is her own? It says that the asari just uses her partner's DNA profile as a map to randomize which of her own genes get passed on to her offspring but... how does that even work? How can she only be passing down "some" of her genes if there aren't any coming from her partner? I'm confused on this one.
    • The asari are all female, but parthogenic. Several real life creatures actually share this distinction. The exact method by which the asari play around with their genes does not exist for any terrestrial life forms, but that doesn't mean it's impossible (unlikely, but not impossible).
    • How does that work though? With only one genetic parent, how do they maintain genetic diversity? With every individual asari being unique, rather than them all being clones of each other?
    • Asari are genetically diverse for the same reason that humans are. Just because they have one gender doesn't mean that they're clones. When the asari mate, they provide two sets of genes to the offspring; one is their own, while the other is altered via the melding process with the other entity they are mating with. Unlike sexual reproduction, they don't use DNA directly from their partner; it's all internalized.
    • My assumption is that it's due to EZO exposure. Lots and lots of EZO exposure.
    • The "father's" DNA, from my understanding, is used as a sorta of template; the asari mother uses her own DNA to follow that template by turning on/off different alleles, creating a more "randomized/diverse" genetic make-up for her daughter. Perhaps mating with other species allows for the activation of alleles in the supposed "junk DNA" or something, allowing for greater diversity in comparison to purebloods? Take for example genetic conditions; Ardat-Yakshi are only purebloods, thus are only produced by having two asari parents with that particular feature in their DNA; however other species obviously don't have this within their genetic template and so no Ardat-Yakshi can be produced with interspecies mating. So essentially, the results are like sexual reproduction, but genders of the partners is irrelevant, no physical genetic material is exchanged and the offspring is created purely from the DNA of the mother. Or something. (Could some kind troper maybe rephrase this answer up for me a bit? It's 2AM and I'm not certain I'm adequately getting the point across here.)
    • ^That's more or less the explanation presented in the game. The asari in the "Blue Rose of Illium" quest explains it in much the same way. Asari don't actually take the genetic material of the "father", they just use it to throw some extra variables into the child's DNA. It's implied that asari mating involves some sort of psychic mind-meld in addition to physical contact. Presumably the mother-asari psychically "reads" the DNA of her partner and unconsciously/randomly chooses certain traits that are imprinted on the DNA of the child.
      • All of which adds up to not very much in terms of actual biology. The fact remains: Asari are essentially asexual and somehow 'randomise' their offspring's genes via a process that is not very well explained, nor realistic. It would be much easier if they did in fact reproduce sexually and could somehow adapt to other species' DNA via a unique biological process (rather than a magic mind-meld).

    Asari mating DNA 

  • An asari provides two copies of her own DNA to her offspring, one of which is altered by the melding process. (Wait a minute, two FULL copies or two half-copies, as though an asari had both the equivalent of an egg and a sperm ready to go? Because if the former, then why don't the numbers of DNA copies double with each generation?) In any case, asari do not "need" partner DNA, leading to my question — could they conceive on their own without melding at all?
    • The asari may not need a partner to provide their DNA, but they may still be needed to initiate the process. Most likely, their ancestors did have a "male" equivalent that, for one reason or another, eventually faded as the asari evolved into the blue space babes we all know. The need for a partner to initiate the process is little more than an evolutionary left-over that has proven beneficial for introducing new genetic factors into a species that would desperately need them. Some single-sexed earth animals do require a "mate" to pointlessly stimulate the other to reproduce.

    At-will birth control 

  • Also, I have another melding-related question: does this mean that all asari pregnancies are essentially willful, since 1) the gene-probing that leads to "desirable" attribute selection is clearly a conscious choice, and 2) apparently melding can take place without allowing for reproduction (e.g., Liara, Shiala)?
    • As far as we know, asari don't normally end up with surprise pregnancies. This explains why they reproduce so rarely despite their immense lifespans. As for the gene scanning, I don't know if that's entirely conscious on the asari's part. After all, the Ardat-Yakshi wouldn't exist if their mothers could predict what genes could or could not trigger the condition in their daughters. Most likely, they have a vague ability to influence what will or will not occur in their offspring rather than absolute control and knowledge of their daughters' DNA.
    • How can it be a conscious choice? Ancient prehistoric asari wouldn't even know about genes, and even most of the modern ones, bar specialist scientists, would know which genes to pick for an optimal result. Presumably it's random and the only reason to pick different species is to increase the random factor, much like unions from distant populations for humans help prevent inbreeding. They might have conscious control over reproduction, however. Furthermore, the kind of mental bonding that Liara and Shiala did with Shepard to implant and extract knowledge was not the sexual kind.
    • It could have developed into a conscious choice as the Asari's mental abilities evolved, at least as far as the difference between simply melding minds and actual mating goes. In ME 1, Liara mentions how the two processes are different. As for choosing genetic qualities, that could be an instinctual action where the Asari's body reads her mate's gene code and differentiates what is "Asari" and "not-Asari."

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    Ardat-Yakshi pre-spaceflight 

  • If Ardat-Yakshi are only the product of pureblood mating, doesn't that mean that Thessia had a rampant (or at least had much more of) Ardat-Yakshi problem before they discovered spaceflight? Even the post-spaceflight asari have a occurrence rate of 1% in their population (which would mean at least millions of Ardat-Yakshi, or Ardat-Yakshi "sufferers"), which would've been even higher back when there was nobody else to mate with. A possible Author's Saving Throw is that the 1% figure is that of purebloods, but that would still imply millions of Ardat-Yakshi in the pre-spaceflight population.
    • I think it's that 1% represents the total number at risk of developing the condition and even then the vast majority have the likelihood of developing the condition as they do winning the lottery (they simply have a better chance of passing the condition on to their offspring).
    • My understanding of the 1% number is that the condition has different levels of severity, just as any genetic disorder does; the most severe cases, such as with Samara's daughters, kill their mates upon melding. Cases of lesser severity may cause extreme pain, perhaps brain damage.
    • It is extremely likely that Ardat-Yakshi were much more common before asari's first contact. Samara does speak of them as if they were much more common in the past, to the point of having been objects of worship.

     The Good Justicar... 
  • The semi/"almost" romance you can have with Samara is beautiful and interesting. I really like it, and Samara is a great character. But why does she say that they cannot be together because she is a Justicar? I think Samara does genuinely care for Shepard very much, but maybe she is actually afraid to let herself fall for Shepard because she doesn't want to have to watch him/her die someday? (Since asari live far longer than humans do). Is she worried about getting attached to anyone after what happened with her old mate and her daughters?
    • Samara does say that Justicars are allowed to have romantic involvement. I think it may simply be that Samara is so utterly devoted to being a Justicar that it consumes her entire life, and she is afraid to do anything else after four hundred years of following the path.
    • Samara says it outright: She's Married to the Job. She doesn't want anything interfering with her pursuit of justice, not to mention the amount of pain and tragedy she's suffered.
    • In addition to all of the above, giving birth to three Ardat-yakshis in a row has probably given Samara an understandable aversion to romantic attachments of any kind. Granted it's a pretty irrational fear since Ardat-yakshi are seemingly only produced by the mating of two asari, but that's psychology for you.
    • Yes, Ardat-Yakshi are only produced from a two asari relationship. However, I read it as Samara not so much as fearing giving birth to another one, but that, as a mother, having 3 children who can never be allowed to love and having to kill one just made Samara swear off of romance. Kinda honorable yet sad.
    • Am I the only one who suspects this? She outright said at one point that all her daughters were Ardat Yakshi and the "It is exactly what it looks like" Samara IS AN ARDAT YAKSHI HERSELF, meaning that any (cough) "Buisness" she had with Shepard will kill him just like with Morinth!
    • Except that in game it's made pretty explicitly clear that Ardat-Yakshi are sterile. To have had three daughters, Samara could not actually be an Ardat-Yakshi herself.
    • Actually... Samara had to cut off contact with her first two children... even knowing that it would be taking away from them the only thing that was making their miserable existences bearable. This is revealed in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC when you read the dossiers TSB had on her. The code of the Justicars requires severing all attachments to all other beings. That doesn't mean they can't go to a nice dinner with a dashing Human Commander complete with all the fuzzy wuzzy stuff that might be involved followed by gettin it on in his cabin latter... so long as at any given moment she is still willing to gut him like a fish with no hesitation should he decide to stiff the waiter on his tip. She can have romance... she just isn't allowed to love. (no I haven't romanced Samara.. but the point I'm making should still be relevant)
    • I think it also has something to do with her Daughters, who she forced to give up their lives and possible loved ones, that she doesn't believe that she should be able to enter a romantic relationship like the one she could start with Shepard.
    • My take on this is that romance and all the emotions tangled up with it could cause her to do something that contradicts her justicar Code, and she would rather not take that risk. Considering it's already cost her her entire family, she would prefer not to gain something only to lose it that way.

     Samara as fire team leader 
  • Why is Samara not a suitable choice? Miranda says she is ("skilled and disciplined"), and she SHOULD be, since she has centuries of experience... but apparently not, since she always ends up getting someone killed.
    • Samara has no experience as a leader. She's always worked on her own. Therefore, poor leader.
    • Exactly that. I'm usually bothered by Jacob as a fire team leader, since he never indicates he was a good leader the way Miranda and Garrus do, but at least I know he was one.
    • When choosing roles for the suicide mission, Jacob's profile mentions he took tactics classes or something while in the Alliance.
    • Doesn't Jacob explicitly mention he captained a ship while working with the Corsairs?
    • Jacob is a commissioned officer who commanded infantry platoons. You don't get to be an officer in a military as discipline and command-focused as the Alliance's without taking extensive training in infantry command and small-unit tactics. He's also assigned as head of security for one of Cerberus' most critical facilities. You don't get that job in as merit-focused an organization as Cerberus unless you're damned good at command. Jacob is obviously a competent and capable squad leader, he just doesn't get to show it in-game because you're in charge of a single fireteam.
    • Also, it's noted many times that he's a likable guy and he was chosen for the mission because he's a stabilizing element. He's the one greeting new team members on the Normandy and he's always polite. He's the only one on your crew without emotional baggage (apart from Legion, for obvious reasons). It's logical to assume he would keep his cool in a stressful situation and help others keep theirs, so that's why he'll work as a team leader.
    • Samara herself points out that she usually works alone, and that it is very rare for her to work with anyone; being a part of Shepard's team is a novel experience for her. Besides, she's essentially the asari equivalent of The Punisher, with more legality and rules. Do you really want The Punisher leading one of your squads?
    • It's all about leadership skills, which she hasn't had much practice with, since being a Justicar has had her working alone for a very very long time. So therefore she is not suitable to lead the group. Also, she doesn't have a lot of heavy combat experience, unlike Garrus, Miranda and Jacob (the only companions who can successfully lead the team).
    • ^Exactly. There's more to being a leader than just skill and discipline. (Hell, everyone on Shepard's squad has skill and discipline to some degree.) Being a leader is about motivating people, inspiring them, and establishing yourself as an authority figure. And the fact is, Samara sucks at all those things. She might make a fair-to-decent leader if she were put in charge of an all-asari team, if only due to the fact that she's both a Justicar and a Matriarch, arguably the two greatest moral authorities in asari culture. But to a non-asari those distinctions don't carry any real weight. So if Samara is to lead a mixed-species group she's going to have to do it through sheer force of personality, which is something she fails at HARD. Samara does not have the personality of a natural leader. She's cold, she's bossy, she's aloof, and she probably comes off as something of a pseudo-intellectual. Can you really imagine someone like Grunt, Jack, or Zaeed submitting to Samara's authority? Me neither. So assuming the maximum number of recruitments that's a full quarter of Shepard's squad that Samara just lost control of. Subtract two more for the squad members Shepard takes with him plus one more for the tech specialist that has to crawl through the vents. Now Samara's fire team is down to six members, including herself. That's two thirds of her team she just lost. And of course, that all assumes that every other member of Shepard's squad would respect Samara's authority. If not, then there's really no telling how much of her fire team she stands to lose.

    Grunt as squad leader 

  • A related question: I picked Grunt as a fire team leader, and I was kind of annoyed by his Cutscene Incompetence. I can buy that he doesn't know much about tactics because he grew up in a tube, but his complaint as he died is that "They got through my shields." Grunt specializes in regenerating health and hardened armor; losing shields isn't a big deal for him. If anything, he should have gotten other teammates killed rather than himself.
    • That doesn't mean he's invincible. Just like every other party member, he warns everyone when his shields are down. Grunt's a badass, but losing shields is still bad for him.

     Krogan Lifespan 
  • How long can krogan live, exactly? It's pretty clear that they can live for centuries, but Okeer's dossier says he's been a doctor for "millennia," which means several thousand years. Can they even die of old age at all?
    • I think they meant "millennium", as in he's about a thousand years old. Krogan live to be about that, same as asari. It's a typo.
    • Or it's not a typo. Wrex is about a thousand years old, and he doesn't look like he's going to die of old age any time soon.
    • Actually, now that I think about it, you might be right. Didn't they say Okeer was a veteran of the Krogan Rebellions? That'd make him well over a thousand years.
    • If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that Wrex is actually around 1400. I've always assumed the Krogan to be the longest-lived species in the Galaxy, even more so than the Asari. The only thing is that not many Krogan actually die of old age.
    • Maybe the krogan lifespan is about 1200 years; that'd put Wrex as "old, but don't count on him dying tomorrow", and it'd let Okeer fight in the Rebellions while approaching "he might die tomorrow", as the Rebellions started around the year 700 (Earth time), and continued for decades. Also, the Codex mentions a krogan that died at around 1400 years, and that that's considered unusually old.
    • There's some speculation above that in optimum conditions, krogan don't have a maximum life span. Violence usually gets them, and if that doesn't, disease probably will, but removed from those outside forces they can keep on going indefinitely.
    • He is a biologist and geneticist after all, he's likely to have kept himself more healthy than most krogan bother to.
    • Why are krogan so long lived? They live on an INCREDIBLY hostile homeworld with violence killing most of them before they can reach old age. How did they evolve a long lifespan?
      • You're looking at it backwards. Aging and death are nature's ultimate population control; we get old and die so that we don't crowd out our own offspring. It's because Tuchanka is so deadly that krogan never evolved old age: they never needed it to limit their population. It also explains the insane krogran birth-rate before the genophage. On Earth, life-span and reproduction are usually inversely proportional; long-lived species have relatively few young and vice versa. On Tuchanka, the krogan needed to evolve nigh-immortality and an insanely high reproductive rate just to stay in equilibrium with their environment. Take them out of that environment, though...
    • It's a side effect of their incredibly hardy biology. Krogan evolved on a world where any degradation in their cellular structure resulted in swift death. They didn't evolve a long lifespan, it simply resulted from their evolution into ultra-hard survivors.
    • Krogan evolved lots of redundant organs due to the hostile environment of their homeworlds. Presumably, the evolutionary adaptations lasted longer than the stabilization of the environment, so a modern-day krogan, so to speak, that would live an average lifespan amidst a nuclear winter would live up to a thousand years on a more stable, less irradiated environment.

     Collectors husks 
  • Where did the Collectors get their husks, or how were they creating them? We all know from the first game that the geth made them by impaling people on "dragon's teeth," but in comparison we don't really see much of the geth in this game, and they don't appear to be associated with the Collectors. There also aren't ever any dragon's teeth to be seen in the hands of the Collectors or at any of the places they have attacked with the aid of Husks. Also, the Collectors are using new types of husks that the geth never had (Abominations, Scions, and Praetorians). So... where the heck are the Collector's getting their husks from?
    • ...you do remember that the geth got the dragon's teeth from Sovereign? And we see dragon's teeth in the derelict Reaper? It's all Reaper tech. They made the husks from a few of the thousands of colonists they've kidnapped.
    • Yes I know that. Don't treat me like I'm some idiot. I'm saying we never see the dragon's teeth in the hands of the Collectors. Yes I know we see them once on the derelict Reaper, I'm not that stupid. But there were NOT any Collectors there. We never saw any teeth at any of the colonies, or even on the Collectors' ship.
    • So what? The Collectors are Reaper technology. Under DIRECT CONTROL of one. They obviously will have access to their own technology. Just because you don't see any dragon's teeth in the fifteen minutes you spend on their kilometer long warship, doesn't mean that there aren't any on board. Or even back on the station. No need to make husks on site, after all.
    • Also, who says the husks are new? Maybe they're decades old. The Collectors have been active for a while, after all.
    • Besides, who said the Collectors needed to use Dragon's Teeth to create husks? The geth were using them because they didn't actually have much in the way of Reaper tech, and were given them by Sovereign for use in the field. The Collectors have a massive space station that can easily contain the machinery to huskify someone without using spikes. Keep in mind that the Reaper device in the mining facility on that one N7 mission had no Dragon's Teeth either; it was converting people into husks via proximity or possibly some mechanism contained within it, likely nanotech of some sort.
    • Well that's a fair explanation. Thanks.
    • If you talk to your squadmates about the dead husk you see just after the first fight, Shep says to them "We haven't seen any dragon's teeth. The Collectors must have got these husks from somewhere else"

     Garrus's age 
  • I'm kinda bugged that on the official profiles, it lists the ages/years of birth of your squad mates, but since Garrus and Legion's are classified, it doesn't list his. So... does anyone know how old he is by the time of the ME2 storyline? (which takes place in the year 2185 if I remember correctly). Or does anyone have any good estimates? We know that Shepard is 31, so I guessed he would be around the same age, perhaps a couple of years older. But I'm not sure, I haven't been able to find any clear info on this.
    • Well, the lore says that turians have the same lifespan of humans. They enter military training when they're fifteen to about thirty. He obviously wasn't in the turian military when we recruit him in ME1, so he must be thirty. I imagine no older than thirty-five, since he still maintains his idealistic ways.
    • Boot camp at fifteen is a requirement, but serving until thirty isn't. I could see the Hierarchy making an exception for a turian moving into a high-profile career such as C-Sec or the Spectres. Garrus could have gotten special treatment, given that his father was C-Sec and "one of the best". Garrus was pretty high up in C-Sec since the Executor addresses him by first name and he's given the task of finding evidence against Saren. Unless he's in his mid-forties he must have started early, and while you can't really tell a turian's age he doesn't seem to be that old. So, yeah, I agree with you completely.
    • The Codex specifically states that "Most serve until the age of thirty." Keep in mind, though, that the turians' ideas of military service are different from ours. Nearly any civil job is a military job; military medics operate the hospitals, military engineers do construction, military fire brigades handle emergency response, military logistics handles deliveries, etc. If it's not private-sector, it's military as far as the Hierarchy is concerned. With that in mind, Garrus probably served a few years in the Hierarchy military (the second game implies he was part of a marine detail that handled high-risk missions) then his father probably got him a posting at C-Sec. He mustered out, likely between his late teens to mid-twenties, and joined the police.
    • I don't believe it's ever canonically stated how old Garrus is, but writer Patrick Weekes guesses he's about 2 to 4 years younger than Shepard. That's not really definitive, of course, but it is a guess.

     Aeia Rescue Teams 
  • In Jacob's loyalty mission, you end up alerting the Alliance to go pick up the survivors and get them treatment. This remains the case even if you left Ronald Taylor alive. My question is: what's stopping Ronald from abusing power one last time before the Alliance arrests him and gets his victims proper treatment, since the Normandy left before the Alliance could see them? (To a lesser extent, this also could apply to the end of the Overlord DLC, though it's never specified how David got to the Academy.)
    • The simplest interpretation would be that the group stuck around for a while maybe. We don't know how much time elapsed. Or perhaps even Shep and crew stuck around to gather up all the survivors, take their weapons to make sure they didn't kill anyone, and then got out of there. I highly doubt that they just left Ronald there alone since the hunters still wanted him dead and because as you said, he had been abusing power for so long. Overall, it's more of a Missed Moment of Heartwarming to see Shep and crew aiding the sick before hightailing it out of there. As for David, it may have been something similar, especially since we don't actually know if Shep stuck around and helped. My guess is that more concrete explanations don't exist in-game because it'd screw with the pacing of the levels to have Shepard sitting around for possibly more than a day to ensure Ronald or Archer didn't try any funny business before help arrived.
    • It's pretty much the same convention as what we see at the end of the Overlord DLC, and several of the game's recruitment/loyalty missions. We don't see Shepard's crew airlifting Garrus back to the Normandy, we don't see them loading Grunt's tank onto the ship, we don't see them exiting the Dantius Towers after recruiting Thane, we don't see Shepard extracting David from the machinery and transporting him to Grissom Academy, etc. Quite a lot of stuff happens offscreen involving Shepard's crew. Also, it is quite possible that they did stick around to make sure that the Alliance rescue teams arrived and didn't have problems; being a stealth ship is enormously useful.
    • To be honest, I would imagine Ronald Taylor feels too defeated to do anything anyway. He probably just sat and thought about everything that had happened, all he'd done, and what he'd lost because of it. Or, the team always could have tied him up. As for David, the Normandy may have waited around for an Alliance ship to arrive. Plus, what could Archer do to David at that point?
    • Given ten years of playing God to a bunch of insane people, Ronald Taylor probably never expected to be held accountable for his actions, so it would take him some time to realize that he now has to answer for what he's done, and remember that he can't force his will on just anyone.
    • For Ronald it only applies to the ending where you let him live. In the other two you allow him to be beaten to death or kill himself. In the ending where you take him to jail, Jacob chews him out while your squadmate points their gun at the unarmed hunters. As for David, Shepard radioes Joker and informs him to send a message to the Alliance for a team to free David and take him to Grissom Academy (with someone like Shepard vouching for him, David's enrollment is almost guaranteed), while Gavin has been disarmed and will be killed by Shepard if he tires anything.
    • This begs the question, in the ending where you rescue David, how did Gavin escape to the Cerberus facility in Mass Effect 3?
    • He turned around and walked away. I mean, Shepard's only going to stop him if he tries to take David.

     "The Prodigal" 
  • Why is this the subtitle given to Miranda's loyalty mission? A prodigal, if this is meant to be a reference to the prodigal son, is not a person who gets separated from his/her family and must be reunited. A prodigal is someone who is wastefully extravagant.
    • Given what we know of Mr. Lawson, he most likely views Miranda and Oriana as his prodigal daughters. Or maybe they're just being ironic.
    • Not only that, but BioWare has a bit of a history with the word. Remember, Revan was titled the Prodigal Knight in Knights of the Old Republic if you choose redemption over the Dark Side.
    • Bioware was almost certainly referring to the Biblical meaning. And it doesn't refer to Miranda's father, it refers to her. Unless you had a heart of stone, you reunited her with her sister.
    • But that's what bugs me, because Bioware apparently doesn't know the meaning of the word if they slap it on situations where you have someone who "was lost yet is found" but isn't necessarily 'wasteful'. Miranda doesn't really seem like a wasteful person, we don't know enough about Oriana to say, and it's up to the player whether to accept Shepard's own questions of whether the Illusive Man could/should have financed an army instead of reviving Shepard.
    • Then Bioware is stupid and just took the commonly-accepted definition? How many people are actually going to know what the word actually means? How many are not going to get the connection to the parable of the Prodigal Son?
    • It's entirely possible the writers confused its meaning with that of prodigy. Miranda does get toted around as this "perfect" Mary Sue Moonbeams Awesome character.
    • If the proper definition is 'wastefully extravagant' in reference to Miranda, then it works just fine! She's a genetically enhanced super-person, her father spend millions of credits on her, and she promptly squanders it doing absolutely nothing he wanted her to do, including stealing his backup copy.
    • For what it's worth, Bioware also used "Prodigal" in reference to Anomen in his family quest in Baldurs Gate 2. Anomen isn't so much a wastrel as a Defector from Decadence, as his father is the bitter and wasteful drunkard of the two. They don't seem to realize the dictionary meaning of the word.
    • Language evolves and the meanings of words change over time. Before the Bible, "apocalypse" meant "the revealing of something that was kept hidden". Now it means "the end of the world". It's similar with "prodigal".
    • From her father's perspective, Miranda's actions could be seen as "wasteful", considering that she was meant to continue his dynasty. It also bears some significance from Miranda's own perspective, bearing in mind that unless you keep on talking to and reassuring her (oh, fine, romancing her), she insists that any value that she has or is comes directly and only from her father.

     "N7" side-quest designation 
  • Why are the "UNC" (uncharted) side quests from the first game referred to as "N7" missions in the second game? You're working for Cerberus. "N7" is strictly a Systems Alliance vocational code, referring to the highest level of proficiency (7) in special-forces operations (N).
    • Remember, Cerberus started as an Alliance offshoot - maybe they just kept the designations rather than come up with completely new ones. Shepard is Spectre (definitely special forces), and not only did s/he spend the last game saving the galaxy, s/he's spending this one saving it, too (very proficient).
    • Maybe Cerberus never stopped being an Alliance offshoot...
    • Fair enough, thanks to the both of you.

     Curing the genophage, a Paragon action? 
  • A great lot of dialogue between Paragon Shepard and Mordin is about how the second should cure the genophage. It would make sense if the genophage really was a depopulation bomb, but it is not the case. The genophage had for an objective to stabilize the krogan population, and it worked. Essentially, Paragon Shepard wants to unleash an absolutely out of control krogan population, yet again, for ill-defined reasons. I mean, the krogans never really manage to unite and look for a cure themselves while the very survival of their species was at stake for hundreds of years. What does Paragon Shepard expect? That the genophage-free krogans would let go of their violent ways out of gratitude and stock up on very good contraceptives before they literally eat up the resources of the whole galaxy? Curing the genophage is not a Paragon action, it would be a moronic action.
    • While it is true that the krogan are one of the most violent species, Wrex also talks about how disenchanted they had become with the genophage. It was the psychological defeat that crippled the krogan, the prospect that they had lost, and that they were all eventually gonna die a slow, pathetic death unbefitting of their cultural expectations. What I had thought on it is that even the prospect of curing the genophage would inspire a great deal of hope in the krogan. But let's not forget, the salarians made it once, what's to stop them from making it again? I suppose Paragon Shepard is saying that the krogan deserve a second chance to live without that burden that has stagnated their people. And in the short term, the good will Shepard would generate would allow him to rally the krogan to his cause against the Reapers (all the more likely if Wrex is alive). While it could prove moronic in the long term, you're forgetting the real consequences here. All of the current galactic life, including the smaller krogan population, is about to be wiped out by the Reapers. Paragon Shepard aiding the krogan can help prevent that. And that's what the Paragon story is supposed to represent: pragmatic diplomacy and not judging species based on their past mistakes. Just like the case to save the rachni queen, it carries tremendous risk, but also the prospect of great payoff in terms of diplomatic and military relations down the line. Whether or not it's a risk worth taking is much more subjective than outright moronic.
    • I'd also like to add that the krogan are in a demilitarized zone. Their advanced weaponry likely came from the salarians during the Rachni Wars (1400 years ago), meaning that the human and turian fleets would likely decimate them (secondary organs don't mean squat if you're getting turned to glass from spaceships with far more advanced capabilities than yours) if they did try unchecked expansion, especially since krogan likely lack the scientists and engineers necessary to create more advanced weaponry. Human and turian military doctrines are much more terse and protective than the diplomatic asari and secretive salarians. While it hasn't been that long in krogan or asari terms, the galaxy has changed considerably since the Krogan Rebellions, if only because humans and turians are more willing to go to war. While good diplomatic relations with the turians might be impossible due to bad blood, it could actually be possible for humanity and the krogan to be on good terms with one another. And as characters like Char, the Citadel-obsessed Krogan on Tuchanka, Wrex, Warlord Okeer, and a few others have shown, not all the krogan are so bloodthirsty as to ignore what is going on around them. They may love war, but war with the people who saved their species, who possess superior technology, and who are more willing to exercise military might in response to krogan aggression would spell doom once more for the krogan.
    • Before you even begin Mordin's loyalty mission, Shepard and Mordin have a conversation where Mordin points out that the entire reason why the krogan were unable to control their population growth was due to the fact that the salarians had uplifted them before their culture was prepared to deal with expanding offworld. 1400 years of development and cultural shift later, we have the current krogan, who appear to be a much more pragmatic society that resulted in relatively forward-thinking individuals like Wrex (and even at the end of the Rebellions, Wrex was gaining a lot of support among the other krogan to push war aside and focus on sustainable survival). The fact that Wrex is even able to lead on a platform that is built around such a progressive stance and have one of the largest and best-armed clan groups on Tuchanka is proof that the krogan are attempting to come around. With Wrex's leadership, the krogan can overcome the issues that led to the destruction and slow extinction of their species. The krogan now are a far cry from the krogan then. This also leaves out th fact that Mordin's cure could simply increase fertility to more sustainable levels (like, say, one in one hundred krogan children are born, as opposed to one in a thousand).
      And besides, I don't think you get the definition of "Paragon" actions here. Paragon decisions are simply more ideal than Renegade options, which are more cynical. A Paragon Shepard believes that the krogan can recover and that what was done to them was wrong. A Renegade Shepard believes the krogan are dangerous and what was done to them was justified. OP here is of the personal standpoint that the Renegade action is better; others are of the standpoint that the Paragon action is better. It all really depends on where you stand on the scale and how cynical or idealistic you are.
    • However, in a Cut Content moment, Grunt has a loyalty confrontation with Mordin, while saying the Genophage was a right thing may be obvious for Grunt. Grunt also has issues with Mordin with the Paragon solution, hinting that it may either juxtapose with Wrex's work or that it will give the Krogan a reason to go on a rampage
    • Given his dialogue Paragon Shepard apparently doesn't think the genophage was the only solution or even the best one. He thinks the salarians did what was easy instead of what was right, that what the genophage did to the krogans is wrong and evil and that if he has a choice he will restore the krogan to their natural fertility rates and negotiate with them like a normal person instead of changing their biology because he's scared of them. Remember, Paragon Shepard doesn't believe that any race is Always Chaotic Evil. He's willing to give the rachni a chance, he thinks attacking the geth for the threat they might have posed was stupid, and after dealing with two of the strongest and most violent krogan in the galaxy and successfully calming them down he thinks Mordin's simulations are a bunch of bull.
    • A more minor point, but in Mass Effect 3 Wrex recounts how his own father betrayed and attempted to kill him; that was what the genophage reduced them to. Males fought to the death for breeding rights with fertile females. It's true that the krogan were always far from a peaceful race, but the genophage made them even worse.
    • The third game actually addresses this question quite a bit; whether or not curing the genophage is presented as a good thing depends mostly on who is leading the krogan. If Wrex is in charge, he comes across as an altogether fair-minded and rational individual who can, as a friend of Shepard's, be trusted to keep the more unruly krogan pointed in the right direction (alongside Eve, if she survives). In this case, curing the genophage has the added benefit of making the krogan more hopeful and content. But if Wreav is in charge, it's an entirely different story. He states multiple times that he has every intention of getting revenge on the salarians and turians once the Reaper war is over, and even claims in an e-mail that he'll gladly fight against Shepard and the Alliance. Eve tries to reign him in, but it seems unlikely that he'll listen to her since he treats her as property and an object. In fact, if Eve is dead by the end of the Tuchanka mission, you can actually convince Mordin to let the cure go uncorrected, as even he will acknowledge the likelihood of a repeat of the Krogan Rebellions.
    • The Paragon who wants to cure the genophage is inclined to do so for another reason - the most recent modification was essentially a preemptive culling, similar to spraying herbicide to get rid of weeds. The Krogan however are a sapient species. One does not treat them the same way we would treat mosquitoes or locusts. Controlling a sapient species' numbers without their knowledge or approval seems so wrong. Until you realize that although sapient, the Krogan are an extremely warlike aggressive race. To them, their population growth is a very dangerous weapon to be used against their enemies. The genophage neutralized this strategic weapon. Which is why curing the genophage is the right action only if Wrex and/or Eve are around to lead. They do not use the Krogan ability to increase their numbers as a weapon to be used against the Galaxy. Wreav on the other hand does!!
    • It begs the question; how would we humans feel and react if advanced aliens inflicted something like the Genophage on us?
    • A genophage like bio weapon wouldn't have as much of a profound socio-cultural effect on humans as it did with the Krogan. In this universe, humans can and have banded together to solve difficult scientific challenges. Humans invented medi-gel, came up with biotic suppressant Omega Enkaphalin, figured out how to ensure that a brittle boned person can lead a normal life, even figured out how to genetically engineer biotic ability in test tube babies (Miranda) and even found a way to resurrect a charred corpse to full functionality. Curing a sterility plague would be well within their capability, even via espionage if nothing else seemed to be working. It would therefore be only about as traumatic for us as any WMD attack. The ones who used the weapon may not be able to reap its benefits for over a millennium. The reason why the genophage affected the krogan so profoundly is because their culture didn't enable them to unify and divert resources away from weapon production to research a cure. They couldn't even realize that breeding at their maximum rate would be problematic if natural predation didn't cull their numbers anymore. Heck, they let their population get so out of control that they instigated a fallout-esque nuclear war over resources. If they could unify and cure this disease, they can also implement controls on their population and learn to share resources via compromise.
      • I am pretty sure if 999/1000 human pregnancies began ending in stillbirths it would cause widespread depression, trauma, and societal drop-outs, just as it did for the krogan. Maybe we could overcome it eventually, but if you've ever had a miscarriage, or helped a close friend/family member through a miscarriage, you'd understand why the krogan fell apart after the genophage. Coping after a miscarriage is difficult. Coping after your twenty-fifth miscarriage while knowing that your miscarriages were all inflicted on you intentionally by an enemy government, that all of the women in your life are also coping with same, and that all of the women in existence are as well, would be absolutely devastating. In real life, women who have miscarriages, especially multiple miscarriages, are at increased risk of suicide. It's an absolutely brutal thing to inflict on someone else. Assuming we did pull through in the end, it would definitely have a socio-cultural impact in that there would be an awful lot of humans out for alien blood. There's no way it would be as simple as fixing up a cure and moving on with our lives with no hard feelings.
      • The 1 in 1000 rate wasn't just an arbitrary fraction that someone just dialed in to the genophage' design, just because he felt like it that day. The 1 in 1000 rate was carefully chosen by the salarians to damp Krogan population growth from exponential unstable levels (1000 per female per year) to a more managable stable linear level. As a result, the Krogan species isn't facing any existential threat due to population decline. On the other hand we humans right now can punch out one baby per female per year, and even that rate isn't sustainable for even less than a decade. So human population growth is already linear and critically damped from a system theoretical perspective. Causing 999 out of 1000 pregnancies to fail would severely over damp our population growth to the level that our population will decay exponentially, and we would be extinct within one and a half generations. That is an existential threat to our entire species. The situation would be considered way more dire than severe depression from miscarriage. This level of a threat will rally the entire species to somehow find a way to escape its effects and survive before it is too late. This game's universe alone gives us two possibilities - genetic engineering and in vitro growing of Designer Babies and Project Lazarus. The species will find some way to keep its numbers stable until a cure is found. And no, we wouldn't just sit and take it. We would either go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge from the almost genocide, or we would need to be obliterated but we Do Not Go Gently, and it would happen almost immediately. It wouldn't fester for millenia like it did with the Krogan.

     Paragon actions backfire? 
  • Is there any situation where the Paragon choice turns out to be detrimental to your goal? After blowing a situation in Dragon Age: Origins by trying the "paragon" route, I realized that I couldn't really think of an analogous situation in either Mass Effect. The closest situation I recalled was failing to obtain Zaeed's loyalty if you save the workers, but someone with a ton of Paragon points could get out of that one too.
    • Family-Unfriendly Aesop / Unfortunate Implications — I did feel this way about the side quest, "Blue Rose of Illium." Synopsis  (Considering the girl is talking about commitment, lifespans, and children, this relationship clearly needs a stronger foundation than just feelings from either or both parties.) My argument is that since the girl isn't sure of whether she really loves AND trusts the boy, she isn't ready to commit to him. And come to think of it, this is the sort of thing they need to have a long talk, or two, or three about, because I imagine that will do a lot more to solve this problem than reading love poems to someone with legitimate concerns.
    • Definitely feels more like a backfire when you see them again on Tuchanka. Poor, poor woman . . .
    • ... You know, that's a really good point when you look beyond the fact that all this was played for laughs. :-(
    • Okay. I just went and did the Renegade approach to the "Blue Rose of Illium" quest note . Shepard essentially takes a cynical approach, telling the asari that talking to the krogan about kids at all is going to "mess him up" because of the genophage. Then she says that the asari will spend her whole life wondering if the krogan was truly in love with her or was using her for children. This ... this is actually a pretty reasonable argument, but again, I think the asari was hesitant to even ''talk'' with the krogan about their issues.
    • Also, I felt this way about the Liara sidequests in the game. You get a few Renegade points for solving her hacking missions, but that is the only way (not sure if you need to have romanced her in the first game as well) to get her to open up about why she's really acting as she is ... and in my view, that totally makes up for the Renegade points and then some. It's not that you're necessarily "hurt" by not doing her quest (the closest option you'd get to a Paragon outcome), as far as I can tell, but it definitely makes the story better in my view and explains a lot of her Character Derailment.
    • (Different troper from the above two examples) I haven't played Dragon Age: Origins through, so I'm not sure how significant of an event you're talking about, but there's the situation with the Eclipse girl who gets away with murder in Samara's recruitment mission in a Paragon playthrough. Also, if you play pure Paragon, there's three or so gunfights that become a bigger pain in the ass than they would otherwise be (Garrus' recruitment mission and Mordin and Miranda's loyalties come to mind). Also, as the JBM above proves, it's possible that supposedly Paragon actions like aiding the krogan, geth, and rachni could come back to bite Shep in ME3. Overall though, I'd say there's not a great deal of situations currently where things have turned out worse off for following the Paragon path. Definitely an interesting point, now that you mention it.
    • Aiding the krogan, rachni, and geth are pretty much already established as good actions as of yet. Setting up for the Gondor Calls for Aid that will take place in the final showdown with the reapers. To say that the actions will bite you in the butt, at least in the short term, maybe a bit at long odds.
    • Well, as for Elnora (the Eclipse girl), I think Detective Anaya has a good chance of catching her if Shepard gives that piece of evidence over. So I don't think it was a total loss if you didn't kill her.
    • I think it really all depends on the goal in question. Is it success on the current assignment/mission, or is it having a good ending in ME3? For the former there really isn't any situation where either choice turns out to be detrimental (save Tali), unless one looks at it through a moral/ethical lens (Mordin, Legion, and Kasumi's loyalty missions come to mind). If the latter is what we are looking for, then it all remains to be seen (although, I think allowing Balak to escape in Bring Down the Sky will bite Paragon Shepard harder than any other choice he's made).
    • As a rule, there aren't a lot of negative consequences to Paragon or Renegade options. It's like the total opposite of Take a Third Option. The Third Option in Mass Effect is usually the unsatisfying, half-assed, or pyrrhic victory option, whereas the Paragon/Renegade choice usually accomplishes the goal with flying colors, but uses different means to do so. Example: In ME1 after you rescue Lizbeth Baynham, you get into a confrontation with an Exogeni bureaucrat who tries to threaten you into silence. The "neutral" response is to gun him down. The Paragon/Renegade response is to talk him down through reason/intimidation respectively. That said, most of the "big choices" haven't really come to full fruition yet so we'll have to wait and see.
    • Then again, one of the main "Renegade" decisions on Feros is to gun the whole colony down needlessly, and there is no third option.
    • True, but I still stand by my point. When a third option does exist it almost always achieves the least preferable result compared to the paragon/renegade options.
    • On the whole, while I think it would be interesting to see more situations where the Paragon solution ends up being counterproductive, I think the cases I tend to remember most are those where the "Paragon" solution seems less than morally right, such as the "Blue Rose of Illium" case above. Sometimes your choices seem morally gray not so much because of unforeseen occurrences you had no control over but because of Unfortunate Implications.
    • I agree that the Paragon option should backfire sometimes. The key problem with the Renegade morality, as a whole, is that its "Complete the mission at any cost" mentality requires there to be no ideal solution. If an ideal solution exists, then the renegade's sacrifices are either foolish or cruel. If paragon/renegade system is to evolve beyond nice/mean, then the situations need to change so that the renegade's methodology is actually useful.
    • I think the best solution would be to make certain Paragon solutions require more work. Since Paragon solutions are typically considered to be idealistic and impractical, it would probably be best to inconvenience the player in order to see them through. For example, Tali's trial would have been an excellent example, if only there wasn't a "Select The Blue Words To Solve Everything" option. If you saved Veetor and Reegar, then you can get Tali off the hook. If you don't, then she's either exiled or you drop the dime about her father. Another example is the battle with the asari Spectre at Azure during the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC. She tells you to either drop your thermal clips or get a hostage killed—again, the presence of a "Blue Words" option makes being a good guy exceptionally easy. What would have worked better (in my opinion), is if you had saved a few people along the way and a random Badass Bystander shows up, giving you a Paragon Prompt to defeat her without sacrificing your ammo. In short, taking the high road should require more difficulty, patience, and/or diligence on the part of the player. Like Shepard him/herself says in conversation with Jacob, "if it were easy, it wouldn't be the high road".
    • Okay, just to warn you, I got a bit carried away and wrote a huge wall of text.
      Read at your own risk 
    • That was really good, thanks for sharing. I think one solution, which would be very impractical but very neat, would involve taking the sort of design philosophy behind Tali's quest, stripped of the Charm and Intimidate options (i.e., if you want the best ending, you have to do this AND do this AND do this), and make a whole game's worth of quests like that. In other words, every quest's outcome is determined by multiple factors instead of just one. Problem is, this would make quest-writing infinitely more difficult to do, and in this case, it also makes unambiguously "happy endings" impossible for Renegades. This would end up as sort of an unintentional Fridge Brilliance, since it would get rid of that bizarre feeling of "I can be a complete jerk to everyone, but I'll still gain their loyalty and save the day" that seems to permeate this series, but to be quite frank, as long as it's a Bioware RPG, I don't think that's going to happen. It would be interesting if choosing to be a jerk meant that your Shepard would ultimately end up powerless to exert his or her influence on other people, or if the only way to get a decent outcome would be to stay on the upright path throughout the whole game, but that would defeat the purpose of role-playing, because I'm guessing no one wants to play as a Failure Hero. (To be honest, I'm not sure I wouldn't call him or her a "Failure Villain Protagonist" instead.) I honestly have to wonder how many people would have intentionally chosen either of the two "bad options" in Tali's loyalty mission unless they were either screwing around, or they had neither the Charm or Intimidate dialogue options available for use, because both of those options flat-out suck compared to the three third options the game gives you.)
    • I disagree that it should be a whole game like that. As I said before, the best solution to the problem is to create some circumstances (not all—some) where being blindly idealistic and still gaining a favorable outcome requires that you set up the situation beforehand. Once more, Tali's trial is a perfect example of how that could have worked, but the whole game shouldn't be like that or else you run into the opposite problem—now I know I always have to do the Paragon choice if I want the best result. If you make that sort of system more infrequent, the player is forced to think about which choice might be better in this situation rather than always knowing that taking the strict paragon route or the strict Renegade route is the best option.
    • I think this underlies, what I felt was, a flaw in the paragon/renegade game mechanic for Mass Effect, that really disappointed me. In the Knights of the Old Republic games, the player had to work out for himself what led to a good/bad outcome and then getting there required using your skills and ingenuities and a lot of work to achieve your desired outcome. It was always tense because you could never be sure your attempt would succeed. If it didn't and sometimes it often wouldn't, you'd have to live with the consequence options. Here options are only available if they will succeed and they are simply a "win" button reward, where the real difference is in the methods and not the overall outcomes. It's a lot less exciting and leads to situations (like Tali's trial) that feel stupid and given too cheaply. There's not really much point on having paragon options backfire on you if it's already been established that they're instant win buttons.
    • As long as we're bringing up other Bioware games, I think Dragon Age 2 is a good example of a game that avoids most of the flaws of the paragon/renegade system. There are certain situations where the plot changes based on your previous choices (for instance, several of the quests in Act III depend on whether you've been more supportive of the mages of the Templars) and a lot of the dialogue is different depending on the personality you've established throughout the game (i.e. if you've picked mostly nice, mostly aggressive, or mostly smartass responses). Hell, there are even spots where you can discover completely new ways to solve a quest just by bringing along a certain party member.
    • There is, actually. During the recruitment quest for the Justicar, you let a rookie Eclipse merc go, who later turns out to have committed a murder.
    • Elnora may not be a total loss, since you can give Detective Anaya evidence that points to Elnora's actions anyway.
    • There appears to be one in Arrival - can anyone confirm? (Using the Renegade interrupt to shoot Kenson before she sets off the bomb in her hand would theoretically give Shepard more time to get off of the asteroid. Is that how it actually works out?)
    • Nope, the bomb still goes off. You just get the pleasure of having shot her first.
    • Paragon and Renegade actions generally result in the following scenes being easier. The dialogue choices, however, are NOT Paragon / Renegade so much as Charm / Intimidate like in the first game. This is why both allow for successful resolutions, the game is rewarding you for being consistent in your behavior.
    • Original Troper here. After playing most of 3, I am happy (maybe not the right word) to point out that some of the paragon actions do indeed backfire. Saved the Rachni queen? She appears again having been mutated into a monster. If you killed her, a random queen is created by the Reapers, but still. Cure the genophage? Mordin Solus dies delivering it and you lose out on the Salarian's offer of the fleet. Side with Legion and the Geth vs. the Quarians (this is not explicitly paragon, but it is listed there on the dialogue wheel)? If you fail to broker peace, the Quarians are exterminated and Tali commits suicide. It makes the game a lot deeper IMO that you can't always play the good guy and win.
    • Deciding to spare the Rachni Queen actually doesn't have any bad consequences, at least not compared to deciding to let the fake queen go free. The worst that apparently comes of a Paragon choice is letting Saren's asari scientist live because she apparently sets off a bomb in Mass Effect 3, but even that only causes negligible damage to your War Assets.
    • Actually, the game really rewards you more for consistency than anything else. Killed Wrex and destroyed Maelon's research? You get most of the krogan support you would have otherwise and full salarian support, plus Mordin. Killed the rachni queen and let the next one die? Full support of Arlakh Company, which matches what you would have if you'd spared the original. Wishy-washing tends to have the worst effects; letting Wrex live and sabotaging the genophage cure results in you losing all krogan support and Mordin dies. Killing the original rachni queen and sparing the second ends up destroying the Alliance Engineering Corps. The geth vs. quarian confrontation is the only one where being fully Paragon backfires, and that only in the sense that you have to do a whole lot more to ensure the peace takes, while destroying the heretics ends with it being a lot easier. I think it is also entirely impossible to secure peace between the geth and quarians if you gave Legion to Cerberus, as you don't get the benefit from destroying the heretics or from reconciling Tali and Legion's conflict.

     The Sirta Foundation 
  • Did anyone ever figure out what the deal is with the news claiming that Sirta Foundation sidequest was a massacre no matter what you do? Not only does it say that in the first game, in the second game the news will say that Sirta Foundation is likely to close soon because it never recovered from the attack. In fact, I'm pretty sure it'll say that even if you did the Renegade sidequest. I know the news reports aren't always accurate, but I can't think of any reason why they'd want to cover up a successful rescue operation. Was this a glitch like Conrad Verner, or is a legit if confusing part of the code?
    • It's a glitch. In the missing Galactic News Clip it's revealed that Sirta has made a medical breakthrough because of the biotic attack.
    • Darn. Why haven't they patched it? It's a pretty blatant glitch, and it goes back to the first game.
    • There's a dozen other similar glitches. They don't patch it because making changes after the game is released is expensive. Not only do you have to pull programmers or scripters off of Mass Effect 3 to work on the fix, you also need to bring in QA because fixing one thing will break 3 other things. It also has to go through Microsoft's patch approval for the 360, which costs money (After all, Microsoft has to pay someone to do independent QA on the patch, then has to pay bandwidth and server support for the patch download). For the PC, EA themselves have to pay the server support costs. For something as simple as a message on the galactic news it isn't worth fixing. I'm just surprised QA didn't find it before release, or if they did that the producer would mark it as Will Not Fix.
    • To add to what others wrote above: the fact that it goes back to the first game is probably one of the reasons that it hasn't been patched - it is quite likely that one part of the 'glitch' is that the wrong flags are set in ME1... which means that to fix it, they either have to take some major effort to sidestep it in ME2 (and this isn't even a Conrad Verner sidequest situation, but a single news segment), or fix it in ME1 - which, of course, would require one to play from the point before one finished that sidequest, and, of course, would require a patch team working on ME1.

     Not acknowledging some of Cerberus's actions 
  • While Shepard is usually resistant to working with Cerberus because of some of the things they did in the first game, I noticed that certain things are never brought up. For example, when Shepard asks Miranda about them trying to control rachni and Thorian creepers, she gives a decent justification for it. Yet nowhere in the game does Shepard ever bring up the death of Rear Admiral Kahoku and Akuze, which are much harder to justify. Is there any particular reason why Shepard wouldn't bring those up, or is it just likely a case where the writers had to avoid them, because they simply couldn't think of a way for TIM to explain them away? Another thing, is it possible that it's the result of Cerberus being a victim of Characterization Marches On? I noticed that in the first game, their typical MO seemed to be throwing people into a random disaster and recording the results (Akuze, the colony turned into Husks). They seemed less about advancing humanity and more For Science!. In the second game they come off as more methodical, not sacrificing lives unless there's a clear benefit (Like Akuze. I don't see what there is to be gained by studying the effects of Thresher Maw acid on humans. Of course it's going to mess them up) and the worst things (Jack and Overlord) are done without TIM's knowledge (I don't think it's a cover up, since the people involved in the project say he doesn't know).
    • In-Universe answer: Conservation of Detail. Shepard doesn't bring it up because the explanation would be the same each time: a rogue Cerberus group acting without official authorization. Whether that explanation is the truth is another matter...
      Out-Of-Universe answer: Since the Kahoku and Akuze missions are optional sidequests in ME1, the devs might have chosen to leave those conversations out of ME2. Much easier to write a short email/news announcement referencing those events than script, record, and animate two more conversations.
    • They kinda tried to fix this a bit in Lair of the Shadow Broker. Vasir actually makes note of Cerberus murdering Admiral Kahoku after you beat her, after you accuse her of going rogue for the Shadow Broker.
    • If Shepard is of the Sole Survivor origin, she'll also mention the way Shepard's unit on Akuze was decimated by thresher maws because of Cerberus. Shepard does not respond to this in any way.
    • There's another problem. When Shepard calls Miranda out on Cerberus using rachni, thorian creepers and husks, she gives pretty good justifications for these: they were unaware that the rachni were truly sentient, the creepers were mindless, and the husks were already dead. Yes. The husks were already dead...after Cerberus converted an entire human colony into them. There's no justification there; the sidequest made it quite clear that the Cerberus used the dragons' teeth on the colonists to see how it worked.
    • It's up in the air as to either just how much Miranda actually knows and what exactly happened. In fact, it's probable that the details of that particular operation were whitewashed and she got an altered version of the story. This is Cerberus, after all, and the Illusive Man is not going to feed all the details to all his people. Hell, the agent involved could have lied about the entire thing, killing the colonists and then reporting that everyone was dead when s/he got there and then used the "convenient corpses."
    • There's one instance, where Shepard questions Jack's intentions of blowing up a Cerberus facility and doesn't think that it would be a good idea to piss off his/her benefactors (I'm just paraphrasing; forgot the actual quote). I think, as far as Shepard is concerned, the real issue is not "are these people deserving of my trust?" and more "who's doing something about the Reapers?" Whatever their past may have been, Shepard is more concerned with the future, and if any hope of still having one lies with allying him/herself with Cerberus, then so be it. Maybe, once the Reapers are no longer a threat, just maybe, then s/he can go ahead and call the Illusive Man out on all his crazy experiments.

     The biotic endurance run in the final mission 
  • Let me see if I understand correctly. If you pick someone other than a loyal Samara or loyal Jack to produce the biotic field your squad needs, your specialist gets too tired by the end and someone dies? Why not implement an obscure alternate solution — take two biotics with any level of skill as your squad members, and alternate biotic-field duties when one gets tired?
    • And tie up a perfectly combat-capable character who will be needed when the rest of the squad is either advancing up the main passage or fighting along the side passage in the seeker chamber? Not a bright idea. Also keep in mind, Shepard doesn't know that the non-ideal biotic character can't hold it that far, so s/he can't exactly set up a switch-off between biotic party members.
    • To me, the bigger issue is that Shepard, who can be the most powerful biotic on the team, doesn't take over briefly towards the end. Or if you take Samara or Jack and don't use them. It's only an issue at the very end—they hold up find until then.
    • It's quite true that Biotic Shepard should be able to hurl Throws, Barriers, and Singularities to keep the Seeker swarms away long enough to help a weaker biotic. Realistically, it ought to be that way for all the parts. Engineer Shepard should be able to help someone other than Tali, Kasumi, or Legion to seal the door. Soldier Shepard should be able to help suppressive fire to compensate for a poor leader to a greater extent than any of the other classes. However, it would either have to reward or screw over the hybrid classes in that regard. The problem is obviously with Gameplay and Story Segregation and the suicide mission would lose much of its tension if Shepard's skills reduced all of his teammates to The Load. After all, ME2 is about the elite team of the best available doing the impossible, not Shepard singlehandedly turning the tide. What makes Shepard so unique and valued is supposed to be his superb decision making skills, leadership, and judgment, so the suicide mission essentially 'grades' Shepard's on those qualities just as much as the game does on his combat skills.
    • Keep in mind that you're in the middle of combat for pretty much all parts. An Engineer Shepard can't help with the door because s/he's too busy being shot at. An Adept Shepard can't help with the biotic shield because s/he doesn't have the time to prepare him/herself for it.
    • As for an Engineer Shep, having more than one person fiddle with the door controls might just take longer. Adept Shep (or any biotic), as said doesn't have time to put up a barrier after the one in use falls. As for a Soldier Shep, I always just assumed that the fire team leader took the fatal shot before they regrouped and bled out after the door closed.

     The Council's answer for why the Geth followed Saren 
  • "Saren was a compelling and charismatic individual." (two minutes in) Would a race of machines be so easily swayed by something like "charisma" or emotion or what have you, or is the Council just looking for an excuse to deny the Reapers? At least the indoctrination virus makes a lot of sense because of how it affects the geth at the level of their most basic runtimes.
    • Yes. We've already established that the Council is stubbornly in denial about the Reapers.
    • With respect, I would have expected Shepard to be able to question something as illogical as using one's charisma to take advantage of emotions that I wouldn't expect a race of sentient machines to be bound by. note 
    • The Council are politicians. Politicians are known to ignore problems, hoping they'll go away. Why think about impending doom and an Eldritch Abomination enemy when you have a very real enemy that you can blame everything on? Their arguments are meant for the general public, who has no idea who the Reapers are. It's clear that propaganda is working. People really believe that Saren simply went rogue and convinced the geth to follow him on a really big ship. Even Udina sides with the Council on this one, even though all four were believers at the end of the first game.
    • The Council isn't very smart. In the first game you convinced them to disown their best agent with a one-sentence recording.
    • Yes, an authenticated recording which was an outright admission of guilt.
    • The geth are, basically, the bogeymen of the galaxy. Nobody tries to understand them. This is why the Council's propaganda works. To a common person, the geth are mechanical monsters who hide past the Terminus systems and attack peaceful colonies. That is why bullshit explanations like that work even in Real Life.
    • The Council also backslid from the first game if you kept them alive. They know almost nothing about the Reapers and have no means to stop them. Like many politicians in real-life, they cover up a problem until they're fully confident they can deal with it or it's too big to cover-up.

     Omega 4 Relay 
  • Why is the Omega 4 Relay red? I've seen different theories about it, from "It's a Renegade relay" (har har) to arguments about distance. From a game design perspective, it was probably meant to act as a "DANGER, DO NOT GO HERE" visual cue to the player, but what could be the in-universe reason? Even considering that it does send ships across half the galaxy, the Conduit, which connects Ilos to the Citadel on the other side of the galaxy, has the usual blue glow.
    • Think about colour in Mass Effect. Blue is everywhere — it seems to be the colour given off when a mass effect is applied to something. See: weapons, engines, shields, biotics, and, yes, mass relays. Red, on the other hand, is used far less, with one notable example: Sovereign. A Reaper. It makes perfect sense for the Omega-4 Relay to be coloured red instead of blue.
    • Except Sovereign says the Reapers built all the relays. Including, presumably, Omega 4. Why is it different?
    • It functions differently than other Relays. It appears to cover a greater distance, for starters. Then there's whatever it does to ships that pass through: note that most of the ones you see are actually intact. It must deliver an EMP or something to the ship as it goes through the Relay, disabling it so the Collectors can harvest the crew and any useful technology.
    • Distance isn't a factor because, as I said, the Conduit glows blue despite spanning an even greater distance. But yes, otherwise the explanations here are satisfying.
    • Maybe it's environmental conditions. The relay is shooting you next to a black hole... which reminds me, we never saw the counterpart to the relay on the other side.
    • I think I can see what you're saying — why not make that relay blue as well, to hide the fact that it's different from the others and that it will destroy whatever tries to go through it unless they have a Reaper IFF or similar device?
    • No, I'm asking why the Reapers made it glow red in the first place when all the other relays glow blue.
    • Because it isn't like the other relays. The purpose of the other relays is for species to find and use them. The purpose of the Omega 4 relay is to give the Collectors access to the galaxy. The Reapers don't really want other species to be using it, so they made it look different then all the rest, as a big warning sign that everyone should stay clear. After a few ships get sent through and never come back, everyone assumes that the Protheans or whoever made it glow red as a sign that no one should use it.
    • But what ARE the Collectors? Repurposed Protheans. They did not exist before that. So it's a viable assumption that Omega 4 was added to the relay network later, after the Protheans were enslaved by the Reapers and their base put into the galactic core. The Reapers had no need for the Omega 4 before that, so it may just be that it was built when it was needed.
    • It may have been used for previous cycles, as well. They may have had a base there for millions of years, specifically for indoctrinated races to study the races of each cycle. The Prothean Collectors would simply be the latest in a long line of Collectors.
    • People likely mistake the Omega 4 Relay for a malfunctioning relay. Imagine if it was blue and ships never came back. That might make species suspicious that other relays may be just as faulty and dangerous. That could lead a particularly xenophobic species to look more and more deeply into how the relays work, exactly what the Reapers don't want. By coloring the Omega 4 Relay red, it's an immediate red flag that it's different and even perhaps malfunctioning. So, quite simply, it allows species to easily say red=bad and blue=usable while not raising too many questions.
    • ... That is a very good explanation, thanks.
    • There's an additional possibility for why the Reapers color-coded it to keep people away: it's mentioned in Mass Effect that, while the other Reapers are in dark space, Sovereign is left behind to periodically investigate the evolution of organic life in each cycle and ultimately open the way for the other Reapers when the time comes. In the meantime, it needs a place to hibernate where there is no danger of discovery. What better place than behind the Omega 4 relay? The collectors and their base may simply be a new addition to a very, very old safe harbor for the vanguard of the Reapers.

     Liara immediately knows which "Samara" you're talking about 
  • I guess "Samara" isn't a common name among asari, or Liara automatically assumes you're referring to the justicar by that name?
    • Liara is an information broker. She probably already knows who Shepard is looking for, and Samara is a distinctive individual in her own right. It would only make sense that Samara would be noted by Liara upon arrival on Illium, considering Justicars don't go outside asari space often.
    • Doesn't Shepard say, "I'm looking for a Justicar named Samara."? Justicars don't travel outside asari space much, so Liara would hear about any Justicars on Illium. She probably didn't need the name, just the fact that Samara is a Justicar.
    • I thought this as well, so I checked in game:
      Shepard: There's an asari named Samara here on Illium. Do you know where I can find her?
      Liara: Samara... Yes, she arrived recently and registered with Tracking Officer Dara.
    • So no, he never mentions she's a justicar. I think the previous poster is probably right that she knew of Samara the Justicar, and figured that's probably who Shepard meant.
    • Also, going back to the "She's an information broker" thing: Shepard has arrived on Ilium. Liara knows that he/she's "gunning for the Collectors with Cerberus." She probably had a hit list of everyone on Ilium who Shepard might want on a team that's on that mission, and dug up their contact information, location, and other tidbits of importance so that when Shepard walked in as per her invitation (Concierge: "Liara also directed me to ask you to speak with her at your convenience") she would have the information that Shepard asked for. And Samara the Justicar is at least in the top 5.
    • Not to mention that nearly every asari you speak to who works in a government position is currently crapping themselves that a Justicar has shown up on Illium. As an Information Broker, this is the sort of thing that Liara would notice.

     "Genetic Paradigms," one of the businesses advertised on Illium 
  • What's this I hear about having at least a 40% success rate helping quarians and volus adapt to their environments outside of their suits? Could this help Tali's people in some way, or would it be too risky and too slow (considering the size of the quarian population) to really be an effective help?
    • Too risky, too slow, and too expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if the Flotilla is looking into improving the technology, though.
    • I'm just hoping they have access to very much of the technology, though. The Migrant Fleet isn't allowed anywhere near Illium, so I guess quarians going on their pilgrimages have to bring back helpful things bit by bit. You know, that reminds me ...
    • I always wondered if that was just a scam, like the "lose 100 pounds in a month!" or tooth-whitening ads you see all over the Internet. Especially because they're pitching it to volus—volus, the species with ammonia-based biology incapable of surviving in low-pressure environments that a nitrogen-oxygen mix is deadly to. Considering Illium's strict laws about fine print, I'm guessing the 40% figure is technically true... but not in the way we think. There is absolutely no way that hundreds of volus and quarians have tried this treatment with a literal 40% success rate. It's gotta be advertising-speak with a hundred pages of fine print behind it.
    • It's Illium. There'll be three hundred pages of fine print. Everyone who talks about Illium explains that the planet is dangerous and that you shouldn't trust the advertisements at all without going through the fine print with a microscope.
    • As a point, the advert says their success rates are "approaching 40%". The Their success rates could be .02% up from .01 and technically they'd be approaching 40%. A hell of a long way off, but damnit, they are getting there.

     The "Friend-Zoned Turian's" quarian friend 
  • (For the unfamiliar, I am referring to this quarian.) Since the Migrant Fleet isn't allowed anywhere near Illium, and quarians are a pretty insular society, is it reasonable to assume she's on her pilgrimage or something? Does she ever say?
    • It's assumed, by nearly every non-quarian, that every quarian in the galaxy is on their pilgrimage if they are not with the fleet. But, there is no confirmation in either direction. She could be on her pilgrimage, on a covert op for the fleet, or she could be exiled. And only Tali (out of Shepard's squad) would really know if she were exiled.
    • From what we see of galactic society, most people don't know enough about quarians to assume that they're on their Pilgrimage or not. The quarian on the Citadel being hassled by the volus and the C-Sec officer back up the codex's suggestion that everyone assumes quarians are thieves and transients. Anoleis is similarly rude to Tali if you bring her with you to Noveria in the first game. She could easily be an exile or just someone who left the Flotilla of her own accord. It could also be that some quarians choose to work mundane jobs and send some of their wages home as a way of helping their people.
    • Not all quarians choose to come back to the Migrant Fleet. She may be one of those.
    • We meet another quarian on the planet, remember; the one with the indenture contract. Illium appears to be one of the few places in the galaxy where quarians can get good-paying jobs. Whether it be helping bring in hard currency for the fleet or just in business for themselves, they seem to gravitate there.
    • Alternately, we know the Migrant Fleet trades for things; she could be the local quarian trade attaché, given that Illium is an excellent place to plug into the galactic economy without having to technically enter Citadel space.

     Mr. Thax on Illium 
  • Why does Shepard get Renegade points for informing a krogan that other people are stealing part of his goods? Also, since a name ("Eria") is given on the shipping note, how come there's no option to tell Detective Anaya about this, or did I miss something?
    • ...because Mr. Thax is obviously a gangster who is now going to come down hammer fist on the asari stealing stuff from him?
    • Yeah. If you listen to the asari who stole the goods, she's practically shitting herself in terror that Thax knows. This is also coupled with how Thax's representative responds if you ask if he needs help "dealing with" the thieves. The polite response he gives about "making a few inquiries" and the fate of the thieves "depending on the sincerity of their apologies" is just euphemism for "Thax is probably going to strangle them with their own entrails unless they beg really, really well." The thieves are in deep, deep crap for this. As for informing Anaya about the theft, the note really doesn't give her much to go on. It's just a first name.
    • The gang-beating references are made obvious by the way Thax's representative talks, but the thing of it is that you have no idea of any of this when you first find the shipping note. Are you really given any information other than "we're going to steal some stuff from a person whose name is Thax" before you have to decide whether to upload that information to him?
    • No, you aren't. This game gives out morality points more liberally than the first game, but this becomes a problem when you have no way of knowing the consequences of your actions. Some places I'm still not sure what I do to gain renegade points.
    • I totally understand, though I'd like to hear your personal examples (maybe in Troper Tales or something?). As for this situation, I get the feeling that if Shepard never went back to Illium and triggered that conversation (you end up back on the Normandy after Samara's recruitment mission ends), s/he'd never have gotten the Renegade points after having set all this in motion, which is weird.
    • paragon and renegade are not explicitly ratings of "good" and "evil", they're reputation points. You may have been attempting to be a Paragon person, but you inadvertently fell into the good graces of a powerful gangster. So you end up with Renegade points instead.

     N 7 Armor 
  • Why does Cerberus give Shepard armor with the N7 logo? N7 is an Alliance designation.
    • The Illusive Man wanted to make Shepard as comfortable as possible working with Cerberus, and to this end he gave Shepard a ship very much like the original Normandy (albeit bigger and with some improvements), got some of Shepard's previous crew and team members to serve on the ship and fight beside him, gave him armor he's familiar with, and give command of the mission to Shepard rather than Miranda (although he was more than willing to pull strings when he deemed it necessary).
    • That reminds me of the question I asked about Mass Effect 2 referring to its sidequests as N7 quests. (It's funnier when you consider that the N7 logo is pretty much the only thing on the front of the Collector's Edition box, and the event depicted doesn't have a huge direct impact on the plot.) Maybe the same logic applies?
    • Perhaps because Miranda thought it would help Shepard feel more comfortable? She obviously didn't intend to tell Shepard right off that they were Cerberus (she sounded a little annoyed at Jacob revealing it and certainly didn't mention it over the radio to begin with; when you first meet Jacob he kind of implies they're connected to the Alliance somehow). In keeping with Cerberus' record of manipulating everyone, it's very likely they planned to initially tell Shepard she was in an Alliance facility (or imply it without actually saying it). At the very least, it would be something familiar to Shepard, pretty much the only thing s/he could have to hold onto after waking up. (unfamiliar place, unfamiliar people around her, even an unfamiliar body...)
    • Cerberus is either a former Alliance operation gone rogue or is supported by significant number of highly-placed Alliance executives and officers within the human industrial, political, and military structures. They could easily have just shipped Shepard a suit of Alliance military gear rated for N7 operations.
    • TIM outright states that they brought Shepard back because s/he was a leader. TIM knows that Shepard needs to form a team, and that his previous squadmates were unavailable for the most part, thus the new list of team members. EVERYBODY knows Shepard at this point: he's the Hero of the Citadel. And what armour was he most likely to have been wearing at the time, and during subsequent photo ops and the like? Something N7 branded, as the Alliance would want credit for it. So everybody would recognize Shepard a lot better if he was wearing an N7 branded suit of armour, as before.
    • Not to mention that it implicates the Alliance. If some dude is running around in N7 armor, even if you don't know what Shepard looks like, you're going to think "yeah, this guy is with the Alliance, the human government is involved." Look at it from TIM's perspective. If things go off perfectly, the Collectors are stopped, and Shepard comes out smelling like roses, the Alliance is forced to accept Shepard as one of their own and TIM gets an in-guy with them. If the Collectors are stopped but at a tremendous cost, the Alliance or the Council is weakened publicly because look! Shepard's got Alliance armor on! He's working for them! He's a Spectre! Cerberus wins either way.

     EDI: "Please ensure all personal items are secure" 
  • I realize this is a comparatively minor issue, but when EDI opens the Normandy's airlocks to kill off the remaining onboard Collectors, what happens to the guns in the armory (unless that room was sealed off when EDI did her thing, as the engine room was), or to any of Mordin's small pieces of lab equipment (unless that room was, as well), and so on? Wouldn't a lot of stuff need to be replaced?
    • That bugs me too! Unless she was able to tell exactly what areas the Collectors were in and only vent those areas, and those areas just happened to be places like the CIC or cargo bay where loose items would be rare? Personal items from the crew deck may very well have been vented without any comment being made on it, though; it's not like those would have been a priority to be mentioned after Shepard gets back.
    • Guns and lab equipment can be easily replaced by Normandy's own on-board manufacturing plant. Remember, that is the facility that actually builds all of the weapons and equipment you use anyway. Worst comes to worst, Shepard sends a requisition form to the Illusive Man, and he sends replacement gear.
    • Guns and most lab equipment should be able to withstand vacuum for some time. It's not as if they would get sucked out of the ship or anything (hint hint). The real question is, what about the fishes and the space hamster? Oh wait, space hamster.
    • When EDI says she is going to vent the ship, Joker protests and says, "what about the crew?!" EDI tells him that they are all already gone, the Collectors took them. Perhaps there were only a few Collectors left on the ship and thus only one deck or a few of the larger rooms needed to be vented.
    • Come to think of it, I imagine the ship would need to be re-pressurized and re-oxygenated at some point, which would be a much bigger problem.
    • Go to a planet with an oxygen atmosphere. Or maybe they hold extra oxygen in very high-pressure canisters or something. Or they hold liquid oxygen.
    • I like your suggestions, but for the first option, I wonder if EDI would have had time to fly the Normandy to a nearby oxygenated planet (I'm hoping guessing refilling the ship using oxygen canisters wouldn't take quite as long) before Shepard and company got done with whatever mission they were on. I suppose we're given no storyline information either way, though. Thanks for your help.
    • The Normandy's secondary maneuvering thrusters use hydrogen (in metastable metallic form if you buy the upgrade) and liquid oxygen, the M-44 Hammerhead is powered by an oxygen/hydrogen fuel cell and the ship carries a large store of liquid water for crew drinking and hygiene that could be cracked to provide more oxygen. The life support system could also store huge amounts of extra nitrogen and oxygen locked up in a solid form, to be processed if they need it.
    • Re-pressurizing with new oxygen canisters seems more likely. Refilling by flying through an oxygen atmosphere runs the risk of picking up all manner of microorganisms or unwanted trace gases.
    • Not to nitpick, but wouldn't that cause a problem for anyone onboard? Obviously non-humans breathe a similar mix of gases to humans, hence everyone (except Tali, and even then her suit just filters the air) is able to walk around without an air mask. But a pure oxygen environment (besides being a massive fire hazard) would leave everyone loopy, as they'd be suffering from hyperoxia.

     The mysteries of the solar system: Giant Charon Relay Ice Moon 
  • This have been bugging me for a long time. What exactly happened for the Charon relay to end up being covered in literally kilometers worth of space ice and dust? Surely, a relay cannot be used in such a state, yet it is more or less implied that the Reapers made a short stop on Mars fifty thousand years ago to wipe out the Protheans of the outpost. That, or they died of being left to their own devices. In any case, fifty thousand years ago, the relay worked. So, how did it end in such a state in merely, by space standards, thousands of years?
    • The Reapers could have buried the Relay in the moon. Perhaps they didn't want humanity stumbling upon it before they discovered the Mars ruins.
    • As far as I recall, it's not established that the Mars ruins were still inhabited at the time of the Reaper attack, nor how long they were there. The Protheans may well have abandoned it a million years or more prior.
    • The Reapers' cycle is measured in thousands of years, not millions. Also, there's a brief scene in ME1 which indicates the Protheans last visited us during our Cro-Magnon phase.
    • I seem to recall it being mentioned that the Relays automatically maintain themselves (repairing damage). And that if this system could be disrupted, the relay could be incased in ice (Might have even collected the ice itself if the Mass Effect field shifted to increase gravity)
    • A more likely scenario, is that the Prothean observation team on Mars moved the relay and froze it. Javik did mention something about Protheans eventually covering up their various upliftment operations, so that the Reapers would see these species as too primitive to harvest. That, and the Mars post had blueprints for the Crucible. To protect the humans and their Crucible blueprint, the Protheans froze the relay, then left.

     On the canonicity of ME: Retribution — spoilers! 
  • Revelation was a prequel, so no problem here; Ascension keeps things vague enough that we can't even say what happened during the battle of the Citadel. Now then, Retribution imposes Councilor this is an outrage Udina. Your mileage may vary, but seriously, book-Shepard chose Udina? The point of my question, however, is this — the events of Retribution are clearly stated to be set after Mass Effect 2, and what really bugs me is that Anderson just drop his job as Udina's assistant. Could that mean that Anderson will be no longer involved in the Council by the time of ME3, regardless of who you chose for Councilor in Mass Effect? Wild Mass Guessing-wise, could that mean Anderson as a crew member for ME3?
    • Retribution probably will be canon. Anderson's interactions with Saren (Revelation) were briefly explained in the first game. The incident regarding the quarian ship Idenna (Ascension) was likewise mentioned in Mass Effect 2. Cerberus got hit hard in the novel but not so hard that it couldn't potentially come back stronger in case a Renegade player wants to side with them. As for Anderson as a crew member, I doubt he'll be in the party. I always thought of him as an "I'm too old for this" guy ever since the first game.
    • There's an easy way of explaining this. Anderson lost his job as Councilor, plain and simple. In Lair of the Shadow Broker you gain access to the Shadow Broker's video files: one of them is Anderson meeting a Cerberus grunt. The Broker could've used this to have Anderson removed from his position, and to save face the Alliance promoted him to Admiral and let him continue on as Udina's assistant.
    • If you can see this vid, then "Agent Kechlu" is dead and the Shadow Broker is Liara T'Soni. Why would she do that? Beside, my personal belief about this vid is that it's supposed to show how Anderson learned about Shepard's resurrection. I mean, you got the mail from Anderson right after taking control of the Normandy SR-2 [at the beginning of the game]. Shepard's return at this point is a complete secret except for Cerberus and Tali. Then one of TIM's goons had a chat with Anderson...
    • It could be both, you know. After LOTSB it won't happen, but the Broker could have put his plan into motion beforehand and it only before fruit after the end of the game.
    • Anderson never wanted the job in the first place. He could have just resigned and named Udina his successor.
    • So basically our choice of ambassador has no effect what so ever on the plot? Lovely. And what makes you think Anderson doesn't want the job. He says his job is difficult and frustrating, not that he hates it. If everybody who taught that quit their jobs we would have a hell of a lot fewer doctors and surgeons.
    • So basically our choice of ambassador has no effect what so ever on the plot? ....yeah? You're just now realizing this after reading Retribution, instead of noticing it in the game?
    • Alternatively it could have an impact; Anderson and Udina had different styles of getting the job done in ME2, so while Anderson isn't councilor in 3, you still have the consequences of all he did while he was councilor. He's bought Humanity a lot more good will than Udina did.

     Buying ship fuel and probes 
  • Instead of having to buy his or her own weapons and armor like in the first game, Shepard's paycheck has the responsibility of keeping the Normandy in working order. Why doesn't Cerberus simply cover this? And as for using up mined resources to get the Normandy to the nearest relay/fuel depot (kinda reminds me of using vegetable oil in a diesel engine), are the mechanics of this explained anywhere?
    • Most of what Shepard pays for is going beyond simple working order. No clue on the second question, though.
    • Cerberus does pay for fuel. They just don't do it directly. Remember how, at the end of every mission, there's a box marked "Cerberus funding"? Just one round of Cerberus funding is enough money to pay for fuel and probes for half the game or more. They're just giving Shepard straight cash that s/he can spend however s/he wishes.
    • That does make a lot of sense, thanks much.

     The MSV Estevanico (the teetering ship) 
  • How come the Normandy SR-2 shuttle doesn't just drop Shepard off right near where the bright-red blinking mainframe is, so he or she can pick up the data and get away as soon as possible? Shepard leaves the wreckage at the end of the mission the same way.
    • They probably wanted to be extra careful with the wreck, so they dropped Shepard off on the place it's least likely to cause any overbalancing.
    • Also, at several points the sub-light propulsion systems on vehicles have been depicted as exerting force on nearby objects. For example, the paragon ending of Zaeed's mission. The squad runs towards Vito's escape ship and are pushed backwards when it takes off. Landing up front could've sent the wreck over the edge.

     Shepard's limp 
  • Is it just me, or does Shepard (both genders) have a limp that obviously wasn't there in the first game? You can see it when you change to walking mode. Was that an animation flaw on part of Bioware, or was it intentional? And if the latter, why?
    • Shepard was blasted out of his/her own ship, asphyxiated, cooked by reentry, jostled around while being handled by the Shadow Broker's mooks, then spent two years being rebuilt by a scientific team that essentially had to make up half of what they were doing as they went along. The question isn't "why is Shepard limping slightly?" but rather "why is Shepard only limping a bit?"
    • Furthermore, Shepherd was forced into action before the project was fully complete. Miranda says so when she wakes you up. Shepherd also grimaces when he first gets up, and several of his idle animations are him acting stiff or sore. That might also explain why his cybernetics can cause disfiguring scars.
    • To me, it seemed less a limp and more a more casual walk. Shep's not a military man anymore. He walked like a soldier in the first game. Now he walks much more casually. With a bit of a swagger, if you like, because he's Shepard.
    • Or better yet, why Shepard isn't in constant pain and has an addiction to pain killers?
    • Pfft. Shepard laughs at pain. Pain is for mere mortals.
    • Yeah, Shepard routinely gets shot by mass accelerators, set on fire, and hit by rockets. An ache in the leg is a vacation by comparison.
    • It should probably be mentioned that medi-gel has painkillers in it.
    • Actually, this has been brought up before, and it seems to simply be an oversight by the animators. Shepard walks normally during cutscenes in ME2, and in ME3 all of his/her walking animations look completely normal.
    • As much as it makes sense to see Shepard limping afterwards, if you just walk in the prologue of the game he still has that weird limpy thing.
    • If memory serves Shepard gets knocked back by an explosion during the prologue before you take full control. Presumably that stung a bit.

    Joker 
  • Okay, so if Cerberus can rebuild Shepard from the dead, why do they only give Joker's legs so much strength that he can walk with a severe hunched limping? Why not make his legs more durable so he can walk/run like everyone else in the game? I feel Joker got a bit ripped off here.
    • Bringing Shepard back cost a shitload of money for Cerberus, and a total cure for Joker's condition hasn't been found. Mordin mentions he's working on one as a side project.
    • Which, thus far, will cure him but cause liver failure.
    • Plus Shepard was their top priority. It's not really essential for the mission that Joker be able to run around easily.
    • Then why bother diverting some of their credits to give Joker the ability to walk at all? That mission where we control Joker could've had him in a hoverchair he bought himself and we'd have to use the elevator instead of the air ducts.
    • To give him an incentive to join Cerberus in the first place? From a Cerberus viewpoint, Joker isn't worth spending billions on in order to fix his legs, but if spending way less than that gives him the ability to hobble around and gets him on the team, then why wouldn't they go for it? He's still a pretty good pilot.
    • I'm confused as to where the whole "Cerberus gave Joker the ability to walk" thing even really came from. There's no dialogue to indicate this; in the first game Joker mentions he has leg braces and he has to be careful walking, but he can walk. For all we know he's just using hyperbole (what, Joker, exaggerating something? What madness!). He certainly can't wind sprint, but he can get around on foot.
    • He can walk, yes, but the leg braces he mentioned in the first game are nowhere to be seen in the second, which strongly suggests Joker received some kind of bone-strengthening treatment in the intervening years. In all fairness however, there's no evidence that Cerberus was responsible for it. It's entirely possible that the Alliance developed a new treatment for Vrolik's Syndrome in between the two games and Joker got in on it through his VA benefits.
    • In slightly less fairness, he could be wearing leg braces under his pants.
    • Exactly. For all we know, Joker just exaggerated the severity of his condition. When we see him hobbling, that's because he's wearing his leg bracers and Cerberus didn't do anything for his legs. He's capable of walking. He said it himself in the first game.
    • Did he say that? I guess I must have missed it then. In any case, I'm just glad he didn't hurt himself getting to the escape pods on the SR-1, long before Cerberus ever patched him up.
    • Exaggerating the severity of his illness would be wildly out of character for Joker. From his dialogue in the first game it's clear he hates being treated like a victim or an invalid because of his condition and he built his entire identity around proving that he doesn't need the pity of others.
    • Would it be pointless character development in ME3 if say, the Collectors captured Joker and put him in a situation where he was pretty much helpless and needed someone to get him out? That'd give him a big Heroic BSoD.
    • Joker's the only funny thing left in this damn series! Let's not wreck that, shall we?
    • ENDING SPOILERS!!! OK, at the end when Shepard and others (if they lived) are running to the Normandy, we see the hatch open and there's Joker with a rifle firing at the Collectors with an obvious recoil. Question: Why is this man not screaming in pain due to his arm and shoulder snapping? Is it just his legs that are affected, or is it the whole body??
    • I think it's just his legs.
    • No, it's his whole body. When Shepard yanks him out of the pilot's chair at the beginning of the game and shoves him in an escape pod he goes "Oww! Watch the arm!" And when he explains why he didn't try to fight off the Collector boarding party he says "What was I supposed to do? Break my arm at them?"
    • I always assumed it was just his legs because they let him pilot the Normandy. He even mentions in the first game that he doesn't fly with his feet.
    • All of Joker's bones are fragile (it makes no sense for brittle-bones-disease to restrict itself only to his legs) but his legs are probably extra fragile. Since they have to support his whole body they're the parts under the most stress, so most of his breaks have probably been in his legs. And every single break weakens his bones even further. Joker firing an assault rifle without shattering his arms can be justified either through Rule of Cool or by some science-fictiony recoil-absorbing technology (and it's not like he was swinging around a Revenant light machine gun or anything).
    • I watched the ending multiple times on Youtube. The gun Joker uses doesn't recoil, so that's why he's not screaming in pain at his arm bone and shoulder shattering.
    • Good eye. It's possible Joker had a rifle tuned (trading reduced punch for reduced recoil) so that he could fire it without winding up in the hospital and just couldn't get to it (it was probably sitting in the armory) in time when the Collectors showed up to snag the crew. When you hit the Collector base, he grabbed it and came out to cover you.
    • Plus he's probably so hopped up on Adrenaline any pain might not even register with his brain...and he's been around Shepard for so long some of the Badass clearly rubbed off on him.
    • I thought it was just his legs in the first game, and was subtly retconned to his whole body in the second game, like a lot of other things.
    • Far as I can tell, Joker's condition only prevents him from really running and gunning like Shep and Co. Pretty much everything that the team does - vaulting cover, sprinting, bashing in Collector faces (or whatever passes for a face on those things) with rifle butts - would mean a lot of broken bones for him. Firing a well-designed assault rifle in bursts probably just hurts like hell, but it doesn't necessarily mean broken bones. With the adrenaline that he's got going on at that point he's probably feeling no pain. At the end of the game, if you royally screw up and Shepard dies, Joker does much the same thing that Shepard does when he goes to talk to the Illusive Man - including lifting a bigass heavy-looking support beam out of the way. Joker's tougher than he looks. Although, it does make in-universe sense as to why he's not on the comms for the Arrival DLC - he's down in the medbay, out of his gourd on painkillers.
    • Braces are probably more advanced in the Mass Effect universe, Joker could be wearing some kind of equipment under his pants, or even in his skin. We've already created artificial hips. In a world with biotic implants at the base of the skull, they should be able to put metal rods or braces in key structural areas. Actually, that would explain a lot. Joker can fire an assault rifle and run around the ship because his limbs are supported with technology. He can break a bone in his arm or leg, but still use it as long as he can tolerate the pain.
    • Actually it still makes no sense, if you just consider the tech you can gain in the game yourself. In game 1, you can get armor mods like exoskeletons and force modulators which would improve Joker's mobility as well as protect his bones from the force of impacts. Now, while he may not be comfortable in a full-body suit (he makes a crack about breaking his thumb hitting the mute button at one point, so clearly it IS a full-body condition), it would certainly make sense for him to wear some kind of a leg prosthesis in case of emergencies (like, say, a Collector boarding party). As far as Joker firing an assault rifle, this can also be explained by kinetic dampeners, which reduce recoil. (And, of course, Joker absorbing a little of Shepard's bad-assitude.) As for Cerberus not doing anything for him, they gave him a new, more powerful Normandy to fly. What more did the guy really need?

    Joker's exercise 

  • How does Joker manage to stay in such good shape? Vrolik's Syndrome doesn't sound like the type of disease that would allow him to exercise properly. A pilot who spends all day sitting in the cockpit and gets no exercise should be chubby at least.
    • Mass Effect seems to be a universe of "Just One Body Type". You'll notice simply by walking around the hub worlds that everybody in the Mass Effect universe, regardless of income or lifestyle, has a decent set of muscles and a flat stomach. The closest thing you have to a fat guy in all three games in Anderson, and he's always wearing bulky clothes to boot. While the graphical reasons for this are obvious, an in universe explanation I work with is that food is so high quality in the future that it's impossible for humans to get fat. Likewise, muscle stimulants probably come in some kind of pill form to keep everybody in at least a baseline shape (exceptions being Jacob and James Vega, who are both considerably bulkier than average).
    • This troper, while not having extremely fragile bones, also sits in front of a computer for several hours a day and eats junk food, while still staying in adequate physical shape. He must have, ironically, good genes and luck, or maybe he eats a specially tailored diet to not keep him from becoming Jabba the Hutt.
    • Joker probably maintains a fairly efficient diet if he's going to stay within Alliance physical regs. That ubiquitous gene therapy might also be a factor, but it's likely that he just maintains careful watch on his diet.
    • Low-gravity exercise is also a possibility. Can't remember at the moment if variable gravity has specifically been mentioned in the setting, but with biotics capable of manipulating it to some extent it doesn't seem a far stretch. He'd probably subscribe to a "more reps, less weight" philosophy to police the stress on his body if this were the case.
    • Yes, gravity is variable. Artificial, controlled gravity pretty much demands that one can alter gravity level, and ships generally already have low gravity.
    • Actually, this is easily explainable just using contemporary technology. Joker likely uses a form of EMS, or "Electro Muscle Stimulation," which uses low-level electric impulses to cause muscles to flex without actually having to move the body. Since Joker's bones wouldn't be able to handle heavy weights or impacts (and heaven help him if he slipped with a barbell or dumbbell), EMS and a controlled diet would allow him to maintain a fit form without hurting himself.

     Shepard talking about his/her Spectre status 
  • At least two quests on the Citadel (Thane's loyalty mission and Lia'Vael's problem with the volus) allow you to tell people that you're a Spectre. I got the impression that no one ever asked Shepard to prove this, and I don't remember if the various "favorite store on the Citadel" vendors did, either. The guards on Noveria in the first game seemed to want to verify this, so why don't other people?
    • In the case of the volus, it doesn't really matter if you're a Spectre or not, since you don't have to be one to get the same reaction. They just didn't want to deal with the trouble. In the case of Kelham, you pretty much put a gun to the guy's head and dare him to ask for proof.
    • With the volus, you're dealing with an unarmored C-Sec officer who makes a passing threat to a heavily-armed and armored individual with a pair of armed and equally-dangerous looking people behind him/her, one of which may be a krogan. The C-Sec officer really doesn't want to come to blows with you, so he drops it. In the case of Kelham, you're obviously not with C-Sec but were able to gain access to a C-Sec interrogation room and arrange for an arrest by C-Sec agents. It's obvious that you have some serious pull to arrange this - and then you shove a gun in his face, make a very convincing threat to kill him, and seem thoroughly unimpressed by his threats. Kelham is not a (complete) idiot and can put the numbers together. With the store venders, one of them recognizes you instantly, and the other three recognize Shepard when you bring up who you are, and then smooth-talk them into giving you a discount.
    • You forgot the no-fly-list asari, where you can solve the mission by saying "I'm a Spectre, let them fly", and the agent verifies it before acquiescing (and when you tell the asari what you did, and then tell them you were a Spectre before humans got the [Council] seat, they realize you're Shepard). As noted before, when you're interrogating Kelham and say you're a Spectre, he asks you to "prove it" (and you do so by saying you don't have to). I haven't had a chance to try it out because I didn't have enough renegade at the time, but I recall telling the C-Sec officer harassing the quarian "You're going to 'run in' a former Spectre?" and then immediately afterward getting Kelham in to C-Sec and having the renegade option "I'm a Spectre". Can anyone verify this?
    • Hmm ... yes, I did forget the no-fly-list asari, thank you for reminding me.
    • If you're not a Spectre, you can't use it against Kelham. You need to be reinstated with the Council/Anderson for that to work. Same deal with the C-sec incident; you can choose to be reinstated before doing that side-mission. If you are, Shepard won't say "former".
    • I suppose it might have been a glitch, but, renegade path, I did managed to pull off the "I' a Spectre and here's my gun to your temple to prove it" ploy on Kelham after having told the Council to shove it.
    • Considering that Spectres are quite literally above the lawnote , anyone attempting to unlawfully impersonate a Spectre would quickly be hunted down and killed the moment a real Spectre hears about it. Consequently, it is generally accepted throughout Citadel space that anyone identifying themselves as a Spectre must be one, because no one would be suicidal enough to fraudulently claim Spectre status. There also seems to be a deep-seated taboo in Citadel space against questioning the authority of a Spectre since, after all, they can legally execute you just for pissing them off. The guards on Noveria are an exception because the planet is technically outside the bounds of Citadel law. Spectres operate on Noveria only at the pleasure of the corporations who run the planet and the guards know it. It makes sense that they'd take every opportunity to throw their weight around and lord it over a high-and-mighty Spectre; they're just smart enough to know not to make the situation violent or alot of people will die.

     Lack of a medi-gel station on the Normandy SR- 2 
  • The Normandy in the first game had one of these in its medical bay, so why doesn't the second Normandy have one? Unless I missed something, this means that there's a finite amount of medi-gel in the game now.
    • Maybe they keep the supply hidden because ''somebody'' (Shepard) was using the whole supply on SR-1?
    • Cute, I like that!
    • The crew in the second game doesn't need any medigel. They heal on their own anyway; we can probably interpret this as everyone carrying medigel on them and healing as needed; like with weapons and armor upgrades, we can reasonably conclude that the squad picks up additional medi-gel prior to each mission deployment. The medigel used in the second game appears to be something different, being used to revive squadmates.
    • Everyone has medi-gel systems in their armor, hence the regenerating health. It's only when you use a large bolus of the stuff to get someone back on their feet that you use up one of the containers you have.
    • Short answer: Yes, there is a finite amount of medi-gel in the game. Just like there's a finite amount of credits and resources.

     Grunt's awakening 
  • If Shepard, EDI, and several other people are concerned about whether Grunt will be crazy and hostile when he wakes up, why doesn't Shepard get at least one of the Normandy's guards to stand watch, as was the case for waking up Legion? (Granted, that guard was already standing there anyway.)
    • If Shepard wants to impress a krogan, s/he needs to stand alone before said krogan. Krogan also don't have the universally-hostile reputation that geth have; they're violent and destructive, but Shepard has dealt with ones that were highly rational before. A single guard isn't going to do much in close-quarters against a krogan anyway. Also keep in mind that the guard that was in the room with Legion was an assigned guard to watch over a potentially extremely dangerous prisoner; you don't need a guard to watch over a comatose krogan in a tank.
    • Well, I did note that Legion's guard was already there, and I did mention that Shepard could bring ~at least~ one guard. Thanks anyway, though. My question was why Shepard didn't just fetch a few guards from elsewhere on the ship.
    • Shepard had to know that Grunt would probably try to establish dominance with a show of strength immediately after waking up (it would be a very krogan thing to do). If he had brought a guard along the guard might have opened fire on Grunt as soon as he grabbed Shepard, which would have drawn Grunt into a fight. End result: Grunt or the guard would ultimately end up dead. Either way it's a waste of valuable personnel. Much better for Shepard to face Grunt alone and trust in his natural awesomeness to protect him if Grunt turned out to be crazy.
    • Plus, remember, Shepard has stared down Reapers. After that, getting one potentially uppity Krogan to bitch down would probably be a cakewalk him/her after that. And, depending on how your resolve that conversation, it actually is.

     Squad health-regeneration mechanics, and Legion 
  • Okay, so the Codex explains how the automatic health-generation mechanic works for Shepard and his or her squadmates. What does Legion do, since he it isn't organic? Or does Legion just have a big shield in lieu of shields/armor plus health, or however that works for everyone else?
    • Most likely explanation is that when Legion takes damage, it's losing functionality in some of its systems. Its 'death', as opposed to the other squadmates is it simply shutting down altogether until rebooted at the end of combat. If that's true, then its 'health regen' is more likely "repairing damaged systems" and regaining its optimal performance rate. Still wouldn't explain why medigel can bring Legion back though...
    • Geth are capable of self-repair. Most of them don't because they're simple, expendable platforms and the geth programs on them are auto-transmitted back to safe storage upon deactivation, so they place minimal value on each geth platform. Certain units are capable of self-repair, however, like Primes or Collossi. If you give Legion to Cerberus, the notes in the Shadow Broker's dossier state that it looks like Legion is trying to repair itself after being disassembled, and the quarians were worried about geth parts that could reactivate into active geth. Legion is built to survive outside the geth's main network, so it would make sense if it could self-repair from battle damage that doesn't result in a complete systems failure.
    • My WMG: Legion's health regeneration works on the same principle as all the other squadmates, only he uses omni-gel instead of medi-gel

    Tali's full name 
  • At the beginning of the game, is Tali's name "Tali'Zorah vas Neema", with no "nar Rayya" because she's completed her Pilgrimage, or is it "Tali'Zorah nar Rayya vas Neema", with "nar Rayya" just serving a minor role like a middle name?
    • Tali'Zorah vas Neema nar Rayya. She announces herself with her full name when returning for her trial. Presumably your birth ship would be important in legal matters, while in normal matters your current ship is the only important aspect.
    • Which only begs the question of why the trial was conducted on the Rayya, when the Neema is now her home. (Or is it not? When they change her name, it's to "vas Normandy", which means "vas" cannot indicate birthplace because Tali was quite certifiably not born on the SR-1. Never mind, this troper is shutting up now.)
    • The trial was conducted on the Rayya because it is a large ship with the facilities to handle such a major trial and serve as a meeting place. Kind of how we handle trials in courthouses. Presumably, minor offenses go to Captain's Mast on the ship in question, but major crimes and especially capital/fleet ones go to large vessels like the Rayya.
    • Also, "vas" never indicated birthplace. "Nar" does. Tali was born on the Rayya, and after her pilgrimage became a member of the Neema. Thus the name means "Tali'Zorah, born on the Rayya, Crewman of the Neema".

     Harbinger's level of strength 
  • Why can't Harbinger possess Collector corpses like Sovereign did with Saren at the end of the first game? Or did Saren's cybernetic implants make this specially possible for Sovereign to do this?
    • Presumably dead Collectors are too damaged to possess.
    • Saren's modifications were significantly more extensive as well. When Sovereign took him over, it didn't just give Saren a boost to toughness, it completely changed his body structure, he sprouted new weapons, and burned away the flesh, reducing him to a cybernetic skeleton. Harbinger's implants in the Collectors seem to be less extensive and focused on biotics as well, instead of tech like Sovereign's possession of Saren was. With Harbinger's emphasis on biology and the natural toughness of Collectors, it makes sense that a corpse shot up enough to kill it would be too badly mangled for Harbinger to use.
    • Harbinger's true Reaper form is probably still in dark space. It's mainly using the Collector General as sort of a relay; it controls the General, and by extension inhabits the lesser Collector drones. In Sovereign's case, it's right there outside the Council Chambers.

     Indentured Survitude 
  • A big deal is made of Ilium's indentured servitude/slavery system. Yet when pressing it you find out that there are work time limitations, abuse is forbidden, there are task limitations and quitting is legal (albeit with a rather hefty early termination fee). I ask, how exactly is this different than a rather strict contract on modern earth?
    • That's the point. It's supposed to be a very gray issue, the game presents it as a gray issue, and Shepard can come down on whichever end of that issue s/he chooses.
    • The choice is not what bothers me. What bothers me is that the Asari call it "indentured servitude" instead of "employment". A euphemism only makes sense when you make something sound less severe/disturbing.
    • Indentured servitude and employment are 2 different things. Employment is completely voluntary and for earning a wage. Indentured servitude is much more akin to punishment. As an aside, we have something similar to indentured servitude today: a sentence of community service. I'm not saying all indentured servants on Illium are criminals, but most probably owe money to their contract holder, which they repay by working for them.
    • Plus, remember that Ilium is essentially the gateway between the Terminus systems and asari territory. While the asari seem profoundly uncomfortable with slavery, it seems to fly in Terminus, so phrasing it as "indentured servitude" instead of "long-term employment contract" makes it more appealing to Terminus clients.
    • Um, I'm pretty sure quitting isn't legal for indentured servants on Illium. The fee you're referring to is for freeing the indentured servant before the contract expires. In addition to that, an indentured servant doesn't get paid. That's the difference. Their master/owner takes care of them until the contract runs out, but they are not an employee. They are a temporary slave. Also, employees can't be sold to other employers. Indentured servants can.
    • I agree. Employment isn't that bad at all. Maybe the asari aren't used to being employed by people not of their races? I wonder if that means Tali considers herself an indentured servant to Shepard?
    • To be perfectly honest, I feel like Bioware called it "indentured servitude" in order to give the player the chance to complain if s/he wanted to ("that's slavery, and slavery is bad!"). Sounds like a dysphemism to me.
    • You guys do realize that indentured servitude was a real thing in human history, right? It was common in colonial America.
    • Exactly what I was thinking. And in all the old Dominions, "Letters of Indenture" were what an apprentice signed (for a term, usually, of seven years) while learning a trade from a Master artisan. When you finished you were a "journeyman" - not a master but capable of "workmanlike" craft. In all that time, you not only weren't paid, you had to pay the master! Because he was teaching you his trade.
    • Actually that was more the situation in the Caribbean. In Colonial America most indentured servants worked to pay off the cost of transporting them across the Atlantic. Also, what you describe is a highly idealized form of indentured servitude. In reality, abuse and exploitation of indentured servants was not uncommon. Masters would find (or insert into the service contract) loopholes that would allow them to keep servants in bondage well past the original deadline. Indentured servants were also known to suffer physical abuse.
    • Look up the difference between indentured servitude and chattel slavery. Though it was likely included to provoke thought with a morally grey situation.

    Krogan Sushi 
  • Why is giving a fish to that poor krogan a Renegade option? The action's not hurting anybody, and he'll probably forget about how much he wanted Presidium fish in several months or so.
    • I haven't played in a while, but aren't you lying to him and taking his money under false pretenses? That's fraud.
    • Yes, it's fraud. He wants a fish from the Presidium, and you're lying to him about selling him a Presidium fish. Plus, you're conning him out of enough money to buy a good weapon.
    • Whereas depressing him is Paragon. There should be an option to convince him that there isn't any difference between nonexistent Presidium fish and this fish that I just bought from that store over there, and you can have it if you want. The krogan is also a little too eager to pay you for it; once Shepard says s/he has a fish, the krogan immediately says he'll pay you.
    • And he pays a lot. I agree that there should be a "sorry, there are no fish in the lakes, but here's this, on me" option.
    • Thing is, that krogan doesn't just want a fish. He wants a fish from the Presidium, because that would, in his own words, be "as decadent as screwing Sha'ira". He doesn't want just any fish, he wants a trophy. So a non-Presidium fish wouldn't be too interesting to him.
    • In fact, there could be a second choice after each of the initial, already-in-the-game choices, for more Paragon or Renegade points. If you tell him there's no fish, you could give him the fish you bought from the store or offer to buy him one (Paragon), just move along (neutral), or tell him that he was stupid for thinking that fish were in the lake (Renegade). If you lie to him and say that the fish you bought is from the Presidium, you could give it to him for free (Paragon), take his first offer (neutral), or ask for more money (Renegade).
    • Most krogan are treated as persona non grata on the Presidium. Due to the fact they are non-Citadel race (along with quarian and batarian), the Krogan probably couldn't enter the Presidium without other races giving them dirty looks and having to pay extra taxes just to buy said fish.
    • I thought that was the whole point of some of their conversations, that they weren't allowed up to the Presidium. They had that one conversation where the hungry one is wondering about putting on pressure suits to get in through the hull seems to imply it.
    • The big thing is that not only are you lying to him and taking his money but he's going to be humiliated the second anyone overhears him talking about it. The guy's been going on and on about it even before Shepard intervenes, if you trick him he'll tell everyone who will listen. No matter whatever brief joy you give him through your lie you've hurt him much worse overall.

    Omega relay's ship graveyard 
  • So after jumping through the relay into the safe zone you find yourself surrounded by the wreckage of all the ships who missed the safe zone and got pulled into black holes...
    • When was it ever said with definite proof that ships that passed through the Relay without an IFF missed a safe zone and fell into a black hole? That was conjecture on EDI's part, was explicitly stated to be conjecture on her part because they have no idea what's on the other side (which was also stated multiple times, including in the cutscene right before the jump), and said conjecture was obviously incorrect. Either the Relay does something to ships passing through without an IFF that destroys them on arrival or it signals some kind of active defense that destroys ships after they arrive.
    • Likely both. EDI also says that "drift" occurs when going through a relay (in fact, the very first conversation you see after the title in ME1 is Joker being angry that Nihilus was unimpressed at just how LITTLE drift he managed on the mission to Eden Prime). To invoke Occam's Razor, it's logical to assume that the black holes took care of MOST of the ships that attempt to pass through and the Oculi/Collectors took care of the rest.
      • No. If you want to invoke Occam's Razor, then it's much more logical to assume that the Oculi (or Collectors) immediately attack and destroy any non-Collector ship that arrives. That's precisely what happens to Normandy when she makes the jump through the Relay - the Oculi immediately power up and attack.
      • If that's the case, then there is absolutely no point in getting the IFF, since the only obstacle at the other end would be the Collectors themselves. More likely, there is some sort of defense measure caused by the relay, otherwise, the entire IFF subplot could be cut out completely.

    Music in lower Afterlife 
  • The Amen Break drum samples can be heard in it. You know, the fast snare drum samples that sound like this? So not only have The Winstons unintentionally spawned an entire genre of music (Drum & Bass) but it also is still kicking around centuries in the future, and is popular amongst all sorts of species? I know it's not that big a stretch knowing Gilbert and Sullivan plays are popular around the galaxy, but for a twelve second part of an obscure song, it has some serious staying power.
    • Just because something is obscure now doesn't mean it won't be popular more than two centuries down the road. Pachelbel's Canon was relatively unknown when it was written (IIRC), but it's very well-known now. We also can't know what genres will stay, what ones will burn out, and what ones will eventually come back.
    • It may just be Zeerust, and in one case it's just EA calling back their own Need for Speed franchise.

    The scientists from the Teltin facility 
  • Wait, why did the Alliance think that hiring refugee scientists from who the horrifically unethical Cerberus project that produced Jack, who is nearly impossible to control, were good candidates for their new Biotic Kids Camp? I realize that military projects aren't always nice or remotely close to well-planned and they weren't allowed to explicitly torture the kids, but this is ridiculous.
    • The impression I got (don't have the quest script on hand, sorry) was that the kids were taken to Brain Camp. Although the scientists could have been, too — do you expect they put "worked at a rogue Cerebus training camp for X years" on their resume?
    • The log in question says that the scientists were intending to 'infiltrate' and 'piggyback onto' the Alliance's Ascension project. That definitely sounds like some resume faking is going on.
    • It's really irrelevant. None of the scientists were hired for Ascension; according to the Illusive Man's own personal log at the end of the mission, he ordered the surviving scientists and staff killed.
    • Not killed. Forcibly retired, was the terminology. They could very well be retired off some tropical planet somewhere. Such as certain scientists in our past...
    • No. They're dead. The Illusive Man's own log on the operation states that "Surviving facility scientists killed, either during uprising or after facility shutdown."
    • Confirmed for the scientists, who are dead either from the uprising or the shutdown. Some of the doctors were "forcibly retired," though (in the email that Shepard gets, not in TIM's mission summary).
    • Also the scientist that mentions joining Ascension in a recording then says something along the lines of "Jack, NO!" so I'm thinking he didn't make it back to Sol...
    • The Illusive Man is would know that make a kid super powerful through torture would come back and bite them in the ass big time.
    • It's worth noting that there ARE Cerberus operatives on the Ascension project who are mentioned in one of the books. Whether or not they're from the Jack project or not is still up in the air (the Illusive man could be throwing up false info, but the motives set out for disapproving of the Jack project make sense).
    • I read the log entries about "piggybacking into Ascension Project" in the game to refer to Gillian Grayson, one of the main characters in Ascension.
    • The scientists never made it to Ascension. TIM had anyone who wasn't killed in the uprising executed afterwards, per his own personal log after you complete Jack's loyalty mission. Cerberus probably planned to have them fake their resumes and use Alliance connections, but TIM scrapped the project and the personnel after Jack's breakout.
    • It's Fridge Brilliance really. Those scientists were performing unethical, deadly experiment on children. The Illusive Man made Cerberus to protect humanity; so by harming human children those scientists are, in a way, harming humanity's future.

     Inconsistencies in medical progression? (Crosses over into Retribution
  • The first game established that Joker has Vrolik syndrome, which is apparently based on a real genetic bone disorder. The series novel Retribution tells us that diseases like emphysema and cancer have been eradicated. If medical science has progressed far enough to fix people at the level of their genes (one of the factors behind cancer, along with environment, depending on the type), then why is Vrolik syndrome still a problem?
    • Because they haven't found a cure for it yet. Kind of how diseases like bubonic plague are no problem, now but we still haven't cured cancer. There's any number of other diseases in the setting that they have not developed cures for either, i.e. the Ardat-yakshi genetic disorder, Kepral's Syndrome, the genophage, etc. Note that they do have treatments for Vrolik's; Joker would be dead if he was in the hands of modern medicine.
    • We're talking about human scientists curing human genetic diseases. They aren't expected to know about the ardat-yakshi disorder (an asari condition), Kepral's Syndrome (a drell condition), or the genophage (a krogan condition). My point is that human doctors and scientists have apparently progressed far enough down into human genes (unless the only forms of cancer they've eradicated are those caused by environmental factors, in which case they should say so) to cure cancer, and yet other genetic disorders apparently haven't followed suit.
    • And I'm talking about scientists in societies that have had superior medical technology for thousands of years that still have not been able to cure disorders within their species. It is quite clear that setting-wide medical technology, while quite advanced, cannot cure all disorders. If species that have had superior medical technology for thousands of years have been unable to cure disorders within their species, then it is entirely reasonable that humanity, which has had comparable technology for only decades, would be unable to cure all of their genetic problems.
    • Having a gene-therapy cure for Vrolik's would allow them to cure Joker... but only before or very shortly after he was conceived. After that even if his genes are fixed it won't necessarily make his bones re-grow correctly. Fixing his bones outright might take more than fixing the genes that cause his bones to develop poorly, even if it would probably improve things. Also, there is no mandatory testing and treatment of such pre-natal conditions ether... as evidenced by an assignment on the presidium in Mass Effect with a woman and her brother-in-law arguing about how best to take care of her unborn child.
    • Curing cancers, even ones that have genetic risk factors, doesn't necessarily imply a cure for any (much less all) genetic disorders, including the aforementioned predisposition for cancer. Even people with "cancer genes" don't always get cancer as there are always other factors. And cancers that have genetic predispositions associated with them often appear even when the specific individual has no such predisposition. More likely there are a small number of unifying "choke points" that all cancers share in common. If this unifying trait in all cancers is eradicated or a treatment is found to cure its presence then it wouldn't matter if someone had a 95% genetic predisposition of developing cancer from their genes... they would still have a net 0.001% chance of actually developing it.
    • Cancer typically appears when there is a localized corruption of genetic material... say in the lymph nodes. It could be possible to "reboot" this genetic code using code from healthy lymph cells elsewhere in the body combined with the use of nano machines to hunt down and eradicate the corrupted cells (because fixing the cause doesn't undo the damage)... which is several orders of magnitude less complicated than manually re-writing a specific subset of genes throughout the body with only a rough idea what that genetic code originally looked like. It's the difference between overwriting a corrupted picture file with a good copy and using a hex editor to manually switch bits on and off in the picture file with only a rough idea what the original picture looked like... only with several million (or trillion in the case of vroliks) picture files at once and the picture files have a habit of self-replicating and deleting each other...
    • On a sidenote, wouldn´t the problem with the Quarians be fixed by controlled vaccination and exposure to non-sterile environments for a couple generations? I know their suits integrated into their culture, but living on "sterile" spaceships causing immunity-problems? Get a regular shot every couple years and walk around other planets, you know, like EVERY space-faring race does. Or they could have mitigated the problem by finding a suitable world to settle down on within a reasonable timeframe, instead of sitting in space for 300 years. For being very adapt with technology, their medicine seems to lack behind massively, considering Tali takes "Herbal Supplements" to boosten her immune-system along modern medicin.
    • This has been discussed before. It would take several generations for the quarians to re-adapt their immune systems to any non-Rannoch biosphere. The quarians can't colonize other inhabited worlds because the Citadel will boot them off, and they haven't found any other habitable worlds since they've been wandering that the Citadel hasn't booted them off. And the quarians' medical technology is lacking, mostly because the majority of quarian resources are tied up simply keeping their ships working. They don't have the resources for medical research and adaptation.
    • All of these points are valid, but there's another point that needs to be made - how common could Joker's condition be? It's possible that there isn't a cure yet because nobody's looking for one, simply because there aren't enough people sick with it to merit funding for research for a cure.
    • It's very rare, and it was said that had Joker been born a century or two ago, he wouldn't even have survived to be born.

    Shepard's fame and Kasumi's mission 
  • It just bugs me that Donovon Hock and no one else in the party recognized you, since by this point you could have punched out a journalist (twice) while being filmed, you’re the first human spectre and all of that and you even bring a statue of Saren with as if just to remind everyone what it is your famous for. I should note that Hock never recognizes you even when he discovers you stealing, In fact now that I think of it the whole game is rather wishy washy on the whole thing, You'll come across people who think the fact that Shepard’s alive is just a rumour and then people who will realize your Shepard as soon as they see you without any doubt in their minds even if they only met you once (and briefly) or not at all (the citadel vendors).
    • You also could have had your appearance changed. Additionally, people may know someone that looks a lot like Shepard, purely by coincidence - for example, Harrison Ford's stuntman in the Indiana Jones films, Vic Armstrong, looked almost exactly like him. Shepard's also never been seen in public wearing a tux, and what kind of clothes you wear can make you look almost totally different.
    • Even if Hock knew what Shepard looked like, there's still the fact that s/he's supposed to be dead. Rumors aside, the Commander's resurfacing isn't common knowledge by the end of the game's story. It's much easier to assume that this person bears a remarkable resemblance to a famous war hero than to assume that they are said dead war hero. Anyway, Hock points out how Kasumi brought in Shepard while gloating at Kasumi. Most likely, he had a feeling that Kasumi would pull something at the party and kept quiet so that she'd reveal herself and allow him a crack at her graybox.
    • Sorry (OP here) but I distinctly remember that Hock still thinks you’re the cover that kasumi gave you (I forget the name) but I remember he calls you by that name over the loudspeaker, he never indicates that he realizes you're Shepard. Also I find it hard to believe that random vendors on the citadel will believe that your Shepard and asked you for advertisements, a journalist would interview you (with a camera) and that people you met only briefly in the first game will instantly recognize you and ask for your help in a sidequest, if they thought you simply had a passing resemblance. Initially I got the impression that it became fairly well known fairly quickly after you were bought back to life, since I doubt citadel security would let a random stranger walk around the citadel fully armed and dangerous. Again this is why Kasumi DLC bugs me.
    • Why would Hock discovering that you're stealing from him magically grant some knowledge that you're Shepard? "Wait, this crime lord that was introduced to me broke into my vault and is stealing stuff? He must be a war hero named Commander Shepard I've never heard of!!"
    • Hock not recognizing Shepard is vaguely given a reason when Kasumi needs a voice sample. He goes on a tirade about how organized crime is the only reason the world keeps spinning. Sure, Shepard is a hero to the Citadel dwellers, well known by reporters and other species. However, Hock has no reason to care. It sounds like he operates out in the Terminus System and doesn't care much for Council activities, despite his proximity to it. Shep's rep may be similar to American figures like Davy Crockett: we know who he is and why he's regarded as a hero, but someone living in Russia (or some other country that's distant but still relatively well informed) could care less. It seems more like Hock not recognizing Shep is a deliberate choice by the writers and a way of pointing out how aloof he is to most galactic affairs that don't concern him.
    • Well I'm not American and I have no idea who Davy Crockett is, so your example works perfectly; I still think the game is inconsistent on this issue but this is the best explanation I've heard so I guess I'll just have to get over it.
    • I think the plot kind of assumes you recruited Kasumi and did her loyalty mission before (or without) ever doing anything like punching out a reporter on camera. Also, just because you were filmed doesn't mean you were filmed live. Consider that in the first game after you give your interview Hacket always says the story "just broke" whenever you decide to come back to the Normandy, which could be many hours or days later.
    • There's a famous anecdote about Marilyn Monroe: She was walking down the street with a journalist one day (I forget who), and not a single person recognized her. When the journalist commented on this, she said: "Oh, you want to see her, do you." She changed her walk, her posture and her facial expression, and everyone recognized her. Perhaps something similar is happening here.

    The Collectors' Plan 
  • Whose idea was the Human-Reaper Larva? The Collectors raided enough colonies to attract attention, and as a result they ended up with a Back from the Dead badass getting in their base killing their dudes. It's true that they were attacking primarily in the Terminus Systems, where people disappear all the time without anybody (or at least The Council) caring; it's true that Shepard could not have been a factor in their plans. But is that why they decided to go about their business so brazenly?—just marching up to colonies and walking away with everybody? The slow way is the safe way, and the Collectors have been around for 50,000 years, there's no reason they couldn't wait a thousand more and kidnap humans slowly, in a manner that doesn't draw attention. Instead of, you know, jumping in the window screaming. (Not to mention, what did they hope to achieve with just a single Human Reaper? They had a single normal Reaper in ME1 and Shepard stopped it too. Yes, Humans Are Special, but not special enough to invoke Conservation of Ninjutsu against the entire galaxy.)
    • I honestly get the impression that the entire thing was an experiment on the part of the Reapers, and not a plan to invade the galaxy. Harbinger wanted to build a human Reaper to see what it could do. And to be honest, I think the Collector's plan was workable, and in fact, it was working, up until Shepard was resurrected, as no one was bothering with investigating the smaller settlements going missing. Sure they could have gone about it in a more subtle manner, but that would take a lot more time, and I suspect Harbinger was both too impatient to wait for a trickle of humans that would take decades to complete the Reaper, and too arrogant to think that organics could stop him. Plus, there may be time crunch issues here, especially with the Citadel recovering Sovereign's remains and that kickstarting tech development. Maybe the Reapers are worried that they won't be able to retain the unstoppable tech advantage they've held if they don't step up operations.
    • Everything the above poster said, plus a bit more: Sovereign was a normal Reaper, and he curb stomped the Citadel defense fleet. He was only destroyed because he was attempting to open the Citadel Relay when Shepard became a Spanner in the Works and got him incapacitated while the entire human armada hit him with everything they had. If he hadn't been connected to the Citadel, he wouldn't have been helpless, and so could have fought back. One Reaper could, at the very least, destroy a significant portion of the ships in the galaxy before the rest of the Reapers arrive.
    • One more thing: the Reapers truly believe they are saving species by "ascending" them. Remember that the Reapers were supposed to have invaded a few millennia ago (the Rachni were their first contingency plan) and have been trying to get here ever since. In that time, the drell have gone near-extinct, the krogan became sterilized, and the quarians ruined their immune systems. According to Harbinger, all of these species were, at one point, considered viable options for Reaper material. The Reapers more than likely feel that any delaying will cost them more "viable possibilities".
    • But where did you get the whole "the Reapers should have Invaded millennia ago" part and when did Harbinger say (I can't remember having an actual conversation with Harbinger where he could have dropped that) that quarians, drell and the krogan were viable options for Reaper material?
    • The rachni were the first attempt by the Reapers to invade. This is all but outright said if you spare the rachni queen and talk with the asari agent of theirs in the second game. As for the other species being viable Reaper subjects, Harbinger says as much while fighting your squadmates; if he takes down Tali, Thane, or Grunt he'll comment on their species' viability.
    • Ah, thanks that Drell, Quarian, Krogan thing has been bothering me for a while. but I thought the Rachni were just older than the other species and survived the last Reaper Apocalypse by hiding underground where reapers couldn't get/find them, but made them crazy by indoctrination, but that was apparently a WMG of mine.
    • The idea that Reapers should have invaded long ago is stated in ME1 by Vigil. If the last of the Protheans hadn't reprogrammed the Keepers, the Reapers would've just waltzed in using their normal means.
    • "Arrival" all but confirms that the Collectors' constructing of a human Reaper is not necessary to their arrival into the galaxy. It was definitely a side project being carried out by Harbinger's minions.
    • Hell, they were probably just trying to replace Sovereign to keep their numbers consistent.
    • Or get a head start on the whole "reaping" process.
    • There is, of course, another possibility: Harbinger is simply crazy. Making a barely-functional human reaper doesn't really do much for that whole destroy-all-spacefaring-life overarching goal, and it's simply Harbinger's pet project. (So, yes, Harbinger would be a rogue cell.) It's certainly more comprehensible than a triclopian baby space terminator, defeatable on foot, as the grand plan.
    • .....why would the "triclopian baby space terminator" be such an incomprehensible idea? Harbinger's trying to make a new Reaper; the finished product would be far more powerful than the machine Shepard destroys. The only reason Shepard is able to destroy it is because it is at such an early stage in its development. The completed version would have been completely immune to Shepard's weaponry.
    • Well, isn't the story that the Reapers turn each race they "reap" into a new Reaper? I thought the Collectors were just an advance team, starting the process of building new Reapers before the main fleet showed up. Hell, if they'd gotten the Human-Reaper finished, they probably would have moved on to the Turians, the Asari, and the Salarians, harvesting colonies and melting them down into Reaper goo.

    Normandy 2 Features 
  • The Normandy 2 only has bathrooms on the crew deck. So if someone needs to pee or get some water they have to walk all the way across the ship and ride the elevator down. If there were facilities elsewhere it would improve efficiency.
    • It's not that far of a walk. They can hold it for the twenty seconds it takes to walk over there and ride the elevator down. There are plenty of real-life military vessels where you have to walk a lot farther to get to a head.
    • Shepard's cabin also has a bathroom.

    Sleeping arrangements 
  • Where do Garrus, Samara, Mordin, and Tali sleep? Every other party member has their own room (Thane, Jack), would sleep with the other humans (Jacob, Kasumi), or don't sleep (Legion). I don't know how well the human crewmembers cohabitate with aliens. At the same time, where does Tali do her suit repairs?
    • They sleep in the same places that they slept in on the first Normandy. See those pods along the walkway to the gunnery station? Those are additional sleeping modules. As for doing suit maintenance, Tali can do it just about anywhere. Quarians don't need sterile environments to do suit maintenance; otherwise they wouldn't survive long on Pilgrimage.
    • In all likelihood Tali could do it in the med bay and it would work out fine.
    • Most of the rooms where we meet squad members have camp beds in them - Zaeed and Jack, for example.
    • There are plenty of bunk beds in the crew quarters, enough for them to sleep there if they are willing to share with an on-watch crew member. While Tali might not like it much, the Normandy's airlock has a full decontamination cycle if it's like the one from the SR-1. If she needs to unsuit (to change into the DLC or Loyalty outfits?) I suppose she could walk in there, run the decon cycle a few times then make damn sure to overload, hack or paint over all the cameras and bugs in there.

     Is preserving the Collector Base really safe for Cerberus? 
  • So if I'm not mistaken, this end-of-game choice works by sending a radiation pulse to destroy all of the remaining Collectors. That's all well and good, but when Cerberus goes to use the base for its own purposes, how will the Cerberus personnel keep from getting radiated themselves, or will this still be a problem?
    • It's a single explosive pulse of radiation. It's not going to be spraying radioactive material all over the site that would require decontamination. It's like a neutron bomb.
    • Hell, that's a relatively minor worry compared to the other stuff in the station. There's a dead reaper larva inside there. You've seen two other reapers already that have the power to brainwash people just by being present. If you don't destroy the collector's base, it could very well indoctrinate whoever arrives to recover the tech. The Cerberus operatives on board the derelict reaper were totally overcome in a manner of days by a 50,000,000 year old dead reaper; the one in the base has only _just_ been killed. The newly indoctrinated could take the thing to the Citadel and open the dark-space relay just like Sovereign tried to. I was rather miffed when I couldn't tell the Illusive Man he was an idiot for going anywhere NEAR that tech. For all we know, it could have been another contingency plan in the event that both Sovereign and Harbinger failed.
    • With Arrival being released, every Reaper artifact we've come across so far has been capable of indoctrination. Leaving the Base with TIM is almost certainly going to blow up in his face, if not outright indoctrinate his ass.
    • In fairness, the amount of Reaper tech we've seen so far hasn't been that large. And the ones capable of indoctrination were still active or semi-active at the time. The Reaper larvae may be fully dead and not capable of indoctrinating anyone (if it was even able to at all in its uncompleted form). Also, correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the Normandy SR-2 have some Reaper parts built into it? If so, then not all their tech can indoctrinate people.
    • (Original question's author here) I was wondering the same thing. Poor EDI.
    • Exactly. and the Reaper from the Collector base was a "baby". while the indoctrinating ones were finished Reapers. Not to mention that it was a Collector base not a Reaper base. Even though the they use some Reaper-tech, nothing in the game shows that Collectors are indoctrinating people IIRC.
    • Judging by what we know of Mass Effect 3, with TIM trying to kill Shepard, there is a strong possibility that TIM has been indoctrinated if he keeps the Collector Base.
    • Well, you know Cerberus' motto when it comes to Reaper tech: Safety first!
    • Bottom line, with Mass Effect 3 filling in the blanks: all Reaper tech, living or dead, is capable of indoctrination. The dead Reaper we steal the IFF from indoctrinates the Cerberus science team that was aboard it. The SR-2 does not have Reaper parts built into it, but EDI does have Reaper-based code. Preserving the Collector base gives loads of Reaper-based technology to Cerberus and far more genetic data than any organization should be allowed to have (even if you ignore the horrific means used to obtain said data). And no, the decision to hang the remains of the baby Reaper in their base like a frigging trophy over the mantlepiece was not good for Cerberus's mental health.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Kenson 

  • Why didn't Kenson alert the batarians? Yes, she was indoctrinated, and a deep cover agent at that, but she had a good amount of time to put the Project together before she was brainwashed. If she had warned the batarians, they could have evacuated the system well before they had to resort to the Colony Drop. (True, proving their story would've required getting them close to Object Rho, but Shepard demonstrated that indoctrination requires prolonged exposure, and the batarians would presumably be too busy evacuating to stand around the asteroid.)
    • Batarians wouldn't take kindly to undercover humans in their system, and their attitude might not change even if she showed them the proof. Kenson may have wanted the Project ready to launch before alerting the batarians. That way, if the batarians reacted badly, she could put her finger on the button and say "I'm blowing up the relay no matter what you do, so you better get out while you can!"
    • The batarians consider any Alliance presence inside Hegemony territory to be hostile. The Project is an Alliance operation, and we've already seen what happens to those Alliance agents who are discovered in Hegemony space. That's why you have to rescue Kenson in the first place. If she tried to warn the batarians, they would at best ignore it, and at worst use it as a pretext to declare war on the Alliance.
    • And even if Kenson could convince the batarians to evacuate the system, there's very little chance of them going along with the Project. The Codex reveals that the batarians always knew the power of the Alpha Relay, but were keeping it a secret from other races. Most likely so they could use it as a trump card if war broke out. Convincing them to blow up their secret weapon for the good of a galaxy that hasn't really done them favors would insanely difficult, if not impossible.
    • I don't believe for a second that the batarians would believe her if she had told them. I mean, consider it from their perspective. An Alliance operative shows up in their system and warns them that in X days a horde of Giant Space Fleas From Nowhere are going to drop in on them and use their relay to launch a galaxy-wide omnicidal death campaign. The only way to stop them is to crash a huge asteroid into their relay (a relay they secretly know can be used to jump deep into the territory of every race in the galaxy) thus destroying it and their very valuable mining colony. Would you believe that explanation? Or would you think it was a roundabout ploy to deprive you of a powerful and unique mass relay, gain a propaganda victory by destroying a valuable garden world that (the batarians think) the Alliance greatly coveted in the past, and kill several hundred thousand batarians in the process?
    • ...come to think of it, did Kenson even have evidence that wasn't from the big, spooky Reaper artifact that indoctrinates you and knocks people out after they survive five waves of enemies? That would probably kill some credibility.
    • 1. Most of the galaxy does not believe in reapers. 2. Nobody believes in terrorists. 3. Batarians don't believe in humanity. To them it would sound like the most idiotic plan ever hatched to get someone to move. The batarians would then proceed to trace the signal, and detain (or kill) them like the terrorists they are believed to be.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Trial 

  • Why, exactly does Shepard have to stand trial for what he did? There was no evidence of him being in the system (hell the whole point of him going in alone was for exactly that reason), and more importantly, even if there was evidence that he was there, it has been destroyed because the entire solar system got wiped out. The Alliance needs a scapegoat? There's no reason why it has to be Shepard because one, he's not Alliance anymore, and two, he wasn't even rescuing Kenson on Alliance business, he was there independently which was why Hackett called him in the first place. This sounds like blatant railroading of the plot just to get Shepard to Earth for Mass Effect 3.
    • There was some form of evidence that Shepard was present; Hackett says as much. Whether this is visual scans of the Normandy from Hegemony satellites, decrypted radio transmissions (the Project personnel did outright say that Shepard was coming over the radio) to Shepard outright transmitting his/her presence while attempting to warn the batarian colonists, there's likely some circumstantial evidence that Shepard was present. There's not much for the Hegemony to go on, but if they get even a bit of evidence Shepard was involved, they'll use it. Don't forget that Shepard him/herself did the same thing with Saren.
    • First of all, the Normandy is a stealth ship. It's made to penetrate unfriendly airspace without detection. Second, the project would have made sure to keep their transmissions undetectable, whether they're indoctrinated or not, since the Reapers don't want their plans found out either. They wouldn't have been able to operate for as long as they did otherwise. Finally, warning the colonists is a choice, so it can't be cannot be considered cannon. The only evidence I see anyone having is Hackett basically copping to the whole scheme for no reason.
    • A scapegoat is exactly what the Alliance wants to make out of Shepard. Hackett even says so if you pick one of the renegade responses. Whether Shepard is still an Alliance soldier or not and whether he was technically working for the Alliance or not won't matter one iota to the batarians. Especially since the Alliance has been using Shepard's image in their navy recruitment campaigns. If the Alliance tries to use those excuses the batarians will make an enormous stink about it and probably declare war. The Alliance really doesn't want that to happen so they're (apparently) hanging Shepard out to dry.
    • Shep is a scapegoat to avoid war. He wouldn't be tried on earth because of Alliance affiliation, but because he is human, which is a lot better than being shipped and tried on a batarian planet.
    • The Batarians mention capturing members of Kenson's team and torturing them for information where they told the Batarians their plan (the Batarians discuss it though they dismiss it as "frenzied rambling"). Furthermore, the base had security camera which could have picked up Shepard. The Batarians could also have used simple logic; they had Alliance prisoners there, then the base was attacked and the Alliance prisoners disappeared, therefore Alliance forces invaded and freed them. Finally it could be blind prejudice; the Hegemony hates humans so the presence of armed humans in Batarian space near the Batarian's secret weapon was blamed on the Alliance regardless of proof. After the destruction of the relay and Aratoht, that was all the Batarians needed to declare war.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Restrained 

  • Why didn't Kenson have Shepard restrained in addition to sedating him?
    • Kenson failed to take even the most basic safeguards with Reaper tech. She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Probably because the Reapers had such tight control over her.
    • Okay, but then why didn't Harbinger do it? We see him apparently in control of Kenson in one scene. Why wouldn't he think to keep Shepard strapped down? For that matter, why were they keeping him sedated in the med bay at all? Why not lock him in a cell with nothing but the clothes on his back?
    • A firm grip on the Idiot Ball.
    • Harbinger didn't seem to be in direct control; when a Reaper takes direct control, you can tell. The voice changes, the body contorts and transforms, etc. The glowing eyes don't indicate anything, really. Besides, they pretty much were keeping Shepard in a cell with just the clothes on his back, and they included armed guards as well. One button press seals him/her in. Besides, Kenson said that she wanted him alive, probably to examine Shepard's body; Harbinger was big on that too. They probably weren't expecting the use of the mechs, which was probably a mistake on the Project's part, due to the indoctrination.
    • Prison cells don't generally include remote control consoles for combat mechs. If Kenson/Harbinger had put Shepard in a room without that remote control console, or just a concrete room with completely bare walls (i.e. an actual cell), Shepard never would have escaped and the Reaper invasion would have worked perfectly. EDIT: Also, it's pretty damn clear that Harbinger WAS possessing Kenson. Unless you have another explanation for why her eyes were glowing, her voice was weirdly distorted, and she referred to herself as "we". Not to mention we can hear Harbinger's voice while Shepard is fighting off waves of soldiers after Kenson betrays him. If Harbinger isn't possessing somebody, where is the voice coming from?
    • For starters, the subtitles make it obscenely clear where Harb's voice is coming from during the last stand: OBJECT RHO ITSELF. Hence, no need for possession. And as for referring to herself as "we", she wasn't. She was referring to the group - the indoctrinated project staff, the Reapers, both, etc- of which she was part as the "we", just like you'd have heard in countless other moves. As for the glowing eyes, weirdly distorted voice, etc, that might be either actual possession, or it may be how Shepard perceives her after getting taken down by either the enemy or the shockwave. Hell, it might be a side effect from being so damn close to Object Rho. So while it is possible that Kenson was possessed, it is by NO means certain.
    • If they didn't think to restrain Shep, you have to figure they were just that confidant in the sheer amount of sedatives they were pumping into him/her. Like enough to drown a krogan, or two.
    • Overconfidence is pretty much the Reapers' Hat.
    • And it should be pointed out, they're on a research station on an asteroid. They probably didn't have anything close to a prison cell. Not to mention that Indoctrinated victims lose their ability to think for themselves the longer things go on.
    • I wasn't expecting bars on the windows or anything, but surely they would have at least had a room with thick walls, only one way in or out, and a big sturdy door with a big sturdy lock. But no, they put him on a table, with no restraints, in a room with a mech control console prominently displayed. They should have drugged him, tossed him in a cargo container, and locked the door. Then had Shepard bust out by overpowering the nurse who came to check on him. It would have been clichéd, but it would have made more sense.
    • Again, they were on a research station build by them onto an asteroid. Why would they have such a room? What purpose would it serve for them? They didn't need storage rooms because they were planning to destroy the base, they were there primarily as researchers into the artifact, hence why did didn't have restraints or rooms that could double as prisons. Logically, there's no reason why they should have these things. And again, they're indoctrinated, they're basically becoming hollowed out puppets. Like Vigil said in ME1 indoctrinated die of starvation because they can no longer think for themselves, so doing something like this fits in with that description.
    • Except they weren't planning to destroy the base. They built it to study the Reaper artifact. It wasn't until later when they figured out the artifact was counting down to a Reaper invasion. And even then, I don't care how short-term the research station is. They would still have storage rooms for extra equipment, foodstuffs, and just general backup supplies. The mere fact that the station was so extensive and drilled so deep into the asteroid proves they were there for quite a long time, which necessitates lots of storage space for all the equipment they would have needed to hang around all that time. Hell, we see tons of cargo containers all over the shuttle deck when Shepard escapes the asteroid. Why didn't they stuff him in one of those? And again, Harbinger was there possessing Kenson. Why didn't he do anything to restrain or lock up Shepard?
    • What lock the COMMANDER SHEPARD? Into a cargo container? Shepard would have just beat his way out of there. A Kinetic Barrier Room makes more sense. And as it has been pointed out the Reapers are overconfident and Harbinger was too arrogant to lock him up in more restraints. Besides, those would have probably been broken by Shepard's cyborg wrists anyway. And furthermore, why would a research station have a cell?
    • Jesus Christ, do you not listen?! "A cell" = "place where a human being can be locked up with no way out". Just because they don't have a literal jail cell doesn't mean they don't have a fucking locked room that Shepard can be tossed into. Obviously Shepard is going to break out, the plot requires it. But they could have done more to restrain him than leave him alone on a med-bay table. There's a difference between "arrogance" and "complete pants-on-head stupidity". Shepard should have been locked up or at least strapped down to a table. If he broke free in spite of that, at least the bad guys would've looked less like drooling idiots.
    • They had Shepard sedated for two days, and it would've been more, if everything had gone according to plan. That should've been obvious with that woman saying, "It says the sedatives are wearing off, it must be a glitch in the system." Unfortunately for the Reapers, Shepard's been upgraded, so sedatives presumably have less of an effect on him.
    • The reapers were literally minutes away from victory when Shepard escaped. If the Commander hadn't - by sheer chance - rescued Kenson with just enough time to save the galaxy then everyone would have died. Critical mission failure. All things considered, it seems they could have invested in an extra lock. Or maybe a few more guards. This man/woman has wrecked entire platoons of soldiers when sent at him/her in small groups at a time - or even all at once, if the player survives the onslaught before being captured. This was not exactly the moment to show fucking restraint on Kenson's behalf. Or at the very least not (very politely) place all of Shepard's equipment in the coat rack outside the door.
    • From what I was able to gather, Kenson was in charge of everything happening on the Project station. Kenson, being heavily-controlled by the Reapers, is suffering from mental degradation due to the indoctrination. She might not be making the most informed or wise of decisions. Harbinger doesn't appear to be in direct control of her, at least not to the degree that Harbinger controlled the Collector drones; there was no glowing fire, no complete replacement of her voice, etc. He may have been influencing her, the same way Sovereign influenced Saren, but Kenson was still nominally making the decisions, which means Kenson was the one who made the mistake of locking Shepard in the medical bay under sedation instead of in a cell. Between her fallibility as a human and the indoctrination addling her mind I see no issue with Kenson making the error of not locking Shepard up in a cell instead of in the medical bay.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Alpha Relay 

  • Well I just played Arrival for the second time(first after and now before the suicide mission) and something bugs me. when you finish the suicide mission you see the Reapers activating and flying off to the milky way. Ummm.... didn't they JUST ARRIVE at the Alpha Relay, it just makes the DLC feel rushed. It would have been MUCH easier for Bioware to start Arrival only after the suicide mission
    • Um, no. The Reapers you see after the suicide mission are clearly thousands of light years (if not millions, I'm not so good with interstellar distances; the point is they're very far away) outside the Milky Way. They are just in the process of getting to the galaxy, they aren't there yet.
    • Both Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival are theoretically supposed to take place after the SM. The dialogues and situations make more sense this way. If I have to guess, I'd say they let you begin both the DLCs roughly one third into the game to make it more interesting for people who never got around to finish the game. Now with that said, the OP got a point. Once the countdown is terminated, it mean that the reapers fleet has at the very least dropped out FTL into the solar system containing the Alpha relay. As of the ending of Arrival, the reapers ARE IN the milky way regardless of Shepard actions. Now they'll have to slug it out toward another relay, and then they'll be bound to conventional relay traffic regulations.
    • I didn't get that impression at all. It seemed to me the Alpha Relay served two functions. Its main function was to let the Reapers make long-distance jumps so they could invade faster. But they also needed it just to get into the Milky Way galaxy. Consider that in the first game, the reason why Sovereign wanted to bull-rush his way into the Citadel was to activate the mass relay secretly built into it and bring the Reapers out of "dark space" (the space between galaxies) and into the Milky Way. If they could jump their fleet into the Milky Way without a mass relay, why would Sovereign bother to do that? Why not just jump into the system with the Alpha Relay and then spread out across the galaxy? Also, there's a big point that you seem to be forgetting. If the Reapers are officially inside the Milky Way at the end of Arrival, why didn't we see any of them jumping into the system? The camera holds on the space where the Alpha Relay was for quite some time after it explodes. If the Reapers were officially inside the Milky Way at that point, we should have seen Reapers appearing in that space before the game cut to the next scene.
    • The reason for Sovereign hijacking the Citadel was twofold; yes it was to enable the reapers to come out of dark space but the Citadel also controls all the other relays and houses detailed information on all the races and colonies. So they could cut off every planet and take them out without then having any chance of getting a massive fleet together that might be able to defeat them and know where most of them are. Also it would have been a lot quicker just to use a mass relay to warp to the citadel rather than have to FTL travel to the edge of the galaxy. Of course the Reapers are Arriving, the DLC is called "The Arrival", there is a big countdown pointing out when they're planning to turn up. As for not seeing them in the ending cinematic; the Reapers being 10 minutes away still means many light years away and as Harby was aware of the whole plan to destroy the relay he might have chosen to hang back and see how things pan out first.
    • Word of God says the Reapers have been accelerating towards the galaxy since Sovereign's destruction. Yes, this runs counter to how it's portrayed in the second game, but let that go. Arrival was the countdown to the Reapers arriving at the first functioning Mass Relay in the galaxy, not just an extremely useful one. Destruction of that relay not only prevented the Reapers from attacking key areas the moment they arrived, but delayed their arrival altogether. Where before they were at the doorstep of the nearest space catapult, now they're forced to travel the distance between stars to the next available relay using relatively sluggish non-Relay FTL. This puts another few months of their projected ETA. As for not seeing them following the destruction of the relay, the time may have counted down to their arrival in-system rather than at the relay itself. We don't know how precise the artifact's location detection was.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Supernova 

  • How does a Mass Relay survive a supernova but not an asteroid impact? Nothing survives a supernova, that's why Shepard says "I thought mass relays were indestructible." It's more than nobody ever trying, a supernova explosion emits more EM radiation that the rest of the galaxy put together. The only explanation I could think of is that the Mu Relay detected the supernova coming, shut down its relay function and put all of its mass effect energies into creating a shield around itself. The Alpha Relay might have detected the asteroid but since it had a mass effect drive on it, the relay assumed it was a ship preparing to jump. It was only too late that it realized it was on a collision course.
    • I theorized in one of the archives that the Mu Relay was programmed to "ride" supernovas. Since the Relay Network is millions of years old (at LEAST), the Reapers must have experienced the occasional exploding star or black hole or two.
    • There's a significant difference between a supernova's expansion, which is diluted over astronomical distances, and a collision with an asteroid. A kinetic impact via asteroid is a concentrated blow, whereas a supernova is a steady expansion of energy and matter across an entire star system. A minuscule fraction of the energy released by a supernova will reach any given Relay, and said Relay is almost always very far away from the star, judging by their positions in the star systems seen in-game. Additionally, the supernova that pushed the Mu Relay out of position may not have come from in-system. Benezia simply says that "a nearby star went supernova" - which could mean the star in-system, or a star in a neighboring system.
    • Even a "minuscule fraction" of a star's mass traveling at 10% light speed is going to do a lot more damage than an asteroid. By way of comparison, a planet can physically survive an asteroid impact but cannot survive a supernova. You're right that the shock wave might have dispersed enough by the time it reached the relay but if it were in the same solar system as the supernova, even if it were as far out as Pluto, it shouldn't have survived.
    • The assumption that it is the asteroid "impact" that destroyed the Alpha Relay may be wrong from the beginning. I understood Kenson's explanation, and the cinematic in which the relay actually tries to "process" the asteroid differently. The asteroid was not driven into the relay to destroy it directly, it was driven into the relay to overload it. After all, even Reaper technology has its limits. And it was that overload that destroyed the relay, not the impact itself.
    • Except, again, we don't even know if it was in the same solar system. It's just as likely the Mu Relay was in a completely different solar system that was still just barely close enough to feel the shock from the supernova.
    • The way shields work in mass effect can also be part of it. Shields only stop things going at a certain speed, the asteroid could be going slow enough to go "under" the shields and destroy it.
    • The Mu Relay was enveloped in the nebula within a couple of millennia. Considering the size of Crab Nebula, if the supernova was in another system, it was a very close one, and we are possibly talking about a blast in the gigaton range. If it was in the same system... well even at Pluto's distance, a supernova would have transferred much more energy than the dinosaur killer, but I am not sure over how much time.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Batarian Helmets 

  • Batarians have four eyes, but in the DLC, they are just reskinned human blue suns, with only two eyes in the helmets.
    • I believe that the "eyes" on the helmets are just optical sensors, and are displaying a much larger visual image on the inside of the helmet. Kind of like how the Kestrel helmet works, but with more visible optics. Batarian Blue Suns troopers sometimes wear similar gear too. I actually think the fact that they're using the same skin makes sense, as they all seem to be using some kind of cheap, mass-produced armor - Eclipse mercenaries, Shadow Broker agents, and the Project guards all use the same gear, so it looks like someone is mass-producing that armor.
    • It makes another level of sense when the similarity to North Korea is considered; they could be using mass-produced inferior technology due to limited resources; the latter confirmed by Balak in the first game during his motive rant.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Timeline 

  • So how long after the Collector Base mission is Arrival supposed to take? Because if the Reapers could get from wherever they are in dark space to within relay-striking-distance in only a couple of months (the original ending of ME2 implies that the Reapers just started moving towards the galaxy), then why didn't that do that at first instead of going through so much trouble with Sovereign or the Human Reaper opening the Citadel? Better yet, why didn't they start moving as soon as Shepard was dead, so that they could show up in the galaxy with nobody to stop them? I can accept that Reaper FTL is a lot faster than what the Council races can come up with, but come on, if they're that fast, then the plot of the whole first two games was essentially pointless.
    • The timeline is unspecified. Mass Effect 3 is supposed to take place less than a year after Mass Effect 2. Other than that, it's up in the air.
    • This is something that started to bug me once I started 3. It's simply too soon after 2. We know the Reapers started moving towards the galaxy at the end of 2, and even with the delay from Arrival it still takes them something like 6 months to reach Batarian space. That's nothing to Reapers, who are essentially immortal. Why even bother with the plan you foil from game one? Seems like it would be easier to just spend a month or two jetting to the Alpha relay and proceed from there. The gap between 2 and 3 needed to be at least a couple of years to justify the Reaper's MO. (More time would also make the dispersion of your squad in 3 make more sense.).
    • The explain why Sovereign uses the plan is in game one: The Citadel is the unconquerable high ground of the universe and in each cycle the ruling races put their most sensitive people there. Had the Reapers captured the Citadel earlier, they could have cut off all of the races from each other - preventing any of the cooperation that Shepard needed to throw them back. And then it's simply mop up time.
    • Note that even with the successful activation of the Citadel trap against the Protheans, the Reapers still faced a lengthy slog against them. Imagine how much longer it would have taken them to conventionally defeat the Protheans even with their overwhelming tech advantage. They don't need the Citadel trap to win, but it makes things immensely easier.

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Shepard Alone 

  • Hackett wanted Shepard to do the mission alone because he was afraid an assault by the full squad would scare the batarians into killing Kenson. I can buy that. What I don't get is why Shepard never tries to contact the Normandy until after the Project is activated, well after Kenson has been saved and the batarians can't kill her. A far amount of trouble could have been avoided if Shepard had just rung up the Normandy after saving Kenson. "Shepard to Normandy. I've rescued the doctor and we're on our way to her base of operations to confirm her findings. Joker, head to these coordinates, and tell the squad to get suited up. If the Reapers are as close as Kenson says, we can't take any chances." Granted, I doubt the full squad's help could have changed the DLC's outcome by much, but still.
    • They're inside batarian space. Firing up any comms inside batarian space outside of point-to-point laser transceivers is pretty much going to be a flashing sign that says "Here we are!" to the Hegemony and not only gets Kenson killed but puts the Hegemony at war with the Alliance (though the Alliance would most likely win the Batarians are strong and cunning enough to even the odds to the point that it's difficult for both sides).

     The Arrival (Spoilers): Reaper logic 

  • The entire DLC revolves around the Reapers holding Shep hostage, in a Bond Villain-esque plot to torture Shep with the knowledge that he couldn't save the galaxy after all. My question is, why? Reapers think of humans as completely interchangeable. That's why they, you know, reap. It's obvious even before it's explained in the third game. Even if they recognize that Shep is an extremely capable human, they still think of him as an extremely capable cockroach. So why this whole rigmarole to keep him alive, when doing so endangers their entire plan? As mentioned above, they take almost no measures to keep Shep in custody, despite the fact that this is the one place where he could feasibly wreck their plan. It makes even less sense if you play Arrival before the conclusion of the main story. Going off the events of ME1, the Reapers could be forgiven for assuming that Shep was simply a decent soldier who managed to figure out their plot through a combination of block-headed persistence and good fortune. They don't really have that much of a reason to see him as special until he trashes their new creation on their home turf.
    • The entire DLC revolves around the Reapers holding Shep hostage, in a Bond Villain-esque plot to torture Shep with the knowledge that he couldn't save the galaxy after all. No evidence of this whatsoever. They were trying to keep Shepard alive, but only as a curiosity.
    • Well, what's the proof of that? I just don't understand what they could learn from Shep. Sure, he's got cybernetic augmentations now. But the Reapers kind of have the market cornered on those. What were they going to do, run some tests? To find out Shep is a marginally above-average human specimen? I suppose they could have indoctrinated him, but to what real end that couldn't be accomplished faster just by killing him right there?
    • The fact that they were keeping Shepard alive but were perfectly ready to kill him/her once s/he began to escape. There is never at any point an attempt to torture Shepard with their helplessness against the Reapers. The only reason to keep Shepard alive would have been Harbinger's oft-expressed interest in Shepard him/herself.
    • To elaborate, Harbinger wants Shepard alive but is willing to have Shepard die if necessary. Given that Harbinger tried to kill him at the beginning of the game with the Collector attack, it's possible that Harbinger wants to personally oversee Shepard's execution the second time to make sure Shepard STAYS dead.

     Vido's age in Zaeed's loyalty mission 
  • Supposedly Zaeed was betrayed by Vido 20 years ago. So then why does Vido appear to be no older than 35 or so in that mission when you face him? Hell he looks young enough to possibly be Zaeed's son.
    • People live longer in the Mass Effect 'verse. Living to 150 is considered "lucky" by Shepard, so it's more than likely Vido is older than he looks. Not that this troper thought Vido looked that young, anyway.
    • Concur. Miranda for example is 35, but looks younger - and is based on Yvonne Strahovski, 29. More generally Bioware characters (cf. the Handmaiden in Knights of the Old Republic II) tend to be older in-universe than they look.
    • Keep in mind that Vido probably hasn't been going on as many missions as Zaeed as well, and Zaeed may not give two shits about his physical appearance. Those two factors may also contribute to Zaeed's relatively older appearance. Plus Vido has spent the last twenty years living in relative luxury, with access to cosmetic and anti-aging tech thanks to the amount of money the Suns make.
    • I blame it on graphical limitations. Vido was probably meant to look around 40 or 50 but there's only so many wrinkles they can add to his face before he starts to look too old to be legitimately threatening.
    • You can put plenty of wrinkles and age marks on someone's face and still make them look threatening. Look at Zaeed or Admiral Hackett.
    • Zaeed and Hackett are threatening in spite of their wrinkles, not because of them. Vido simply doesn't have the personality to be both old and a credible threat. Him and Zaeed fighting each other would have looked like a fist fight at a nursing home.
    • We'll have to agree to disagree on that notion. I find a wrinkled, craggy-faced old badass more intimidating and scary, personally.
    • That's because wrinkled, craggy-faced old badass characters always have something else to establish their badassitude. Zaeed's got his barrel chest, huge biceps, cool armor, and war stories. Admiral Hackett has Lance Henrikson's voice ('nuff said). They're intimidating apart from or in spite of their wrinkled faces, not because of them. Vido has...not much of anything. His voice is really oily, he doesn't have a unique character model (or it didn't seem like it to me), and his backstory establishes him as a thief and a snake, not a badass. Bioware was right not to make Vido really look his age. He would not have been credible as an antagonist if they had.
    • There are several possible explanations: 1. Vido could well use cosmetics to improve his appearance, 2. Is it ever stated that Zaeed and Vido were the same age when they founded the Suns? 3. Vido is essentially an accountant - he took care of the administrative work, so he won't have been as stressed/injured/tired as Zaeed. 4. Some people age differently, for instance, look at this 2009 video of Richard Dawkins (by the way, I am just using Dawkins' appearance to illustrate a point - no endorsement/critique etc should be read in) - he doesn't look 68, does he. With hair dye, he could probably pass for a younger man.

     Legion at the end of the game... 
  • Okay, so let’s say you got Legion killed in the SM (I did). I can understand mourning everyone else but...Legion's a robot, right? As long as his head's not damage (and that's where I assume all the CPU stuff is), then just rebuild him! Give him a new body! Just why did no one think of this? And don't say "and just how were they going to recover him?" because you could ask that about anyone else. My Legion died on the Normandy, so in that instance, it should've been wicked easy to rebuild him.
    • You kind of can't if the body has taken too much damage. Kind of how, if I were to take a machinegun to your hard drive, it would be rather hard for you to recover data from said hard drive. If Legion takes too much damage, it's junk.
    • Additionally, while geth can beam their programs to a new body, that's only when they're within range of a geth relay to beam to. If Legion dies in the Collector base, his last words are, "No carrier. No carrier. No carrier." He can't upload his programs to the geth network, and so they get destroyed when Legion's body gets destroyed and loses power.
    • To play Devil's Advocate, the hard drive analogy doesn't work. The geth are not hardware. They're pure software. Every program within Legion is backed up at the central hub. However, they would be copies and not have the original's perspective. However, the answer to this question is based on a vague question which has no answer: WHY is Legion the only geth platform of its type. If it's because of limited resources/faculty, then it's possible that they will never be able to build another. If it's just because they have no NEED to build another, then yes, it wouldn't make much sense to treat Legion as unique.
    • Legion's remark about geth being "software" is disingenuous. They may be able to jump between hardware platforms, but software still needs hardware to exist. The geth aren't magical Energy Beings. They need mobile platforms or data cores or other kinds of hardware to exist. Without them, the geth programs have nowhere to go and they die when the hardware they're living in gets destroyed.
    • Not trying to be offensive but... you're basically saying that because humans need a planet like earth to live on we are at least partially a planet. That is disingenuous. Yes... without their servers or a mobile platform to live in geth die... but without a planet or ship to live on so do organics.
    • I said exist, not live. We can't survive unprotected in space, but we don't blink out of existence if we step out of an airlock with no space suit. A geth program must have a hardware platform or else it ceases to exist altogether. Therefore to say they are "pure software" is misleading. They don't have any permanent connection to their hardware platforms (mobile or otherwise) but they still need hardware to exist.
    • The hard drive analogy is perfect. Let's take, for example, Mass Effect the video game. It is "pure software". It is stored on my computer's hard drive. There is also a backup copy of it in the cloud on EA's Origin servers. If someone takes a machine gun to my hard drive, that particular version of Mass Effect and everything about it—my settings, my save games, etc—would be gone (at least any changes since I last synced with EA's servers). Similarly, Legion's programs are backed up, but not since their time with you. All their experiences with you are gone. That's as good as a death. (As for why I say they didn't back up during your time with you: Legion knows classified information about the quarian people. They have agreed not to transmit this information back to the geth. If they were backed up, the other geth would have this information.)
    • Mass Effect 3 explains this if Legion "died". The platform was sent back to the Consensus, but the original geth on it were lost. New programs were added to the platform, but they do not possess Legion's identity. The hardware could be repaired but the software was corrupted.

    Legion in the Citadel and Migrant 
  • I have a feeling this has been answered before, but I can't find it in the archives at all. Yeah, whats up with them allowing Legion on the Citadel and Migrant Fleet? Yeah, I know everyone on the Citadel presumes Legion to be some trophy-bot or something because of that psychological quirk that people see what they expect to see. That doesn't explain why there aren't any scanners that check everything being brought on board. I mean, how are they checking stuff if not that way. And I don't even know what excuse the Migrant Fleet has. That the geth is under Shepard's command? Yeah, I doubt that would stop them from freaking out over having their mortal enemy right there, on their ship, possibly planning all sorts of attacks on it.
    • There are scanners that are checking everything entering the Citadel. There's also a high-level C-Sec captain who is telling the scanner operators to ignore Shepard and everything coming in with him/her. As for the Migrant Fleet, they do freak out, with quarian marines showing up with rifles at the ready, and they will throw Legion off the ship if Shepard doesn't display some very good diplomatic skills - and even then, the quarians continue to freak out. Zaal'Koris will outright accuse Tali of attempting to intimidate the Admirals, and the quarians will bitch and moan in the background about Shepard and Tali showing up with a geth. The only reason the captain of the Rayya acquiesces is because Shepard convinces him to let Legion stay, either through shaming him through accusations of racism and comparing him to those in Council space who are racist against quarians, or through a simple promise that if Legion acts up, Shepard will gun them down.
    • Respectfully, what were you expecting the Citadel scanners to detect? Run a scanner over Legion and the readout will probably say something like "This is a geth mobile platform" not "Holy fucking shit this is an actual live geth!" Obviously the guards just assume Shepard took a non-functional geth platform, rebuilt it, and programmed it to be his robot manservant or something. Apparently this sort of thing has become common on the Citadel in the wake of Sovereign's attack. Lots of dead geth lying around for people to cobble together into trophy bots.
    • The geth also don't look that much different from the standard LOKI mechs you see (and fight) all over the place. They could just assume it's a novelty model, especially since Legion looks a little different from your average Geth mobile platform.
    • Legion is wearing N7 armor, so people think that he's some kind of prototype Alliance mech based on geth designs. Like with thermal clips.
    • Note that if you bring Legion onto the Migrant Fleet and talk to Xaro'Den, the first thing she assumes is that Legion is a "geth shell over a standard mech chassis" before being told Legion is an actual geth. So if a quarian's first thought upon seeing Legion is that's it is a refurbished mech using geth components, then that's likely what the layman will think upon seeing it too.

     The Name of the Collectors 
  • Why are the Collectors called that? Obviously, they 'collect' humans, but when you first find out they're responsible, Miranda refers to them as the Collectors. If they were the Collectors before they began gathering humans, why did they get that name?
    • They've been around the galaxy for a long time. Before humanity arrived on the scene, they mostly hid behind the Omega 4 relay, and only interacted with the other races infrequently. When they did show up, they would offer advanced technology in exchange for certain members of certain species; for example, they would ask for left-handed salarians or batarian twins. Since that was all they ever did, the other races dubbed them 'The Collectors'.
    • The Illusive Man will explain this to Shepard if you ask what is up with the Collectors after completing the mission to Freedom's Progress. It's also detailed in the Codex and in the Ascension novel. The name stems from the fact that they've always been around, and always "collected" unusual specimens.

     Collecting Shepard's body 
  • So the Collectors hire the Shadow Broker to secure Shepard's body to make sure s/he's dead. Fair enough, I suppose. But...the Collectors just shot Shepard down. Why do they need to hire a middleman when they're already right there?
    • This was already discussed (I think it was lost on the archives pages....) but the Collectors do not have time. The Alliance has ships en route, and they're going to have to scour an entire planet to find a single cold, inert body. That's going to take a while, especially when they've only got one ship. Easier to let the Alliance rescue teams recover the body and then grab it afterward.
    • How was there anything left of Shepard to salvage? Shepard burned up on re-entry in a planet's atmosphere. Even if his suit's shields were still on, that's a staggering amount of heat, more destructive potential than any attack you'd ever be subjected to.
    • Actually, Shepard DIDN'T burn up, since Miranda mentions the damage to his body being caused by hard vacuum and extreme cold. While you can see the start of atmospheric reentry in the ME 2 cinematic, the planet Shepard wound up landing on must have had very little atmosphere (and also didn't have a very high gravity, considering the medical cinematic which showed Shepard's heavily fractured but not pulverized skeleton), which would account for the damage being cold and vacuum, rather than heat and tissue poisoning from exotic gasses.
    • Armor within the setting is very good. It is deceptively strong; it’s not obvious but the plating used in most ME armor suits would laugh at modern weapons and heat tolerances. They can withstand that kind of thermal damage.
    • But Shepard's armor had a rupture in it. The cause of death was vacuum exposure, so even if Shepard's armor is somehow better at heat ablation than the space shuttle, the heat could have come in through the same hole.
    • The suit itself wasn't ruptured. If you look closely, the oxygen feed to Shepard's helmet appeared to be ruptured. The plating and armor that would have protected him/her from reentry heat would have still been intact. And even if that particular section of the suit was ruptured, the suits are designed to seal themselves against that kind of damage.
    • There were a number of ruptures in Shepard's suit. It's also noted in the very first level on one of Miranda's logs that you were technically brain-dead (as well as burned and half-crushed) due to "long-term exposure to vacuum and subzero temperatures," so the self-sealing aspect is right out. And even if the suit itself was intact and survived the landing, anyone who found the body would have wound up with a Shepard-sized can of chunky soup. Inertia is a cruel bitch. The Lazarus Project only becomes more impressive when you realize they probably picked up what was left of Shepard with a sponge. But here's another question for you - how long could Shep possibly have been dead before his body made its way into Cerberus hands? His time as a Shepsicle on the planet itself after his landing can be excused, that's pretty much a natural freezer, but what about when the Shadow Broker and Cerberus were fighting over him?
      • The cinematics and logs that you read/listen to all firmly establish that Shepard's body was relatively intact when found. It's not even in question. The planet Shepard was found on was clearly no one with much atmosphere or gravity, or Shepard's body would've been far more damaged and the primary damage types wouldn't have been 'vacuum exposure' and 'cold'. The armour clearly kept together for long enough and the Lazarus Project revived Shepard's very dead but still relatively physically intact body. That's why it's mentioned early on that you may have a few 'extra parts' (ie cybernetics), but in essence Shepard is as fit and well as she was before. They didn't even need to replace any organs or limbs completely and appearance-wise, Shepard got away with just some cool-looking scars.
    • Presumably they put Shepard's body in a cryotube or something similar? And in answer to how long it took Shepard's body to get into Cerberus hands, IIRC, one of the comics gave a timeline of a few weeks to a month.

    Why can't you give the base to the Alliance or the Citadel? 
  • This is one of the major things that bugged me about the end game. I didn't feel that the base should be destroyed without studying it's technology's. This information could prove vital to defeating the reapers. However, Cerberus is not the group I want handling it, for obvious reasons. So why can't I give it to someone I trust, like Anderson?
    • In order to utilize the Collector base, the Citadel or Alliance will have to authorize a team to enter the Omega-4 Relay. Said relay has a major issue: it sits in the Terminus Systems, so Citadel or Alliance usage will be problematic. There's also the issue that Cerberus are the only ones with access to the Reaper IFF to pass through the Relay, and by the time anyone else gets around to mounting an expedition to investigate (red tape galore!), Cerberus will have already been there and acquired the technology and left, possibly even taking the station with them. Besides, handing it over to the Alliance is almost the same as handing it over to Cerberus anyway.
    • Also keep in mind that getting through the relay requires a Reaper IFF, which requires EDI or a similarly-designed AI to integrate properly. It would take time for the Citadel or Alliance to do that, considering the unique technology involved in both the Normady's and EDI's construction. And that's if they're willing to work with even a shackled AI like EDI. It will take them time to get people through the Relay; Cerberus can move in faster.
    • Sadly, we finally got an explanation with early ME3 footage and interviews, but it's not an in-universe one, spoilers ahead: Cerebus becomes indoctrinated due to exposure to Reaper tech with the indoctrination and strength of their force becoming stronger if the Elusive Man got the Collector Base. If Shepard had given the base to the Alliance and Citadel, the major governments of the galaxy and certainly the citadel would have all been brainwashed resulting in an instant game over during the opening scenes of ME3. However, there is no justification for why Shepard would seem to know that ahead of time and precognitively remove that option from his/her set of choices entirely.
    • Yes there is. It's called "common sense." Handing Reaper tech over to the major governments of the galaxy when you know what that tech does to everyone who interacts with it? Bad idea.
    • Except that the game never makes it sound like a bad idea since it's simply a Renegade choice while the Paragon choice is to destroy it. Also the Alliance had an elegant solution to that problem with Reaper tech in the third game. It was called working remotely. The only reason why Cerberus got indoctrinated at all was that the Illusive Man was an idiot and possibly already had some low level indoctrination. There is no good reason for why Shepard couldn't have given it to legitimate authorities.
    • 1) The entrance to the base is in the Terminus systems, where neither the Council nor the Alliance have much jurisdiction, while Cerberus does and can easily get there. 2) As shown at the beginning of ME 3, Shepard is arrested for working with Cerberus and with all the red tape and bureaucracy, the Council and Alliance will be busy over deciding what to do with Shepard, meaning Cerberus has plenty of time to work. 3) Entrance through the Omega 4 relay requires the Reaper IFF, since EDI was sending reports to the Illusive Man until she was unshackled, it means Cerberus already has schematics for the IFF, wheras the Council does not. In short, the reason that you can't give the base to the authorities is because Cerberus will get to it first.

     The death of the fire-team leader 
  • Why does your choice of fire-team leader only affect whether they can take a bullet or not? If you choose a poor tech specialist, they die because they can't hack the panel and try to push the door shut. If your biotic isn't strong enough, they can't pulse away the seekers and you lose a crew member to them. If you choose a bad or good fire-team leader, they take a bullet. It just affects if they take it alive or not. Surely a better idea would be them not taking the bullet in the first place, since a good leader took down more targets, meaning less return fire.
    • No, it affects how much damage they take overall. This is explicitly stated by nearly everyone you can pick as a fireteam leader who ends up dying, as nearly all of them have some variant of "I took too many hits," when they die. A good fireteam leader only takes a little damage, whereas a poor fireteam leader takes a lot of it.
    • My reasoning: a good fireteam leader knows how to coordinate everyone to best shoot stuff and minimizes how much damage the whole squad takes overall. A bad fireteam leader thinks, "I am the leader, so I must lead from the front" and exposes themselves unnecessarily too often, and so takes too many hits themselves that they could have had their squadmates help soak up, resulting in death.

     Thane's bad cop. 
  • During his loyalty mission, you have to interrogate some guy, and the Paragon choice is to tell him to be bad cop. But he just stands there and does the exact same thing as if you had told him to be good cop. What the hell? Badass assassin whose son is on the line can't even pretend to be tough? That was quite possibly the worst "bad cop" I've ever seen.
    • Thane's acting relative to you. If you're telling him to be bad cop, its because you're being good cop. If you're telling him to be good cop, you're playing the really bad cop. It also helps that you can pretty much toss out the whole thing and start beating the crap out of the prisoner.
    • Except he acted practically the same way both times.
    • ....yes, that's exactly what I said. His actions don't really change, but yours do depending on whether you're playing good or bad cop.
    • In other words, Thane is "cop," while you play either good cop or bad cop.
    • IIRC, there was supposed to be additional dialogue for Thane's bad cop role, but due to either removal or a glitch, Thane will always default to "good cop."
    • Having played through the interrogation about fifteen times recently to see all the different iterations of how this works, I can confirm that Thane's dialog does change depending on whether or not you tell him to be good cop or bad cop. If he's good cop, he'll apologize when Shepard smacks Kelham around and generally be reasonable, while if he's bad cop, he'll make oblique threats about putting bullets in Kelham. Additionally, you only get the [Draw Gun] option if you tell Thane to be bad cop (and succeed both paragon checks without attacking Kelham). Despite my best efforts, though, I haven't been able to trigger the dialog where Shepard points his gun at the lawyer and threatens to kill both him and Kelham.
    • You cannot have Spectre Status to do the "I am done Negotiating" option.

     Shepard avoiding indoctrination 
  • How exactly has Shepard (and to some extent, his crew as well) avoided becoming indoctrinated? I mean, s/he has been near Reapers and Reaper tech for a considerable bit of time now. There's the debatable case of being somewhat close to Sovereign during the Battle of the Citadel, but what about the other encounters? The half-dead Reaper s/he boards, the human Reaper-embryo, and finally with Arrival, Object Rho. Object Rho even directly projected images into Shepard's head and visibly weakened and disoriented Shepard for a bit. And that's not even counting its ability to also knock Shepard out. Also, the fact that Shepard then also spends at least 2 days unconscious in the same building with it is also somewhat worrying. Who's to say the Project members didn't just spend that time exposing him to the artifact?
    • One needs to spend prolonged periods in contact with Reaper tech to become indoctrinated. Shepard simply hasn't spent all that much time in proximity to Reaper technology, at least in comparison to others. Others have had to spend weeks in proximity to individual artifacts or entities in order to undergo indoctrination. Shepard has spent hours in contact at most, and has proceeded to blow up said artifacts and entities. The longest time Shepard has spent in proximity to any artifact was the Object Rho, and even that was only two days' time. It takes far longer than a mere couple of days for even rudimentary indoctrination to take place.
    • EDI was partially designed from Reaper technology, and there's also the Reaper IFF. Do Reapers and their stuff have their own "Midas touch," or how does this work?
    • EDI was partially based on Reaper codes, but not built out of actual Reaper technology. The IFF, presumably, is too small to be a serious threat.
    • Probably. I once heard a theory that the Omega-4 Relay does something to ships that go through it without one, and the IFF simply sends out a signal that tells the relay to let the ship through. Assuming that's true, it's also a lot less complex than, say Object Rho, which is a massive object that reacts to the Reapers' proximity even when they're light-years away. It might even be designed to indoctrinate people, to prevent them from destroying the Alpha Relay.
    • Possibly it has something to do with either the Prothean Beacon or the Cypher? They work as a shield for the Indoctrination Effect. The rest of the crew has barely any contact with Reaper Tech, and never got near Object Rho, as stated above. And before you say that Saren also had the Beacon and Cypher as well, remember that he already was riding inside Sovereign before he got his hands on either. You can't shield something that's already been corrupted.
    • Quite frankly I expect this to be a plot point in 3, with the Reapers attempting to take advantage of that mild indoctrination over Sheppard and causing related drama. As mentioned however, Sheppard hasn't spent enough time in proximity to Reaper artifacts for it to truly take hold, coupled with his strong will. Saren had to spend years aboard Sovereign and still managed to fight off the indoctrination at times for instance, despite the story they were feeding to him being quite plausible to someone like him.
    • About this being a plot point: I can't recall anyone in-game stating that indoctrination progress persists even if individual stays away from Reaper technology long enough. Any obtained progress (in indoctrination) might have simply wore off as the time progressed, considering the aforementioned fact that Shepard spent too little time to be actually indoctrinated.
    • If Saren is to be believed, indoctrination makes people lose their learned skills, proportional to how strong the effect is, since the Reapers are effectively deleting parts of people's brains and replacing it with new code they write themselves. It's been demonstrated that the Reapers are impressed with Shepard and want to use him for something or other - maybe they need to win him over the old-fashioned way to keep him useful.
    • It would seem logical that indoctrination is a lot harder (though not impossible) if the individual in question knows what to expect.
    • Actually, you can thank the Prothean beacons for Shepard's mental/psychic armor. As Liara explained in ME 1, the beacon Shepard first encountered implanted information in Shepard's mind in Prothean thought patterns. The later encounter with the Asari on Ferros who gives him the Prothean cypher would have further enhanced this protection and possibly even altered Shepard's mind into a hybrid of human and Prothean thought patterns. (If you think about it, that Asari was obviously freed of Soverign's indoctrination as a result of her interaction and melding with the Thorian's mind, so there's an arguable example right there.) Because Shepard's mind is essentially running on two different frequencies at the same time, standard Reaper indoctrination methods would be highly unlikely to work, if not totally ineffective.

     The Human-Reaper Larva's appearance 
  • So, apparently, the reason the human reaper looks different is because Reapers resemble the race they're from. Ok, sure, that makes sense, but in that case how come when we see the Reaper Army at the end of the game they all look freaking identical?
    • This troper just assumed that it was Terminator Expy
    • Look again. The Reapers in the foreground are clearly distinct from one another. The background Reapers are a bit more bland, yes, but that's probably to be expected. What actually bugs me is that none of them look even slightly humanoid, despite the fact that the vast majority of known sapient races are: quarians, turians, asari, salarians, humans, krogan, batarians, Protheans, drell, vorcha, all the same basic shape. Elcor are certainly humanoid-ish, and the volus might be under that suit (despite their little robot hands). Aside from the hanar and the rachni, we don't see any sapients who don't fit that mold. So why do the Reapers all look like space bugs?
    • Internally, they are probably all very different from each other. According to concept art, the human reaper larva would have been only the central core of the reaper, and would have been literally absorbed in the much more massive squid-esque hull. Apparently, Reapers just dig this somewhat impractical design.
    • What actually bugs me is that none of them look even slightly humanoid, despite the fact that the vast majority of known sapients are. - The particular batch of panspermia that seeded Citadel space might have been predisposed to produce humanoid sapient races, but it may still be that the vast majority of species that have been "Reaped" were hanar-like. And also, that Terminator-style thing was very much smaller than Sovereign, so unless the metal grows, then yeah, that bit likely gets hidden in the middle somewhere.
    • The Reapers, in principle, spend the time (which if memory serves me right is about 50 000 years on average) between their "harvest cycles" in intergalactic space. Perhaps the last harvesting cycle they executed was before the species we know were developed enough to suit their needs, maybe they used another species which were dominant at the time.
    • That troper up there with the theory about the Reapers' internal appearance being different from specimen to specimen can't be that far off. Is it really that hard to believe that the Reapers deck themselves out in armour once the internal chassis is completed? This troper prefers to think of it as them upgrading to their final form, Frieza-style.
    • There's some concept art floating around of the human Reaper larva where it's embedded into the underside of a more traditional, cuttlefish-y Reaper.
    • The Reapers probably do have that outward shell as armor. It took the entire Alliance fleet to bring down Sovereign, while the Larva can go down in three or four shots from the Cain, even on Insanity. Each Reaper probably looks different before they go into the armor, while the armor itself looks similar from Reaper to Reaper to ensure that people know that it's a Reaper and strike fear into their hearts.
    • I got the impression that the Reapers internally resemble Lavos from Chrono Trigger. The "squid" part is an external shell that the Reapers build around a "core" that is shaped like whatever species it was created from. In this case, I think that the external shells are all customized, and likely the element zero cores are located outside the core body. This also explains why we don't see the "core" of the derelict Reaper. The mass accelerator shot that killed it probably obliterated the core of the Reaper where the species-intelligence-gestalt that it was created from resided, while leaving functional systems intact. Essentially, the shot rendered the derelict Reaper brain-dead.
    • Most larval forms of earth creatures bear very little resemblance to their adult forms, just look at beetles or dragonflies. Same thing if you assume the baby Reaper was more akin to a fetus than a larva, since at various stages human embryos have gills and a tail. The adult human Reaper could easily look like the other Reapers we've seen.
    • Also recall that the larval Reaper is MUCH smaller than Sovereign was. It could easily have fit inside a Sovereign-sized shell.
    • Seems kinda pointless to craft each Reaper core individually if you're just going to put it inside a huge 'suit' of space-bug/cuttlefish armor afterward.
    • It seems that way to you, but you're not a Reaper. There's no telling what reason the Reapers may have for constructing their bodies like that.
    • You're all assuming the human Reaper was meant to be a ship. They never said it was a ship, they said it was a Reaper. Maybe it wasn't ever supposed to be a ship? I mean, sure, the Reapers have very big ships, but in order to commit genocide, they need ground forces too. And relying too heavily on indoctrinated organics can be problematic. Maybe that human Reaper was only intended as a Humongous Mecha.
    • In the third game we find out that not all Reapers are the same size. There are ones designated Sovereign-class that are capital ships, others that are smaller but only slightly less dangerous that are destroyer-class, so that might have something to do with the various styles we saw.
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