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Nikkolas Politically Confused from Texas Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
Politically Confused
May 23rd 2019 at 6:17:14 AM

Harbinger DESTROYED by FACTS and LOGIC!

Shepard: "Facts don't care about your feelings, bro."

But seriously I have no ideal ending for Mass Effect. Each game is just so different from the last one and it feels like they had absolutely no vision for how anything was going to develop so it's a giant mess. I just go with what we got and critique it. There were good parts.

Edited by Nikkolas on May 23rd 2019 at 6:28:31 AM

May 23rd 2019 at 8:02:57 AM

[up] Oh for sure. I suppose the conversation battle just goes back to my love of Planescape where you can sidestep the whole boss battle at the end...

I liked most of ME 3 - I think they squandered a lot, wasted the whole geth thing by turning them into Pinocchio etc. But enjoyed it. And Citadel was great.

I just would love more relationship-building in games - more "human" connections, as that builds your interaction in the story, helps construct the illusion of impact in the world. A new Mass Effect, I'd almost want a more freeform design, less plot shackling and just have it be you building that ragtag team doing quests. Hell - that'd even fit with the "live service" model cos they could just keep releasing quests, activities and so on.

I think Andromeda was good too, just flawed in some of its execution (Driven by the current Bioware behaviour) - and an overreliance on Bioware story-templating. If they'd maybe built a more solid connection to the Reaper war, had the whole gamut of races plus a couple more new ones, made it less of an asspull with the "generation ships" and had a bit more focus on the colonisation element... that could've worked. Or been less frustrating maybe? It's hard to pin down what really ticked everyone off about Andromeda (Pacing may have been some of it, but I didn't find a lot of the game objectionable tbh)

Yumil Mad Archivist
Mad Archivist
May 23rd 2019 at 9:01:25 AM

The exceptionally bland villain whose character design runs direclty contrary to it's purpose ? The fact that despite being DA PATHFINDER, the trailblazer that opens the way, everywhere you go people have already settled down in some form because you're six months late to the party ? The fact that the dialogues in general just do not flow naturally ?

I think Shamus Young's retrospective of the game does a good job at pointing out various things that do not work with the game. I dunno if there's something in particular that ticked off people, or if it's just that there's always something slightly off somewhere no matter where you look at and while you can never pinpoint it, you feel it's presence.

Also, I know I've said it before but your post so starkingly reminds me of it, so... Hey Nintendo ! Port xenoblade X on a console normal people can be expected to own, dammit !

Edited by Yumil on May 23rd 2019 at 6:01:54 PM

"when you stare too long into the abyss, Xehanort takes advantage of the distraction to break into your house and steal all your shit."
May 23rd 2019 at 9:13:38 AM

Blowing up the Relay in Arrival in 3, while having some battles involving destroying some Reaper advance scouting forces, would actually work pretty good for closure. Shows that individual Reapers are beatable if you're prepared for them (not any different from 3, where turians do destroy some Reaper dreadnoughts), shows that the protheans' efforts weren't in vain (we're better prepared for the Reapers this cycle, so we can actually do more damage to them), ends the series on a sensical hopeful note (so we don't actually defeat all of them, but we've bought ourselves much more time). Perhaps the destruction of the Relay also takes out the Reaper forces that arrived early to defend it; it even also fits with the whole "Shepard becomes posthumous legendary figure" thing if we just have Shep die as the Relay blows up (none of that Shep-takes-a-breath if you have enough war assets nonsense)

Moreover, it's a sequel hook that allows for additional products to be made in case the Mass Effect setting needs to be revisited. Always more stranded Reapers out there, lurking in dark space.

Really, not too different from the way Codex Alera ended.

As for the derelict and the proto-Reaper, both those elements introduce as many problems as they create oo-rah "awesome moments".

If Reaper tech is presented as so dangerous that just touching it is a stupid idea (as also seen in Arrival and probably some other things that I'm forgetting, plus the various Reaper-experiment-gone-wrong missions in 3), it cannot simultaneously be presented as perfectly fine to incorporate (EDI, Thanix cannons, all the bits of Sovereign that got cleared off the Citadel, the Reaper Blackstars in 3). It just comes off as someone trying to shoehorn in some Cthulhu cosmic horror elements because that's what's cool on the interwebs.

Meanwhile, the fact that you can kill the proto-Reaper on foot with an infantry heavy weapon also presents an inherent contradiction between just how strong a Reaper is supposed to be. If Reapers are supposed to be these nigh-unkillable god machines, then it stands to reason that even their babies should require at least a mechanized platoon, rather than three guys, only one of whom is running something heavier than an anti-personnel weapon.

My personal theory regarding ME 2's main plot development is that it's very much a product of its time. Development began around ME 1's release back in 2007 or so. In the time between 2007-2010, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare got popular, the Iraq Surge had just happened, subsequently followed by the US withdrawal about a year later, The Dark Knight came out, Hurt Locker won Best Film, and we were starting to see a ramp-up in drone strikes (peaking in 2010, but the start of the spike was in 2008). Basically, the War on Terror was still in full swing, muh terrorists and muh shady gubmint lying to us was still "trending" (before "trending" was a thing) in the popular consciousness, Dark Knight showed that we like our story to be darker and edgier and our villains to be charismatic and mastermind-ful, and thus somebody thought to themselves: you know what the Mass Effect setting needs? A story where the government are shady bastards and you need to cooperate with terrorists.

But that's just a personal theory, albeit one I feel has some water considering Halo 2's early drafts as well as the entirety of the Star Wars prequel trilogy all showing effects on the Wo T's influence.

Edited by PRC4Eva on May 23rd 2019 at 9:15:58 AM

May 23rd 2019 at 9:40:16 AM

Mass Effect 2 is also when the series is at it's most... human-centric, given that they say humans are (somehow) the most behaviorally and genetically diverse species in the galaxy and has the human supremacist group Cerberus as anti-heros note . It just never sat right with me.

Yumil Mad Archivist
Mad Archivist
May 23rd 2019 at 9:44:27 AM

While I do agree that the baby reaper is very stupid, the dead reaper fits right at home for mass effect and it feels like you're just letting your personnal wonk about reaper and chtuhullu parralels speaking. Indoctrination and god-like creatures from the edge of our known universe are very ctuhullu-like traits, and those are traits introduced by mass effect 1. Even the fact that you can punch it out at a great cost fits with it, since many of the founding stories of the lovecraft mythos do end up with the abomination being (not permanently) defeated, if only at a great cost.

Reapers being space ctuhullu isn't an idea 2 invented.

Pushing it to the next step and saying that indoctrination isn't a process that needs conscious input from a reaper to happen is far from outlandish in the context of mass effect 1. While it doesn't fit very well with many other things from 2 and onwards stance that you can casually use derivatives of reaper technology, it's the idea that you can just go ahead and reverse-engineer repaer technology with no strings attached that doesn't fit that well in the setting, not the one that you might suffer consequences for it. It highlights once again the tone shift between 1 and 2 onwards, but the derelict reaper is very much a M E1esque idea that ended up in 2.

Edited by Yumil on May 23rd 2019 at 6:45:27 PM

"when you stare too long into the abyss, Xehanort takes advantage of the distraction to break into your house and steal all your shit."
FrozenWolf2 Avatar of War from Have you seen me?
Avatar of War
May 23rd 2019 at 10:30:00 AM

[1]

The thing is BW LOVES its golden ending option, Its practically one of their calling cards hence why ME 3's lack of one is so jarring, its like a different company wrote the last section of the game since its not YOU the BADASS Player defeat the Reaper's boss in a battle of logic... The Reaper's Boss just kinda shrugs and gives you the ending you want.

ME 1 they actively took out the ability too save both Kaiden and Ashley, citing that They needed atleast one no win scenario...

Then 2 happened, ME 2 and ME 1 are Tonally different animals, Me 1 is more akin to what a big budget Star Trek RPG would be like... ME 2 is Rainbow Six Seige in Space with a Story mode.

Me 2, after the whole blown up bit which should reinforce that Shepard isn't some mythic godlike being.... They go ahead and treat Shepard as pretty much fucking invincible and NOTHING is impossible for them where not only can you save your crew, you can keep your entire badass Squad alive

Like you almost wonder exactly what happened? Did Shepard just not like the one he left on Vimire? I mean We know why the Collectors got the drop on the Normandy 'Shepard was taking a nap'

"When you rule by fear, your greatest weakness is the one who's no longer afraid."
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
May 23rd 2019 at 11:53:02 AM

Perhaps the destruction of the Relay also takes out the Reaper forces that arrived early to defend it

Not just that. I think using Leviathan tech to lure/herd Reapers into specific systems, then blowing up the local relay under their asses, would be a good way of putting a dent into the Reapers' numbers. They'll catch on after the first time or two, yes, hence why it should be used against as many Reapers at once as possible. Which likely means sacrificing a major planet or ten.

Even so, I don't think Harbinger would cut his losses and back off to regroup if the organics were to somehow take out as much as half of the Reaper armada. After all, Reapers need to harvest to reproduce and spending a century or two regrouping would mean the organics advance even further and kick the evil robosquids' asses that much harder on the rematch. Subversion via indoctrination is an option in the meantime, yes, but it won't be enough by itself.

May 24th 2019 at 3:04:43 AM

The problem is with Bioware games and their presentation is you never SEE decent strategic options, or plots. Because it has to be IN GAMEPLAY - which is why everything devolves to a big battle scene and a "single decisive strike" - the war itself is just setting padding to create tension.

If it was a well written BOOK or a dry analysis, then yes, all these strategies would be great. But instead the plot has to fit around the protagonist being The One To Save Them Allllllll.

3 should (Arguably) have been about stalling the advance, getting that decisive victory against the beachhead (With great sacrifice) and really bringing the galaxy together... but still leaving things open to follow up. Thus, corner to write into REMOVED!

Also[up][up][up][up][up][up] - there isn't one BIG thing about Andromeda. But yes, the setting goes against the Protagonist's whole premise. They should have dialled back the invasion, gotten rid of the whole "Archon" piece.

If I could rewrite the whole shebang?

Setting is a refugee fleet in the Reaper war - intro is you fighting off husks that are boarding as a Reaper tries to capture the fleet. Fleet hits a mass relay that is damage and the whole fleet gets thrown into the Andromeda galaxy. The Reaper goes too, but is flung elsewhere.

Now the plot is:

1) Find all the scattered refugee ships

2) Meet the locals and decide which faction of them you want support from (Each has pros and cons and leads to branching story missions)

3) The overarching plot is to eventually defeat the Crippled Reaper which is building up support and trying to construct a Mass Relay to bring it's fellows to the new Galaxy.

Choices would be along the lines of how you manage the bickering colonists, how you apportion roles, supplies you find to alleviate pressure.

And the first challenge is finding a Colony site that suits (And maybe being able to expand colonies) - incorporate that decision proces son "Colony type" and maybe throw in some semi-base building elements, where you have to use limited resource to shore up and improve colonist morale.

But Bioware have never been great at incorporating that sort of thing, using ruddy DIALOGUE TREES to manage it (Which makes it messy af)

And YES I would love Xenoblade on something else, platform wise!

SpookyMask Insert title from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
May 24th 2019 at 3:33:33 AM

So assuming no plot device shenanigans, would mass relays actually be able to send ships to another galaxy? Like is there any range to those things?

Time to change the style, for now
Aetol from France
May 24th 2019 at 4:39:33 AM

I was under the impression that a relay could only send you to a different relay, kind of like a wormhole.

Worldbuilding is fun, writing is a chore
SpookyMask Insert title from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
May 24th 2019 at 6:01:33 AM

I was under impression that they work like slingshots, but each of them is aimed at another relay

Time to change the style, for now
Protagonist506 from 'MURICA Relationship Status: Chocolate!
May 24th 2019 at 6:35:34 AM

@PRC 4 Eva: "It just comes off as someone trying to shoehorn in some Cthulhu cosmic horror elements because that's what's cool on the interwebs."

I'm not entirely sure this is logically possible. Mass Effect is Lovecraft Lite and the Reapers are obvious Cthulhu expies.

I suppose some cosmic horror tropes might be shoehorned in because "we're a cosmic horror story", but it wasn't like they were saying "people like cosmic horror, let's make Mass Effect into one" because ME has been cosmic horror from pretty much word go.

"Any campaign world where an orc samurai can leap off a landcruiser to fight a herd of Bulbasaurs will always have my vote of confidence"
May 24th 2019 at 7:20:47 AM

[up][up] Yep. Though the range is still limited.

May 24th 2019 at 8:02:12 AM

[up] Hence the malfunction / fluke / space magic weirdness in my version :)

Basically, it keeps a familiar enemy whilst also raising difficulties in that you don't have the resources of the Citadel / Systems alliance anymore.

Also, I think they missed a trick with ship upgrades - that should've been a thing - being able to say, set up mining outposts if you invest down a certain decision tree or something. But, sadly, we don't get RP Gs like that as it's either NUMBER HEAVY or basically a visual novel these days :\\

May 25th 2019 at 11:27:52 PM

I do like your idea, though I'm pretty sure it's contradicted by the physics of the mass relays. What I mean is, the relays aren't wormholes but rather super efficient highways. So even if they were thrown to Andromeda, it's going to take centuries—years at absolute minimum—to get there. And that's a problem since none of the ships would be prepped for a journey that long. But I'm sure the writers could find a way to make that work if they had to.

As for ship upgrades, I'm sure Andromeda would have included them if they hadn't spent the entire development scrambling. It's probably near the top of the list of things they had to cut when they realized they didn't have time for their original vision. Like procedurally generated planets.

Edited by Discar on May 25th 2019 at 11:28:59 AM

fredhot16 from Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
May 26th 2019 at 4:41:02 PM

So, I got the Mass Effect trilogy for the Playstation three, which I still have luckily, from Gamestop.

Now, it'll take me literal years to get to Mass Effect three because I am positively drowning in games I haven't finished. However, I'll ask anyway: is...you know, that ending still a taboo topic here?

Edited by fredhot16 on May 26th 2019 at 4:41:26 AM

I have many potential ideas to write about but only eight slots left.
shigmiya64 Somebody get this freaking duck away from me! from a settlement that needs our help, General Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Somebody get this freaking duck away from me!
May 26th 2019 at 7:33:03 PM

Yeah, pretty much.

May 28th 2019 at 12:03:05 PM

I have no issue regarding indoctrination and super mysterious godlike (emphasis on lower case g) creatures from the edge of space. I do believe I specifically stated that it was a shame Vigil's bit about Sovereign probably having more indoctrinated agents around somewhere got dropped as that could have been a more interesting ME 2 antagonist to tie into ME 1's plot, rather than Timmy. I also recall saying that attempts to explain the Reapers' motivations were doomed to failure because they benefit the most from being these giant superpowerful things that just show up and kill everyone for no reason before disappearing.

My issue here is a conflict of sensibilities and tone within the same game.

"It just comes off as someone trying to shoehorn in some Cthulhu cosmic horror elements because that's what's cool on the interwebs" is in reference to the idea of Reaper tech being so inherently dangerous that simply touching them, even a piece of a dead one, is a stupendously stupid idea from Stupidville the capital city of Planet Stupid (and evidence that Cerberus is full of stupid stupid-heads from that same planet), and yet it was perfectly fine to build EDI and reverse engineer Thanix cannons from all the bits of Sovereign that were floating around the Citadel, and we also never got any payoff from the idea that maybe Sovvy's mere existence caused various Citadel citizens to also become indoctrinated.

Either it's safe as long as you know what you're doing, which makes Cerberus come across as idiots, or it's not safe and the Reapers will always gaze back into you, which doesn't explain all the Reaper-derived tech that is coming out from people studying Sovereign and yet we hear nothing about any issues with researchers going crazy on the Citadel.

Also, the humans being able to occasionally punch Cthulhu (and breaking their arms in the process) doesn't have much similarity with Mass Effect 2, where you punch out the baby-Reaper with very little cost to you or the galaxy at large. Taking your time doing the loyalty missions and not being an idiot by clicking the "activate Reaper IFF" button when the game is all but shouting at you that maybe you'd like to make sure you've finished everything beforehand, and barring like 2-3 writing derps^1 on Bioware's part, the correct choices for specialists are also fairly obvious. That Golden Ending isn't particularly difficult to achieve. Maybe you'll lose 2-4 badasses^2 plus part of the crew of a single frigate along the way for some suboptimal choices or lack of loyalty, which is a ridiculously low cost for, er, killing an entire baby Reaper inside its own production base. And more so for the actual killing being done only by a three-man squad, only one of whom is actually mounting some kind of anti-materiel weapon. Well, two if Legion's running the Widow with you.

This, too, I find to be a contradiction in tone, where the supposed difficulty and impossibility of the Suicide Mission doesn't actually come across in gameplay. I vastly prefer the Renegade Reinterpretations model, where you will always lose X number of people, with the possibility of losing more if you did not make good choices. That, at least, would effectively convey just how difficult the Suicide Mission was supposed to be and how high the stakes actually were.

This isn't a problem with the idea of "small group of badasses badass their way through an extraordinarily difficult mission", mind. The problem, here, is that the difficulty has to be shown and sold in some way, shape, or form, and the badasses in question must have been established to be sufficiently badass for the task at hand.

On a side note, is it a given that Bioware loves its Golden Endings, or is it just a development from the post-EA era? Don't recall what the Golden Ending was supposed to be for Jade Empire or KOTOR for that matter. And of course, Virmire had no Golden Ending. I suppose there kind of is one for Dragon Age: Origins, and I do recall there being one for Awakening, although I also recall being miffed at that one^3. It seems more like Bioware switched to doing Golden Endings, but aren't particularly good at executing them in such a way that achieving it seems like it's a result of you the player being that good and making good decisions.

^1. I still maintain that Guddamn Merc Captain (I keep blanking on his name because he's that bland) should have been a valid fireteam leader, and also that revealing Tali's father's actions should have been the Paragon resolution choice because that is the lawful thing to do, especially in light of ME 2's twist on the Morning War, while hiding them for the sake of your mission should have been the renegade one. But of course, writers for some reason have an aversion to writing non-paragonically-good actions as anything other than "colossal dickasaurus".

^2 For a given value of "badass". There's kind of a natural devaluation in this kind of massive sci-fi setting where each race has its own Chosen Many. Oh, so you're a one-in-a-million badass? Congratulations, there's literally millions more just like you if not more badass (Citadel space numbers in the trillions per codex https://masseffect.fandom.com/wiki/Codex/Technology#Communications:_Administration).

^3 In Awakening, I actually could have achieved the Golden Ending, but I decided that in the face of an existential threat like the darkspawn, of course preserving the Warden Keep was more important. At minimum, have some NP Cs die even if you did all the things.

TheAirman from Congratulations! Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
May 28th 2019 at 12:37:07 PM

Revealing what Taliís Dad did isnít the Paragon option because it has nothing to do with the mission, and itís one of the biggest, most outright dick moves Shep can do in the game.

You arenít there to solve a crime or win a court case, youíre there to earn Taliís loyalty. Shep, as a human and possible Spectre, has exactly zero obligation or incentive to serve the Quarian justice system; Tali explicitly doesnít care what ruling they pass on her; and the one thing she begs of Shep after they learn the truth - the thing she pledges her loyalty (or lack thereof upon) - is that her fatherís actions be kept secret.

Violating that request is an total betrayal of her trust, is the fail state of the quest, and is entirely counterproductive to Shepís overall mission. A player who makes that decision absolutely deserves to be punished for it.

The Paragon ending for that quest is what it is, because, in keeping with the Quarian/Geth storylineís role as a blatant expy of Battlestar Galactica, the trial lost sight of justice and turned into a witch hunt.

Zaeed is a bad pick for team lead because he routinely gets everybody on his team except for himself killed. That is literally the moral of every story he tells Shep. He is an animal running on nothing but rage and adrenaline, and when tasked with responsibility everybody under his command dies, without fail. The ability to shoot a gun well does not a tactical leader make.

Edited by TheAirman on May 28th 2019 at 2:42:05 PM

PSN ID: FateSeraph Congratulations!
Yumil Mad Archivist
Mad Archivist
May 28th 2019 at 12:37:10 PM

I can kinda get behind the idea of the suicide mission actually being harder to convey the idea of how hard it is, but I'm not really sold on the idea of doing so by killing people. Maybe more something like the arrival bit where you get an achievement for holding on through the whole timer. Make surviving disproportionately strong waves of enemies a requisite.

I can also get behind "space ctuhullu and thannix cannons belongs to two different stories that don't mesh together". Or at least, they really should have discussed that point somewhere.

Edited by Yumil on May 28th 2019 at 9:37:46 PM

"when you stare too long into the abyss, Xehanort takes advantage of the distraction to break into your house and steal all your shit."
May 28th 2019 at 12:57:51 PM

@Discar - yeah the Relays are basically paired slingshots. But bioware has shown it is happy to contradict in game codex's for story sake - hell, exploding Relays SHOULD release a supernova level of power - they retconned that bit for the endings... also, that Relays can be destroyed at all - a supernova just pushed one away from a star system before ME 2...

So, the malfunction would do some weird black hole, wormhole stuff and dump the refugee ships out in Andromeda due to randomness - and then make it clear that not all the ships were so lucky...

Eh, it's a sketch plan idea.

As for the endings - I don't think the discussion is taboo anymore (by dint of how many mentions it's had) - just that any EMOTION attached to it is discouraged. No ranting.

Funnily enough, the whole Go T ending is similar in the emotions it's stirring... and lends some credence to the argument that it isn't actually anger being experienced, it's grief that something is over - something that, unfortunately, couldn't match the internal narratives of a very passionate fanbase.

that and the execution was sloppy... but heyyyyy!!!

[up][up] Definitely. It's there to either be a Lawful evil sort, or just to RP someone who is so by the rules they don't care... or are playing the politician not the friend.

Or if you don't have enough P/R points for the INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH / POSSESSIVE SMACKDOWN

[up][up][up] They have "Optimal" endings - Jade Empire had SEVERAL (The threesome! Arguably...) - depending on your chosen philosophical path. KOTOR 1 has the lightside ending; KOTOR 2 has... whatever that was, but yeah.

Dragon Age has the Baby Ending (Everyone LIVES... except Loghain). Dragon Age 2.... yeah? Save Is, save Fenris, all that. Inquisition does too.

They've got them now to satisfy an audience who wants investment rewarded. Not many have truly bad outcomes, like the Witcher. Well, not to the same extent.

Yumil Mad Archivist
Mad Archivist
May 28th 2019 at 1:16:03 PM

I mean, it's stiill up there in the rules of videogames topics, discussing the end is banned.

I think the rule could go, because it's been long enough that people are emotionally over it, but I get that the moderation has more pressing things to do than reevaluate that topic.

I'm unconvinced that it's just grief and not anger. Sure, part of it is that it's over, but franchises can die peacefully without making such a shitstorm. Nobody is torn up over Dark souls ringed city's ending, for example, despite defying a number of expectations about it, and so far, it really does seem like the franchise is done. People aren't torn up over DMC 5 despite acting as an end of an era game. On the other side, The kingdom hearts fanbase let out quite the scream of anger at the end of it's game, and not because it's over despite being advertised as the closing of an era too, because it blatantly isn't, but because of the treatment of some characters.

Edited by Yumil on May 28th 2019 at 10:18:02 AM

"when you stare too long into the abyss, Xehanort takes advantage of the distraction to break into your house and steal all your shit."
May 28th 2019 at 2:28:05 PM

I always assumed studying Sovereign's pieces didn't indoctrinate anyone because it was blasted into so many bits that it simply wasn't capable of that anymore while the derelict reaper was still somewhat intact and partially operational as when you destroy its core it immediately falls into the brown dwarf.

KarkatTheDalek Not as angry as the name would suggest. from Somwhere in Time/Space Relationship Status: You're a beautiful woman, probably
Not as angry as the name would suggest.
May 28th 2019 at 2:36:10 PM

I suppose thatís as good an explanation as anyway.

Oh God! Natural light!

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