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More Mass Effect Neep

I figure enough people have played Mass Effect 3 by now that I don’t have to put up giant spoiler warnings.  So, plunging in.  After I finished the game it asked if I wanted to keep playing.  I said yes, and it rolled me back to a point just before you assault the Cerberus base, and the final battle on Earth.

Since I was stuck there, and waiting for the DLC to be released I decided to replay those final sequences.  I’m continuing to keep my war readiness at 100% which meant I was way over what I needed to achieve the best outcome.  But as I moved forward through this I realized that I had no idea what happened if you didn’t have your EMS (effective Military strength) at a high level. 

So I went to that arbiter of all things good and true (cough cough) — the web.   Turns out I was wrong when I said that gathering all the military assets you could was useless.  If you don’t have a high enough EMS it turns out that the Earth is turned into a charred cinder no matter which color choice you make at the end.

The giant pulse of energy that either controls, kills or leads to synthesis with the Reapers destroys the Earth.  Depending on how many points you have it can take out everything, take out buildings, but leave the people, or take out people but leave the buildings, etc. etc.

In my case with my in excess of 7000 points of EMS it was all rainbows and bunnies — except for billions of people having been killed and rendered, and cities in ruins, etc. etc.

But then I got mad at the writers all over again because this didn’t make any damn sense.  How does the size of my awesome unified fleet have any bearing on whether a giant pulse of power that can destroy mass relays doesn’t destroy the Earth?

Look, I’m glad there were consequences for lazy, muscle through as fast as you can, and never do any side missions style of gaming, but couldn’t it at least make sense?  If you had a shitty EMS then the Reapers ought to destroy your fleet and win.  If you have an average EMS then it ends in a stalemate, and a grueling war continues.  Or you unite the galaxy against the Reapers, you win — rainbows and bunnies time.

It’s just bad story telling and another example of why you need real writers to be involved with these games, and involved from the beginning.

I heard a rumor from a friend who is plugged into the gaming circuit far more than I am that most of the top Bioware writers have bailed out.  Maybe the corporate style of EA is incompatible with highly creative game companies like Bioware.  Only time will tell.

8 Responses to More Mass Effect Neep

  • Stephen Smoogen says:

    I don’t know how much of it is Bioware and how much of it is EA. I originally wanted to blame EA since it is quite clear that much of the gamestyle changes in ME2 and ME3 were in making the game more adaptable to multiplayer arena combats. [The whole change in ME2 of ammo systems and other UI changes that make no story sense were signs that they wanted to have a 3rd party market like they do for ME3.]

    However, the story plot of ME of a cycle of doom and gloom in some ways match Bioware’s earlier games of Never Winter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic. My son watching me play ME picked out exactly the points where something would happen (person dies, plot twist occurs) because he had seen it when we had played NWN and KotR. While some of it is inevitable, Bioware seems to be an atmosphere of “Sturm und Drang” (though I am misusing the term).

  • Melindas says:

    I don’t mind Sturm and Drang, and sadness when you’re dealing with something that could potentially kill all space faring life in the galaxy, but I want the chance for a clean win, and yes, a happy ending. I found Mordin and Thane’s deaths to be very moving and emotionally satisfying. What wasn’t satisfying was the pick a color ending. And I wanted all my efforts to build a coalition to pay off and mean something. As I said on Facebook the fact the Earth is a smoking cinder in a final cut scene if you haven’t got your EMS up to a decent level doesn’t have much impact. If you watch the Reapers wipe out your pathetic fleet if you’ve indulged in power gaming would have much more effect on a player, and make you go back and play more thoughtfully.

    I was just so disappointed which is why I’m writing a “after the real end” story for my Shepard and Kaidan.

  • Ryan Cassutt says:

    I thought the EMS meant both fleet strength and progress on the crucible. The two are related–having made peace between the Geth and Quarians would boost my fleet strength and provide more help with the crucible. And I believe some of your war assets go directly to the crucible, like Kasumi or the Rachni. So, if a player blows through the game and misses the side quests, then the crucible isn’t as complete as it could be, and it misfires.

  • Melindas says:

    I see what you’re saying Ryan, that Kasumi and the Rachni help with the Crucible, but I didn’t want to multi-player so I used my IPad to assign fleets, and did every side mission, and made peace with everybody, and got this super high EMS score which was a combo of war readiness, and the Crucible and the fleets. I chose the Krogan over the Salarians because Wrex was my buddy, and I knew Mordin regretted the genophage. All of that does add up, but apparently it’s a pure numbers game. Under 2000, and Earth is a cider. A bit higher and everybody dies, but there are buildings, etc. Only if you are over 5000 EMS does the pulse pass by and not kill and destroy. Which is fine, I like consequences, but it ought to make sense, and it just didn’t for me.

  • Jo says:

    Yes, there was the lead Writer Drew Karpynshyn that first created the universe of Mass Effect, with cool things like Dextro-aminocids aliens, monogender, aliens with redundant organism systems. Have to stress that the greatest characterist of Karpynshyn is the ability to second-guess himself, accepting critics very well.

    This guy left in the middle of the second game, which resulted in things like retarded Vorcha and a Human Reaper Larva. But thinks weren’t so grim then.

    On the third game, only ONE of his faithful squires stood. Patrick Weekes. L’Etoile and Kristjansen of the original team LEFT, opening the door to Comic Super Heroes writer Mac Walters and Bad Computer Graphics programmer Casey Hudson take over the story.

    Weekes tried at every way, even revealing the behavior of Walters and Hudson on locking themselves to write that poor end, but couldn’t avoid the destruction of the IP. EA made him take back what he wrote, because the company can’t look divided.

    So, that’s what we have, someone that Ruined the graphics of the original Neverwinter Nights and buried the MDK game on a horrible second instance, plus a comic book lazy writer, used to put things he just make up on paper and call that writing. Assuming the place of a guy whose self-criticism allowed him to forge a great story in ME1. And then scaring the hell out of 2/3 of the original writers.

    Huh…Kudos to them?

  • Melindas says:

    Thank you so much Jo?o! Now this is starting to make some sense. It still breaks my heart, but I’m beginning to understand. Yes, thank the human Reaper was _so_ stupid, and the fact pieces of it are still around in the third game — even when I elected to destroy the base was ao annoying. Again that sense that my choices didn’t matter.

    Karpynshyn was/is a terrific writer. I was a Phillip K. Dick judge a few years back, and his Mass Effect novel was one of the books we read. It ranked very high for many of us. It’s a good solid science fiction story with evocative characters.

    Watching the extended ending on YouTube I could see attempts to “fix” it, but the only real fix was to take six months, and go with the life line the loyal and creative players had offered them with the indoctrination theory, and then give us the climax everyone expected and deserved.

    Watching a brilliant company like Bioward die by inches is devastating. As I’ve said before Dragon Age: Origins is probably the greatest video game ever made with Mass Effect 1 and most of 2 as very close seconds. Then there was DA2, and the magic died, and now this mess with ME3.

  • madhatterwriter says:

    I would like to add this little gem to the train wreck as a preview to the shitty ending ME3. This novel was suppose to lead into ME3 (which it does not). You can read the reviews on amazon but, as you have already suspected, bad writers/producer took over ME3 and decided they were “artists”.

  • Melindas says:

    Oh, was this the novel that caused such an uproar because the author clearly knew nothing about the universe, and made all these mistakes in the mythos and the lore? I remember there was a furor. So the producers hired a novelist who knew nothing about Mass Effect to write a lead in novel to the third game, and then they took over writing the game. Oh my god, writer/producers are one thing. I’m a writer/producer, but most producers are just people who put money and talent together. They’re not supposed to be the creators.

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