A Mass Effect 3 PSA: Multiplayer Can Affect The Ending

By Craig Pearson on March 6th, 2012 at 3:13 pm.

Spoiler alert: Mass Effect 3 stars Commander Shepard

A lot of the Mass Effect 3 reviews are focusing on the bleakness of Bioware’s story, and quite a few are shocked at the game’s darkness in regard to the choices they made. Some guy called Tom Francis over at whatever the heck PC Gamer is, has figured out exactly why it’s even darker than expected, and it’s a bit of a dodgy trick that BioWare have pulled if true. No, it’s not new-news as such, but it is worth reiterating strongly now the game’s out in some territories. I’ll go into details after the jump, as I’m aware some people view even the words Mass Effect 3 as some sort of spoiler. As long as no-one spoils the ending of Se7en in the comments: I’ve had it on pause for on my VHS for about 16 years. I keep intending to return, but it’s just so tense!

Right, I’ll assume you’re here because you’re cool with me talking about the mechanics of this. I’m the best person to talk about it as I don’t know anything about the story, so there’s nothing about it in here. Really, I can only name Shepard and that’s it. I don’t even know if that’s the correct spelling of her name, frankly.

It turns out it’s all about playing multiplayer and gaining War Assets. As you play the single-player, when you help people you accrue war assets. Despite completing all the quests he could find, PCG’s man still suffered an overwhelmingly bleak, dark finish to his game. Why?

That’s because I’d never played the multiplayer. It’s a co-op mode where you and up to three other players have to survive waves of AI enemies and complete objectives. If you succeed, you get an increase to your Readiness rating – a percentage by which your single player War Assets are multiplied by. These are specific to each sector of the galaxy, so if you have a lot of War Assets in the Terminus Systems, you’ll gain more by playing on a multiplayer map set in the Terminus Systems.

Please, read the rest of Tom’s post before you comment here – obviously we don’t want to nick all his comments, but he has much more to say on how he played and why he was surprised by the outcome. This being Mass Effect, a certain bleakness is inevitable regardless, but apparently there’s bleak and there’s bleak. Now it’s a particularly cruel trick because it allegedly ignores your choices to some degree: you either need to be a crazy completionist in single-player, which entails completing all the grindy scanning minigames, which are apparently as dull as this photo of a rock, or jump extensively into the multiplayer, a part of the game that traditionally people would play after completing the main. Why do this? Why make people play the game in such a way? Can you guess what part of Mass Effect is apparently suffused with helpful microtransactions that you can opt for instead of gradually unlocking everything?

Another option still is to buy $7 iPhone game Mass Effect: Infiltrator, which offers an additional way of increasing war readiness in the main game.

Admittedly, this does mean there are multiple ways to achieve maximum war readiness, which may appeal to some – but it’s a long way distant from the old ways of doing your best to do the right thing throughout the quests (or the worst thing, if that’s your style).

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235 Comments »

  1. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Brad Pitt eats his own foot to escape the bear trap.

    • RakeShark says:

      They kill the shark.

    • c-Row says:

      The Germans lose.

    • ThTa says:

      And it turns out he was a figment of Morgan Freeman’s imagination, as a secondary personality to make him forget his dull office job and accomplish the things he always wanted to do.

    • Beelzebud says:

      Darth Vader is in fact, Luke Skywalker’s father…

    • RaveTurned says:

      Harry uses the One Ring to defeat Magneto and save the Rebellion!

    • Brun says:

      Kevin Spacey is Keyser Söze.

    • Unaco says:

      Jesus isn’t really dead… he comes back alive in the next chapter.

    • westyfield says:

      He was dead all along.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Bruce Willis only ever touches red things.

      Oh and he’s dead.

      Edit: Ninja’d

    • jonfitt says:

      Hooch dies leaving Turner to raise his illegitimate puppies.

    • fishmitten says:

      It was Earth all along

    • Optimaximal says:

      She steps on the neutron landmine to try and head off the approaching savage werewolf hoards.

    • whexican says:

      The chick is really a guy with a penis.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The networks show the series in the wrong order then cancels it due to low viewing figures. Although a film is made, it really only serves to make the fans sadder at the stories left untold in this vibrant universe.

      Wait…. I’m doing it wrong

    • Unaco says:

      The Red Wedding.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      He ignores Pamela and goes for Boof.

    • Kdansky says:

      Your nemesis is actually our own mortality.

      At least I’m keeping to games!

      And according to this research, spoilers have no relevance on your enjoyment of a good plot-twist.
      http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/soc/2011_08spoilers.asp

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The G-man turns out to be Barney sent back in time.

      Regards,

      Gabe

    • RaveTurned says:

      Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if G-man was a future version of G. Freeman. After a shave, obv.

    • Nallen says:

      Turns out it’s NOT an unsinkable ship.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Bio-gel is people!

    • nfire3 says:

      B comes after A

    • Gnoupi says:

      Rosebud is in the box.

    • UW says:

      I dunno, it’s very difficult to test because you only experience a story for the first time once.

      I watched the Usual Suspects for the first time already knowing who Keyser Soze was, and really didn’t enjoy the movie much at all. I have always blamed the spoiler… but maybe it wasn’t.

      The idea of rewatching something with a twist and still enjoying it I think is completely separate, there is a sort of nostalgia-like effect going on there.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      They all did it.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      The escape tunnel is behind the poster, he was digging it the whole time.

    • ecat says:

      In the original they disposed of the body parts by serving them up at a barbecue.

      In the – made for the new generation – remake they dispose of the evidence by serving it up at a wedding, but you only get to see the good ending if you watch it while wearing 3D-glasses.

    • Delixe says:

      The girl isnt a girl. It’s a dude!

    • kentona says:

      It turns out that the photobook contains photographs and notes from the long happy life they lived together.

    • Raziel_Alex says:

      I’m actually KG.

      KG

    • NathanH says:

      The panda is actually a robot sent from Mars.

    • Screamer says:

      In the end, the CIA didn’t know what really happened….

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      The whole season was a dream and her once dead husband is taking a shower when she wakes up.

    • El_Emmental says:

      The Man Behind The Man is actually a Woman.

      ps: it’s a metaphor, silly you :P

      “Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if G-man was a future version of G. Freeman. After a shave, obv. ”

      crickey ! O_O I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed that strange coincidence over the last 13 years. G/ordon Free/-man. Now it all make (less-more) sense.

    • mentor07825 says:

      Sherlock Holmes never died from the frigid cold icy watery death. He’s still alive!

    • Myros says:

      Turns out his mother had died years ago and he was dressing up as her to kill people.

    • Rymdkejsaren says:

      Lord Helmet is Lone Star’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Turns out he’d been dressing up as his sister as she had injected herself with a virus and imprisoned herself for fifteen years underneath Antarctica so she could wake up and turn into a naked plant lady with fire for blood and leaves for nipples.

    • Unaco says:

      Westley is the Dread Pirate Roberts.

    • Tacroy says:

      He shots all the mans.

      ALL OF THEM.

    • Fumarole says:

      The cake is a lie.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It turns out that you can’t beat a Corley.

    • marcusfell says:

      The skill shot misses by two pixels!

    • xaphoo says:

      The baby’s alive and it’s Satan!

    • pksadsad says:

      bling the bling the Hard Case for iPhone 4

      Brand new bling the bling the Hard Case Made by durable polycarbonate plastic. Promotions! A sale!
      http://kuvaton.com/u/yhy

    • Geen says:

      The bad guy falls off the cliff and the two protagonists kiss.

    • LeAutomatic says:

      42.

    • gmcleod says:

      @ Geen- Nice, White Zombie?

      The killer was in the room the whole time.

    • Stinkfinger75 says:

      Maggie shot Mr. Burns.

    • Ahtaps says:

      It’s not a Tumor.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It was, in fact, lupus.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Samuel L. Jackson caused the train crash

    • Hastur says:

      The hats were actually supposed to be green.

  2. Beelzebud says:

    Bioware being bought out by EA will have no effect on the company at all!

    • Kaltano says:

      I see I wasn’t the only one who cried out in horror when that was announced. I also seem to be one of the few people that never “forgave” EA or got completely distracted by Activision.

  3. ThTa says:

    When they announced this way back, they said you’d still be able to get the “perfect” ending relatively easily, provided you played the previous games and made the right choices there; has that changed entirely?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m not sure they used the word “easily”, did they?

      I tend to be a completionist when I finish these things at all, so the real issue is whether one can reach a better ending through participation in MP than you can get in SP, even if you’re a typical completionist player. If that’s the case, then Bioware just lit up a shit storm.

      Edit to add: And I wonder how that DLC with the extra team member and mission factor into this?

      • StarkeRealm says:

        Without multiplayer the extra DLC only adds about 1% towards getting the best endings. (With obsessive multiplayer gaming it adds up to a limit of 2%.)

    • Bluerps says:

      Are you sure that they said that it would be “relaively easy”? I think it was more along the lines of “do every side-mission in the game”, on top of making the right decisions. The article says the same, more or less, as I understand it. You have to be a completionist, or you have to go into multiplayer.

    • Puckoidiot says:

      I think what they said was more in the line of “If you’re a crazy man and complete every single side mission you’ll still be able to get the “best” ending.”

      And, apparently, I am way too late.

    • jerkstoresup says:

      I’m about 3 hours into the game using a very completionist Renegade ME1+ME2 save. You get a ton of nice extras early-on in the campaign, but from the sounds of it, you still need to jump into multiplayer to get the best ending/s.

      Seems like a clever anti-piracy tactic to me, but it’s odd that they’d let you play the game without combat, yet basically require multiplayer combat if you care about the story at all.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yes, I am sure I recall them stating fairly recently that you would not be able to get any content in the main game through multiplayer that you could not get in just the single player.

      Reading the article, it seems you can still get the same conditions performing the side missions in the single player.

      Although those could be pretty boring I just played ME1 and did all the side missions in that didn’t prove to be a hassle at all. If you rush through the game and skip content then it seems reasonable that you may not receive the optimal ending. The crucial thing is that your story still receives a legitimate ending surely.

    • ThTa says:

      Hm, yeah, I can’t exactly find any official comments on it being easy. Still, they did assuage everyone by stressing that it was optional in their initial FAQ:
      http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/323/index/8481789/1

      “It is important to note that the system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience – it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone.

      What if I don’t like multiplayer – will my experience be negatively impacted?
      *Mass Effect 3 is a complete, standalone game that will deliver a satisfying story experience, even if you choose not to try multiplayer. The Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system and all of the individual components are meant to complement that amazing game and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of the Galaxy at War experience.

      What if I am not good at / do not like multiplayer? Will my readiness rating go down?
      *ME3 is a story about a war against overwhelming force where the most you can hope for us survival. The more you do to fight that war, the more you can change that story into a more optimistic one. You can reach the highest levels of success in the single player experience alone, but Galaxy at War gives you alternative ways to get there. It’s about choice, and allowing players to find their own ways to stay immersed in the Mass Effect universe.”

      Not necessarily claiming it was easy, but definitely not making it seem as important as the PSAs (like this one) that have been popping up.

      I’ve some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s exceptionally poor game design; on the other, I’m almost inclined to side with PCG’s way of spinning it into the fatalistic and grim ending being considered default.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Something that annoyed me in ME2 was that if you play renegade in ME1 and choose the option to kill NPC’s when given, you weren’t given a different storyline in ME2, you just missed out on the one that would have played if you let them live. Glad I didn’t kill Her Majesty though, I think she”l be back in a big way…

    • ffordesoon says:

      I’m surprised anyone’s surprised by this, frankly. It was pretty much the same in Mass Effect 2, and that had no multiplayer. The games reward completionist behavior. Fine with me, as I’m a completionist par excellence.

      Which is not to say I like that they’re soaking the multiplayer in microtransactions for impatient players, or that they’re doing their awful online pass crap again, or whatever else is awful and EA-y. But if anything, this is a way for players who aren’t completionists to get the best ending, which ME2 didn’t have.

      So, uh, I’m actually more or less cool with it. Sorry to be on the side of the corporate overlords, but…

      *shrug*

      EDIT: Well, actually, I suppose “not bothered by it” is more my attitude.

  4. c-Row says:

    That rock has some nice textures, though. Is that the official RockPaperShotgun rock?

    • LXM says:

      It’s a lovely rock, better than I was expecting.

    • vrittis says:

      Same thing here, i wasn’t impressed at first, then went back; this time i really appreciated it… So there’s that

    • Quasar says:

      I genuinely enjoyed that rock. Thank you.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Some might say it rocked…

      PUN THREAD GO!

    • Ralphomon says:

      That was actually a pretty interesting rock. A++ would view again

    • NathanH says:

      Rock’s learning curve is clearly too steep. Needs a better tutorial.

    • Kdansky says:

      It’s just as stellar as a tiger-eye on sylvester!

    • db1331 says:

      He didn’t have to take the time to post the rock. You guys are taking it for granite.

    • caddyB says:

      There are many like it but this one is mine.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      I’m actually more interested in the story of the rock than that of ME3. I’m eagerly awaiting the paper reveal next week.

    • Milos says:

      I bet you that rock looks better than your average quarryan.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I would be tempted to go back to the rock, but I realise that my viewing of the rock was my own experience and to go back to it to try to get the perfect viewing would be missing the point.

      Although it turns out I can only get the optimal viewing experience by viewing the rock with other people, which is bullshit.

    • NathanH says:

      My main gripe here is the Hard Place day 1 DLC.

    • phuzz says:

      That rock was a glimmer of excitement in my otherwise sedimentary life.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I made that rock my desktop wall paper. Also looking forward to the meet the paper.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I bet Tim Stone is jealous.

    • Admiral Shlork says:

      Dwarves dig it.

  5. Unaco says:

    That Rock is awesome! I’m gonna make that my new Desktop background.

  6. Zanchito says:

    ” … or jump into the multiplayer, a part of the game that traditionally people would play after completing the main.”

    Much rather like ” … or jump into the multiplayer, a part of the game that many people couldn’t care less about and would much rather not be forced to play at all because, frankly, that’s not why they bought the game”.

    • Kdansky says:

      >forced to play

      That’s some seriously draconic DRM if they come over and force you, possibly by taking a baseball bat to your grandma’s kneecaps.

      Luckily, some of us manage to keep their completionism in check. It’s hard work, but worth it.

  7. Vinraith says:

    THANK YOU, this is a hugely important thing to know. It’s also a big, fat dealbreaker. I won’t be picking up the game until/unless this is changed.

    • Duffin says:

      Haha, I share your thought’s Vinraith, though it’s not quite such a big deal for me. This is meant completely tongue in cheek, and please correct me if this is my imagination. But it does make me chuckle that every now and then when I’m reading the comments, I always see yours and it’s usually this exact comment: “this is a dealbreaker for me, will pick it up for $10 in the bargain bin”. You always give a good reason for these, but I always chuckle to myself and seem to have created a caricature in my head of the always slightly grumpy (but alway’s speaking sense) Vinraith! I just thought you might find this amusing, and I look forward to your next consignment to the bargain bin. :P

    • Vinraith says:

      Well, it’s certainly true that lots of big, AAA releases end up bargain bin items for me (I tend to pay full price for independent stuff that interests me, AA stuff, any large strategy game, or any old school RPG) but if I’m getting that repetitive I’ll have to check myself.

      Just to clarify, though, an MP requirement doesn’t consign ME3 to the bargain bin, it means not buying it at all. I sincerely hope they change that.

    • Duffin says:

      Yeh it is a ridiculous decision. Why tie it to the main story, I just don’t get it? From what I’ve seen the multiplayer looks like a fun and pretty decent addition to the game, it’s certainly added value for some people. Buuuuut it just makes no sense to tie the two parts together, I literally can’t think of any reason why they would decide this was a good idea, not one.

    • Vinraith says:

      Exactly. Hell, I was looking forward to trying the co-op mode with a friend, but I certainly don’t want my single player game ending tied to how much MP I play. That’s just idiotic. It’s also really problematic from a long-term replayability standpoint, as EA has an established history of capriciously disabling MP systems in games (even down the the LAN level). If you want to play ME3 and get a good ending a couple of years from now you may be completely out of luck.

    • Duffin says:

      Ughh yeh, and it’s just way too formulaic. I want to play my Shep and get immersed in the story and the characters. But there’s nothing like a ‘% happy ending progress bar’ to jerk any disbelief away. ME2 and the suicide mission was also way too formulaic, but atleast that stuff was under the hood and atleast tried to give the image of a naturally developing story.

    • Wut The Melon says:

      Long-term playability (I’m a huge fan of bargain bins) will be the worse for it. The weather forecast is pretty bad, chaps (yes, I’m in fact a foreigner on a site by Brits, so I’ll add ‘chaps’ and ‘bloody marvellous’ to every other sentence so as not to look out of place), there’s a shitstorm incoming.

      I shall be playing The Witcher 1 and 2 Enhanced Edition in the meantime. I can’t seem to play Skyrim for longer than five minutes before thinking of another mod that I want in my game or need to fix.

    • Just Endless says:

      Did you, um, read the article?

      You’re speaking of multiplayer requirements, the point of the article, and all those bioware quotes, is that there aren’t any.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      To play devil’s advocate, I think that the decision might lend multi-player a sense of purpose that I often find lacking from most multi player modes in games.

      @ Duffin, totally with you on the formulaic thing though.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Just Endless

      Yes, I also read the article over on PC Gamer, and both make it pretty clear that your choices are “play MP” or “unbelievable tedium.” As far as I’m concerned that’s “mandatory MP,” since it’s obvious that the design punishes you outright for not playing it. From the PC Gamer article:

      I said I did all the ‘proper’ quests I could find – if you want to maximise your War Assets without playing multiplayer, you’ll have to do the others. The only quests I had left were ones to scour certain systems for planets that aren’t marked on your map, scan them, then fire a probe and return to the Citadel. Even compared to Mass Effect 2′s resource-scanning, these are dull.

      http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/03/06/mass-effect-3-war-assets-and-readiness-how-multiplayer-affects-your-ending/

    • Wizlah says:

      I’m slightly surprised at your reaction, Vinraith, and indeed many of the people here. If the multiplayer element wasn’t there, and you just had to grind through the tedium, would you then not buy the game?

      If the remaining missions are unbelievably grindy, I can understand the complaints about a bad mechanic. God knows, I wasn’t a fan of the planet scanning in ME2. That they offset the grindiness with the multiplayer strikes me as a bit thick as well.

      But I also understand (without reading too much, because I don’t want spoilers) that decisions in previous games also help/hinder you, which isn’t that different to the mechanic at the end of game 2. I killed the rachni queen, and by the end of the second game I figured that would probably bite me in the arse, not least because I’m pretty sure that I made the decisions to keep the krogans in check as well. If that costs me the ‘best’ ending of the game, I’m happy with that. That has been a feature of this series. I’ll go back at some point and play it all differently. So it will allow replayability.

      LIke I said, I’m not applauding grindiness here. But equally, it does not sound like quite the money handcuffs its made out to be by both that article and many of the posters here. I’m surprised that as constructed this is currently sufficient grounds for not buying it at all when you’re a fan of the previous two games.

    • Vinraith says:

      If the multiplayer element wasn’t there, and you just had to grind through the tedium, would you then not buy the game?

      After ME2, and the reaction to planet scanning, do you really think it would be there if the MP weren’t present? Really?

      It’s present specifically so EA can claim the game can be played “SP only” while being confident that nearly no one will do so. That PC Gamer article I listed really says it all, it’s a “seedy” and “manipulative” design and I’ll be damned if I’m going to support it.

      If that costs me the ‘best’ ending of the game, I’m happy with that.

      But that’s exactly the problem. If past decisions kept me from getting the best ending, I’d be fine with that. Knowing that I could simply erase the impact of those decisions if I was willing to play a bunch of MP, however, completely undermines any legitimacy that design might have had. Again, it all feels manipulative, and any pathos that might have arisen as a result of past decisions disappears. A bad ending is fine, it can even be great if it’s well done, but it’s got to mean something more than “you didn’t play enough MP.” EA have effectively undermined any real choice and consequence they might have had in this game (and the series as a whole) with this idiotic decision, which makes it very easy to pass on the whole thing.

    • Wizlah says:

      A simple explanation for why we’ve got yet more grindy mini-games: bioware have proven themselves over the first two games as being pretty shit at doing interesting game mechanics outside of rpg mechanics.

      I’ve read the article, and I’m struggling to understand why he used the seedy. The game can be completed without using multiplayer. Even if you use multiplayer, is there a requirement to spend cash to combine with your sp to get the necessary points?

      More than anything, what annoys me about that article is that I don’t have any idea of the degree of the grind involved, and whether different decisions earlier in the game mean that you don’t need to grind as much.

      I’m not going to disagree that EA’s attitude to DLC has been pretty poor. Not releasing a GOTY with all the dlc rolled in (or offering a discount package on Origin) is poor and I’m in no hurry at all to pick up all their dlc packages. It’s partly that which makes me think I’m done with bioware when I finish ME3. I doubt I’ll follow up any further dlc that you have to pay for.

      But still, the basic game as stands sounds like it works reasonably, if somewhat tediously (just like the two previous games), so I’ll get that. They get that much of my money on the strength of the story told so far, and my trust that they’ll do a good job of the finale. Jim’s WIT suggests that trust is not misplaced.

    • Duffin says:

      Vinraith – you just summed up my concerns very succintly. I was thinking, why didn’t they do something like this:

      There are 100 possible ‘points’ of war readiness. Through multiplayer you can gain upto 10 points (if you absolutely must have multiplayer connected that is) but no more. Likewise killing the Rachni can give or lose you a possible 2 points, but no more than that. Saving the council can give you 3 points, but no more. Scanning planets can give you upto 5 points worth of supplies etc. That way there is room to accomodate the multiplayer and grinding, but still the main emphasis is on the main story decisions (say, 75 out of 100 points). Consequently ‘bad’ choices cannot be wholly erased by grinding in multiplayer or indeed singleplayer, but some grinding and extra dedication from the player will give them an edge.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wizlah

      Fair enough. For my part, it’s a psychological thing as much as anything, in some sense it’s a “mechanical spoiler.” Being aware that I can “cheat” my way around the consequences of former decisions via something outside the game (MP) ruins the pathos of a bad ending caused by those decisions. That’s partly the design’s fault and partly my own, for not being able to look past it. Either way, it completely kills my enthusiasm for playing the game (or for replaying the earlier titles, honestly).

      If the tedium turns out to have been exaggerated, if future updates (or DLC, which is likely) mitigate or remove the need to do tedious scanning, or if enough time passes and the word of mouth is good enough otherwise, maybe I’ll get over it. I hope so, irritations aside I’d certainly like to see, and enjoy, the end of the saga.

    • subedii says:

      I’m pretty much with you on that Vinraith. I may still get it, but this whole thing put a surprising damper on my enthusiasm for the game, and for what? To ensure that I don’t sell the PC version of the game to a store? Yeah, this REALLY helps.

  8. BatmanBaggins says:

    I guess everyone who was bitching about multiplayer last year for this very reason is now vindicated?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Of course not. You’ll just be miserable luddites who hate change next time some blindingly obvious change for the worse is proposed, too.

  9. Lambchops says:

    I’m a bi of a completionist with this type of game so I’m sure I’ll be grand.

  10. DougyM says:

    Except that is not true at all.

    I just finished the game and never once touched MP but still easily had a 100% maxed out war assets bar.

    I still got the bleak ending because every single one of the endings of the game ends that way (with minor variations).

    You do not suddenly get happy sunshine super fun puppy ending by playing some MP.

    • brat-sampson says:

      Well now i don’t know what to believe… They always said you could get the best possible ending without requiring multiplayer effort. They never quite said this would involve an excessive amount of ‘rock-dull’ missions, and I was kinda hoping they would have made them more engaging than that.

    • Chris D says:

      Your Military Strength is your War Assets*Readiness. So, yes you may be able to max your war assets but without also maxing readiness by either multiplayer or grinding you still won’t be able to get the highest military strength and therefore the best ending.

  11. briktal says:

    Isn’t this what Bioware has been saying the entire time?

    • RedViv says:

      Indeed so. MP or N7 missions, your choice. Completionist for best ending, or suffer for your choices. Harsher than the previous game, but heck, it’s all sapient life that’s at stake.

    • ThTa says:

      Well, they initially downplayed it as something completely optional that would only really help those who hadn’t made a lot of great choices in the previous games. It seems that isn’t the case.

    • RedViv says:

      Even so, are greater consequences not what “everyone” wanted? Here you have it. Gather those readiness resources, or you possibly won’t see the prettiest endings. Destroyed valid assets before this game was even announced? Pity.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      That’s what I thought. It’s pretty stupid, but it is what they have been telling people all along.

      That said, I do wonder about the ‘best’ outcomes in these games. For example, the Wrex situation in the first instalment was much more powerful when you couldn’t/didn’t paragade out of it. That was probably the most affecting part of the entire series for me (so far). Yet, according to my saves it never happened.

      The rewards for spending more time with the game are increased success and a blunted narrative? Imagine a game of a Game of Thrones where, if you play it perfectly, you can prevent the pivotal death. Ridiculous!

    • RedViv says:

      I’d say that’s where people have to draw a line, think about what they actually want to do with the game. “Win” it, by getting the best ending? “Play” it, as an RPG, where your Shepard wouldn’t go on petty missions to make up for destroying assets previous to the Reaper invasion, and as such will not see the brightest light at the tunnel’s end?

  12. Skusey says:

    Well that sounds appalling. Glad I never got round to pre-ordering it.

  13. MrGtD says:

    See, this would be a problem if the multiplayer wasn’t completely fantastic and one of my favorite multiplayer games since the golden days of CoD4. But it is.

    • Jesse L says:

      Agreed so far. The multiplayer demo, with only two maps and one opposing faction, hooked me bad. I made a little sad moaning sound when I saw, last night, that it had been shut down because of the pending full release. And I don’t play a lot of multiplayer games! And I was really looking forward to the singleplayer part. Nevertheless when I get home I’ll be playing some multiplayer first. I’m thrilled and really impressed, so far, that a co-op component like this could be created out of nowhere.

      I don’t think it should be connected to singleplayer in any way, though. If you’re a fan of the part of Mass Effect where guns do all the talking, you should check out the multiplayer – but I don’t think it should affect the singleplayer portion.

  14. nobody says:

    Oh, look. I suppose this means that when they eventually shutter the multiplayer servers the single-player game will be broken. Thanks, game publishing corporation!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      ugh… I wonder if the game will actually break if the multiplayer servers are offline since the game won’t be able to check in to see what your multiplay results are like when calculating the single-player aspect.

      “Hopefully” the game will just ignore multiplay results if it can’t connect to the multiplay servers. I actually assume that the game just credits your single player campaign as you play, rather than keep some form of “gamer score” pulled from an active server.

    • TormDK says:

      Not at all, since you can still complete the single player game and get the max rating. It just requires you to be completist.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “You can still have the kind of fun you want, you just have to do this tedious task a whole bunch for no genuine reason.”

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    I can’t help but think about how this will effect future replayability… you know, that point in a multiplayer game’s life when nobody plays it any more, so you can’t actually find anyone to play with? That’s now going to effect your single player performance simply because you can’t find anyone to multiplay with.

  16. Brun says:

    Dear Game Developers:

    Gaming is, by its very nature, a very nerdy and countersocial hobby. Please stop trying to make it less nerdy by forcing multiplayer into games in which it has no place.

    Thank you.

    -Brun

    • Pathetic Phallacy says:

      No, gaming is not, by nature, an antisocial experience. That is not true, nor is it true that nerds are antisocial, unless all the cool dudes at school started playing Dungeons and Dragons recently.

    • Brun says:

      How else do you explain game developers grafting multiplayer onto EVERYTHING? Somewhere along the line, someone figured out that some demographics weren’t buying games because single-player games were “for nerds” and “basement virgins.” Add multiplayer to the EXACT SAME GAME and it becomes the next CoD. And why? Because you can pwn noobs with it. And that satisfies the burning desire all CoD dudebros have to bury their own insecurities by crushing others. It feeds the need of the lowest common denominator to be the chest-beating alpha male. Hell, even co-op means it’s not for basement virgins AMIRITE?

      Multiplayer had absolutely no place in Mass Effect. Period. Some games are just meant to be single player. Same with the Elder Scrolls – every time a new TES or Fallout is announced I pray that Bethesda makes the right decision and keeps multiplayer – co-op or otherwise – out of a franchise that has no need for it.

    • Kdansky says:

      http://www.gomtv.net/2012gsls1/vod/66959

      Take a good look at the crowd. It’s about as anti-social as foot-to-ball.

  17. Crimsoneer says:

    That is idiotic, but I kind of understand it. As long as you can get a perfect finish playing the game entirely single player, I don’t see what the problem is.

    Are the microtransactions confirmed? In hte demo, the “booster pack” elements were bought buying in game cash you earnt playing…has that changed in the full game?

  18. Mungrul says:

    So that’s Origin exclusive, Day 1 DLC and mandatory multiplayer for a game in a series that has traditionally been single player?
    Smooth Bioware, reeeeeeal smooth.
    Every day they make my decision not to buy Mass Effect 3 even easier.
    That’s coming from someone who owns the previous games on all available platforms. Now I won’t own ME3 on a single one!

    • TormDK says:

      It’s not mandatory.

      If you put in the effort in single player, you can get max war rating.

      But – You can also play some multiplayer with your friends (Assuming you have some, of course) and your time spent with said friends helps your single player game.

      As I see it, more options are always good. If you spend some time with the multiplayer (Which I found quite decent fun) you can skip some of the not so fun stuff in Single Player (Although I don’t see why you would).

      In other words, it’s been made more accessable.

    • Mungrul says:

      Yeah, still not enough to convince me to buy it.

  19. faelnor says:

    I think I’ll play Day of the Tentacle instead.

  20. db1331 says:

    Damn, that is one haggard looking Shep. Looks like she got turned halfway into a husk before someone pulled her off the pole.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      That’s how she looks if you don’t play multiplayer now.

      On the 360 you can make her smile a little bit by continuously whinging about nothing being as great as Baldur’s Gate into the headset.

  21. DogKiller says:

    I feel very sorry for Xbox360 users who don’t have a Gold Live membership.

    • Optimaximal says:

      EA run their games ‘outside’ the Xbox Live Gold setup. They host the servers and retain full control of the master servers.

      Means they can shut them down as they wish.

  22. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Erm… they said all along that to get the ‘best’ endings you’d be able to do side missions OR multiplayer OR both and strongly implied that if you just stick to main missions you would be penalised. A terrible decision, perhaps, but I don’t feel like this is something they didn’t prepare us for.

    • Apolloin says:

      Although the concept of tying the multiplayer into the singleplayer makes me want to heat up the vat of marmalade to fatal scalding temperatures and prepare the hose and funnel, the idea that simply doing all the main story quests might make things a little dispiriting doesn’t worry me much.

      After all, if you didn’t do the planet scanning to purchase the upgrades and you didn’t do the loyalty missions for EVERYONE then you wound up with a fairly quiet and miserable ride home from the Collector base in ME2, didn’t you?

  23. TNG says:

    16 years and you still don’t know what’s in the box?

    Is there an option to play co-op with bots, by the way? Because I’m not usually a multiplayer kind of guy.

  24. povu says:

    I can already picture trolls posting story spoilers in multiplayer matches.

  25. SurprisedMan says:

    I don’t think this is a story. And it’s been framed misleadingly. Two things:

    1) Mass Effect 2 also had a whole bunch of optional quests which you had to do to ensure the best ending. It seems like this time they’re offering multiplayer as an alternative. It might be that the side quests are incredibly dull this time (the optional character quests of ME2 were almost essential), but that’s a problem with the quests, not this decision.

    2) This hasn’t been a secret. I was listening to the Giant bomb interview the other day where the guy explained exactly how this works: multiplayer helps your readiness rating, but you can get the best ending without having to go there at all, if you want to.

    The key quote is here: “Despite completing every main quest, PCG’s man still suffered an overwhelmingly bleak, dark finish to his game.” Completing every MAIN quest. This isn’t the first game to give you a bad ending for just doing the bare minimum.

    • Jesse L says:

      RPS, I think you need to go back and dig deeper. It sounds like this article may be enraging people (with some reason) without knowing all the facts.

    • Nim says:

      I too, would like an answer to this.

    • Alec Meer says:

      The ‘main’ thing was admittedly not ideal paraphrasing on our part. Edited, and please also read the linked post which explains in greater detail about what Tom did and didn’t do.

      As for this being a secret or news: we don’t claim it to be either of those. It’s a PSA.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      Fair enough. I’m also not sure about this whole “you either need to be a crazy completionist in single-player, which entails completing all the grindy scanning minigames, which are apparently as dull as this photo of a rock” business. Could we get some more detail on this? I’m not calling you a liar, I’d just like to know exactly how much of this you have to do to get a better ending, and what it actually involves. Rather than ‘it’s apparently dull.’ I sort of agree it could use some deeper digging, that’s all.

      And don’t get me wrong… I’ve found EA’s treatment of this game quite, quite tiresome.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Can’t speak for Craig or Tom (or Jim, who’s completed it for us), but my own experiences of the scanning stuff in the four-ish hours I’ve played so far are that it’s a boring, gotta catch ‘em all thing that’s an even lighter version of the scanning in the ME2. Rather than getting resources for upgrades, you bimble around a 2.5 map in your ship, right-clicking semi-randomly to find loads of ‘hidden’ spots in systems that yield nebulous stuff that adds to the war effort. It’s silly and grindy, and the idea that I have to do it all if I want to get a not entirely horrific ending is not a pleasant one.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      Yes, never mind – the article you linked to seems to go into good enough detail about what he had to do if he wanted a better ending, and it DOES seem a little unnecessary, and the article reads clearer now. Gripe cheerfully withdrawn!

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      “but my own experiences of the scanning stuff in the four-ish hours I’ve played so far are that it’s a boring, gotta catch ‘em all thing that’s an even lighter version of the scanning in the ME2. Rather than getting resources for upgrades, you bimble around a 2.5 map in your ship, right-clicking semi-randomly to find loads of ‘hidden’ spots in systems that yield nebulous stuff that adds to the war effort. It’s silly and grindy, and the idea that I have to do it all if I want to get a not entirely horrific ending is not a pleasant one. ”

      Wow, I know it was Jim who wrote the Wot I Think and you guys probably have different opinions on the matter but this sort of thing would be really, really, really, reallyreallyrellyrly, good to read about in a Wot I Think.

      (Apologies if I’m coming across as a bit of a pratt.)

    • stkaye says:

      “Gripe cheerfully withdrawn!”

      Wait… what… you realise this conversation is taking place on the internet, yes?

  26. akeso says:

    Yet one more reason I won’t be playing this game.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Out of interest what other games won’t you be playing and why?

      Might as well lay them all out here save you going into every single post about games you won’t be playing already anyway.

  27. Soulstrider says:

    Are you sure? I heard that indeed multiplayer affects the war readiness but I was under the impression they also said that you could reach 100% too doing side missions.

  28. BatmanBaggins says:

    I am both antisocial and also an obsessive completionist, so as long as it still is technically possible to max out everything without ever touching multiplayer, I should be ok…

  29. westyfield says:

    Fuck it, I’m gonna just go for the bad ending. ME2′s bad ending was ace, bleak seems the way to go.

    Now I’m going to shut myself off from the internet until I’ve finished ME1, 2 and 3. Farewell!

    • NathanH says:

      I think it would be better if, should you get your war assets and readiness to maximum, you get the message “while you were busy doing trivial tasks, the Reapers have eaten the galaxy and also deleted all your saves.”

  30. Bluerps says:

    I’d like to know how much multiplayer is required, if someone does not want to do any sidequests, for some reason. Does he have to play a single multiplayer match, and is already good to go? Or maybe a dozen matches? Hundreds?

  31. Nim says:

    My guess is that consecutive play-throughs will not be as penalized for not completing every objective. Both previous games so far has added extra resources and bonuses if played more than once. If not, cheat a little. No cares if you do so in SP. No doubt there will be trainers, cheat codes or some form of save-game manipulation if the whole war asset thing proves to difficult.

    Then again this whole affair won’t affect me as I’m that kind of mega being that always 100%:s everything no matter how tedious it is and I look down on you lesser people for not doing the same. (/joke)

  32. JBantha says:

    That rock is not dull at all. That rock is fucking cool to say at least. It has been through pressure, overwhelming temperatures and millions of years. Not only that but that is not simply rock.. That´s a slate, a slate from the blue ridge region, what settles it somewhere between Canada and Pennsylvania.
    That also tell us that the rock is more likely to be around 440 years old, around the Taconic period, making it a volcanic rock.
    Also, did you know that Slate is used for rooftops, building, tombs and even furniture.
    I don´t find that rock dull.
    Also, I’m an Art student, and I don’t find the PICTURE of the rock dull neither. It has a centered composition and a interesting diagonal cut between the rock itself and the white background, which creates contrast. the rock itself could have used a bit more contrast in order to make it interesting, but that is not important because the function of the photography is not for artistic purposes. It’s for science! and the amount of detail that that rocks has is impressive. not only that but the clean edges and the dropped shadow form an above source of light makes it easily to identified it as a volumetric figure of a determinable shape.
    The extra missions are dull. The shopping system of the in’game multi-player is dull. The AI enemies, those are dull as possible! but that rock. THAT ROCK!
    I thought you had a little bit more of respect for rocks due the fact they are in your website’s name.
    Dull, Paper, Shotgun it is.
    I’m done here.

  33. Robot Hobo says:

    I’d bet that EA plans to drop some post-release DLC soon that just boosts the readiness score, likely by giving you a couple simple, short, kind of pointless missions with large readiness rewards… for at least $10… each. They did it with Dragon Age, where they implemented a hard-to-manage friendship score system, then sold DLC that let you essentially break it as you wanted at will, for a (real money) price. Since EA’s gone even more DLC-greedy since then, I can’t imagine them not doing it now, and at a higher price.

    • TwwIX says:

      “Another option still is to buy $7 iPhone game Mass Effect: Infiltrator, which offers an additional way of increasing war readiness in the main game.”

      Same shit. EA is whoring out their franchises like there’s no tomorrow.

  34. QualityJeverage says:

    That bit of conspiracy at the end of the article is the sort of whiny nonsense I expect to see in the comments, not in an actual post :\

  35. evilhippo says:

    Getting pressured to do the multi-player is why I cancelled my ore-order and will probably never buy this game.

  36. Bane2087 says:

    People complain about EA getting greedy yet they still line up to buy their games. People really need to vote with their wallet or continue getting milked more and more each year. Mass Effect 4, comes with 5 (+1 preorder bonus) squadmates, with character packs for $9.99 each. Mass Effect 5? 3 squadmates, premium squadmates for $14.99 each. Basic story missions included with side mission packs for $20 each.

    No nevermind don’t worry about just keep buying games you want.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      Well, there’s some tension there.

      As a reasonable person, I agree. EA have handled a lot of things about this release terribly. I hate it. I think in many cases it’s exploitative, I think it’s manipulative and I think it’s arrogant.

      As a gamer, I’m afraid they’ve got me. The things they’ve done, bad though they are, are not enough to stop me from getting to see the end of this. I’m too invested. So in a sense, well-played EA. You pretty much wrung as much out of being the publisher of this game as you could get away with, and in my case you got away with it. Congratulations. Assholes.

      Then as someone who knows game developers and is a little bit of one myself, I have to feel sorry for those guys. Almost every game dev you meet just wants to make a great game. And they’d like everyone to be able to enjoy that game absolutely maximally. If I was working on a bit of DLC and I knew it’d be released for free I’d be delighted. I still get paid, and more people would see my work. Devs have no interest in screwing anyone over, but as we know, they often have to do these much-less-than-ideal deals to get to make them in the first place. Which is a dilemma. Do I say ‘screw you, publisher’ and not buy the game, at the same time leaving the dev who was just trying their best to make something special out in the cold. Or do I buy the game and enjoy it with the caveats that the publisher introduces, and in doing so, implicitly support such practices? It’s a tricky one.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The reason EA can get away with this, is that they’re owning the Science Fiction-based AAA game market, right now. As derivative and hackneyed as the story and setting are, it’s still the closest thing to a “serious” Sci-Fi game with a major budget behind it. Nobody else seems interested.

      For those of us who are hooked on science fiction themes, we’ll play a bad game if it’s the only one out there. A bit more competition in the genre would help. You’d think that the recent success of movies like Avatar and the Trek reboot would help, but so far there just isn’t much action in this market space…. er, of Space.

    • gritz says:

      @SurprisedMan, that’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever read on this website. If “gamer” is more essential to your self-identification than “reasonable person”, you should probably take a hard look at your value systems.

    • NathanH says:

      I agree, Gritz. Never in my life have I been tempted into doing something I know I probably shouldn’t. I, like you, am above such failings. I am glad I have finally found a like-minded individual with whom to sneer at our laughable inferiors.

    • Apolloin says:

      I want to be clear about this. Tying the Multiplayer to the Singleplayer Story at the same time as putting in a gamemode that cuts out a lot of the shooty bits so you can focus on the story? Kinda makes it look like your Lead Designer has ‘Alien Limb Syndrome’.

      All that said, the idea that Gritz is peddling, that Game Developers should prefer not to eat and pay their mortgages rather than get in bed with big players like EA? Kind of retarded. Only the big players can provide the security that allows the development of a franchise over a decade or so. Only the big players can afford the team sizes that allow the development of AAA games. Only the big players can afford the Marketing support that gets the big sales.

      The cost of that? DLC and proprietary digital delivery systems.

      And anyone raging at gamers for shopping with EA needs to take a long hard look at their release catalog. For certain genres it’s EA or nobody.

  37. Casimir Effect says:

    I’m worried that completing the game 100% – to get this 100% War Whatever will entail – won’t just mean going around doing all these fun sidequests like you found in ME1 or were tagged to the anomalies in ME2, but mean you have to do a load of planet scanning as well. Not planet scanning for anomalies, which were quick and easy to find, but scanning for resources, which was a dull, time-wasting piece of the worst fucking gameplay I’ve had to endure since god knows what (assuming the scanning will be the same here as it was in ME2).

    If I have to go through every damn planet scanning for resources so I can get however million of xyz I need, then fuck it, I’m just going to find a trainer for the first time in my life.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Planet scanning appears to be what is required, yes. Or multiplayer as an alternative.

    • Jesse L says:

      Planet…scanning…?

      [eyes bug out in rage]

    • stkaye says:

      The multiplayer would seem to be the more fun choice, then… In general I dislike multiplayer gaming, but I found myself addicted to the demo. It’s a good time.

      Less good for those without an internet connection, obvs – but then would they have managed to edge past the DRM in the first place anyway?

  38. Heliocentric says:

    Crap at multiplayer games but want to have a go? Engineer -> Combat drones with explode settings > The Winner, I will be hosting special “I don’t play multiplayer because I don’t like people shouting at me” sessions of multiplayer for the RPS crowd, check out the game groups subforum on the boards.

    • Apolloin says:

      I may come search out your friendly matches. Multiplayer Online is a bit like bobbing for apples in a tank of pirahna for my tastes. And they call gamers who don’t like MP/PVP antisocial!

  39. silgidorn says:

    I’m not sure what to think out of this.
    Either you play multiplayer to act as parallel fronts and assets won by others than Shepard.
    Either you go and get all assets with Shepard only in order to have the best end possible.

    That means that, in a singleplayer only playthrough, you’d have to make all the steps needed to assure the best outcome possible, it sounds pretty logical. If you overlook aspects, you must expect that some things may go wrong.

    This said, I’m not sure that quests like getting chakwas her bottle of brandy in ME2 (does this influence on here survavibilty in ME2, by the way?) may save a planet or two in ME3. I think you’d have to ensure that meaningful quest are done right.

  40. Fiyenyaa says:

    Thankfully, I found the multiplayer really fun.
    Shouldn’t be a problem for me.

  41. netizensmith says:

    It’s Bioware. You should expect to have to DLC forced upon you. That’s what they do. They should be more blatant about it:

    “You’re near the end of the game. As it stands the ending isn’t looking that good. However, £5 buys you a better ending and £10 gets you the best ending possible. Buy new ending?”

  42. anna.nolla says:

    I dont want to believe this. Specially, for the xbox version where the multiplayer is only accessible by Gold (paid) accounts. If true, flames are going to incinerate bioware to its grounds :P

  43. Duffin says:

    From an RPG perspective this seem’s pretty bloody stupid. So my Shepard can be a bumbling fool, single handedly consigning the galaxy to utter destruction by bodging missions, getting vital people killed and generally just being an idiot. But then I can shoot a few baddies in multiplayer and suddenly everything will turn out grand for Shep? :(

  44. TsunamiWombat says:

    My favourite perfume is Royal Desire by Christina Aguilera.

    • Duffin says:

      Sexy.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Yes, because editing my post is going to alter my viewpoints re: the maturity of this article. I’ve never been anything but respectful here and dismissive of those that attack the writers of articles, but throwing up red flags and making sly little comments about the multiplayer having “helpful microtransactions” (when in reality, there is nothing purchasable through real money via the GAW shop, only item packs purchasable through in game credits – at least as of launch last night when I last played) is nothing more than flagrant sensationalism with little basis in reality, ill serving a site I have considered harsh but fair and conscious of the negative effects of the internet hivemind.

      And maybe I do happen to like that perfume, so hah.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Your initial comment was laced with extremely childish webrage in the archetypal manner of the anomynity=disregard for basic courtesy malaise. Of course you get to make your point, but as is always and forever (that sounds like a celebrity perfume too) the case here, you don’t get to be Captain Obnoxious about it.

      Especially as you raged before researching. http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/06/what-does-100-buy-you-in-mass-effect-3-multiplayer/

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Alright, I apologize.

      …What? That can happen on the internet. (and I promise if you actually read the rest of this tl;dr comment this is not a backhanded or fake apology, I am sorry for initially commenting in an immature and spiteful manner)

      I did notice the Bioware Points counter thing in the upper right hand corner of the shop UI, but saw no in game prompt to buy them nor “or XXX Bioware points”. But the packs just unlock weapons and character classes, none of which are necessary to complete multiplayer matches – which do, admittedly, take roughly 20 mins (if you have a crackerjack good team, 30 otherwise).

      The only way to increase galactic readiness is to complete matches, you can’t buy it. Galactic readiness goes up by 3-4% for a bronze win. If the returns on GR percentage are consistent, ie the returns aren’t diminishing based on how ‘ready’ a given sector is, you can be at 100% readiness in roughly 11-12 matches (I started at 50% Galactic Readiness overall, I do not know if everyone does).

      I am uncertain if readiness percentage is universally applied, or only to the sector in which your map was, and I am uncertain if readiness diminishes over time (doubtful). If it’s applied by sector, multiply that 11-12 matches by 8 (for each sector). Ergo, 100% Galactic Readiness playing -purely- from multiplayer takes 12-96 matches, or, 6-48 hours. None of this requires me to spend money. It may take some time, but no where near the exorbitant amount of time required from grindy f2p mmo’s. If other peoples games started at 0% readiness, then those numbers need to double to 12-96 hrs over the course of 24-192 matches.

      The reason for my initial rage is I feel there is an over-emphasis on finding fault and wrong doing in Developers and Publishers – not just Bioware (though they are certainly the fallen angel du-jour of the hate surfing community these days). Obviously EA is an evil corporation – just as every corporation is inherently evil (selfishness and greed being key virtues of corporate success). Yet I do not feel their sins necessarily stain Bioware, nor that Bioware has commited any terrible wrongdoings – at least nothing on par with say Ubisoft, whose blocking paying customers from their games entirely. Bioware is experimenting, and those experiments may be spectacular failures but i’m glad they’re at least doing them. The culture of entitlement concerns me, not that I think gamers shouldn’t feel entitled (60 quid is allot of money and we put lot of emotional and cultural involvement into these titles), but I feel that allot of the sheer vitriol hatred and paranoia are overblown by a ‘popular upsurge’ that reacts from the easy accessibility to attention and ‘net fame’ one can achieve from going out and blowing giant burning holes in a popular and profitable franchise – IE, nerdbaiting.

      People can hate these companies and these games, but I wonder if on examination these reactions are not exacerbated by a cynical popularization of hostile backlash. It is possible to do even the right thing for the wrong reasons, and over the past month or two there has just been a deluge of vitriol, a great deal of which is baseless or empty parroting of failure mantra’s.

      PS: I like Royal Desire because it makes me feel like a pretty little lady in ways my chest hair does not

      PPS: Always and Forever isn’t a perfume but it IS a song apparently http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm4wAmsGyN0

  45. Bassem says:

    *looks at top pic* Holy smokes! Did they pull a MGS4 and make Shepard into Old Shepard?

  46. Consumatopia says:

    Can you guess what part of Mass Effect is apparently suffused with helpful microtransactions?

    Admittedly, this does mean there are multiple ways to achieve maximum war readiness, which may appeal to some – but it’s a long way distant from the old ways of doing your best to do the right thing throughout the quests (or the worst thing, if that’s your style).

    It’s the first issue that’s the kicker.

    In the abstract, choice is good. Give me one game in which the only way to get he best ending is pointless grindy quests. Then give me a second game that’s exactly the same except that I can do MP instead of the grindy quests. Sure, the second game is better.

    But why is that the choice here? Why are those grindy quests in there at all? Why would a game that gives players the option of avoiding combat to focus on story make the best ending dependent on either completely tedious work or MP? It makes no design sense.

    It makes quite a bit of sense in a DLC business model, though. The business model of the game encourages developers to punish the player with pointless busywork, that players can avoid by buying something, or in this case just spending more time in the portion of the game that encourages you to buy things.

    That’s why I always regard DLC or F2P games with suspicion. It’s not that paying more for extra content inherently offends me. It’s not that “pay-to-win” inherently offends me–you can pay cash to get more powerful cards and ships in Magic the Gathering or EVE but that doesn’t make the games any less substantive. It’s that some kinds of DLC and F2P change the incentives of development so that it can make sense for developers to make parts of the game worse.

  47. O-2-L says:

    That rock picture is actually nice.
    Kinda wan’t that rock…

  48. Apples says:

    I don’t think it’s called “choice” when the two options are “play boring minigames for hours on end” or “pay extra money to play a pointless shooty game against idiots online” (extra money because all my previous saves are on the Xbox; I know, I brought this upon myself) – that’s called “catch-22″, surely?

    • NathanH says:

      There is also the choice of letting the galaxy burn, which, come on, sounds pretty fun to me.

      Also, punishing XBox players is inherently worthy.

    • subedii says:

      You do not want to stare into the abyss Nathan.

  49. Kaira- says:

    To me this sounds like much ado about little thing.

  50. magnus says:

    So now according to the picture Frances De La Tour is serving on the Normandy now?