Oh those crazy Collectors. What won't they take? Entire colonies, the last pudding cup in the cafeteria, lives, your favorite parking spot, that coat you'd been waiting to nab on sale, etc, etc, etc. They'll just never stop. Well, unless you force them to. That's the idea behind Mass Effect 3's upcoming and still rather miraculously free "Retaliation" multiplayer DLC. The Collectors have invaded, and it's up to you to put them in their place. Which is not your place. Which is where they are anyway. The jerks. Happily, Retaliation also brings with it a suite of other goodies, including new weapons, new characters, "hazard" maps, and a challenge point system. Gaze upon it with your feeble human eyes after the break. Unless the Collectors took those too.
On top of those pleasantly writhing masses in all their snowflake-like beauty, you're also getting two fairly major new features. First off, pre-existing maps are gaining "hazard" variants, which include traps and environmental nastiness like acid, lightning, meltdowns, sandstorms, swarms and whiteouts.
Challenges, meanwhile, add a new meta-game to the proceedings. Here's a brief rundown:
"The Challenges database tracks various in-game statistics, such as your N7 Typhoon usage. To earn challenge points, you’ll need to complete mini-goals. For example, accumulate 140,000 points while using the Typhoon in multiplayer and you’ll be rewarded with 10 challenge points... Complete various multiplayer assignments and feats of strength to unlock titles and banners to display in-game, and then compare your progress against your friends."
So basically, it sounds like an achievement system, except with rewards that are a bit more tangible than a simple numeric score. I doubt it'll have people turning a blind eye to fall's selection of multiplayer delights and flocking back to Mass Effect in droves, but at least it's something new to do. Frankly, I'm just impressed that BioWare's still regularly supporting what people thought was going to be a flimsy throwaway feature dreamed up by the mad machinations of some marketing committee. Admittedly, I've pretty much had my fill of Horde Mode: Mass Effect edition, but I can't fault BioWare for continuing to build.