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  1. #21
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Jun 2011
    I'd expand out the Sanctuary-onwards bit to mirror the preceding two acts. End the Cerberus story there with either destroying them entirely, allowing the Illusive Man to continue, or installing Miranda (if alive) as the new head of Cerberus. With a secondary choice on whether to keep indoctrinating human as soldier or not.

    Have a few different routes and options for the assault on earth that requires you to make choices on utilising the war assets at some point - if you have Krogan, a ground assault makes more sense, Salarians, something more sneaky. Same for Geth /Quarian or if you have Cerberus troops or not. Stupid choices mean people die, but in cases where you have both you can get some awesome saves in.

    All this (+ MP score if you must) factors into if 0, 1 or 2 of your squad make the beam with you. Also if Anderson makes it.

    We lose the explanation of the Reapers (or go dark energy, or anything that makes more sense) - the Crucible is there on the basis that it was made as a way to end the cycle if the races were advanced enough that they could handle whatever 'problem' the Reapers are fixing on their own. The star-child is still there to explain this, but takes the form of the squadmate that died on Virmire rather than a kid (I mean come on Bioware, how did you not figure that out?).

    The options are a result of conversations between Anderson, your possible squadmates and TIM/Miranda (who somehow got there - needs one plothole to be authentically Bioware).

    Control: If you destroyed Cerberus entirely, Control is not an option. It's made clear that control will see whoever takes control of The Reapers living forever in a constant mental fight to stay on top - a huge sacrifice for Shep to make. If you installed Miranda as head of Cerberus, and she's loyal and still alive, she'll offer to do it ("this is what I was made for Shepard").

    Destroy: You need either Anderson or an 'aggressive' squad mate with you to get offered this (Ash, Vega, Javik and Tali if you killed the Geth) - it still destroys all AI (but not people with implants like Shep), and also blows up the Citadel. With a high enough readiness, Joker will be able to navigate a path through to the Citadel and send a shuttle for you, in which case Anderson, Javik or Ash will be able to opt to stay behind and hit the button while you escape. You might not want to mention to Joker what will happen to EDI.

    Synthesis: this gets offered by the 'ghost' of the squadmate that died on Virmire, only if you made peace between either the Geth/Quarian or Krogan/Turian. It's a re-sequencing of DNA that unites all species, a forced evolutionary step. It's explained better, and the downsides are drawn out too. I think it needs a sacrifice component too so it's not the obvious 'good' choice - maybe it needs to harvest DNA of three species or something. Or maybe it needs dropping for an entirely different option but I'm trying not to re-write the whole thing.

    Nothing: if you don't meet any of the criteria, the crucible doesn't work and the galaxy gets blow up. Likewise you can walk away and not make a choice to similar effect.

    Regardless of the ending you choose, depending on their disposition towards you various squad members may forcibly want to stop you making certain choices, forcing you to kill them. Feasibly, if you choose to walk away, they might settle it between themselves instead.

    The Mass Relays are slowly deactivated rather than blown-up - they'll remain functional for around a year as they degrade.

  2. #22
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus duff's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Personally I would have got rid of the Crucible for 2 reasons:

    1. We've been fighting the Reapers already for two years. In the first two games they are built up as this unstoppable and unknowable force. I think Bioware did a pretty good job of creating a good villain - see Shepard's chat with Sovereign on Virmire. But then within 20 minutes of ME3 Liara's all like, "Oh hai Shep, guess wot! We got some pimp ass Death Star to kill those Reapers yo!". There is no explanation as to how the Crucible works, how it was designed, how it was kept a secret, and how it can be so readily reconstructed. It's a cheap plot device that cheapens the menace of the Reapers.

    2. We don't actually need the Crucible. It kind of seems pointless to have the war asset mechanic have only a very marginal effect on the ending. Shepard has travelled the galaxy and risked life and limb to recruit races to his cause. But the races Shepard gathers have only a small effect on the conclusion of the game. I would have scrapped the Crucible entirely and made the war assets far more important. It makes much more sense for victory to depend on something that the player has been working towards and seen developing over the course of several games (genophage cure, quarian survival), than some stupid machine that makes no fucking sense and that the player has no relation to.

    3. Bonus Reason!

    The Crucible brought us Starchild. That is all.
    Last edited by duff; 10-04-2012 at 03:46 PM.

  3. #23
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Yeah, in all seriousness the Crucible is just a silly macguffin that just cheapens the whole story.

  4. #24
    Network Hub Hanban's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    I'm gonna go with Flint on this one!
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  5. #25
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Also i couldn't help but think of snooker whenever anyone mentioned "The Crucible." Actually that could have worked as an ending: Shep, the Illusive Man and Harbinger in a three way snooker tournament for control of the galaxy, commentary by Dennis Taylor and John Virgo.

  6. #26
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Feb 2012
    Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    When the Prothean VI mentioned that the Crucible was something designed and expanded on by every cycle, I was hoping right to the end that the whole thing was just a Reaper plot they use every cycle to get everyone to focus on something absolutely irrelevant instead of trying to beat them. Oh well.

    I'd take the ending as presented with a few changes. First, no Star Child. You choose the destroy/control thing in the conversation with the Illusive Man. If you choose control then Anderson would get shot and then something would happen between you and the Illusive Man that I haven't worked out. If you choose destroy then it ends with you and Anderson sitting down watching the Reapers all get blown up as you both die. In each case, most importantly, we'd then get told some of the stuff that actually happens next.

    I'd probably remove the Mass Relay destruction too. I don't really see what that adds.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  7. #27
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'd have given the player some more background and insight into the origins of the reapers and maybe some sort of time scale as to just how long this cycle has been going on.

    Beyond that, there are many things I don't like about the ME story going back to ME2. So if I were going to rewrite the ending of ME3 I'd have to go back and start changing things from ME2. Number one on that list would be the human reaper, it just doesn't fit or make sense. The whole explanation that reapers are made from the genetic goo of sentient beings is beyond stupid. I'd remove the crucible from the story altogether, the stupid kid, the nightmares, and everything else that took you out of the story.

    I'd get rid of the whole Shepard Captain of the Universe crap where he goes around saving the day for every species in the galaxy while the reapers are raping everyone. Don't get me wrong, I thought the story for the genophage and geth/quarian conflict was really well done in ME3, but in the overall grand scheme of things it's a bit unbelievable. Problems that have existed for hundreds or thousands of years are solved by Shepard in a day, it's stupid.

    I don't even know where to begin with an ending for ME3 honestly, the whole story was stupid. Why would everyone leave their home worlds to come fight for Earth? Why would the reapers move the citadel there? The plan was to fight the reapers on Earth long before the citadel is moved (by the reapers) to Earth. WTF? The reapers are spread around the galaxy waging war in every system. What does defeating some of them around Earth do? How convenient is it that the reapers moved the key to their destruction (the citadel) right where the alliance wanted it?

    The game is just full of bad writing. I don't know. I guess I'd scrap the whole thing and start over from scratch, I'd scrap ME2 as well because that whole story was stupid too.

  8. #28
    The first attack and Main Bulk of the Reaper Forces is at Earth (remember ME2 where they build the Human Reaper First assuming Humans to be the greatest Threat to their Harvest?),that is why they move the Citadel there?

    This way they can cover the Citadel,reunite with (one of ?) their Boss(es), and keep harvesting tasty Human.

    My Idea of the Timeline of the ME Universe is this :

    Old Race creates Ai

    Ais goes Bonkers, kills old Ones.

    Ais (Nuts) due to their faulty (from the viewpoint of an evolutionary created Species) Nature decide that Biologicals are doomed and must be protected/preserved by killing and harvesting their Essence (DNA harvest due to Psychosis/Guilt/Clichee Machine Logic?).
    Maybe even creating Specieslike Machine Replica/Hiveminds (ME1 Harbinger:"Each one of us is an Nation unto itself").

    Ais Harvest all Live ,store their Essence in Giant Reapers looking like the harvested Species (think of the unfinished Reaper at the End of ME2) , transport them into Deep Space between the Galaxies.

    Ais build Reapers as their Agents for Harvest/Combat ,retreat into Deep Space with them and their Species-Trophies.
    Maybe with their unique engines and Power Source they start to expand to other Galaxies to repeat this Behaviour.

    Essentially its an Ai Species of (from our understanding of mental Health) "Serial-MassMurder-Psychos" ,cutting of Parts of their Murdervictims to gift them eternal Life. All this just on a very large Scale.

    Seems logical to me if one regards the fact that their whole Basic psyche is like themselves,artificial,and is therefore not bound to an Evolutionary Origin and can be motivated by pretty much everything.
    Last edited by Arona Daal; 14-04-2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  9. #29
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    Jun 2011
    I quite liked Lambchops OP story. Would probably have preferred that to the original.

    But for the sake of arguement, I was thinking along the lines of the Crucible being an ark for the species of the universe. Something cloaked from the Reapers by Prothean tech. The rest of the game up until the point where the Reapers take the citadel is fine. Shepard returns to the Citadel gathering his forces and it docks the crucible. They realise you can't shoot it, or do anything with it. Illusive man turns up to see the result of their labours, and unsurprisingly, he's pissed. Ultimately Shepard shoots him. Cereberus is still intact but they're just floating around part of your newly founded fleet to take down the reapers.

    One Reaper turns up, following Cereberus and it strangely ignores the Citadel. But its still making mince meat of the rest of the unprepared fleet. Shepard needs to board it. Cue shooting mcguffins. Conversation with the Reaper just before it blows up reveals it doesn't know where the citadel is.

    Now we reach end game. Every species sided with (and so who happens to be with your fleet) gets ark access. Thats the legacy of your choices. One final choice is will you save Cererberus, who happen to be the only significant human population on hand (earths fleet already engaged).

    And because this is all about Shepard, you get to decide whether or not you or any of your team mates can be part of the rear guard so the ark can disappear (obviously for each one sent, your galaxy chocolate is boosted up to the level you need it to be). In nearly all situations you will have to send at least someone to die (including yourself) unless you've done every side quest etc, etc. maximised your bar to an OCD level (not including multiplayer).

    And now, end cinematic of the big battle, sad music etc. Occasional flashes of Earth's destruction, probably including one of Anderson looking to the sky certain Shepard will save them just before he gets shot. Couple of paragraphs Dragon Age stylee of what happens to each race/how they cope to living on the ark.


    Post credits, we get a similar cutscene that this was all a story, but at the end theres something about how its now been long enough that we're on our way back to earth.

    Edit: Wow that was longer than I expected. There's no real BIG ending choice there at the end like most of the above, but I didn't feel Mass Effect needed it, as long as the choices throughout the game have a big enough effect. Also, Starchild is scrapped.
    Last edited by Vague-rant; 14-04-2012 at 05:35 PM.

  10. #30
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    @ Vague-rant

    I like it! Throughout the game I had been wondering whether the Crucible was actually a weapon but couldn't really think of another use for it, an ark is perfect. Plus being forced to have Cerberus to represent humanity (on a ship full of aliens no less) would actually be an interesting choice and a nice culmination of that plot line. Plus it ties in the war assets nicely.

  11. #31
    Obscure Node
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    Apr 2012
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    These ideas all assume that the basic structure and plot points of the rest of ME3 have remained intact with one important exception: it really bothered me that all of the Reapers everywhere managed to just 'fly' into normal space and attack everywhere at once. Why bother leaving Sovereign behind to 'open the portal' in the first place? So I have to change the beginning too.

    The scenario at opening then is that the Batarians were experimenting with hideous Reaper tech and were all indoctrinated by it. They then converted one of the Mass Relays in their territory to access Dark Space, where it has previously been established that the Reapers were otherwise trapped.

    Because this Relay was never intended to perform this task, it totally breaks or something when the Reapers try to get through so only a few dozen (including Harbinger) make it. But these dozen are cunning, patient, and terrible! They repurpose the Batarians, launch an attack on the Solar System because screw you human scum and seed the galaxy with Reaper insurgents in order to spread chaos and disunity. Their goal is to divide and conquer, and build enough strength to attack the Citadel in force, reactivate the portal to Dark Space, and proceed with the perfectly good plan that they had in the first place.

    Shepard never turned himself into the Alliance because that was totally ridiculous. However! He and crew do retrieve plans for a Prothean super-weapon called the Crucible. Nobody knows what it will do, however... is it really a good idea to fire it? Normandy escapes Earth space just before the Reapers, with their indoctrinated Batarian fleet, shut down the only Relay access - because the Reapers were previously established to have control over Relay technology and in this continuity they aren't idiots.

    Game then proceeds more or less the same except without Kai Leng at all.

    At The End:

    Shepard is presented with three choices of endgame - he has been recruiting allies to Take Back Earth because that's where the Reapers are - the ones in the rest of the galaxy are causing havoc but can and have been isolated and defeated. Still, if Harbinger gets its tentacles on the Citadel then civilization will still be doomed. Cut out the part about the Reapers teleporting the Citadel to Earth, because a) what? and b) why didn't they just do that in the first place? Shepard therefore may:

    1. Choose to attempt to save Earth by rallying the allied fleets and firing the Crucible in orbit around Earth (they get there somehow despite Reaper attempts to cut Earth off). In this case, firing the Crucible without the 'Catalyst' results in a catastrophic explosion, destroying many of the Reapers in addition to a large portion of the allied fleet. Some survivors manage to escape back to the Citadel, but Earth is DEAD DEAD DEAD.

    Scene of traumatized crew of Normandy: "did we just...blow up the Earth...?"

    When suddenly! Harbinger tears out of the dying Sol Relay, its eldritch powers shrieking into the mortal minds of those on the Citadel and allied ships, clawing at the fabric of reality. "DAAAAMN YOOOU SHEPPAAAARD" it bellows. Final mission is desperate attempt to destroy damaged Harbinger from the inside. Shepard and crew make noble sacrifices to succeed. No one ever hears from Earth or her colonies again, but galaxy is united against existential Reaper threat. For now....

    2. Choose to use the Citadel to activate the Crucible. At the same time, however, Harbinger moves its fleet to take the Citadel and reopen the portal to Dark Space! Space battle ensues. The eldritch powers of Harbinger wreak havoc on the borders of sanity - "I HAAATE YOOUU SHEPAAAARD" it screams. Final mission is more or less identical to option 1. Crucible then fires with Citadel Catalyst. Has the unforseen effect of neutralizing the Mass Relays everywhere and the technology of the Reapers themselves within range of the Citadel itself. Civilization as we know it ends, but the Reapers are dead dead dead and may never return.

    3. Choose not to fire the Crucible, deeming it too risky. Allied fleets warp to Earth - assuming that the player has accumulated enough 'War Assets' or what-have-you the battle goes relatively well. Reapers are being slowly overwhelmed. However, the Citadel is now undefended! "SOOOO LOOOONG SHEPAAAARD" chortles Harbinger, as lances of psychic horror vaporize intervening ships and Harbinger jumps away to retake the Citadel and open the portal to Dark Space! Shepard follows. Final mission is the same as above. Dang, and Harbinger is totally blown up, but in its death throes and mad, thrashing wrath, it claws at the Citadel, destroying it and killing countless inhabitants. Catastrophic losses ensue in the battle for Earth, and central galactic government has been extinguished, but with the Citadel gone the imminent threat of Reaper return disappears as well. The old galactic powers are crippled... will their be a new order?


  12. #32
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Krathor's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    After replaying the first two games to make a new character for the third, I've noticed that the Dark Energy thing isn't really introduced until 2 - but there's several mentions of it in the game. However organics v. synthetics is right there from the get(h)-go (Eden Prime specifically) so I think I'd keep that being the overall theme.

    I would have liked The Crucible to actually be a Reaper trap to make it convenient for them to gather all sentient life in the galaxy in one place (Earth) and wipe them out in one swoop. It would make sense if they created it after dealing with the Protheans - since it emerges with the talk with Vigil during the first game that it actually took the Reapers generations to fully, systematically wipe out the Protheans. By creating this trap and then retroactively re-writing Prothean history to suggest that it was their idea all along means that the Reapers would always have the upper hand and be able to wipe out most of life within a single year or so - not decades.

    The ending would go something like the Crucible connecting with the Citadel and everyone holding their breath, but of course it wouldn't work at all. No talk with Starchild - just... nothing. However, if you have high enough war assets, the Sword fleet will join with the Shield fleet (since the Citadel no longer needs protecting fully) and they will beat down on the Reapers together with Hammer.

    If your war asset rating is high enough then there'll be some sort of climatic battle (in space - not on Earth) wherein the Normandy breaches Harbinger's hull and you take him apart from the inside. Heck, Bioware can make it kinda trippy if they want (a la going into Sinn in Final Fantasy X). Whatever the case, the Reapers are driven back and all is well for another few thousand years.

    After all, it does make sense that organics would be able to beat back the Reapers this time; Sovereign buggered up in opening the main relay on the Citadel so that gave civilisations around the galaxy another few hundred years to grow, improve and actually be able to produce the firepower needed to go toe-to-toe with the Reapers (providing that everyone is in for the fight).

  13. #33
    Lesser Hivemind Node
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    Jun 2011
    Bath / Southampton, UK
    Remember Liara's project? Hope so, because that's gonna be important later.

    So, everything is pretty much the same until you launch the Thanix missiles, with the following exceptions:
    More is made of the time capsule earlier and throughout the game. Your whole squad is involved in the final mission, ME2 style.
    The opening scene where the child plays with the toy fighter remains, the air vent scene is removed, when he boards the shuttle he hesitates and a marine grabs him and throws him in. Shepard sees the shuttle get blasted but doesn't do the exaggerated look-of-horror. The dream sequences remain but instead of the child, it's your dead squadmates (Kaidan/Ash, whoever died in ME2's suicide mission or Collector attack, as the game progresses Mordin, Thane, Legion etc. also join the dream).

    Thanix missiles go boom, you, your squad, Anderson, and Coats roll in in your Makos, they get blown up, you run towards the beam, Harbinger's laser blasts Shepard. Cut to a few squadmates and/or Anderson dragging you to cover and reviving you. (If your EMS is very low you don't wake up - the Crucible is destroyed en route and the Reapers wipe out any survivors in the area around you.) Short scene where you and your LI are all "we're gonna die" "ILY" etc. before you start running towards the beam again. Depending on your Effective Military Strength, various squadmates may or may not die at this point. You, Anderson, and your LI make it to the beam, shoot up to the Citadel. EMS again dictates how well the fleets are doing, you hear reports of Sword, Shield and Hammer getting varying degrees of wiped out.
    Arrive in the control room, the Illusive Man is there. He shoots Anderson, you shoot him. Anderson and TIM lie dying, TIM sees he's indoctrinated as the Reapers leave his dying body, he can do his little speech about how he just wanted to help humanity, gaze upon the burning Earth one last time, dies. Anderson says he's proud of you, you're all "don't die on me now bro" and he's all "go finish your mission, leave me".
    You go to the control panel, start to activate the Crucible, nothing happens. Harbinger swoops in, "your plan has failed, as have you, as you were always destined to, as all organics have failed before and will fail for all eternity". Harbinger starts to fire at you or the Crucible overloads or something, Shepard and LI look to each other, stare into each other's eyes, embrace. Warning lights flash, building in intensity, the music swells, all sound stops except for a heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat, heart-
    Cut to exterior shot of the Crucible exploding before another cut to black.

    (At this point we might see Joker and any surviving squadmates hitting the Charon relay, coming out and seeing more Reapers before the Normandy gets blasted. Again, cut to black.)

    Fade in, we see a previously-unseen species of bipedal alien that bears a vague resemblance to some sort of evolved space monkey. It chatters excitedly in its alien language, slow zoom out to reveal one of Liara's boxes and we hear Glyph activating translation protocols or some similar technobabble. The alien's language abruptly changes to English as the translators kick in, we see a hologram of Liara and hear her say "listen up: this is important." The sound fades out as a more appropriate Faunts (M4 Part 1, perhaps) song starts to build up, and we see various diagrams of the Citadel, maps of the galaxy, images of Reapers, schematics for the Crucible being projected in front of the alien. A hologram of Shepard appears. The sound abruptly comes back in as Liara says "... a human named Commander Shepard". Holo-Shep looks directly towards the camera which quickly zooms in on her/his face. Cut to credits, music comes back in.

    It is left as an exercise for the player to decide whether the Crucible was always going to fail, or whether eventually a future civilisation might be able to perfect it and defeat the Reapers once and for all.
    It's bleak as heck, but I think it provides satisfying and definite closure whilst leaving a glimmer of hope, reinforcement of the player's hero-complex, and a little mystery to chew over.

    TL;DR - the Crucible fails, Shepard dies, the Reapers win for this cycle. We see some aliens in the next cycle looking at Liara's time capsule and learning about the Reapers, the Crucible, and finally, Commander Shepard.
    Last edited by westyfield; 15-04-2012 at 12:55 AM.

  14. #34
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    You know, I never encountered Liara's project until I clicked on that link. Whatever I think about the ending and the overall arching story there are some really nice individual scenes scattered throughout all three games. Garrus and Tali for example, Mordin's goodbye and Jacob's awesome line ME2 (good intentions are like wetting yourself in dark trousers- warm feelings but no one notices). I suppose Mass Effect has always been about the minor effects on individual characters rather than what brought them all together. Does that count as irony?

  15. #35
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Jun 2011
    Hamilton, UK
    Pretty much just what others have said, even if it ultimately had no bearing on the ending BioWare obviously wanted I'd have been happy if we got a) some acknowledge of choices we'd made with regards to assets/characters/mission resolution and b) get to make some other choices both before and during the final battle.

    I said some of this in the other thread but my thinking was that initially you'd make some decisions about what your "inactive" squadmades (and possibly the Normandy) should be doing during the battle, whether it be having the option to send Kasumi on some sort of infiltration job (advanced scouting, say, giving the good guys some intel and slightly increasing your chances of success), Samara to use her biotics to provide shields and the like. And some choices about what to do with selected war assets that wouldn't just fall under being commanded as part of the fleet.

    And then during the mission, have some of the assets and your friends show up at various times. The one idea I had for this is during the bit where you're fighting loads of witches and brutes, have one massive wave show up that looks like it ought to be impossible to defeat on your own and then either Wrex and his krogan squad come charging in to give you a hand or have the Geth primes (if you got them) turn up to kick some ass for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tikey View Post
    The Renegade ending would be the same but Shepard also wears a cowboy hat.
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