It's November 7th, and according to Bioware that means it's N7 Day, where we salute the (colour-coded) hard choices made by Commander Shepard in defence of Earth. This year, an alliance of Mass Effect 3 modders have gotten together to release a slew of complimentary updates, polishing up old content, adding entirely new missions and expanding the player's impact on its galactic war. Below, an official video celebrating this day in future fictional space-time, and a peek at some of the mods rolling out or being updated today.
For the record, I thought Mass Effect 3 was a perfectly decent game with a wobbly final few hours. And Kai Leng, who we shall not speak any more of. The first of the N7 Day mod releases is the Priority Earth Overhaul Mod, which specifically addresses those wonky final few missions. The battle for Earth now has better paced and more varied encounters, additional dialogues and NPC interactions and a few new events based on earlier decisions. There's some new cutscenes too, but the endings remain mostly unaltered from Bioware's own official post-launch rewrite.
The second of the day's releases is the Expanded Galaxy Mod, which seeks to inject a lot more life and detail into Mass Effect's universe, and is also a prerequisite for several other mods. There's a lot more customisation options aboard the Normandy, and several new sets of armour and weaponry to play around with. There's also a swarm of new Assignment side-quests (go here, deliver this, you know the drill) to help bulk out the galaxy map a little.
Building on the Expanded Galaxy Mod's foundation is the Ark Mod, which adds a whole new (short) mission to the game, letting you deploy your entire crew of heroes instead of just having two companions at your side. It also includes a collection of remixed multiplayer Hazard Maps with new environmental twists and enemy groups. It also remixes a handful of existing N7 side-missions with new enemies, new rewards and some extra details.
The Spectre Expansion mod mostly expands on Mass Effect 3's lore and provides some additional minor story choices that could help or hinder the overall war effort, plus a few more tangible changes, like some text adventure segments. For those players sitting on vast riches by the end of the game, you can just hire various mercenary companies to provide assistance. The Shadow Broker terminal (assuming you went through that particular side-story arc) has been fleshed out a little too, with new messages to read. Lots of little tweaks, adding up to a nice whole.
The Omega Hub mod is also interesting, allowing players to head back to the underworld hotspot/best nightclub district in the galaxy after the events of the Omega DLC. You can hang out with your crew, dance awkwardly (as only Shepard can) and perhaps see some of your choices reflected in the environment. Plus do a little shopping and pick up some new gear. It's small, but it's the kind of thing that I'd have loved Mass Effect 3 to do more often. Laser gunfights are all well and good, but hanging out and seeing what impact you've had on people's lives really made Mass Effect.
A new version of the A Lot Of Textures mod (previously covered) launched too, if you're up for a 6 gig download to make your universe pin-sharp. While none of these mods is huge in its impact by itself, all added up (and they should theoretically be compatible), their combined effect seems impressive, especially if you've played through the first two games and imported a save file. All the planets you visited will still be there, and there'll be plenty more callbacks to them. At the time of writing the updated mods aren't all up yet, but should be uploading new builds through the day.