You are not logged in.

#1 | Back to Top08-06-2013 12:17:20 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

So. I beat Mass Effect 3. Now it’s time to talk about it. Why? Because I actually liked the ending. I was happy with it. This makes me, apparently, some sort of unholy freak, since the majority of vocal fans think the ending to ME3 sucked a big one. So, I’m going to try to describe how I saw the ending, and why it didn’t bother me. I’m not trying to change hearts and minds, but just present what has turned out to be an opposing viewpoint.

First, a little background. I started ME3 with all DLC installed, so I played the EC of the endings. I have, however, seen the vanilla ones on the YouTubes. Also, I had enough EMS to get the best versions of the endings. My FemShep was 90% renegade, and I romanced Liara through all three games. The Geth and Quarians work together in my game, Wrex rules the krogans with the genophage cured, and the only playable characters I lost along the way were Legion and Mordin (and Kaiden). I chose Synthesis, though I’ve also seen the others.

A lot of totally legitimate complaints are made against the ending of ME3. Many of them seem to hinge on that after all this work to create a united front, the ultimate decision falls on a lone soldier ‘arbitrarily’ chosen by the Catalyst, an entity that you have no idea exists until he’s telling you to decide the fate of all life.

I think this did not bother me because I knew it would come to that. Mass Effect is about, always was about, Shepard. ME3 did a beautiful job, the best job, of making the other characters actually matter as more than things you bounce conversation trees around with. Your shipmates talk to each other, romance each other, and develop without you showing up to nag them about it. As much as I loved that, though...in the end, it’s still All. About. Shepard. It always was going to be, and the game was telling you that from the word Go. If you could have won by joined military might, you would have. You couldn’t. You brought everyone together for the shot in the dark Crucible, not knowing how or why it would work. They did that, they helped you get there, but in the end, it was up to you whether to throw the ring into Mount Doom.

It doesn’t strike me as odd either that the Catalyst gives this power to Shepard. The Reapers (meaning the Catalyst) have been aware of and pretty freaked out by Shepard since the beginning, because Shepard represented a break in the worldview that enabled the Reapers to function as they have. The logic of their solution to the problem presented to them (preservation of life) becomes flawed because the problem is no longer an inevitable one. So they ask Shepard to reword the problem they’re meant to solve.

This leads to the options you’re presented. Ultimately the Catalyst is not asking you what should be done about life in the galaxy. The Catalyst is asking you what should be the goal, if any, of the Reapers. It seeks to learn its own fate. Shepard, however, interprets the options presented not as a decision of the fate of Reapers, but as a decision of the fate of life besides them. The Reapers are not, after all, hung up too much on any one cycle. It’s Shepard that’s invested in this one. That is why the Catalyst makes a point of saying that a decision to destroy synthetic life will not prevent the same problem from forming again. However, while previously thought to be inevitable, the Catalyst must now contend with the possibility that synthetic life wiping out organic life may not necessarily happen. That possibility, remote as it is to the Catalyst, means that the cessation of the cycles, the destruction of the Reapers, and the removal of their ‘safeguard’ is an acceptable option. The Catalyst also offers the Control option, which is it seeking to shift its own paradigm to one that allows organics greater determination of its use, in an effort to correct the errors it makes based on its own now flawed logic. Synthetics and organics may still attempt to annihilate each other, but with this option, the Catalyst gives Shepard the power to choose the victor, or attempt to mediate between the two parties as the situation arises. The control option makes Shepard’s will as immortal as the Reapers, because it’s understood that the situation, left to the devices of either group, will eventually present itself. Finally, the Catalyst offers Synthesis. The only non-harvesty logical solution to the inevitable locking of heads between organics and synthetics--the heads are joined, so thoroughly intertwined, that their goals can no longer be at odds. This is the idea most difficult for the Catalyst to justify on its own, as its reasoning has only ever led it to destruction. The offering of Synthesis is its admission that it could be utterly and irrevocably wrong--synthesis could have happened quite without its interference or existence, in the fullness of time. Now not only is the solution the Reapers had to the question posed wrong, but the question was invalid from the beginning.

Now I know a big complaint is Why the fuck is the Catalyst a lame child and why is it existing in the first place? To the child thing...well why not? It had to present as something, and it chose to present as something that held meaning for its audience. It could have looked like a Reaper, it could have just been the building talking to you. But neither of those things would have emotionally appealed to Shepard. (Or the player.) Why the Catalyst at all? Maybe I missed something but this seemed simple enough to me. The Catalyst is the Reapers, collectively. Not Sovereign, not Harbinger. The Catalyst is the reasoning and experience of the Reapers, it’s the entity that leads their decision-making. Sovereign and Harbinger boast, gloat, and so seem to reflect still a bit of the hubris of their creators, the entities they absorbed directly. The Catalyst, though, the core programming so to speak, has no hubris. It is only a program designed to preserve life in perpetuity, and I don’t think the Catalyst, and so the ‘original’ Reaper program, is a true AI. Despite appearances up to now, it is not self-preserving; it doesn’t seek to preserve its state, but rather constantly absorbs and reprograms itself based on the life it harvests. It petitions an organic, Shepard, to decide its fate because of this. It’s an incredibly complex VI given a command, and when its solution is no longer the only one, the Catalyst, the Reaper, requests a new, more specific command.

Which of the choices you make will stem, I should think, from the Shepard you played.

Shepard can be played from the very beginning to sympathize with humans over anyone else and basically be a racist shit that would sympathize in theory if not in method with Cerberus. This Shepard, that values humanity, and maybe to a larger extent organic life, over everything else, may choose Destroy, even if that results in the loss of synthetic life that had true value. Sorry EDI, it’s not that I think you’re not a real AI, it’s just that I don’t think that’s as important as my collective organic hide.

Shepard can also be an Organic Supremacist. Shepard can choose to undermine the Geth and deny the possibility that they may be sentient. Shepard can choose dialogue that stays skeptical of EDI’s blossoming self-awareness. Shepard can think that synthetic life ultimately exists to serve organics, and if it needs to be reminded of that, so be it. Shepard can control synthetics to force them to serve their intended purpose as an organic interprets it. Sorry EDI, I just don’t think you’re a real girl.

Now, the Shepard I played acknowledged the sentience of the Geth and EDI way back in the second game. My Shepard developed EDI over the course of this game and encouraged a romance between her and an organic life, and my Shepard leads EDI to ultimately change her programming to one that factors the value of others to her into her own self-determination. My Shepard believed from the outset that synthetic life could be alive, and so synthesis was the obvious choice for her. She practices what she preaches to EDI--her preservation instinct is overriden by confounding factors. Unwilling to destroy entire races of sentient beings to preserve the status quo for other sentient beings, she chooses to meet both groups halfway. Neither is entirely preserved, but neither is destroyed, and the result is arguably an improvement in both by the absorption of the merits of the other.

I also read about that this synthetics vs organics thing gets pulled out of the story’s ass. I’m not sure where that argument comes from, since you find out over the course of the games why the Reapers exist, and it is to solve this fundamental conflict. So this conflict becomes the core of the decision at the end of the game, kind of like you would expect it to. The games spend a great deal of time making you reflect on the questions their existence poses. The geth, EDI, and discovering that the Reapers are themselves synthetic products of organic creators. If it rubs people the wrong way that the ending is ultimately about what the Reapers were about, instead of being about you and all the races of the galaxy pounding scary monsters in the ass, well I guess that’s fair. But it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Another complaint, or at least one that seems to creep around the edges of almost every other, is that it’s a SAD ENDING. Shepard almost invariably dies, and there are drastic consequences for any of the options presented--none is an ‘ideal’ where everyone skips off into the sunset and you spend the rest of your life making blue babies. Again--how it anyone surprised Shepard dies? They’ve already potentially killed Shepard like ten times. And I have to admit, I think any ending where Shep survives would have felt...false. Like too much optimism after such a dark game. The importance of sacrifice for something bigger than you is pounded into your head the whole game, almost like you should be preparing for that to happen. And no matter how you played Shepard, Shepard was always gleefully ready to sacrifice for the greater good.

There’s no happy ending, and that seems to rub people the wrong way. And I guess if that’s what you wanted from the experience, fair enough. I had no problem with it, and the fact that my decisions, regardless, had to cost highly made sense to me. I’m battling a cycle that’s repeated itself for god knows how many million years, an overwhelming force of power that in its mind righteously is slaughtering entire worlds. There’s no easy answer for that.

This includes the destruction of the relays. Now, their use as a power source and method of distribution for whatever color light you pewpew makes sense to me, and the damage done to them does as well. I actually found it impressively daring that the relays get destroyed--the implications for what comes after are so drastic and far reaching that I respect the balls it took to fuck your own well-built universe over like that, in the name of grit and realism. Now they back out of that a bit and depending on your ending the relays are only damaged. That’s fine too, it makes as much sense that they got a bit blasted rather than destroyed. They can be rebuilt. How easily? Hard to say. There’s a lot of foaming at the mouth about how the destruction of the relays, based on previous lore, would destroy the systems they were in and so be all fucked up, based on the destruction of the Alpha relay. Again, might be missing something, but I thought the Alpha relay was specifically special and more ‘powerful’, so that the destruction of the others isn’t as damaging doesn’t seem odd to me. And failing that...dunno. Continuity errors happen, and I just can’t make this one the unforgiveable sin when I’m an SKU, Star Trek, and Harry Potter fan.

The brevity of the original endings is a fair beef to have with a series that has up to now been very literal, pretty thorough, and certainly cinematic. The originals didn’t personally offend me, since I was perfectly happy to fill in the blanks myself and didn’t mind the ambiguities (again, SKU fan, I eat ambiguous endings for breakfast). But I can see how that wasn’t, perhaps, the best move. And when Bioware was told that, they offered the ECs. That people weren’t happy with those either, well I dunno what to tell ‘em.

I guess, in the end, the question is ‘Did it feel like everything up to that point mattered?’ For me, absolutely, it did. The decisions my Shepard made, the outlook she developed living in this beautifully realized world, and the way the world shaped and responded to her, made the decision carry weight. Feel right. Maybe this failed to happen for some. But to me, I feel like Mass Effect was designed to build up to a moment where given options, the choice your Shepard would make was almost predetermined if you stayed in character. Shepard’s decision has been made over the course of hundreds of hours of gameplay. That the game lets you back out of that development isn’t its fault, because god knows if one of those endings was decided for you based on your decision branches, people would have foamed at the mouth over that, too. The Catalyst offers options, but by the time those options are presented, your Shepard should be developed to lean heavily toward one choice over the others. Only one right path to take based on everything you’ve done until now. You built that path. The game just isn’t forcing you to stay on it.

So, like I said. I was happy with the ending. There are criticisms to make, sure, but that’s true of anything, including, say, Mass Effect 2, which is held up as the holy grail and the example ME3 had to follow. Personally I found ME2, including its conclusion, to be the weakest of the three. But that’s another post for the thread. emot-smile Also, what do I get for not turning this into SKU parallels?


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#2 | Back to Top08-06-2013 01:23:21 PM

wingedbeastie
Nest Boxer
From: Sandy Eggo, CA
Registered: 03-28-2007
Posts: 1011

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

You get all the cookies.

I suppose that my frustration is how much of the really severe development changes and staff shifts changed so much in the game. ME was not supposed to come out until Mid-late 2012.

The original thought with the reapers coming back had to do with the universe's reliance on Element Zero and how it threatened all of existence and that was why the reapers showed up.

Thane lost his writer, Kaidan changed writers, Jacob I think lost his and it shows tremendously. Consistently things happened that went against previous characterization - also the treatment of a F!Shep that romances Kaidan is more than a little rage inducing.

Ugh I have so many feelings.

For the record I played:

Allynbee Shepard. Paragon [though with the percentage breakdown by the end it was more paragade] Romanced Kaidan, then Thane, then Kaidan - against my better judgement.


Check out my: Twitter|Voice Over Tumblr|

Offline

 

#3 | Back to Top08-06-2013 03:28:23 PM

Frosty
Everyone's Best Friend
From: United States
Registered: 11-16-2006
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

I'm taking them cookies from her & feeding them to the reapers! emot-biggrin

Preface with: I love Mass Effect just as much as SKU now. I’ve never had such an enjoyable gaming experience in all my life (and I play a ton of games). I rate them as the pinnacle of my entertainment experience (except the last 10 minutes of 3).

I’m glad you finally finished, Giovanna, and it’s great to hear a new perspective and why you appreciated the end! I can’t say I feel the same as you well know, hahaha! I, personally, have never been so disappointed with the end of any media; no books, movies, or games have ever left such a rotten taste in my mouth! I felt like retching whilst watching each of the endings unfold. After it finished, I was so depressed, I had to go to the internet and read game forums for months & talk with Ashnod for millions of hours to soothe my aching heart & bewildered mind! I wondered if I’d ever be able to play the game again, it so thoroughly ruined the world for me. D:

My background was playing the Deus Ex series before Mass Effect trilogy, and because I loved Bioware games & trusted the writers so very much – I was STUNNED when I saw the endings literally copied & pasted from the original Deus Ex game. I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to really look at the content of the endings, and how they fit into the ME universe, without that bias present in my thinking. But I try!

It really bothers me to see this new character appear at the very end of the game that announces your final choices to you & then you press one of three buttons and win the game? YUCK! It’s not only a copy of the Deus Ex endings, but it employs an actual deus ex machina – the crucible itself/catalyst-given choices.

And, it didn’t feel properly foreshadowed to me, that organics vs. synthetics as the central theme. Far from it, actually! The Quarians, sure they tangled with that – and your beacon vision (if you could interpret it, funny – if you play paragon, it doesn’t say what it is, but if you play renegade, Shepard answers, “I saw synthetics destroying organics” – so since I was playing paragon, I had no idea what I was looking at – a cut scene from the NIN closer video, hahaha). But there were so many other things going on, that seemed to be a side issue that they decided to make the central focus at the last minute.

Yes, you should have been asking yourself, “Why are the reapers coming here every 50,000 years? What do they want?” But when you speak to them, they taunt & mock at every turn, you get the feeling that these malicious beings are just –the very essence of an unknown, horrible, ALIEN thing- like a Lovecraftian horror that cannot be reasoned with. It’s SO HORRIFYING (or was, until I heard some weirdo ‘noble purpose’ that was never foreshadowed)

I read the lead writer (who left for 3), said that when they began writing ME, they did not know how it was going to end, but had some rough ideas. One of which was the “dark energy” concept, which I feel, would have worked a lot better. Something like, all the Mass Effect technology was causing dark energy to rise, or something, and it would eventually destroy the galaxy, so the reapers would come and wipe away advanced civilizations (and absorb the best ones) to help slow the dark energy spread & use the collective intelligence to try & find a way to stop it entirely. And that human reaper, we saw in ME2, was going to be the reaper’s saving throw. Something about how, humans were so genetically diverse or whatever, that an actual human reaper would give them the ability to really STOP the dark energy problem. (glimpse of this with the Halestrom star, Tali’s mission in 2) So, the end conflict could have been that you could choose to let the reapers reap all human civilization and stop that galactic threat once and for all –or- refuse to do so, and let galaxy take chances, something like that?? (the conclusion is made up by fans, the dark energy plot was loosely outlined by lead author)
But back to the synthetics/organics conflict, it was shown by Shepard & crew, that that was not an issue because we were able to unite the Quarians & the geth. And EDI & Joker were dating! It was just as irritating as the council saying, “We have to destroy the Krogan because if they breed too much, they’ll take over the galaxy.”

And those choices, after I played them and read the fan opinions, I stumbled upon what rang true for me, which is –I guess I’ll call it- the War Crime theory? As in, each of the end choices represent a certain war crime, and it is UNTHINKABLE that my Shepard would have picked any of them!

I’m quoting here, Drayfish, I think this guy is a philosophy professor, a fellow fan whose posts I follow exclusively on the Bioware forums – the job he does explaining the “war crime theory” is done way better than I could. But I echo his sentiments in my heart!

“Those three ideological options were so structurally indefensible that they broke the suspension of disbelief that Bioware had (up until that point) so spectacularly crafted for over a hundred hours of narrative. Suddenly Shepard was not simply being asked to sacrifice a race or a friend or him/herself for the greater good (all of which was no doubt expected by any player paying attention to the tone of the series), Shepard was being compelled, without even the chance to offer a counterpoint, to perform one of three actions that to my reading each fundamentally undermined the narrative foundations upon which the series seemed to rest.

In the Control ending, Shepard is invited to pursue the previously impossible path of attempting to dominate the reapers and bend them to his will. Momentarily putting aside the vulgarity of dominating a species to achieve one's own ends (and I will get to complaining about that premise soon enough), this has proved to be the failed modus operandi of every antagonist in this fiction up until this point – including the Illusive Man and Saren – all of whom have been chewed up and destroyed by their blind ambition, incapable of controlling forces beyond their comprehension. Nothing in the vague prognostication of the exposition-ghost offers any tangible justification for why Shepard's plunge into Reaper-control should play out any differently. In fact, as many people have already pointed out, Shepard has literally not five minutes before this moment watched the Illusive Man die as a consequence of this arrogant misconception.

The Destroy ending, however, seems even more perverse. One of the constants of the Mass Effect universe (and indeed much quality science fiction) has been an exploration of the notion that life is not simplistically bound to biology, that existence expands beyond the narrow parameters of blood and bone. That is why synthetic characters like Legion and EDI are so compelling in this context, why their quests to understand self-awareness – not simply to ape human behaviours – is so dramatic and compelling. Indeed, we even get glimpses of the Reapers having more sprawling and unknowable motivations that we puny mortals can comprehend...

To then end the tale by forcing the player to obliterate several now-proven-legitimate forms of life in order to 'save' the traditional definition of fleshy existence is not only genocidal, it actually devolves Shephard's ideological growth, undermining his ascent toward a more enlightened conception of existence, something that the fiction has been steadily advancing no matter how Renegadishably you wanted to play. This is particularly evident when the preceding actions of all three games entirely disprove the premise that synthetic will inevitably destroy organic: the Geth were the persecuted victims, trying their best to save the Quarians from themselves; EDI, given autonomy, immediately sought to aid her crew, even taking physical form in order to experience life from their perspective and finally learning that she too feared the implications of death.

And finally Synthesis, the ending that I suspect (unless we are to believe the Indoctrination Theory) is the 'good' option, proves to be the most distasteful of all. Shepard, up until this point has been an instrument though which change is achieved in this universe, and dependent upon your individual Renegade or Paragon choices, this may have resulted in siding with one species or another, letting this person live or that person die, even condemning races to extinction through your actions. But these decisions were always the result of a mediation of disparate opinions, and a consequence of the natural escalation of these disputes – Shepard was merely the fork in the path that decided which way the lava would run. His/her actions had an impact, but was responding to events in the universe that were already in motion before he/she arrived.

To belabour the point: Shepard is an agent for arbitration, the tipping point of dialogues that have, at times, root causes that reach back across generations. Up until this moment in the game the narrative, and Shepard's role within it, has been about the negotiation of diversity, testing the validity of opposing viewpoints and selecting a path through which to evolve on to another layer of questioning. Suddenly with the Synthesis ending, Shepard's capacity to make decisions elevates from offering a moral tipping point to arbitrarily wiping such disparity from the world. Shepard imposes his/her will upon every species, every form of life within the galaxy, making them all a dreary homogenous oneness. At such a point, wiping negotiation and multiplicity from the universe, Shepard moves from being an influential voice amongst a biodiversity of thought to sacrificing him/herself in an omnipotent imposition of will.

(And lest we forget that the entire character arc of Javik (the 'bonus' paid-DLC character that gives unique context to the entire cycle of destruction upon which this fiction is based) is utilised to reveal that a lack of diversity, the failure to continue adapting to new circumstances, was the primary reason that his race was decimated. ...So I guess we have that to look forward to.)

In all seriousness though, the only way I can make sense of it is to think of the Reapers as the galactic war-crime training wheels for biological life. The Catalyst is finally satisfied that organics are resourceful enough to build something as powerful as the Crucible, and now they just have to prove themselves amorally willing to inflict horror upon the universe in order to save themselves.

Are you willing to genocide a friendly race to save your own skin? Cause if you are, no doubt you'll do it again in the future, so we Reapers can retire...

Are you willing to take on the leadership of almighty unstoppable space monsters and terrify the universe into compliance? Well then, here are the keys, we'll see ourselves out...

Are you willing to mutate everyone against their permission and arrogantly remake all life to suit your ideology? Then sweet, we Reapers will be kicking back on a beach in Maui...

The Catalyst makes us choose a Reaper solution to a Reaper problem. We have to become Reapers, and in doing so the Reapers are no longer required.  Indeed, we've proven that we are more than capable of doing the Reaping for ourselves.”



See, it’s that “reaper solution to a reaper problem”……hits the nail on the head for me. If the reaper intelligence was confused & asking my Shepard for input, she would have said, “Go away!” or “Self destruct!” not anything like those copied & pasted Deus Ex choices I saw in the actual game itself.

OOOH! Then there’s the really cool “Indoctrination Theory” – I wonder if you’ve heard of it. It’s so cool, it was just wishful thinking of the fans, but hahaha, I wish it had been true. It was the idea that everything that happened after Shepard gets hit by Harbinger’s beam is a dream……and those 3 choices represented an attempt to indoctrinate Shepard. Because the Catalyst (reaper associate) pushes you away from Destroy & towards Synthesis… the idea was that, choosing “blue” or “green” would mean you had succumb to the indoctrination. Like you hit the green button and we’re all husks, all sterilized, all that – but choosing Destroy meant that Shepard would break from the indoctrination spell & “wake up” – and the IT (Indoctrination Theory) people really thought there would be dlc that showed Shepard waking up and then REALLY beating the game, ahaha! But after it was made clear that wasn’t going to happen, I think some of them tweaked the theory to –I think- choosing Destroy breaks the indoctrination attempt, and then it REALLY does destroy the reapers – but NOT the geth and not EDI, because we could never trust the catalyst in the first place, since it was the reaper intelligence – reapers, which have mocked & tormented us, so why trust it! They had fans doing documentaries lasting several hours, combing the game for little snippets of why ME3 was really a story about “Shepard’s indoctrination” – all those weird dreams & everything. It was a fun fan theory, lots of wishful thinking, but I have to admit it was appealing to think that the end I saw wasn’t the real end, and that something else would come along.

Right, Anji, I think many of FemShep's male romances were pretty screwed up, sadly (except Garrus). I went paragon, like you, but I kept my love BLUE & TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, what is your opinion about the “war crime” interpretation of the endings?

What about about the “dark energy” plot – do you guys think it would have been more interested or less so or the same?

Do you all think the Indoctrination Theory sounded cool?


PS – etc-love I want my goddamned blue babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! etc-love


Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that. / You forget some things, don't you? / Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.

Hat Mafia Member: The Scissors

Offline

 

#4 | Back to Top08-06-2013 04:39:45 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Hmm. to be honest, because I haven't played Deus Ex, I don't have the comparison available to make. If it ripped off that game, well that's pretty lame. But it doesn't change my experience of the game personally, soooo

The dark energy ending, to be honest, would have felt very hokey to me. I've read enough astrophysics nerdy books and super hard science fiction that the dark anything approach feels very played out to me. Not to say synthetics versus organics is a new and fresh concept in science fiction, but the dark matter plotlines I've seen tend to rely very much on TECHNOBABBLE instead of actual story structure.

Which I think is something the ME3 ending has in its favor. You can hate that a new character arbitrarily shows up. You can hate how the decision is offered and the implications of it. But it did not drown you in technobabble or try to create a law of physics/the universe to justify whatever plotline it wanted to resolve the game with. Mass Effect 3 forces its ending by introducing this new force in the universe, the Catalyst. At least it doesn't just go POOF THERE'S THIS STUFF CALLED DARK ENERGISTS AND THEY FUCK YOU UP. Maybe because I was a renegade so my experience of the beacons was different, but I found the synthetics versus organics theme to be much, much more prominent in the ME universe than the dark energy one, which kinda gets one mention and is dropped.

Also, the whole game you're hearing about the Catalyst and no one knows what it is. But to me, the name Catalyst always suggested it was an entity of some kind. The Crucible is built by cycles collectively over and over, but ultimately its power source is the Reapers themselves. Knowing that, it made sense that ultimately, to use the device, you would have to appeal to the Reapers (the Catalyst) . You're told in ME2 that the relays, all this technology, is provided by the reapers. Then you're told in ME3 that the Crucible is powered by that technology. Ultimately, because you have no other choice, you play by the Reaper's rules.

I think that leaves a sour taste for people who wanted the end on their own terms, not on the reapers. I guess that's fair, but I found it very fitting it ended on their terms. The Reapers are an overwhelming force that has eradicated countless cultures and cycles. They Keep, Collect, and Harvest, and they're so damn good at it that in the end, you couldn't stop them without changing their minds. You want to, it would feel more chewy and satisfying if the Reapers are overcome by Shepard and the indomitable will of her allies. But it didn't turn out that way. The Reapers were too strong. You had to decide how life would proceed in circumstances not of your choice...because that was reality. You don't get to win. You get to change things. And hope for the best.

As for the personality of the Reapers, it made a great deal of sense to me based on revelations that take place over the second and third games. I will say, however, that these revelations were often in DLC. (Leviathan, From Ashes, Arrival) A criticism valid there is that a lot of the context in the game is potentially missed because you don't buy these extra pieces. A playthrough of the vanilla games would probably have made no god damn sense to me at all.

Instead, I felt I had a pretty clear picture of why the Reapers do what they do, and their personalities. The Catalyst, the original program, is reflective, ponderous, and recognizes the problem it has and acknowledges it. It's an AI* with a purpose dynamically approached and worked on. What it creates, from the shells, so to speak, of the Leviathans that created it, reflect those building materials more than the mentality of the Catalyst itself. Harbinger and Sovereign are full of hubris, braggy, and talk all kinds of shit to Shepard as generals in the baddie clan often do. They are limited, however, by this initial design, and are not privy to the complex decision-making of the Catalyst, and therefore the Reapers at large.

I think it well mirrors the Borg and their Queen in First Contact. The Borg are a collective conscious, and yet their leader is a separate entity capable of individual thought. I found it satisfying that such an overwhelming force in the universe has a reasoning personality behind it, because smug assholes like Harbinger are not the kind of entities that can force the hand of nature this way. They're just tools.

The Reapers start out as a Lovecraftian horror, and it works, and it's terrifying. But if they'd stayed that, I think it would have felt a little hollow. Such destruction, such power...you want there to be a reason for it. And there is, and because of that, the Reapers, though individually are Lovecraftian, as a whole have a purpose no more evil or good than your own. This development of an overwhelming force turning out to have a perhaps well-meaning consciousness is no new idea in science fiction. How about Ender's Game? The Reapers are not the Xenomorphs, and I like it better that way. Xenomorphs are cool as shit, but they don't fit the world of Mass Effect, where no one does anything for no reason. People that betray you do it because they believe they're right. TIM commits atrocities because he believes they'll turn out helpful. The Reapers destroy for your own good, not because they think explosions and foghorns are cool.

BTW that foghorn sound scares the shit out of me now. Yasha thinks it should be my new alarm. emot-gonk


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#5 | Back to Top08-06-2013 05:54:04 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Frosty, we talked a little about this on the phone, but I'll say it again-- indoctrination theories come up whenever someone dislikes the end of any work of fiction where such indoctrination is possible. In the bad ones, people support their points by cherry-picking convenient data from the story and handwave the rest by saying "But of course that's there to make that person feel like it's real and not an indoctrination." In the good ones, they're well constructed and sound as a theory, but don't usually feel like they were intended. I don't know which the ME3 one is because I haven't read about it... but they're all rooted in confirmation bias and a lot are only supported by invoking death of the author.

Death of the author is not a productive way to absorb any work of fiction. I do agree that while people should be free to interpret a work however they want, the author's meaning should also be taken into account. After all, the work wouldn't exist without them, and they are the foremost expert on it. In fact, if the author wants to change the work, they can do that even after you've seen it-- by issuing new reprints, adding alternate endings, giving new DLC's. Works of fiction aren't stable, static things. They change and grow if and when the author wants, even more now that we're so attached to the digital, which is more malleable than any other medium of communication in history. With that in mind, death of the author has limited application. It's dependent on the stability of the work, and that no longer exists until the author's literal death (and sometimes after, depending on what the work was and whether it's got a corporate license...).

In other words, it's kind of ridiculous to say that the author has no bearing on the work when the author can now literally reach out and change the work whenever they want. That's not to say that people shouldn't interpret how they want; it's just that you do have to take the author into account, at least until they croak emot-keke

On the internet, death of the author is abused in order to support interpretations of works of fiction that don't make logical sense with the work itself. Most indoctrination theories fall into this category. Those are the bad ones. The good ones don't need death of the author to support themselves-- and Frosty, you've assured me that this one is one of the good ones, so I'm taking your word for it. That still leaves the factor of confirmation bias.

I'm not going to say that this is the wrong way to look at things, because confirmation bias is something that happens regardless of what we want. It's the involuntary belief in support for your idea, and the blocking out of data that detracts or conflicts with it. Everyone is affected by this. It's literally something you can't get away from. Even in my interpretation of the ME3 ending, I'm involuntarily going to believe in my position and look for support for it rather than look objectively (even though I try very hard to be objective). The main issue here is that it causes a cherry-picking situation where we only believe the things we want to believe. This means that if you want to believe a specific thing happened, even in the face of evidence against, you will. To be honest, this isn't really a problem so much as an explanation for indoctrination theories. Some of them are very, very good, and I know that even the authors enjoy those alternate interpretations. There's no reason not to believe a good indoctrination theory; its just that it's not what was intended.

So... I guess what I'm saying is while I liked the ending of ME3 the way it was, it's also okay to believe an indoctrination theory as long as we realize that that's our theory and not the author's.





One other thing-- I don't understand why everybody's so mad about Synthesis. It seems super-sweet to me and I don't see why, in a choice between:

a) becoming the pinnacle of evolution, learning how to coexist peacefully, gaining the knowledge of countless lost civilizations, and having big bad reapers suddenly be your bros who will help you and look out for you

and

b) getting completely obliterated

...I would totally pick option a, if I were one of the grunts on the ground.



If I were Shep, though, I think I'd involuntarily go for the Control ending. Seriously, I got the chills listening to that ending because it was just like the inside of my head. emot-gonk


Hat Mafia Member: Ratchedface
Je vais mourir pour l ' a e s t h e t i q u e
Internet Atrocity Tourist             -           MY POSTS             ARE WARSHIPS

Offline

 

#6 | Back to Top08-06-2013 05:55:14 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Gio, I think you've pretty thoroughly discredited the idea that ME3 needed a uniformly happy ending, or needed Shepard to survive.  It did not need either of those things.  I also agree with you that the Catalyst, or something like it, was foreshadowed well enough (mostly through DLC) that its existence alone shouldn't have shocked players.  What's more, I agree that for some Shepards, ME3's ending is not bad at all.  There are plenty of Shepards who would happily leap on the chance to destroy all synthetic life or control the most powerful force in the universe or do whatever synthesis is, and this could be consistent with Shep's character, since Shep's character is something that you and not Bioware get to decide.

My problem is that there is no option for my Shep, who I think is fairly mainstream.  My Shep has temper problems but is basically a good guy.  She isn't just trying to save the galaxy because it's where she happens to live; she's trying to save it because she really believes it deserves a chance at survival.  She didn't start out convinced of that.  It took three games to convince her.  She had to learn about the extermination of the rachni, and she had to see them resurface on the side of good because of her own actions.  She had to see the consequences of the genophage on the krogan race, and she had to decide who gets to say what the fate of the krogan will be.  She had to meet a geth and get to know him.  She had to broker an impossible truce between the geth and the quarians.  She had to assemble, command, and work alongside a crew of diverse races and personalities.  Above all, she had to see for herself the capacity of every individual for self-sacrifice.  The writing of ME eagerly facilitates each of these discoveries, even though not all Sheps make the same choices mine did.  My Shep is not some kind of degenerate case.  She mostly made the same choices that most Sheps who are basically idealists would make.

My Shep would never pick Destroy.  She has had quite enough of genocide after seeing what the galaxy has done to the rachni and the krogan, not to mention what the Reapers were trying to do to everyone.  She will not kill all the geth and Reapers -- to say nothing of the billions of organic lifeforms who will die when their technology fails.

My Shep would never pick Control.  She believes in self-determination.  She always did, but her conviction has been made firmer by seeing the suffering of those whom her enemies have subverted or indoctrinated -- not to mention the ends that those enemies usually met as a direct result of their own arrogance.  She has seen that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and she does not think she is some kind of exception to the rule.  She will not enslave the Reapers and the galaxy.

My Shep would never pick Synthesis.  The basic credo of the Reapers is that the galaxy cannot tolerate diversity, but everything about my Shep's experience belies this credo.  She knows what happened to the Protheans and why.  She has seen (and helped) the galaxy step back from genocide.  She has served with a crew that survived only through the diverse talents of its members.  She has seen the geth and the quarians shake hands, for fuck's sake.  She thinks diversity is a great strength of organic and synthetic life, and she will not strip away that strength for the sake of a peace that she believes the galaxy can achieve on its own.

"But," you say, "Shepard must pick one of the three choices.  It's not a happy ending.  You were never promised that Shepard would be given a choice that she would find acceptable."  Okay, that is true.  My objection is twofold.  The first is simple and Frosty already made it: if the Catalyst has realized its error and wants a new order from Shepard, why can't she order the Reapers to go away?  Absolutely no explanation is given for why Shepard has to make a galaxy-altering decision that will result in a Hitlerian, Orwellian, or Huxleyan dystopia, respectively.  My Shepard, and apparently many other players' Shepards, prefer the Reapers not to intervene at all, and for life in the galaxy to keep on charting its own fraught and convoluted but ultimately self-determined path.  There is no story reason why this option is not available to Shepard.

Second -- and maybe more importantly -- suppose we pretend there is a good story reason for the above, and Shepard really has to pick one of these three choices.  But then the ending is a tragic ending.  The game doesn't treat the ending as tragic.  All three endings are presented as basically happy, with organic life surviving for so long into the future that Shepard becomes a revered figure of legend.  The writing does not acknowledge that, in the end, Shepard acted against her own convictions and did something monstrous.  The problem with ME3's ending is that it thinks that it is a happy ending.

What do you think?

Offline

 

#7 | Back to Top08-06-2013 06:39:37 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

I think your objections are absolutely valid. The game limits your decisions to things you potentially wouldn't have chosen to do. To be fair, I imagine there are limits to how much content can be made here, so they might not have been able to really provide a huge variety of options. I admit my experience is clouded by that my Shepard fit cleanly into one of the choices offered.

As to why you cannot order them away, well you're right. That it's not an option is odd because it's the most obvious one. I would offer, however, that the Catalyst, who has all the power here and could as easily kill Shepard as take her advice, only gives Shepard options it feels are suitable fates for it.

The game presents the Reapers as an AI. I think that's true with the caveat of it clearly needing direction for it's primary purpose--something I don't blame on its being synthetic. After all, we seek direction from our thought-to-be creators all the time. But once you accept that the Reapers, also, are living beings, the choices Shepard gets offered make sense. The Reapers want direction, purpose. Not to be sent out in the blackness of space--they'd rather be destroyed. And Shepard has to include their fates in her decision. If she destroys all synthetics, while the loss of EDI and the geth sting the most, she is also consenting to the destruction of a highly developed culture in the Reapers. If she controls, the Reapers survive, and continue to have a purpose. If she synthesizes, their purpose becomes moot, but they're intelligence and wealth of experience is utilized.

These are all fates the Catalyst clearly preferred to exile. Judging by how the Catalyst spoke to me, exile wouldn't work anyway because eventually the sense of purpose the Reapers had would overcome their agreement to stay away, and they would return to begin the cycles once more.

I think the ultimate message isn't a kind one. The idea of life being controlled is touched on many times in the game. The creation of the Geth, the creation of the Reapers, the creation of EDI, and even the Prothean influence on the development of the Asari, all contribute to the idea that no, you are not self-determining. Not entirely. You're a product of a thousand thoughts and actions that came before you. You can make decisions, but the game doesn't allow you to break away from the chains that bind you to the inevitable cycle of life that you're part of. The option to allow for self-determination exists. But your self-determination is overcome thoroughly by the collective force of thousands of cultures that have come before you. The Reapers win. It tastes sour, but it's how things panned out. And it makes brutal sense.

As for the way the endings are awful and dark but then get presented as shiny and happy, that's a totally fair complaint. I did find it a little lame that the endings are happyish even if you consent to the wholesale destruction of an entire facet of life. You just don't see EDI if you choose to Destroy--the game should have rubbed in your face how awful and dark that is, the horrifying price of your choice.

The Control ending for paragons is also a bit hokey--you're now the ruler of the universe basically, but you're a cool guy so it's okay. The renegade version is a bit darker, and more appropriate. The Reapers protected the ongoing existence of organic life. The absorbing of Shepard doesn't change that, and Shepard's speech implies that they will continue to protect life--OR ELSE. The harvest might end, but the iron grip on the fate of life remains. This ending is definitely the darkest. She's talking about armies to protect the many, and that's starting to sound a little like the Reapers were before. I don't think that means she was indoctrinated, but rather that her conclusion ultimately matches.

The Synthesis ending is the happiest, but I think appropriately so. It's shiny in the sense that no one life is obliterated. They're all combined, and something greater is the result. Is it lame because this improvement is not even remotely self-determined for the rest of the living? Kind of. But as I see it, Shepard making this decision is self-determination. She represents life as a whole to the Reapers, who don't really distinguish between one organic and another. She gets to be the one that self-determines, and says We Will Survive, and So Will You, and Our Goals Will Become the Same. She's the representative offered by the allied forces of the galaxy, imbued with the power to decide their fates.


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#8 | Back to Top08-06-2013 07:22:47 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

As to why you cannot order them away, well you're right. That it's not an option is odd because it's the most obvious one. I would offer, however, that the Catalyst, who has all the power here and could as easily kill Shepard as take her advice, only gives Shepard options it feels are suitable fates for it. . . . Judging by how the Catalyst spoke to me, exile wouldn't work anyway because eventually the sense of purpose the Reapers had would overcome their agreement to stay away, and they would return to begin the cycles once more.

That's an intriguing reading of the ending, and one that the writing unfortunately doesn't explore.  If Shepard had said, "I don't accept any of these options, I order you to leave instead," and the Catalyst had said, "No, I won't do that," then I think the ending would have been much improved -- not only because it closes a gaping plot hole, but also because writing this scene would force the writers to acknowledge that this is a tragic and dark ending in which Shepard learns that she cannot protect her people's way of life no matter how many hours of playtime she has logged.  They would have had to give the game a more appropriate final cutscene.  As the writing stands, though, I think your explanation doesn't really have the thrust of the authors' intent behind it.  You could invoke death of the author, but you'd have to take it up with Yasha.  emot-wink

I think the ultimate message isn't a kind one. The idea of life being controlled is touched on many times in the game. The creation of the Geth, the creation of the Reapers, the creation of EDI, and even the Prothean influence on the development of the Asari, all contribute to the idea that no, you are not self-determining. Not entirely. You're a product of a thousand thoughts and actions that came before you. You can make decisions, but the game doesn't allow you to break away from the chains that bind you to the inevitable cycle of life that you're part of. The option to allow for self-determination exists. But your self-determination is overcome thoroughly by the collective force of thousands of cultures that have come before you. The Reapers win. It tastes sour, but it's how things panned out. And it makes brutal sense.

I agree with the part in the middle.  You're right: complete self-determination is absolutely a phantom in the world of Mass Effect.  Every race has been shaped by Prothean technology, and sometimes by Protheans' direct intervention.  Some races create other races; some races destroy other races.  And the Reapers' past influence has already mooted any self-determination that previous iterations might have had -- apart from their contributions to the Crucible, an important exception that nonetheless doesn't counter the overall point.

But you seem to be making a sort of leap from "we are bound by external constraints" to "individual choice is meaningless."  I think the latter message is discredited completely by the text.  Most fundamentally, ME is a game about choices, and how your choices change things.  You don't need me to come up with specific examples of choices that Shepard or other characters make which are deeply meaningful on a personal or societal level.  They are all over the place.  If choice is meaningless then Shepard ought to die in the final attack on Earth, cut to black, The End.  But the game can't possibly end that way, because choice has to be meaningful in order for the game to make mechanical or narrative sense.  This is why the game ends with a choice instead.

Thematically, it does not make sense, brutal or otherwise, that Shepard's choice is the only choice that ultimately matters.  Mordin's choice on Tuchanka mattered.  Kaidan and Ashley's choices on Virmire mattered.  The Illusive Man's choice in the Amada system mattered.  And on and on.  Everyone's life matters.  For Shepard to pick any galactic-apocalypse scenario by herself undermines this critical theme, and particularly if she picks synthesis, where she fundamentally changes the nature of life itself without the consent of the living.  If the message of the game is really meant to be "choice (except possibly Shepard's) is meaningless because the Reapers exist," then the structure of this choice-based game about choices is a bizarre vehicle with which to communicate that message.

Last edited by satyreyes (08-06-2013 07:46:47 PM)

Offline

 

#9 | Back to Top08-06-2013 07:47:44 PM

Frosty
Everyone's Best Friend
From: United States
Registered: 11-16-2006
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna, a reaper horn alarm clock??? Excellent idea! Here’s a song from someone who mixed the reaper blasts into an actual song! I listen to it all the time! emot-biggrin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCVI6mRxJJQ

Oh no, I wasn’t saying I supported Indoctrination Theory as my theory! (that’s embarrassing, like tin foil hat people, hahaha) And certainly not Bioware’s intent. I just felt like bringing it up, because when the game initially ended – there was SO MUCH fanfare about it, it was such an interesting experience to see this theory just –evolve- but since it’s been locked down by mods now, if you guys were reading around the internet looking for people’s interpretations, this one might be missed. But it is a fascinating look at a fan theory! It’s like, looking at the “political climate” of the gamer’s minds at the time. I guess like pointing to a meme or some online fad that’s long over, but it used to be really funny & relevant, and you just wanna show someone and explain to them how funny it used to be – even though the moment has passed. Like I said, the theory is wishful thinking & I couldn’t ever seriously get behind it…but it’s just a fun mental exercise to imagine, like what if that were true? (for me, it is fun)

Ah, dark energy/matter, I’m not even sure what that is; when I see it in books & movies, it does seem to be explained a bit like “magic”, whereas, the “machines eventually want to kill/dominate human masters” that concept has been around for a long time, old Twilight Zone episodes I remember would have that kind of plot. There’s even a quote on Wikipedia under the Singularity post, that quotes someone from 1847 about a calculator: “...such machines, by which the scholar may, by turning a crank, grind out the solution of a problem without the fatigue of mental application, would by its introduction into schools, do incalculable injury. But who knows that such machines when brought to greater perfection, may not think of a plan to remedy all their own defects and then grind out ideas beyond the ken of mortal mind!” HAHAHA, I love it!!!

Remember throughout the first 2 games, every once in a while they’d reference something about the genetic diversity of humans (I can’t think of specific places, but I do recall hearing it and believing it would be relevant), and then apparently that idea got dropped – along with the significance of the human reaper, so it seems kinda dumb now to have that thing as the boss of the suicide mission – I was expecting a grand tie-in to something else.
There was so much going on, I would only have been able to say the core of the threat was the Reapers. I would not have said the big threat in the ME universe was that of organics vs. synthetics – it didn’t stick out to me as anything other than a Quarian problem. (the first time I played, I mean, that’s why I like to ask Ashnod what kind of themes she noticed, playing the game so many times without seeing the end since she played before 3 came out and I played them all together with no time in between)

Well after reading so much commentary on the Bioware forums, I think I might be able to shine some light on why some of the masses were disappointed...

Some replayed the first one over and over, and then replayed the second over and over, crafting their perfectly aligned Shepards ready to experience everything that 3 had to offer. Which developers were touting would indeed have a wide-array of endings. Those people got to the end to find that you could pick any ending with the same character. In Dragon Age: Orgins (spoiler alert), if you didn’t choose the human race to start, like I didn’t, then you get the end and you can’t be Alistar’s queen. If you don’t play a guy, you can’t father Morrigan’s mysterious child. The end of DA:O, the last 10-20 minutes of that game had a WIDE variety of ending possibilities & scenarios, and they weren’t all possible on one character. For a game like ME, which was advertising so hard “your choices matter” – it was a surprise to feel that they did not. Save the rachni queen? Doesn’t matter. Destroy collector base? Doesn’t matter. Just blips on the war rating. Some of the biggest choices didn’t show us any consequences… and at the very end of the entire trilogy, in the last game, that’s the time one hopes to see the consequences and it just didn’t feel to me like it did. And remember how you played during the first game to unite the humans & the alien crew together, and you’d face challenges it seemed like the odds were impossible, but you’d win in the end – the strength through the unity & friendship & diversity of your friends & galactic allies. And suicide mission, not supposed to come back alive, but you do & if you play a certain way – so does the rest of your crew. VICTORY!!! So then, the final end of the trilogy – well, I wanted to save the galaxy! If I had to do it through those repellent choices, then like Satyre says, I felt a choice for my Shepard just wasn’t available. emot-frown

 
I did think the Catalyst would be a person, a person named Shepard, hahaha! But when it popped up, oh my! It is the “essence” of the reaper intelligence. So then there’s the question. Do you? Should you? TRUST IT, to tell the truth. Some people really do not, because it is associated with the reapers – everything the little brat says is suspect. How are we to know if the minute we flip the switch, all life isn’t sterilized, indoctrinated, husked? Like...

http://i765.photobucket.com/albums/xx300/thefrostybaby13/synthesis.jpg

But I was so happy when the Citadel DLC was released. AHHHHH! etc-love That’s my fan ending now. I choose Destroy, the catalyst was a liar & my geth friends & EDI are fine, and then I skip off to the party with my entire crew – as we celebrate our victory over the reaper war! The only missing element is the pitter patter of little blue feet, ahhhh so cute!!! emot-biggrin

(ps - it's been so long since I used the link picture button, if I'm doing it incorrectly -it's fanart from photobucket- well just let me know and I'll edit it properly)


Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that. / You forget some things, don't you? / Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.

Hat Mafia Member: The Scissors

Offline

 

#10 | Back to Top08-06-2013 08:28:58 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Most things on this matter have already been discussed, and at this point, I'm only going to provide my own perspective on why I feel disappointed by it.

1 - Absence of Player Victory: The Extended Cut doesn't fix this. Having the Catalyst essentially gift Shepard with the means to end the conflict deprives the player of feeling that their efforts leading up to the conclusion had weight. Which is not the same thing as having choices matter, mind you. Victory isn't earned with the Catalyst presenting choices to Shepard, it is instead gifted by a being whose motivations are barely explained and thinly supported.

To explain with a potential scenario - After the long push to the beam and the confrontation with TIM, Shepard opens the arms of the Citadel. The Crucible docks but does not activate, just as before. Someone radios Shepard, likely to be either Hackett or EDI, and explains that now that the Crucible is connected to the Citadel, the mechanisms are active but in a holding pattern and must be triggered manually at the site. Because of the modifications made throughout the Cycles, the Crucible can be used in one of the three ways but only once. The same choices apply.

At this point, because the choice to use the Crucible is entirely in the hands of Shepard and the allied fleets and not allowed to be used by some godlike entity, the sense of accomplishment would be present. Even though the endings have their respective merits and flaws, the mere fact that the enemy isn't saying, "Well, we could eradicate you, but we're going to give you this chance to do things differently because, aw shucks, you've done well," leaves the agency in the hands of protagonists instead of in the hands of the enemy.

2 - Uncertain Motivations for the Catalyst: The allied forces do not win the chance to use the Crucible. The chance to use the Crucible is allowed by the enemy. Regardless of your EMS, how little military and diplomatic strength Shepard has amassed, this choice is still going to be given by the Catalyst regardless. The only difference that is made is in the apparent damage done to the Crucible in transit to the Citadel, ergo, if you have low military strength the Crucible may be damaged and thus only Destroy is available.

That it allows a sole Destroy option at all is incredibly problematic, given that Satyr's desire to simply tell the Reapers to leave and end the harvest equates to exactly the same thing minus the destruction of any synthetic life created by this Cycle.

Which puts the motivations of the Catalyst into question. Synthesis is obviously its goal, the Extended Cut and Leviathan go to great lengths to explain this, so why it would allow the use of the Crucible if only Destroy (or Control) were available is confusing. Why it offers Destroy or Control as options to end the war at all when it doesn't have to offer anything is never explained beyond the vague "you have changed the variables..." speech.

Make no mistake, the Catalyst does not have to allow the use of the Crucible. It chooses to. If you refuse to make a choice in the Extended Cut, it shuts down the Crucible and the Cycle continues. The Reapers win.

Its speech about its solution becoming invalid with the presence of the docked Crucible is also equally unexplained, considering without its intervention, Shepard likely bleeds out next to Anderson and the Reapers destroy the Crucible outright, thus allowing the Cycle to continue anyway. If it is referring to the fact that the organics actually built the Crucible and got it to the Citadel, thus the next Cycle will probably do this or more, that's precarious logic that easily has a number of solutions to prevent it from happening again without allowing the use of the Crucible in this Cycle. The least of which is simply modifying the Citadel, the creation of its own agents, after the harvest of this Cycle so that it will not work with a Crucible-style device going forward.


3 - The Dumbest Military in the Galaxy: I'm quoting myself from this post on the BioWare forums.

So...we're building a doomsday weapon, one we believe will unleash an apocalyptic amount of energy, but we don't know what it will do or how it will do it. This is incredibly poor writing. To have any understanding of how to build it, you have to have some understanding of what the device will do. This wasn't a do-it-yourself kit that we stumbled upon. All we had were blueprints and schematics. Which means the guts of device, the technology involved in its creation, had to be understood by the people constructing it.

This is hand-waved away by Hackett at one point who compares their ignorance of the Crucible to the uncertainty of the scientists who build the first atomic bomb. But this is a false  comparison. The atomic bomb scientists knew how the bomb worked, they knew what it was meant to do. What they didn't know is the extent to which it would work. They understood the science behind it, and they  knew what its intended result would be. This is a far cry from a doomsday weapon that no one understands how it will work, or even more importantly, how to activate it. This leads into -

The combined military might of the galaxy is willing to bet the galaxy on this device that they don't know what it will do and don't know how to turn it on.

This is underscored by Hackett pleading with Shepard to find some way of activating the Crucible from the Citadel. Apparently, everyone had been expecting it to simply activate once attached to the Presidium.

Which essentially means Hackett and the Alliance brass and, depending on how you played through the game, the Turian Primarch and his advisers, Balak and the remnants of the Batarian Hegemony, the Quarian Admiralty, Urdnot Wrex and his advisers, whatever makes up the new Geth consensus, the remains of the Asari Matriarchy, the strategists of the Salarian Special Tasks Group, and whatever military leaders remain from the Volus, Elcore and mercenary teams you have managed to recruit, all agreed to take part in a mission to attach a device to the Citadel in which none of them knew what it would do or even how to turn it on.


While it's understandable that a gamble is necessary, I am endless frustrated by the complete ignorance displayed on the part the Crucible scientists. Taking the Crucible to Earth is desperate plot, a Hail-Mary pass, and I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that anyone involved in the planning of the attack not named Hackett would be willing to risk the last of their military on a device they didn't even know how to turn on.

This is horribly emphasized by Kasumi during Priority Earth II when she says that, "No idea what it will do exactly, but it's going to be big."

It's terrible writing because everyone involved should have some idea of what it could potentially do and how to activate it. It's kept vague to keep the player in the dark until such time as Shepard needs to make a choice.

Seriously...figure out what it does before making the attack. They apparently had some time to think about this between Priority:Cerberus Headquarters and Priority Earth II. Hackett tells Shepard that the Crucible is finished (we see the final shield panel being put into place) just prior to attacking Cronos Station, but yet, after the attack, the Crucible team decides to include either the Reaper Larva heart or brain (depending on your choice in ME2) as part of it. Apparently, it wasn't THAT finished....

Last edited by Ashnod (08-06-2013 08:30:06 PM)


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

http://www.dark-kingdom.org/Gallery/osrgbanner.PNG
Hat Mafia Member: Little Dark Poet

Offline

 

#11 | Back to Top08-06-2013 11:19:56 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

satyreyes wrote:

As the writing stands, though, I think your explanation doesn't really have the thrust of the authors' intent behind it.  You could invoke death of the author, but you'd have to take it up with Yasha.  emot-wink

Oh, I don't mean to be guessing the author's intent there. Just kind of musing. The ending, whether liked or no, does leave a lot of room for interpretation, and I'm developing my view of the events as I write about them. emot-smile I don't claim to be illustrating the canon there, just what makes sense internally to my version of the game. It's worse than SKU that way because we each personalized it so. My version is going to be different from anyone else's, and I really appreciate that about ME.

satyreyes wrote:

Thematically, it does not make sense, brutal or otherwise, that Shepard's choice is the only choice that ultimately matters.  Mordin's choice on Tuchanka mattered.  Kaidan and Ashley's choices on Virmire mattered.  The Illusive Man's choice in the Amada system mattered.  And on and on.  Everyone's life matters.

I agree absolutely. It's a flaw in the way they closed the game that even with the choices and the dramatic events building up, your decision is the one that matters, and Mordin, Kaidan, the Geth, etc, really only influence how much of a mess is made of Earth, the Citadel, and the relays. But I can't really think of a way to have ended the game with everyone's actions being as relevant as would be satisfying at the close of the story. It's a flaw, but one I think was anticipated from the very beginning. Like I said, it's all about Shepard. The choices the others make are relevant in their contexts, and in how they build Shepard as a person, but in the end, it was going to be Shepard. Kind of like SKU--all these student council members, stuff happens, in the end only Utena matters. I guess I accept this one because I can't really see how else they would have done it.

Frosty wrote:

Ah, dark energy/matter, I’m not even sure what that is; when I see it in books & movies, it does seem to be explained a bit like “magic”, whereas, the “machines eventually want to kill/dominate human masters” that concept has been around for a long time

I actually really enjoyed the Reaper storyline, the reason they exist, and the severity of their solution. The concept has been done before, but never on such an enormous scale as to say that all life in the galaxy is a result of this nanny state that exists because an overpowered AI decided that organic life can't take care of itself. Is that true? Is it not? Either way, an organic entity programmed the Reapers to rationally destroy it. What does that say about organics and their overconfidence? It's a fun thought to play with, and not as thoroughly explored in the game as I'd have liked, but like with most media I've enjoyed, I'm happy to wander off with what I was given and analyze beyond the canon.

Frosty wrote:

Remember throughout the first 2 games, every once in a while they’d reference something about the genetic diversity of humans (I can’t think of specific places, but I do recall hearing it and believing it would be relevant), and then apparently that idea got dropped – along with the significance of the human reaper, so it seems kinda dumb now to have that thing as the boss of the suicide mission – I was expecting a grand tie-in to something else.

I'm glad the genetic thing got dropped. I don't understand why humans would be oooh so genetically awesome but every other race is completely genetically stunted and lacks variation. Why? It makes no sense biologically.  As for the human reaper, like I said...I found ME2 the weakest of the three. I didn't understand the tie in of the human reaper to events, and it's not explained in any capacity until later in DLCs in the third game. The reapers absorb the races of the cycle to 'preserve' them. That's all they were doing, preserving, to their minds, the human race. Why they built a gigantic human instead of just making human Collectors, I don't know. Except that it was a cool looking boss fight.

The genetic thing and dark energy were potential plotlines, threads the writers let hang in case they needed them. They didn't, so they feel like plot holes, instead of issues that just didn't mean anything.

Ashnod wrote:

1 - Absence of Player Victory:
2 - Uncertain Motivations for the Catalyst:

Both of these are definitely going to disappoint a lot of players. I understand that. And strategically speaking, Bioware might have been wise to try and push out a product more satisfying to people who have been fighting Reapers for hundreds of hours and don't want to ultimately have to bow before the Reapers and take what's offered. I was okay with this lack of victory because of the scale of events. Shepard fights, unites, changes entire races' perspectives and lives, she comes at the Reapers ready to kick their balls in, but in the end, the Reapers were too much. Too much for the Turians, Asari, the united front of races, and too much for Shepard. They've been running the entire galaxy for a gazillion years. They were truly insurmountable, despite everything. Yeah, there's no victory there. There's a solution, though, and Shepard, and everyone else, fought for that. For the chance to say to the Reapers that their control was not longer necessary. You don't get to defeat them, you get to make them see things your way and knock off the deathing. That was enough for me.

Ashnod wrote:

3 - The Dumbest Military in the Galaxy

Totally legit, too. I really wish they'd elaborated more on the process of creating the Crucible. It's strongly implied that recruiting certain groups improves the understanding of the Crucible: the Rachni especially are mentioned to be studying it. More gameplay surrounding it would have been appreciated, especially for a hard scifi fan like me. I'd have invited the technobabble. As it stands, these morons build this big thing based only on the schematics they found. It illustrates the absolute crushing desperateness of the situation. Everyone understands they have nothing, no chance of victory in might of arms. They are all going to die. Building the Crucible is a ridiculous shot in the dark, but it's all they have, and it's a good distraction from the methodical eradication of their entire existences.

The finale being in Earth, the reaper they built being modeled after the human race, neither is really explained in canon that I know of. You can just wave it off as writer license to make humans the important ones. My personal canon is that the Reapers take a particular interest in humans because they think humans are most likely to build the synthetics that would destroy everything. They don't act when the Geth war occurs because it 'resolves' itself without the galaxy being wiped out. But humans have the potential to build much worse. They play with AIs, they develop them, and the degree to which they do that is what makes them the primary threat to the Reapers. Asari, Krogan, none of these are really hooked much on AI. It's humans that do that. It's humans that, for example, build EDI. EDI represents what the Reapers don't want organics creating. The flaw in their logic is the assumption that EDI would choose to destroy. Her programming rises above that.

As for the availability of options, I took them to mean that your actions up to this point are what convinces the Catalyst that you're 'ready' for the changes it proposes. If your EMS sucks ass, Catalyst offers only destruction, because it doesn't view you as ready for more. EMS improves a bit more and the Catalyst gets impressed. Hey, maybe you can give us a better idea of what needs to happen here, Shep. The Synthesis ending was the one anticipated and hoped for by the Catalyst. It says that's been the goal, the solution, all along, but organics have never been ready for it. They are now. They made a synthetic that is able to accept a solution other than destruction. They've gained a deeper understanding of what synthetic life can be.

My ending, the Synthesis ending, was all about EDI. My Shepard couldn't destroy her, and didn't see the need to control her. EDI is the counterargument to the Reaper logic. She's the proof that there are other options. That the line between synthetic and organic can be blurred now. They understand each other. I found it very poetic, and I cried like a bitch when she came out of the ship with Joker, like Adam and Eve. That's what my Shepard wanted. And my Shepard knew that Liara would agree.

I dunno. I find the overwhelming rage the fans have at the ending a little confusing. I get that it could be disappointing to a lot of folks, but listening to some of the venom spewed around you'd think the players thought Bioware was deliberately trying to make them suffer. The culmination of three games of insane scopes and civilization destroying threat is a tall order. They had an enormous challenge on their hands. They didn't solve it to the satisfaction of many players, but I doubt they did that deliberately. And disappointed with the ending or not, the rest of the body of work is an astounding accomplishment of storytelling and game production. The ending is not the first time Mass Effect stumbles, and in my opinion not the worst. But even when I was critical of it, when I felt like ME2 was just a Pokemon quest to gather a bunch of faces, and when I felt that killing Shepard at all was a totally unnecessary solution to the problem they had, I was enjoying the fuck out of it. I god damn loved the stupid Mako. I loved that I made huge choices pretty much constantly. Did they matter at the very very very end? Not really, but in the context of when they occur, and considering the aftermath, they mattered quite a bit. I cured the genophage. That didn't mean much at the finale, but it has huge implications for the world I leave behind, regardless of the choice I make. I join the Geth and Quarians. Did that mean much for my final decision? Nah. But again, it has huge implications for what comes after.

I guess I feel like the raging at the ending is overshadowing the value of what Bioware did here. This shit was EPIC AS BALLS. Never done before. Did it stumble sometimes? Absolutely. But viewed in whole as a work of art, I think it's pretty god damn impressive.


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#12 | Back to Top08-06-2013 11:33:11 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

I'll just leave this here. You know. Lighten the mood.

http://i.imgur.com/os3piQU.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/DF2m3tw.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/BWXxQFL.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/nVfbdp8.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/g8Hyz5Q.jpg

What do you call a drunk Quarian?

Tequila Se'lai


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#13 | Back to Top08-06-2013 11:34:44 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

I guess I feel like the raging at the ending is overshadowing the value of what Bioware did here. This shit was EPIC AS BALLS. Never done before. Did it stumble sometimes? Absolutely. But viewed in whole as a work of art, I think it's pretty god damn impressive.

Pretty much true all around.

Still absolutely my favorite video game franchise ever.

Still want to replay it nearly every day.

And everything else I ever play will be judged against it.


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

http://www.dark-kingdom.org/Gallery/osrgbanner.PNG
Hat Mafia Member: Little Dark Poet

Offline

 

#14 | Back to Top08-07-2013 05:41:23 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Ashnod wrote:

And everything else I ever play will be judged against it.

Brutal!

I know what you mean though. Mass Effect has kind of set a new standard for serialized game universes and character development within them. It didn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to science fiction tropes, but it did make the most interactive futuristic world we've ever played.

It struck to me an awesome balance between the JRPG THIS IS YOUR CHARACTER DEAL WITH IT and PCRPG YOUR CHARACTER IS YOUR AVATAR AND YOU MAKE EVERY DECISION FOR IT. Shepard is her own person regardless of how you play her. She has characteristics that are constant between renegade and paragon and all the dialogue branches you get. Shepard's a No Bullshit person, whether she's paragon or renegade. She can't dance for shit. There's just an impression you get of who she is apart from your interference. But then you get to jump in, and steer her one way or another. Not completely your 100% avatar, but a happy medium between the two that makes for better storytelling potential than the avatar character (ie Elder Scrolls.) I know a lot of people were butthurt that they did this with DA2 with Hawke. I was fine with it, and actually will probably feel more involved with the characters because of it. DA:O is fun as hell, great character development and story, but because your character doesn't speak when everyone else does, and because you decide word for word her choices, I felt less like part of the story and more like an entity drifting around this big world and checking out what's going on.

And ME (And DA as an IP also) is one of the best examples of the potential for gaming to be appealing to both sexes. It's the direction I want games to take in that regard.


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#15 | Back to Top08-07-2013 06:44:10 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

And ME (And DA as an IP also) is one of the best examples of the potential for gaming to be appealing to both sexes. It's the direction I want games to take in that regard.

Despite my avatar, I'm coming into this thread just long enough to agree with the above.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

Offline

 

#16 | Back to Top08-07-2013 06:49:32 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

I know a lot of people were butthurt that they did this with DA2 with Hawke. I was fine with it, and actually will probably feel more involved with the characters because of it.

She's talking about me here emot-keke

Don't get me wrong, I like Hawke and Shep, but I was disappointed with DA2 because I couldn't make my choices in the game. I was choosing for Hawke and then watching her reaction which, while amusing, didn't tie me to the story as strongly as being able to feel like it was me controlling the action. Basically, the exact opposite of what Gio said-- the multiple choices of dialogue offered me variations and gradations of reaction and I could pick the one that suited me best, whereas with Hawke I had two or three choices that always followed the same pattern, which didn't offer me any shadings of meaning, and I wasn't the person who ended up saying the lines anyway so it felt much more like watching interactive television than role-playing. I just couldn't quite sink my teeth into it the way I did with DA:O.




But this is a thread about the Mass Effect 3 ending, so I should probably say something about that too... and I guess I'm gonna be the meta-person who doesn't actually talk about game and story stuff. Eh, whatevs.

I honestly think that no matter what had been done, everyone would have been disappointed with the ending. It was overhyped to begin with; there was literally no way it could live up to expectations. And that's not Bioware's fault. That's the fault of the fans, if it's a fault at all. There's nothing wrong with expecting something to be good, but the fans themselves create an echo chamber where the idea that it's a Bioware game and it's going to be fun and it's the end of Shep's story gets amplified into emot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaa  IT WILL BE THE BEST GAME EVER AND IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND AND SHEP WILL RIDE A T-REX IN AND CROTCH-PUNCH THE REAPERS AND THEN FLY AWAY ON THE NORMANDY SPREADING RAINBOWS AND GLITTER BEHIND THEM. emot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaa

Sorry, that's just not something you can reliably depend on. I'm not saying anyone in this particular discussion felt quite that way; I'm more talking about that horrible cesspit, the Bioware Social Network. Not to mention the other gaming forums like IGN that contribute to the echo chamber factor.

And, before anyone says anything, of course the advertising promised the T-Rex crotch-punch scenario. It's advertising, that's what they do.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, if everyone around you is saying the same thing you end up raising your own expectations to match. Maybe not quite as high, but higher than they would have been normally. I know that happened to me, and I've never actually played the games-- just watched them. Most sane people weren't really expecting it to be the be-all end-all life experience... but I can admit my expectations were inflated unnecessarily.

And in the end, it disappointed people. How could it not, when people had already each built up an idea of how awesome it should be and everyone had their own wants as far as the story went, and then Bioware went and did what they normally did-- which was put out a really solid, fun game, although the original ending was pretty ambiguous unless you were doing some super-close reading and reasoning?

Edit: Not to mention, they killed Shep. That's probably one of the biggest factors in the hate.

So of course everyone blew up. Of course they hated it. There was no other way it could go.

And it just created an echo chamber in the other direction, with fans reinforcing to themselves that it was horrible, so now the ME3 ending is the biggest gaming crime ever and emot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaa BIOWARE IS HITLER CROSSED WITH SATAN AND THEY FUCKED US OVER SO HARD AND MY LIFE IS RUINED AND I HATE THEM FOREVER emot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaaemot-aaa

So... yeah.

Last edited by Yasha (08-07-2013 06:57:36 PM)


Hat Mafia Member: Ratchedface
Je vais mourir pour l ' a e s t h e t i q u e
Internet Atrocity Tourist             -           MY POSTS             ARE WARSHIPS

Offline

 

#17 | Back to Top08-07-2013 07:14:06 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

If they had just ended when Shepard and Anderson were having a sit down and chat/die, I'd have walked away happy. At that moment the entire series hit its emotional triumph. I would not have given one care about what happened next or afterward. Hell, then the post-credits stinger with the astronaut and the little adult-shaped boy would have been just fine by me.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

Offline

 

#18 | Back to Top08-07-2013 07:50:36 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Yasha wrote:

So of course everyone blew up. Of course they hated it. There was no other way it could go.

That may be true of the first generation of ME3 ending haters, but it doesn't explain why people like me hated the ending too.  Mass Effect was not even on my radar until after the third game was out and had all of its DLC except Citadel.  My expectations were not built up by the game's advertising (because I didn't see it), by the echo chamber of the fan community (because I wasn't a part of it), or by anticipation heightened by a long wait (because I didn't wait).  My expectations were built up by the first 2.99 games' reliably solid writing and thematic unity.  The ending leaves me mystified simply because I can't figure out how the same people who wrote the first 2.99 games could also have written the last 0.01.  It seems like the writers didn't understand the point of their own story -- as experienced by many if not most Shepards -- as well as their fans did.  I could outline a dozen endings that are better than the one we got without trying.  One of them is the one where Shepard boards the Crucible and finds a big red button that says "KILL ALL THE REAPERS" and it works as advertised.  That is how easy it would have been for the ending to make me feel happy, or at least not betrayed.

Moreover, it's not the case that highly anticipated endings are uniformly condemned by their overexcited fans.  The Walking Dead video game, which was released in five installments and talked to death online in between them, had an ending that was rightly acclaimed as genius.  Sure, there were moments people didn't like, but there wasn't a revolt where fans tried to explain away the whole thing as a bad dream.  Portal 2 was ardently anticipated by fans of the first game, and Valve hyped it like the Second Coming, and when it came out some fans thought its ending was great and some fans thought it was disappointing or bizarre, but no one formed a lynch mob.  And in both cases that's because the writers understood the strengths of their games' mechanics and narratives, and they wrote endings that were basically consistent with those strengths.  The endings fit in their games.  Mass Effect can't say the same.

Last edited by satyreyes (08-07-2013 07:51:10 PM)

Offline

 

#19 | Back to Top08-07-2013 08:26:06 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

That's all true, but I didn't really mean for the bulk of my post to apply to anything other than the howling masses on the BSN forum and the other gaming forums, and I said that. I don't know if you've spent much time there, but it's a shitty enough place that some of the writers have basically said they're not going to post there anymore, and it's rumored that the abdication of the higher-ups was a direct result of the fuss over the end of ME3. I feel sorry for Bioware, having fans like that. emot-frown

I do think we can be affected tangentially by those opinions, though, even if we're standing outside the storm. They're the overwhelming voice almost everywhere an opinion is aired. I personally didn't find the problems you've described in your post, but I do see that your issues are valid. I just think that the echo chamber effect shouldn't be discounted; it's pretty insidious and can shade our perceptions without our knowledge. If everyone around you, including people that you respect, says something is terrible, you're more likely to see it as terrible because you're looking for evidence of it being terrible rather than looking for your own enjoyment. It's self-reinforcing and can affect you without your realization.

Again, I'm more trying to analyze the huge sturm und drang over the ending and the reasons why it happened. And I do disagree that it could have been different if the ending was better-- Bioware has more, and way shittier, fans than something like The Walking Dead. Check out BSN sometime and see what I mean. I can't spend more than ten minutes at a time there without getting angry at them.

Edit: Actually, If you want another instance that supports my point, check out the reactions to DA2. When it came out, literally everyone shit on it. But it's a good game! I mean, I don't like that I couldn't have a cipher instead of a character as the lead, but that wasn't that big of a deal and it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Still, when it came out, there was much wailing and tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth from the fans. IT WAS THE WORST GAME EVER OMG. And that's just simply not true.

Last edited by Yasha (08-07-2013 08:36:21 PM)


Hat Mafia Member: Ratchedface
Je vais mourir pour l ' a e s t h e t i q u e
Internet Atrocity Tourist             -           MY POSTS             ARE WARSHIPS

Offline

 

#20 | Back to Top08-07-2013 08:49:13 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Yasha wrote:

That's all true, but I didn't really mean for the bulk of my post to apply to anything other than the howling masses on the BSN forum. . .

BSN is widely regarded as the worst forum on the internet, as far as having desperately possessive and clingy fans go. It even eclipsed the mania of the Fallout freaks over at No Mutants Allowed, which was an astonishing achievement.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

Offline

 

#21 | Back to Top08-07-2013 08:58:26 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Huh.  I learned something about BSN today!  I've never been there and had no idea that they are widely understood to be asshats.

Yasha wrote:

I just think that the echo chamber effect shouldn't be discounted; it's pretty insidious and can shade our perceptions without our knowledge. If everyone around you, including people that you respect, says something is terrible, you're more likely to see it as terrible because you're looking for evidence of it being terrible rather than looking for your own enjoyment. It's self-reinforcing and can affect you without your realization.

Going into ME3, I confidently expected to enjoy the ending precisely because I knew that most people hated it, and in general when most people hate something that to date has been basically good, it's an overreaction or product of unrealistic expectations in the exact way that you describe.  I was especially certain this was going on because I knew Bioware had patched the ending and people were still complaining, which is characteristic of nerd rage: it will not be satiated no matter what lengths you go to in order to appease it.  So yeah, when the Catalyst presented me with three obviously unacceptable options I confidently clicked "none of the above," fully believing that there was going to turn out to be a fourth choice that was just fine.  Not so much.

Offline

 

#22 | Back to Top08-07-2013 09:39:21 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Nova wrote:

If they had just ended when Shepard and Anderson were having a sit down and chat/die, I'd have walked away happy. At that moment the entire series hit its emotional triumph. I would not have given one care about what happened next or afterward. Hell, then the post-credits stinger with the astronaut and the little adult-shaped boy would have been just fine by me.

That would have pissed off at least a similar majority of players that the endings they went with would have. I'd have been pissed. It was definitely the emotional high point of the ending, though. (For most, actually I found EDI and Joker exiting the Normandy to be perfect for me. In that I cried lots.)

satyreyes wrote:

My expectations were built up by the first 2.99 games' reliably solid writing and thematic unity.  The ending leaves me mystified simply because I can't figure out how the same people who wrote the first 2.99 games could also have written the last 0.01.

I guess that's the difference for me. I actually don't find the last 0.01 of the game to be any less solid than other points in the series, given that there were definitely low points. I was actually let down enough by the lead-up and ending of ME2 that maybe I've been more forgiving of ME3's. And I got accustomed also to my decisions only mattering much in the absolute immediate context. Let the Rachni queen go on Noveria, and you just let the Rachni queen go. That's moving as shit, I actually cried when that occurred and it was probably the high point of ME1 for me. When you run into them indoctrinated in ME3, I was like HOLY SHIT, THIS IS MY FAULT, but I fixed it now and it's totally an advantage go go Shep cool. As it turns out, the same models, same plotline, and more or less the same resolution options would have occurred had I destroyed the Rachni queen because the Reapers make some fake ones or something. Apparently there's one set of choices where you actually lose out because they go rogue instead of help you. That still seems a little sour when I agreed to the decimation of an entire race in the first game and still see them in the third because magic. Similarly, your decision to potentially destroy the foremost governing body in the galaxy in ME1 also seems to have little to do with events unfolding later. This is especially ridiculous when if you had them survive, the same assholes have the same bone up their ass they did originally later on, like almost being destroyed didn't teach them to maybe listen to the creepy human with visions of destruction. Makes sense if it's new skeptical people, but you'd think events would unfold differently for a council that exists because Shepard.

So I guess I wasn't surprised that my decisions wouldn't influence the endings much. Even the decisions you make up to that point ultimately are a math game. Save the Geth, release the genophage, etc. Moving at the time, but in the end? Some of your decisions shit on your EMS a little, but even if you make every crap decision in the game, if you do all the side quests and DLC, you're still not going to get the worst ending. Even if you should have. (Wrex finding out you sabotaged the genophage should have resulted in the whole species tell you to fuck yourself. Seriously. Hell they should have attacked you en masse.) I actually think that some decisions in the leadup should have disallowed you from completing the Crucible at all. But that would have made for similarly angry fans.

Was the ending the high point? Nah. Could other decisions have made for a better resolution? Yeah, maybe. But I wasn't thinking that when I finished the game. I was thinking HOLY SHIT I JUST CHANGED THE GOD DAMN UNIVERSES' GENETIC MAKEUP. Also that it was over and I had nothing to do with my life after. I guess maybe I'm just weird.

satyreyes wrote:

Going into ME3, I confidently expected to enjoy the ending precisely because I knew that most people hated it, and in general when most people hate something that to date has been basically good, it's an overreaction or product of unrealistic expectations in the exact way that you describe.  I was especially certain this was going on because I knew Bioware had patched the ending and people were still complaining, which is characteristic of nerd rage: it will not be satiated no matter what lengths you go to in order to appease it.  So yeah, when the Catalyst presented me with three obviously unacceptable options I confidently clicked "none of the above," fully believing that there was going to turn out to be a fourth choice that was just fine.  Not so much.

Well, heh, it is an option. I think it was Bioware saying 'Fuck you, did you think standing back and letting circumstances take their course was gonna help? See fuck you.' I went into it the same way you did, knowing everyone hated it. I guess I just came to a different conclusion afterwards. I enjoyed the ending. Was happy with it. Can offer criticisms and say maybe it wasn't the best of all possible worlds, but I still don't understand the crushing rage people seem to have. Be disappointed, sure. That happens with any media--there's always that risk. But the venom is so overwhelming that I can't help but side with Bioware even when I agree with the opposition. You bought their game. If you wanted it to end the way you wanted it to, shoulda made it yourself. Hell, make a mod. (I hear this has been done.) I think SKU should have ended with Utena breaking down into a sobbing pile, Akio laughing with victory, and then fucking her in the ass while drinking cognac. I don't get mad at Ikuhara that it didn't pan out that way, though...I just imagine my awesome ending in my head.

I suppose that's getting a little bitchy. Forgive me, it's lonely out here. emot-frown

Nova wrote:

BSN is widely regarded as the worst forum on the internet, as far as having desperately possessive and clingy fans go. It even eclipsed the mania of the Fallout freaks over at No Mutants Allowed, which was an astonishing achievement.

The game should have checked to see if you have a bitchy hateful BSN account, and if you do, only offer you the 'do nothing' ending that decimated all spacefaring life in your cycle because fuck you BSN.


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

Offline

 

#23 | Back to Top08-07-2013 10:08:27 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

Nova wrote:

BSN is widely regarded as the worst forum on the internet, as far as having desperately possessive and clingy fans go. It even eclipsed the mania of the Fallout freaks over at No Mutants Allowed, which was an astonishing achievement.

The game should have checked to see if you have a bitchy hateful BSN account, and if you do, only offer you the 'do nothing' ending that decimated all spacefaring life in your cycle because fuck you BSN.

I'm good with that.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

Offline

 

#24 | Back to Top08-07-2013 11:25:09 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

[
Well, heh, it is an option. I think it was Bioware saying 'Fuck you, did you think standing back and letting circumstances take their course was gonna help? See fuck you.'

Actually, I think it was BioWare actually listening to many people who said, "I want the option to refuse the Catalyst or use the Crucible, even if it means the Reapers win."

Yes, people wanted this. I even said as much at one point.

I think the whole "Fuck you" aspect of it is really BSN's work. Shepard pulling the Picard Maneuver (standing straight, looking proud and defiant, and then proclaiming "we surrender.") wasn't something a lot of the Take Back Mass Effect people were prepared to see.


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

http://www.dark-kingdom.org/Gallery/osrgbanner.PNG
Hat Mafia Member: Little Dark Poet

Offline

 

#25 | Back to Top08-07-2013 11:26:46 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6031
Website

Re: Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Fr- [Renegade Interrupt] Spoiler Heavy

Giovanna wrote:

Nova wrote:

If they had just ended when Shepard and Anderson were having a sit down and chat/die, I'd have walked away happy. At that moment the entire series hit its emotional triumph. I would not have given one care about what happened next or afterward. Hell, then the post-credits stinger with the astronaut and the little adult-shaped boy would have been just fine by me.

That would have pissed off at least a similar majority of players that the endings they went with would have. I'd have been pissed. It was definitely the emotional high point of the ending, though. (For most, actually I found EDI and Joker exiting the Normandy to be perfect for me. In that I cried lots.)

Ha, I have to disagree with everyone here. The Control ending gave me the biggest goosebumps, because really, when offered that kind of power and ability to protect the people I care about, that's a big HELL YEAH. http://ohtori.nu/forumstuff/emotes/emot-black101.gif

Giovanna wrote:

I was actually let down enough by the lead-up and ending of ME2 that maybe I've been more forgiving of ME3's.

I also thought ME2 as a whole was disappointing. I mean, I can understand that other people liked it, but out of the three, it was the one I got the least enjoyment from watching, and thus spent the least time watching. emot-frown It seemed so narrow in scope compared to the others, and a bit lifeless because of the lack of character dialogue that didn't involve Shep. It had its good points-- I LOVED the mission complete fanfare so much that Gio would bang on my computer chair before it was about to happen so I'd pause my own game and yank my headphones off. emot-keke And QUIET PLEASE MAKE IT STOP  emot-gonk

But that's really not enough to hold my attention. I played DA2 for most of ME2.

I wonder if this means there's something in common between disliking 2 and liking the ending of 3? That's how it seems to run in this thread. I'd also wonder how many of you were fans of Oblivion (if you played it), because the lifelessness and sameness were huge complaints I had about that as well (doesn't stop me from playing it for 90+ hours, but most of that is literally just running around picking flowers. I only started the main storyline once and never finished it. I HAVE SO MANY POTION COMPONENTS. ).

Giovanna wrote:

And I got accustomed also to my decisions only mattering much in the absolute immediate context. Let the Rachni queen go on Noveria, and you just let the Rachni queen go. That's moving as shit, I actually cried when that occurred and it was probably the high point of ME1 for me. When you run into them indoctrinated in ME3, I was like HOLY SHIT, THIS IS MY FAULT, but I fixed it now and it's totally an advantage go go Shep cool. As it turns out, the same models, same plotline, and more or less the same resolution options would have occurred had I destroyed the Rachni queen because the Reapers make some fake ones or something. Apparently there's one set of choices where you actually lose out because they go rogue instead of help you. That still seems a little sour when I agreed to the decimation of an entire race in the first game and still see them in the third because magic. Similarly, your decision to potentially destroy the foremost governing body in the galaxy in ME1 also seems to have little to do with events unfolding later. This is especially ridiculous when if you had them survive, the same assholes have the same bone up their ass they did originally later on, like almost being destroyed didn't teach them to maybe listen to the creepy human with visions of destruction. Makes sense if it's new skeptical people, but you'd think events would unfold differently for a council that exists because Shepard.

You and I have had it out about this one in person, but I'm gonna restate my points here-- the game can't be built to accommodate that many choices. The writers have to be able to depend on certain things happening regardless of your choice to be able to write a cohesive story, especially one that will have a sequel. Granted, they're usually a bit more clever about it than in your Rachni example, but with most of the choices in the game, your decision literally can't have an effect, or they end up with a sprawling mess instead of a story. Accounting for the player's decisions is something that rightfully can and should be restricted mostly to nods that are made to seem more important by good writing.

Okay, that sounds a bit more harsh than I mean it, but the principles are still there. You can't account for all decisions, and it's silly to try. The best they can do, and Bioware does it really well, is cover up the fact that there's no changes by writing it really well so you don't notice.

Giovanna wrote:

Was the ending the high point? Nah. Could other decisions have made for a better resolution? Yeah, maybe. But I wasn't thinking that when I finished the game. I was thinking HOLY SHIT I JUST CHANGED THE GOD DAMN UNIVERSES' GENETIC MAKEUP. Also that it was over and I had nothing to do with my life after.

Control 4 lyfe. http://ohtori.nu/forumstuff/emotes/emot-black101.gif

satyreyes wrote:

Going into ME3, I confidently expected to enjoy the ending precisely because I knew that most people hated it, and in general when most people hate something that to date has been basically good, it's an overreaction or product of unrealistic expectations in the exact way that you describe.

I approach situations like that in a similar way-- I just try to ignore what I've heard and approach it with an open mind. In the end, I think the difference between us is that you found the endings emotionally unsatisfying because you wanted Shep to win, where I considered the Reapers an unwinnable battle and was happy with the chance to compromise. Does that sound off-base? Have I read you wrong? I might be putting more importance on your 'red button kill the Reapers' comments than you meant.

As far as other people's reactions go... you know, I might be shooting myself in the foot here, but I have a strong feeling that when DA3 comes out, it's going to be panned just as hard as 2, and with just as little justification. People (not us, but the Them) have the expectation that Bioware is going to put out flawless games when that's simply not the case. DA:O is my favorite game, the yardstick by which I measure all others-- but it's definitely flawed. For instance, the npc's don't really interact with each other. They have the little conversations when you're running around, and that's enough for me, but you never see them actually interact. Also, the romances are basically fetch quests (or the equivalent) most of the time, which kind of cheapens it. And most of all, the gift system is terrible. Way to negate your in-game decisions, guys! You pissed off Morrigan? Just give her a pretty golden mirror and everything's totally fine.

Edit: Gio says that most people call them the pc's. This is a distinction that has changed because of the shift from cipher mains in RPG's to named mains in RPG's. Sorry, to me, your party is "npc's" and the rest of the people in the world are "background characters" or just "that dude in the bakery". emot-keke

And it's been the same with NWN (that lady knight was an awful character, barf), and the same with the Baldur's Gate series (hi, what about romances for girls? Anomen SUCKS. Also, dude, not the easiest system to learn with no instruction... it bit Gio so bad she won't play it again until after she plays D&D.).

Point being that Bioware has never put out a perfect game, and probably will never put out a perfect game. And I think people are expecting perfection, which is just not gonna happen... So then they get shit on by the horrible awful people on BSN and promise to listen to the fans more... which, in my opinion, will not make for good games. I'm honestly worried about DA3 because they've stated it's almost entirely based on fan feedback. emot-frown

Giovanna wrote:

But the venom is so overwhelming that I can't help but side with Bioware even when I agree with the opposition. You bought their game. If you wanted it to end the way you wanted it to, shoulda made it yourself. Hell, make a mod. (I hear this has been done.)

On the one hand, true dat. On the other hand, I do agree that the game should never have shipped with the original ending, before the extended cut. After that, though, I think that (present company excepted, you are all people who are viewing this analytically) the haters needed to STFU. The extended cut was the cut that should have been released at launch; it would have forestalled a lot of the sturm und drang I referenced earlier.

Giovanna wrote:

I think SKU should have ended with Utena breaking down into a sobbing pile, Akio laughing with victory, and then fucking her in the ass while drinking cognac. I don't get mad at Ikuhara that it didn't pan out that way, though...I just imagine my awesome ending in my head.

I'd pay to see that. emot-keke

Giovanna wrote:

I suppose that's getting a little bitchy. Forgive me, it's lonely out here. emot-frown

We are the few, the proud! http://ohtori.nu/forumstuff/emotes/emot-froggonk.gif

Nova wrote:

Giovanna wrote:

Nova wrote:

BSN is widely regarded as the worst forum on the internet, as far as having desperately possessive and clingy fans go. It even eclipsed the mania of the Fallout freaks over at No Mutants Allowed, which was an astonishing achievement.

The game should have checked to see if you have a bitchy hateful BSN account, and if you do, only offer you the 'do nothing' ending that decimated all spacefaring life in your cycle because fuck you BSN.

I'm good with that.

Seconded.

Last edited by Yasha (08-07-2013 11:39:42 PM)


Hat Mafia Member: Ratchedface
Je vais mourir pour l ' a e s t h e t i q u e
Internet Atrocity Tourist             -           MY POSTS             ARE WARSHIPS

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement