Tuesday, March 13, 2012

[SWTOR] Mass Effect 3 Fallout

I want to express my displeasure about the ending of Mass Effect 3 to Bioware in the strongest possible terms.

I know, it's not really fair to the SWTOR team. But they got the advantages of the Bioware name when times were good, so now they must live with the downsides of that name.

Edit: Just to clarify, this is me cancelling my SWTOR subscription. In my view, companies like EA will only care if protests have a monetary effect. Outrage on a forum or blog does nothing.

Warning: Some of the comments contain spoilers.


  1. So have you been looking at the indoctrination theory of the endings? That looks pretty interesting and changes the view for me entirely.

  2. I think the indoctrination theory is fans grasping at straws.

    I saw a youTube video where the guy pointed out that if you want the indoctrination ending, that means "you would rather have a dream that didn't happen rather than have the ending you did have be fact." And that is an indictment of the ending.

    Now, the indoctrination theory would be a pretty good starting point for a real ending DLC. You break out of the indoctrination and the game continues.

  3. I was going to say that the "it was all a dream... buy the real ending for $10" was indefensible. Then I remember Bethesda did the exact same thing in Fallout 3.

    Then again, Fallout 3 had a perfectly fine, poignant (and sad!) ending that shipped with the box. And you got to see the results of your choices.

  4. I've had the very same experience you stated with (certain) plots, e.g. in movies. As in, the end of plot. Zardoz comes to mind. You can still like the 99% and dislike the 1% instead of dislike the game due to its ending. Take it for granted.

    What does your SWTOR subscription have to do with ME3 though. Did you want to cancel SWTOR anyway? Or did you really want to vote with your wallet? Interesting to cancel your subscription, I wonder if more will do this.

  5. Yes, because these people have anything at all to do with the ME3 team. That's really fair to anyone.

    I'm not going to say that the ending was great, because it could have been better, but I find some of the arguments to be a little on the illogical. For example, the suggestion that the players choices didn't matter. Guess what? Look at the ending to ME1 and 2, and you see that the big culmination was also ignoring all your choices, and basically ended on a multipart dialog option that had no real effect on the closing video.

    If Mass Effect 1 was taken just on it's own, it makes no difference if you save or sacrifice the council, or convince Saren to shoot himself, or convince Wrex to go along with destroying the genophage cure, or you save the rachni queen. You fight a boss, and you defeat Sovereign. The galaxy is saved, and your previous choices had nothing to do with it.

    If Mass Effect 2 is taken as the end of the series, then it again doesn't matter all that stuff before when you come to the ending, in addition to anything that happened in 2. At best, your actions affect the number of people who die, but in the end the ending is the same no matter what you do; you defeat the Reaper and your choice to save or destroy the Collector base is no more or less relevant to the ending then your choice in 3.

    If people want to argue that 3's ending doesn't have enough closure, that it glosses over things that are important, then sure. But to argue that it has nothing to do with your choices is silly, because first off it's not like your choices have affected the ending ever before, and secondly your choices affected getting to this point. Your choices already mattered in the places they needed to. I don't need to see an ending that is changed because I cured the genophage or because I brokered peace between the quarians and the geth. I already got the fruits of my efforts. That's what the majority of Mass Effect 3 was; letting you finally see what the results of all your choices across all the games were, as you see how people and events from 1 and 2 play out in the end.

    Could the ending have been better and more relevant? Sure. Does it ruin everything and piss on your choices? Not at all.

    (I also can't get too mad at an ending that has Joker finally finding his own happiness.)

  6. @RJ I would point out that the choices in ME1 and ME2 did have an effect -- on the next game in the trilogy. Sure, they didn't always effect a particular game ending, but they got carried through the series with various call-backs.

    However, at the end of the trilogy it is natural to expect your choices to have a seeable impact. Especially when Bioware itself says, "EXPERIENCE THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END OF AN EMOTIONAL STORY UNLIKE ANY OTHER, WHERE THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE COMPLETELY SHAPE YOUR EXPERIENCE AND OUTCOME". The banner text at the top of their own website is a lie.

    Brokering peace between the quarians and the geth, for example, completely invalidates the contention in the ending that organics and synthetics will always end up in a genocidal war where the organics lose. The choice should impact the endgame options because your character has shown that conceit is de facto wrong. (I also want to mail copies of the book "I, Robot" to everyone on the ME3 team. Mechanical monsters destroying humanity are so 1920s.)

    The current game could be completely replaced with a simple 'Pick the Red, Green, or Blue explosions button' followed by a non-sensical pair of cutscenes with an advertisement to buy DLC.

    Now, I don't mind a bittersweet ending, but I wanted them to live up to their stated intentions of a ending that took into account *my* choices. And my choices consistently across all three games has been to save everyone (Garrus be damned. ;)) outside of plot-forced deaths. I wanted to have that ending available, as well.

    Ah well. As a friend of mine said, "Bioware: they used to make good games".

  7. Pallais, that's why I specified taking them alone. Each individual ending has not had your choices matter for the ending itself, but your choices carried on to the next title. Yes, there isn't going to be another game for ME3 saves to be imported into (probably), but the point I'm making is that JUST saying that your choices didn't matter to the actual ending video shouldn't' be something to complain about; because they never did.

    Also, I would dispute your assertion that just because we did broker peace between the geths and quarians, that it proves that we will never be at war with our own creations ever again. You need only look at our own history to see that peace agreements mean very little over the long run, which isn't even counting humans or other races creating synthetics that will go to war with the galaxy (heck, some humans already almost did even in the Mass Effect games).

  8. Also, just as a separate note, the guys that do marketing for a game company (which includes maintaining the website) are almost always never guys that do development and design. It usually is for a smaller team, but companies like Bioware or Blizzard are too large to have actual devs manage that stuff.

    That's why you often get nonsense marketing things like http://www.big-metto.net/Upload/files/X8Marketing.jpg

  9. @RJ "This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we're taking into account so many decisions that you've made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C." -- Casey Hudson, Executive Producer, ME3 in a GameInformer interview January 12, 2012.

    The irony being we got endings A, B, and C (or RBG if you prefer colors). It was more than just marketing making the statements, it was the development team, as well.

    As far as the Quarians / Geth go, Catalyst flatly states that created races always rebel against their creators. The inference being that synthetics and organics will always and forever try to kill each other. You can make a choice that shows this isn't always the case. Would peace always last? No, but you can have some peace which Catalyst basically says is impossible.

    Then again, Catalyst flat out states he controls the Reapers, but is trying to help organics "ascend" to be saved from the synthetics. There's a bit of conflict of interest there. If organics can ascend to avoid why do the Reapers have to kill everyone to accomplish it? How does ascension even work? Why do we get this concept introduced in the last 10 minutes after playing three 40+ games?

    Actually, thinking about it, this ending feels more like Bioware trying to drop in hooks for another Mass Effect series at the last possible moment. Forcing Shepard to die clears the way for new heroes without the inconvenience of having to deal with a 'Revan'. Catalyst, the cycles, synthetics, all become grist for a new series. :blech:

  10. It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C.

    I... would honestly kind of argue that this was still the case, but that's because I looked at the entire game as the ending to the trilogy. As all of ME3 was presented, the game wasn't necessarily it's own story that needed everything wrapped up at the end. As I alluded to in my first comment, I felt all along as I was playing that this was giving me multiple endings for everything I had done, from finally resolving the last loose end from Bring Down the Sky to whatever happened to the guys from Overlord to all my efforts for creating a cure to the genophage and brokering peace for the geth. I didn't need all these things wrapped up for me after the credits; I got these endings as I played the game, and I would have even if I played a different story then the one I had. So yes, he is right in the sense that there isn't a traditional game ending for EVERYTHING you did in all the games, as they tie those off and give you closure as you are progressing through ME3's own storyline.

    No, but you can have some peace which Catalyst basically says is impossible.

    The Catalyst says that it doesn't last. Which you can't say is or isn't true even if you make peace. Most of the galaxy let alone the quarians are still worried about the geth attacking them, from what you can see in some of the extra material in the game. That the quarians can be convinced that a DIFFERENT group of synthetics is more threatening then their centuries-old foe doesn't mean that some time down the road they'll never get right back to it. Or that a different race won't do it instead. What the Catalyst said wasn't that peace was impossible, he just said that the created will always rebel, even if it's not really intentional or initially violent (as was seen with the geth).

    Then again, Catalyst flat out states he controls the Reapers, but is trying to help organics "ascend" to be saved from the synthetics.

    He... well, I'm just going to say that my takeaway of that scene was that he didn't say that. He said that he was preventing the conflicts from happening in the first place by cutting down the organics, not that he was trying to make the organics "ascend" past their hatred per-say. That's why he said it was his "solution" and why said solution no longer works now that someone has finished the Crucible. The Catalyst, in fact, sounded like he never really expected this to happen, and the whole plan was to cleanse the galaxy before this kind of thing could occur.

    By ascension, you're probably referring to how he mentioned that all the old races "live on" as part of the Reapers; IE the Collectors.

  11. @RJ

    Well, I would suggest the brokered peace between the Geth and Quarians was "pissed on" given that the Good* ending suggests the Geth were destroyed.

    As to your other point, the argument that ME3 as a whole was "the ending," I don't buy that either. I united the galaxy... and in every ending the galaxy is sundered. I cured the genophage, and then stranded the only two real leaders the Krogan have ever had in the Sol system, assuming the Relay explosions themselves didn't wipe out all sentient life in those systems. Does FTL space travel even work without VI assistance?

    And then there is the whole Normandy nonsense.

    If Bioware was going for an Evangelion-esque ending, well, congratulations. Mission accomplished. The ending didn't ruin all the fun I had in the meantime, but neither would Shepard getting hit by the beam, screen fading to black, and the word "Poopsock" appearing. Roll credits.

    P.S. How things could have been.

    *Good insofar as Shepard was still breathing.

  12. >And then there is the whole Normandy nonsense.

    Thats one thing that really bugs me. Why the heck is the Normandy ahead of the Shockwave when she is supposed to be at battle above earth? An why are alle Squadmates onboard the Normandy that i took down to the tower an got busted by the reaper beam, and look totally unharmed? I mean Shepards armor got blown to highheavens, and they magically got on the Normandy right into the Mass Travel when the Commander needs there help most?

    There a so many Plotholes there or was it supposed to be filled by our imagination?


  13. Well, I would suggest the brokered peace between the Geth and Quarians was "pissed on" given that the Good* ending suggests the Geth were destroyed.

    I would honestly suggest that the Good ending is the middle option, which also shows that synthetics were left functional and... mostly unchanged after the events.

  14. From someone usually so logical, this 'protest' is either:

    1) indefensible.
    2) a parlor trick because you were going to unsubscribe from TOR to begin with.

    Either way, disappointed long time reader.

  15. "From someone usually so logical, this 'protest' is either:

    1) indefensible.
    2) a parlor trick because you were going to unsubscribe from TOR to begin with."

    I wouldn't say it's any more illogical or indefensible than my reasons for not buying either of these games. Last year, my stepson downloaded games off of Pirate Bay on three separate occasions without my knowledge or permission, leading to my former ISP cutting off my internet service. At least two of these games were published by EA, which led me to the decision to boycott their games indefinitely. It actually warms my heart a bit to see someone coming out publicly against them, even if the reasons are unrelated.

  16. If you didn't want to play someone else's story the way they have it written, then why play games like this at all? Play EVE or A Tale in the Desert or Minecraft if you want your own story.

  17. There are a surprising number of ME3 Ending Defenders in these comments. I won't be quitting SWTOR over this game, but Bioware will have to earn my trust again before I go buying any of their RPGs.

    It was *SO GOOD* until the last 10 minutes. That's the part that really gets me .. we were on track to a mothertrucking amazing game experience. And then we get the ending, which defies the plot, the characters, the game's message, and even physics itself. Dark I can handle (and in fact respect), dumb is unforgivable.

  18. @Animagus Canceling an account is appropriate. Companies pay attention to currency more than they do to protests. It is easy to ignore outcries when it doesn't bother your pocketbook, but when a money making property becomes a financial liability the powers-that-be in a company start paying real attention instead of just doing damage-control PR.

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  20. Most of the ending was sad to me. I heard many things of people not fond of it, but I chose to not look it up and play it all the way through. Anderson passing away, and Shepard looking like he was about to.

    It seems most people for game trilogys and whatever... only like happy graceful endings like you see in the movies. Indiana Jones // The old old star-wars movies.

    I love most of that game to death and the story. I'll admit I was caught off guard with the 3 way ending. I chose the happy ending and it felt peaceful to me seeing my crew get off the ship. I like the fact that Bioware chose to do something different. You enjoyed the game itself, then you got what you wanted. I did.