About the ME3 endings fuss [some major spoilers ahead]

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About the ME3 endings fuss [some major spoilers ahead]

Postby T0kR4M » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:46 am

[I apologize for all the mispelling and bad syntax, because I'm not english...
read this post only if you have finished all the three ME at least one time.]

First of all Mass Effect saga is my favourite game until now.

In the first one I like the feeling of playing a movie, I like the cover-based/TPS gameplay and although I would like more customization and less console-like gameplay I like the second episode as well.

For every one who thinks that ME is not an RPG I can argue that you spend more time talking than shooting, you have a lot of moral choiches and if you roleplay commander Shepard the way you like you're not forced into black and white solution.

Like every game I played so far ME is not perfect.
The first problem I could think of was in its main evil antagonists: the Reapers.

Back in the first game you discover that old machines, that exist since the beginning of creation of the Universe as we know it, came back to annihilate civilization every 50.000 years.
Who created them? Why they do this?
More of all you know that Commander Shepard will destroy them!
So back in the first game you can guess that everything will change at the end of ME3.
As for me I ever know that the good guy that kills the ancient enemy was just a part of the end of the saga and that the writers of the game would have to respond to the previous two questions in an originally way.

ME3 is the End. All the game is about concluding old subplot involving secondary characters and giving you the feeling that the universe of the previous two games is at its final hours. And you can feel it. This is why I like the third episode.

The three-way ending.
Ok. I understand most of the complains.
The three-way ending was not a good choice in DE:H either. When I finished I feel betrayed. That's why I haven't replayed DE:H so far. (I even bought The missing link on steam sale,cause I thought it would be an incentive)
As I say before ME3 is all about ending, not just the last choices. And the experience is all about in seeing how your old friend/foe have developed in the saga. On my second playthrough (on the run) I enjoyed see Mordin and Jack that weren't in the first one because they died in my first suicide mission.
When I will finish my third play (the renegade one) I will replay all the three just to explore and write a story that explores something different (romance/major plot choices/class).

Maybe most of the people would have enjoyed a basic ending. Something like Shepard with an army defeat the reapers "...and now the galaxy is safe..." (à la KOTOR/DA:O) despite all the choices and the odds on the table.
If you listened to the story told in the previous two you would know that was impossible, (at least I always hoped that the ending was different)

I write this in this forum because I respect this comunity and I think that people here respect when a developer does something different. Nobody wants to play the same game over and over again with different names, different (but very similar) classes, different (but very similar) locations.
For a Major-release game (and also major limitations) I think ME has achieved very much.
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Postby GawainBS » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:32 am

The ending of ME3 was different, alright. But it's incomplete, at the least. After three games with the universe and (some of) the characters, you're left in the cold about what happens to them, what the impact of all your choices were in the long run. It's downright inane to bring several new, groundbreaking facts to the story in the last 10 minutes. (Like the God-AI and other such wooly, half-baked semi-metaphysical nonsense. ME never explored those themes, don't start then.)
Then there are the glaring, blatant inconsistenties:
  • What with the biggest warfleet ever being stuck in a depleted Sol?
  • Why was Joker suddenly fleeing in the Normandy?
  • What is that planet?
  • Why was your crew who were with you in the final charge suddenly on the Normandy?
  • The Effective Military Strength has basicly no (discernable) impact on the ending, at least no logical one. It unlocks an "extra" ending. How does my amount of ships influence that?
  • Why was it all of a sudden THAT simple to hijack the Citadel, even with help of the Illusive Man? Granted, the fleet was dealing with Cerberus, but ONE terrorist organisation can barely have the means to challenge the ENTIRE fleet you have assembled so far, or if they do, why didn't they deploy it in more operations? There's also a difference between military hardware and the trained personell, and the vast quantities of financial backing they have. The hardest nut to crack is the logistics that come with having your own fleet, with capital ships. (I assume they do, otherwise it's plain nonsensical to send an entire fleet to deal with them.)


Then the "three" endings. They are all singularly bad and one-dimensional. Whatever you choose, it does not really matter, especially for colourblind people, as they see just explosions...

This is just personal, but I think that the basic, cliché, happy-all-good ending SHOULD be among the possibilities: after all, it would show how much it was about choice. If you want a dramatic, sadder, ending, there are a lot of ways to do it better than they did now. (Like forcing you to sacrifice squadmates, or letting Shephard lay down his/her life in a more concrete way,...)

Finally, about the Indoctrination-theory: that would be extremely stupid. It would have been a great cliffhanger if there would be a next game, but not as the definite stop to such a great saga. There's a difference between open-endings and non-endings.

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Postby T0kR4M » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:13 am

I definitely agree with you with your 6 points.
As I said before I don't think ME3 is perfect and the universal feeling of "developers did'nt know how the f..k end the saga until the very end" was with me all the ending titles. (and the dreaming sequences were a last minute idea)

As a matter of fact the deus-ex-machina God AI (starchild) who gives the three endings' choiches, it's not the best writing idea of the whole serie (like the reapers, the human reaper, and a bunch of others plot ideas... ).
But I don't feel kind of betrayed 'cause in the span of this 4 years (since I played ME1) when I thought about the possible ending this was one and not the worst one.

I'd like (you too I think) a (better) twist in the end or at least something I could never thought...
BUT I really didn't like:
"Shepard kills all the reapers bastards; galaxy is safe and everything is going to be like before. The end. Thank you for joining us all these years!".
...and when I read most of the complaints I thought that this one could have been more pleasant to the majority of the gamers.
And in this I think that Bioware has been braver than most of us thought.

Anyway that's only some random thoughts... ME3 is not perfect but I don't think it's a waste of time
P.S.: I think that there will be answers to your 6 points in future games (or DLC). The latter not the best choice...
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Postby T0kR4M » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:16 am

Finally, about the Indoctrination-theory: that would be extremely stupid. It would have been a great cliffhanger if there would be a next game, but not as the definite stop to such a great saga. There's a difference between open-endings and non-endings.


The indoctrination-theory is nonsense. It's just delusional.
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Postby GoldDragon » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:18 pm

T0kR4M wrote:The indoctrination-theory is nonsense. It's just delusional.


Especially since the Prothean VI wouldn't have talked to Shepard on Thessia if (s)he had been indoctrinated.
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Postby Xandax » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:46 pm

GawainBS wrote:The ending of ME3 was different, alright. But it's incomplete, at the least. <snip>




Incomplete is a mild way of saying it.


[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M0Cf864P7E&feature=youtu.be"]Angry Joe - has some good insight on why people hate the ending.[/url]
Amongst other sources on it.

Outside the stupidity of Joker flying away with your squad mates from Earth and the 'Stargazer' talk, there's so many plot holes tand issues with the ending that it's almost insulting to consumers who've bought the game based on Bioware promises.
It contradicts the motives and story build up in ME1 and ME2.
Least of all that 'Shepard' would never accept the Star-Ghost-God-Child's story - ME1 and ME2 shows the character is build by defiance of the inveitable outcome and changing that no-win situation.
Even the background traits you selected in ME1 portrays this.

And to claim it's because people want a 'happy' end is just a strawman defence - along side the 'it is art' argument.
Sure some likely wanted a happy end - I do think there should be a choice for one as it fits the series/character build up indeed (akin to how Dragon Age Origins handled the ending) - but what most reacted to, and started from was the inconsistencies and plot holes.

Bioware just got lazy this time, they ruined the characters and their own story - and they then lied to customers before hand and defend it as 'artistic vision' and downplaying the complaints afterwards.

ME3 is a waste of time if you liked ME1 and ME2 and wanted an end to the trilogy.
If you didn't play those - I suspect ME3 is much more acceptable.



One positive thing from all this - it looks like more people are waking up and starting to take a stance against all the bait n' switch that developers do when hyping their games before launch and the 'professional critics' that rely on advertisement money.
I just hope people remember this next game come from Bioware and other big development companies.

My take - I think and hope Bioware lost a lot of customers on this stunt.
I know they lost me at least.
No more instant pre-order, I'll wait for user reviews on every single Bioware game from now on; and if going to buy - it's second hand or similar.

Fool me once....
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Postby EastFrame » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:19 am

I too did not like the DX:HE ending. I have not replayed that one either. Jensen chases after his g/f and then yells at her. No choice in dialogue there! The ending is a lesser of 4 evils, which don't affect the future story at all. Maybe it's suited to that dystopic setting, but I didn't want to play a game of Sartrian Existentialism! This type of ending is certainly not suitable for Mass Effect. For me (Paragon Shepard), the inital story (ME1) was about the triumph of the Human spirit. By ME3 it had become one of hopeless loss. Not inspiring! If you watch the interviews on the Collector's Edition of Mass Effect, You'll see why.

Effective military strength (4,000 required for secret ending) relies on readiness, which needs to be 60% minimum to unlock the secret ending. However, this is not achievable unless you play the online multiplayer. If you can't play online, your readiness remains at 50%, halving your EMS - and you're punished for not playing online with Shepard's death. Massively unfair!

I too, do not like the indoctrination theory. I have reached this conclusion about the ending: Shepard is the catalyst. The Prothean device on Eletania in ME1? The mention in ME3 that the Protheans were trying to chart the course of future Human evolution? Mordin's hints in ME2 about Human genetic variety? The Human Reaper designed as a body for Shepard perhaps?

Given that in the game lore AI's cannot exist outside their blue box, and therefore cannot reproduce without a living person to replicate their files, I would suggest Shepard's purpose in the story is to be the organic sapient evolved enough to be the vital component in the Reaper's final evolution to true life... OK, I haven't fully explained how I worked that out (you should get the idea), but that would take ages to type out! On the other hand, that doesn't fit all of what is told in the game lore; actually, there are a lot of contradictions in the official game story, it's just to me the most likely explanation.

Nevertheless, I never saw my Shepard as being some kind of Kwisatz Haderach. Just someone trying to do her job with the career aim of making it to retirement. The ending as it stands robs me of that choice. Heroic sacrifice may be OK for some players, but not appropriate for my character. One golden rule of roleplaying is that the ending is determined by the players' choices. In two decades of roleplaying, I've never robbed my players of the ending they worked hard to achieve. That would only make your players resent you.

Which is what happened with ME3... I wrote to BioWare politely asking them for an opportunity to put forward my constructive criticism, since I can't post on their forum (3G connection doesn't work with my Xbox, and I can't register my copy), and I am still waiting for a reply. That will determine if I ever buy any of their games again or not. That would be a shame, because on the whole, they are a genuine market contender with good games. So I too, will wait before buying on day of release again...

IMO, ME3 wasn't much better than DA2 (loved half of it's features, hated the other half). Was I the only one that felt the combat gameplay in ME2/3 was like electronic whack-a-mole? ME3's badly balanced party (i.e. two tech and only one biotic companion)? Not to mention the 20 hours of fetch-and-carry quests and substandard digital actors/acting? Run during the prologue and watch Anderson waddle off at high speed... hilarious...

I have not posted on forums for years... so please excuse me if my writing wasn't very good!

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Postby GoldDragon » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:42 pm

Part of your post, Eastframe, is wrong.

If there is a Mass Effect 4, It will be someone OTHER than Commander Shepard as Protagonist. That story arc was always meant to be 3 installments, so why not end in a heroic death?

All 3 choices need only around 2500 EMS to save Earth (if not Shepard), which requires only 5000 or so War Assets, and there are 7000 of them (1000-1200 from planet scanning, personal experience as I recorded and posted everything findable on BSN) available, so therefore Multiplayer (or the iOS apps) really are not necessary to win. I have the exact amounts for each path (courtesy of the Strat guide) if you wish them. But that is a MAJOR spoiler.

Other parts I DO agree with, and rumor on BSN says the devs are changing the ending. I've heard both expanding (and explaining) to outright re-creating, so take it as you wish.
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Postby GawainBS » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:01 pm

You touched some of the sore points: Shephard's death doesn't really feel heroic, partly because it has no meaning and happens in a way that's totally out of the blue.

You're right about EMS, but then again: you witness no direct link. I don't see the reason why the third "rewrite DNA" ending would be linked to a big fleet.

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Postby Hryunir » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:48 am

I really think the endings all come down to this: it's almost the same as when in some soap-opera you have to fire an actor. What you do is you make his or her character dead in play, so that the end would be COMPLETE.
Most a pity.

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Postby EastFrame » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:52 am

GoldDragon wrote:Part of your post, Eastframe, is wrong.

If there is a Mass Effect 4, It will be someone OTHER than Commander Shepard as Protagonist. That story arc was always meant to be 3 installments, so why not end in a heroic death?

All 3 choices need only around 2500 EMS to save Earth (if not Shepard), which requires only 5000 or so War Assets, and there are 7000 of them (1000-1200 from planet scanning, personal experience as I recorded and posted everything findable on BSN) available, so therefore Multiplayer (or the iOS apps) really are not necessary to win. I have the exact amounts for each path (courtesy of the Strat guide) if you wish them. But that is a MAJOR spoiler.

Other parts I DO agree with, and rumor on BSN says the devs are changing the ending. I've heard both expanding (and explaining) to outright re-creating, so take it as you wish.


Thanks GoldDragon... :) I achieved 3393 EMS (6786 total) including the 50% readiness (but Shepard still died)... I had seen it reported that 4000 EMS was needed to get the "secret" ending; therefore with up to 7,000WA available, I calculated I would need 60% readiness as necessary. Hopefully without making out-of-character choices, such as a Paragon sacrificing the Council. I would very much appreciate it if you could show me how to get the ending where Shepard destroys the Reapers and is seen to survive. I don't mind spoilers if I'm stuck!

I agree to a certain extent that a heroic death may be appropriate, but it depends on how you see your character. I selected Spacer and War Hero backgrounds - so you could view that Shepard as being a duty-first professional soldier who would not think twice about self-sacrifice. I took those backgrounds to mean a different character. I just think the story should have room for both. As it is, I feel playing through all the relationships (romantic and platonic) was a waste of time.

I found otherwise the "synthesis" ending was preferable, but wasn't sure how that wierd Ouroboros-type ending worked?

I must stress though, despite a lot of largely minor quibbles, I did play through the first quarter of the game again with two different classes. The gameplay for an Engineer class, for example, has been greatly improved. The Vanguard on the other hand, I found worse. The close combat powers don't work well when you need them (such as against Brutes and Guardians). By no means is it a bad game, I just felt too many choices were being made for me.

Hopefully they will have new ending options. The existing control/synthesis endings should stay, since as far as I can tell they do match the plot. I do think a plot device like a virus (i.e. from Legion/EDI, should you make the choices to create one), uploaded from the Citadel (where Shepard convinces/kills TIM) and transmitted through the mass relays, for example, would make for a clearer ending (allowing Shepard to live, if you so choose), leaving the relays intact - allowing for smoother continuity to a Mass Effect 4 game. After all, there's still the issue of galactic re-unification...

I just hope for enough extra content, along with a new ending, to justify an expansion pack (I can't download)... I'd happily pay for that.

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Postby GoldDragon » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:29 pm

EastFrame: I sent you a PM with the info about Shepard's Survival (I titled it Shepard's Gasp of Breath) since it is a rather major spoiler, even if it is essentially an Easter Egg.
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Postby T0kR4M » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:13 pm

EastFrame: I sent you a PM with the info about Shepard's Survival (I titled it Shepard's Gasp of Breath) since it is a rather major spoiler, even if it is essentially an Easter Egg.
Today 09:52 AM


I will gladly thank you publicly, GoldDragon, if you'll send me too the info about the Shepard's survival easter egg. :D
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Postby T0kR4M » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:19 pm

on topic: I want to see HOW the Bioware minds will change the ending.
I hope they won't produce a DLC, but a major free patch. Like CDProject always does when screws things up!
We'll see about that.
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Postby Lady Dragonfly » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:10 pm

I am here to join the ranks of the players dissatisfied with the endings. Not only are these endings totally ridiculous and out of place, as was pointed out in the previous posts, but they are also insulting to the whole idea of C&C.

Regardless of all the choices your protagonist made in the course of three games, regardless of your alignment, regardless of whether you are an ultimate survivor, a hero or a xenophobic opportunist, it all boils down to just pushing a button of your choice: red, green or blue. Like, my Paragon Idealist who supported Legion all the way, rewrote the heretics, brokered peace between the quarians and the geth and helped EDI to evolve, the guy who strove to preserve Life for the heck of it (by sparing the monstrous spider queen in ME1 and curing genophage in ME3) chose to destroy all synthetics, including the allied Geth and unquestionably loyal EDI, simply because I, the player, was pissed off.

By the way, I haven’t read any reviews so I don’t know if anyone mentioned that before, but whether Shepard destroys the heretics or rewrites them, there is no difference in the amount of trash [geth] mobs. At least I failed to perceive any. Your choice does not affect anything except your dialogue with Legion.

But the most nerd rage-inducing feature is the nonsense-spouting god-child-AI wearing a hoodie.
So, the big-ass ships with their death ray were regularly unleashing the unspeakable horrors upon the entire galaxy and “processing” people in a most gruesome way For the Sake of Preservation? So, each Reaper is the quintessence of a civilization and when Shepard destroyed a few ships he/she actually destroyed a few “preserved” civilizations? What is BW smoking?

Allegedly, the god-AI wanted to “protect” organic life from being destroyed by the created synthetics. But in the ME universe the geth just wanted to be left alone. They were not aggressive, they did not aspire to anything of the sort. The only “bad” geth attacking organics were the ones corrupted by the “saviors” themselves. Apparently, the actual destruction of organics by synthetics had never happened, thanks to the brutally efficient preemptive strikes (how was the first reaper created anyway?).

The whole concept of preventing a POTENTIAL conflict by wiping out billions of innocent organic lives with the help of the corrupted synthetics in order… to protect organic life from the possibility of being attacked by the synthetics, the idea of a god-AI giving the primitive life forms “a chance” to evolve and become enlightened* and then systematically destroying the advanced and enlightened to prevent them from building a Tower of Babel…oh, pardon me, from creating a dangerous AI is confusing. I chalk it up to the “beyond your comprehension” meme.

Also, what kind of divine miracle was the “synthesize a new DNA” ending? How did that green light manage to instantly transform all protein molecules into freaking schematics? Galaxy doesn’t work this way, Shepard.

And the “control” thing? I realize Shepard = Xtreme but it never occurred to me that he was able to undo God Himself.

*Lol, all advanced and enlightened civilizations still believe in various gods and goddesses; you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an evil corporation with a sinister agenda; slavery, piracy, bureaucracy, intolerance, illegal drugs and warfare are omnipresent. What a bright future.
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Postby GawainBS » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:22 pm

You raised some excellent additional points. I think that that is the biggest power of the "minor" group not happy with the endings: the amount of "ZOMG LOL" is very tiny, and there's plenty of toughtfully formulated, well-founded criticism.

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Postby GoldDragon » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:33 pm

GoldDragon]
EastFrame: I sent you a PM with the info about Shepard's Survival (I titled it Shepard's Gasp of Breath) since it is a rather major spoiler wrote:
[QUOTE=T0kR4M, post: 1099443"]I will gladly thank you publicly, GoldDragon, if you'll send me too the info about the Shepard's survival easter egg. :D


Sent. :o
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Postby EastFrame » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:11 am

GoldDragon - Thanks for the PM!

Lady Dragonfly - Nice! Some really good points there. Especially the Rachni. Saving/Executing the Rachni Queen is a MAJOR moral choice. That's about genocide! Yet no real consequence ever develops from it; the Rachni are written out in ME3 as Reaper cronies and you get only 100WA for it (sparing Wrex on Virmire ultimately nets you several hundred by the end of ME3). If Shepard chose to execute the Queen, Rachni should not be in ME3 at all. If Shepard saved the Queen, then the Rachni should only appear at the end of ME3 to return the favour, saving Shepard. A life-or-death choice with a life-or-death consequence. Simple, but effective. How Rachni involvement went from "we will add our song to yours and burn the darkness clean" in ME2 to "She promised me the Rachni would disappear" in ME3 is a massive continuity error.

You're right - The God/AI was just plain daft. It talks about order and chaos. (Sorry, I'm not trying to teach you to suck eggs, here :) ) They are entirely Human rational concepts people use to make sense of an existence within an ecosystem that has no inherent meaning. Life is determined by diversity (environmental and genetic amongst other things), and has its own rhyme and reason, and is not subject to those Human fantasies. Sentient individuals determine their own values by their actions. To justify the ME story (which (as you rightly point out) is about personal choice and value judgement) with abstract concepts spouted by a mysterious mechanical intelligence is ludicrous. Considering that Mechanical Intelligence (what AI is actually called) was proved decades ago to be scientifically impossible by physicists, BioWare did not do their research properly. The entire premise of fictional science used in this "resolution" is incorrect. Do it right or do a Space Opera where the science doesn't matter. I can't suspend disbelief with a game story that's shot full of holes anyway! Mind you, publishers determine which academic papers are made public knowledge anyway. So I guess publishers also determine which games the developers are allowed to make... :(

In short, I'd say the writing is either lazy or pretentious, take your pick! :) I'd also say that sometimes the simple stories (whether literary classics like Beowulf or movies like Star Wars) are the best ones!

Gawain - Very true. The developers however, insist they know best. They're wrong. Sure, as I.T. professionals they know how to animate, program and code. However, we gamers are well aware how the content should work. We know what gameplay works for us, what characters we like and what kind of stories we want. Especially those of us that have been inventing game mechanics, settings, characters and telling stories since before they even started in the video game business! But try to tell them their design philosophy is wrong...

Sorry... I had a bit of a rant there! :)

Regarding your earlier post, how did the elite Salarian STG miss the construction of dozens of warships by Cerberus (considering the lack of manufacturers for restricted weapons) in contravention of the Treat of Farixen?

Someone let me know if this post doesn't read through properly, I'll edit it.

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Postby GawainBS » Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:52 pm

I don't even want to touch the various obvious military flaws. I can cover those with "the blanket of love", as we say, just for the sake of story and spectacle. But the Swiss cheese of storytelling, that's a bridge too far.

Off-topic: Do you have a link to that research proving Mechanical Intelligence impossible?

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Postby EastFrame » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:13 pm

GawainBS wrote:I don't even want to touch the various obvious military flaws. I can cover those with "the blanket of love", as we say, just for the sake of story and spectacle. But the Swiss cheese of storytelling, that's a bridge too far.

Off-topic: Do you have a link to that research proving Mechanical Intelligence impossible?



I'd add that Swiss cheese doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth! :) I just replayed the end of ME1 where you're told by Vigil the Reapers are trapped in dark space if the citadel relay is not activated. So how did they attack the galaxy? Either I missed something or that's the mother of all continuity errors!

Sadly, academics didn't generally use web-publishing, since the internet is not regarded as a trustworthy or accurate source of information; it is generally seen by them to lack credibility, largely with good reason. I found this information out in the mid-90's, when I was at university the first time, before web-publishing was a big deal anyway. As far as I can remember the physicist the information came from (You meet a lot of interesting people when you study) worked for a defence contractor. So I guess they're not going to release the information to the general public! I know the info was good, but you'll have to take my word for it - ironically which is why the web isn't regarded as a bona fide source... :) Having said that, there maybe new and more accurate information out there. I just would have no idea where to find it. Try contacting the physics or mathematics department of your local university. The professors there may have a better idea than me. Sorry I can't be of more help on that one. :o