I have been playing Mass Effect 3 and have been greatly enjoying it for some 40 hours so far. I have been a fan of the Mass Effect series since the first game and am greatly looking forward to the conclusion of the story which I believe I am nearing. Before I went any further in the game I wanted to make sure I improved the chances of getting a good ending as best I could. So last night I decided to investigate this “Galactic Readiness” rating which has oddly been stuck at 50% since I started the game. After doing all the side quests I could find it seemed strange that all the forces I’ve gathered and choices I’ve made could only leave me half ready for the final battle. Finding no mention of how to improve my rating in the game I turned to Google to look for the answer. This is when I learned that in order to improve your readiness rating and get a good ending you must play multiplayer.
This is utterly unacceptable—not just because I had no interest in multiplayer but because I have no doubt that the reason this was done was to encourage people to buy Bioware points (with real money) to get upgrades for their character in multiplayer. I’m aware that you’re not required to buy these upgrades and you can still increase your rating for the main game without them but doing so will certainly speed the process along.
What this comes down to is spending money so you can waste less time grinding through something you may not want to play in the first place so you can get a reasonable ending to the game you already paid for. The main game is great and the multiplayer on its own isn’t what I would call bad, but requiring people to play it so that all the choices they’ve made over the course of three games (and a few actual years of their lives) actually mean something in the end is just plain wrong. Consider also what will happen when fewer people are playing multiplayer in the future. How will someone new to the game two years from now increase their rating if most people are no longer playing multiplayer and they can’t find a game being hosted?
Perhaps that isn’t your concern though. What should be your concern, however, is that I am convinced the multiplayer impact on the single player was not done with any intention of improving what is an excellent game on its own. This was done with the intent to exploit your customers for every cent you can get and indirectly punish them (by taking away their time) if they don’t pay up. I have spent about three hours in multiplayer now and have only managed to increase my rating to a mere 67%. This was time spent in a part of the game I have no interest in and I would certainly have finished the main game in the time it will take me to get a 100% rating. Even so you have the audacity to market this as a fun new part of the Mass Effect series. It sickens me to no end that most players will probably never realize this and not just willingly, but gladly, give you money to stop screwing them.
I have loved every Bioware game I’ve played to death, Mass Effect 3 included, but this is a big “fuck you” to all your loyal fans and potential new fans and it is deplorable. You have lost me as a long time customer in favor of making a quick profit off a short term player base. Goodbye.