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[MASSIVE SPOILERS] Let's Talk Mass Effect

ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch SlutAustin, TX Icrontian
edited Mar 2012 in Gaming
Tonight I began my assault on the Cronos Station with 100% completion of all missions, the maximum Paragon score, all systems scanned and all races allied. My Effective Military Strength was slightly over 4000, the best possible score one can obtain through single player combat.

At the moment of truth, I chose to sacrifice my beloved Shepard to join synthetic and organic life for permanent peace. I was very satisfied with this ending, because I feel like it's what my Shepard would have done. In truth, it's what she has always done: sacrifice for others.

I must admit I experienced a flicker of disappointment, however, that the so-called "perfect" ending--which saves Anderson and reveals the shallow breath of an unconscious Shepard in the rubble of London--requires a 4000 EMS and the renegade option that destroys not just the Reapers, but all synthetic life: the sentient Geth, the nascent and beautiful EDI, and more.

As my Shepard's story concludes, I have come to believe that the Internet drama surrounding Mass Effect 3's ending is BioWare's greatest triumph. Consider that tens of thousands of gamers are now grappling, in the real world, with the moral implications we've been grappling with since the day we all put boots on Eden Prime. What a tremendous narrative victory this represents, to harness such raw and divided emotion from a story.

Let's stop to wonder at the psychology. In my ultimate moment, choosing the option that saves Anderson and Shepard comes at the expense of synthetic life. All synthetic life. Billions will die so that I might have the satisfaction of what is ultimately self-preservation. For those who have taken the path of a Paragon, as I have, we must realize that this is a selfish choice.

Though it is selfish, we as gamers crave this ending. We crave it because we have spent five years growing fond of the Commander, and the gentle wisdom of Anderson. We crave it because it is emotionally gratifying for the hero survive--because we created that hero. Our Commander Shepard isn't just a character we have built, but a vessel and an avatar for our moral center. It is natural that we would want her to leave more than a legacy, but to endure.

Ultimately, I think the drama stems from the entitlement of which "gamers" are generally guilty. That is to say, I think this firestorm could have been averted were there a tidy and easy-to-obtain "Star Wars" ending where the bad guys are crushed and the galaxy lives to receive a medal.

But Mass Effect has always been darker than that. It has always been less binary than that. In truth, Mass Effect has always been about making the hard choices. As I take the hours to digest the entire continuum of my Commander Shepard, I have grown to acknowledge that my immediate and instinctual moral certitude on self-sacrifice was the surest sign that I saw the ending I was meant to see.

My Shepard did not live because she was not meant to. She did what she has always done.
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Comments

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    Exactly the same reasons I chose exactly the same ending. There was no other possible choice for my Shep.
  • Church4252Church4252 K-Pop authority™, Gundam Meister Madison Heights, MI Icrontian
    well said my friend, well said indeed. My Shepard made the same choice as you did. I felt that is what I would have done if I was in Shepard shoes. The choices we made through-out the series was all about making that difficult decision in difficult situations. It was never about the choices we made effected the ending that we thought we would get. Ultimately in the end, Shepard had to make one last decision and it was a hard one to boot.

    The whole drama about wanting BioWare to change the ending is just a waste of time and effort. Its like asking George Lucas to go back and re-do episode 1, 2 and 3 for Star Wars. And we all know that will NEVER happen. When I first beat the game I was skeptic about the ending, but after thinking about it I came to the conclusion that the ending for Mass Effect 3 ending the series very well. There are my own theories with the ending and why things happened the way they did.

    Overall I thought it was a solid game and it deserves the high praises that it is getting from all the media outlet.
  • MiracleManSMiracleManS Chambersburg, PA Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    My problem, and I can only say this as I refuse to play the game after seeing the possible endings, are the potential plot holes that aren't explained and what I consider a lack of actual choice. Yes, it's entitlement but the majority of the endings are the same result and that really bothers me. From what I've seen, my Shephard would've bitch-slapped the Star Child.

    Also this quote from Mike Gamble enrages me:
    How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets?
    I have no problem with people thinking the endings were emotional or acceptable, that's your choice and I'm glad you enjoyed them. I was just hoping that when they said "16 endings" they meant 16 radically different endings that are the result of what you did in previous games, not almost identical cut scenes and some recolors.

    Everything else I've seen about Mass Effect 3 (gameplay, the rest of the story I've watched and read about) seems excellent. I just can't buy/participate with these endings as the end of the series.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Congrats, you just harvested all organic life for the reapers. Now they never have to come back. Yea, Joker and EDI are happy, but in the end, the Reapers won.

    I think we all agree the control option is wrong. Even Martin Sheen couldn't convince us.

    So that leaves destroy. The Renegade, screw you Catalyst(godchild) option. Sure, synthetics get wiped (according to Catalyst, tricky bastard).

    There is always sacrifices in war. Synthetics can be rebuilt. The opinion that synthetics "die" is shady.

    I'll go into more later. I took the red pill. Cause those machines had to be destroyed.
    Kill millions, to save billions
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Congrats, you just harvested all organic life for the reapers. Now they never have to come back. Yea, Joker and EDI are happy, but in the end, the Reapers won.
    I disagree with this premise because the events as portrayed do not match your conclusion.

    For example, it is claimed that Reapers have "always existed" to guide the march of evolution towards Order, ultimately ending in annihilation so the process may begin again. In the ending I received, nobody was destroyed. Synthetics lived, organics lived, Earth and more were saved. In effect, I created a new order that does not "require" a Reaper reset. By the power of magical space voodoo, I have resolved the eventual antagonism between synthetic and organic life, which satisfies the Reapers' need to intervene.

    Secondly, the Star Child claims that Reapers harvest organic races so that their genetic code might live on in the reapers. Regardless of the grim logic that actually drives this process, I achieved the unthinkable: the Reapers no longer need or want to harvest humanity.

    I can see how you might say that the Reapers won, because they wreaked their havoc and ultimately suffered no punishment. But I would argue that this is a conclusion driven by vengeance, and that is not a motivator for the path my Shepard took.

    Garrus once spoke of the ruthless calculus of war, and I believe in my numbers. I accepted the Reaper genocide with deference because my choice not only ended their terror, but ended the cycle and saved billions in the process.

    One died so that trillions might live.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    I also wanted to link an awesome article I found today on RPS, which outlines what's right with Mass Effect 3's ending. Particularly, I wanted to call attention to this paragraph:
    I feel like so many of people’s complaints about Mass Effect 3′s apparent lack of consequence would have been addressed by something as tacky as Dragon Age’s flash-card descriptions of what had happened to the characters in your party. Like an Eighties movie freeze-framing at the end and telling us who went on to discover a cure for cancer, and who finally settled down and had three kids, it certainly gives an immediately satisfying sense of closure, and perhaps would have dealt with a lot of the grumbling. But I’d argue it robs the player of so much potential for those characters. “Grunt went on to form a band, Grunt And The Tube Babies, who had 91 top ten hits in the Galactic Billboard, thanks to Shepard’s love and support.” I loved and supported Grunt! That means my choices were meaningful!
    CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Isn't it interesting that so many people can independently (and eerily) come to the same conclusion?

    //EDIT:

    As a compelling counterpoint to all of my above arguments, I found this good 20-minute video (I know) that explores some of the alleged plot holes in the conclusion to ME3.

    And, not gonna lie, this fan ending would have been perfectly okay too.
  • MiracleManSMiracleManS Chambersburg, PA Icrontian
    CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Isn't it interesting that so many people can independently (and eerily) come to the same conclusion?
    I know you're not entirely serious, but the idea that you're not even sure what happened when you left several armies of folks stranded in a solar system that's already taxed for resources with no reliable FTL travel and to think that, despite what we're told in ME2 that the Relays exploding doesn't actually destroy the solar system because "space magic".

    I'm not saying that an ending of the type that's available now couldn't have been included, but from Gamble's own quote he's done exactly what he claims he wouldn't do.

    Did past choices matter in the course of Mass Effect 3? Sure, but they had minimal impact on the conclusion.
    And, not gonna lie, this fan ending would have been perfectly okay too.
    Having that as one of the possible endings would've been 200x more awesome.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    Who are all these fuckers saving Kaiden? Ugh.

    I don't care how predetermined the ending felt/was. Play through that story. Unite everybody in the fucking galaxy. Feel the whole thing slip through your grasp when the Illusive Man pulls the rug out from under you. Feel the chill when hundreds of ships in your amassed fleet pop in for a visit to the Reapers dearest. Lose Thane, and Mordin, and possibly Tali, and tell me the emotions those moments generated in you aren't worth suspending your disbelief for 30 seconds about the exploding relays. Tell me there's no way ONE of those three endings isn't the perfect way to conclude that series given the rollercoaster you ride.

    FUCK THE SYNTHETICS? Destroy.
    ULTIMATE DOMINANCE? Control.
    Everlasting peace? Synthesis.

    I can't believe how much rage there is over this. I can accept that other people can have different opinions, but it just seems excessive. I guess I'm just happy it works for me.
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    It's not really the implications of the ending I got that bothered me because I wasn't expecting a happy sunshine ending nor did I want one. What did bother me was that while I was hoping for some confrontation with Harbinger (like Sovereign in ME1) where the Reapers motivations are made clear I am instead confronted by little space Timmy out of nowhere in the last 15 minutes of a more than 100 hour story. Then he goes on to tell me that the Reapers, the dominant protagonists of the entire series and the things you've struggled so hard all this time to stop, are just his little puppets. He basically tells you the damn galactic genocide machines are smalltime and he is the real deal. Then the reasoning he gives for creating the Reapers is something along the lines of "wanting to kill organic life so that they can't create synthetic life so it can't kill organic life." That thought process itself doesn't make a whole lot of sense especially considering the only "proof" of that being true in the game is the conflict between the Geth and Quarians and even then it's wrong because the Quarians have ALWAYS been the ones responsible for starting shit. Not the Geth who are content to just stay away from organic life. After that it's mostly small inconsistencies that I have a problem with such as "Why is Ashley seen walking off the Normandy at the end even though she was with me and Garrus just before I went into the light beam?"

    Oh and the final screen basically being a shameless ad with the last two words you get to read in the entire series being "downloadable content"

    image
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    I do agree with that - the worst part of the ending, for me, was that you end up back on the Normandy at the end. That's a major mood-killer.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Why let Mordin die curing the genophage if you're just going to pick Synthesis?
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    Because A) you don't know that when you're playing it, and B) it's still the right thing to do, in my Shep's world.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Right after the red beam, if you listen to the audio, you can hear the alliance go "did anyone make it to the beam?" "Negative, it's too much, we need to regroup.Fall back to the buildings" "Power is wiped out, all forces retreat!"

    So, your ground crew 'could' have made it back to the Normandy
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    I kinda maybe sorta killed Mordin to stop him from curing the genophage. Only Garrus knows the truth ;_;
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    I kinda maybe sorta killed Mordin to stop him from curing the genophage. Only Garrus knows the truth ;_;
    You also got more Military Strength that way
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    Right after the red beam, if you listen to the audio, you can hear the alliance go "did anyone make it to the beam?" "Negative, it's too much, we need to regroup.Fall back to the buildings" "Power is wiped out, all forces retreat!"

    So, your ground crew 'could' have made it back to the Normandy
    I guess but if Hackett is still in contact with you once you're on the Citadel I can't see why your crew on the ground would have lost contact and even more I doubt they would have abandoned you like they appear to.

  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    I kinda maybe sorta killed Mordin to stop him from curing the genophage. Only Garrus knows the truth ;_;


    You also got more Military Strength that way
    Why it had to be done.

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    Right after the red beam, if you listen to the audio, you can hear the alliance go "did anyone make it to the beam?" "Negative, it's too much, we need to regroup.Fall back to the buildings" "Power is wiped out, all forces retreat!"

    So, your ground crew 'could' have made it back to the Normandy


    I guess but if Hackett is still in contact with you once you're on the Citadel I can't see why your crew on the ground would have lost contact and even more I doubt they would have abandoned you like they appear to.

    Cause I was in a pile of rubble unconscious in London and they figured I was dead and the Mass Relays were about explode so it was GTFO time?...

    Oh wait, only I got that ending :)
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    What does everyone feel is the Canon ending?
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Unless there is a Mass Effect 4 none of them will be.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    Given the difficulty of obtaining the 4k+ ending, and the importance placed by BioWare on that number, I suspect Shep in the rubble and a host of dead synthetics. RIP EDI.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Did EDI become 100% synthetic or is some of her AI core still on the Normandy?

    Also, ignoring the who dies perimeter, you have to have 2800 EMS to get the Synthesis ending

    0-1749 Destroy
    1750-2799 Destroy or Control
    2800- Destroy or Control or Synthesis

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    To expand on Greg's post, here's a guide to the complete list of endings.

    I think it's probably too early to tell just what happened to EDI during synthesis.
  • KoreishKoreish KCMO Icrontian
    Hopefully Bioware doesn't pick up on this and be all surprise this was our plan all along. It will confirm Canti's post earlier, and show us all a much darker side of the gaming industry than we've seen previously.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    What a ride. I teared up as I finished the game yesterday afternoon. I love the Mass Effect series, and it was hard to see it finally conclude.

    Of course, it took me 12 hours to stop, think, and decide on how I felt about it. Even now, I'm still formulating my thoughts, but I think I'm finally at terms with things. Hoping everyone reads all of this, because there's a lot to talk about.

    I think I love it. I think I completely love what Bioware have done. And this is after finishing the game and being livid.

    So I played full paragon, and I picked control option. I'll explain in brief: I wanted to save my friends, I wanted to save humanity and galactic civilization. Destruction implied the death of the Geth/EDI/myself, and synthesis implied accomplishing what we were fighting against the Reapers for. Control, as bad as it may seem, had a point. I could control them, and I could send them away. By sacrificing myself, I could save both organics and synthetics, allowing everyone to maintain the lives they had before.

    Is the Mass Effect series a tragedy? Possibly. Hard to imagine it's not with the three outcomes. But it's still painfully frustrating. I love tragedies, but I furrow my brow at Mass Effect. In film, it's easier to accept outcomes like this. It hurts, but people don't rage. The rage in Mass Effect comes from gamers who are pissed that they've spent 90 hours of gameplay under the guise of decision making, and no matter how you play it, no matter how hard you try, darkness is the only outcome.

    The worst thing about this is that no matter the ending, ALL of the ME relays are destroyed. With that, you've doomed civilization. Everyone is stranded at whichever place they were at the moment of initialization. We know the importance of the relays to civilizations progression, and now, all are doomed. Even in my ending, I had only managed to destroy my friends and civilization because the relays, for whatever reason, were destroyed. It sucks that no matter what, you cannot protect the relays.

    Oh, and it totally blows that Bioware re-used every asset of the endings across all three choices with little more than pallet swaps for the explosions. Plus, that DLC message at the end was AWFUL.

    I almost hate to say it, but @fatcat is right about much of this. Synthesis lets the reapers win. Even if it means peace, that's basically what the Reapers set out to do. Saren, way back in ME1, said himself that synthesis was what he wanted, what he knew was best for galactic civilization. We stopped him because he was crazy. He was indoctrinated hardcore. By accepting synthesis, you undo everything you fought for, and you effect every living organism in the galaxy. No, I could not accept that option.

    Looking back, I didn't make the right choice. I'm OK with my choice, but destruction truly is the best end. The brilliance of it all is how Bioware shrouded this ending in uncertainty. By making the synthesis option harder to obtain, it subconsciously feels like the best. By implying that you and many others would die with destruction, plus coloring it red, they make this option less attractive. You are fooled, both in game and in reality, by the child to not pick this. But yet we see, Shepard lives. If he lives, the Geth probably live. EDI probably lives. But the Reapers are gone. The child is defeated.

    I'm starting to realize that this is the brilliance of this series, the fact that it is tragic and hopeless. You play to see the journey of one man, his rise, fall, and ultimate sacrifice. He is strong, but he is doomed.

    It's a good point to complain about the choices leading up to this game. Your past decisions don't really amount to much in this game. It makes it easier to unlock the third option, which isn't even the best option. So I can see why people are angry about this - after 90 hours of work, everything is funneled down to "walk to the left/walk to the right". But then again, @Snarkasm has a point. The journey was fantastic, and I'll never forget it.

    I'm beginning to subscribe to the indoctrination theory that Koresh mentioned. The full video is below, and it's worth a watch. A lot of confusing bits start to fall into place when you consider that Shepard is fighting indoctrination throughout the game. This makes the deception of the destruction option I mentioned above make much more sense. If this is Bioware's true intention in the story, then what they have pulled off is tremendous. It is tragic and brilliant, and it deserves to be in line with some of science fiction's greatest stories.

    What a tremendous narrative victory this represents, to harness such raw and divided emotion from a story.
    This is ultimately what it comes down to for me, and why I love it. THIS is why I love storytelling. The fact that any of us care so much to discuss this game so passionately is their greatest success.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    I, too, am beginning to wonder if the Star Child's description of destruction is accurate. From our primitive understanding, we know him to be an avatar of the cycle in a form that Shepard can understand. But we know the cycle to be based on zealous quest for Order backed by a fundamental, nihilist logic. The imperative to continue that cycle is strong.

    I am slowly agreeing with the sentiment that the Star Child intentionally misguides Shepard in her quest to destroy the Reapers, because he is a mouth for the machines that would suffer no better a fate. Look no further than the Star Child's form when the Reapers are destroyed: it flickers, falters, and then disperses. He is dead.

    We never see the Geth destroyed. We never see EDI die. We never see the Star Child's promises come to pass. Why is it that we so blindly trust what we are being told by this sudden character? What psychology prompts us to be so fallible when presented with the fate of the galaxy by the spirit of the Citadel?

    We rage because we assume his words to be true, that EDI and the Geth, whom we have worked so hard to "humanize" and save, are dead.

    What if they aren't?

    The machines have had millennia to perfect an AI that can prey on the fallibility of a weary hero that survives the Reaper's best efforts. They may be timeless machines with virtually infinite resources, but Mass Effect clearly demonstrates that they have not ascended to perfection. The Reapers had to know that, one day, they might fail.

    Remember that Shepard's dreams are haunted by the child that died in Vancouver. The child killed by the Reapers. The Reapers that watched Shepard try to save the child. The Reapers that chased Shepard to the Gates of Hell and could have tapped her mind at any point along the way. The Reapers that could create an AI designed to take the form that would be most disarming.

    We as players are disarmed. In a very scary way, we have been indoctrinated by Mass Effect to trust the form of the child, because we formed an emotional bond to him. We watched him die, and suffered the nightmares with Shepard. We believe that the child tells the truth because we perceive him to be an innocent robbed of life, not a devious and duplicitous AI powering a form stolen from our minds. Think about the transcendental way in which Mass Effect reached into us and tricked real human beings into suspending caution.

    In short, what if the Citadel and the Star Child is the Reaper Dead Hand?
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    You play to see the journey of one man
    Wrong.
    the Star Child intentionally misguides Shepard in her quest to destroy the Reapers
    Correct.

    Now that that's been cleared up. I haven't looked into the indoctrination theory until now and it's about the most interesting possibility there can be. I actually WANT this to turn out to be true, I'm just not positive it will. It would explain a lot of the problems I've been struggling to make sense of concerning little space Timmy and his sudden introduction at the very end. Not only that but if it turns out that this entire sequence from the beam to the credits was all Shepard's internal struggle to avoid indoctrination it would amount to one of the most brilliant ways of story telling a game has ever attempted. It would mean that they found a way to make the actual player experience and fight off indoctrination. I remember when I was first given the choices and found both the control and synthesis options unsettling for reasons I was unable to explain. If true this theory would mean they have created an ending that taps into the player's subconscious. I've gone back and forth over whether I liked the ending or not and at this point I'm satisfied with what I got if that's all there is but if indoctrination theory turns out to have been their plan from the start it will be nothing short of mind blowing and enough to make me look past my complaints about multiplayer. That is unless they want to charge for the "real" ending.

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    Star child is there with his reverse psychology to deceive and apply guilt to Shepard for letting the human child die.

    Until you show me that all the synthetics die, that EDI dies, I'm sticking with the destroy option.

    also





    :)

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    You play to see the journey of one man


    Wrong.

    You play to see the journey of one woman

    There, you happy now?

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Bobby, the video you linked is amazingly well done.

    Well played Bioware, well played
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    What I learned from Bobby's video, primarily, is that FemShep's voice actor is good. And DudeShep's is not.

    //EDIT: What I also learned is that I'm not nearly as observant as I should be, and that BioWare may have orchestrated the single most extraordinary mindfuck of all time.

    //EDIT 2: My mind broke when the video pointed out the "oily shadows" from the Rachni queen, and the shrubs/trees suddenly appearing near the beam after Shepard "regains" consciousness.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    What I learned from Bobby's video, primarily, is that FemShep's voice actor is good. And DudeShep's is not.
    I know right. It's like I wanna romance that sweet ass Miranda in engineering but I gotta play Sheploo to do it. Yea, nevermind...
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    This video has convinced me that I was wrong to choose synthesis.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    and that BioWare may have orchestrated the single most extraordinary mindfuck of all time.
    this.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    This video has convinced me that I was wrong to choose synthesis.
    RED PILL RED PILL RED PILL

    <3
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    My only problem with that ending is...

    Ok, now you're not indoctrinated, but the Reapers aren't dead, you very nearly are, and the entire world is about to end.

    If it's all indoctrination, remember, you never got up to the Citadel, so that choice never happened, so all the Reapers are still sitting right outside.

    Not saying it's not accurate - it's an incredibly compelling interpretation, and I daresay correct - but the remaining implication is even more tragic than the alternatives.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    My only problem with that ending is...

    Ok, now you're not indoctrinated, but the Reapers aren't dead, you very nearly are, and the entire world is about to end.

    If it's all indoctrination, remember, you never got up to the Citadel, so that choice never happened, so all the Reapers are still sitting right outside.

    Not saying it's not accurate - it's an incredibly compelling interpretation, and I daresay correct - but the remaining implication is even more tragic than the alternatives.
    Garrus' got your back

    and Tali, Liara, Anderson, Ash/Kaiden, Javik, EDI, Joker....
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    It took you and an entire goddamn armada to kill the ONE Reaper on Rannoch. You and 6 people gonna take down the other thousand hangin' out above Earth?
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    ONE BIG EMP! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse

    hell I dunno, gotta wait for DLC
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    It took you and an entire goddamn armada to kill the ONE Reaper on Rannoch. You and 6 people gonna take down the other thousand hangin' out above Earth?
    If the theory is correct then the Crucible still hasn't done whatever it is designed to do.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    Hell, if the theory is correct, the Crucible could just turn the Citadel into one master Reaper. It's also still closed, and you have no way of getting up there - you better believe they'll defend the shit out of that beam once their indoctrination attempts failed.

    This is fun.
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    This game, man. This game.

    The more I think about indoctrination theory, the more I love Bioware for what they've done. They've orchestrated a space tragedy of incredible proportions. One that fools the player in the same way in-game characters are. Both feel the effects of indoctrination. So good.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    They named it Mass Effect for a reason.

    Wonder when all the haters will be over their indoctrination...
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    This game, man. This game.

    The more I think about indoctrination theory, the more I love Bioware for what they've done. They've orchestrated a space tragedy of incredible proportions. One that fools the player in the same way in-game characters are. Both feel the effects of indoctrination. So good.
    >implying the theory is true

    I hope it is but I think assuming this is what will happen might be hoping to hard.

    Also more fuel for indoctrination. No idea why the link isn't clickable.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QT4IUepvrU1pfv_B95oQj0H84DlCTUmzQ_uQh1voTUs/preview?pli=1&sle=true

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    Why not just assume indoctrination theory is true? It's viable, it lines up with almost every aspect. Until we know more (lol DLC), might as well roll with it.
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    Because assuming it's true might leave us waiting for something that never comes.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    Gamers are a pessimistic, entitled bunch. The current outrage has presented no finer an example. I see the indoctrination theory as the optimistic side of the coin, and it's undeniably logical, so it's what I will choose to believe.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    Because assuming it's true might leave us waiting for something that never comes.
    I am content with Shepard's last half breath and there never being anymore Mass Effect. It allows my imagination to finish my Shepard's journey.

    Of course I can't wait for Mass Effect 3: Episode 1 either...
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    Another point on the indoctrination theory.

    Players are presented twice with the opportunity to shoot the Elusive Man, and it is presented as the renegade option both times. First before Anderson is "killed," and again after his corpse hits the floor.

    Mass Effect spent two games and 60-80 hours vilifying the Elusive Man, and for good reason: his indoctrinated mind plunged humanity deep into a bad, bad place when the Reapers came knocking. He aided and abetted the destruction of humanity, in point of fact.

    Why, then, is it the renegade option to kill him? Why is it still a renegade option after he "kills" Anderson, your most trusted friend and ally? Where is the Paragon option?

    We must accept that this particular scenario does not match any other moral judgment that Shepard had to make at any point in the previous games. It was always about the continuum: the Paragon choice, the neutral choice, and the renegade choice.

    From Saren to the Collector Base to Kai Leng, Shepard's morality did not suffer a blow when choosing to destroy these clear and present dangers. What makes the Elusive Man so different, even though he's the clearest and most present danger this side of the Reapers throwing a hissy down on terra firma?

    Perhaps an indoctrinated mind is the difference. We, through Shepard, have struggled to stay on a righteous path in the face of horrific events and tough choices. Sovereign knows that, too. And when faced with cognitive dissonance or emotional crisis, humans double down and cling harder to their own beliefs: Renegade is bad. What better way to manipulate us into assisting the Reapers than by presenting us with the one option we are most likely to avoid?

    And when the Elusive Man's corpse hits the deck, Sovereign or the Star Child once again deceives us. The language used to describe the choices frames them in our mind, preying on our inherent aversion to genocide. Synthetics will die, he says! Synthesis is the only way to avoid a holocaust! Destroying the Reapers--the destiny you've suffered immensely to fulfill, mind you--is the worst option!

    We believe these statements because Sovereign has architected an immensely brilliant mindfuck. Because Sovereign's cold calculations don't value the handful of qualities that could be considered a weakness by an unfeeling machine: our love, our compassion, our morality.

    We have compassion for the Geth. We love EDI. We want to do the right thing. All of these became weapons of our own destruction.



  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Mar 2012
    I just noticed something that nobody else has yet pointed out. In The Arrival DLC, when you are knocked unconscious before the Argos Rho Reaper artifact, you are presented with the true forms of the indoctrinated scientists. They have glowing yellow eyes.

    When Harbinger suddenly flies off after allegedly hitting you with his beam, leaving you what we now believe to be unconscious, he too has glowing yellow eyes.

    Ya see where I'm goin' on this one?
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