Lets Play: Mass Effect (Updated - Ch 6 Part 2 - Virmire)

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Having enjoyed a bunch of other people's Lets Plays of late, I've been inspired to get off my butt and try making one for myself. The subject? Mass Effect, the first episode in Bioware's epic space-RPG trilogy. I've chosen it because I thought it'd be interesting to go back and take a look at where it all started in the leadup to the release of ME3.

What is it?
For those not familiar with the game, Mass Effect is an RPG very much in the mould of the Bioware games that came immediately before it (KOTOR, Jade Empire), but set in space with full player-character voice acting. We play as Commander Shepard and, naturally, we'll be saving the galaxy.

What's being covered?
I'm planning to cover all the main story content, both DLC packs, and cherry pick some of the best of the side quests along the way since the others have a tendency to be repetitive...

What's the format?
This will be a screenshot Lets Play for a bunch of reasons, ranging from my total lack of experience with video editing and recording to my desire to spare anyone following this thread from having to listen to my voice for large chunks of time.

I plan to be updating as often as possible, and will try to get through everything before Mass Effect 3 drops at the beginning of March. No promises on that count though :P

Reader input
There will be lots of opportunities for reader input along the way, and I'd like to start right now with the character build. Please let me know what your preferences are for the following:

- Gender
- Paragon or Renegade
- Background (spacer / earthborn / colonist)
- Psych profile (sole survivor / war hero / ruthless)
- Class (soldier / engineer / adept / infiltrator / sentinel / vanguard)

Aside from cosmetics, gender only really affects the romance plots that become available. For anyone who hasn't played the game looking for an overview on all the other options, this page gives a good description of the effects of each.

As far as the Paragon / Renegade choice goes I'll use whichever one gets voted up as the default choice for everyday stuff and put the big choices to the readers as we come across them. I'm also open to choices such as the popular "Paragon with the crew, Renegade with everyone else" model if people want to go that way.

EDIT: So the results are in, we'll be playing an infiltrator / colonist / war hero FemShep and try to walk a mixed paragon / renegade path.

UPDATES

Chapter 1, Part 1 (Normandy) - Introductions, exposition and eau de turian
Chapter 1, Part 2 (Normandy) - Grunka attends a management meeting
Chapter 1, Part 3 (Eden Prime) - Extorting farmers for fun and profit
Chapter 1, Part 4 (Eden Prime / Normandy) - Protheans are into weird stuff...

Chapter 2, Part 1 (Citadel) - Why couldn't they have elected Arnie?
Chapter 2, Part 2 (Citadel) - I was promised strippers and booze...
Chapter 2, Part 3 (Citadel) - A human, turian and krogan walk into a bar
Chapter 2, Part 4.1 (Citadel) - Faff...
Chapter 2, Part 4.2 (Citadel) - ...and the Citadel faffs with you
Chapter 2, Part 5 (Citadel) - Grunka gets a promotion

Chapter 3, Part 1 (Artemis Tau) - Cheap exploits and hovering asari
Chapter 3, Part 2 (Artemis Tau) - The slaver and the giant worm
Chapter 3, Part 3 (Various) - Do rogue VIs dream of electric pyjaks?

Chapter 4, Part 1 (Feros) - Of Darwin awards and structural engineering
Chapter 4, Part 2 (Feros) - A road safety announcement from the Prothean Empire
Chapter 4, Part 3 (Feros) - Tonight on Worst Workplaces: ExoGeni Feros
Chapter 4, Part 4 (Feros) - Little Shop of Horrors without the singing
Chapter 4, Part 5 (Normandy) - The curious case of the krogan testicles
Chapter 4, Part 6 (Citadel) - Adventures in media relations and amateur psychiatry
Chapter 4, Part 7 (Pinnacle Station) - If you can't spot the sucker at the table...
Chapter 4, Part 8 (Various) - Hades' dogs and ExoGeni's morons

Chapter 5, Part 1 (Noveria) - Oh no, not the protectionists and communists!
Chapter 5, Part 2 (Noveria) - Holy flying space lobsters, Batman!
Chapter 5, Part 3 (Noveria) - Space lobster mornay
Chapter 5, Part 4 (Noveria / Normandy) - The smell of neutron in the morning
Chapter 5, Part 5 (Various) - Grunka, Garrus and Wrex go big buck hunting
Chapter 5, Part 6 (Asteroid X57) - Frak the laws of physics
Chapter 5, Part 7 (Various) - Biotic odds and ends

Chapter 6, Part 1 (Virmire) - Salarians suck at sneaking
Chapter 6, Part 2 (Virmire) - Confrontations and hoverboards

- Gender male
- Paragon or Renegade renegade
- Background (spacer / earthborn / colonist) colonist
- Psych profile (sole survivor / war hero / ruthless) war hero
- Class (soldier / engineer / adept / infiltrator / sentinel / vanguard) soldier

that would be my character if i had the game, but i only have KOTOR.

Sure, why not?

- Gender: Doesn't matter that much. Basically, go female if you want the better voice actor or male if you want to do the Ashley romance subplot thingy.
- Paragon or Renegade: Going paragon usually involves less silly choices. Can't you just mix it up as you see fit?
- Background: Colonist. It gives the best side quest.
- Psych profile: Doesn't really matter at all.
- Class: Doesn't matter since you're not making gameplay videos. Soldier if you're boring, adept or sentinel if you want to spend the game watching ability cooldowns, engineer if you want to be borderline ineffectual, infiltrator or vanguard if you're intelligent and attractive.

Depending on the choices our psych profile (and background for that matter) does influence how quickly we accumulate Paragon / Renegade points. Spacer / war hero give us a Paragon bonus, earthborn / ruthless give us a Renegade bonus, and colonist gives a small bonus to both. Sole survivor affects neither. That said we'll have plenty of opportunity to max out our chosen path with or without the bonuses so yeah, in the end it doesn't make a huge difference.

Interestingly, default Shepard is an earthborn sole survivor - conspiracy nuts, feel free to ponder whether that means the default Shepard is also "meant" to be a renegade :P

I say Male, Mix it up, Colonist, Sole Survivor, Doesn't matter since there's no gameplay.

Also,

Female
Renegade
Colonist
Ruthless
Infiltrator
Looking forward to reading it :)

Female, call her dog-bollocks. Make her bald and put her eyes as far apart as possible. Make all her armour hot pink and make her the baddest bitch in the galaxy in terms of moral choice. Maybe make your let's-play a video whilst your at it.

Female
Paragon
Colonist
War hero
Soldier

That's my two cents on the matter

Female
Paragon
Spacer
War Hero
Soldier

AD-Stu:

Interestingly, default Shepard is an earthborn sole survivor - conspiracy nuts, feel free to ponder whether that means the default Shepard is also "meant" to be a renegade :P

where's it said that he was ment to be renegade?

putowtin:
Female
Paragon
Spacer
War Hero
Soldier

AD-Stu:

Interestingly, default Shepard is an earthborn sole survivor - conspiracy nuts, feel free to ponder whether that means the default Shepard is also "meant" to be a renegade :P

where's it said that he was ment to be renegade?

Well, if you make a new character in 2 then Shepard seems to have made all the 'massive dick-end' choices.
OT: I don't think I'll be keeping up with this, but I say that you should create a male whose sole focus is on Big Stupid Jellyfish.

Renegade is the only way to play. Don't care about the gender.

Female
Renegade
Spacer
War Hero
Infiltrator

Just my $0.02

putowtin:

AD-Stu:

Interestingly, default Shepard is an earthborn sole survivor - conspiracy nuts, feel free to ponder whether that means the default Shepard is also "meant" to be a renegade :P

where's it said that he was ment to be renegade?

It's not stated as such - I just thought it was interesting that the default background Bioware chose (earthborn) is the one that gives a renegade bonus when there was a balanced option (colonist) available. I'm sure there's nothing much to be read into it, but people shouldn't let that stand in the way if they want to get their conspiracy theories on :P

And as hazabaza1 mentioned, a default Shepard in ME2 does seem to have made mostly renegade choices. But there could be all sorts of reasons for that and I don't want to get a full game ahead of ourselves when we've got the opportunity to make our own dickish choices in this game ;)

Thanks for the feedback so far guys, I'll leave suggestions open for a bit longer and then start work on the character build and first update tonight.

Welcome to the LPer club. Cookies to the left, punch to the right. Enjoy your stay.

AD-Stu:
- Gender
- Paragon or Renegade
- Background (spacer / earthborn / colonist)
- Psych profile (sole survivor / war hero / ruthless)
- Class (soldier / engineer / adept / infiltrator / sentinel / vanguard)

Female
Paragon (Basically, selfless lawful good)
Spacer
War Hero
Any is good. I'm partial to Soldier, personally.

Male shep
be mixed (make a flawed hero/nice douche)
colonist
sole surviver
Sentinel (soldier is very boring. sentinel will give the most interesting playthrough)

I'm trying to make this interesting for you. everyone else is pushing the shepard that they made and played with.

OK, let's get this show on the road!

Thanks to everyone for their input so far. The votes in three categories are pretty conclusive, so it looks like we'll be playing a colonist / war hero FemShep.

Paragon / renegade / mixed is pretty much a wash, so I'll go for mixed and see if I can run both up high enough to get the special missions at the end of each path. I've never tried it before, but I know theoretically it's possible.

As for the class it's pretty close between soldier and infiltrator - I'd like to go with infiltrator purely because being able to do our own decryption and electronics work will give us a lot more flexibility in choosing who we take on each mission. I'll probably take assault rifles as my bonus talent as a nod to those who wanted soldier though :)

I'll get started and be back with part one in a while.

Male shep
Paragon mostly
Colonist
Sole surviver
Infiltrator

now the Infiltrator makes the back story for Sole surviver make more sence cause he was in the back of the battlefeild at the time. The colonist back story make out thats why he became a Infiltrator class because he is used to being left on his own.

Just the way i see it.

I love Mass Effect, so i'm definitely following this. Favorite'd. Sad I missed the character creation, but I'd probably be boring anyway.

Looking forward to this!

Let's plays are supposed to go in the user reviews section.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.284840-User-Reviews-Forum-Rules

AC10:
Let's plays are supposed to go in the user reviews section.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.284840-User-Reviews-Forum-Rules

There have been plenty of LPs in Game Discussion that the mods have never even looked at the wrong way, and even took part in. I'm not entirely sure you're correct.

CHAPTER 1, PART 1 (Normandy) - Introductions, exposition and eau de turian

Thanks for reading, all comments / feedback / discussion / constructive criticism welcome. Are the subtitles big enough to read on the screenshots? Apologies for the mouse cursor in some of the screenshots BTW, I'm still working out the kinks in the screencap software.

Looks good so far! I like the little "off-camera" interludes you have between the character, and the portraits are a really nice touch. Keep up the good work!

Thanks :)

Next update should be ready in a few days so any suggestions, or feedback on formatting / etc anyone has between now and then is much appreciated. This installment and the next one are, by necessity, pretty linear and dialog-driven but we'll get to break it up with shooting stuff and harrassing colonists soon ;)

This piques my interest, shame I missed out on the character choice but it seems to have fallen on a character build I enjoy anyway, so win for me I guess. Bookmarked and awaiting more.

CHAPTER 1, PART 2 (Normandy) - Grunka attends a management meeting

Out of interest does anyone actually buy that getting one person into the super-secret Spectre squad would actually make a lick of difference to humanity's standing in interstellar politics? I mean really, how was that supposed to play out?

"Well 99.9999999 recurring per cent of the species are still objectionable toolboxes. But there's one of them that's in decent shape, has decent aim, and the humans are willing to pay for her spaceship so... yeah, I guess on the strength of that we'll change our entire view of the species! Welcome aboard!"

AD-Stu:
CHAPTER 1, PART 2 (Normandy) - Grunka attends a management meeting

Out of interest does anyone actually buy that getting one person into the super-secret Spectre squad would actually make a lick of difference to humanity's standing in interstellar politics? I mean really, how was that supposed to play out?

"Well 99.9999999 recurring per cent of the species are still objectionable toolboxes. But there's one of them that's in decent shape, has decent aim, and the humans are willing to pay for her spaceship so... yeah, I guess on the strength of that we'll change our entire view of the species! Welcome aboard!"

I think its because it would show how far humanity has come as a species. There are many races on the citadel, but only Three get to be members of the council. One of those went to war with humanity the second they made contact with them. It would show that, through the actions of the one, Humanity has transceded its perceived barbaric roots to become a true member of the galactic community.

AD-Stu:
CHAPTER 1, PART 2 (Normandy) - Grunka attends a management meeting

Out of interest does anyone actually buy that getting one person into the super-secret Spectre squad would actually make a lick of difference to humanity's standing in interstellar politics? I mean really, how was that supposed to play out?

"Well 99.9999999 recurring per cent of the species are still objectionable toolboxes. But there's one of them that's in decent shape, has decent aim, and the humans are willing to pay for her spaceship so... yeah, I guess on the strength of that we'll change our entire view of the species! Welcome aboard!"

Doing well so far. You're commentary is pretty good so far. I would add that you might want to put the text in another color if you're doing something that people aren't actually saying.

Oh, and as a small critique, that isn't your fault, the image quality looks a little... grainy. I don't know if that's a result of the game, capture software, or the upload service. It isn't too bad, but it's something to look out for.

Cool, thanks for the feedback guys :) I'm going to fiddle with the image capture settings for the next update to see if I can get any improvements (or at least get rid of the mouse cursor without losing other important stuff off the screen with it)

woodaba:
I think its because it would show how far humanity has come as a species. There are many races on the citadel, but only Three get to be members of the council. One of those went to war with humanity the second they made contact with them. It would show that, through the actions of the one, Humanity has transceded its perceived barbaric roots to become a true member of the galactic community.

I suppose it's not really based on Shepard's actions alone, since a bunch of other humans and human institutions would have played a role in getting her there, but I just found it interesting. The other point both Anderson and Nihlus raise about Eden Prime being a symbol of humanity's achievements would carry more weight if I were the one making the call.

Still, maybe I'm underrating the importance of getting into the Spectres. After all, to the best of our knowledge there are no volus Spectres either - maybe that's why the Council keeps turning them down :P

AD-Stu:
-stuff-

AD-Stu:
-things-

Thanks for the updates, I'm enjoying them quite a bit. I do agree that you should do something to text that isn't actually from the game, so that people who aren't rabid fanboys like m'self can tell what is and isn't commentary.

Also, for mine reference, will you be messaging us again when you update or will we have to check up on it ourselves? I don't mind either way, I just want to know what's going on.

Tertiary question: Your avatar?

Eh, no likey Femshep. :( But I'm definitely digging the layout. I didn't think a slideshow Let's Play would work out, but I stand corrected. And aside from my issue with Femshep I'm really enjoying it so far. And I like the episodic format. I predict many an episode to come... And I'm looking forward to them all!

Keep up the good work AD-Stu! :)

why did you call kaiden a emo?

Zen Toombs:
Thanks for the updates, I'm enjoying them quite a bit. I do agree that you should do something to text that isn't actually from the game, so that people who aren't rabid fanboys like m'self can tell what is and isn't commentary.

Also, for mine reference, will you be messaging us again when you update or will we have to check up on it ourselves? I don't mind either way, I just want to know what's going on.

Tertiary question: Your avatar?

Thanks - I'll work something out for the next episode onwards to distinguish my commentary and inserts from the main dialog.

It's my first time doing this and I'm not really sure what the etiquette is, but if people want messages for each update I'm happy to keep a list and do it: anyone who wants them, just reply in here or message me I guess.

And my avatar is a caricature of me, done by an artist friend that's a lot more talented than me :)

The Pinray:
Eh, no likey Femshep. :( But I'm definitely digging the layout. I didn't think a slideshow Let's Play would work out, but I stand corrected. And aside from my issue with Femshep I'm really enjoying it so far. And I like the episodic format. I predict many an episode to come... And I'm looking forward to them all!

Keep up the good work AD-Stu! :)

Thanks for the feedback, and for reading - and yeah, it'll take an awful lot of episodes to finish this sucker! I originally planned for everything that's been posted so far to be in a single update, but figured it would've dragged on a bit long.

ForgottenPr0digy:
why did you call kaiden a emo?

I dunno, that's just always the way his character has struck me - maybe it's just carry-over ill will from him having the same voice actor as Carth Onasi in KOTOR :P

I guess I should make it clear that I absolutely adore this game. So while I'll likely spend the bulk of this Let's Play making fun of the characters, trying to poke holes in the story and generally taking the piss, always remember that I'm doing it from a place of love :)

Good points, thanks.

I've edited the first two entries and will keep using the same system from here on out:

- Ordinary black text with no quotation marks is just my commentary.
- "Black text in quotation marks" (pretty much all of which will also be next to an avatar image) is accurate quotes direct from the game.
- "Blue text in quotation marks" is me putting words in characters' mouths for the lulz.
- "Italic text in quotation marks" is a character who's speaking off-screen (usually over the comm)

am just hoping for lots of "weeeeeeeee" moments while the driving bits are going on.. also the "am feeling tank sick"

AD-Stu:

image "Ludicrous Speed is go!"

And now I have to go and watch "SpaceBalls"

Good work so far, I'll be waiting for more (whilst running through my 12th playthru of ME2!)

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