Is this a better Mass Effect 3 ending?

Hello everyone

For those of you who don't know (probably all of you) I am an aspiring video game writer (a greatly vaunted position, I know). To this extent I analyze the plots of different videogames, seeing what the developers did right or wrong and learning from their mistakes. Normally this would seem like cake (this is video game writing we're talking about) until I played Mass Effect 3. I won't go into detail about my negative experience with that game (enough has been said on that), suffice to say I was left wanting. In an effort to get more out of what was almost my favourite video game series (it couldn't topple Final Fantasy) I came up with two additional endings that I wanted to share with you.

NOW NOBODY TURN THIS THREAD INTO A RANT AGAINST THE CURRENT ENDINGS OR RETAKE MASS EFFECT! All I want is your opinion on what I came up with and maybe a logical breakdown of what I have written, pointing out any logical fallacies / out of character behaviour that exists within in it.

Please note that these exist alongside the originally offered ending and are alternate choices for the player. They do not replace Mac Walters' and Casey Hudson's vision of the ending.

Paragon Ending: Conviction
This ending is only unlocked if Shepard saved both the Quarians and Geth, completed both Legion and Tali's loyalty missions and completed the Luna AI side quest in Mass Effect 1.

When offered the three choices by the Catalyst, Shepard takes a paragon persuasion option. They reference the resolution of the Geth/Quarian conflict and how the Hannibal AI is now not only actively assisting organics, but is also romantically involved with one. They offer this as proof that the Catalyst's reasoning is flawed and that the Reapers are unnecessary.

The Catalyst refutes this by pointing out that every set of data has outliers and that the organic/synthetic alliance will dissolve the moment the Reapers are gone. It then reiterates the three Crucible options and demands Shepard choose.

If Shepard had a full Paragon reputation in all three games then they are given one final Paragon persuasion choice: They tell that Catalyst that the cycles have changed the nature of evolution and caused synthetics and organics to unite against their true enemy: the cybernetic Reapers. They assert that the Catalyst's ultimate goal of preventing organic/sythetic conflict has been achieved as neither form of life will attack the other so long as the Reapers exist.

The Catalyst, satisfied that it's directive has been completed, withdraws the Reapers and leaves the Galaxy, though it promises to return if synthetics every attempt to wipe out all organic life. Shepard survives and the fleets recover the survivors from the Citadel.

The epilogue shows Shepard living with their love interest and mourning the ones that died for their victory. An intragalactic Parliament consisting of every species (organic and synthetic) is created to replace the Council. They run the unified galaxy as a democracy and stockpile their weapons technology in anticipation of the Reapers return. If necessary this can be used as a jumping off point for future games. The epilogue finally ends with the star gazer scene.

Renegade Ending: Defiance (aka Fuck You!)
Assuming Shepard completed all of the requirements for Conviction and full EMS but either did not have full paragon or did not choose the final paragon option, then this choice becomes available.

After the Catalyst outlines the Crucible options a second time, Shepard proceeds to say something along the lines of "Fuck this, fuck you and everything you fucking stand for. One way or another these cycles end today!" They then proceed to radio Admiral Hackett, telling him that the Crucible was just a trap set by the Reaper hive mind, located at their position at the base of the Citadel. Shepard orders Hackett to focus the fleet's fire there.

The star child dissolves as explosions tear through the presidium, screaming "SHEPARD!" in it's scary Harbinger voice at the protagonist as the explosions engulf them both. This triggers an series of cutscenes similar to what appear in the actual endings. The exceptions being that the explosion is gold (Harbinger's colour)and the relay's aren't destroyed. As the gold light washes over the Reapers, the destroyed Catalyst's control over them is broken. The Reapers and husks then begin to both violently attack each other and mount a disorganized retreat while the fleets and armies pelt them with fire. Similar circumstances happen on planets around the galaxy. The few surviving Reapers either commit suicide by flying into stars/black holes or they leave the galaxy.

Shepard and most of the survivors on the Citadel die in this ending and the epilogue shows the Normand crew as well as the entire galaxy giving them a giant funeral. One of the characters suggests that the Reapers' final actions were a result of gaining independence from the Catalyst and deciding to fight against the beings that enslaved/destroyed them, namely their fellow Reapers. Those that committed committed suicide were horrified by both their actions and what they had become.

The united races establish an intragalactic Parliament consisting of members from every species, organic and synthetic, that rules the galaxy as a democracy. Outside of their meeting room is a giant statue of Shepard, the human who united them all and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that they could live. The game finally ends with the star gazer scene.(The surviving Reapers can be used as a jumping off point for a future sequel, such as them discovering an even more monstrous threat in another galaxy)

So what do you guys think? I know the suggested dialogue is cheezy (I'm still learning) and Hackett taking orders from Shepard might seem out of place (though Shepard did lead the fleet into battle) but I think I managed to keep it fairly consistent with the ME universe and didn't destroy any characters to do it.

So... Feedback anyone?

Well I'll start this on a note that may cause you to just disregard my opinion immediately :)

I liked the original ending (haven't touched the Extended Cut).

I don't mind your paragon ending. It makes sense that Shepard should have the option to convince the robits that destroying everyone is kind of a shitty thing to do considering you have a couple instances of proof that their logic is flawed. It's kind of (really) cheesy but it's not the worst ending in the world. I still prefer the game's ending over your paragon one though...

The renegade option I really don't like. The entire point of the third game (and to a lesser extent, 1&2) is that you CAN'T win a conventional war against the reapers. You are out-gunned, out-numbered, and completely out-matched. You can not win in a fist fight against the Reapers. It is drilled into your head the moment you find out about the mechanical monsters that are The Reapers.

Holy shit...here i was thinking i was the only person to realize that if they wanted to defeat the reapers in the refusal style ending then just blow up the citadel. I mean it's basically the reaper control hub, so naturally i don't know why it never clicked with Bioware to have Shepard call in a bombardment. Hell, i even made a paragon AND renegade ending based around that sole concept....although i admit mine is in desperate need of a rewrite or two and likely an editor: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.401646-BioWare-Says-Farewell-With-Mass-Effect-3-Citadel-and-Reckoning?page=6#16583897

OT: I think it's good, only thing i didn't like about the defiance ending is the gold light: I always forsaw it as being the Reapers just kind of keel over as they did in destroy or stop working, falling over or just collapsing on themselves while the husks just die. I didn't see it as grand, i saw it as flicking the off switch on a robot.

tippy2k2:
Well I'll start this on a note that may cause you to just disregard my opinion immediately :)

I liked the original ending (haven't touched the Extended Cut).

I don't mind your paragon ending. It makes sense that Shepard should have the option to convince the robits that destroying everyone is kind of a shitty thing to do considering you have a couple instances of proof that their logic is flawed. It's kind of (really) cheesy but it's not the worst ending in the world.

The renegade option I really don't like. The entire point of the third game (and to a lesser extent, 1&2) is that you CAN'T win a conventional war against the reapers. You are out-gunned, out-numbered, and completely out-matched. You can not win in a fist fight against the Reapers. It is drilled into your head the moment you find out about the mechanical monsters that are The Reapers.

Well, in a way it's not a conventional war in the renegade ending, it's literally a case of "ATTACK THE WEAK POINT WITH EVERYTHING WE'VE GOT!". I do agree direct ship to ship warfare would be damned near impossible without mass casualties. Even if the galactic races won, the casualties would be so great that i doubt recovery would be possible.
However, the Citadel is basically the central control center in a way and the home of the A.I that basically runs the reapers. So take out the control center, and all you're left with is a whole lot of metal husks containing slurpified remains of other races.

In the case that it didn't kill the reapers or shut them down, it would undoubtedly be a big blow against them to destroy the hive-mind.

Infernai:
snip

I suppose but I never saw The Citadel like that (maybe I'm wrong and didn't pay enough attention). This isn't The Reapers first time murdering everything in sight so I can't imagine that they would have that as the ONLY spot where their super AI controller lives.

Best case: That is the only spot and now you just have a bunch of mindless robots murdering everything (though I suppose you could tweak the story earlier in the game to make sure it's obvious that blowing this place up would shut everything down...). Although a robot murder spree might be kind of cool :)

Worst case: Star Child is uploaded from Mega-Upload back to the Reaper main-frame and no longer gives you a peaceful option...

Eh. I'm still not a big fan of these endings (though again, I really liked the original endings so I'm sure I'm in the minority here). I still think the Paragon ending is too...cliche? (cliche might be the word but I'm not sure so I'll go with it). I don't think the Renegade option makes sense (but again, that could be fixed pretty easily in-game though).

tippy2k2:
Well I'll start this on a note that may cause you to just disregard my opinion immediately :)

I liked the original ending (haven't touched the Extended Cut).

I don't mind your paragon ending. It makes sense that Shepard should have the option to convince the robits that destroying everyone is kind of a shitty thing to do considering you have a couple instances of proof that their logic is flawed. It's kind of (really) cheesy but it's not the worst ending in the world. I still prefer the game's ending over your paragon one though...

The renegade option I really don't like. The entire point of the third game (and to a lesser extent, 1&2) is that you CAN'T win a conventional war against the reapers. You are out-gunned, out-numbered, and completely out-matched. You can not win in a fist fight against the Reapers. It is drilled into your head the moment you find out about the mechanical monsters that are The Reapers.

To start with: I don't mind that you enjoy the original endings, that's your right. Personally I don't like them or the Extended cut though I do love a lot of bad movies (like the star wars prequels) that everyone else hates. My problem is that when I really love something I analyze it on a borderline cellular level which, in the case of Mass Effect 3, causes the whole thing to collapse like a burning house of cards. Really the only lasting good parts of the game (for me at least) are the Rannoch, Tuchanka and Grissom Academy levels, as well as the atmosphere. Everything else is just so much meh, though the gameplay was solid.

About the Reapers though, the only reason the game repeatedly bangs you over the head with "we can't defeat the Reapers conventionally!" is to justify everyone's irrational desire to rely on the farce that is the Crucible (I can go into more detail with that if you want) and set up the final choice. ME1 actually implies that you can beat the Reapers conventionally as their strategy has always been to show up at the Citadel, decapitate the Galactic military and government, shut down the Relays, only opening them to let their own troops through and slowly exterminating everyone without facing a united galactic war effort like they are in 3.

As for 2, well they aren't really in it, but when you wipe out their entire slave army with just 12 people (10 without DLC), kill one with just 3 people and stop them AGAIN in arrival, you get the feeling that they're more fallible then they claim.

In 3 your killing them left right and centre, to the point where it causes a fair bit of whiplash when you can't just win on your own. One of these ultimate life forms got taken down a worm, you one-hit-KO another with the Cain, and the one on Rannoch dies after a few hits to the giant glowing weak spot (and no it was not the entire Quarian fleet that did that, it went down after eight shots not 50,000). There's also the potential in this scenario that you actually outnumber and outgun the Reapers during the final battle for Earth, especially if you have the Leviathan DLC which gives you the power to kill Reapers by thinking about it.

One last thing, would you mind telling me what about the original endings you like? I'm trying to learn from the good as well as the bad.

tippy2k2:

Infernai:
snip

Best case: That is the only spot and now you just have a bunch of mindless robots murdering everything (though I suppose you could tweak the story earlier in the game to make sure it's obvious that blowing this place up would shut everything down...). Although a robot murder spree might be kind of cool :)

I actually explain in the Renegade ending why a mindless robot murder spree doesn't happen.

Infernai:
Holy shit...here i was thinking i was the only person to realize that if they wanted to defeat the reapers in the refusal style ending then just blow up the citadel. I mean it's basically the reaper control hub, so naturally i don't know why it never clicked with Bioware to have Shepard call in a bombardment. Hell, i even made a paragon AND renegade ending based around that sole concept....although i admit mine is in desperate need of a rewrite or two and likely an editor: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.401646-BioWare-Says-Farewell-With-Mass-Effect-3-Citadel-and-Reckoning?page=6#16583897

I read over your script and it's not bad (at least from my perspective at 2:40 am). They only thing I'd change is a line near the end where Shepard says "That's for us to fix". Personally, I'd put "Did you ever think that just because you rebelled against your creators doesn't mean every synthetic has to?" instead.

PS. I love your avatar, Berserk is one of my favourite manga.

The game is terrible anyway, so it doesn't matter.
Javik was the only good part of that game.

Austin Manning:

Paragon Ending: Conviction
This ending is only unlocked if Shepard saved both the Quarians and Geth, completed both Legion and Tali's loyalty missions and completed the Luna AI side quest in Mass Effect 1.

When offered the three choices by the Catalyst, Shepard takes a paragon persuasion option. They reference the resolution of the Geth/Quarian conflict and how the Hannibal AI is now not only actively assisting organics, but is also romantically involved with one. They offer this as proof that the Catalyst's reasoning is flawed and that the Reapers are unnecessary.

The Catalyst refutes this by pointing out that every set of data has outliers and that the organic/synthetic alliance will dissolve the moment the Reapers are gone. It then reiterates the three Crucible options and demands Shepard choose.

If Shepard had a full Paragon reputation in all three games then they are given one final Paragon persuasion choice: They tell that Catalyst that the cycles have changed the nature of evolution and caused synthetics and organics to unite against their true enemy: the cybernetic Reapers. They assert that the Catalyst's ultimate goal of preventing organic/sythetic conflict has been achieved as neither form of life will attack the other so long as the Reapers exist.

The Catalyst, satisfied that it's directive has been completed, withdraws the Reapers and leaves the Galaxy, though it promises to return if synthetics every attempt to wipe out all organic life. Shepard survives and the fleets recover the survivors from the Citadel.

The epilogue shows Shepard living with their love interest and mourning the ones that died for their victory. An intragalactic Parliament consisting of every species (organic and synthetic) is created to replace the Council. They run the unified galaxy as a democracy and stockpile their weapons technology in anticipation of the Reapers return. If necessary this can be used as a jumping off point for future games. The epilogue finally ends with the star gazer scene.

Interesting ending, however there are a few plot details that you seem to have glazed over. For one, just because the Reapers stop attacking, doesn't mean we would not. Another thing, the ghost child thingy would not be convinced by the reasoning as the unity between the Geth and Quarian/EDI and Joker is simply not enough considering how long the Reapers have been Reaping the galaxy. The ghost child would also come to the conclusion that the Reapers HAVE to be there for unity between Synthetic and Organics and would continue the cycle as is. If they leave, we no longer have a common enemy, and soon there would likely be tension between the two, thus why would the Reapers leave this cycle for any longer if the likelihood of Synthetic vs Organic would be too high.

Austin Manning:

Renegade Ending: Defiance (aka Fuck You!)
Assuming Shepard completed all of the requirements for Conviction and full EMS but either did not have full paragon or did not choose the final paragon option, then this choice becomes available.

After the Catalyst outlines the Crucible options a second time, Shepard proceeds to say something along the lines of "Fuck this, fuck you and everything you fucking stand for. One way or another these cycles end today!" They then proceed to radio Admiral Hackett, telling him that the Crucible was just a trap set by the Reaper hive mind, located at their position at the base of the Citadel. Shepard orders Hackett to focus the fleet's fire there.

The star child dissolves as explosions tear through the presidium, screaming "SHEPARD!" in it's scary Harbinger voice at the protagonist as the explosions engulf them both. This triggers an series of cutscenes similar to what appear in the actual endings. The exceptions being that the explosion is gold (Harbinger's colour)and the relay's aren't destroyed. As the gold light washes over the Reapers, the destroyed Catalyst's control over them is broken. The Reapers and husks then begin to both violently attack each other and mount a disorganized retreat while the fleets and armies pelt them with fire. Similar circumstances happen on planets around the galaxy. The few surviving Reapers either commit suicide by flying into stars/black holes or they leave the galaxy.

Shepard and most of the survivors on the Citadel die in this ending and the epilogue shows the Normandy crew as well as the entire galaxy giving them a giant funeral. One of the characters suggests that the Reapers' final actions were a result of gaining independence from the Catalyst and deciding to fight against the beings that enslaved/destroyed them, namely their fellow Reapers. Those that committed committed suicide were horrified by both their actions and what they had become.

The united races establish an intragalactic Parliament consisting of members from every species, organic and synthetic, that rules the galaxy as a democracy. Outside of their meeting room is a giant statue of Shepard, the human who united them all and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that they could live. The game finally ends with the star gazer scene.(The surviving Reapers can be used as a jumping off point for a future sequel, such as them discovering an even more monstrous threat in another galaxy)

So what do you guys think? I know the suggested dialogue is cheezy (I'm still learning) and Hackett taking orders from Shepard might seem out of place (though Shepard did lead the fleet into battle) but I think I managed to keep it fairly consistent with the ME universe and didn't destroy any characters to do it.

So... Feedback anyone?

This one I find less interesting. The dialogue does not fit Renegade Shepard at all (I don't think we ever hear Shepard say fuck), he would sound pissed for sure, but I can't Shep throwing the F-bomb around like it's a tennis ball. Also, all 3 endings that we have now destroy the Citadel, so basing this on the in-game universe's precedent having Hackett fire on the Citadel would likely just cause the Destroy ending to occur, but as in the BAD destroy ending (As the more damaged the Citadel is, the less effective the radiation EMP thing is). They're not bad fan fic endings, but you need to go in depth more and make sure that your endings would gel with what we have (As your endings technically are extensions if players did well in previous games and the original endings are still present).

Personally, I'll stick to the Original endings. I prefer them, and I'm happy with how the game ended.

Austin Manning:

Paragon Ending: Conviction
This ending is only unlocked if Shepard saved both the Quarians and Geth, completed both Legion and Tali's loyalty missions and completed the Luna AI side quest in Mass Effect 1.

When offered the three choices by the Catalyst, Shepard takes a paragon persuasion option. They reference the resolution of the Geth/Quarian conflict and how the Hannibal AI is now not only actively assisting organics, but is also romantically involved with one. They offer this as proof that the Catalyst's reasoning is flawed and that the Reapers are unnecessary.

The Catalyst refutes this by pointing out that every set of data has outliers and that the organic/synthetic alliance will dissolve the moment the Reapers are gone. It then reiterates the three Crucible options and demands Shepard choose.

My memories might betray me here, but can't you mention the peaceful resolution of the Geth-Quarian conflict? Even if not, would adding 2-3 lines of dialogue fundamentally change the endings?
Either way, it wouldn't proof anything to the VI. Just because there's one instance where organics and synthetics live peacefully together doesn't have any bearing on the probability of future conflicts.

Either way, I don't know if simply talking the reapers into surrender by superior reasoning would feel very satisfying to many. In the original endings, that the VI lets you, one puny human, decide the fate of the reapers and the galaxy for some contrived reasons is what bugged many people, and I don't think this would be a big improvement here.

As for your renegade ending, you would need to convincingly explain why destroying the Citadel would actually result in the results you outline. You would need to explain that the VI doesn't regard trying to destroy it as the ultimate act of aggression, and orders the reapers to proceed, as last command if you wish. You would also need to explain that the reapers are so unautonomous that everything breaks down when the central VI breaks down. Or that the VI is unable to transfer itself - at least the most rudimentary functions - into the reapers computing units.

Also, I don't think the final ending choice should be so heavily dependent on a number of individual choices you made over the course of the three games. The consequences of the individual choices are not always clear throughout the game (nor should they!), and withholding one ending just because you didn't make all the "right" choices does not seem like a good move. There's also the issue that what one personally considers as "good" or "noble" course of action is not always the same as what the game coins "paragon". I would have been mad if I was, say, not able to choose destroy because I was a paragon Shepard, but the game considers Destroy as renegade option.

So, all in all, while I don't think you did a bad job with your endings, I think I too stick to the original ones. Which I quite liked. For all their flaws I still think there's more to them than some people realize.

Austin Manning:
To start with: I don't mind that you enjoy the original endings, that's your right. Personally I don't like them or the Extended cut though I do love a lot of bad movies (like the star wars prequels) that everyone else hates. My problem is that when I really love something I analyze it on a borderline cellular level which, in the case of Mass Effect 3, causes the whole thing to collapse like a burning house of cards. Really the only lasting good parts of the game (for me at least) are the Rannoch, Tuchanka and Grissom Academy levels, as well as the atmosphere. Everything else is just so much meh, though the gameplay was solid.

About the Reapers though, the only reason the game repeatedly bangs you over the head with "we can't defeat the Reapers conventionally!" is to justify everyone's irrational desire to rely on the farce that is the Crucible (I can go into more detail with that if you want) and set up the final choice. ME1 actually implies that you can beat the Reapers conventionally as their strategy has always been to show up at the Citadel, decapitate the Galactic military and government, shut down the Relays, only opening them to let their own troops through and slowly exterminating everyone without facing a united galactic war effort like they are in 3.

As for 2, well they aren't really in it, but when you wipe out their entire slave army with just 12 people (10 without DLC), kill one with just 3 people and stop them AGAIN in arrival, you get the feeling that they're more fallible then they claim.

In 3 your killing them left right and centre, to the point where it causes a fair bit of whiplash when you can't just win on your own. One of these ultimate life forms got taken down a worm, you one-hit-KO another with the Cain, and the one on Rannoch dies after a few hits to the giant glowing weak spot (and no it was not the entire Quarian fleet that did that, it went down after eight shots not 50,000). There's also the potential in this scenario that you actually outnumber and outgun the Reapers during the final battle for Earth, especially if you have the Leviathan DLC which gives you the power to kill Reapers by thinking about it.

One last thing, would you mind telling me what about the original endings you like? I'm trying to learn from the good as well as the bad.

Your squad seems to be the only ones who can actually fight against the Reapers thanks to their Plot Armor but it felt pretty clear that everyone else was getting their asses handed to them by the Reaper threat. I suppose you could say that your squad demonstrates that the Reapers are not all powerful but I think that's just the fact that having them kick your ass every time you run into them would make a bad game. It's the same reason why you can single handedly destroy the entire middle-eastern army in a Call of Duty game...

As to why I liked the ending, I will gladly let you know why I liked it but it probably won't help you much. It's a post I did a while ago but it mainly talks about the themes and the "artisticness" of the games; an argument that a lot of people have called copping out and whatnot :)

I don't know how helpful I've been in your writing but I hope it was at least a little.

The paradon ending described is interesting. I like the Reapers-as-detterent angle, although it's predicated on the Reapers making a decision rather than simply repeating the cycle.

Saying that, as a paragon, my Shepard would still have destroyed the reapers outright, as well as the Geth and further, making sure Joker and EDI were never a thing. I never really "forgave" the Geth for following Saren in the first game and even Legion wasn't enough to change that. Synthetic life (and in Joker's case, a sexbot) is as bad an idea to me as the game suggests. I actually found it a little creepy that the game plays Joker/EDI's relationship so casually and makes the "nice" response the "Sure, go for it" option rather than the "Seriously dude, she's a fu****g machine" option.

the paragon ending seemed to go the watchmen route at first but turned out okayish to as bad as before.

tthe renegade option doesnt make much sense.
why are they committing suicide and why are they attacking each other?

sorry, but no. there are more things flawed with mass effects storyline than just the ending alone.

@KingsGambit I don't think that their relationship was that creepy. To me it felt that the relationship stressed how AI can be just as human as us. EDI was learning how to be a real person, which was shown through her questions as the game went along. Because of Joker's brittle bone disease it's not like the relationship will be physical.

I really love OP's ideas on fate over choice. I think rather than the FU! ending, Shepard could somehow consume or integrate with the Star Child. Since he's been rebuilt and upgraded with cybernetics, a few lines of dialogue between Miranda and the Illusive Man could have referenced how a small computer was added to counterbalance some brain damage they couldn't fix completely. If he could consume Star Child and then kill himself he would end the Hive Mind and keep the Citadel intact, not causing the destroy option accidentally.

As indifferent as I was toward Mass Effect 3's ending (if only because I personally pretend it's non-canon) I personally like those endings you brought up. I'd go as far to say I'd like Bioware to look at those endings and to give their response.

But from what I gather, Bioware is done with Shepard's story in Mass Effect, so I doubt a change to the story is gonna happen.

On the other hand, I doubt they'll use that sort of ending they gave ME3 in future games, so if nothing else, here's my advice to all Bioware fans;

Pray that Bioware doesn't have a similar ending planned for Dragon Age III.

tippy2k2:
The renegade option I really don't like. The entire point of the third game (and to a lesser extent, 1&2) is that you CAN'T win a conventional war against the reapers. You are out-gunned, out-numbered, and completely out-matched. You can not win in a fist fight against the Reapers. It is drilled into your head the moment you find out about the mechanical monsters that are The Reapers.

Actually, if you read the codex the war seems quite winnable. Small reapers can be taken down by cruisers. (Normandy 2 is a cruiser for reference) Boss Reapers cannot turn effectively in combat due to their scale, and as such are vulnerable to flanking tactics. Reapers have impressive barriers, but Thanix weaponry are more about heat than force, and therefore are unaffected by barriers. (Most fighters have Thanix weaponry.)

As to the OP:
I like both the endings moreso than the options the game presented us, but the problem is they're still based on the bullshit with the starchild and his backwards logic about robot apocalypses requiring the reapers to kill everyone so they won't be killed by synthetics.
In the "Fuck You" ending, they would need to destroy the Citadel, not the Crucible, and that would probably mess up the relay network as the citadel controls the relay network.

Souplex:
Actually, if you read the codex the war seems quite winnable. Small reapers can be taken down by cruisers. (Normandy 2 is a cruiser for reference) Boss Reapers cannot turn effectively in combat due to their scale, and as such are vulnerable to flanking tactics. Reapers have impressive barriers, but Thanix weaponry are more about heat than force, and therefore are unaffected by barriers. (Most fighters have Thanix weaponry.)

Well in a straight up fight, the humans can win in a one-on-one. However, I thought that the main threat of The Reapers isn't just their power but the sheer numbers. They're like Zerglings with the technical powers of the Protoss.

Now granted, I generally don't read the Codex so maybe there is more info in there that over-rides the information the game gives you.

tippy2k2:

Souplex:
Actually, if you read the codex the war seems quite winnable. Small reapers can be taken down by cruisers. (Normandy 2 is a cruiser for reference) Boss Reapers cannot turn effectively in combat due to their scale, and as such are vulnerable to flanking tactics. Reapers have impressive barriers, but Thanix weaponry are more about heat than force, and therefore are unaffected by barriers. (Most fighters have Thanix weaponry.)

Well in a straight up fight, the humans can win in a one-on-one. However, I thought that the main threat of The Reapers isn't just their power but the sheer numbers. They're like Zerglings with the technical powers of the Protoss.

Now granted, I generally don't read the Codex so maybe there is more info in there that over-rides the information the game gives you.

The reaper's numbers aren't that big there's a few thousand of them at most, not the unlimited numbers some people like to believe.

I think victory depending on one certain mission isn't a great idea.
I didn't mind the ending a whole deal, playing as I type.
In my eyes the ending wasn't the bad thing that needed to be changed, it was that all your decisions through the series didn't appear as anything other than names on a list of war assets. If, say the rachni helped if you saved them, and if not you have to do an extra thing, that would be your decisions coming through in gameplay. I would have liked that.

the hidden eagle:
The reaper's numbers aren't that big there's a few thousand of them at most, not the unlimited numbers some people like to believe.

I cannot think of the term right now to save my life but I'm sure once I describe it, someone here will be able to tell me what I'm thinking of...

It seemed to me that even if we were to somehow win the war on Reapers, we would be SO decimated that we would end up losing anyway. There is a certain term for it when you win the war but your side is so destroyed that you both end up dying anyway but I just can't think of it...

Throughout Mass Effect 3, they made it pretty clear that what you were doing was more or less THE last stand. Every planet that went up against The Reapers was absolutely decimated and only a handful were able to hold off (not win; just not have everyone die).

That's why I'm not a big fan of his Renegade ending. There are story changes that you could make so that it DOES work but to replace that ending with the original I don't think would work.

tippy2k2:

the hidden eagle:
The reaper's numbers aren't that big there's a few thousand of them at most, not the unlimited numbers some people like to believe.

I cannot think of the term right now to save my life but I'm sure once I describe it, someone here will be able to tell me what I'm thinking of...

It seemed to me that even if we were to somehow win the war on Reapers, we would be SO decimated that we would end up losing anyway. There is a certain term for it when you win the war but your side is so destroyed that you both end up dying anyway but I just can't think of it...

Throughout Mass Effect 3, they made it pretty clear that what you were doing was more or less THE last stand. Every planet that went up against The Reapers was absolutely decimated and only a handful were able to hold off (not win; just not have everyone die).

That's why I'm not a big fan of his Renegade ending. There are story changes that you could make so that it DOES work but to replace that ending with the original I don't think would work.

I believe the term you're thinking of is pyrrhic victory where the winning side of the battle takes so many losses that they lose anyway.

the hidden eagle:
I believe the term you're thinking of is pyrrhic victory where the winning side of the battle takes so many losses that they lose anyway.

YES! Thank you!

That's been driving me nuts. I spent about ten minutes before posting trying to Google the answer or figure it out :)

Austin Manning:

So... Feedback anyone?

Yeah.

Remove the Catalyst

Everything that began to go wrong started with the catalyst. In fact, remove there ever being a "decider" because this would need an explanation for what we "cannot comprehend" and some grandiose solution which is apparently beyond our means of control. Keep it simple. A labyrinthine ending does not make it a good ending.

What about the Leviathans? They kicked some serious reaper arse. Hell, they mind controlled a brute and brought down a reaper ship with just a thought. They could win the war themselves.

In all honestly, ME3 cannot be fixed, ME itself cannot be fixed. It needs re-writing, stuff from ME1 could be salvaged.

Meh, I don't like them. They just don't feel right. Paragon seems like too much of a cop out, like if Return of the Jedi had ended with Luke convincing the Emperor to abandon the Dark Side. It just doesn't yield the same catharsis as giving the big bad his comeuppance. Renegade I like a little better in principle but I dislike the execution. Destroying the Catalyst holds great potential for bringing the series full circle, harkening back to the defeat of Sovereign being enabled by the destruction of his avatar in ME1. Executed along similar lines (destroy the avatar of their collective consciousness, Reapers go inert at least temporarily, allowing the Victory Fleet to overwhelm them in that window of opportunity), the idea could have worked very well. Having them commit suicide just makes it feel like less of an accomplishment than ME1 did.

Splitzi:
@KingsGambit I don't think that their relationship was that creepy. To me it felt that the relationship stressed how AI can be just as human as us. EDI was learning how to be a real person, which was shown through her questions as the game went along. Because of Joker's brittle bone disease it's not like the relationship will be physical.

Try going down to the med bay while Mordin is on the ship.

They're not bad. I didn't particularly mind the endings as they were, but I think yours would fit in nicely with them. I like your paragon ending because it seems like a less extreme version of synthesis, which is a nice reward for players who managed to have the best result for everything. I also like the renegade ending in place of the refusal ending. It's a tragic end to it all, but it's fitting. Overall, well done! Best of luck to you in the video game writing!

tippy2k2:
[quote="Austin Manning" post="9.404651.16769146"]

As to why I liked the ending, I will gladly let you know why I liked it but it probably won't help you much. It's a post I did a while ago but it mainly talks about the themes and the "artisticness" of the games; an argument that a lot of people have called copping out and whatnot :)

I don't know how helpful I've been in your writing but I hope it was at least a little.

Well said! I totally agree with your assessment. I also liked the endings and thought they worked well. Your explanation of the Star Child's logic is spot on. I've never really understood why people so vehemently point out that his logic is flawed. Of course it is. I would be worried if it wasn't. A being who determined the only solution was to wipe out organic life every so often had better have some very flawed logic.

I would go even further though. On a personal level, the choices that were presented to us made sense. Shepard's half dead (I had been playing for quite some time and was feeling his pain) and presented with three basic choices. He's in no state of mind to engage in a philosophical debate with the kid. I assessed his options, figured if he had an issue with organics and machines, then synthesis it is! The entire series had been set up like this. You're in a bad situation, here's your choices, pick one. I'm not sure how we came to expect so much from the final choice. But that's just me.

I also thought ME3 did a nice job of bringing our choices together. I didn't realize this until I compared play throughs with my brother. While I was in the hospital checking on Ashley and trying to decide who to choose, Ashley or Miranda (Ultimately went with Miranda), my brother was in the hospital telling Kaiden off and kicking him off his ship. While I was lamenting the fact I had to choose the Quarians or the Geth, His Shepard had saved both.

Sorry, for the rambling there. I was excited to see someone else say they didn't have a big issue with the endings. We should start a club. The clubhouse wouldn't even need to be that big! The point is, I liked the endings and for me it was a satisfying and fulfilling game.

rhizhim:

the paragon ending seemed to go the watchmen route at first but turned out okayish to as bad as before.

tthe renegade option doesnt make much sense.
why are they committing suicide and why are they attacking each other?

sorry, but no. there are more things flawed with mass effects storyline than just the ending alone.

The reasoning why (as I explained in the ending) was that without the catalyst bending the Reapers to its will, they could act for themselves. Now imagine for the first time in thousands of years, you wake up, in a heavily armoured space craft, surrounded by the monsters that burned your civilization, killed your friends and family while they enslaved you. I'm not sure what your reaction would be in that situation, but mine would be to open fire on them.

The idea behind some of them committing suicide is that they are horrified but what they have both become and done, so they choose to not live as giant eldritch abominations anymore.

tippy2k2:
Well I'll start this on a note that may cause you to just disregard my opinion immediately :)

I liked the original ending (haven't touched the Extended Cut).

I don't mind your paragon ending. It makes sense that Shepard should have the option to convince the robits that destroying everyone is kind of a shitty thing to do considering you have a couple instances of proof that their logic is flawed. It's kind of (really) cheesy but it's not the worst ending in the world. I still prefer the game's ending over your paragon one though...

The renegade option I really don't like. The entire point of the third game (and to a lesser extent, 1&2) is that you CAN'T win a conventional war against the reapers. You are out-gunned, out-numbered, and completely out-matched. You can not win in a fist fight against the Reapers. It is drilled into your head the moment you find out about the mechanical monsters that are The Reapers.

Actually, I'm going to correct you on something. Being unable to win a conventional war against The Reapers is false by the game concepts. This is one of the reasons why the ending sucks, and plays havoc with the rest of the game and accumulating assets and such. They mostly tried to use this arguement to justify game mechanics while putting the storyline and lore on the other side of a wall.

To explain: If you've paid attention up until this point the Reapers blew it big time, their own technology is being salvaged and assimilated, and their entire plan of controlling technological development so as to know what they will be facing has also failed. If you read some of the things your recovering, using, building, etc... through your successes by the time the battle for earth comes about you should see alliance ships carrying things like singularity weapons, not to mention being largely armed and re-armed with the same kinds of weapons that The Reapers themselves are using. The singularity missles alone (seriously, read your war assets) would have changed the entire final battle on their own.

It should be noted that a big part of the rage over this ending is that Bioware made promises about what the ending would involve, which they failed to meet. It was also revealed via their own words put out in an app that they hadn't decided on an ending until the product was nearly done, and their desicians were largely made for purposes of franchise potential. Basically they did not want to answer the questions in the series as promised so they could stretch that material out into future games (for example), and the ending was apparent the result of a suggestion by an adolescent european fanboy whose letter got taped to the office door of one of the lead writers to act as guidelines. All of this came out after the fact.

Ideally the way the game should have ended was to have the success or failure of the final battle largely influanced by your war assets. Basically if you've got a lot of the crap the game says you have, there is no way The Reapers should have been doing that much damage at that point. Granted the Normandy is a scout ship, but when you have all the cruisers, dreadnaughts, etc... showing up which are supposed to be armed with the same stuff the Reapers have now, along with a few toys that they don't, this should have hardly been one sided.

To answer the OP had *I* been doing the ending, I would have re-done the entire ending sequence. I would have shown most of the same stuff, but depending on your asset ratings, I would have included additional scenes of The Reapers taking hideous losses themselves instead of just allied ships being ripped apart. I would have set up the ground assault so things changed a bit in terms of odds depending on how well you succeeded. Basically if you've got max assets you should see more allied troops out there with you kicking butt, more optimistic chatter, and perhaps some friendly traffic from specific story allies making reports (or being seen fighting somewhere) if they entered the battle. rather than just a farewell holo message at the most.

For the final sequence the condition of the reaper making a move for the link should be indicative of the assets, if you've got max resourced for example, it's final move (sitting on the gate) should come accross more as a desperation gambit than anything.

The entire final confrontation with The Illusive Man/Star Child should be scrapped. Arriving on The Citadel should be another entire map, with an internal battle dictated like the other ones with the scene dressing indicative of the strength of your forces, specially seeing as a decent portion of the game's asset collection had to do with citadel security and defenses. If you have a huge amount of security on The Citadel the place should be a warzone with The Reapers barely holding onto the nessicary key areas and Shepard showing up to turn the tide, with thigns getting progressively more grim, the less you have. I mean honestly, in personal ground combat The Reapers were never quite THAT tough as they have been getting their ground forces hammered with regular personal weapons through the whole thing. If you've managed to keep the entire SPECTRE corps active and in the game (war assets) they alone would be really be ruining The Reaper's day, because this is their central HQs, and your dealing with what are conceptually some of the most powerful beings in the galaxy when it comes to personal combat, and they both knew what The Citadal was at this point, and were ready. Add armed civilian defense forces, Asari commando units, and other assorted things... and yeah, you could see how The Reapers might be only dragging The Citadel along under incredible duress and having to fight off a siege on the control circuits.

For the final confrontation, I think a more straightforward boss fight would have been in order, and honestly there was never supposed to be an AB or C choice. The entire sequence should be your ending, as the things you do influance the ending. At the end when you stop The Reapers it should largely come down to what's left of the galaxy. Perhaps a lengthy "Fallout" type epilogue, explaining what happens to major characters and as the results of things Shepard did as a result of saved desicians from previous games.

That's my thoughts at any rate, and honestly the impression I got was that this was more along the lines of the ending sequence people expected, not some trippy glowing space child saying "lol, thanks for buying Mass Effect 3 and wasting all that money... now choose your suck".

 

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