Disclaimers: 1) This is going to be long. Very, very, very long. 2) Most (if not all) of this represents my opinions (and only mine) (you can still agree with some of it). 3) Most of this is about what the ending should be (after the EC) with high (close to perfect EMS). 4) This might contain some curse words (not directed at anyone). 5) This will not get into who is to blame for the current situation or why we are (were) in it atm. 6) This assumes the Indoctrination Theory isn’t what happened (or what will happen) and that that is possibly a good thing. 7) Might contain some typos and grammatical problems and semi walls of text. 8) This might get edited (a lot)=> bookmarking it (not that I expect huge feedback or agreement, one can hope though) = possibly bad idea. 9) This is also posted as a blog entry (here on HTL) (I hope that isn't against rules). http://www.holdtheline.com/entries/how-why-the-extended-cut-might-just-cut-it.50/ 10) This contains some external links that I don't take any credit for. 11) I am not Erik Kain and not trying to pass off as/imitate (that might be obvious from my avatar and other things, mostly different views on the announced Extended Cut DLC, but I don’t like leaving it open for discussion). 12) Sorry for unintentional thread naming fail, this is my opinion so it can't be objective (got the terms a little mixed up). If anyone (moderators) can delete the () part of the thread title to avoid confusion it would be great (but it's not that big of an issue). Misc: when you read “will fix” think of it as “I hope will be done properly “ and “should fix” as “I would love for it to do this as well” (all referring to the Extended Cut DLC =EC). I) Why is the ending we got bad? 1) You don’t see the outcome of major choices (well, of any choice actually) from before. Not to be read as “I want the rachni queen that I saved to matter and without it the Crucible gets damaged and fails and I want this in a cinematic or integrated in game play”. That would be irrational: so you saved the last reproductive being from a species, it’s hurt, it did reproduce some more (her children help on the crucible so it matters in a way even for the ending) but not that much. I don’t think she would risk death and extinction of her race by engaging the reapers. Some cinematic with a few rachni kids taking down a reaper somewhere and/or arriving with the fleet would be great (EC should fix this). The problem is it’s left out completely. EC WILL fix this whole problem 1). I think it should fix it like this: If the normal rachni queen is alive AFTER the ending choice of Shepard (getting to those later) you see (or read but they did say cinematics) that the innate communication method of the rachni across light years was used to keep everything together after the relays blow up. Speeding up the process of fixing/replacing the relays and so preventing everyone in the Sol system to die (more about that later) or fight each other, maybe even get news of Wrex being alive to Tuchanka and preventing rebellions and war between Krogans and Salarians etc etc. (This is that personalization of the outcome they promised with the EC and it doesn’t stop at the rachni, I probably won't write here about how curing the genophage changes things, I want to see their version not make up stuff in detail right now). Also: ending needs more krogan riding into battle on kaklisaurs cinematic at some point during the final mission. 2) Plot holes 2.1 The whole thing with Anderson talking about a moving room and him getting before you to the console is executed poorly. EC should fix this by making the whole thing clearly rotate or just get Anderson inside first somehow. 2.2 The relays not destroying the star systems (they do not) should be made clear. If you have low EMS you see everyone and everything on earth vaporized so in that case you can assume the energy wave does kill A LOOOOOT of people but doesn’t annihilate planets. In any case that is your fault. Low EMS ending can also keep the Normandy running and stranded thing because it can be explained just fine. When you see a wave vaporizing everything originating next to where Shepard probably is you don’t assume he is alive, you get the hell away from it to save yourself and the people you care about that are still alive (EDI running to save Joker and the crew). Running with FTL not relay jump, and with the intention to go back perhaps. Even Destroy with high EMS can have EDI running to save herself (If she can somehow find out the wave kills reaper code and the wave wanes on power over long distances). Depending on what you told her about her self adjusting programming questions. The Arrival incident = explosion of the entire eezo core by fore. This = concentrated initial release (but still damaging to the relay structure) followed by a mass effect of the remaining eezo to other relays until at the last one it would be shot outside of the galaxy to prevent Arrival type explosion in that last relay. 2.3 The Illusive Man. It needs to be make more clear why he is there even if the general idea is the same (he’s indoctrinated, thinks he can control them so he went there). Maybe it’s just better to have the reapers move the Citadel just because they want to make a human reaper 1st. What I would love to see here is this: If you saved the collector base he had time to study it and found a way to block the reaper signal so he isn’t indoctrinated anymore, AT ALL. It wouldn’t hurt to add somewhere in the game some line that shows he had to torture and kill and huskify LESS people to get what he wanted because he had more data to work with. What this leads to is possible additional ending along the same lines (artistic integrity or not, I’m getting to why the general idea of the ending isn’t that horrible). So if he isn’t indoctrinated (and if Shepard doesn’t hate on him every time they meet) TIM can come up with you when you talk to the Catalyst. HELLO NEW ENDINGS (and ways for Shepard to live, have blue babies/live on Rannoch/retire on Earth with Garrus on a beach) -destroy ending if you shoot or knock out TIM and do it yourself -synthesis paragon = K.O. TIM + do it yourself -synthesis renegade kill TIM and do it yourself, -synthesis ultra renegade = K.O. TIM and USE HIS ASS as DNA blueprint (he’s partly synthetic now anyway and morals of the blueprint don’t matter in this ending) -control paragon convince him to let you do it -control renegade knock him out and do it -control renegade v2 = kill him and do it -control renegade v3 = LET HIM DO IT and you gtho and live If you didn’t save the base TIM does what he does now and you can have Anderson come up with you. HELLO even more new endings (well one). -destroy paragon = you do it -destroy renegade = let Anderson do it and you gtho and live -synthesis = convince or knock out Anderson and you do it -control = convince or know out Anderson and out do it Any options from the above where you live = additional cut scenes about little blue babies or house on Rannoch etc. Sadly I don't see them allowing you to let TIM control the reapers himself or Anderson to destroy them. "Bla bla, artistic integrity, bla bla, we want Shepard to be "the shepard" and have him make the choice alone and carry it out himself." 2.4 Space magic synthesis?! Well when you present it like that: WHAT THE HELL? How about making it clear, uhm, say a wave of nano technology spread through the galaxy at over-FTL speed through the mass effect using the relays AND not having it manifest as freaking glowing green motherboard lines from the 21th century on everyone’s skin? You know the tech Reapers have been using for millions of years now to turn organics into paste and presumably analyze them at the atomic level and recreate their synapse patterns in general lines (or exactly) inside the reaper hulls and link them with the rest. “We are each a nation” and all that. 2.5 Control while dead?! Well when you present it like that: WHAT THE HELL? How about making it clear that the Catalyst doesn’t directly control anything (which is why he can’t just shut them off) and neither will you. You just get nanotech melted down (see 2.4) and the resulting info of your brainwave pattern gets sent to each reaper and sort of hard-coded to make them understand that organics don’t want, need or deserve to be reaped and have their future taken away from them. That there are other options and this cycle has hope. In effect becoming “the shepard” of a misguided flock (shouldn’t be mass wiped when there are other options) and leading them to the “light” (ewwww maybe a little to religious for me but it damn fits as a paragon move). IT'S NOT SLAVERY PPL. 2.6 Catalyst reasoning “We heard you don’t wanna be killed by…” hey wait a minute I’m generally pro-catalyst but still…WHAT THE HELL!? Fix: make the damn kid explain (yes that will be forced as well, what with all the bleeding and reapers killing the fleet and the attacking the crucible because they can’t be just shut off while you talk to him). It’s not "the created always rebel bla bla". Write it properly. “We have observed, spread out of the galaxy over hundreds of thousands of years that organics create synthetic beings and sometimes, a lot of the times they end up at war and synthetics don’t care (usually) and start wiping out the creators. Because of that we set up the relay network to make you develop along certain paths and achieve galaxy travel and become part of the galactic order based on the Citadel. This almost guarantees dangerous synthetics are created AFTER the other races know about what you are doing and even create laws against it. Unfortunately rogue AIs still occur and for example just in the last cycle they wiped out an entire race. Imagine what happens when something like that is created 100k years into the development of an organic race still not capable of space travel and isolated. They get wiped out, the AIs quickly develop space travel and start killing stuff while almost no one knows about it and it’s to late to stop. So we decided to store civilizations into reaper form and left 1 of us behind every cycle to make sure we are not to late.The geth are one of the exceptions we encountered.” Destroy ending only kills reaper code and sadly that includes them and EDI. The Catalyst acts a little out of character giving you all the options (even those that defeat his purpose) if we assume the above but that can also be explained with some AI shackles that were in place when he was made or that become active because of the Crucible. Etc.etc.etc. IT can be fixed and should be fixed by EC. 2.7 B-b-but mommy I don’t want the Sol fleets to starve after investing hundreds of hours. They will not. The have quarian food ships and materials to build more of the same for turians and depending on rachni and other things including the final choice, mass relays can and will be repaired rather fast. And even assuming they did starve it would be a sacrifice of a few fleets of a few species of 1 cycle for the future of…well almost everything else organic to ever exist. II) Why (try to) make it work (in the EC) when it doesn’t fit? Well I think my interpretation fits. But let’s just pretend I don’t think that and/or you don’t think that. What are the other options? 3.1 Don’t tell us why the reapers do what they do? Warning: personal opinion(s) below HELL NO. Everything explained in ME3 = Reaper reasons included. I would hate killing all reapers now as the best ending and finding out in some later ME universe game that they were trying to save us but went about it in the wrong way (and that I could have convinced them to just stop and join them to find a solution together <- notice the unity, understanding, acceptance themes). 3.2 Tell us Sovreign lied and they are just selfish assholes? HELL NO. Classical and overdone move much ? "We are your salvation through destruction." How and why? 3.3 Just let them be defeated by uniting the galaxy? Umh…HECK NO. <- pls notice the change of wording Overdone “unite something that looks impossible to unite and overcome impossible odds”. Also why destroy an entire race of “preserved” races gathered over thousands of years because they made a mistake (that actually saved and ensured the existence of organic life when combined with your actions). Actions that united the cycle and opened everyone’s eyes to the true dangers that AI can be and have been (with the help of some Reaper archives or something). With the geth, to be used as an example of both how to treat and not treat you creations so they have less chances of wanting to wipe you out. 3.4 But I want the options to sacrifice the fleets to take down the reapers without the Crucible in addition to the current endings. Want it all you like (hell I even support adding the option just to see how everyone dies) but it will not make it fit Shepard’s character more than explaining the current ending. If anything it goes against all versions of Shepards exactly because it’s guaranteed defeat (see 3.3). 3.5 The dark energy thing? HELL NO. Initial plan or not I’m sorry but I don’t want to hear a holokid tell me he thinks after millions of years of reaping countless races to work on a way to stop the laws of physics from destroying the galaxy THE ONLY WAY HE FOUND IS TO REAP THE HUMAN RACE BECAUSE WE ARE SO FREAKING SPECIAL AND WILL PROBABLY HELP FURTHER HIS(THEIR) GOAL WAY FASTER. Can we get more arrogant than that as a species? It’s also improbable to the extreme in the established ME universe. And let’s get down to analyzing it anyway even if I hate it. If FTL accelerates the dark energy why give us mass relays? Calculated risk to advance civilizations faster to harvest? Ok but why not wait until they are more advanced so you have to reap less? Evolution peak? Ok, fine. Why make the human reaper in human form? Getting the idea to change the thing you were doing for millennia just now? And how does keeping the initial shape change anything? NOTICE HOW IT’S MORE BROKEN THAT WHAT WE GOT NOW? Not to mention what the EC will hopefully bring/fix? III) Why is the current idea good (despite horrible implementation)? (my opinion, remember?) A mix of the following: http://galacticpillow.com/2012/04/0...a-different-take-on-the-mass-effect-3-ending/ www.ogeeku.com/2012/geth-dream-electric-shepards/ With the way I would like to see it fixed in the EC means it fits perfectly (see Legion sacrifice for his race compared to Shepard for all organics AND the continued existence of the reapers in peace with the rest AND the Mordin “Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong. “ related to my control explanation (if they go with that)). I didn’t read that link (2nd link) until 10 min before starting to write down everything I did and didn’t change my mind about anything because of it but I do agree with most of it. Added 1st link 2 days after I wrote all of this because I agree with most of it and hey it even leaves out (it works without it) the religion aspect (that I don't really like but can't deny the existence of, exactly why both links are still here). Warning: long nitpicking section of the problems in the 1st link below (this all still my opinion remember?) feel free to skip this. Numbering here refers to the article (link). He mixes dark energy and dark matter. Ppl make mistakes. I mixed up “objective” and “subjective” when I wrote this and those are clearly opposites. It’s not a reason to dismiss all the argument “because he has no idea what he is talking about”. Besides all of this is opinions over opinions everywhere. "Ending bad because anything can be made to fit?" That happened because if didn’t convey what they decided it should. EC should fix that. 3.2 – The result of control options can be argued. If it’s just a change in values they can still choose to “police” the galaxy instead of reaping organics periodically which they now see as immoral (having Shepards pov hard-coded similar to Asimov’s Law of Robotics perhaps). 3.6 - The crucible is used in the control ending because the catalyst doesn’t directly control each and every reaper (see my 2.5) 3.9 – It doesn’t show the relays exploding (see 2.2). The crucible was not designed to explode relays. “It would be silly to try to explain its workings in human terms.” (About synthesis wave). No it wouldn't (see 2.4). 3.13 Cloning doesn’t grant diversity (or natural diversity, it wouldn't be preserving anymore). 3.16 Arguable. If (when) done properly I expect it to just take them to a different level. I will still be disconnected from what we had to deal so far because of that but it doesn’t abandon anything. 4.0 Close to the truth. E.C. should personalize the ending but expectations for them to force every choice into how the crucible works is absurd (see 1)). 5.0 It’s not relevant what he would have done and some of the “could not have fit into the ending sequence” is plain wrong and hopefully they will in the E.C. Nitpicking section over. IV) What could be better so we don't have to make it work? I DON’T KNOW. And after weeks of reading posts and forums and articles I didn’t see a better option than clarifying the current idea and presenting it better. That’s why I wrote this. Go ahead and link me fan made endings where you stab a possessed TIM in the head 8 times screaming “This if for x, this is for y, this is for Earth” AND/OR making the Crucible a glorified selective EMP that kills the reapers without any side effects before we know anything about the reasoning behind their actions. I'm pretty sure I won't like it (or won't like it more, some of the stuff out there is pretty good). This (link below) is the best I found but, you guessed it, it’s clarifications of the current endings almost at it’s best. http://shannon.users.sonic.net/masseffect/ Try with: destroy base, over 6k EMS, preventing TIM from shooting A., and control option. After that read the conversation between the Geth and K. Sanders. Doesn’t that seem like the paragon ending now? Instead of “oh noes it’s Shepart condoning mass slavery” and “why is TIM shown doing it then” (mistake or put there to make you think but doesn’t really fit OR put there to remind you that "It had to be me (you). Someone else might have gotten it wrong (TIM).) ? After that try it with your in game choices (it's limited, some squad memebers always get the same outcome but hopefully the EC DLC will be different). V) Final notes Extended cut has the chance to make this perfect (for me) and I want to thank everyone that actively did something (anything) because it lead to it happening (without some, most, of you guys we wouldn’t be getting anything else). I also support the idea of RetakeGaming after this is over. Because I'm mostly happy with what I think the EC will be and I want it to be as best as it can I also support this: http://www.holdtheline.com/threads/retake-campaign-turn-it-on-turn-it-off-for-bioware.877/ P.S. I hope this doesn’t violate too many forums rules P.P.S. I’m just a 22 y o guy from Romania. P.P.P.S. I never said this was the best ending and if anyone came (or comes) up with anything better except the stuff from point 3) (or even variations on Dark Energy thing that don't fail) I would like to see it.