Moral Effect 3: The decision-making compass to Mass Effect 3

So Mass Effect 3 is slated to hit sometime this holiday season. If you’re a fan like me, you probably have two or three distinct Shepard characters that you’ve been babysitting through the first and second game through various choices. In some ways, Mass Effect 2 seemed to be a bit of a sham in regards to the promises of decisions from the first game carrying over to the second in any significant way. And I’m sure no one playing their Vanilla Shepard was all too happy that they were working for Cerberus either, given the fact that they were behind the attack on Akuze that nearly killed your character.

So far there’s only been a teaser for Mass Effect 3 and even that provides little that we already know about—the Reapers are coming. Air quote all you want, we’ve known that since the ending of Mass Effect 2. Unfortunately a synopsis confirms a straight-from-the-Bioware playbook move, mentioning how it’s up to Shepard to rally the universe for allies to defeat the Big Bad. Aside from sounding like Dragon Age: Origins, it sounds like your chickens are coming home to roost. So here is my take on what I think will influence the happenings of Mass Effect 3 and whether it will help you or harm you in the long run. Oh, and as an obvious warning, spoilers out the butthole ahead.

Mass Effect 1

The first game doesn’t seem to have too many game-changing effects, although that might just be a misconception as only four or five events from the first game actually translated to the second clear enough. The idea here, after all, was to simply stop one Reaper. Decisions made before the Big Reveal popped up may not be as big as deal-breakers as we’d like them to be. Then again, I do have full confidence that Bioware will be playing more to the strengths of the Paragon route rather than the Renegade. Here’s what I believe what will have influences on how the third game plays out:

Save the Rachni Queen — This one is too obvious. The Rachni were described as a “galactic plague” of sorts that nearly destroyed the Council races thousands of years ago. It’s what led to the Salarians uplifting the Krogan (or as Mordin puts it, giving nukes to cavemen). The Rachni is what led to Council policy to not activate dormant relays, as that’s how the Rachni were found in the first place.

Clearly under these motifs, the Rachni are described as a race of beings that are akin to your typical “space bug” trope (see: Zerg, Buggers, Arachnids). It is later revealed, however, that the Rachni are apparently not “all bad” and that the Rachni Wars were influenced by Reapers. In Mass Effect 2 you even get a drop from the Rachni Queen letting her know that her and her brood are doing well and that they won’t forget the fact that you helped them. I’m guessing an army of resilient bugs are going to help in the long run against the Reapers.

Scan the Keepers — Another boring mission, few people undertake it with much seriousness given that they treat the Keepers much like the rest of the Council does—they exist, big whoop, no one cares. However, it is later revealed that the Keepers prove an integral role in regards to the Reapers and to the Citadel. Keepers are as old as the Citadel itself and are a device used by the Reapers to make ready the Citadel Relay into deep space to bring in the Reaper genocidal squad. The Protheans were able to alter the Keepers to ensure that they wouldn’t help the Reapers out any more, however.

My guess is that the research work done by scanning the Keepers will reveal something about the Reapers—perhaps a weakness or a tactic to use against them. Maybe they’ll even find out that there are hidden weapons of some sort on the Citadel itself. Who knows. My gut tells me the fact that you get a message about this quest in Mass Effect 2 tells me that it will be of some importance in Mass Effect 3, however.

Keep Wrex Alive — As Mass Effect 2 shows, keeping Wrex alive has some pretty interesting bonuses. In Mass Effect 2, Wrex now leads the Urdnot clan on Tuchanka and, as a whole, Tuchanka itself, implementing radical ideas to improve the Krogans to be more than just mindless killing machines. Who better to negotiate asking for Krogan help in certain galactic domination then your old friend Wrex?

Keep the Council Alive — As much as it pains me to say it, keeping the Council alive may actually be the better goal. If you let the Council die in Mass Effect 1 and establish a human-led Council, in Mass Effect 2 human resentment pops up in great frequency. Heck, even the C-Sec captain is a human. While the Council dismisses the Reapers in Mass Effect 2, I’m sure in Mass Effect 3 Shepard will have no trouble reminding them who saved their green asses from certain death in the first place.

My thoughts generally lead to focusing fire on Sovereign in almost all of my playthroughs however, but I’m guessing that if you don’t save the Council you won’t have much help from the Turians, Salarians, and Asari in Mass Effect 3. This is particularly troubling given that the Turians rival humanity in ship production. Plus saving the Council also means the Destiny Ascension is also around, the largest ship in the Council fleet.

Mass Effect 2

I believe a lot more choices from Mass Effect 2 will prove to be of more significance in Mass Effect 3 than from Mass Effect 1. In this regard I also believe that some Renegade choices will also outweigh some Paragon choices as well in regards to help, survival, or weapons. After all, the gist of Mass Effect 2 basically has Commander Shepard as Angel and Cerberus as Wolfram & Hart. Here’s what I believe will have significant changes in Mass Effect 3:

Persuade the Quarians to not go to war — Tali’s loyalty mission proves to be quite insightful to Quarian happenings as well as to the current Quarian mindset. It would appear that the Admiralty Board has grown tired of “waiting out” the Geth and are gearing towards war in trying to reclaim their home world. Plus I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bioware dropped Claudia Black, Simon Templeman (A.K.A. Loghain from Dragon Age), Martin Jarvis, and Adam Baldwin for Quarian voice actors if they aren’t going to make a significant appearance in Mass Effect 3.

Consider also that the Quarians hold the largest fleet in the universe (although given a lot of it is a makeup of civilian ships). Now consider how many Reaper ships you saw in the end clip of Mass Effect 2. Yeah, I see you with your connect-the-dots worksheet. Tali also sums up how stupid it is to go to war against the Geth as well, given that they’ll likely lose half the fleet only to find that it won’t be numerous generations until they can recover from their genetic defects to finally walk on their planet without their exosuits.

Keep the Genophage Cure Research — This one I’m iffy about, but I’m guessing that, in the long run, if you get yourself a Krogan army up and running again, it’ll be the Krogan Rebellions all over again. Except this time I believe it will be different if you save Wrex, however, as Wrex is the voice of reason amongst the Krogan. You’ll have to remember that even Wrex was all for a cure to the Genophage as it would solve a lot of his people’s problems. This would mean you would have to do Mordin Solus’s loyalty mission.

Destroy the Collector Base — I’ll make my argument for this as much as I will for how things like keeping Project Overlord alive or giving Grunt or Legion to Cerberus is a terribly stupid idea. Firstly there is one thing we have unanimously learned about Reapers—you cannot control them. Even a Cerberus research team in a derelict Reaper yields proved this quite well when they fell under the effects of Indoctrination.

The Illusive Man makes allusions throughout the game to things about “what Cerberus can learn.” A lot of people may be nodding their head here, but Cerberus is an obvious play to “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Cerberus has a God-awful track record. In Mass Effect 1, you find out that they experiment with Husks, Rachni, the Thorian Creeper, and even Thresher Maws all in the name of Science! Or to relate more topically, what the Nazis did to prisoners in concentration camps. My bet is that if you keep the Collector base and its research on Reapers, it’ll do more harm than good.

Keep Grunt Alive — There’s a foreshadowing happening when the game gives you the option to either keep Grunt in the tank or take him out of it. If Grunt was just going to be a regular old teammate, he would’ve just been Okeer and that would’ve been the end of that. Instead I’m thinking Grunt will play in with the allusion to the cure to the Genophage. Grunt is, after all, the “genetically purist” Krogan to live (albeit he still retains the Genophage trait). I’m guessing he’s going to be integral to a cure to the Genophage and, over all, to helping Wrex out in keeping the Krogan in line. This would mean that you would need to do his loyalty mission.

Keep Legion Alive — Despite all logic on this one, Legion ends up providing some very interesting information in regards to the Geth. Legion eventually reveals that the Geth that are working with the Reapers are not aligned with the Geth as a whole, but are considered “Heretics” to the Geth collective. Legion also reveals that the real Geth, i.e. those that remain beyond The Veil, are apathetic to organic life, or that they really don’t care about what’s going on in the Milky Way.

Legion eventually divulges to Shepard an important piece of information regarding the Heretic Geth’s main production station, wanting Shepard to infiltrate the station to stop the Heretic Geth from writing a virus that would spread to the rest of the Geth to join the rest of the Heretics. Regardless of what you do here, it’s clear that if you do not undertake Legion’s loyalty mission, the Geth will be some serious enemies in Mass Effect 3 if the full force of the Geth are out and about. Which is why, regrettably, you must forgo all logic to activate a Geth (especially if Tali is your romance option).

So to recap, what I believe will be essential to making the whole “gathering allies” thing easy in Mass Effect 3, will include the following: Saving the Rachni queen, scanning the Keepers, keeping Wrex alive, keeping the Council alive, don’t incite war amongst the Quarians, keep the Genophage cure research, destroy the Human Reaper, keep Grunt alive, and keep Legion alive. Maybe not for every single one of your Shepard’s, but at least for maybe your Paragorn-straight Shepard. This should save you the trouble of time when Mass Effect 3 rolls around and you find out the consequences to your actions and rush back to Mass Effect 1 and 2 to replay them with the best possible options for Mass Effect 3.

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About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as flagshipped.com. Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at gameriot.com and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

3 Responses to Moral Effect 3: The decision-making compass to Mass Effect 3

  1. good stuff i did everything already. the same as it is on this page. glad to know someone agree’s with me thanks

  2. Matthew says:

    My shepard didnt save the council and stoped scaning the keepers

  3. These are truly great ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some fastidious factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

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