The Extended Mass Effect 3 Ending

Spoilers for the Mass Effect 3 Ending. The Extended Cut is just that by the way in that the new content presents a more rounded, fleshed out conclusion in comparison to the original spartan ending sequence. What it does not do however is fundamentally change the outcome(s) of the game in any significant way; So anyone who at heart was unhappy with the original ending as a whole is likely to remain so after playing through the DLC.

What the new content does accomplish is to fill in the gaps by adding in more dialogue and animation sequences to smooth out some of the logical inconsistencies lingering behind. For example, why the Normandy seemingly ran away from the fight and how the crew was picked up off of the ground. Quite a bit of additional dialogue was added, allowing Shepard question the Catalyst about the consequences of each path. Also most importantly, new content was added so that each option feels distinct. IE: The endings are now more than the explosion color being green or red.

There is also more of a sense of closure. I really liked the sequence at the end; Showing the Normandy’s crew hanging his name plate on the memorial wall was a touching moment, a nice personal addition to the game’s ending, and an overall fitting farewell; Which is really all that we were asking for in the first place. Also worth noting: A completely new path was added, allowing you to take no action effectively let the world burn (look it up on YouTube, it’s well worth a watch). I am fine with a tragic ending. One could after all, argue that the series has always had a religious connotation (his name IS Shepard and he does tend to his flock I guess) and it’s not too far fetched of an idea to believe that the only appropriate conclusion would involve Shepard, the galaxy’s savior dying at the end for our sins (to complete the metaphor).

But that said, now that I have played through the new content, I am still dissatisfied with the ending as a whole. Why? A commenter on Reddit (or wherever) hit the nail on the head: BioWare gave Mass Effect 3 a Gainax Ending (the name stems from Gainax, the studio that produced Neon Genesis Evangelion. A Japanese animated series with a notorious ending). Basically, a Gainax Ending lacks resolution and is presented in a manner that does not make sense, usually as a mind fuck but a bizarre layer of bullshit philosophy thrown in from left field always seems to be involved.

One of the primary reasons why I enjoy Mass Effect is because of the believable character stories, which has in my opinion at least has always been one of BioWare’s strong points. The setting and overarching plot are decent but to be honest, not too far off from standard science fiction fair (good versus evil robot wars are a dime a dozen nowadays). The characters and relationship dynamics as they affect the player character are what really sets the game apart from other similarly themed titles. So, when you take that element out of the picture, the story loses all meaning and connection to the point where it feels at best, detached and at worst, widely inappropriate. I wanted the ending to ultimately be about the character relationships that we have so carefully created and not a faux layer of metaphysical crap about Shepard transcending human form.

The ending, though more fleshed out feels cheap in that the game still does not lead up to the ending sequence as it should. Paragon or Renegade, no matter how you chose to play the games, spending possibly hundreds of hours doing so, you are still presented with the same options at the end. Fatalism or not, having all of your decisions thrown out of the window in a game distinctly featuring and built around the ability to manipulate the outcome of your story by the power of choice feels particularly insulting. Also along those lines: I also strongly dislike the catalyst. He feels like something someone pulled out of their ass at the last minute, I loved everything about the game up until that point (specifically through Anderson’s death scene). Deus ex Machina is a weak plot device that feels forced and contrived. It is a lazy way of resolving conflicts without having to legitimately explain anything.

Despite my objections, I am glad that they didn’t completely cave in and redact the ending. Love it or the it, it is what it is.

Regarding the (pre-DLC) ME3 Ending


So the new Mass Effect 3 ending DLC, in which I had almost completely forgotten about, is now available for download on Origin. I will eventually get around to playing it either tonight or later this week. It is a shame that an overall great game was marred by such a not-so-great ending. It’s not that it outraged me, as it did many people, but it sure was underwhelming given the scope of the series, how much time was invested, and the game’s core themes (in which I feel were not properly addressed if at all). I guess it wasn’t that terrible, but it sure was anticlimactic.

Thematically, I am fine with the ending including a good, neutral, and evil choice. The ending however, should feel like a culmination of player experiences and choices made throughout the game. There just weren’t a wide enough variety of outcomes to say the least. I mean, I’m not asking for a Return of the King, 40 minute long ending sequences but cheezus, something other than the same ending movie with a different explosion color and +/- 3 seconds of footage would have been really swell.

I was quite satisfied with how some of the storylines wrapped up, specifically the genophage and the Geth. The ending should have at least been on par with that. Also, gameplay wise, I was hoping for an ending mission similar to Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2 in which you are given the option to deploy the various resources you have gathered throughout the game. You spend the entire ME3 game gathering war assets that more or less boils down to a number which determines which cutscene you get. That’s kind of lame.

So will the dlc fix everything? We will see (opinions thus far appear to be polar in that players either love or hate it).

Regarding the Diablo 3 RMAH


At long last, my dreams have come into fruition; I can retire swimming in fruits of my non-labor. Well, not really but the best kind of habit is a self sustaining one. I posted a few a few iLevel 61 and 62 items on the RMAH last night for shits and giggles. Lo-and-behold, when I logged in this morning one had actually sold for $19. I have absolutely no plans on ever spending real cash on virtual items and I still can’t belive that someone paid that much money for a kind of crap-ass item but hey, the RMAH isn’t that bad I suppose…

Keiya’s Battlestation (June 2012)


I took the liberty of tidying up my workspace for once and figured that it would be nice to take a photo for posterity. Unfortunately, my desk doesn’t really get too much cleaner that this, but whatever. So, this (top right picture) would be my current battlestation setup; And this would be both of our desks as of a month or two ago (don’t ask why the desks are colored differently…lol). Current computer specs for the machine that I built 3 months ago.

I am looking into purchasing desk mountable dual monitor arms. I have seen a few cheap options and Fry’s, but the build quality as well as the degree of articulation was a bit suspect. The arms specifically, must be able to adjust vertically since my monitor are of slightly different sizes and do not align perfectly unless I place a book underneath the right monitor. I may order these. If I do setup the arms, I guess that means I will have to cleanup all of the stuff that I hide behind my monitors…

D3: Act I Solo Inferno Videos

Can anyone guess what we have been doing lately? During every single non-work moment? I don’t think my third hard drive likes me anymore or something, as the recording framerate seems to drop (in game performance is fine, videos are just choppy). Oh well, whatever. I didn’t find Act I to be particularly challenging, save for a few special mob combinations (screw vortex, molten, arcane enchanted, illusionist groups lol).

Act II on the other hand is such a huge jump in difficulty. I can trudge through it, but it would be quite nice not to get gang banged by every special pack of mobs. The thing that sucks about it is that, I am pretty sure that the gear that I really need, which would be about twice the resistance that I currently have, drops in Act II and Act III inferno. That, or I just have horrid drop luck (also pretty sure that this is true).

Diablo 3 Level 60 and Beyond: Hell and Inferno


So, ding! I hit level 60 earlier this week. This build is what I ended up running with through the majority of Hell difficulty (and this is the build that I am running with currently). Originally, I had specialized as a full tank for the first half of Nightmare, focusing mostly on dodge and mitigation in terms of talents and gear. It was a great build for grouping since the folks that I run with are squishy caster types, but not so much for soloing given how long it took me to kill anything (to be honest though, my crapass weapon was most likely the actual problem).

Basically what I would do was: Repeatedly pull huge groups of enemies onto me with Cyclone Strike so that we could freeze them and AoE them down. The mobs in Nightmare didn’t hit hard enough to matter. This build wasn’t entirely viable once mobs did start hitting hard enough to matter, thus one of the reasons why I swapped over to a more kiting/ranged style of play. One of the problems with tanking in Diablo 3 is that I feel like I am trying to pet someone’s cat: Everything just seems to wander off and attack whoever. The Earth Ally helps quite a bit though, when it’s not running off triggering Treasure Goblins.

I ended up using Wave of Light over Lashing Tail Kick for most of hell difficulty because I was convinced that the range was a bit larger and that the knock back worked more consistently. In reality, I am pretty sure that I just liked the sound that the bell made when you activated it. To be honest, I am not finding either skill particularly useful in inferno and have replaced with with Blinding Flash for the AoE stun, which has been invaluable.

I was having some trouble earlier on with being severely spirit starved while kiting mobs. I ended up finding a pretty decent helm and main hand weapon with enough regen to allow me to drop Chant of Resonance in favor of One with Everything. If I recall correctly, I have about 3.2 spirit/second at the moment, which isn’t all that much but it is just enough to allow me to pop abilities as they come off of cooldown if I am running about.

There seem to be a few skills that everyone takes eventually: Binding Flash, One With Everything, and Serenity. But other than that, I haven’t seen any one master build being used extensively by the majority of the Monk playerbase, ala every WoW class. People mostly, seem to spec into abilities as it suits their play style (ranged, AoE, whatever), which I like quite a bit. Well, that and it depends on your gear mostly anyway.

So regarding inferno: Bought/found new gear, increased my DPS to roughly, 21k unbuffed and 24k buffed, and smashed through the first act without any real difficulty. The second act on the other hand sure is a jump up in difficulty. Jesus. If you are having trouble with the normal mobs at the beginning of the act, you are going to have a bad time. I need…way way more damage mitigation and health.