4thofeleven: (Default)
The Mass Effect kink meme gets its occasional flame war; generally I let them simmer for an hour or so, and then delete all related comments if the argument clearly hasn’t quietened down. People tend to get the message after that. Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m having to deal with a flame war that keeps flaring up again no matter how often I prune the comment threads. Then again, I suppose it’s not surprising that tempers are running hot. After all, it’s about that most controversial of topics…

Aircraft carriers.

Mass Effect doesn’t have carriers; it follows the Biggest Ship is Best Ship model of combat. Someone requested an AU where humans develop carriers and they revolutionise space combat as much as aircraft carriers revolutionised naval combat.

Apparently, this struck a nerve with some people, and they're determined to make their views heard on the realism or lack thereof of fighter craft in space opera.

I swear, it’s never the things you expect that spark arguments…
4thofeleven: (Default)
Minor kerfuffle today on the Mass Effect Kink Meme.

Few months back – February, actually – someone requested a rpf story. That’s a little weird for a video game fandom, but, hey, Mass Effect has a few characters designed to look like their voice actors – sometimes to a disturbingly uncanny valley extreme – so it makes a little bit of sense.

Personally, rpf sets off my squick alert. It’s really not my thing – I’m not fond of celebrity culture, and, generally, I find myself attracted to characters a lot more than the actors who portray them. Besides, fictional characters exist to have stories told about them, real people not so much. Honestly, I’m not too fond of historical fiction that uses real figures as key characters either.

But, hey, it’s a kink meme, and I don’t pass judgement unless a prompt is openly trolling. I mean, if it were purely down to my tastes, one of the top pairings on the meme would barely have a presence. So, I added the prompt to the index, and created a new ‘genre:rpf’ tag for it. Since then, there’s been a few more requests, none of which have been filled or attracted much attention at all.

Last night, there was another one. As before, I indexed and tagged it before I went to bed. I wake up… and find it’s suddenly a huge controversy with a big argument raging across the meme.

As I said, I’m sympathetic to people who don’t like rpf, and don’t want to see it on the meme – but, bloody hell, if it takes you five months to notice something exists, it can’t be that much of a problem…
4thofeleven: (Default)
Watching the Extended cut of Mass Effect, synthetic ending, and the implications of merging all organic and synthetic life:

(As Shepard’s name is added to the memorial plaque.)

A: So… is the sign part organic now?
B: Well, technically writing is a technology, so…
A: It’s people?
B: It’s part meat, at least.
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
So, the long, strange story of Mass Effect 3’s ending has finally come to a close.

I remember how exciting each new Mass Effect 2 DLC was. Sure, there were some less-than-impressive entries – Firewalker, Arrival – but it was a real thrill waiting for things like Lair of the Shadow Broker or Overlord to finish downloading, and then loading up the game and seeing some new corner of the Mass Effect galaxy.

The Mass Effect 3 extended cut, though? I just watched it on youtube. I couldn’t even muster the enthusiasm to download the damn thing, that’s how much this whole fiasco took the wind out of my sails.

Anyway. The good – if this had been the ending in the first place, I don’t think we’d have had the outpouring of rage. The ending options still aren’t great, they still come out of left field – but there’s at least a bit of closure, and the destruction of most of the setting is quickly hand waved away.

Of course, that raises the question of what the destruction of the relays and the Citadel, or the crash of the Normandy were doing in the ending in the first place. The Normandy crash seems even more baffling than before, since in the extended cut, the ship crashes on an Edenic world, Joker and EDI step out as the new Adam and Eve… and then a few minutes later, we see the ship take off again, apparently none the worse for wear, with all her crew eager to leave the new world behind. It’s nice that the writers did realise that the consequences of the ship’s crash would be the slow death by starvation of half the squad, and quietly removed that idea – but I’d still love to know where they were going with it in the first place.

The bad – well, there’s now an option to reject the Star-Child’s idiotic ending options! It’s well written, and for the first time, Shepard sounds like Shepard, standing up for free will and self-determination against the monster that unleashed the Reapers. We even get confirmation that the Child really was just Harbinger in disguise after all!

And then we’re told that this act of defiance was pointless, and by rejecting the existing endings, all sapient life is destroyed and the cycle of destruction renews itself. It’s hard to see how this can be read as anything other than a “Screw you!” by the writer, and it honestly makes the other endings even worse. If the Child really is Harbinger… why’s it offering us the option to destroy the Reapers as one of its choices? Why reveal this, but insist we’re still meant to take all of its explanations at face value?

And, if we need to have Shepard as a Christ figure, sacrificing him/herself for all life to survive… well, surely that requires rejecting the Devil-figure’s temptations, not eagerly going along with it? Even if we ignore the overly-obvious metaphor, telling Reapers to go screw themselves is kinda what Shepard does; having this time be the one time it dooms everyone rather than save the day seems utterly petty.

But, on the plus side, we got baby Krogan.

I don’t know, the whole thing is just too little, too late, even without the whole refusal can o’worms. At this point, I’m pretty much through with BioWare, and I think a lot of other people are too. Sales numbers for Dragon Age 3 are going to be interesting – that was already a game that was going to have an uphill battle to sell. This whole mess isn’t going to make things easier.


May. 7th, 2012 06:12 pm
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
I’ve finally worked out what the writers were thinking when they wrote Mass Effect 3’s ending. It’s the logical conclusion to the series!

In Mass Effect 1, based on your choices, some of the characters can die!
In Mass Effect 2, based on your choices, any of the characters can die!

The progression is obvious - In Mass Effect 3, based on your choices, all of the characters will die!
4thofeleven: (Default)

Note that as far as I know, Bioware haven’t actually said in as many words that they’re going to rewrite the ending. Still, that doesn’t change the impact that this is obviously having. It’s surreal to see the story starting to be taken up by mainstream outlets, and, to me at least, that alone seems like a victory.

I can’t help but think of the fan outcry over Sherlock Holmes’ death in The Final Problem. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to believe Mass Effect will ever attain Holmes’s level of literary immortality – but still, it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not the only one who was this invested in the setting and the characters.

I do wonder what Bioware's money-men are making of stories like this. On the one hand, hey, free publicity. On the other hand... free publicity that includes the phrase 'soul-crushing'...
4thofeleven: (Default)
Playing a little bit of Mass Effect multiplayer to wash away the bad taste of the ending. ME multiplayer’s basically co-op; you and three other people work together against wave after wave of enemies, and every few waves you get a special mission like ‘take out four leaders before the timer runs out’ or ‘guard this computer long enough to download vital intel.’

Anyway, my team had made it to the final wave, but we were clearly overwhelmed. Our mission was to shut down four computers in the enemy base. Clock was ticking; I got knocked out fairly early, and had to sit out the rest of the match as a spectator. Krogan managed to shut down two of the targets, but was overwhelmed in the end too. A Turian sniper managed to take down a lot of the enemy, keeping them tied up while the last member of the team, a Quarian infilitrator, raced over to the targets. In the end, she was the last person standing, racing around the map relying on her invisibility cloak to survive. We had less than a minute left on the clock when she finally shut down the last target… and then was shot in the back, a few second later.

But the mission was a success, and we made enough money I could afford to buy a new weapon for my next mission. And it struck me – a pick-up game of multiplayer with randomly chosen goals had ended up having a more satisfying narrative arc and a better bittersweet ending than Mass Effect 3 itself had…

I still do not understand how Bioware could fail so incredibly at the end like that.
4thofeleven: (Default)
I had a policy on the Mass Effect Kink Meme. And the policy was this – that even though EDI, the ship’s computer, has a female voice, there’s no reason to overly anthropomorphise and assign a female gender to her. Stories featuring EDI didn’t get a het or femslash tag on the index.

A policy now meaningless after Mass Effect 3 had her upload herself into a feminine robot body, making it fairly clear that, no, she does identify as female after all. Now I’m going to have to go back and re-tag a whole bunch of stories* to take this into account.

I do stand by my policy of not assigning a gender to Legion, though.

*Well, that or I could work on my thesis instead – but that doesn’t seem too important compared to this issue…
4thofeleven: (Default)
File under ‘Most Surreal Aspect of the Whole Mass Effect Ending Fiasco’:

Forbes Magazine – yes, that Forbes Magazine - has not one, but three articles on their website discussing the ending and its fallout.

How BioWare Could Find Redemption Using Mass Effect 3
Why Fan Service is Good Business
Mass Effect 3 And The Pernicious Myth Of Gamer 'Entitlement'

Unlike most gaming ‘journalists’, Forbes actually seems to have realised that alienating your customers isn’t a good policy, and that it’s not whining to expect quality from a product. Honestly, it’s the bad business sense of the ending that baffles me more than anything: Mass Effect was clearly BioWare’s attempt to create a new franchise where, unlike Knights of the Old Republic or Baldur’s Gate, they owned every aspect of it. It was, I think, a gamble – their previous original setting, Jade Empire, wasn’t particularly successful, but this time, they got it right. With Mass Effect, they managed to create an intellectual property that rivalled Star Wars in scope and popularity; I do not understand why they would then so cavalierly burn the setting to the ground at the height of its popularity.

If the fan backlash doesn’t get through to BioWare, maybe Forbes’s analysis of just how bad this was for their business and brand identity might.

Less seriously, I can't shake the image that Steve Forbes is sitting in a mansion somewhere, still staring blankly at a monitor, muttering to himself in shock “But… but Garrus and Tali will starve…”

4thofeleven: (mass effect)
Title: After the Credits
Fandom: Mass Effect
Categories: G, femShepard/Liara
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and all characters, locations, ect. remain the property of BioWare. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Fix it fic for Mass Effect 3's ending. Spoilers, of course, for Mass Effect 3

Shepard stumbled forward, ignoring the pain... )
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
(No actual spoilers for ME3, just musings...)

So, Mass Effect 3.

You know, in a funny way, I don’t just feel like I’m at the end of the Mass Effect series. I feel like it’s the end of my playing Bioware games in general. I’ve been playing their RPGs since the first Knights of the Old Republic game. I’ve liked them all; KotOR is still one of my favourite parts of the Star Wars universe, Jade Empire has one of the best villains ever, the Mass Effect universe is one of my favourite fictional settings. Even Dragon Age had more than its fair share of memorable moments, tedious as it sometimes was.

But now… well, I’ve no interest in subscription MMOs, the Dragon Age franchise really never grabbed me, and after Mass Effect 3, well…

You know the worst thing? I love Mass Effect 3. It’s got some great moments, wonderful character interactions, enough call-backs to make it really feel like the culmination of everything that began so long ago fighting the Geth drones on Eden Prime. It’s a wonderful game – except.

Except the last ten minutes, which – well, I won’t be overdramatic. It didn’t retroactively make everything before it bad. But the fact that Bioware thought an ending like this was suitable as the conclusion to their greatest epic is… well, it’s a sign that maybe it’s time for me and Bioware to part company. They’re not telling the sort of stories I like any more, and that’s a pity.

It’s not even that the ending is bad, it’s just… incoherent at best. A deus ex machina that comes out of nowhere, a choice that not only isn’t based on anything that happened before but actively contradicts themes the series had been working towards for so long. So much foreshadowing and detail thrown away in support of… well, nothing really. Bioware apparently felt a good way to end the series was to utterly destroy the setting they’ve spent so long investing us in – which might have even worked, had the ending not been so utterly flat.

I was prepared to accept a bittersweet ending, a tragic ending, or an ambiguous ending. But to get one so utterly incoherent, so completely out of line with everything that had gone before – I’m not even disappointed, just baffled.
4thofeleven: (Default)
The Mass Effect kink meme's attracting trolls.

*sniff* It's like it's a real online community now...
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
Brief review: Aawww!

Looks like 'cheat on Liara' has been added to the list of 'Things one can do, but never I will in Mass Effect', alongside 'let Wrex die' and 'turn Veetor over to Cerberus'.

I believe there may have been some shooting things in between the romance part; I wasn't really paying attention.

I really shouldn't be this invested in a video game protagonist's relationships.

4thofeleven: (mass effect)
Everyone else seems to be trying this, thought I'd give it a go. Surprisingly challenging, but I tried not to cheat too much with colons and hyphens. A couple of the sentences are a bit of a stretch for the theme, admittedly, and a couple are essentially just about Grunt.

(Why those two? I tried a couple of actual pairings and ran out of ideas after a few sentences. For some reason Grunt came to mind, and I managed to get more than a dozen sentences done without much effort, and decided I might as well try and finish it.)

Fandom: Mass Effect
Pairing: Grunt and Female Shepard
Theme set: Alpha
Rating: T
Notes: Not really a ‘pairing’, though some mentions of one-sided desire.

Read more... )
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
Saw this meme, can't sleep, thought I'd give it a go for fShepard/Liara from Mass Effect:

Meme: Take a person or ship and write 10 different categories of fic, in as few words as possible.

1. Angst
2. Alternate universe
3. Crack
4. Future fic
5. First Time
6. Fluff
7. Humor
8. Hurt/Comfort
9. Smut
10. UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension)

Read more... )


Jun. 22nd, 2010 05:03 pm
4thofeleven: (samara)
So, there’s a minor character in Mass Effect 2. And I mean minor, as in, she’s not actually in the game, isn’t named, but is described in passing in one line of dialogue.

Obviously, there’s a request for a story about her on the kinkmeme – specifically, one of her in a threesome with one of the more popular couples. I don’t normally write threesome stories, but I got inspired by the prompt and wrote the story, giving her a name and a bit of background in the process.

Then, yesterday, I notice there’s another prompt for a story about this character. Yeah, ME fandom has very specific tastes sometimes. I decided, what the hell, my first story was well-received, I’ll fill this one too, and I might as well use the same name and background I used in the first story rather than come up with a different version of her.

And then, today I realised what I’d done. I’d created what was effectively an OC, put her in a threesome with the most popular pairing in the setting, then wrote a sequel where she sleeps with the second-most popular male character as well.

Dear god, I’ve created the Sue-est Mary Sue that ever Sued.

Eh, what the hell, if you can’t let your id run wild on a kinkmeme, where can you?
4thofeleven: (mass effect)
I do have an idea for a second part to this I may write later, but beyond this, this isn't really going anywhere mainly because, hey, I'm depressed enough that I don't need to write more along these lines, yes?

Title: Survivors
Fandom: Mass Effect
Categories: G, fShepard/Liara mentioned, character death (fShepard)
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and all characters, locations, ect. remain the property of BioWare. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: [livejournal.com profile] me_challenge #3: Shepard died at the end of ME2. Liara’s reaction.

The message was anonymous... )
4thofeleven: (Default)
BioWare's sci-fi epic Mass Effect 2 has come under fire for not having the option of homosexual relationships... According to [ME2 Executive Producer] Hudson... it didn't fit with the general level of maturity BioWare wanted for the game. "We still view it as... if you're picturing a PG-13 action movie," he said. "That's how we're trying to design it. So that's why the love interest is relatively light."
  - BioWare Explains Why There's No Homosexuality in Mass Effect 2
You know, I always have trouble understanding how the American rating system works. I'm glad to have this cleared up - Mass Effect 2 would be PG-13. So, to clarify: Repeated rape references (Jack's backstory, Jacob's loyalty mission), bisexual female sex vampire (Morinth), woman being bloodily disasembled into a grey paste - all PG-13. Garrus stopping by Male Shepard's quarters with a bottle of wine - R!

So simple!
4thofeleven: (Default)
An idea for a pairing sprung to mind a few days ago, and I had to write something with it...

Title: Nightmares
Fandom: Mass Effect
Categories: G
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and all characters, locations, ect. remain the property of BioWare. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Post ME2. After surviving the Collectors and returning to Citadel space, Yeoman Kelly talks about her experience with someone who understands.

Read more... )


4thofeleven: (Default)
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