*Note: Possible minor spoilers*

BioWare confirmed the addition of co-op multiplayer and plans for DLC to Mass Effect 3. I don't think I can ever make my opinions clear enough in the comments sections of relevant news stories. So, this blog is my opinions on them; the nature of these features and not about the final gameplay quality of the said features. This blog is not about my opinions on the single player campaign which BioWare explicitly stated can be completed to satisfaction without the multiplayer component. All the quotes used herein are from Chris Priestly's announcement post on BioWare forums.

Excellent work by Patryk Olejniczak!

I am every bit as confident as one can be about the presentation of Mass Effect 3. There is no comprehensible reason to think BioWare might fail either the story or the cinematic presentation or the high impact decision making. I always thought Mass Effect had no need for multiplayer component. But there have been rumours about it and now it has been confirmed. The reason for my belief that this trilogy does not need multiplayer is quite simple.

Yes, there are only a finite number of permutations and combinations of decisions one can make in Mass Effect. But whatever the decisions made they still provide a compelling personal experience to everyone who enjoyed the games. And the fact that those decisions carry over elegantly to the sequels is not only impressive but it also makes the whole experience that much more personal. Simply put, this is Shepard's story and it is my Shepard.

The co-op multiplayer

"Which characters can I play in co-op multiplayer? Can I play as Commander Shepard?

  • Commander Shepard’s part in the war will take place in the single-player campaign, as will that of other beloved characters in the franchise such as Garrus, Ashley, and Liara…these characters do not appear in the multiplayer missions. In multiplayer, players will create custom characters to fight on different and unique fronts in the war. This will include the ability to play as favorites like Turians, Krogans, Asari and more… each with their own unique set of abilities."

For the longest time BioWare maintained that this trilogy is Shepard's story. So why is there a component which Shepard is removed from? The Mass Effect Universe is now well established and there is potential for very many heroes. But the trilogy was supposed have Shepard as the focal point. Of course, things can change. But I do not support a change that excludes Shepard. This point is lesser of my objections.

"What if I am not good at / do not like multiplayer? Will my readiness rating go down?

  • ME3 is a story about a war against overwhelming force where the most you can hope for us survival. The more you do to fight that war, the more you can change that story into a more optimistic one. You can reach the highest levels of success in the single player experience alone, but Galaxy at War gives you alternative ways to get there. It’s about choice, and allowing players to find their own ways to stay immersed in the Mass Effect universe."

To me it has never been about getting the "best" ending, if there is such an ending. I remember Reiner saying once that he had a number of teammates die in the Suicide Mission, but he is going to stick to that savegame for the final entry in the trilogy. That is how I see my experience as well; living with the decisions and facing the consequences. I simply cannot entertain the idea of a co-op which has nothing to do with Shepard affect Shepard's story. For example, I might have made some decisions like not saving the Rachni Queen, leaving the Council to die that likely result in the galaxy ending up in a very bad state after the war with the Reapers. But that is the whole point of this trilogy, the whole purpose of playing as Shepard. The ability of the co-op mode to affect Shepard's story defeats the entire purpose of this trilogy. Of course, this co-op mode maybe a lot of fun to play, but my issue is with its intrinsic value.

DLC plans

"Will you be adding any additional maps or modes through DLC?

  • We can’t comment on specifics right now, but can confirm that we are planning on having DLC for Mass Effect 3."

It will be interesting to see how they handle DLC since Mass Effect 3 is the final chapter in the trilogy. If the DLC include Shepard they might just take away from whatever the epic conclusion that was reached in the main game. They cannot possibly include end game material in those DLC, that would be outright disservice to the main game. All I can say is give Shepard's story a conclusion he/she deserves, which I believe BioWare will, and leave him/her be, which I am not completely sure considering the DLC plans.

Now you maybe thinking I am taking things a bit too seriously here. I am, but only within the realm of Mass Effect. These things do not affect other parts of my day to day affairs. But when it is time for Mass Effect I take it seriously.