Mass Effect Three- Personal Idea for Endgame
Like many thousands of other fans of the Mass Effect series, I was hugely annoyed by the endings to the game. They sucked big-time. And that's putting it kindly. I've looked at the Bioware forums, and like me, endless people are complaining at the atrocity committed by Bioware, which ultimately amounts to them digging their own graves. A lot of people aren't going to buy their games again, because between this and Dragon Age 2's ending, they've lost a lot of reputation.
Simply to cheer myself up at this horrific murder of gaming history, I've designed this- my own idea how the endgame content should have worked. Obviously there's no chance in hell that Bioware are going to even see this, never mind listen. But I can dream, right?
Anyway, this version of the endgame is a lot deeper than the one Bioware did, with a lot more choice and a lot more variety. And the multiple endings are- at least in my own opinion- no way near as awful as the ones designed by Bioware. It follows the basic structure of the original, but with a lot more options. Feel free to comment, on here or the Bioware forum post I put up.
This system is based a lot on two things- your choices, and the military power of the war assets you've collected. The military score will be the main thing, but depending on what choices you make, the score will change as the battle progresses. Get too low, and your pretty much buggered. However, to keep your score from dropping too low, you may have to make sacrifices to ensure that. Of course, if you've done well enough in the main game, you may avoid that. There isn't a true 'best ending' to this, because one way or another sacrifices will be made. It's just a matter of choosing the right ones.
Anyway... time to begin. This outline is divided up by sections, labelled 'Acts'. The first act opens after you pass through the Sol relay (also note this idea refers to Shepard as canon male).
Act One- Landing
As the allied forces approach Earth, Admiral Hackett asks Shepard for his suggestion on tactics. This opens up two choices-
This choice results in the Normandy and other units intended to take out the Anti-Ship cannons slipping in undetected while the main force takes on. This approach will result in heavy losses for the fleet, however, causing the loss of 1000 war asset points. If this causes overall points to fall below 500, it results in failure, and the Reapers win.
Two: Full Assault-
This choice results in the Normandy assisting the attack while trying to get onto Earth. This results in the death of one teammate (random, but not EDI or love interest) when enemy fire hits the Normandy, but reduces losses to 500 instead of 1000. Again, if this causes points to fall below 500, you'll fail. Note that if all the ship upgrades were researched in ME2, the loss of teammate is prevented.
Whichever route is taken, assuming that war asset points remain over 500, the Normandy successfully launches a shuttle towards London before returning to the fight. The shuttle lands safely, although one of the units meant to target the nearby Anti-Ship cannon is shot down.
Act Two- Touchdown
As Shepard and crew leave the shuttle, they are set upon by Reapers. After defeating them, they are contacted by Anderson, who tells them they need to destroy the remaining Anti-Ship gun. Fighting your way over to the downed shuttle, Shepard receives contact from Cortez, who says Harvesters are inbound and Cortez intends to stop them. This leads to a choice.
This choice has Shepard order Cortez to avoid the Harvesters. This choice results in combat with three Harvesters and a tonne of Reaper forces on top of that, which even on Casual difficulty would be... fun, to say the least. Aside from the painful fight, there are no major drawbacks to this choice.
This option has Shepard allowing Cortez to go ahead. If removes the fight with the Harvesters and Reaper forces, but results in the sacrifice of Cortez, as he takes out the final Harvester with what is basically a suicide bombing.
After the Harvesters have been dealt with, no matter how, Shepard can retrieve the heavy weaponry from the fallen shuttle and destroy the Anti-Ship cannon, allowing the Hammer units to land for the assault on the beam to the Citadel. If Cortez survived this section, he comes and picks up Shepard and the squad, revealing that he has Anderson on board. If he didn't, then Shepard and team must fight off a couple of waves of Husks and Mauraders, plus a couple of Banshees, before being picked up in a shuttle by Anderson.
However it goes, Anderson explains that Harbinger is approaching London, and that the allies don't have much time before he arrives. After a brief talk, they land at the forward base.
Interlude- Forward Base
Here is basically just an opportunity to talk to your squad, as well as to former squad members via the communications officer. That's much the same as the original ending to ME3- although main addition here is that there's a repairman having trouble with some of the tanks intended for the next attack. You can allocate one of your teammates to help (but not EDI), but you will be unable to use them for the rest of the endgame. However, if you choose not to, you lose 500 points.
This section ends with the talk with Anderson, who explains he wants you to go through no-man's land, and also a morale speech for your squad (or at least the ones still in your party). Then it's off to war again.
Act Three- Destroyer
This section opens with Shepard and his squad entering no-man's land. After fighting your way across about half way, Shepard overhears on his communicator that one of the Hammer units is pinned down and in trouble. One of his squad suggests one of them go and help alone, saying they'll move faster alone. This opens three choices.
This choice results in a detour for the mission, and some seriously heavy – and painful – fighting. However, because you all go and it takes longer, some of the unit is obliterated before they can get there, and you lose 500 points. After this, you can continue on to the final goal.
Two: Send Teammate-
This option avoids the detour and loss of points by sending one teammate alone. Shepard can send any teammate except EDI- and if he survived act two, this includes Cortez, even though he cannot be used as an active squad member- and if chooses one from current squad deployment can replace them with someone else. Shepard and squad then continue towards final destination, but half way there receive reports that although the unit was saved, his teammate died saving them.
This option allows Shepard and squad to go straight ahead to the final goal, but results in the unit being wiped out and the loss of 1000 points.
When Shepard finally reaches the final target, if the war asset score has fallen below 500, they are all quickly wiped out, resulting in a Reaper victory. If it remains above this number, then Shepard fights off a number of Reaper forces, then fires one of the missiles, but it misses due to interference from the beam. EDI explains that if the Destroyer were pulled away from the beam, it could work. But she also explains that she could directly hack the targeting system and use it herself, yet this would result in her destruction due to a virus spreading through the system.
This choice results in a long fight, during which the Destroyer gets closer. After a while, eventually the missiles can be fired and wipes the Destroyer out. This choice results in the loss of 1000 points due to forces lost during the battle.
Two: EDI's Sacrifice-
This choice has EDI upload to the missile targeting system, and she fires it and destroys the Destroyer right off. However, this choice results in EDI being destroyed too by a virus in the system.
However, if the Geth are part of the allied forces and the war asset score is still above 3000, then one of them offers to perform the same action, resulting in a 100 point loss, but EDI survives.
When the Destroyer falls, Anderson arrives and points out the arriving Harbinger.
Act Four- Cerberus
Anderson orders a full-out attack on the beam. Rushing forwards, Shepard must avoid being shredded by the attacking Reaper beams and reach the beam. He succeeds, although if the war asset score is below 1000 by this point he loses one of his squad in the process.
Aboard the Citadel, he, his squad and Anderson are separated. At first Shepard must fight solo through Reaper forces, but soon reunites with one of his squad and saves them from a Reaper forces ambush. They then fight and reunite with their second squadmate, again saving them from an ambush (if a squadmate was killed reaching the beam, this second squadmate is chosen at random from remaining). The three then head to the central area, where they find Anderson being held in stasis by the Illusive Man, who has escaped the fallen Cerberus base with his remaining forces, and who then stops the squad in stasis too.
There are always two options available throughout the conversation's three choice segments, one paragon, one renegade. However, there are also two more each time. The first time requires around a third paragon or renegade respectively. The second choice requires approximately two thirds of a respective bar. The third choice requires nearly max (although not quite) of either paragon or renegade. Choosing either of the choices that don't require paragon or renegade scores in any of the three choice sections will result in the death of both Anderson and the Illusive Man. Choosing all three renegade will result in the death of Anderson, but the Illusive Man breaks free of indoctrination and joins Shepard with the remaining Cerberus troops, increasing war asset score by 500. Choosing all three paragon results in Anderson and the Illusive Man both surviving, and the Illusive Man again breaking free of indoctrination and joining Shepard, resulting in a 1000 war asset score increase.
Act Five- Fate of the Universe
However Act Four ends, the next part has Harbinger approaching the Citadel. Hackett contacts Shepard with a choice.
One: Concentrate Fire-
The allied forces can concentrate fire on Harbinger. With a score over 3000, Harbinger is destroyed by this, although there is a 1000 loss. With a score over 2000, but below 3000, Harbinger is delayed long enough for the final events to take place, again with a 1000 loss. With a score under 2000, this attempt ends in failure, and leads to Reaper victory.
With the Normandy leading the attack, the allies can distract Harbinger. This choice is again divided. With an over 2000 score, the plan is successful, although there is a 500 loss. Also, if EDI was lost, the Normandy - and Joker – are destroyed. With a score below 2000 but above 1000, the Normandy is destroyed, and only by a suicide strike by the allies is he delayed, resulting in a 1000 point loss. Anything below 1000 results in failure.
This option is a nightmare, but avoids the painful losses. This has Harbinger attack the Crucible. Shepard and his team fight their way to a heavy weapon's platform and Shepard can use it to destroy Harbinger. This fight is intended to be a nightmare, however, and should be insanely difficult even on Casual. Victory, however, would result in Harbinger's destruction.
However this part ends, Shepard ends up being risen up on a platform into a hidden part of the Citadel, where he is confronted by the god-like creature in charge of the Reapers. The creature attempts to convince Shepard that there are only two options. One of that Shepard can take control of the Reapers, and then use them to suppress and control the universe to avoid chaos. The second choice is to prevent further conflict by destroying the Reapers and all other technology, but this will result in a lot of death, including all the living beings in the ships outside, the entire Geth race, and god knows what else. With a near max paragon or renegade score, Shepard can argue, and under pressure the creature reveals that the Reapers alone can be destroyed, but this might result in future chaos, and he will not allow it, leading to the ultimate choice (this is where it deviates madly from Bioware's awful crap).
This option has Shepard take control of the Reapers, integrating himself with the creature and it's system, becoming essentially immortal as he becomes nothing more than data with thoughts. He then has a second choice- to use them to suppress all races under his own rule, or to make the Reapers turn on themselves. Suppressing all races under his rule ends the game with him doing precisely that, crushing all resistance. A very renegade move.
However, he can also choose to make the Reapers turn on each other. The creature will be furious at this, and ends up frying Shepard's mind. But the Reapers wipe each other out, and also blow the Citadel to pieces in their fight, destroying their creator, the creature. This is a more paragon move, and has a happier ending with the universe in peace at last, with Shepard remembered as a legendary hero.
Two: Technology's End-
This choice destroys all technology as in the original game. Not a good choice to be going with when you think about all the death it'll cause, and it reduces the world to a primitive state. But as an option, it still needed stating.
A completely original, and by far ultimate... if radical and insane... choice- to destroy the Reapers themselves. This results in extended gameplay- see Act Six below for details.
Act Six- Hero's Will
After declaring he will destroy the Reapers, the creature summons an army of Reaper forces to kill Shepard. This fight is more difficult than anything, even fighting Harbinger in Act Five. After surviving for five minutes, a shuttle breaks in and drops a team in. Now Shepard gets to fight alongside allies- not only all his remaining squad, but extra allies as follows...
All former squadmates from ME2 who aren't in ME3 squad and are still alive
Anderson, if still alive
Half of former squadmates from ME2 who aren't in ME3 squad and are still alive (other half died in fighting)
Anderson, if still alive
One former squadmate from ME2 who isn't in ME3 squad and is still alive (other ME2 squadmates died in fighting)
Anderson, if still alive
Under 1000 Score:
Anderson, if still alive, plus five allied forces troops (who are far weaker than squadmates)
If he isn't but Illusive Man is, Illusive Man (same basic stats as Anderson, although has biotics) plus Cerberus strike troops (who are far weaker than squadmates)
If neither alive, five allied forces troops (weak, weak, weak...)
Whoever comes to help, the amount of enemies picks up- painfully. This fight will get murderously hard, fast, even with help, on casual difficulty. But hey, the prices we pay for sheer fun...
When the fighting calms down, one of remaining squadmates tells Shepard to do what he has to. Shepard runs out of the fighting, over to the main controls of the Citadel and is confronted by the creature, who asks Shepard what he hopes to achieve by this. The conversation options don't really matter one way or another, but the paragon option has Shepard saying that all he wants is freedom for the people, and the renegade option says he just wants to Reapers eradicated. Then he activates the Crucible, and blasts the Reapers to pieces.
Now for the final hurdle. The creature says that he will never stop until his goal is fulfilled, so Shepard says he will plant a bomb and wipe the Citadel and the creature out for good. The creature summons what remains of the Reaper forces, who survived the blast that destroyed the Reapers by being inside the Citadel. With two squadmates, Shepard fights his way to the Council chambers (as a bit of irony) and plants a bomb.
If the Normandy was destroyed, this ends with the Citadel- with Shepard and his friends- on it being blown to pieces. The game ends with them being labelled as legendary martyrs by the war's survivors.
If it wasn't destroyed, however, then Joker flies in and rescues them, flying them out as the Citadel is blown to pieces. The game ends with survivors of the war praising Shepard as a hero. Anderson (unless he died, in which case it's Hackett instead) asks Shepard what he intends to do next, giving one final choice. One has him choosing to remain a soldier, and he is seen standing over the galaxy map of the Normandy (if his love interest is still alive, then she will be standing beside him). The second has him choosing to help rebuilding efforts, and not much more is said. The third has him choosing to live in peace. If his love interest is dead, or he didn't have one, then the final shot is of Shepard lying flowers on a grave for either the love interest (if died) or the heroes of the war (if no love interest). If there was a love interest and they survived, then they are seen in front of a home together (scene changes slightly depending on who love interest was - i.e. with Tali, would likely be on reclaimed homeworld) and about to go get laid :) Whichever of the three options is chosen, the ending changes slightl depending on which major characters survived, including ME2 characters.
And that's my own version of the endgame. Totally mental towards the end, I know. But hey, I can dream, right?