Why Cooperative Play is a Good Thing For Mass Effect 3… Really

This will be fun... we promise

Last year on one of our early podcasts we discuseed how incredible it would be to travel the Mass Effect universe with your best friends and bring down the Reapers together as a well oiled team.  Well now we get our wish.  What is it about multi-player online games that brings out the blood-rage in RPG fans?  The answer is simplelosing..  Classic RPGs are typically an immersive and incredibly personal experience that do their best to make players feel powerful and integral to the fate of world/galaxy etc.  The last thing any RPG player wants is someone with a suit of hot pink N7 armor shooting them in the butt with a “golden” Locust SMG.  The good news is that’s not what Bioware is proposing for Mass Effect 3.

Incredible cooperative experiences like the ones provided by Gears of War, Borderlands, and Halo: Reach, prove that working together against a common foe can make for an incredibly memorable gaming experience.  Cooperative adventures are typically talked about amongst friends for years after they were completed.  I still remember the first time myself and the rest of Nerd Appropriate tackled the Reach Campaign like it was yesterday. Nerd memories are indeed forged in virtual battle.  Now we’ve known that multiplayer was going to be part of Mass Effect 3 for a while now, and were not surprised to see that the announcement polarized the Mass Effect community (Judging from the thousands of comments on the Bioware forums).  From what we gather ME3’s multiplayer will allow players to create their own avatar from a wide variety of the Mass Effect races and classes (sorry Blasto fans, no Hanar announced… yet).  Yes, this means your dreams of playing a Krogan Adept or an Asari Ardat-Yakshi may very well come true.

The last thing any RPG player wants is someone with a suit of hot pink N7 armor shooting them in the butt with a “golden” Locust SMG.

So again, why are some Mass Effect fans so pissed off?  Multiplayer gaming simply isn’t for everyone.  The bar in competitive multiplayer is often set so incredibly high that it prevents new or average players from enjoying themselves.  I for instance only tried Starcraft 2 multiplayer a handful of times even after I was incredibly excited to become part of that community.  Those SC2 players were just too damn good… it was humiliating!  Having played some form of competitive multi-player since the days of Action-Quake (look it up) and Counter Strike, I totally understand the appeal, but also understand how it’s only for people that wish to devote a whole lot of time to getting “good”.  Take a look at what Bioware has to say about ME:3’s co-op adventures… It’s okay Bioware, Nerd Appropriate is totally excited!


Today BioWare and the Mass Effect 3 team are very pleased to announce 4 player co-op multiplayer missions and the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system for Mass Effect 3 on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

4 player co-op multiplayer

Join your friends in the all-out galactic war to take Earth back. The universe of Mass Effect expands with the addition of new co-op multiplayer missions, playable over Xbox Live, PSN and PC internet. Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control. Success in multi-player will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind – and the entire galaxy – has ever faced.

Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War

As a bonus to the campaign, BioWare is introducing the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, a new way for players to manage and experience the galactic war from multiple fronts, including a new 4-player co-op mode. The key to saving the galaxy is the “Galactic Readiness” level, measured by Commander Shepard’s ability to apply
every possible asset – people, weapons, resources, armies, fleets – in the final battle against the Reapers. Players can impact their game’s Galactic Readiness level in multiple ways via the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, including multiplayer. Other platforms and interfaces will be announced in the coming months. It is important to note that the system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience – it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone.


Why include 4 player Co-op multiplayer in Mass Effect 3?

    • Being able to explore and fight alongside your friends in the Mass Effect universe has always been something we thought would be fun and compelling, and many players have asked for it for a long time as well. Mass Effect 3 is the best place for us to introduce multiplayer through co-op because of the premise of the game – all out galactic war.

Why only 4 player co-op? What not a versus mode?

    • We have always maintained that we would only add multiplayer into the Mass Effect series if it made sense and did not compromise the power of the single player campaign. Fighting together against a common threat was the multiplayer experience that made the most sense for Mass Effect 3. The way we have designed co-op as a wayto take control of key conflict zones in the galaxy is a natural extension of the premise of Mass Effect 3.

Why did you decide not to include it as a part of the main campaign?

    • Our priority and focus with Mass Effect 3 has and always will be to deliver a complete and satisfying single player experience.

Does the addition of co-op multiplayer missions impact the scope or quality of the single-player experience?

    • No. A dedicated team from our recently formed BioWare Montreal studio has been focused on creating the multiplayer game features while the main game continued to be developed by the team in BioWare Edmonton. Both teams are integrated under the same leadership group that produced Mass Effect 1 and 2, led by Casey Hudson. BioWare remains dedicated to delivering one of the most amazing single-player campaigns gamers have ever experienced.

How did developing multiplayer impact the single player game?

    • BioWare is dedicated and focused on delivering an engaging, fun, and action-packed experience for Mass Effect 3, one that lives up the BioWare standard. To reach that level of quality, last year BioWare opened a studio in Montreal that is home to designers, programmers, engineers, and other developers. Both studios work together as partners, lead by the core Mass Effect team, unified in a single vision. Under the direction of Casey Hudson and other team veterans, both studios make contributions to both the single player and multiplayer modes in Mass Effect 3. Rest assured that no compromises were made to either of these modes in the development of Mass Effect 3.

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.

What if I don’t like multiplayer – will my experience be negatively impacted?

    • Mass Effect 3 is a complete, standalone game that will deliver a satisfying story experience, even if you choose not to try multiplayer. The Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system and all of the individual components are meant to complement that amazing game and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of the Galaxy at War experience.

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.

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.

Do save games from ME1 or ME2 impact the co-op multiplayer missions?

    • No.

Do characters level up in co-op multiplayer? What is the progression system?

    • Character progression, weapon upgrading and leveling up is present in co-op. We’ll release more information on this topic in the months leading up to launch.

Is there more info about the other platforms of Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War?

    • We are not going into details about the other components of the Galaxy at War at this time except to say we are designing each to make sense for that platform. Each component will be able to affect a player’s “Galactic Readiness” level in a different way. Again, participation in any or all ME3:GaW elements is entirely optional.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Dibol

    Concerns I have is how much did it affect the quality of the single-player? 9 out of 10 times, the single-player suffered because of the extensive focus of multiplayer, and that is REGARDLESS of having separate dedicated teams. For example, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway has crappy networking problems since RockStar was involved in the multiplayer, while single-player had a ridiculously short length. Both aspects of Medal of Honor was outright mediocre). In short, the development budget is finite, and if the co-op affected the number of side missions we could have had, there would be a lot of incited riots over this. I signed up for Mass Effect PRIMARILY for single-player, and nothing else. As I mentioned in the other topics, Co-op usually made single-player campaigns undesirable (i.e. The infamous “Mandatory co-op in RE5 for a less frustrating experience.”)

    On the other front, multiplayer has an ARTIFICIAL TIME LIMIT. Seriously, besides whatever number of partners you have available, it’s not permanent. For games that are not titled Gears of War, Call of Duty, or Halo, multiplayer usually has a limited span of TWO MONTHS. I’ve seen this with EndWar back in 2008, and F.E.A.R. 3 is completely dead in JULY. Not sure how many people will co-op ME3 3 months after relase. Just from past experience, not many. I am unlikely going to partner up with three random strangers playing through co-op since they’ll either be playing Battlefield 3, Halo Anniversary, or Modern Warfare 3. Out of my actual X-Box Live friends, only ONE person from my friends list played the ME series in its entirety.

  2. Ash

    Dibol, as always you have some incredibly sound arguments. I know that Bioware has been working on this feature for quite some time and I have my fingers crossed that co-op will not detract from the quality or length of the single player experience. All of those issues/ concerns you’ve mentioned are indeed a reality, but I’m going to try and remain optimistic and hopeful that we get a worthy single player adventure.

    As for having a solid bunch of ME fans to run with.. You’re more than welcome to kill some Reapers with us! That is of course if you don’t mind the occasional fart joke.

  3. Dibol

    I don’t mind partnering up with any of the staff from Nerd Appropriate.. Need to have my X-Box Live profile running with Shepards right now, and that alone will keep me busy until release with my periodic breaks between Saints Row 3 and Arkham City.

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