Posted March 5, 2012 by Derek Vicente in Gaming

Mass Effect 3 To Introduce Reputation As The Measuring Stick Of Gameplay Morality

Mass Effect 3 is just within our doorsteps and every galactic conquistador, alien buster, and planet miner out there is excited for the thrilling conclusion of Shepard’s larger than life adventure of finding ways to save planets while entering into a sexual relationship with the Normandy’s finest space troopers, regardless of gender. Mass Effect 1 was controversial; the concept of alien sex was introduced, and we’re not even talking about the anal probe here – the wayward actions of Shepard during the first game opened up new morality decisions layered with sexual innuendos and intimidation only fit for space’s last hope for survival.

Mass Effect 2 was no different – the Lazarus Project revived a disemboweled Shepard, scarring him (or her) with orange outlines and reddish eyes if the player chooses to follow the path of a loathed Renegade. Mass Effect 2 re-defined the whole experience; the drama associated with the direct sequel, plus the choices we had to make during the final confrontation with the Collectors made it clear that ‘morality’ in the game plays a huge role in affecting the lives of Normandy’s prominent crew. Mass Effect 3 is near landing and before the game touches the ground, let’s first take a closer look on how morality would leave its mark on Shepard and the rest of the team.

Morality in role-playing games is a common gameplay supplement that affects a character’s interaction with their living environment. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a perfect, re-modeled example of morality in motion – the Dragonborn may either choose to play by the Jarl’s government or butcher everyone in Riverwood leaving only Delphine or Hadvar to attack. Morality can be quite crushing or rewarding, and Mass Effect 2 mastered virtual decision-making by numerous folds. Forming alliances in Mass Effect 2 became the backbone of the game’s excellent story – Shepard was on a quest to assemble a team of combat specialists and lead them to a suicide mission into the heart of the Collector’s sheathed, intergalactic fortress. There was a pivotal moment where Shepard would choose between who to side with – Legion or Tali – if Shepard decides to side with Tali, Legion would surely perish during the final scenario where the group are holding a large horde of Collectors from vaporizing the remaining survivors.

Decisions was a huge part of Mass Effect 2. Obviously, Mass Effect 3 would re-shape how decisions would be carried out during Earth’s darkest hour.

Bioware Introduces Reputation as Mass Effect 3’s Morality Valve
Reputation in Mass Effect 3 would influence Shepard’s Paragon/Renegade rating. Take a look at the image below for a quick reference.


The colorless bar is the player’s Reputation meter, which would continuously increase after Shepard completes a quest or side-quest. Also in the image displays the original colors of Paragon/Renegade. The new morality algorithm is a little bit confusing even I have trouble understanding it. All throughout Shepard’s arduous forays into Earth’s shattered architecture, he’ll (or she’ll) meet people that are in need of assistance or colonies that must be purged to prevent the Reapers from turning the victims into violent husks. An assist tilts the Paragon meter an inch forward, while crimes against humanity pushes the Renegade meter forward. Consequently, these decision have moral ramifications on how Reputation would increase during gameplay, thus setting the tone on how Earth’s remaining survivors interact with Shepard.

IGN calls it a “non-flavored approach” in decision-making. Descriptively, Mass Effect 3 lets players explore the final chapter of Shepard’s conflict with the Reapers. Will you promote commanding goodwill or sacrifice the lives of many to achieve peace and harmony? Shepard is Mass Effect 3’s hero and Earth’s final line of defense. Prepare for a battle large enough to create space dust residues and take Earth back as Mass Effect 3 hits PlayStation and Xbox 360 tomorrow, March 6, 2012!

Derek Vicente

Derek has been with Flipgeeks for almost three years. His first video game was Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Saturn and after blowing their television set after playing too much Rambo, he has set on a journey to play some of the best (and worst) role-playing games ever spawned. He recently completed Wild Arms 2 without any cheat codes.