Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Another Form of Optimization

I’ll admit, I lost poor old Garrus in the final act of Mass Effect 2. At the time I didn’t care all that much since he’s never been my most favourite companion in the Mass Effect games. That said, he is some sort of a mainstay and playing Mass Effect might be somewhat weird without him. Alas, Eurogamer’s preview of Mass Effect 3 reminded me that the companions we lost in the second installment of the series would not return in part three after importing the old savegame. That leaves me in a bit of a bind – do I have to play through the game again planning out the optimal choices beforehand, or do I stick to my original decisions and live with the fact that I will miss out on part of the next game?

I for one never got the whole Shepard-Garrus romance thing. Tali now... (image:

Granted, Bioware has kept the influences of the previous games rather minor in the past so it is unlikely that Garrus will play a huge role in part 3, or at least not one that can’t be filled by another NPC. Still, it feels odd to just skip out on that part.

I used to be a player that was very focused on achieving the optimal outcome in any game situation, reloading older savegames when something didn’t go the way I planned. This is not a very good way to approach story – centric games however and I’m trying to move away from that behaviour. My Mass Effect 3 outcome is an example of that. I neither looked up how I could save all my companions in the final act of ME2, nor did I reload and try different options until I found the optimal one. That was all fine as long as I only had to think as far as the ending of the game (which followed quite soon after Garrus’ untimely demise), but now I have to live with unforeseeable consequences of my actions.

I think if I didn’t have the option of going back, this would be a very good thing and a step towards meaningful decisions in games. I do have the option though (even  though I don’t really want to do all that mining again…) and it nags me. Laziness is probably going to come to my rescue and make sure I’ll stick to the chosen path instead of optimizing the hell out of that game but I doubt I’ll stop feeling uncomfortable about it, especially when I do finally get my hands on Mass Effect 3.

How about you, how much do you optimize in such games? Did you replay Mass Effect 1 or Dragon Age: Origins for an optimal storyline before getting their respective second parts? Do you frequently reload after making the “wrong” decision in role-playing games?

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