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Taking The Fight To The Milky Way

June 1, 2012

Whether you loved or hated the Mass Effect 3 ending, I’m sure you’ll want to read this, unless of course you hated the multiplayer. In which case, the following article is definitely not for you.

Mass Effect 3’s online, for people who don’t know, has you play against a horde of three different enemy types: Cerberus, the Reapers or the Geth. You fight against 10 waves alongside 3 other team-mates. You can choose from one of many classes and characters (for example, krogan soliders, asari adepts, quarian infiltrators, human and salarian engineers, drell vanguards, turian sentinels) to stand against your enemies and level up. Eventually, as your character grows to level 20, you can promote them and acquire points towards Total Military Strength to aid your Shepard in the single player campaign.

At the onset of Mass Effect 3 online, Xbox and PC players were treated to event weekends, known as Operatives, whereby players achieved goals (promoting characters, killing certain enemies, finishing operations on the hardest settings) and were given special reward packs, which could contain rare weapons, one-time armour, weapons or ammunition upgrades.  Unfortunately, difficulties between Sony and Bioware ensued which meant us PS3 players were playing long and hard for no real incentives, apart from the free DLC Resurgence pack which added 6 new characters, new weapons to unlock and 2 new maps.

The Resurgence pack was a great incentive to play. I mean, you can play as a geth engineer. That is totally and utterly badass. As well as the geth engineer, we were treated to a variety of powerful new characters including an asari Justicar adept, krogan Battlemaster vanguard, batarian soldier, batarian sentinel and geth infiltrator.

However, it wasn’t enough to keep my interest indefinitely, knowing that I was missing out on incentives that my PC and Xbox counterparts were being rewarded for. I know I had achieved the same goals as them, but I and many other PS3 players were not rewarded. It left a nasty taste in my mouth and I felt a little betrayed by Sony, who were resistant to allowing third party events to happen on the PSN.

Then finally, in April, PS3 events were started, the first being Operation Exorcist. Bioware’s blog announced the news with a great little piece recognising the frustration of PS3 players and acknowledging that we spent as much time and proved our skill as much as our Xbox and PC counterparts. It was a great and wonderful little nod to the loyal fanbase who grinded on without incentives. Here is the link; please take a look at how a developer should treat its loyal followers (and no flaming about the end of ME3 please, at least they acknowledged the misgivings about ME3’s ending).

I, however, missed this first operation. I managed to get online for the latest Operation known as Operation Shieldwall, though. There was a personal goal (known as a squad goal) of promoting 3 characters. I managed to promote my four adept characters, which will hopefully reward me with a commendation pack, and hoping that all PS3 players managed to get online and do their part we will rewarded with a Victory Pack (for an allied goal of promoting 50,000 characters). Apparently, the Victory pack has a nice shiny rare weapon in each pack.

NOW, a word of warning: before you take part in these operations make sure you have your online gameplay feedback ‘ON’, you can find this in the options on the main menu.

Bioware has also announced another free online DLC pack known as the Rebellion Pack. It will be available as a free download on the 29th May for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 (North America). European PS3 owners will have to wait a day for the download.

The Rebellion Pack contains 2 new multiplayer maps: Firebase Jade, which is on the salarian homeplanet of Sur’kesh, and Firebase Goddess, which is on the asari homeplanet of Thessia. These new maps look to expand the fronts you must engage your enemies on, as the war spreads throughout the Milky Way. Bioware has decided to freshen up proceedings by adding in a ‘retrieve mode’ wave, so it’ll play like capture the bag, where you and your team-mates will have to move a package from a starting location to somewhere else on the map, while fighting off waves of enemies. Most importantly, 6 new characters will be added, including an entirely new race. These include male quarian engineers and inflirators,  ex-Cerberus vanguards and adepts and… drumroll please…

Vorcha soldiers and sentinels. Umm, yay?

All joking aside, I’m looking forward to trying out the vorcha, almost as excited as playing as the geth.

The new characters are free, but just like the characters from the earlier Resurgence pack you need to unlock the characters by spending in game credits (60000) or if you are really desperate, spending £1.60 (I dont know how many Microsoft Points that is equal to) on Spectre Packs from the store, which will give you the chance of unlocking them. Even though I’m annoyed by new characters still being locked, working towards earning 60000 in-game credits with the hope of unlocking them is again a good incentive to keep players interested and to aim at a goal.

The fact that Bioware is rewarding all their loyal players with online incentive operations as well as large free DLC packs is worthy credit to a fun and addictive multiplayer. Check back for my impressions of these new additions to one of my favourite online multiplayers.

Comment on what you would like see included in the next multiplayer DLC. What I would like to see is a new enemy. I know it wouldn’t make much sense, but how about adding the Collectors as an enemy just for the hell of it?


Image link: Bioware Blog

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