While perhaps not as divisive as the Krogan genophage, Mass Effect 3's multiplayer has certainly garnered an equal share of supporting praise and critical barbs from fans of BioWare's elegiac trilogy capper.
It's not because the mode is teaming with awesome moments and subsequent gaping flaws - it's a straightforward, effective four player co-op premise that demands little in the way of appreciation or beration (read more in our review). Rather, many are simply trying to figure out just how the hell it all factors in to the main campaign's ending. Millions of gamers have spent untold hours (and six years) gallivanting through the galaxy with Commander Shepard, and it would be a shame to lose to the Reapers on account of a multiplayer technicality.
BioWare has heard the confusion and has taken the matter to their official forums. They recently released a statement to clarify how Mass Effect 3's ending is influenced by fighting off waves of Cerberus, Geth, or Reaper enemies in the game's new online mode:
You do NOT have to play multiplayer to get the best single-player endings.
Here's a bit of clarification:
Your ending(s) are determined by your "Effective Military Strength" (let's call it EMS for now) bar. Focus on that bar - that is your indicator of how well you will do in the end-game.
You can maximize your EMS just by collecting War Assets in the single-player game. There is a certain threshhold of these you would need to exceed (I can't get too specific) but I can tell you there are MORE than the required amount that can be gathered in the single-player campaign.
"Galactic Readiness" is a modifier you can improve by playing multiplayer. That is to say, if you play a lot of multiplayer, you will need less War Assets from single-player to fill up your EMS bar (ie it will balance out the requirements to account for you playing in both modes). Single-player game play does not impact that bar.
EMS = success. EMS can be maximized via collecting war assets alone, even if your Galactic Readiness is 50%.
This is shown in our even simpler
screenshot totally handmade visual guide below. The Mass Effect 3 ending is predicated on two principal statistics: "Total Military Strength" (TMS) and "Galactic Readiness." Consider TMS as the potential strength for all of the War Assets you've accumulated in single player, and the more (or less) galactically ready those Assets are determines their percentage of output (Effective Military Strength) when you Take Earth Back.
Apparently, mutiplayer can be disregarded outright and the minimum 50% Readiness will still make the best ending feasible - provided the player stockpiles enough TMS. This coincides with comments the developer made last year saying that the multiplayer was "100% optional."
Could BioWare have kept it simple with one measurement? Probably. But the extra Galactic Readiness modifier makes the multiplayer-inclined gamer feel like they're still having a profound effect on the single player campaign. As confusing as the War Asset system might be on its face, BioWare has successfully turned multiplayer into an asset of its own - one that's not the distraction some skeptics originally feared.
Ranters, how have you been balancing your time between Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and single player campaigns? Does the "Galactic Readiness" system enhance or cloud the concept of Commander Shepard's War Assets?
As mentioned, be sure to check out our Mass Effect 3 review for Game Rant's final take on the game.
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