So I decided to be the first to bring it up since nobody has breached the topic yet. How are you all feeling about the ME3 endings? Personally (and most players it seems disagree with my sentiments) I hated the endings, but I would not want them changed. For me Commander Sheppard wasn't just a video game character, like Mario or Link, that I enjoyed playing but had no real connection to. No Sheppard was truly a part of myself. I felt the pain of watching Garrus die in the suicide mission during ME2, the joy of successfully wooing my chosen love interest, the thrill of achieving Spectre status in ME1 (even though at that point I had barely begun to understand the game). I have been tearing myself apart for nearly a week because I failed to convince the Quarian fleet to stop firing at the Geth and had to watch as the liveships exploded one by one and finally watch as in his final act of desperation the Quarian standing with me and Legion took a pistol and shot himself in the head. All of these experiences weren't just carefully scripted game play moments, no not for me, these were real life and death decisions that I made (along with countless others I have not listed) and that affect me not just in the game world but in real life as well. And with that we return to the topic at hand, the ending. I despise the ending. It caused me utter misery watching Sheppard disintegrate, the Citadel and Mass Relays explode, and Normandy get blown to hell. It felt almost empty, the lack of dialog options, the fact that I never got my final revenge against The Illusive Man because he killed himself before I had the chance, or the fact that the 3 ending options are pretty much identical. The there was the scene of the Normandy on another planet with Joker, EDI, and Liara (my chosen love interest) and the burning question of how (and if not how, why) Liara would after confessing her love for Sheppard immediately preceding the final battle, then disappear during the run to the beam while Sheppard gets fried by reaper beam, and then suddenly appear unscathed on Normandy. However even after all this there is an important truth here. Just how ME doesn't end up the way you expect or hope life doesn't either. In my opinion the brilliance of the ending comes from the fact that they ultimately decided to show you that just like in real life you can do much good and make all the right choices but ultimately there is always a risk that you will be placed into a shitty situation and be forced to make a decision that is repugnant to you. Commander Sheppard is not just a video game character, he is a part of myself and that will never change. Changing the ending would only cheapen the experience of Mass Effect, much the same as being able to change previous decisions in life would cheapen our existence. And one final note: Part of me hates the ending because it is the end. I will never again share an adventure with Commander Sheppard and that is like killing one of my best friends right before my eyes.

But enough of my experiences and opinions. Agree, disagree, share your thoughts feelings and experiences. 

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I generally agree, I loved the series up until the last 10 -15 min of 3.

I hated how most of your actions hae no effect on the ending (choose - green, red or blue explosion).

Previously, destroying a mass relay was similar to a supernova and would destroy most life in the solar system.  Did Shepard not kill more life than the reapers ever hoped to in that one action? Did he just wipe out all of that massive alliance I just spent 30+ hours building?. Did the relays not explode in that fashion for some reason? Even if there was no explosion, all the galaxy's military is now stuck in the sol system with no way home (that is literally the best option).  How do people I have on planet with me get back to the ships when harbinger was slaughtering them.  How did Joker and the Normandy, that were fighting above earth, get to Charon for the mass relay?  Just too many problems. 

Maybe they will fix it in DLC, but either way I'm still disappointed. 

I agree there are a LOT of inconsistencies and such but what can be viewed as game breaking can also be viewed as brilliance. I kinda compare the ending of ME3 to the ending of LOST which left as many questions as it did answers. It drives conversation and keeps the story alive through discussion long after the credits have rolled. Hopefully there will be an explanation of some kind for many of the glaring inconsistencies but I still would not want a DLC "fix" just because like I said before I feel it would cheapen the experience as a whole.

Short version: 

I hated them and I feel that the last 5 minutes of the game ran counter to just about everything I'd ever done in the series.  I would like them replaced with something that makes sense.  I think Star Child is wtfery and that the whole Grandad-telling-story-to-grandkid thing is a massive craptacular cop-out.  Who would tell a kid a story that full of violence, profanity, and (amazingly laughable) sex?  I felt the ending(s) cheapened the entire series.

Longer version:

I think the reason there's been such a backlash to the end is that people (a lot of us) have an amazingly close connection to what's gone on in the ME world.  The entire series up until the last 5 minutes is about your actions and the consequences of those actions, often actions that play out across the entire series. 

For example: Kaidan.  From trusted squadmate in ME1 to someone who, in ME2 felt that I had outright betrayed him and everything I once stood for, to the awkward initial interactions in ME3 that lead to the re-establishment of a relationship where, because of my choices in London lead to his death (I'll get to that plot hole in a minute) because of my decision to take him with me on the last assaut. 

ME3 had some amazing, visceral moments that had been a long time in the making.  Curing the Genophage and Mordin's sacrifice (Mordin = my favorite!) and the discovery in London that Wrex will be a daddy.  Thane's death and Kolyat's revelation that Thane's dying prayer was for Shepard.  Legion's selfless decision to free the Geth and the fact that the Quarians finally got to go home.  I could go on and on about what made ME3 amazing.  I won't lie about the fact that I cried more than once. 

The ending took all of this amazing journey and absolutely ruined the entire thing.  From a gamer's standpoint I did everything right.  I went in to my last moments at 100% galactic readiness (<3 me some Quarian Engineer multiplayer) and over 7000 resources.  I had scanned every scannable part of the galaxy to 100%.  I had stayed true to my Paragon ideals.  I had leveled up my weapons and had credits out the wazoo.  I was a badass.  But none of that mattered.  It had zero relevance on what was to come.  All the decisions I had agonized over, all the challenges I had faced, all the relationships I had forged... they didn't matter.  In the end the only choice I really got to make was the color of the explosion from the Mass Relays. 

The endings were absolute copouts.  I'm really supposed to believe that Joker left Sol?  The one guy who had followed me through hell and I'm supposed to believe that he somehow decides to up and leave in the middle of the fight without any knowledge of what was taking place on the Citadel? 

Why, after crash landing on generic jungle planet, do (in my story) Joker, Kaidan, and Garrus (or EDI depending on ending) get off the Normandy?  I took Kaidan and Garrus with me on the final assault.  You know, the one where everyone died if you believe the voice over and the one where I, as Shepard, barely limped out of.  Am I supposed to believe that somehow Joker gets down to Earth, close to the beam, picks up my two squadmates (who look amazingly fresh and uninjured) and that all 3 of them were somehow are okay with just abandoning my ass?  I can't, in any way, believe that. 

Am I supposed to believe that Shepard, she of uncompromising resolve and the defier of galactic odds in all situations suicidal, just rolls over and takes the options offered by some ethereal deus ex machina entity of unknown motive?

What about the implications of all those fleets stranded in Sol?  The Turians and the Quarians would die slowly and painfully because of the inability to get the food they needed.  How is a universe in which people depend on farming PLANETS going to come up with enough food to keep all those people now stranded just outside of Earth alive?

I think that BioWare blew it.  I think that they took years of good will and devotion from their audience and essentially said "screw you".  I don't buy the excuse that they had good rationale for what they did and I really think they should go back and do the entire thing over again.  This was a massive mistake, pure and simple and I'm really wondering how a decision like the ending of ME3 made it.  I seriously regret finishing ME3 and I haven't picked the game up again (not even for multiplayer) since I finished the game.  I probably won't ever pick it up again unless something is done to make the destination worthy of the journey that lead up to it, and the way in which ME3 was handled has really made me reconsider if I would pick up a game developed by BioWare ever again. 

Ahh, I haven't ranted like that since the this debacle started.  That felt good :)

I agree with pretty much everything you said Kyu except for what good would a new ending do? Its almost like if you made a decision in the game and then reloaded a save because you were unhappy with the results. I was extremely angry at first and I havent been able to play it anymore either for the same reasons.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time I reloaded a game because I wasn't content with what happened.  I admit that I'd accept the theory that states that Shep went and got herself indoctrinated if done correctly and that the endings weren't real.  While the rational side of me says that releasing some sort of DLC with more endings that uses the indoctrination theory (as it is being called) would just be bullshit... I really just want them to go "Okay, yeah, we screwed up.  We're going to go back, we're going to make it right."  I don't trust BioWare anymore.  I admit, I'd love to understand the rationale for what they've done.  I want to know why they flat out SAID there would be an ending that would follow through with how you'd play and reduced it to that... crap.

Mostly I just want it to go away because it's depressing as fuck.

Most games I,would agree with you but Mass Eefect is the exception. I never once allowed myself to reload a save in Mass Effect because of the unique nature of action and consequence it felt wrong for me to reload to fix a mistake.

I am honestly glad I am not the only freak who has been depressed like hell since finishing ME3

Well, I suppose I don't look at it as fixing a mistake.  I played with a very specific intent in mind.  I knew, very well, who my Shepard was and what she would or would not do and how she would or would not react.  Because the multiple choice is not exact and because I have a tendency to read things with the tone and intent that I would speak them, sometimes I'd take BioWare's choices and the results were not at all what I thought they would be.  So, in order to be true to what my Shepard was, I would go back and do it over so that she remained the character that I created, if that makes any sense. 

I have played ME1, ME2, and now ME3.  Many hours were invested, numerous decisions were made, and many enemies were killed.  The game was amazing for me because I find the ME universe to be fascinating and one of their main writers (now retired from Bioware, did not write ME3 ending) is one my favorite Authors, he has excellent writing style and his stories flow is superb.  In saying all this I knew that the ending would be the end and it would go out in a bang.  I liked the ending.  It was memorable and controversial.  It was so dramatic and no matter how it played out the mass effect relays are no more.  My hope is there will be further stories about the aftermath of the reaper war.  How exactly will all the species survive that are trapped in the sol system?  Will Joker's group survive?  If the Mass Effect relay destroyed a whole star system when it exploded in ME2 wouldn't explosions of the whole relay network do more damage?  And a whole lot more...

I am playing my second play through on insanity as a renegade (first time was Paragon). 

Shepard had to become a legend and he/she accomplished it.

Just kind of curious (because my circle is full of people who didn't like the ending) how do you deal with the plot holes and other issues that the ending brought out?

For example, in my first play through, the two people I took to Earth came out of the ship with Joker (who has brittle bone disease and wouldn't have been walking anywhere, but I digress).  How did they get on the Normandy?

You guys...

The entire ending of the game didn't really happen except in Shepard's mind. The ending is brilliant because it deals with not only Shepard but YOU the player fighting Reaper indoctrination. Shepard never really got up off the ground and limped to the Citadel conduit. S/he never had a conversation with Anderson and The Illusive Man inside the Citadel because s/he never made it to the inside of the Citadel. S/he never made the choice to Destroy, Synthesize, or Control the Reapers. Since none of this happened except in Shepard's mind then the Mass Relays never exploded. The Normandy never crashed on that lush tropical planet. 

If you choose the Destroy option you will see Shep wake up for real in the rubble back on earth. All preceding events weren't real except in Shepard's mind.

Anderson represents the part of Shepard's mind that has NOT yet been controlled by the Reapers. The Illusive Man represents the part of his mind that IS indoctrinated. He is basically mentally arguing with himself about what is right. 

The Catalyst is the actual indoctrination. The hallucination of the child is telling him he has to make a choice. Synthesis or Control will result in Shepard's indoctrination. Destroy is the only option that results in Shepard rejecting indoctrination but the Reapers thru the Catalyst are attempting to make that option seem unappealing.   

If you really closely followed the series especially when indoctrination was discussed then the indoctrination of Shepard at the end is obvious. But without paying attention to that and picking up on the clues it is not meant to be and this is how Bioware is attempting to indoctrinate YOU the player by not making the indoctrination obvious... you are SUPPOSED to question whether the end was real or not. Bioware WANTED us to struggle with that and debate it.

They didn't fuck up. It's the best ending they could possibly give to the series. That's why it doesn't make sense for them to elaborate more at the end because doing so would ruin the point of the indoctrination by making it too obvious when indoctrination is supposed to be subtle and you question what is real and what is not. 

Unfortunately Indoc Theory (IT) is fan conjecture at this point.  Granted it is very COMPELLING fan conjecture, but it has not been substantiated by BioWare.

That's not to say that I don't support IT or think that it's the most viable thing we've got at this point.  I just think that if IT is the correct ending, it was poorly executed and there'd be no reason for BioWare to sit on IT if IT is indeed the "right" way to interpret it.

Yes because like I said Bioware intended it to be subtle. They didn't put a flashing neon sign in the game saying "YOU'RE BEING INDOCTRINATED SHEPARD!" because it would ruin the indoctrination which is supposed to be subtle. They also trusted us fans to get it without needing them to hold our hands and say... "This is how it goes..."

Just the scene alone where Shepard wakes up after the entire Citadel scene (if you choose to destroy) proves the indoctrination theory... How? Because Shepard is STILL on EARTH!  You see if you choose to destroy you beat the Reaper indoctrination. So you wake up back on Earth as yourself. If you choose the other 2 options you do not wake up on earth because you are indoctrinated. You have falsely assumed that what was in your mind was real so you would not wake up from your "dream state". 

Besides the indoctrination is the only way the game makes sense. And it's a brilliant ending because we're shown that even the mighty Commander Shepard is not entirely infallible and impervious to Reaper indoctrination.  

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