Games We Want as MMOs: Mass Effect

| 9 Oct 2013 13:49

Professions: The professions would likely revolve around the three main specialties of biotics, tech and combat. Biotics is an important part of the Mass Effect universe, so it stands to reason that a player could become and expert with Element Zero and the bio-amps used to augment the abilities. Biotic implants would be a key element of research, limited of course by the timeframe of the story. The Asari could get bonuses to the profession.

Tech could get specializations in the creation of omni-tools and synthetics, which could then make for some interesting additions and upgrades to player gear. As in the main Mass Effect games, decryption, hacking and electronics could be starting benefits or unlockable abilities with more skill levels. Players could also create various other tools or gear that would supplement the basic tech abilities.

Mass Effect Screen - Femshep and Wrex

Combat expertise would necessitate a study of weapons and armor. Imagine a buffed version of the standard N7 armor, or weapons with better optics and damage.

These professions would be closely tied to the class the player chooses, so a biotic would not have access to combat professions except maybe at higher levels when a hybrid class can be created like the Vanguard. There could be secondary professions added for flavor, learnable by all.

Talents and Skills: Again, this is an area that could be pulled from the three games with some tweaks and balancing. The Mass Effect series has a rather robust list of abilities for each class, allowing for a multitude of play styles. It is likely there would be few changes or additions, except for the need to balance these abilities in a PvP environment to keep any one class or hybrid from being overpowered.

PvP possibility: Mass Effect is a conflict-based game, so it seems likely that some sort of PvP would be implemented for the MMO. Mass Effect 3 already had cooperative multiplayer, but did not allow for taking on human opponents. BioWare has gotten its hands dirty with PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic, including the recent implementation of arenas. The functionality could be transferred to a Mass Effect game, but several passes would have to be made at the talents and skills (as mentioned above) to keep any one class from being overpowered. As any experienced MMO player knows, PvE specs and PvP specs are almost always radically different. And since PvP would be a new addition to the ME universe, a lot of balancing would need to go into it to make it viable and fun.

Mass Effect 3 screens 2

Subscription vs. Free-to-play: BioWare has moved away from subscription in SWTOR, so a free-to-play Mass Effect MMO that uses its Star Wars kin as a guide seems most likely. Microtransactions, upgrade and gear packs, and the ability to purchase an in-game currency such as SWTOR's Cartel Coins already has a foundation. So you could expect a F2P game with total access to all aspects of the game, but limiting weekly instances, bag space, number of account characters, or certain abilities and benefits. BioWare is still tweaking its F2P model, so depending on when a Mass Effect Online game would be released, the model could vary a bit based on player response in beta.

Likelihood and Prediction: In early 2012, before they left the company, BioWare docs Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka had briefly discussed the possibility of an MMO in the ME universe. "The implication of a Mass Effect MMO has so many expectations," Zeschuk said. "We already bit off a big thing to chew with a Star Wars MMO, and that's not so small. It's daunting, but the neat thing is it would lend itself to a different type of game play. It's fun to think about. I imagine people think it would be just like Mass Effect as it is ... but there's lots of people there. It's really interesting."

Mass Effect 3 screens 3

Muzyka said that the expectations would be huge. "When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space," he said. "You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can't block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space. Mass Effect is a big possibility space."

So it is obvious BioWare has considered the possibility. The company created the material, so it has an even better foundation for making a more compelling MMO than a licensed IP such as SWTOR. I also expect BioWare to try even harder to get it right by fans, no matter how fickle and opinionated they may be (see the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3). That said, much of the groundwork is already laid. However, the company is enmeshed in the new ME game, a Dragon Age sequel, and continuing to build out and run SWTOR. I think we will get a Mass Effect MMO, but not before one of those projects starts to wind down, or Electronic Arts brings on more people for a whole new team.

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asbrandr:
i think it would be easier than any star wars mmo. becuase with star wars the IP already has so much established that fans would freak right out if any lore was disturbed. meanwhile ME has unlimited room to explore new or changing lore that could easily be accepted by old and new fans given the game does not have quite the history as an older IP like star wars and has its roots in the game industry, versus ONLY story and film.

Mass Effect has three games spammed with lore, so it is pretty established. Albeit some of it has changed, and not without backlash from fans, doing the changes that the article writer suggest and they might as well make another franchise. Mass Effect has plenty of well established lore, even books beyond the the original game trilogy, believe me fans would freak out no question.

John Keefer is insane, I don't know any Mass Effect fan who wants an MMO. Does anybody remember KOTOR!!??? Fuck me I hope nobody listens to this dumbass, you could at least have played the games before you write a bullshit article.

Umm...MMOs are the last thing that happens to a series before it dies. It happened to the Warcraft strategy games, and it happened to the spectacular Knights of the Old Republic RPGs. I want to see Mass Effect thrive as a series, but that won't happen if it becomes an MMO.

Ok, so the Mass Effect MMO would be a WoW clone that ignores several types of classes in favour of Biotics, as well as timelines (which would fit with the numerous chronological errors in the books, so you could say that's canon, I guess). God, this was so bad. You just outlined my worst fears about how the gaming industry works and views games. Thank you for the dystopia.

Doubt he's played the game much or read the books, tbh.

Have you read the books or actually played the games? So many things that are so fundamentally wrong in your article. So many it hurts.

Nope, mmo's are basically just reskins of wow and those that aren't, are just like prototypes... Trying various ways to reinvent the genre and none are working. Plus they are just race to end game then pvp and grind for better gear.

It's why I avoided star wars, I will avoid elder scrolls and wouldn't touch a mass effect mmo. Especially if there was a subscription to it.

I hope that, if it's made, it doesn't have turn based combat. That's what turns me off of the majority of MMO's

"set several hundred years before Shepherd"? First human travel through mass relay happened like 35 years before events of first Mass Effect. I'm confused.

i think it would be easier than any star wars mmo. becuase with star wars the IP already has so much established that fans would freak right out if any lore was disturbed. meanwhile ME has unlimited room to explore new or changing lore that could easily be accepted by old and new fans given the game does not have quite the history as an older IP like star wars and has its roots in the game industry, versus ONLY story and film.

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