I’m finally writing about Mass Effect 3, but I’m not talking about the single player campaign.
Image from masseffect.bioware.com
I’m here to confess my love and admiration for the multiplayer experience.
For the longest time I’ve been afraid to play online games, despite my love of gaming. I’ve heard so many horror stories of harassment (examples are illustrated at Fat, Ugly or Slutty) that I chose to avoid it rather than try to blend in.
But then Mass Effect 3 came along. I was SUPER excited to play this game. J pre-ordered me the Collector’s Edition for Christmas and I was going to take my various bad-ass FemSheps and take back Earth! Fuck Yeah! Then I hit a point in my first play through where even though I was being as good and diplomatic as can be and doing ALL the side quests, I was not satisfied by my readiness rating. I needed to be super prepared to kick the Reapers asses like a Girl Scout on PCP.
So I started bugging my friends who were playing. Most of them were engrossed in their SP campaign and didn’t want to try multiplayer yet. Finally I get a friend to join in. We start out as little level 1s on Bronze, an Adept and Engineer, chugging away. We wipe at wave 3. Get a level, still wipe. Manage a few more games of wipeouts then he has something else to do. My readiness had raised a paltry 2%. Then I saw that hard work go away when my rating dropped back down to 50% the next day. That pushed me into trying public matches.
I’m really glad it did. Seriously you guys, I’m having more fun with multiplayer than I am in my current renegade play through. I have devoted hours and hours into multiplayer, and even some money.
The best thing about this though, I haven’t been harassed at all. I use my headset, I am not hiding my female gamerness from the masses. Everyone I’ve run into has been really cool. We joke around, get our strategy on, and share the joys and pains of a tough match. A good chunk of the people I’ve played with have been added to my friends list. Some of them have become actual friends. This weekend I’ll be spending a lot of time with them as we kill ALL the Banshees for Operation: Silencer.
Maybe the Mass Effect fans are of a different quality than the avid players of other online First Person Shooters. Maybe I’m incredibly lucky to have encountered the players that I have. No matter what the circumstances, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made on Mass Effect Multiplayer.
So to all my fellow N7 Special Operatives, you fucking rock, thank you for not being dicks, and let’s go kill us some goddamn Banshees!