Confusion about the Reapers

#1 Posted by lclay (383 posts) -

So I was under the impression that every 50,000 years the Reapers invade the galaxy and destroy all sentient life, ostensibly to harvest them and make new Reapers but also possibly for other reasons, who knows?  
 
The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE. Wouldn't this also include all the lower life forms and on every planet? Now if it were just the sentient life the Reapers wipe out I can accept a few new intelligent species might arise from lower life forms in the intervening 50,000 years but if they, in fact, wipe out all organic life in the galaxy, as the demo clearly states, there is no way that any new life could develop in those 50,000 years let alone intelligent life. 
 
So has the demo got this wrong?

#2 Edited by Venatio (4491 posts) -

I think it's just sentient life that's developed mass effect field technology, when they reach their peak of technological advancement the Reapers use the Citadel and the mass relay network that they built to wipe them out. I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere that the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster and make sure they advance properly. They are that powerful. Can't remember where I read it, maybe the ME wikia page

But I had the same thought way back when ME1 came out

#3 Posted by mutha3 (4985 posts) -

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

@Venatio said:

I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

That's incredibly dumb. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure its not true.

#4 Posted by Protome (347 posts) -

I think it's just species that have developed/found mass effect field tech like Venatio says above, because in the first Mass Effect you could find a Prothean relic that pretty much directly said that the Prothean tech found by humans (which is how ME explains humans introduction to the citadel and so on) was there because the Protheans were watching humans on Earth. So humans existed when the Protheans were exterminated by the Reapers, but lived through it. Reapers must have even come as close to Earth as Mars to destroy the remaining Protheans there but ignored earth due to its lack of evolution at the time.

Here's the full quote from the side quest in Mass Effect 1.

Examining the strange Prothean artifact reveals a small, irregular slot on the underside of the surface. Remembering the strange trinket you received from the asari Consort on the Citadel, you pull it out and place it into the slot. The ball explodes in a brilliant flash of white light, momentarily blinding and disorienting you.
***
Slowly your senses return as you wake from a deep sleep. You are alone in the forest, though you are not far from the caves you share with the others of your tribe. There is a pain and a small lump in the back of your skull, as if a chip of flint has been forced under the surface of the skin.
Leaning on your bone-tipped spear for support, you rise to your feet. A sound draws your attention upwards, where a strange creature hovers high above you. It is unlike the birds you hunt by the lake's edge – it has no head and no wings yet somehow it flies. It is a beast of shining silver; hanging motionless in the sky like a cloud. You sense it is watching you, studying you.

Raising a hairy fist, you shake your spear at it in anger and the creature rises up quickly until it disappears from view. With a satisfied grunt you make your way back to your caves and the rest of the tribe.
You fall into the familiar patterns of life – the hunt for food, the struggle to claim and keep a mate, the battles against other tribes that would claim your territory. Days roll into nights and back into days. Each time you rise from sleep there is a sensation that you are not alone; that some “other” is with you sharing all you see, hear and feel. At these times your hand goes to the strange lump at the back of your skull and you remember the silver creature in the sky.
The air grows colder, winter falls. You must range farther for food, clutching the furs tight against you to ward off the chill. It is on one of these long hunts that the strange bird returns. You hear it before you see it, its call a deafening roar as it descends from above, swooping down on you. A single great eye opens on the underbelly, a glowing red orb. You try to run, but a finger of red light extends from the eye and engulfs you, and all goes black again.

You wake an instant later to find yourself on Eletania lying on your back, the Prothean artifact looming above you undamaged and your companions standing over you. They help you to your feet, puzzled. “There was a flash of light and you just sort of toppled over,” one explains. “Are you okay, Shepard?” the other asks. You don't answer right away, wondering at the implications of what you have seen; the memories of a Cro-Magnon hunter, captured by an implanted Prothean data recorder. How long did they study the primitive humans, observing them and analyzing the results at their base on Mars? And what, if anything, did they learn from us?
“I'm fine,” you finally reply, realizing this is a mystery you will probably never solve. “Forget about it.”
#5 Edited by Venatio (4491 posts) -

@mutha3:Maybe not, but I'd believe it, the Reapers are so damn powerful it's ridiculous

#6 Posted by AngelN7 (2970 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

@Venatio said:

I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

That's incredibly dumb. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure its not true.

It's infact true they do not manipulate evolution by experimenting with them but they do "help" evolution by building technology for them , that's why they left the Mass Relays, also I think Sovergein mentions something about that line in the first Mass Effect but I can't quite remember

#7 Posted by mutha3 (4985 posts) -

@AngelN7: Yes, yes, they spur the tecnological development of species, I don't mind that part.

This on the other hand.....

Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

#8 Edited by Venatio (4491 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@AngelN7: Yes, yes, they spur the tecnological development of species, I don't mind that part.

This on the other hand.....

Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

I'm not saying they did it with humans, I said they maybe did it with races as they saw fit, I mean it's pretty clear they can manipulate genetics on a very advanced level, just look at the Collectors, who were previously Protheans

And at those enemies you fought on Earth in the ME3 demo, horribly monstrous Batarians

#9 Posted by Protome (347 posts) -

As well as saying that the Protheans were around at the same time as humans (see my last post), Mass Effect 1 also clarifies what the Reapers target again later in the game, when Vigil says they destroy "all advanced organic life."

So, yeah the intro thing is just being dramatic.

#10 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

My main problem is just ... why are they so bad at their jobs then? At this stage they feel more like another species in the galaxy gone to war, not some outsider force that systematically removes all intelligent life (and most traces of their existence thereafter) from the entire galaxy.

I guess it's got to make gameplay sense, that one person can actually make a difference against them, can actually mount some kind of counter-attack and eventually, inevitably, come out victorious.

I kinda hope there's no way to win at all ... I think that'd be awesome. Because they're the Reapers - what the hell did you expect them to do?

#11 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10910 posts) -

It's a small mistake. Don't worry about it.

Moderator
#12 Posted by JasonR86 (9657 posts) -

@lclay said:

So I was under the impression that every 50,000 years the Reapers invade the galaxy and destroy all sentient life, ostensibly to harvest them and make new Reapers but also possibly for other reasons, who knows? The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE. Wouldn't this also include all the lower life forms and on every planet? Now if it were just the sentient life the Reapers wipe out I can accept a few new intelligent species might arise from lower life forms in the intervening 50,000 years but if they, in fact, wipe out all organic life in the galaxy, as the demo clearly states, there is no way that any new life could develop in those 50,000 years let alone intelligent life. So has the demo got this wrong?

I'm not sure where you got the 50K year thing. I went to the Mass Effect wiki and I didn't see anything about a strict deadline for the cycle. Just that, at some point whenever the signal at the citadel is turned on, the reapers come back and harvest all life in the galaxy. Then, the cycle will continue.

Online
#13 Posted by Protome (347 posts) -

@drag said:

My main problem is just ... why are they so bad at their jobs then? At this stage they feel more like another species in the galaxy gone to war, not some outsider force that systematically removes all intelligent life (and most traces of their existence thereafter) from the entire galaxy.

I guess it's got to make gameplay sense, that one person can actually make a difference against them, can actually mount some kind of counter-attack and eventually, inevitably, come out victorious.

I kinda hope there's no way to win at all ... I think that'd be awesome. Because they're the Reapers - what the hell did you expect them to do?

They aren't bad at their jobs exactly, they've just been hindered by the Protheans to the point that they can in fact be defeated. In Mass Effect 1, it's explained that usually the Reapers used the Citadel as a mass relay wiping out the central governments of all the races and then took the relays, cutting each system off from each other. The Protheans made their final stand by preventing the Citadel being used in such a way again, meaning the Reapers can no longer cut off all the systems and take them out one by one, in 3 it'll be everyone uniting against the Reapers, something that was implied hasn't been done before.

#14 Posted by NTM (7337 posts) -
#15 Posted by Capum15 (4874 posts) -
@mutha3: I don't think they do actual gene manipulation and whatnot. Maybe some tracking things like the Eletania side quest. But Sovereign does say something like "You develop along the courses we plot", so I'm guessing it's just "When species find Mass Effect technology and the relays, they will find the citadel and use it, and build the core of an empire via it and the relays. And then we eat them." type of thing.
#16 Posted by AngelN7 (2970 posts) -

@mutha3: Well I don't know about that (maybe they can I don't have my codex on me), but yes they can manipulate species on a genetical level as someone mentioned Keepers and Collectors are an example of that, but who knows maybe they can manipulate evolution there's a lot of thing about the Reapers we don't know ,those questions will be clarified in the game I suppose.

#17 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

@Protome: That actually ... hmm, yes, thinking about it that actually makes more sense than I would have expected. In my head, destroying the leaders of all races through the citadel and shutting down the relays was just a first step kind of thing, the entry point, and from there all the hard work still needed to be done. But being able to communicate between races, co-operate and quickly travel across vast distances is actually a pretty massive deal and ... indeed ... kind of the whole over-arching theme of the series. Team-work! Okay I'm slightly happier now.

#18 Posted by Gizmo (5389 posts) -

This should clear up any questions you have about the Reapers;

#19 Posted by Protome (347 posts) -

@Gizmo: Bolo Santosi should be this game's Reaper that you communicate with. 1 had sovereign, 2 had harbinger, 3 has Bolo Santosi.

#20 Posted by mordukai (7150 posts) -

@lclay: I wouldn't worry about that too much. Bioware has already fucked up the Mass Effect canon that those little details don't really matter.

#21 Posted by Dtat (1623 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

That's correct I think.

#22 Edited by MooseyMcMan (10910 posts) -

@JasonR86: In the first game they talk about the Protheans "disappearing" 50k years ago all the time, so that's probably where he got it from.

Moderator
#23 Posted by lclay (383 posts) -

Nah I got 50k years from the beginning of the demo.

#24 Posted by TheHT (11142 posts) -

Maybe Shepard pissed them off so they're all "EVERYTHING'S GOTTA GO".

#25 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

It is a cycle that occurs every 50,000 years. They destroy life, harvest its energy and repeat. They also use minions such as the keepers to maintain the citadel.

#26 Posted by Tomkang (251 posts) -

Reapers wipe out all advanced species that have reached the mass relays and used them. Species that have not, are kept alive and they will eventually reach the citadel like the asari, salarians, turians etc. Then in 50,000 years the reapers will destroy those species. And the cycle continues.

#27 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1052 posts) -

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

#28 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

@DeShawn2ks said:

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

They have always existed, nothing comes before.

#29 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1052 posts) -

@Dany: Haha yeah I remember that part but I'm calling BS on that. Sovereign was just trying to sound cool is all.

#30 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

@DeShawn2ks: I am the Vanguard of your destruction.

Best line in the series ever.

#31 Posted by Dylabaloo (1549 posts) -

They are farmers and we are their crops. It's just a typo, they kill interstellar species, that have discovered the Mass Effect technology.

#32 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@lclay: Nah, I think it's all highly advanced sentient life. I doubt random mammals, reptiles, etc would pose much of a threat.

#33 Posted by lclay (383 posts) -
@Dany said:

@DeShawn2ks said:

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

They have always existed, nothing comes before.

You trust the word of a Reaper? 
 
They gotta come from somewhere.
#34 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

@lclay said:

@Dany said:

@DeShawn2ks said:

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

They have always existed, nothing comes before.

You trust the word of a Reaper? They gotta come from somewhere.

Mass Effect is secretly creationist propaganda.

#35 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1199 posts) -

@lclay: When they say everything, they don't mean everything.

The Reapers are intelligent enough to leave something behind, like simple animals and civilizations that haven't yet discovered mass effect technology.

@JasonR86: It is every 50,000 years, the demo says it and the first game has dialogue that suggests it is a 50,000 year cycle. Of course it won't always go to exact plan, so 50,000 years give or take a decade or two.

#36 Edited by Brodehouse (9871 posts) -
@drag: The Reapers have relied on a pattern of sneak-attack, cut communications, and go world to world with overwhelming numbers.  And it was never shown to be a quick thing, Vigil tells you as much... 'the extermination of a species is not quick.  Years, decades passed."  The Reapers have rarely if ever been involved in a conflict that they could even remotely lose.  They've never had to fight a war across the entire galaxy at once.  The Protheans gave the galaxy time, it's stated that Sovereign would've started the attack a thousand years prior, but the Keepers didn't respond.  Then Shepard stole their back door from them.  Worse, the galaxy became aware of the Reapers as a legitimate threat (as much as the Citadel officially denies it).  The Reapers have never had to deal with a prepared galaxy, without a sneak attack, and without controlling the Citadel, the galaxy's hub and nervous system.  If it wasn't for these things, there would be no hope.  But now there is.
 
It appears someone has answered this already.  :)
#37 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1199 posts) -

@lclay said:

@Dany said:

@DeShawn2ks said:

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

They have always existed, nothing comes before.

You trust the word of a Reaper? They gotta come from somewhere.

Big Bang, lots of crazy shit, atoms stabilize, Reapers just spontaneously appear out of no where as trillions of atoms crash into each other. Good enough explanation.

#38 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

@Venatio said:

I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

That's incredibly dumb. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure its not true.

Actually, it is true. Once a species has FTL capabilities and finds a relay they more or less become dependent on certain Reaper technology because their technology and capabilities leap forward far faster than their knowledge of the technology itself which is why no one has been able to recreate a relay or replicate that technology. Basically, they have the relays and for whatever reason the relays work and are extremely reliable and lead to Citadel which is this amazingly advanced space station that runs and maintains itself but is accepting of foreign races moving in and making use of its facilities...

The races become dependent on this technology and because it's permanent as far as they know little thought is put into trying to figure it out or improve on it. If you're talking about the reapers showing up on earth and genetically altering cavemen, no I don't think there's anything in support of that, but they most definitely do manipulate the evolution of species so they develop faster.

There is one other point where the Reapers might be guilty of that but it all depends on how Bioware handles the Illusive Man. We know he is indoctrinated or partially indoctrinated (based on the books/comics) which is apparently where is different looking eyes come from. We also know the Illusive Man and Cerberus is 100% of the reason why there are human biotics. It was engineered by them from the start. If the Illusive Man is really indoctrinated then he probably engineered human biotics coming to be because the Reapers wished it to be so. If he was only partially indoctrinated then it is possible that he was working against the reapers and knew biotics would be a valuable asset to have in the coming fight.

#39 Posted by lclay (383 posts) -
@TEHMAXXORZ

@lclay said:

@Dany said:

@DeShawn2ks said:

I just want to know who made the Reapers and how shitty do they feel right about now.

They have always existed, nothing comes before.

You trust the word of a Reaper? They gotta come from somewhere.

Big Bang, lots of crazy shit, atoms stabilize, Reapers just spontaneously appear out of no where as trillions of atoms crash into each other. Good enough explanation.

In no way is that a good explanation.
#40 Posted by mutha3 (4985 posts) -

@Teran said:

@mutha3 said:

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

@Venatio said:

I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

That's incredibly dumb. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure its not true.

Actually, it is true.

No, its not. I'm talking about literal evolution. And I'm pretty sure Venatio was referring to the same thing.

Leaving behind technology so that species will develop along the lines they desire is one thing...Every form of live being a highschool class project of space jellyfish is another.

#41 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@Teran said:

@mutha3 said:

@lclay said:

The thing that bothers me is that at the beginning of the ME3 demo it quite clearly says that the reapers wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Nah, they only wipe out the guys that master interstellar travel. "ORGANIC LIFEFORMS" sounds more epic, I guess.

@Venatio said:

I think the thing that's not often mentioned is that I read somewhere the Reapers manipulate evolution of species so they develop faster,

That's incredibly dumb. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure its not true.

Actually, it is true.

No, its not. I'm talking about literal evolution. And I'm pretty sure Venatio was referring to the same thing.

Leaving behind technology so that species will develop along the lines they desire is one thing...Every form of live being a highschool class project of space jellyfish is another.

Is it? You wouldn't think differently about human evolution if you learned that aliens taught us how to make fire, aliens provided us with the first automobile, and aliens guided us into being dependent on oil for future growth and advancement? They don't care about where a lifeform came from, they care about where it is going. The same is true for evolution. If all it was, was a flawed theory about human origins it would be history. What makes it science is its relevance in where we might be going.

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