My thoughts on the ME3 ending and Bioware's response (No spoiler)

As everyone who are even remotely interested in the gaming industry knows, the Mass Effect 3 ending didn't really get the warmest welcome form the fans. And while I'm not as disappointed/angry as the more vocal groups, i.e. the #RetakeMassEffect movement, I am certainly left with more questions than answers.

I did not expect a happy ending, and I had come to terms with the fact that my Shepard probably wouldn't make it out alive, but what really gets to me is that we get no closure what-so-ever. After being heavily invested in the series for nearly five years I have an emotional attachment to several of the characters, and not being able to know what happened to them is really infuriating. I want to see the result of the choices I made throughout the series, because as it stands now, it doesn't seem like a majority of them has any effect at all. I really want to go into details, but to keep this spoiler-free I won't

Today Dr. Ray Muzyka released the first official response to the controversy since the release (you can read it here) and I cannot agree more with what he says. The developers have gathered responses like crazy and are now working on addressing the bigger, serious issues that fans are complaining about. He says that he is very proud of the developer team, and he has good reason to be. Mass Effect 3 is a great game, and it is a game I will revisit several times.

Now, he does not go into detail on whether they will change the ending or not, and while I would have liked to see some things done differently, I don't want them to change it. You should stick to your choices and not back down just because people didn't react as you had initially thought, but you shouldn't leave major questions unanswered.

What prompted me to write this post was seeing the press react to Bioware's response, Or rather how several of the GB crew reacted.

alex_navarro
But seriously, @Bioware, way to weather the storm and stand by your creative vision, or what the fuck ever.
jeffgerstmann
Mass Effect 3's problems are larger than its ending. Slapping a happier-colored bow on the package doesn't fix any of that.

The problem is that I don't think the gaming press really understand what the more "serious" fans are complaining about. They haven't spent several hundred hours playing through the games four, fives times each, and I understand that. I know that they don't have time for it, but they can't make those statements not having the same relationship to the universe as others do. It is almost like they didn't even read what Dr. Ray said. He never stated that they would change the ending, instead he promised to give fans the closure we deserve.

I'll leave it with that, and cross my fingers in hope that when all this blows over I will enjoy ME3 for the fantastic game it really is.

I guess we'll have to wait until April to see.

8 Comments

I'm F'ING annoyed!

I am fucking annoyed with the state of gaming these days. As the Giant Bomb Crew pointed out in their GOTY podcast this year is filled with sequels, and out of all of those, I might be able to pick out two or three I would actually recommend to anybody. Take CoD:MW3 for example, The game is pretty much the same as MW2, "story" progression aside, it offers nothing new to the series. The same goes for Assassins Creed: Revelations, the only "new" thing it introduces is a shitty implementation of the tower defense genera, had it not been for my investment in the stoy, I'd probably never play that game.¨

The core of this problem is the annualized series we are fooled into buying over and over again. The annualizing of games has been a norm when it comes to sports games, but recently it has started appearing in other genres as well, be it driving games, or the Call of Duty series, I mean, Activision has Four studios dedicated to development of CoD games. Give me a fucking break! How long will this go on?

But who's fault is it really, I'll tell you. It is our fault. Us, the consumers, thr gamers. Especially the so called Casual Gamers, the ones thinking "That last Call of Duty gmae was pretty good, I should probably buy this next one." It is your fault, please stop it!

Anyways, rant over!

I am going to sleep now, will review this in the morning and probably delete it. Had a heated argument (after a few beers) with some freinds of mine about the state of the gaming industry, and I jst had to get tihis of my chest.

GOOD NIGHT EVERYONE ON THE INTERWEBS

SEE YOU TOMORROW!

EDIT: Wow, just read through this after sobering up, and while he has serious trouble with his writing, drunk me does make some fair points.

60 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 179

 Hey guys, first I have to apologize. I've been lazy, and haven't updated you in over a month. The truth is, there hasn't been anything interesting to write about. We've just been practicing the same drills over and over and although we've been on another live-fire exercise with the CV90's, its been a pretty boring month. But the really cool parts of my service is yet to come. We've arrived at such a skill level that we can begin operating as a platoon.
 
 In the coming months we'll be going through live-fire exercises involving the entire platoon and even the company. Sometime in March we'll participate in NATO's huge, three week long  winter exercise, where soldiers form several European countries, including Sweden, France and the Netherlands, and special forces form the US. This will probably be our greatest challenge yet, but I'm really looking forward to it. 
 
Expect more regular post in the months to come, since we got a really exciting time coming up. And I've also been compiling a video of my first half-year (wow, has it really been that long?) in the force and will be posting it as soon as its done.
 
Take care
VIGGO123

12 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 134


 

 Hey! Merry Christmas everyone.
 
I am finally home on leave for the Christmas holiday, It's good to see family and friends again, you really appreciate them more after being away for so long. Now we just need to get a tree and we're ready for Christmas. 

 Arriving at the staging area


In my last post I promised that I would tell you guys about our combat exercise involving the Armored battalion and infantry form 2. battalion. The exercise, nicknamed Operation Overture, took place in the mountains surrounding the garrisons in Northern Norway, and I realized how important mobility are in modern combat. We left Setermoen (our garrison) early Monday morning, and I tell you, it's a pretty awesome sight to behold when the entire Armored battalion comes rolling through the street.
After a long drive through forests and up windy mountain roads we arrived at the staging area for our attack, a cold and wind-swept hillside in the middle of nowhere. During this exercise we would play the bad guys and make an assault on 2. battalion before pulling back and defending against the counter-attack.


 
As an assault squadron we, along with 2. Squadron (Leo 2 tanks) formed the spearhead of the attack, and with the entire battalion behind us and with support from Artillery and the Medical Crops, we were over a thousand men strong. Now, I know that might sound like a small force, but considering the size of the Norwegian Army, its pretty huge. 
Anyways, just before the attack started, scouts form 1. Squadron pinpointed artillery down on 2. battalion's advanced observation post, so we just rolled through without any resistance. 

 On our way to assault 2.bat. Picture taken through our driver's nigh optics

When we ran into the main force we got a startling surprise, the 2. battalion had received armored support form the Netherlands. This threw the assault into chaos, because we thought they didn't have anything that could effectively take out our armor, but now the Dutch were there with their tanks and suddenly our armor superiority was worth jack shit! We had to rethink our entire battle strategy and it was decided that we would pull back and await further orders, the retreat was almost as cool as the assault itself, I fired of rounds to cover our retreat while the tanks reversed into cover, despite adrenaline rushing through my veins I managed to get in a few hits on the enemy. Even though we only use blank rounds during exercises I know that I hit because of the training system every vehicle is fitted with. It contains a laser and several prisms attached to the vehicles, so you know if your shot would have hit or not. We got orders to pull back to the staging area and prepare our defenses.

 Yes, it was pretty cold. (This is from the inside of the CV90)

Our team were chosen to set up an ambush along the enemy's anticipated approach route, approximately 3 km ahead of our own main force. My team leader and myself didn't quite understand this, what damage can a single CV 90 and an 8-man team of infantry do to an entire battalion, but then we were told from our commander that we would also have a team of artillery observers and a FAC- (Forward Air Control) team at our disposal. When the enemy arrived our job would be to inflict as much damage as possible before retreating back to our main force, but apparently our attack had caused more damage that we initially thought, it stalled their advance and they would arrive at our position until two days later. We spent the extra time fortifying our positions and improving the camouflage on the CV90. 

The extreme weather really took a toll on the morale in the team, with  chilling winds and temperatures ranging from -16*F to as low as -58*F the danger of frostbites and hypothermia were always present, and because of the threat form the enemy, half the team were constantly manning the defensive positions. Now, as a gunner I got to spend most of the time inside the CV90, and while it kept me warm, I weren't allowed to sleep for two days, since I am the only one on my team who has the education needed to control the vehicle's weapon- and thermal systems.


 Infantry practicing combat drill while we wait for the enemy to arrive

During the night, after two days of waiting I finally spotted 2. battalion's vehicles crawling down a hillside about 5-6 km from my position, I yelled out on the radio to alert my team and the rest of the squadron that they were coming. 5 minutes later everyone were in place and guns ready, but unfortunately 2. battalion didn't turn up for another two hours, but when they did all hell broke loose. We had placed our infantry on one side of the road, and the CV90 on the other, so when they arrived they would be trapped in the crossfire. We didn't fire on sight, we let them pass by our positions and then I fired on the first two vehicles, disabling them, before moving on to the rear and taking out the last in the formation, effectively trapping them, since the damaged vehicles had to be moved before they could continue. Then our infantry opened up on them with their entire arsenal, including MG3's, 84mm Carl Gustav Anti-tank, 40mm grenade launchers and our HK-416's. The battle ended quick, when Dutch Leo 2's were spotted, closing in on us. We regrouped with our infantry, and retreated in a hurry, I'm not sure, but I think we left somewhat between 20 and 30 destroyed vehicles behind us.
Suddenly I heard a loud alarm and a bright red light were flashing on my console. We were defeated, a shell form a Leo 2 had hit dead center on our CV90, effectively killing everyone inside. We were told by the judges over the radio that we had to sit out the rest of the battle. Since this was a combat exercise, the winner was decided before the battle began, and as planned, 2. battalion defeated us later that same day. Our captain were very proud of us and what we had achieved, considering this was our first encounter with large scale battle with multiple squadrons and support units, and even though we were only firing blank shots it felt like the real thing, with help form the advanced hit-detection system.

 7.62 round (used in  AK-47, MG3) compared to the 30mm round fired form the CV90

The last week of the exercise were education oriented, our infantry traveled to a shooting range nearby to practice Close Quarters Combat, and we, the CV90 crew went to a large abandoned airfield to get some training in formation and rapid advancement, we even got to fire off some live rounds, and firing your our assault rifles is nothing compared to the power you feel when you let off a 5-round burst of 30mm rounds.

 

When we finally got back to our garrison, after nearly two weeks in the field, we thought it would finally be over, but that was not the case. It turned out we had a ton of maintenance to do before we could retreat to our barracks. After 20 or so hours of refueling, cleaning and greasing, we were done. As we were about to leave we got orders to meet outside in full gear in 5 minutes. “Fuck! Here we go again,” was my first thought, and as we lined up outside our garage and marched of I had no idea where we were going.

 The Wolverine, our squadron's coat-of-arms

 

After 15 minutes of marching around in the woods surrounding our garrison I realized we were heading back to the garage, and when we got back it had been decorated with banners featuring our national colors as well as both the battalions coat-of- arms and our own Wolverine. As I slowly realized what was about to happen I got a warm, tingling sensation through my body. Our captain greeted us inside, accompanied by our national anthem, and told us that through our achievements during the last two week we had proven ourselves worthy to be called “Wolverines” and to bear the squadrons patch on our right shoulder.



 
 
 
Now I am back home with family and friends, and enjoying every moment of it. I don't miss the cold north, but I do miss the people, I've made a lot of new friends up there and it makes returning a lot easier.


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Take care

VIGGO123

   
PS:  Since my previous posts have been lacking pictures I brought some for you, conceder it a Christmas present :)
Tried to put it in a spoiler, but couldn't get it to work :(
 

 Yeah, pretty bad-ass!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I think this is a very cool picture
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 On the live-fire range

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Practicing maneuver

 
    
 
 
 
 

 
 CV90 = Awesome!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 A picture of my gun, now stop asking
 
26 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 114

Hey, I have passed the 100-day mark, awesome. Just over 200 days left! 
 
So, sorry for not posting anything in a while, things have been really busy here, and I had to prioritize, sorry for not choosing you guys before sleep. Anyways, I´m back now, and I got some stories to tell. Unfortunately I don´t have the time to write it all down now, but I´ll give you a little tease. It involves the entire armored battalion, 1000 men strong, making an assault on 2.batallion, leading to a battle that lasted over a week. I get leave for christmas in 13 days, so I´ll retell the entire thing when i get home and have some spare time on my hands.  
 
A few days ago our captain decided it was time to make us a part of the Assault Squadron 4 family, and after twelve days in the field we got the good news, now we can finally call our selves "Wolverines" with pride, and bear the squadrons patch on our right shoulder.    
I promise I´ll get beck to you guys with a huge post when I get home, and I´ve got pictures and videos as well. 
 
Take care 
VIGGO123

29 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 79

Hey guys, home on leave again, just a long weekend at home before I head back up north. The last few weeks hasn't been that exciting, but I've learned a lot about the CV90.
Oh, and I can't believe its been 80 days already, time flies.
As I mentioned last time, myself and six of my teammates got chosen to be a gunner on the Infantry Fighting Vehicle CV90, and after three theory-intensive weeks I graduated with the title "Master Gunner Dragoon"

The first two weeks really reduced my desire to become a gunner. 15-hour days with classroom education and almost zero combat exercises can get quite boring, and with tests every single day there weren't much time left for sleep. The last week we spent on Rena, a camp further south in Norway, training in a combat simulator and that was really awesome. The simulator is basically a CV90 tower hooked into a lot of computers and put in a room with 360* projections of the area on the walls. It provides a realistic training environment without the need for logistics like fuel, ammunition and available firing ranges. I guess we fired about 1500 shots every day and because one round cost 400$ the army saved some money. We finished the course with both a practical and a theoretical exam and I guess my late night studying payed off, with 98% on the theoretical and 92% on the practical I placed second best in my class.  
 
As a gunner I control all the weapon systems on the vehicle, a 30mm cannon, 7.62mm coaxial MG and smoke grenades. I also monitor the environment using the thermal camera, which makes it really easy to spot targets at night. 
 
I am really excited about the coming months, this is when the fun stuff begins. Next week we'll take a trip to the firing range and fire some live rounds for the first time, and move on with some formations, tactical driving and thermal observation. I'll make sure to get the shooting caught on tape and try to get some awesome pictures if I find the time. I didn't take any pics this time, since pictures of a classroom is quite boring. Enjoy this video made by members of Assault Squadron 3 who served in 2008 instead, it shows some of the stuff I'll get up to during the next 9 months. (the clip ends around the 5min mark)
 
Take care.
VIGGO123
 
  

20 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 57

 Hey guys, I know its been a while, and I'm sorry, but I've been really busy for weeks now. I finally got leave, so I get to spend a week back home and I thought I'd take some time to sum up my first two months in the force.  
 
I am now done with my recruit-period, I get to wear my black beret and call myself a Dragoon. I had to go through hell to get it though, hours of the most agonizing physical and mental challenges you can imagine. But it was definitely worth it, cause now I get to wear my beret with pride. They woke us up at 5 AM, screaming "Get your lazy ass out of bed you little fucker!" We had to get dressed, kit up and get outside in three minutes, while Requiem For a Dream was playing from a boombox in the hallway (cliché, yeah, I know.) When we got out, there were some push-ups and other physical stuff before we had to run around the camp for a half-hour or so, we arrived at a gravel pit where we had to crawl 70 yards, and although that may not sound too hard, trust me, it is. Then we went through a exercise called Suffer in Silence, and as you might guess by the name, it was not very pleasant , we had to carry two 20-pound sandbags to the top of the gravel pit, and if we made even the slightest sound, we had to start all over again. After about an hour of this our legs were pretty much fucked and when we thought it was all over we got blindfolded, packed into a Scania truck and driven to the foot of a big ass mountain near our base where we were told that our beret are on the top of that mountain, and the only way we are going to get it is to walk to the top. Most of us were way low already and this didn't help much, but as a troop we managed to keep moral high and get to the top where we got our beret. That was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I went on another field exercise a couple of weeks ago, and unlike the last one, this was combat oriented. That meant more shooting, more training, less sleep, alarms, and guard duty in the middle of the night. But even with all this, it was a really exciting experience. After five days with about as many hours sleep your mind starts doing some weird things, you see things that aren't there, you do things without even realizing it and that can lead to some pretty interesting things while on guard duty. I yelled at a lot of trees and rocks, while my partner were sitting next to me going "what the fuck?" But 30 minutes later he stood up, ran to a bush, punched it, ran back and sat down like nothing had happened. Even though things like this makes a funny story, it wasn't all fun and games. I experienced a quite traumatic event when our tent caught on fire and burned down in the middle of the night. A mistake with the fuel for the camping stove turned out to be quite explosive, luckily no serious injuries, but I received minor burns on my arm and face and one of my teammates caught on fire, and though we put it out before he received injuries, he got rushed to the hospital for a check. The rest of us had to spend the rest of the night getting a new campsite up and running.
We ended our field week with one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. Shooting in the dark. We were all given two fully loaded magazines with tracers and the whole troop opened fire at once. That was more awesome than every new years-eve combined.
 
Now that I am done with the recruit-period the real education can begin. Based on our results and wishes the officers placed us in different positions within the squadron. We could choose from three different categories, foot, vehicle or staff.  As an assault squadron we utilize CV90's, Swedish made infantry fighting vehicles, like the American Bradley, and tanks have always fascinated me, so I applied for the gunner position and was one of 6 who got it. Yay! So now I will spend the time from now to the end of December getting to know the vehicle and its weapon systems. There will be some live fire field exercises with the tanks so I'll make sure to get some pictures of that since I'll take my camera with me now.
 
During these first months I've learned a lot. Not only technical data and military stuff, but things I can utilize in the civilian life. Things like punctuality and stress management can be really useful. I've made some good friends and my physical health have improved drastically. I look forward to the coming months, now that we're done with the stressing recruit and constant physical "torture" we will begin the road to become real soldiers.
I will continue updating you guys throughout the year, but I cant promise a post every week.
 
Take care.
VIGGO123
 
Oh, by the way. I got some pictures for you guys, they aren't mine, but my teammate let me use them here.
 

 My team, 4 Papa, on top of Storala, the mountain we had to climb to get our beret


 On our way down. Norway really is a beautiful country.

 A CV90 deployed in Afghanistan. I got the gunner position.
29 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 31


One month! I've been here a whole month, just 11 more to go. It's not really that bad here, the hard parts are nearly over and by the end of next moth I'll be a full-fledged Dragoon. The past weeks have gone by really fast, and my first leave doesn't seem that far away anymore.  

Yesterday, I got back form what must have been the longest five days of my life. My first field exersice. 
Sleeping in a tiny tent with 11 other guys (and the occational girl), barely getting any sleep (and when you do, you get woken up in the middle of the night to move the tent three inches to the left), walking the same 250 yards over and over again for three hours. Even though this was some of the worst things I've ever experienced we did a lot  cool stuff as well, like spending whole days at the live-fire range, practicing combat tactics with blank-shots and watching the officers mow down a brick wall with a machine-gun (a guy in my squad got a video of it, I'll see if I can post it here at some point.)

The last day was probably the best and the worst at the same time, we got to spend the entire day at the shooting range where we practiced sharpshooting and instant fire. I fired between 200-300 shots that day.  After going to bed and sleeping for about an hour, an officer rushes into our tent and screams "GET OUT! GET OUT! THE ENEMIES ARE COMING" We had to get out, gear up, get all our equipment out of the tent, tear it down and get it packed and line up ready to move out, we couldn't use any light or speak loud to eachother because of the strict light and sound-dicipline, and all this withing eight minutes. After spending what seemed like an eternity we were ready, and we spent the whole night marching back to base. When we got back our beds seemed like heaven, but because the officers thought we spent too much time getting back we had to start on todays schedule without sleep, that included cleaning our weapons and checking every piece of equipment for faults, and while that might not be the hardest ting to do, it's hell when you've barely slept. Lucily we got the rest of the day off so we could catch up on some sleep. Overall this week have been really exciting, I've learned a lot of cool stuff and got to know my team mates even better.  

The next week will be pretty boring, with a lot of classroom education and little combat training, but I guess that's a good thing as my body is completely broken at this point, I'll get back to you if anything interesting happens.

 
Take care  
VIGGO123
   

25 Comments

So,yeah,I joined the army: Day 23

Fucking snow!!

Yeah,it's snowing here already, and even by Nowegian standards, this is really early. But I guess it makes sense,concidering I'm about as far north you can get in this country. It's not really a problem, because now we get to wear our cool winter uniforms (pictures coming.)  

The past week and a half have been pretty boring, we went into the mountains to find missfires left by the artillery-battalion, and 5 eight-our days of walking in a line,staring in the ground can get a bit tedious. I got the two last days of because of my leg injury, but it's still pretty boring here alone. 
Speaking of my injury, I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that I need surgery,but the good news is that won't get kicked out because of it. The surgery is not a complicated procedure, but it's really painfull for a week or so after,so I will get some time off. 
I'm really excited about the next week, since we'll be going on our first week-long field exercise. A week with little-to-no sleep, frozen bodies and a ton of cool combat practice. I can't talk too much about the details, since that is classified, but I'll tell you about my experiences when I get back.
 
I know I promised some pictures soon, but I'm afraid that won't happen. We won't get leave until about a month from now, so I can't get my laptop or camera, but as soon as I do, I'll get some pictures out to you guys. 
 
Take care 
VIGGO123

10 Comments

So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 11

Just a quick update here guys. It is fucking exhausing here, but damn cool at the same time. We've got all our gear, including kevlar-vest and my gun, an HK-4-16.  
The days here are looong, we get up at 6.00 am, then we get about an hour to clean our rooms (and I mean spotles), get dressed, eat breakfeast and line up outside. The rest of the day includes, SLO (dicipline,order,and formations), physical (running, marching,swimming and FYFO) and of course, weapons training (tactics, live fire and so on.) The day ends around 9-10 pm and everyone is too tired to do anything except go to bed. 
 Unfortuneatly I've received an injury to my leg, and i might need surgery, in that case I might have to change divisions, or, worst case scenario, leave. 
Anyways, I might fall silent for a while, they've take away all my personal belongings until further notice, and I don't know when I'll get to use a computer again, also, no pictures yet.  
 
Take care. 
VIGGO123 
 
Note: If my writing or spelling sucks, i'ts because I'm using a crappy-ass computer, and can't be bothered to proof-read.

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