Mass Relay travel is nearly instantaneous across arbitrary distances (See; Omega 4 jump takes seconds). The conventional FTL travel in Mass Effect (the "fly anywhere" kind not dependant on relays) is on the order of ~5600 times the speed of light based on the Codex figure of "12 lightyears per day".
Here is my prediction on the plot for Mass Effect 3:
* You will be able to take your sweet time doing things because people will whine if they can't see all the content they want to in a single sitting. Any and all time limits will be explicitly telegraphed (i.e. SHEPARD WE MUST GO NOW OR SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN). * Mission wise you will be rehashing Dragon Age and 30 other RPG's that centered on gathering an army to defeat a big bad. It will consist of you going up to factions, the factions saying "Sorry, we'd love to help, but we have internal problem X and we won't help you until it's solved." You will then solve the problem, and they will come into your big merry band. They also won't help you until the end. * The characters from ME2 will be the party members of yours in ME3, with perhaps 2 or 3 not included (Thane has a terminal condition, Mordin is extremely old for a Salarian and should be dying shortly), because if they don't, then the entire ME2 was a huge fat waste of time. THE ONLY THING YOU DID IN THAT GAME WAS BUILD A TEAM. We learned one minor thing about the Reapers, and aside from gathering your squad, the plog was NOT progressed at all. If they fail to use the team from ME2, it will be a spectacularly bad decision.
Structurally re-using the team is not a problem. The game kills off Shepard if there are less than 2 squadmates alive at the end of the suicide mission, and most people lost (at most ) 1 or 2 squadmates. Ergo, every player must have AT LEAST two team members alive for ME3, and if they supplement that with 1 or 2 others that's fine as a punishment for players getting everybody killed. Bioware has already stated that if Shepard died in ME2, you WILL NOT be able to import your save into ME3 (it even says that in ME2...)
Every news site on the planet has taken one out of context quote and then acted like that was his argument. Nothing to see here, move along. I'm sure the book will speak for itself when it is published, but until then, there's no point discussing it.
I advise playing on the low difficulty, because the game-play is basically the thing you're getting through so you can get to the awesome story and characters in the world. It will cut down frustration.