Mass Effect needs social networking

Thursday December 02, 2010 @ 05:45 PM (UTC)

I was working on a larger post about how Mass Effect 2 stacks up to my cherished dreams and suggestions, but one little digression started to snowball until I gave it its own blog post.

So, more generally about Mass Effect 2 later. One irritation I had with Mass Effect 2 early on was the seeming disappearance of my Commander Shepard’s love interest from ME1. This was addressed later on, and I am (mostly) appeased. However, let’s be clear: my extremely Paragon Commander Shepard puts the “fidelis” in Semper Fidelis. She is a one-fraternization officer. It does not matter what dizzying array of potential flirtations you put in her way, she is not interested.

And wow, does this game have a lot of potential flirtations. Just because I believe in human-alien cooperation, people, does not mean I am interested in that! It got so I was so relieved to chat with Grunt, say, or Miranda — just because I knew no inadvertent signals were being sent or received.

Of course, your in-character interactions in game are scripted, triggered by your choices in the conversation wheel, and there’s no way to tell the game “Please, stop having Shepard lean languorously at the beginning of conversations and lowering her inconsistently rendered eyelashes.” No way to preemptively tell all the potentially interested NPCs in the world that they can take a number if they want Shepard to save them from peril, but if they want Shepard’s number, they are out of luck. I understand, the system’s limited. How would they do that?

How could they implement a passive communication system by which everyone who makes Shepard’s acquaintance could learn basic information like whether or not she’s taken? One that operates on a simple system of checkboxes and information fields?

Yes, I propose SPACEBOOK.

In this as in so much else, your Shepard may vary. But this is my Shepard, and as such, you’ll note an important detail:

Many awkward situations could be thus avoided. Of course, Spacebook would be owned through shell corporations by the Shadow Broker, but who are you kidding? The Shadow Broker knows all that stuff about you anyway.


I love you more each day, Commander, even though you are apparently “taken.”

Have you noticed that your love’s picture is on your desk in your quarters? Did you know that if you are unfaithful to him, the next time you go into the room, his picture will be face down?

Definitely, somebody knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.

Just saying,

Your unrequited loving alien admirer,


Yes, I know all about the photo.

Well, that is to say that I know that it is THERE. The information that the picture can be turned down due to infidelity I know only from the Mass Effect wiki!

Semper Fidelis in Astris! (Space Marines are spfaithful spforever!)

He’s completely adorkable.

PS: my Commander Shepherd saw him first.

Well, if you played KotOR as a female character, you definitely heard him first. (I’ve never played KotOR myself, but a friend mentioned the male love interest has the same voice actor…)

I decided on Shepard’s age for this mockup myself, but I’ve noticed that the Mass Effect wiki has a timeline, and a Bioware employee has confirmed Shepard’s birthday. Which would make Shepard 29 at the beginning of ME1. Which is just sort of funny. Have they seen the crow’s feet on their male, default Shepard in all the ads? Do they think the protag being over 30 will scare off the 17-year-old demographic? (Hint: not if they are already obsessed enough to read wikis.)

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