Everyone Makes The Same Choices In Mass Effect, Apparently

Everyone Makes The Same Choices In Mass Effect, Apparently
Screenshot: BioWare

Mass Effect is contingent on choice — or at least the illusion of it. Turns out, in playing (or replaying) Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a lot of you who played the remastered trilogy made pretty much the same decisions. That’s according to an infographic BioWare posted on Twitter today.

Spoilers follow for the Mass Effect trilogy, which is about a decade old by now.

The data isn’t perfect. It doesn’t account for whether or not these stats are from first-time players or from those who’ve run the trilogy a dozen times. It doesn’t even clarify whether or not the dataset is aggregated from multiple playthroughs of Legendary Edition that any given account may have undertaken. The figures are nonetheless revealing, and further affirm the notion that most people who play Mass Effect end up making similar choices.

For example, in the first Mass Effect, 94 per cent of you navigated conversation options so Wrex, the krogan, survived that Virmire mission. A further 93 per cent of players saved the Rachni queen. Politicians could only dream of these figures.

Mass Effect 2 followed similar lines. While addressing Tali’s treason charge, 96 per cent of you successfully convinced the quarian admiralty board to pardon her. Garrus, no surprise here, is broadly the most beloved companion. The even-keeled turian was the most likely party member to survive Mass Effect 2’s climactic suicide mission. (Guess I’m an outlier.) He was also the most-used squadmate in the first Mass Effect.

In Mass Effect 3, a whopping 96 per cent of you cured the genophage — the biological weapon that restricts krogan birthrates, condemning their society. But BioWare didn’t share any stats regarding the notorious ending choice of Mass Effect 3.

Read More: Almost Nobody Played A Bad Guy In Mass Effect

So, how do today’s stats stack up against history? In 2013, BioWare released a comprehensive infographic detailing player behaviour in Mass Effect 3 for those who rolled the credits. It doesn’t offer an exact corollary to today’s stats, of course, but still sheds light on some fascinating shifts.

During Mass Effect 3’s original run, the number of Shepards who sabotaged the genophage was twice as high: 8 per cent. Liara was the most-used squad member, suggesting Garrus has grown in popularity over the years. Back in 2013, 82 per cent of players played as male Shepard, compared to 68 per cent for Legendary Edition. In 2013, during the showdown between the geth and the quarians, 37 per cent of players sided with the geth, while 27 per cent saved the quarians. Those figures plummeted to 11 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. (Yes, 80 per cent of you negotiated peace.)

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite years of trial and error proving that Vanguard is obviously the best class, both now and then, about 40 per cent of you decided to save the Milky Way as a Soldier. You know there are plenty of third-person shooters without badass space magic, yeah?



  • I’ve got a Vanguard for my MaleShep and Infiltrator for FemShep. Infiltrator is still the best choice.

    Given the rise in online game guides, I’m not surprised in the slightest, since the choice highlighted are the ‘best’ for ME3’s War Assets. I choose them since they’re what I always chose since the beginning from a character view point. The only way I’ve diverged from my original ME playthroughs is that I let Kaiden survive for my FemShep (my personal Canon shep) although she’s still loving Liara for Eternity.

    I’m surprised people aren’t complaining, either when the stats first came out or now, about EA data-mining every playthrough you do of the game if they come up with these statistics that reference actual player choice rather than achievement results.

    • Its funny that the new stats include how many people completed the ‘find the Keeper’ assignment in ME1. They have it at 100% and I know that its not accurate at least on a per-character level, since I had a number of playthroughs out of the 9 I did of the ME1LE where I didn’t bother finishing it.

      They also changed it so you need to find 2 less Keepers than there are in the game, so its easier even with them fixing the vanishing Keeper bug.

        • Yeah, I think I may have misread it at first. Or at least I’ve read other places that interpreted the stat differently.

          I actually had one playthrough out of my many where I kept the ‘other’ Rachni Queen. Boy was that a mistake.

  • “The figures are nonetheless revealing, and further affirm the notion that most people who play Mass Effect end up making similar choices.”

    All it really affirms is that if you have a decade of people playing a game, making memes, discussing the lore, and basically psychologically priming everyone to think a certain way about the game then they will make common decisions. This is somewhat confirmed by the fact that the figures were a lot more diverse back when the game originally came out and people didn’t have as much media convincing them to think a certain way.

    Actually, it’s kind of an interesting look into the influence of the internet on the behaviour of gamers. I wonder if there are other re-releases that have seen similar shifts in decision making based on the propaganda and general opinions and views over the years between.

    • Alternatively, most people are fundamentally good.

      They make the decisions that save lives naturally, and feel more fulfilled doing positive things.

      That is in line with general human psychology where altruism breeds positive effects within the self as well.

  • I’m somewhat sure those “Your Shepard” vales are the default selection so really I think this mostly just tells us that a majority of people played with the defaults and picked the outcomes that gave the best ending in ME3… which honestly isn’t that surprising given how old the game is

    also yes fk that keeper quest.

    • Very fair and true points.

      Especially the last point, particularly in the non-LE releases where you needed them all and the Embassy one would ‘bug out’. *badump-tish*

  • Not really all that surprising as these outcomes are generally result in the unambiguously best results. All of these choices lead to the best war assets, achievements or better outcomes for squad-mates compared with the alternatives and there is no consequences from making these decisions.

    So if one path and only one path has the best outcome and everyone knows that, is it even a choice anymore?

  • Forgetting good vs bad, the choice options often only present one interesting narrative option. Most of the renegade options just aren’t interesting narratively speaking.

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