I started a Mass Effect trilogy playthrough sometime in the fall of 2020. Like Christopher Lee's famed, annual, Lord of the Rings reading, I try to revisit my favorite game series yearly. Born of pandemic boredom, I started playing the first, coincidentally, not terribly long before the official announcement of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
Of course, progress has been slow on the playthrough, as work has been busy and football season consumed much of my free time, to say nothing of our work on The Spinchoon and Flix & a Six. But a proper Mass Effect playthrough is something to be enjoyed, not rushed, as you explore every nook and cranny of the galaxy, and dive into relationships with the many people you meet along the way.
But as I hit the start of the Quarian War arc I was struck with an unexpected thought: what if there were people still playing the multiplayer? I was vehemently opposed to it when Bioware announced a multiplayer component prior to ME3's release, but then absolutely loved it when I finally gave it a try. It's been years since I played it, obviously (since prior to Mass Effect: Andromeda's release), and I ended up being disappointed to hear the remaster wouldn't revive multiplayer, ironically. It's something I'll miss; I'm jealous, knowing the Halo Collection has it, but I understand the technical and resource hurdles that will prevent it.
But, it turns out, others have the same impulse as me. The ME3 multiplayer community is alive, in February of 2021, nearly 9 years to the day of the game's original release. I am (very pleasantly) shocked.
I fired up the multiplayer on a whim last night. I set the matchmaking to fully random quick match. I was dropped into a match in progress seconds later.
I was back up to speed to ME3's combat suite already, obviously, but it took me half that match—a Silver match on Firebase Hydra against Reapers—to get back to multiplayer speed; the real ones know what I'm taking about. The best places to anchor down, the best ways to mow through a cluster of enemies, the best spawn locations to prey on, the ebb and flow of battle against a familiar foe.
I played 4 rounds with that full 4 player complement before I signed off to go to bed. I fired it up again this afternoon and played another 4 matches, this time with 5 new people, none of which were the same crew from the night before. Who knows, maybe we're the only 9 people playing on Xbox during a holiday weekend. Or maybe there's dozens of us worldwide (or hundreds hopefully?). Either way, I'm gonna keep trying my luck these next few weeks. I hope, if you're not already out there waiting on the Legendary Edition, you'll come join us for a few rounds these next couple months.
My love affair with this mode has been Enkindled anew.
Mass Effect 3's multiplayer is my favorite mode on the Citadel, after all.
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