by Joseph Leray
BioWare released a survey two days ago soliciting feedback from "Mass Effect 3" players about the game's cooperative, wave-based multiplayer mode. Specifically, BioWare wants to know how players responded to the layout, visual style, and perceived difficulty of "Mass Effect 3"'s nineteen Firebase maps.
Player feedback like this new survey will help BioWare identify and address trends, unsurprising from a company already well-known for keeping tabs on players. Given the success of "Mass Effect 3" and publisher Electronic Arts' modus operandi, the safe money is that the company is looking to refine its multiplayer modes for presumable inclusion in the the next "Mass Effect" game.
BioWare haven't announced any plans for multiplayer in the next game -- or, really, any details at all -- but I wouldn't turn my nose up at the idea.
The survey includes a question about each map's difficulty, which may seem odd at first: the four different levels of competition (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) have a much larger impact on difficulty that map choice. However, like all games, a meta-game has developed around "Mass Effect 3," and the most dedicated players have a set of best practices for online multiplayer. It's pretty common, for example, to use a handful of Geth Juggernauts on maps like Firebase Glacier or Reactor to plug up short hallways while other players support -- if you dig your heels in, you can pretty reliably weather a Platinum match.
I haven't filled out the survey myself -- there are a lot of maps in "Mass Effect 3!" -- but here's my quick and dirty feedback: I really liked the multiplayer. It allowed me to play around with a bunch of different builds even though my Shepard was a Vanguard during the entire trilogy, and getting the right combination of skills and gear for each character felt like playing bunch of micro-RPGs instead of one huge one.
I also liked the way the promotion system expanded the "Mass Effect" universe: it's nice to think that other people are involved in the fight against the Reapers, even on remote military bases on the other side of the galaxy from whatever mission Shepard is on.
If you're just a demon for filling out surveys, best get started: BioWare's "Mass Effect 3" survey will only be available for a week.