Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Please Fix Scanning in Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 2 is a great game in all aspects.  The only thing I can really complain about with any real conviction is the process of scanning planets for minerals: Element Zero; Iridium; Palladium; and Platinum.
Scanning is the most mind numbing, boring waste of player time I’ve seen in a long time.
Now don’t misinterpret what I’m trying to say.  I don’t have any issues with the upgrade system.  Nor do want EA/Bioware to give out upgrades like candy to everyone.

I think you need to earn upgrades while out and about playing the game.  As such I don’t have any problems with completing assignments to find or receive plans for upgrades.  I’m also fine with searching the universe to find the minerals to make upgrades and going to the upgrade center on the Normandy and creating the upgrade.  This isn’t very different from other video games where you might have to “farm” for materials to make items etc.
What I don’t like is the scanning process itself.  The scanning process in Mass Effect 2 is a waste of player/customer time.  Even with the scanning upgrades continually circling a planet on its latitude or longitude lines is time consuming and boring.  Occasionally scanning is a nice break from the game for one planet.  If you are in a far away solar system where you want to mine all the planets you have keep flying back to a system with a mass relay and fuel depot and going back and forth etc.  The entire scanning process in Mass Effect to isn’t fun and is time consuming.
Mass Effect wiki scanning png
Mass Effect 2 plant scanning.
Perhaps flying to the planet and doing one scan is an answer.  EA/Bioware could make a nice fun little animation that runs as long as they think appropriate then you get all the minerals on the planet.  If they make it long enough you could go get a soda or hit the bathroom.  The scanning page on the wiki does have good tips about how to save yourself some scanning grief so if you have read them they are at the bottom of the page.  But still this is something I think needs a redo in Mass Effect 3.
I don’t know what the best answer is but there has to be a better way than how it is in Mass Effect 2.
Anybody have any ideas about how to scanning might be done better?  Has anyone heard anything from EA/Bioware about scanning in Mass Effect 3.


  1. I must be a freak in that mining never really bothered me(except before upgrading the scanner with it is super slow). I hope they don't completely remove the whole "collecting minerals and then turning them into goodies" aspect of minerals and research projects. I just hope they streamline the process a bit, as sometimes it is time consuming. I much prefer almost every aspect of ME2 to ME(combat pace, much quicker recharge, not having 39048398 different items you find, etc.) and I hope they keep it similar.

  2. I agree, I not proposing to end collecting materials to build upgrades I just think the current process is to tedious and time wasting.

    Hopefully EA/Bioware will havea faster and funner way to scan in ME3.

  3. In the past, I have often found my ideas to be masochistic and very unusual; well this is one of those areas. I actually enjoyed the tedious scanning process because it was during this numbingly dull process that I bonded with my character, and I found myself thinking "wow this game is awesome, but it would suck being Shepard at times". I think we all know as a soldier, Shepard would be filing paperwork (how often have you seen cracks at that sort of thing)and doing other day-to-day rather than simply the fast paced adrenaline the rest of the game is injected with. The scanning was absolutely boring yes, but it flavored the game with an interesting flavor of realism that is absent in all other mainstream game: boredom.