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Handling Mass Effect: Deception's Issues

JakePT January 31, 2012 User blog:JakePT

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Since the wiki's getting a lot of attention from outside due to the ongoing Mass Effect: Deception scandal, I figure I'd introduce myself. I'm JakePT, one of the admins here. Not the admin, that's SpartHawg948. The other active admins are Lancer1289 and Commdor.

I can't speak for the others, but based on their comments in my other blog post, none of us are particularly thrilled by what we're hearing, but we haven't really decided how we're going to handle the canon issues here, especially since none of us have the book yet, and BioWare hasn't commented.

As part of the process though, I'm going to offer my thoughts on each of the issues brought up in the Google Doc that is doing the rounds.

Classifications (my opinion only):

  • Major Issue Has major effects on established canon.
  • Moderate Issue Has a smaller effect on canon. Possibly ambiguous. Largely internal contradictions that don't affect the larger universe.
  • Insignificant Issue An issue that can be explained by hypothetical events occurring between Deception and other sources. Could become larger issues if contradicted by future sources.
  • Can be Ignored An error or poor quality writing that doesn't actually impact canon.
  • Not an Issue Only issue may be the lack of a previous reference, but otherwise fits in with canon just fine.

By Major and Insignificant etc. I mean in terms of the effect on canon, not quality. I'm not here to judge quality. I also wouldn't read too much into the colour classification. They're pretty gut-reaction.

Lore

1. The Citadel is described as being star shaped
I consider this one a flaw in the writing, that doesn't truly affect canon. Dietz has no doubt seen the Citadel, and if this is how he chose to describe it, that's his descision, and only reflects on the quality of his writing.
2. There is a batarian embassy in the Citadel
This is a major canonical issue. Having not read the book I'm not sure how important to the plot it is. Was it just mentioned in passing, or does someone visit it?
Unless the writers disavow Deception we will be obliged to note on the wiki, where appropriate, that "some time before the events of Mass Effect: Deception, a batarian embassy has been re-established on the Citadel". If this embassy is absent in works taking place after Deception, a note will need to be added pointing out the discrepency and perhaps noting Deception's other issues.
3. Kai Leng visits Chora's Den
Similar to the above, though far less important, and also far more like to have occurred. A similar solution would be required: "Some time before the events of Mass Effect: Deception, a Chora's Den has been re-opened".
I suspect Dietz played at least some of ME1 (and maybe even ME2), and got the reference from there. I don't partciculaly blame him from missing the relatively obscure reference to being closed. I do blame whatever BioWare writer reviewed the book however, since they should have caught it.
4.Citadel surrounded by stars
I'm not sure of the context here. I suspect it may have just been a poorly thought out description. Even in the worst case scenario, it doesn't really affect canon, and can simply be noted amongst a list of errors in the book, if we choose to have one.
5. Kai Leng kills a krogan by slicing into the back of its neck and severing the spine
Kai Leng killing a krogan is really the only important part of the event in this story, and the manner in which he did this can simply be ignored on the wiki, apart from a potential list of errors in the book. Not a major problem in my mind.
6. Deception claims the asari found the Citadel first and learned to use mass effect technology after that
Ambiguous. Doesn't actually contradict anything we know. They could have found a relay and used it to get to the Citadel without actually truly learning mass effect technology. Humanities find of the Prothean archive prior to a relay is likely unique. I don't really see an issue here. Knowing the exact passage might help.
7. Asari are said to be asexual
A common mistake. Even Casey Hudson has made it.
A condtradiction that can be noted in a list of errors, but not something that really affects the content of the wiki.
8. Asari Council member saying "My God"
"As you humans say, 'I feel it in my gut'." Perhaps the asari councillor has a thing for foreign sayings? Whatever the case, I put it down to crappy writing and poor research. Doesn't truly affect canon.
9. Kai Leng visits an auction house on the batarian homeworld Khar'Shan
I can't any mention in this wiki or in the codex of Khar'Shan being completely closed off to other races. That may be a fault of the wiki however, and it may exist in other books/game dialogue.
If it is true, then this is a much bigger issue, especially since it affects the plot. Extraordinary nature of the situation needs to be noted in appropriate places.
10. Batarian pirates slave-raid on the turian homeworld of Palaven
Doesn't actually directly contradict any information. As far as I'm concerned, it's canon. I which case it belongs on Palaven and Batarian articles, and wherever it takes place in the plot.
That's not to say I like it. Obviously the universe has been established as making it unlikely, which means the extraordinariness should probably be noted, but if this is canon, then apparently it happens.
11. The public is allowed in the Citadel Council chamber
A possible change in rules following the events in ME1. Unless stated otherwise in the book, it could also be an extraordinary situation where masses of people forced their way in, or were perhaps allowed in on this single occassion.
Obviously I need more context on this one, but given the time disparity between ME1 and Deception, and unless contradicted by ME3, this one fits in relatively easy with canon, and should be probably be noted on Council article.
12. Gillian's visit to Afterlife
Slow day? All kidding aside, more context is needed, but this is a quirk and doesn't really need to be mentioned at all, apart from a possible list of errors in the book. When described in a story context "Gillian entred Omega" is all that's needed. This avoids the issue.
13. Quarian clothing
Obviously Dietz's impression of quarian concept art or in game models. Doesn't excuse the obvious lack of research. Can probably be ignored apart from a potential list of errors.
14. Batarian Slave Ship released to Gillian and company by quarians
Again, not aware of the context. Possibly a surprising act of generosity, given Gillian's connection to the quarians. Extraordinary nature of situation should be noted whenever the even is mentioned. Possibly worthy of note on quarian article.
15. Thousands dead every day
Can probably be chalked up as an exaggeration by whoever said it. I know I couldn't tell you how many people die in my country, so this doesn't need to be considered canon if said by a character.
If said by the author it's a much bigger issue, and like it or not, if this is canon it should probably be noted on the Citadel article, as well as an acknowledgement of how high it is, and it is high.
Compare Guatamala, with a population of 14.4 million, and 185 deaths per day. That is .000012% of the population. If thousands is taken to mean only 1000, even though it clearly means more, the Citadel has a death rate of .000079%. That's 6x higher. Sierra Leone, which has the highest death rate of any country on earth (2005-2010, according to the UN, via Wikipedia) has a death rate of .00006%, which means the Citadel death rate is 1.3x higher than the deadliest country on Earth.
16. Beryllium is no longer toxic
17. Beryllium as currency
This one is really stupid. Unfortunately however unless this is disavowed, the underground Beryllium trade is canon. If it is in needs to noted, probably on the credits article, but it needs to be accompanied by a note of how toxic Beryllium is.
18. Quarian ships visit Omega on regular basis and maintain a warehouse
A more serious issue, but since there isn't a complete contradiction of what we know. While it's surprising given what we do know, I'd say that the quarians having regular trade with Omega and a warehouse isn't entirely inconceivable. Unless disavowed this information needs to be noted on the quarian, Omega and Migrant Fleet articles, like it or not.
19. No to the quarian embassy
It's not inconceivable that the Council/asari Councillor doesn't consider the Admiralty Board/Conclave a legitimate Government. Possibly due to it's different nature, and possible due to simple racial biases. Also worth noting is the fact that, at least according to this wiki, the Fleet is still under martial law, which may be a disqualifying factor.
Canon, as far as I'm concerned.
20. Shella is described as a freelancer Kai Leng hired on Omega who didn’t know his true identity
21. Shella claims more than once she didn’t know Kai Leng was going to kill Liselle
22. TIM doesn’t know who Shella is
Some troubling ones. I don't know how to reconcile this. Should not we don't have an article for Shella, and I barely remember Retribution, so I can't really judge this well myself.
23. Kai Leng is said to have been in the Alliance Marine Corps
Safe to ignore this one I think. It's obvious what he meant.
24. Kai Leng was an “N6” rated soldier in the Alliance
Probably was an N6 before being an N7, so not entirely incorrect. ;)
Contradiction should be noted on Kai Leng article.
25. Anderson thinking that the Citadel trap had been sprung “so successfully” they were still reparing damage
Arguably just a different way of looking at it. Nevertheless Anderson's personal thoughts on things don't weigh much on anything, and this particular one can be ignored. Just reflects poorly on Dietz's understanding of events.
26. A holo of Grayson being implanted depicts large cables attacking him and burrowing into his body and him pleading for death
A contradiction. However, since we have the first-person account, this one can probably be ignored, with the only information necessary being that a holo exists with the event on it.
27. Two volus are described as wearing masks that don’t completely cover their faces
I'd want to read the passage myself before judging this one, just because it seems so absurd. However, unfortunately, if it's true and not disavowed, then the volus article should mention the existence of two volus who somehow do not wear the full pressure suit. Ugh.
28. Anderson is repeatedly said to be employed by the Council
Another large contradiciton. Unforunately, unless disavowed Anderson's article needs to note that during the events of Deception Anderson has become employed by the Council again, despite his dramatic resignation in Retribution. Again, Ugh.
29. Gillian is supposedly only allowed to participate in defending the Idenna because she’s 18 and thus not a minor
Possible attenuating circumstances given Gillian's being human. However, again, unless disavowed quarian article should note that the quarians considered Gillian past the age of majority despite not completing a pilgrimage, or using an age as an indication of majority.
30. The quarians transfer the rescued slaves over to the Idenna without any sort of decontamination procedures
I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in reading about decontamination procedures. Not really an issue in my mind, unless they are explicitly said that have skipped the process.
31. The Citadel is said to have a “red ward” and a “blue ward”
Haven't got context here, but this is a possible contradiction. This means we have names for 6 wards, when there are only 5: Zakera, Kithoi, Tayseri, Bachjret, Red and Blue.
The possibilty remains that Red and Blue are nicknames for two of these wards (or the other one). Under 'Known Wards' on Wards there should be a note stating the existence of a Red and Blue Ward, but mention that it's not clear if these are alternate names.
32. The Dark Star is described inaccurately
I'm willing to forgive part of this, given the fact that game design contrains the layout and appearence of areas, and I'm willing to accept that areas may canonically appear differently. The nature if the place is harder to square with established canon.
The Dark Star article should mention the Deception description, and note the contradictions. I'd be willing to chalk up the change in culture to a change in management or something though. Unless works take place simultaneuously on the Timeline, I don't consider things like this necessarily contradicitons.
33. Anderson and Kahlee are said to have “joined forces to battle the Spectre named Saren
Safe to ignore as far as I'm concerned. Again reflects poorly on Dietz, and should be noted in list of errors, but doesn't affect canon.

Timeline

1. Hendel is said to have never visited Omega before
Unless this affects the plot, it can probably be ignored everywhere but a list of errors.
2. Hendel knows Anderson and knows not only that Anderson and Kahlee are now together, but also where they live on the Citadel

Can be explained as "Following the events of Ascension Hendel has learned of Anderson and Kahlee's relationship, and where they live". Sucks, but doesn't impact much.

3. Gillian and Nick are 18 years old in Deception
Major error, and the contradiction needs to be noted everywhere appropriate. Not much more to say.
4. Aria Learns that Cerberus killed her daughter, but continues working for them in Invasion
Major error, contradiction needs to be noted everywhere appropriate (including Invasion article).
5. Ugho is in charge of the defense against the batarian slavers
Major error, contradiction needs to be noted everywhere appropriate.
6. Timeline Issues'
Basically a summation of the above issues. We have an 'official' Timeline from Walters, which should be followed for Timeline article, but issues need to be noted.
7. Gillian received a pendant containing data on Cerberus from her father before leaving Grissom Academy
Major issue here. A major plot point hangs on something that is flat out impossible given the timeline. Will be hard to reconcile.

Technology

1. Quarians referred to as “Gas suckers”
Odd that it hasn't appeared before, maybe, otherwise, no issues. Canon as far as I'm concerned, belongs on quarian article.
2. Tantalus Drive Core on a batarian ship
Unlikelyness of the situation should be noted where appropriate, unless explicitly stated otherwise by the book, it should probably be noted that it's not clear if it is the same kind of drive as the 'Tantalus' in the Normandy. Canonically be handwaved away by saying that it's possible that there is another drive with the same name.
3. Biotics are suddenly classified by their power level
Very strange, but unless disavowed the biotics article needs to state somewhere that a classification system exists ranking biotics on their abilities.
Don't like it, but just because it wasn't mentioned before doesn't mean it's not canon.
4. Hand Weapons that fire at "relativistic speeds"
Crappy writing, poor research, but should probably be ignored.
5. No Kinetic Barriers
An ommission in the writing, can be ignored.
6. Character(s?) in Deception use their biotic abilities repeatedly
They do in the games as well. Can be ignored.
7. Gillian gets new biotic implants in a few hours-long (?) operation in a non-medical facility
Hey, if Tom Cruise can do it in Minority Report, so can Gillian Grayson. I haven't read the book, but I can imagine this was for a good enough reason to run the risk, even if the book fails to note it.
Can probably be ignored.
8. Characters use advanced biotic powers with no prior training
As far as I'm concenred, biotic 'Powers' are just a Gameplay thing, and that biotics don't really work that way. A crappy attempt by Dietz at mimicking the franchise. Isn't Gillian supposed to be some sort of biotic prodigy though?
Hendel's is harder to explain, however I think this issue can probably be ignored, perhaps apart from mentioning Hendel's situation in a list of errors.
9. Biotic terminology
Crappy writing, can be ignored.
10. Asari Air Kisses
Perfectly fine canon as far as I'm concerned. Actually one of Dietz's better contributions in my mind.
11. Gillian “sensing” that a pair of asari strangers were capable of biotics
Meh. Probably worth noting on the biotic page and Gillian's article that some people apparently do have the ability to sense biotic power.
12. Anderson claims Omega has no public newscasts
Since this is not concurrent with ME2, we need to note that by the time of Deception Omega has ceased news broadcasts.
More than likely an error, but doesn't actually contradict anything (unless Anderson explicitly states they never did).
13. Waiting for the slavers
Stupid characters maybe, but doesn't affect canon. Can be ignored.
14. It is stated that it is “impossible to see anything” in FTL
Stupid error, but can be ignored.

That's it for now, will probably finish tomorrow...

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