May 17, 2021
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It’s weird that Mass Effect 3 was the game that really made loot boxes mainstream

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Mass Effect 3 came out in 2012, right around the peak of big game publishers like EA full-on panicking about used game sales and the absolute necessity of every singleplayer game shipping with a multiplayer mode. Why else would someone buy a game for full-price on release day—to sit there and play it, alone, just to enjoy a story? It was the 2010s, and surely no one wanted that anymore. Out of that publisher fear we got some truly bizarre multiplayer modes alongside singleplayer games: modes like ‘capture the little sister’ in BioShock 2, and Mass Effect 3’s co-op, which you could play to up your “galactic readiness” for the campaign’s big finale.

Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer was, in concept, a transparent attempt to stretch out the…



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