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Rob Donoghue
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I love Mass Effect. I was burned by the ending of ME3, but Bioware regained my forgiveness with the subsequent content, ending with the magnificent gift to all sentient life which was Citadel. So I pre-ordered the new one when the opportunity arose. It dropped yesterday, and I was up WAY too late playing it.

Spoiler Free Impressions so far
- It’s Super Bioware-y. Sidequests, chosen ones, companion more or less dropping in your lap. You’re either on board for that ride or you’re not.
- Took extra care in crafting my face, so aside from occasional crazy eyes (which I dig) I do not have the rubber mask complaints I’ve heard
- Combat is fun. It’s kinetic and engaging and I think this is the first shooter where I could really see the appeal of going with a shotgun, since movement seems much more organic.
- I find no joy in crafting.
- Autosave is infuriating. When you re on a ”critical mission” (which has been about half of my first 8 hours) you can’t save manually and must rely on autosave, which might have been recent, or might have been 20 minutes ago. This is super frustrating when paired with the “Explore every nook and cranny” design of some places.
- Companions are fun so far. Naturally, as soon as a Turian showed up, they were in my group, and now I have a Krogan, so I am worried I may never actually use anyone else.
- Best thing to come of pre-ordering: A hoodie for my Ryder.
- Density of content has been good so far. My biggest fear for this game is that it will have my least favorite part of Dragon Age: Inquisition - lots of dead space - but so far so good. However, it’s early, so I’m watching this.
- It is LOVELY. And I’m just on a PS4. I can only imagine what this is like on a beefy PC.
- Been very happy with the voice acting.
- Interface has occasional weirdness, usually when two things are happening at once. I’ve had some “how to do this thing” text bubbles vanish before I could parse them. The good news is that most stuff (except crafting) seems thoughtfully designed and makes sense once you get the hang of it, but there’s a lot of figuring it out.
- Super delighted that the respec option shows up early. Haven’t needed to use it yet, but given that this game seems huge, I don’t want ot have to start a new game for every build.
- The game knows you want to do the things Bioware has trained you to do (stop and talk to everyone and explore everything whenever it shows up) and it has tried to compensate for that by providing some pushes to keep you moving. It’s a little meta, but I dig it.
- The story and setup are all pretty satisfying to me so far. Definitely happy to see more.

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For the pen nerds who are also magnet/construction nerds. 

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A pulp treasure trove

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I do not garden, but this could tempt me. 

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so bad.

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So, we have been working on this with our son lately. It came up because he wasn't doing his homework when he was at extended day after school, and when we asked about it, it was because the counselors were trying to help. He hates that when he feels he's doing something he's supposed to do, and he didn't have tools for dealing with it that did not turn into sulking or yelling or otherwise rough behavior.

So we sat down and talked about how to say no when when someone wants to help but you don't want it. He worked on variations of "Thank you very much, BUT..." and got comfortable with the idea.

So that helped with the specific problem, but it's turned out to have a much broader and largely positive impact since he started using those tools in other situations where he wanted to say "no" (Food he didn't want to eat, work he didn't want to do and so on). It didn't change how often he said no, but the difference it makes when he says "Thank you very much. I really appreciate you making this, but I do not want any" rather than just going "No!" is larger than I can reasonably express to a non-parent.

And in turn its set up a virtuous cycle. Where "No!" tends to drain everyone's emotional reserves and can lead to escalation, the firm-but-polite no leaves room for actual discussion and negotiation where everyone wins. That, in turn, has started spilling into other areas as he has discovered (miraculously) that taking a moment to be polite greatly improves his situation.

All of which goes a little afield form the article, but I buy into the idea that there is a skill to saying no, and I'm really glad to be teaching it to my kid (rather than letting him learn it in his 30s, like his old man did)

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Sharing this so I have it somewhere. Kind of afraid to read it myself. 

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Not sure if this is an indication that the guy is principled, or that he has the good sense to get out before the stink gets permanent, but either way it's telling.
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