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News & Features Discussion  » General: Soap Box: Mass Effect 3 Part 2 - The 5%

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  Ryowulf

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/28/05
Posts: 672

4/12/12 11:17:28 PM#41

In regards to a good/sad ending. /This was said more or less in one of the youtube vids/ The 3 games have all been about making choices, so what's the problem if you made good choices all the way through and can then pick a good ending? The point is if its all about choices, when why end the game with any ONE way?




A sad ending doesn't mean good writing. btw.




I noticed someone above asked if a writer should change somehting they have done if people complain. That's up to the author. However, if as a person you can't acknowledge when you have made a mistake, when it is layed out clearly before you, then you aren't much of a person.





 

  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  4/12/12 11:19:27 PM#42

Do we really believe Shepard's crew would abandon her? Especially her LI? I think that that relationship transcended the whole idea of commander and soldier by the time we hit London. The same goes for all of the crew. They were undyingly devoted to Shepard, as was Joker. I think even knowing that the relays were blowing, he'd keep fighting.


But I think what bugs me the most is the fact that we don't get to see anyone remembering Shepard's sacrifice, knowing that she did it and is remembered. Oh sure, we get the child molester scene telling the kid about "The Shepard" but that smacks more of a fictionalized story than it does telling the story of a hero, the person who literally single-handedly (at the end at least) save the galaxy...well kinda but you know what I mean.


What's so disturbing about the whole exercise is that we have been left with nothing, not even a shred of a good feeling except for the breath that Shepard draws at the end of the 'red choice'. I had to go that way or I would never have been able to sleep at night again.


And while I'm at it: I honestly don't believe that synthesis is the "Paragon" choice. I'm replaying ME1 these days, difficult as that is, and it's clear right from the onset that Shepard's goals were to DESTROY the reapers, not control or meld with them. Control was TIM's bag. Synthesis was Sarin's thing. Shepard outright rejected both of them, first by helping Saren redeem himself in ME1 by rejecting synthesis and ultimately killing himself to show his rejection of synthesis. Shepard learned from that. Later by destroying the Reaper base and rejecting TIM's contention that we could learn to control them. From my perspective, red is the ONLY Paragon choice since that was Shepard's ultimate goal from the start.


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  4/12/12 11:20:24 PM#43

Originally posted by Settingsun

In regards to a good/sad ending. /This was said more or less in one of the youtube vids/ The 3 games have all been about making choices, so what's the problem if you made good choices all the way through and can then pick a good ending? The point is if its all about choices, when why end the game with any ONE way?





 




 


I am so down with this. We live in a world of sorrows. Why can't we at least have the option to have a good, happy ending?


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  ValasAzuviir

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/19/12
Posts: 27

4/13/12 12:15:08 AM#44

Originally posted by Rednecksith



On a related note, I think the ending pretty much proves that Drew Karpyshyn was the true reason Bioware had a reputation for excellent storytelling.



 


 


Pretty much. Not sure if anyone here is familiar with the Baldur's Gate novels.


First two were written by Philip Athans, one of WOTC Editors. And how can I put this politely..They were horrendous. Characterization was way off (Khalid a domestic abuser?) dialogue was trite, pretty much every character was unlikeable etc.


(And before anyone says that it's hard to write a novel about a game, Leonard Boyarsky did just that, was at a website known as Silvermoon's Attic, it's no longer available though.) And quite frankly it beat the pants off of what Athans did. (Leo used to be a BIS/Troika guy, currently working at Blizzard on Diablo 3.)


Anyway, fast forward to the third novel, based on the Throne of Bhaal. They hired Drew to do it as opposed to Athans. Let's just say that if the previous novels scored 1s on a scale of 1 to 10, that Drew managed to drag the third novel to a 5,5.. The third one was actually readable, still not great, but, he had to incorperate all the previous material in order to resolve the storyline, and when you have to work with rubbish. Well, it was just downright impressive what he managed to pull off.


Makes me wonder what he could've done with the entire series, if they'd given it to him right off the bat.


And to be blunt, I really do think, that Bioware/EA should pay Drew a million dollars, net pay, to come in and fix this mess. He's done it before (see the novel thing), and ME was his baby to begin with. They'd be better off in the long run with that course of action. A good reputation is a very hard thing to build, but oh so easy to destroy.


  winter

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/08/03
Posts: 2282

4/13/12 12:38:38 AM#45

 Very good article Suzie. Well Done!


  star

Guild Wars 2 Guild Leader

Joined: 1/04/07
Posts: 1114

Deliciously Trashy

4/13/12 2:35:42 AM#46

Originally posted by Suzie_Ford

Do we really believe Shepard's crew would abandon her? Especially her LI? I think that that relationship transcended the whole idea of commander and soldier by the time we hit London. The same goes for all of the crew. They were undyingly devoted to Shepard, as was Joker. I think even knowing that the relays were blowing, he'd keep fighting.




But I think what bugs me the most is the fact that we don't get to see anyone remembering Shepard's sacrifice, knowing that she did it and is remembered. Oh sure, we get the child molester scene telling the kid about "The Shepard" but that smacks more of a fictionalized story than it does telling the story of a hero, the person who literally single-handedly (at the end at least) save the galaxy...well kinda but you know what I mean.




What's so disturbing about the whole exercise is that we have been left with nothing, not even a shred of a good feeling except for the breath that Shepard draws at the end of the 'red choice'. I had to go that way or I would never have been able to sleep at night again.




And while I'm at it: I honestly don't believe that synthesis is the "Paragon" choice. I'm replaying ME1 these days, difficult as that is, and it's clear right from the onset that Shepard's goals were to DESTROY the reapers, not control or meld with them. Control was TIM's bag. Synthesis was Sarin's thing. Shepard outright rejected both of them, first by helping Saren redeem himself in ME1 by rejecting synthesis and ultimately killing himself to show his rejection of synthesis. Shepard learned from that. Later by destroying the Reaper base and rejecting TIM's contention that we could learn to control them. From my perspective, red is the ONLY Paragon choice since that was Shepard's ultimate goal from the start.





 


Exactly. I know there was a thread on the BSN with that had an interview with Patrick Weekes (best writer left currently working on Mass Effect) that had stated there was 'good reason' that Joker had left earth with the rest of the crew. My question to that is, THEN WHAT THE HELL IS IT?


I've replayed the game twice since I beat it originally, and I always end up just alt-f4ing after Anderson dies and writing an ending that makes sense and fits within the cannon. Much more satisfying than the drivel we were handed.


Shepard unable to get pregnant makes Kaidan :'(


  Connmacart

Novice Member

Joined: 2/24/12
Posts: 693

4/13/12 2:51:57 AM#47
Originally posted by Escapehatch

This is the game BioWare wanted to make all along.  The people who think they "retconned" the reapers at the end don't understand what the word means.  This was their plan from the beginning.  They never revealed what the reapers were, what they wanted, or if they worked for someone else.  But they left little hints...


http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Klencory

The more likely thing that happened.

- Dev 1) Guys we need to wrap this game up anyone have ideas how to end it.

- Dev 2) How about we use this quote from klencory to have one of these light creatures be behind it.

- Dev 1) Oh nice find, let's use that.

 

To be honest the quote is really vague. An argument can easily be made that those beings didn't make the reapers, but instead where just part of a previous cycle but got conquered by the reapers and the one in the citadel got indoctrinated. 

An argument could be made that the reapers set in motion these cycles purely to prevent any civilization from creating AI's that could rival their own.

Overal the ending didn't resolve anything and only gave more questions due to the many plotholes it left behind.

 

  jbombard

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 491

4/13/12 3:25:23 AM#48

It is sad to see previously great game developers like Bioware and Blizzard allow their success to become blinding arrogance that drives a wedge between them and the players who loved and supported them.  That arrogance prevents them from thinking like just another gamer who loves games, but that way of thinking is what drove their success to begin with.  Just sad, we lost Bioware to EA and Blizzard to Activision.


  Svarcanum

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/29/06
Posts: 348

4/13/12 5:15:25 AM#49

To me the ME2 ending, and actually that whole game was far worse story wise. So I was pleasantly surprised by the ME3 ending.


  Rawiz

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/08
Posts: 472

4/13/12 7:42:18 AM#50
Originally posted by WhySoShort

I did a lot of thinking about this last night and I came up with four reasons it sucks that have nothing to do with the ending being "unhappy."


1. It's Deus Ex Machina. In fact, that's an understatement. Having a magical space god show up at the end of the game is a straight up ass-pull. It's the science fiction version of "it was aliens." It's just plain bad, cliched writing. Even if it was their artistic vision from the beginning, gods/aliens showing up at the end is about as artistic as it turning out to have all been a dream at the end.


2. The world just got inverted. For the entire series, Shepard's choices define the plot. When you hit the ending, the plot starts defining Shepard's choices. Not onlydoes this sort of undermine the entire feeling of the series, but it's also just another case of bad plotting. If you have to make the characters make unreasonable or out of character decisions to make your plot work, then throw it out. It sucks.


3. It's not just sad. It's downright tragic. Shepard dying at the end really isn't the problem with the plot, and I don't think anyone could reasonably expect the ending to be better than bittersweet.. But the fact is that the ending is loaded with horrifying consequences that aren't immediately apparent, and most are tied to the destruction of the mass relays. First, millions of friends, families and lovers will never see each other again. They are separated forever. Second, billions of beings will never be able to return to their homeworlds. Third, the millions of people that lived in colonies and space stations will starve to death without supplies. Finally, with the destruction of the mass relay system, the only thing that made the universe interesting is gone. It's like Harry Potter ending with magic being destroyed. Sure, we saved the world, but to what avail? There really is no reason to care about it any more. The alien races are forever separated. The non-human races might as well not exist.


4. It didn't matter. Nothing that happened in any of the games up until the final multiple choice question mattered. Nothing. In a game all about choices, BioWare undermined their own creative vision by throwing every choice you made out the window and tacking a linear, one-dimesional Japanese RPG style ending on to the game, essentially ending their series with the antithesis of the reason they created it.


The more I think about it, the more it seems like the best way to summarize the issue is that Bioware tacked an poorly written, braindead, cliched Eastern ending on to a Western RPG. 

Great post.

It's so disrespectful from Bioware to completely disregard the past decisions of my Shepard at the end. It's all the same if I just played a ME3 stock-Shepard compared to my 100+ hour veteran from ME1. I won't even say anything about their "artistic integrity", because it makes my blood boil.

The journey was great in Mass Effect series, but the ending ruins all re-play value it has. I plan to check out Extended Cut, but I doubt I'll play ME again.

I also wish Bioware luck with their upcoming DLC sales. Even ME2 DLC was mostly poorly made, but with ME3 and the way it's all meaningless in the end since everything dies (no synchetic-crap for my guy), the salenumbers have to be pathetic.

  MumboJumbo

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/18/10
Posts: 3207

Veni, Vidi, Converti

4/13/12 9:50:58 AM#51

This article was an awesome read!!!


Full of links and opinions and info: The mightier the epic, the harder the fall, if the ending ends poorly. It's worth always keeping in the back of the mind that in stories... endings are perhaps the hardest part. I wonder if it was Murakami who said that? Damn one of those interesting authors. I noticed that The Matrix, Star Wars new gen., & more generally fizzle out. I think Mass Effect has been some great rpg-games but suffer this same creator's problem. What will be the end for humanity, even?!


The theory of why the end works is interesting in posing questions that negate choice: "Inevitability" ~ The Reapers were always going to win... yet this is actualy fundamentally an error to the intensity for each of the player's decisions: If the whole series of 1-3 is about choice (this can be shown in myriad ways) then add the structure of the player's choices & changes in forks in the games progression....


ME:


x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x--End of ME


x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x--End of ME2


ME3...


So what ME3 should be is a combination of ME & ME2's x = unknowns added together. Instead you have:


Y-Y-Y--!!! (literally) End of Story, more or less. Put simply: The ending DOES NOT ADD UP. 


The trick a columbo or murder she wrote or miss marble or whatever daytime detective: "Yes, 10yrs ago... I saw this in the paper, put 2+2 together and voila: It was him all along." *GROAN* 


TL;DR:I think players expected a more structured multiverse of endings for the Mass Effect Universe to end this story in.


 


 


  Escapehatch

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/12
Posts: 11

4/13/12 9:56:14 AM#52

Originally posted by Suzie_Ford

And while I'm at it: I honestly don't believe that synthesis is the "Paragon" choice. I'm replaying ME1 these days, difficult as that is, and it's clear right from the onset that Shepard's goals were to DESTROY the reapers, not control or meld with them. Control was TIM's bag. Synthesis was Sarin's thing. Shepard outright rejected both of them, first by helping Saren redeem himself in ME1 by rejecting synthesis and ultimately killing himself to show his rejection of synthesis. Shepard learned from that. Later by destroying the Reaper base and rejecting TIM's contention that we could learn to control them. From my perspective, red is the ONLY Paragon choice since that was Shepard's ultimate goal from the start.





 


Incorrect.  Shepard's goal varied depending on how you played the game, but ultimately his/her goal was at the very least to protect humanity from destruction and allow humans to live free.  When it was revealed that Saren's ship was some kind of super powerful sentient warship (a reaper) then the goal became to stop the reapers from destroying humans (and other organic races, if you played the paragon).  Not destroy all reapers, stop the reapers and protect the galaxy.  Saren was indoctrinated, which was the first stage of "the cycle" to absorb advanced organic lifeforms.  He was not a perfect balance of organic and synthetic life.  Like the Illusive Man he likely had tapped into something of the weird gods plans, but since he was indoctrinated would never understand the plan fully or be able to be an equal part of it, only a tool.


So explain how the destruction or control path then fits into paragon?  Only the synthesis ending means nobody else dies and everyone lives free.  Destruction kills the geth and, as Shepard is warned, organics will eventually create more synthetics, and now there's no cycle to stop the synthetics from taking over.  And with the control ending, how long until Shepard, now one of the gods (maybe?), decides that the gods were right all along and synthetics do need to be stopped and brings the reapers back?


I don't even know why I'm arguing these points.  I don't think Mass Effect was the most amazing thing since Han shot first.  It was a good story, with terrible gameplay (seriously, BioWare needs to realize that the clumsy and inferior controls of a console game don't port into PC).  I enjoyed it.  I liked the way some of the elements played out, and the ending was cool despite not hand feeding the audience exactly what was happening.  That's not some swipe at people being too dumb to understand it, I think it was very clumsily handled.  It requires a lot of thought and putting together pieces that aren't altogether obvious given how rushed the end of the game felt.


And I wholeheartedly agree with how disturbing it is that people that were with you at the end suddenly aren't there, but then are in the Normandy (maybe?), and the ship is flying, and on some random planet and...  what???  What happened to Earth?  What about Tuchanka?  Rannoch?  Is space flight still possible?  You could fly between systems in the same cluster without a mass relay, is it still possible to get to all these places?  Maybe it just takes longer?  Are all these species trapped on Earth?


I don't agree that they never intended to end the game the way it did, but I do think they were put under the gun to get it out by the release date and rushed the ending through, leaving a baffling mess in its wake.


  cutthecrap

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/29/12
Posts: 608

4/13/12 10:17:37 AM#53

I get the feeling that the article writer missed a few endings, since there are endings where Shepard lives regardless, and where the reapers are destroyed and earth is saved (see here)

 

The biggest thing is though that all choices have some sacrifice to it, either their way of life, death of main characters, loss of conveniences, or transformation. There is some cost, only what it'll be will be different depending on the choice players made.

 

Now, I get that a lot of people have become used to the Michael Bay movie style endings, where 'winner takes all' and everyone lives happily ever after with no sacrifice of any kind required and everything can continue as it was before the conflict.

It seems like ME3 doesn't have that kind of endings, and heck, some more preferrable endings will only become available if you've done REALLY well with the EMS score.

I don't see or would have a problem with that. But then again, some people like maybe the article writer need their sugary sweet 'happily ever after' ending, everyone's different.

  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  4/13/12 11:27:34 AM#54

Originally posted by cutthecrap

I get the feeling that the article writer missed a few endings, since there are endings where Shepard lives regardless, and where the reapers are destroyed and earth is saved (see here)


 


The biggest thing is though that all choices have some sacrifice to it, either their way of life, death of main characters, loss of conveniences, or transformation. There is some cost, only what it'll be will be different depending on the choice players made.


 


Now, I get that a lot of people have become used to the Michael Bay movie style endings, where 'winner takes all' and everyone lives happily ever after with no sacrifice of any kind required and everything can continue as it was before the conflict.


It seems like ME3 doesn't have that kind of endings, and heck, some more preferrable endings will only become available if you've done REALLY well with the EMS score.


I don't see or would have a problem with that. But then again, some people like maybe the article writer need their sugary sweet 'happily ever after' ending, everyone's different.



 


First point: I know about the Destroy/Shepard takes a breath thing. I actually went back and played the game through a 2nd time specifically to get that. So, yeah, I know.


Secondly, the fact that the collection of war assets and EMS (mine was 100% with 5000+ assets) meant NOTHING. That begs me to wonder why bother?


Third, you totally missed where I wrote that Shepard dying is fine if it's done well. Just killing off a character for the simple act of killing off the character is poor writing. It has to mean something and for the character's actions prior to that point to have made a difference.


Do I wish there would be the option of a happy ending? You bet. There is no harm or foul in BW offering that to their customers. Some of us have tough lives, lives that are plagued with death and other sorrows, so that a happy ending might be a cathartic and welcome experience. Those who want the gloom and doom, everyone dies or at least my character dies, should get what they want too. After all, this is a commodity, not the Mona Lisa. It actually can be all things to all players.


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  LucienRene

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/14/09
Posts: 20

4/13/12 11:59:19 AM#55
Originally posted by Suzie_Ford
"...After all, this is a commodity, not the Mona Lisa."  
 

 

This is the point that has been lost by Bioware. Whether or not Video Games are art is not relevant.

What is relevant?

Mass Effect 3 is a product. As such, arguments of "artistic integrity" are trumped by the value placed on the product by the consumer.   If Bioware wants their customers to continue to give them monies, they need to exceed customer expectations. 

Bioware wanting to claim "art" for their product is short sighted, it has led to a large segment of their customer base becoming disenchanted with the commodity (Mass Effect 3). 

Bioware, what's wrong with a business giving their customers what they want?

 

P.S. 

To be clear, Video Games can be both art and product.  That type of art is called commercial art, and the needs of the consumer, when commercial art is being produced, outweighs the integrity of the artist.   (Hence the term "sell out.")

The question the artist has to answer is:  Do I want my "integrity," or do I want money?  Very often, it's not easy to have both.  There is a lot of discussion in the media about "Gamer Entitlement," where's the discussion about "Developer Entitlement?" 

 

edited for wonky formatting

  BadSpock

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7769

Logic be damned!

4/13/12 12:02:21 PM#56
Originally posted by Suzie_Ford

Originally posted by cutthecrap

I get the feeling that the article writer missed a few endings, since there are endings where Shepard lives regardless, and where the reapers are destroyed and earth is saved (see here)

The biggest thing is though that all choices have some sacrifice to it, either their way of life, death of main characters, loss of conveniences, or transformation. There is some cost, only what it'll be will be different depending on the choice players made.

Now, I get that a lot of people have become used to the Michael Bay movie style endings, where 'winner takes all' and everyone lives happily ever after with no sacrifice of any kind required and everything can continue as it was before the conflict.


It seems like ME3 doesn't have that kind of endings, and heck, some more preferrable endings will only become available if you've done REALLY well with the EMS score

I don't see or would have a problem with that. But then again, some people like maybe the article writer need their sugary sweet 'happily ever after' ending, everyone's different.


First point: I know about the Destroy/Shepard takes a breath thing. I actually went back and played the game through a 2nd time specifically to get that. So, yeah, I know.


Secondly, the fact that the collection of war assets and EMS (mine was 100% with 5000+ assets) meant NOTHING. That begs me to wonder why bother?


Third, you totally missed where I wrote that Shepard dying is fine if it's done well. Just killing off a character for the simple act of killing off the character is poor writing. It has to mean something and for the character's actions prior to that point to have made a difference.


Do I wish there would be the option of a happy ending? You bet. There is no harm or foul in BW offering that to their customers. Some of us have tough lives, lives that are plagued with death and other sorrows, so that a happy ending might be a cathartic and welcome experience. Those who want the gloom and doom, everyone dies or at least my character dies, should get what they want too. After all, this is a commodity, not the Mona Lisa. It actually can be all things to all players.

I tell ya Suzie, I really do have all the answer to make a perfect ending(s) for ME3 and the franchise as a whole!

Now Playing: Destiny, WoW

  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  4/13/12 12:04:56 PM#57

Send it to me BadSpock. suzie_ford@mmorpg.com. :D


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  Escapehatch

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/12
Posts: 11

4/13/12 12:19:17 PM#58

Originally posted by Suzie_Ford



Do I wish there would be the option of a happy ending? You bet. There is no harm or foul in BW offering that to their customers. Some of us have tough lives, lives that are plagued with death and other sorrows, so that a happy ending might be a cathartic and welcome experience. Those who want the gloom and doom, everyone dies or at least my character dies, should get what they want too. After all, this is a commodity, not the Mona Lisa. It actually can be all things to all players.



 


Super Mario Brothers had a happy ending.  You rescue the princess and all her little mushroom head friends.  This is why I didn't like it.  I got twenty of my closest friends to write angry letters to Nintendo to try to get them to change the end of the game where the big lizard stomps Mario and makes the princess his unwilling wife.  Alas, they didn't change it or offer me an alternate ending where that happened.


The Mona Lisa was a painting DaVinci did for some guy of his wife, the equivalent of taking a photograph these days.  It has been replicated, duplicated, lost, stolen, found, mocked, modified, and scrutinized a million times over.  It has made countless millions for the city of Paris in tourism revenue.  That's more of a commodity than Mass Effect will ever be.


Just because something makes money and is available to millions does not reduce its artistic value.  Cry about the ending all you want, just as I'm sure there are people who think the Mona Lisa is hideous or Beethoven's 9th Symphony is uninspired, but do not demand someone change something because you wanted it to be different.  That's what fan fiction is for.  Write a fan fiction where Shepard lives at the end and makes babies with a now overly fertile krogan.  It will sell tens of copies and cease being art and I will write my own fan fiction where instead Shepard died up on the crucible saving all species from total annihilation.


  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 14225

 
OP  4/13/12 12:28:02 PM#59

Obviously, EscapeHatch, we will agree to disagree. If I'm going to spend my hard-earned cash, I want a satisfying product. IMO, Bioware failed epically to deliver.


 


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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  Escapehatch

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/12
Posts: 11

4/13/12 1:00:02 PM#60

Originally posted by Suzie_Ford

Obviously, EscapeHatch, we will agree to disagree. If I'm going to spend my hard-earned cash, I want a satisfying product. IMO, Bioware failed epically to deliver.



 


It’s alright to not be satisfied.  Heck, I paid money to see a Transformers movie.  I was extremely dissatisfied.  What I didn't do was demand that Michael Bay make me a better movie with those same characters, even though I felt like I had a hundred better ways in my head to make that picture.  I said "that sucked" and moved on.


That's my problem with this entire thing, not that people didn't like the ending, though as I've already proved I am happy to explain my interpretation and defend it, it's that people think they deserve something else.  No, you don't.


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