BioWare recently released the third installment in the Mass Effect series. Mass Effect 3 continues the battle against the prehistoric alien race- Reapers - who are destroying Earth and the Galaxy as we know it. Deeply engaging action, story and an immersive experience make this game one of the most anticipated releases this season. To celebrate, we’re giving away some awesome ME 3 and gaming gear for new and seasoned users of Gaming Stack Exchange who complete a series of missions on the site.

These missions are designed to assist and encourage you to resolve questions that arise as you battle back the Reapers and defend the galaxy.

All users who embark on missions on Gaming Stack Exchange will be featured on the mission board. For details on missions, prizes and rules visit Mission Control, and check your user page for mission progress.

N.B. This is the same announcement as this blog post.

  • What does it mean to "share" a post? – Sterno Mar 6 '12 at 17:09
  • @Sterno, click the "link" button at the bottom of any post. Then, you can share this link wherever you like. It has to get 5 clicks to count. You'll have to share unique links each time, I'd wager, so sharing the same link and getting 15 clicks would likely not count as 3 "shares" – agent86 Mar 6 '12 at 17:12
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    The site design is awesome. Please let us keep some of the LASERs (or laz0rs or whatever) after this is over. – Matthew Read Mar 6 '12 at 17:34
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    I am in love with the baby Reaper at the bottom of the page, think I'll be watching him stride around constantly while I wait for Friday's ME3 launch (European), oh and just noticed the Makos at the top, can't believe the Mako's on flat ground - if people think horses have poor respect for physics then they've never driven a Mako! – GAThrawn Mar 6 '12 at 17:47
  • Shared posts should have a score greater than 1 Is this requirement checked at the time you link the question? As in, if there's a question with a score equal to 1, and you link it, and the score later increases, will it count towards a share or not? – FAE Mar 6 '12 at 18:01
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    @MatthewRead the mothership lazwerpewpew stays after the ME3 contest ends. – Jin Mar 6 '12 at 18:43
  • So that's worth its own domain name while the gaming.SE site itself can't get one? – sth Mar 6 '12 at 18:52
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    @Fallen If you want to let the world know of an awesome post, you can share it immediately. As long as it eventually gets upvoted, it will count. – balpha Mar 6 '12 at 18:59
  • @balpha Thanks for the clarification! – FAE Mar 6 '12 at 19:01
  • Do shares have to be my own posts? – Ben Brocka Mar 6 '12 at 19:15
  • @BenBrocka No, they don't. – balpha Mar 6 '12 at 19:28
  • Do closed, not deleted questions that otherwise meet the criteria count for this? – Ben Brocka Mar 7 '12 at 0:09
  • @balpha Is there any way to see how many clicks a link has gotten or otherwise track it? I have more than 5 friends who claim to have clicked a link but it's not appearing as a share here. – Tharius Mar 7 '12 at 17:06
  • @Stephen No, we don't expose that anywhere. Note that the referrals have to come from different IP addresses -- are your friends all in the same office or similar? The most referrals for you on a single me3 posts are three on gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/53901/… at this moment (four actual clicks, but two from the same IP). – balpha Mar 7 '12 at 17:34
  • @balpha There are quite a few on shared ips ... office, home ... but I mostly suspect a few of them just said they did it but didn't... thanks! – Tharius Mar 7 '12 at 18:02

One more piece of feedback, we didn't announce this contest until shortly after the game's actual release. I think we should aim to have the contests finalized and announced prior to the game releasing (more like we did with Skyrim). The fan sites for these games are getting tons of traffic in the lead up to release, and they're looking for anything relevant to post during that time, so a contest with cool prizes could get us a lot of publicity. Once the game releases, it is hard to compete with the flood of news that is actually about the game.

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    +1 million this – Sterno Mar 21 '12 at 13:41
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    This is a great idea! Thanks. I will definitely do this for our next big contest. How far in advance do you think is useful in order to maximize publicity we could get? – Lauren Mar 21 '12 at 15:08
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    @Lauren I would guess about a week. – bwarner Mar 21 '12 at 15:21
  • @Lauren I'd contact them before the week-of so they can post whatever copy you give them with time to spare, but not before the actual contest site is up. – Nick T Mar 22 '12 at 3:41
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    I'd say a week minimum. – Shinrai Mar 26 '12 at 19:34

This contest officially ended Friday. Congrats to everyone who conquered the missions! I emailed everyone who is eligible for a prize this morning, and I need to hear back with the requested information by Thursday 3/29 at 5 pm UTC so that I can ship the prizes this week. If for some reason you did not receive an email from me and you conquered Mission 3 or above, please email me at lauren@stackexchange.com and let me know your full name, user name, and the highest mission you conquered.

There was some confusion regarding the W9s - so to clarify, you only need to fill this out if you are a US citizen or resident alien. If you are not, just ignore it.



This promo is a real step forward in promos ... not only prize wise but also in the manner in which it's being rolled out.

I would suggest the only "problem" we're finding is that here we are a few days after release in the US, but not worldwide, and a lot of good, relevant questions are already asked. It's going to get increasingly difficult to participate.

I don't have a good idea on how to combat that, I mean every time a new game comes out it's going to be savaged by the enthusiastic (yay!) so even doing a tiered roll out of the promo seems like it might be ineffective (can't get more than 1 level per day/can't get level 2 before such and such date, etc).

All in all, great brainstorming, great results!

Lazers Rock!

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    EU release being 3 days after US in this case is painful. :( – FAE Mar 8 '12 at 20:15
  • I'm waiting for my grant copy to come here in Canada. I don't think I'll have a real chance to compete. – Resorath Mar 8 '12 at 22:08

Will Mission Control have a system for tracking our progress towards these? In particular, sharing links is going to be tough to track without a tool of some sort.

  • Yes! Your gravatar will be featured on the mission panel for what you are up to. Also, check your user page :P – Seth Rogers Mar 6 '12 at 16:59
  • the progress is also shown on your user profile page. – Jin Mar 6 '12 at 18:43
  • Where in the user page? Can't seem to find it :s – Marcelo Mar 6 '12 at 19:08
  • @Marcelo if you make any progress towards a mission, e.g.: sharing post, get upvoted on ME3 questions etc, the progression box will appear. – Jin Mar 6 '12 at 19:18
  • @Jin Thank you very much :D – Marcelo Mar 6 '12 at 19:32

How often does the profile page widget thing update? I do have a question with a score of 6 or more, this one.

However, the update progress in my profile widget says I have 0/1 Q&A with a score of 6+. The question was asked after the time after the contest was stated to have started (Contest says it started at 5:00 UTC, question was asked at 11:49 UTC), but it was before the ME3Missions site went up, would that make a difference?


  • Yeah, that question should count. Looking... – balpha Mar 6 '12 at 21:00
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    My fault; fixed now. Thanks for the heads-up. – balpha Mar 6 '12 at 21:13
  • Thanks @balpha! :D – FAE Mar 6 '12 at 21:13

I think the emphasis on sharing makes sense in terms of growing the site. But I think in the future the higher levels should be more like the badges, sharing a post (or small number of posts) with a whole bunch of unique visitors, rather than sharing a whole bunch of posts to the same small number of unique visitors.

  • Yes, there are pros and cons of both that were considered. One of the main advantages with not rewarding quantity of clicks on shared links differently, is that people who may have smaller social circles are not biased against. We can try this other way too, perhaps. Thanks for the feedback! Moar feedback! – Seth Rogers Mar 8 '12 at 20:02
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    @Seth I don't have much of a social circle, so it would certainly exclude me. But I guess my point is that the difference between me qualifying for a $500 reward shouldn't be whether or not I'm willing to call up 5 friends and ask them to click a bunch of links for me. Large social circle = More new people coming to the site = Bigger rewards. For what its worth, I think the person who completed the final mission already has definitely done it by sharing with outsiders rather than just a group of 5 people. – bwarner Mar 8 '12 at 20:36

Can we get an "ignore", please? Or a limit on the proportion of the front page that is ME3 (or future sponsor-prize-drive game) questions? As someone who just likes browsing the front page but has little interest in ME3, this has pretty much killed Gaming for me for the duration.

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    There is an ignore feature. On the sidebar of the main page, just add mass-effect-3 to your ignored tags. Then, in your profile, go to Prefs at the top, and makes sure you have Hide Ignored Tags turned on. – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 8 '12 at 20:44
  • And it means 90% of the front page is now ME3 questions that are faded out. – Rawling Mar 8 '12 at 20:45
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    Ooh, nice clarification, thanks :) – Rawling Mar 8 '12 at 20:48

Will prizes be shipped worldwide?

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    From the contest rules: Eligibility: The contest is open to current and new gaming.stackexchange.com users. Everyone is eligible regardless of geographic location, but if you live in an area of the world where it’s too difficult for us to ship you your prize, we’ll figure something else out. – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 12 '12 at 13:44
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Durr, thanks! – kotekzot Mar 12 '12 at 13:45

Great idea! Love the little competition in this promo :-)

Would be nice though to get some behind-the-scenes info on meta or the blog: I couldn't find anywhere how this thing got set up. Was it community driven? Thought up in chat? Did the moderators set this up for us? Or perhaps Stack Exchange inc?

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    This is an initiative of StackExchange Inc. (Though several community members and moderators were asked for feedback while it was being planned AFAIK.) – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 6 '12 at 23:30

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