For those of you curious about how my game story ended, let me first give a preview of my dialogue mechanic complaints by describing how it encourages me to metagame. Because my game outcome is affected by my gameplay tools (dialogue options), I tend to choose actions that will grant me access to more tools (paragon / renegade actions). In Mass Effect 2, this meant metagaming towards towards "paragon" regardless of my desire to role-play, continuing even after acquiring Legion and earned his loyalty, at which point "renegade" Shepard awoke, mostly to unlock further dialogue options unavailable without renegade points, and partly to see what "bad" Shepard was like.
- My crew was sacrificed. Because of assumptions born from playing other games, I waited to collect all of my team members assuming it would be possible to rescue them later. Interestingly, even if I had believed they would all die, I would still wait due to my completionist compulsions and my preference to experience gameplay (team member missions) over cutscenes (acquiring crew), assuming that would be the primary difference in experience. Also interestingly, were I making a strictly roleplaying decision, it would be to rescue the crew with fewer team members.
- Jacob and Grunt died. Because I assumed the game would sacrifice characters I most liked (this was my interpretation of the events of Mass Effect (1)), I chose Jacob and Grunt partly because they were less socially interactive, and mostly because I rarely used them on missions. If I believed it were possible to not lose any team members, I would more-likely have made decisions from the point of view of Shepard instead of a metagamer.
- Shepard kept the Reaper technology. Because I was on a renegade bender, I chose the "renegade" option of keeping Reaper technology for use by Cerberus. There is a small chance I would have chosen this even if I was role-playing since they did a poor job making a case for this being a "renegade" decision. It seemed reasonable that taking Reaper tech back to Cerberus for study could be useful against the Reapers, its risk mitigated by the fact that I can destroy a half-complete Reaper with my pew-pew pistol.
- Because my actions were mostly good, Shepard survived. This is the only result that certainly would have been the same if I had role-played all of my decisions throughout the game.
If metagaming played no part, my guess is that my crew would have been saved, different (or no?) team members would have died, and Shepard would have destroyed the Reaper tech believing it had the potential to corrupt. Hopefully, in upcoming segments, I can make a case for how different decisions about dialogue and dialogue mechanics might have elicited this alternate, role-playing ending.