Spoilers for Mass Effect 2 and 3 are unmarked because there's no point in spoilerifying the whole question.

When Shepard talks to Legion on the Normandy during ME3, Legion characterizes a previous choice as correct or incorrect. If the player chose to rewrite the Heretics, Legion describes this as an incorrect choice because it increased the number of geth that allied with the Reapers. It's entirely plausible that Legion would be able to figure this out.

If the player chose to destroy the Heretics, Legion describes this as a correct choice, but it's not clear to me where that information is coming from. It's not like there are any Heretics around to tell Legion "yes, we would have betrayed you."

In the case where Shepard destroyed the Heretics, how does Legion know they would have sided with the Reapers if they had survived?

  • maybe another stack like the arcade would have a better answer for you as the question is about something specific that happened in a game that is now a few years old..
    – Cherubel
    Dec 6, 2016 at 8:13
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    @Cherubel: There are 58 questions tagged mass-effect including this one (and at the time of writing, this is the only unanswered question!). Mass Effect is very clearly sci-fi as defined in the help center. Frankly, I have no idea what you're talking about.
    – Kevin
    Dec 6, 2016 at 8:14
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    This stack is full of questions about specific things that happen in 50 year old books…
    – tobiasvl
    Dec 6, 2016 at 8:35
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    Not an answer, but maybe some element of answer. In Mass Effect 2, in the mission in which you have to make the choice, you start the mission with the objective to destroy the "bad" Geths, and Legion realize mid-mission that they might be able to turn them. Also he points out the exact point of origin of the divergence in beliefs. (a variable with different values). So He might know that changing the variable might be seen has a "hot fix", with some direct consequences, and some more complicated, not forseable quickly, but that might be analyzed with enough time.
    – Edelk
    Dec 6, 2016 at 11:03
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    Regardless of which choice you make in ME2, there are no more Heretics going forward. They're either cured or destroyed. The fact that any geth begin serving the Reapers in ME3 therefore means that non-Heretic geth are serving the Reapers. Therefore, logically, curing the Heretics instead of destroying them means there are more geth for the Reapers to control. This logic is apparent regardless of which choice you made in ME2.
    – Steve-O
    Dec 6, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Because the Heretics already sided with the Reapers, and the Reapers provide them a path to True AI.

Soverign offered the Geth the technology they needed to be completely victorious over the biological entities of the galaxy. The vast majority rejected it's help, believing it better to use their own tech and not be beholden to another power. But a small minority, the Heretics, decided that sounded just peachy. The Heretics left peacefully, and then started playing havoc on the Galaxy.

By default, the Heretics would have been on the side of the Reapers. They'd already picked their side. Even if the bit was flipped to make them align back with the "True Geth," they would have still had the original motivation to strive for True AI.

Legion is playing a game of maths. The Heretics were already on Team Reaper; destroying the station deleted 6.6 million Geth programs and 2.4 million Geth platforms, as well as a centralized staging area for the Geth. This makes this the "correct decision." Reprogramming the Geth would have still lead them into joining the rest of the Geth on Team Reaper when the Quarrans re-open the war, but with millions more programs, platforms, and server capacity.

The Geth eventually give in to the Reapers as a necessary means of survival, because the Quarrans destroy the Geth Megastructure... destroying millions of programs, platforms, and massive amounts of server capacity. It's possible that if the Heretics were reprogrammed, and their station left intact, the Geth would not have had it's intelligence dimmed by the destruction of the Megastructure, and would have been a seriously distracting, very motivated and intelligent, fighting force acting in their own interests, while also leaving open the idea that the formerly Heretic geth may push this more powerful Geth fighting force at the reapers ANWAY to gain True AI.

By destroying the Heretics in ME2, Shepherd ensures that they end up underpowered in ME3 when the Quarrans destroy the Megastructure. Yes, the Geth put themselves under Reaper control due to this (and have therefore increased the fighting power of the Reapers), but they're a less effective fighting force overall with the loss of BOTH chunks of Geth (and the galactic residents do not have to fight a two front war).

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