Case in point: on a recent playthrough of the original Mass Effect, I accumulated approximately 12 million credits after completing the Bring Down the Sky DLC, most of the side quests, and the main campaign. That was after I purchased the best armor, weapons, and upgrades for my characters, including both sets of the top tier Spectre weapons. I was left with more credits than I could count, and I wonder why, in hindsight, I bothered hoarding that fortune in the first place.
Surely it wasn't for the excitement of doing the side quests. I landed on every planet, spending hours doing nothing but finding resource nodes to survey. I explored what felt like a thousand identical ships, mines, and buildings. I can't remember a single moment of elation, discovery, or victory.
The best that can be said for Mass Effect's side quests is that they're voluntary. The economy can be made artificially difficult by choosing to abstain, but you then forfeit entire levels of experience and some neat bonuses that carry over into the sequel if you import your character. Still, Mass Effect is not half as bad as Dragon Age: Origins.