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It affects the percentage of your war assets that are actually used for your effective military strength. The default being 50% and the highest being 100%.

I got that it changed the percentage, I just had idea what the percentage affected since it seemed like the ending was effectively locked in no matter what you did.

If you choose the destoy option and have effective military strength of below 4000(?), then there is no cut scene showing Shepard in the rubble breathing(taking last breath). On my first play through, I only had two options to choose from, destruction and control. Synthesis wasn't available because my effective military strength was too low.

So if I understand correctly, it's how many war assets you've accumulated * your readiness percentage. I never raised my readiness above 50% but I had all three endings available in both play throughs ... I'm pretty sure I'd accumulated all or nearly all of the war assets though. I don't think I got the cut scene at all.
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