Mass Effect. Ever since this new title from BioWare was announced, RPG fans (and Xbox 360 fans) have been dying to get their hands on it. Now, though, the wait is over, and this epic space opera is finally on store shelves.
Mass Effect tells the story of one Commander Shepard, an Alliance soldier that's tasked with saving the galaxy from utter doom. We've all saved the world in RPGs before this, but an entire galaxy? That ups the stakes considerably. Along the way, Shepard will need to rescue damsels in distress, make sweet alien love, explore strange planets, and discover wondrous technology that's been lost for millenia.
GameSpot's Game Guide to Mass Effect is a work in progress: we have a complete walkthrough and details on all of the side quests that we've run across, but we'll continue to update the guide in future weeks, hopefully until there's nothing left to cover. In the meantime, enjoy these fine contents:
Mass Effect Tips And Hints
Mass Effect's tutorial kind of throws you into the combat without giving you much of an idea as to what to expect. Here's a few pointers as to how to go about shooting things to death in Mass Effect.
One quick tip to keep in mind: enemies will appear with red targets on your HUD when they're close to you. This will let you get a readout on their health and shields, and let you know when you're registering hits; it will also let you target an enemy for the purposes of a tech or biotic power. However, even if an enemy is too far away to have the red HUD marker, they can still be shot if your aim is good enough. Many a time has our trusted pistol taken out an enemy that was too far away to get a health checkup on. You won't be able to see their health going down, of course, but you will still be able to hit them if you can aim accurately. Pistols and sniper rifles are better for this than assault rifles and shotguns, obviously.
Notes on Tech and Biotic Powers
Your powers, and those of your teammates, are all controlled via the right bumper button. It can take a bit of time to get used to casting things in this manner, but when you do get used to it it'll let you cast both your own and your party members' powers at the precise spots that you want them.
In our case, however, we usually found it a little easier to simply set Squad Power Usage to "Active" in the options menu. By default, this is set to "Defense Only", meaning that your party members will use powers like Barrier and Shield Boost, but not any of their offensive powers. Since most of the fights in Mass Effect are relatively easy (at least on the default difficult setting), allowing your party members to cast all of their abilities is simply a convenience; you may find that your teammate has used his or her Singularity power in a non-optimal fashion, but even so, the mistake probably won't be your downfall. On Veteran or Hardcore difficulty, though, you may wish to revert to the default "Defense Only" and use powers manually to maximize their effectiveness.
One aspect of the radial menu casting is that it apparently allows your teammates to occasionally ignore line-of-sight. We've noticed on a few occasions that if we spot an enemy that is as yet unseen by Liara, and tell her to cast a Singularity on it, she won't move to a spot where she can see the enemy; instead, she'll simply cast it through the obstacle between she and it. It's unlikely that this works for every power, but it might bear further investigating.
Just keep in mind that there's no mana cost or anything for using your powers; you can use them as often as you like, so long as the cooldown is up. The only penalty for using them is an accuracy penalty after casting them, but that usually winds up being a minor penalty. For specialists like Liara, it's a good idea to find amps that lower the cooldown as much as possible.
Ignore The Cover System
One of the early tutorials will introduce you to Mass Effect's cover system. If you have your weapon out, you can press against a wall or other surface, sidle over to the edge, then hit the left trigger button to pop out and fire. Your teammates will
Unfortunately, it's almost never necessary to actually use the cover system as opposed to simply strafing out from cover, firing a few times, then strafing back behind another cover object. In the early stages of the game, it can be handy, as you're likely to lose your shields after just a few shots from your foes. As you get up into the teen levels, though, you're more likely to have better armor and defensive skills. When this occurs, using the cover mechanic simply wastes time.
(One exception to this rule are the sniper rifles. When you zoom in with a sniper rifle while standing free, the reticule will take a couple of seconds to lock into position. However, if you use the cover system and click the left trigger to move out and aim, you won't have to repeat this fuzzy-reticule adjustment, making it a lot easier for you to draw a bead on your foes.)
There's another reason why the cover system doesn't work so well, but only if you follow our next tip…
Let The Enemies Come To You
Combat in Mass Effect can take place in a number of terrains and environments, but in most cases, if you attack a group of enemies, they will start coming your way and attempt to overwhelm you. In some cases they'll stick with their defensive positions, but usually they will attempt to chase you down. You can use this to your advantage, though, by placing grenades in their line of travel and blowing them when they walk over them.
What's more, though, is that enemies that rush you will be easier for your team to take down if you stick together. If enemies bunch up as they approach, then abilities like Singularity and Overload will wear them all down simultaneously; if they separate out, you can take them down with concentrated fire as they come near.
Encouraging enemies to come to you will also let you keep your party members behind cover, which they'll normally find automatically in combat. If you're always rushing forward into combat, your weaker party members will wind up dying a fair amount of the time, especially early on.
Grenades are kind of an optional aspect to combat in Mass Effect; you don't need to use them very much, and can definitely get through the game without every throwing one. When thrown (with your select button), grenades will move in a straight line towards whatever you were aiming at, so you'll need to expose yourself to fire in order to throw them at an enemy; you can't arc them over an obstacle, for instance. You can manually detonate them in mid-air by tapping the Back button again. If they travel to a surface, they'll stop, where they become proximity mines and will detonate if an enemy travels near them. Otherwise, they'll detonate after 15 seconds or so of inactivity.
This is all a little frustrating to deal with, so you'll be excused if you prefer to simply jam on the fire button and plink away at your targets. With that said, though, grenades can come in handy in some situations. If you know there's a group of targets up ahead through a door, you can lay a grenade down in the doorway, get the enemy's attention, then detonate it as they chase you. Or, if a group of enemies is swirling around a Singularity, they won't be able to do much to get away from your grenade's explosive radius. They're also handy to use against Krogan enemies, who will often rush at you in a straight line.
Grenades can be tough to use, but if you tap your noggin you may find a situation or two where they can be handy.
Just like in Star Trek, if your shields go down, you'll be in trouble. Shields are a part of any suit of armor. At the outset of the game, you're likely only going to have a very small amount of shielding, but as you pick up better armor and better skills, you'll be able to make it through most firefights without your shields dropping at all, which means that your health won't be dropping at all, which means that you won't be dying. And that's good!
Anyway, the shields in Mass Effect work just like in Halo; they go down a bit when you get hit, then regenerate when you step out of combat for a few seconds. Your enemies don't necessarily have to be dead for the shields to regen, they just can't hit you for 10 seconds or so. If your enemies are particularly persistent, though, you can always rely on some of the defense-boosting skills, like Shield Boost, which regenerates your shielding even while you're taking damage, or Barrier, which will temporarily overcharge your shields to prevent much more damage than they normally would.
In the end, shielding winds up being much more important to you than health will be, so keep an eye out for ways to maximize it. In terms of armor, we always found shielding to be more important than either damage protection or tech/biotic protection. Large amounts of shielding will prevent you from taking damage, which will let you save your medi-gels for truly dire situations.
Kneel Before Zod; It's Good For You!
Keep in mind that kneeling (clicking on the left analog stick) does improve accuracy. It's a cheap way to make better use of your assault rifle and sniper rifles early on in the game, when your weapon skills are poor and the equipment you have not so hot. You'll move slowly when you kneel, obviously, but you'll be able to hit what you're aiming at, at least.
Mass Effect has a good amount of challenge up until level 20 or so. After that, though, your equipment will start to make most fights a bit of a breeze. If you want a bit more challenge, bump the difficulty up to Veteran and switch Target Assist to Low. That'll force you to aim more carefully and allow your targets to take a bit more damage, thus making the fights a bit more exciting.
Every once in a while, you'll be asked to head planetside in your Mako, a tough APC-like vehicle that will escort you and your crew to whatever destinations you choose. It may not be stylish, but it'll get you where you're going, and will let you take out almost anything in your path, to boot.
There's a few things you need to know about the Mako, however.
Firing The Weapons
Your Mako has two weapons: a machinegun (right trigger) and a cannon (right bumper). The machinegun is great for taking down enemy soldiers and troops; it'll tear through their shields and can be fired continuously for around 15 seconds without overheating. The cannon is the brute force here, though; it can scatter soldiers, but also deals a lot of damage to enemy tanks.
Unfortunately, firing weapons can be wonky if height elevations are involved. Although military strategy usually favors the combatant with the advantage of high terrain, the cannon and machineguns here are actually almost impossible to fire on enemies below the plane of the Mako. If you're at the top of a hill, you won't be able to fire downward; if you move onto the slope of the hill so that you're angled downward at your foes, though, you'll have an easier time hitting them.
The confusing thing here is that the crosshairs will move outside of the range that you can fire on. Even if you get your crosshairs over an enemy that's below you, your cannon fire will still often fly over their heads. Keep that in mind and adjust your elevation to compensate.
Shields And Damage
The Mako has a lot of shielding. A lot of shielding. Luckily for you, only the nasty thresher maws are capable of penetrating your shields and dealing damage directly to the Mako; everything else will have to drop your shields before it can hurt you. You take absolutely no damage from falling or being bounced around; only enemy fire can hurt your shields.
In most cases, the only kind of weapons that can really damage your shields (at least on the normal difficulty) are the rockets fired from enemy tanks, like Geth Armatures, Geth Collosi, and heavy turrets. Small arms fire and rockets fired from enemy soldiers will damage you, but only a very small amount. It's the larger fire that you need to dodge. We'll cover that in a second, though.
Keep in mind that you have a lot of shielding, but it regenerates very, very slowly, to the point where you might be waiting around for a few minutes if you get real low on them. If your shields drop and you start to take damage, the only way to repair it is to get out of combat and spend 15 omni-gel to repair the Mako. The amount of hull damage that's repaired will depend on the highest Electronics skill of the characters in your group, but even with high Electronics, it'll still take a couple of pauses to get back into ship-shape form from a near-death. It's usually easier to return to your ship and re-drop to repair the damage, assuming you're on a mission where that's possible.
If you just let people shoot you, the Mako is going to be a hulking mass of molten metal in short order. The solution to avoiding fire is actually to make your vehicle a bigger target. If you attempt to head towards your targets straight-on, you'll be a narrow target, but will have a hard time dodging attacks. The better way to go is to turn your vehicle sideways, so that you're firing on your enemies from the side. When you do so, you'll be able to move your vehicle left and right (relative to your TV screen) by tilting the analog stick left and right (not up and down, like you might expect).
If you find it difficult to strafe, keep in mind that you can hold down your left trigger to zoom in on your foes. Without the distraction of checking the vehicle's orientation, it can sometimes be easier to make your way around by feel instead of by sight.
This maneuver will let you more easily dodge the slow-moving but powerful projectiles that will be coming your way. It won't work well unless you have the space to maneuver, but if you do, you'll find it handy.
One thing to note is that experience gained from combat in the Mako is cut to half or a third of its normal values. In most cases it's simply easier to stay in your Mako at all times, but if you're fighting a tough enemy, sometimes it can be handy to fight it down with the Mako, then pop out of your vehicle and finish it off with your normal weapons.
Mass Effect has a somewhat restrictive item limit: you can only carry around 150 items at any one time. Anything you pick up when you have 150 items will be reduced to omni-gel. Unfortunately, it can be tough to tell what you want to keep and what you should scrap, since most items are a simple name and series of numbers.
One thing to keep in mind is that you have a merchant in the lower bay of the Normandy, right near the equipment lockers. After a mission, you'll probably have a bunch of upgrades and items that you don't really need in your inventory. Head to the lockers first and upgrade the equipment of everyone that you didn't bring on your trip; that'll help you keep the best items on your party members while stripping them of the stuff that's been outdated, which you can then reduce to omni-gel.
Unfortunately, the game makes it a pain to reduce ammo and armor upgrades into omni-gel. Most of the crap that you want to get rid of will be at the bottom of your list, but reducing it to omni-gel will bump you all the way to the top; brilliant design, that. Luckily, the merchant in the Engineering section of Normandy (near the lockers) will buy items from you, with the list sorted with the cheapest items at the top. That'll let you clear out your items pretty easily; if you're finding items that are V or VI, say, you can simply sell everything from I to IV and know that it'll all be stuff you're unlikely to use.
As you travel, you'll see that many of the merchants in the game will offer you licenses. The utility of them isn't clear at first, but if you buy them, then the quartermaster on the Normandy will be able to sell items from the designated manufacturer.
Licenses are marginally useful; it's pretty rare that you'll find an upgrade that you can afford at the merchant, and even if you do, you'll want to save your money until you get 1,000,000 credits, which unlocks the ability to buy Spectre weapons from the Normandy and C-Sec quartermasters, which are going to be better than anything else you can buy. Regardless, if you want to complete your collection, check with every merchant you find; usually the licenses are at the bottom of their lists, and sometimes the same merchant will sell different licenses depending on when you visit them. These start off cheap but will eventually grow to be very expensive. Like we said, they're probably optional: the best stuff you can wear will usually be found.
Creating A Team
One of the best aspects of Mass Effect is that you can create a team of three characters and keep them throughout the game; there aren't any of those crazy RPG segments where you have to create two teams to control at the same time, or anything like that. Thus, you can feel free to concentrate on your favorite teammates and keep the rest in the Normandy throughout the entire game. So long as you talk to them in between missions, you'll still get all the quests that they give and will be able to complete your romance quests with them. In case you do feel like bringing them along, they'll be at the exact same level as your main character; they don't suffer from being left behind at all, although you'll need to upgrade their equipment, obviously.
Also, keep in mind that only the highest level of Decryption or Electronics applies to those powers. There's no need for two characters to have a lot of Decryption; only the highest applies. However, skill points in First Aid and Medicine areadded together, so multiple party members with skill points in those skills can come in handy.
Roam The Normandy In-Between Missions
After every mission you perform (at least the four main ones at the beginning of the game, meaning Vermire, Noveria, Feros, and finding Liara), head around the Normandy and speak to everyone. Most of the party members will have new interactions available, and you'll get to reexperience those loaded pauses when you approach your love interests. You can also find some free equipment in your locker in the mess hall.
If you decide to make a custom character in Mass Effect, you'll be able to choose from one of six premade classes. There are three "pure" classes, which only focus on one of the three combat disciplines (soldiering, technical skills, and biotics), and three mixed classes, which combine skills from two of the three disciplines.
This section is going to offer a brief description of each class, but you should check the skill descriptions themselves for more info.
The soldier is the basic combat class of Mass Effect, and a fun class to play if you want to shoot stuff more than you want to worry about casting spells. There isn't much to say about the skills that they have on hand; they can specialize in any kind of weapon, obviously. You'll want to maximize Assault Rifles or Shotguns as a primary weapon, but you can also pick up Sniper Rifles if you want to have an alternate gun for long-range encounters.
Combat Armor will let you wear the heavy armor that will wind up giving you the most protection. First Aid will probably be something you'll want to leave to a teammate, like Liara. Assault Training can be good if you want to try your hand at knocking your foes around, while Fitness will be worth maximizing for the Immunity ability (which, in turn, can make it a lot easier to run around knocking enemies out).
- Assault Rifles
- (u)Sniper Rifles
- Combat Armor
- (u)First Aid
- Assault Training
We played through Mass Effect as an engineer for the purposes of this walkthrough and didn't have a particularly good time with the class. While you get the Pistols and Basic Armor required to be competent in a fight, the rest of the abilities of the class are generally rather passive. Decryption and Electronics are obviously needed throughout the game, and the Sabotage/Overload abilities are useful when dealing with opponents, but they aren't necessarily very fun to use, as they effectively debuff your opponents instead of killing them. We may be alone on this, but it's usually a bit more fun to cause your opponents to fly up into the air with biotics or power them down with assault rifle fire than it is to overload their weapons, however handy it may be.
A lot of the abilities here are kind of iffy, to boot. Hacking is useful for reducing the recharge rate of your abilities, but the actual AI Hacking ability will rarely be used except on turrets or drones, which are few and far between compared to the humanoid opponents you face (it can't be used on Geth). Damping is handy when going against biotics, but again, there are relatively few of those around. Medicine's Neural Shock ability is kind of useful, but only against a single organic opponent (i.e. it's not very useful against crowds and doesn't work at all against Geth or robotic enemies).
In all, our professional opinion is that you should bring along Tali or Garrus for tech skills and focus on biotics or soldiering for your own character. To each his or her own, however.
- (u)Basic Armor
- First Aid
Adepts are the biotic specialists of the Alliance. Although they can wield basic weapons and armor, their primary utility in battle comes from their biotic powers, which they can use to disrupt enemy advances and prevent enemies from attacking.
Biotics as a profession is a nice one; although biotic powers don't deal a huge amount of damage to your foes in most cases, they will be capable of stunning or incapacitating large groups of foes for lengthy periods of time, allowing your party to shoot them as they fly through the air, incapable of returning fire. The downside of being a biotic specialist is that there are a lot of skills that you'll want to invest in; Pistols and Basic Armor will be handy to have, while Throw, Lift, and Singularity will all be required if you want to keep your foes incapacitated for long periods of time, and Barrier will be needed if you wish to keep your shields up. And we're not even going to mention Charm/Adept and Spectre Training.
Still, you can get along well as an Adept without maximizing every single skill that you have, and placing the biotic powers of the team under your direct control will help minimize the sometimes stupid ways your AI teammates will use them. If we had a dime for every time Liara cast a Singularity at a crate two feet away from her face, we'd be rich. The ability to manually aim these powers will make them much more useful to you throughout the game, but you'll often be the weakest member of your party in return.
- Basic Armor
The infiltrator class is a mixture of weapon skills and technical skills, designed to let you pick apart enemy forces from a distance while also disabling their shields and weapons if they get close. Our playthrough as an Engineer didn't impress us overmuch as to the utility of the technical skills, but they can still be useful in the right hands, and the ability to prevent your foes from firing their weapons will be handy.
For the most part, an infiltrator will want to rely on his or her sniper rifle and attempt to fire from a distance, but you'll probably want to boost your pistol skills as well; there are a lot of situations where sniping from a distance will be impossible or unwieldy. Apart from that, Electronics and Decryption skills will allow you to eliminate the need for other technicians in your party.
Again, though, after playing through the game as an Engineer, we'd recommend going with a soldier or biotic class instead of a technical one, if only for the fun factor.
- (u)Sniper Rifles
- Tactical Armor
- (u)First Aid
Vanguards are an amalgam of combat and biotic abilities, allowing you to shoot your foes or use biotics to throw them up into the air.
The combat aspect of the Vanguard is definitely gimped when compared to a soldier, unfortunately. You can't train assault rifles; only pistols and shotguns. You will also be required to spend a full 12 points in Assault Training and Tactical Armor to unlock the ability to wear medium armor. As far the biotics go, you lose the ability to cast Stasis from the biotic tree, which isn't a big deal, but you also lose out on Singularity, which is a tougher skill to give up. Still, shotguns, medium armor, Throw, and Lift will all combine to make you a fairly deadly opponent, especially in close combat.
Unfortunately, your Vanguard skill increases your biotic protection, but doesn't do anything for your recharge timers, so you'll be able to use your biotic skills much less often than an Adept would be able to.
- Assault Training
- (u)Tactical Armor
- Decryption or Electronics
The Sentinel class is a mixture of technical skills and biotic abilities. If you choose to be a sentinel, you should be warned that you cannot train in any weapons or armor abilities. You can still use weapons, but you won't be able to do so very well, and you'll be able to wield basic armor, but won't be able to use Shield Recharge to increase your shield reserves.
The skills you lose from biotics are the iffy Warp and the very handy Singularity, so you won't get the very best from that discipline. From engineering, you'll lose Damping and Hacking, neither of which are particularly necessary to get through the game. That said, you'll still be able to Throw, Lift, use a Barrier, and perform Decryption and Electronics tasks, so you'll be able to take over a lot of the support roles in your group. If you want to have a billion activated abilities and shut down your opponents for your teammates to kill, then the Sentinel might be the right class for you.
- First Aid
Kaiden is one of the primary love interests for female player-characters. A solid soldier with a mysterious past, Kaiden is a Sentinel, marrying technical know-how with biotic abilities that have been honed by years of tough training.
As a Sentinel, Kaiden won't be killing too many enemies with gunfire; he probably won't be killing too many enemies at all, in fact, unless he gets lucky with a Sabotage or Overload. He's a utility character through and through, allowing you to bring along someone capable of Decryption, Electronics, and First Aid while still being able to Throw or Lift enemies to help you incapacitate them.
- First Aid
Ashley's a soldier, and a rather caustic one at that. As one of the few survivors of Eden Prime, she's driven by a desire to prove herself in combat. This can cause her to butt heads with your character at times, especially if you're playing as a paragon that's attempting to ingratiate humanity into the wider array of species in the galaxy. Still, as a pureblood soldier, Ashley will bring a number of desirable skills into combat, especially if your own character isn't much of a fighter.
Your main choice here will regard which weapon you wish Ashley to wield. Assault rifles are the logical choice, as it doesn't require an unlock and will let Ashley put a lot of fire in the air, while retaining the ability to be useful at short or long ranges.
After the weapon skills, points in Combat Armor will be required to unlock the ability to wear heavy armor. Another party member should have the ability to use First Aid, so you'll often be able to skip that. Assault training is probably less useful than the activated ability of Fitness. All in all, if you skip Pistols, Shotguns, and First Aid, you should have enough points to maximize almost every other skill by the late 30's or so.
The special ability here is Soldier, which increases overall health and allows for health regeneration. The first point is the most important, but if you run out of places to put your skill points, feel free to max it out.
- Assault Rifles
- (u)Sniper Rifles
- Combat Armor
- (u)First Aid
- Assault Training
Garrus Vakarian is a Turian Agent, a special class designed just for him. When you first encounter him, he'll be a Citadel Security agent, intent on tracking down evidence of Saren's corruption. He's not an idealist by any stretch; he seems to welcome the opportunity to join you mostly because it'll free him from the rules and regulations of C-Sec and will let him continue his pursuit of Saren without as much red tape. Still, he's a valuable party member.
As a Turian Agent, Garrus is split between weapon/armor skills and tech skills. He's especially handy if your main character has no tech abilities, in which case you'll almost certainly be taking either Garrus or Tali along for the ride. If you're looking for a more offensive, combat-oriented party, Garrus is probably the better choice, as he'll be capable of wearing medium armor and training with assault rifles and sniper rifles.
Garrus's special skill is Turian Agent. It increases his accuracy with all weapons and damage with sniper rifles and assault rifles with each point placed into it.
- Assault Rifles
- (u)Sniper Rifles
- Tactical Armor
- (u)Assault Training
- First Aid
- Turian Agent
Fitting firmly into the "gruff but likeable anti-hero" category that's seemingly always been a part of BioWare games, Wrex is an oversized Krogan battlemaster that combines a prowess with his weapons and powerful biotic attacks to make him a fearsome opponent in combat.
In terms of personality, Urdnot is tormented by the castration of his race, but he keeps his opinions inside, for the most part. Given the choice, he'll pick the most expedient way out of any given situation, even if it means acting unethically. Having seen his race betrayed by the universe, he has a rather nihilistic outlook on life, but is willing to tag along with your team, if only because he gets the sense that it'll be a challenge.
In terms of skills, we focused Wrex on Shotguns and Combat Armor at the outset. The choice between shotguns and assault rifles is mostly a style one, but you'll certainly have enough points to make him reliable with both types of weapons. You don't need a huge number of points in Fitness, maybe just enough to unlock Immunity.
As far as the biotics go, you can proceed along Warp until you unlock Throw, then get that upwards. Warp is a decent skill, but not something necessary to max out. Barrier is also a fine skill, and one that gets very good if you can max it out, but since Wrex will be capable of weary heavy armor with a lot of shields, you may not find it absolutely necessary. Stasis is probably unnecessary to invest in, but if you have extra points, feel free to splurge.
Urdnot's special skill is Krogan Battlemaster. This gives him a bit of health regeneration, which is handy, and also makes him more resistant to biotic attacks and knockdown effects. It also greatly increases his melee damage, but if you fight carefully, he'll rarely use melee blows.
- Assault Rifles
- Combat Armor
- Krogan Battlemaster
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
Tali is a young Quarian Machinist who joins your party in search of adventure. She's on Pilgrimage, and is likely to be the only Quarian you wind up encountering in the entire game. She's nice enough, but unfortunately our technician character didn't have much reason to use her during the game.
Tali is probably a better technician than a human character could be. She loses the mostly useless Medicine skill in exchange for Shotguns, which can be very handy when you have a team consisting of Tali, Liara, and your main character. If your other two main characters use assault rifles or shotguns, you can feel free to max out Pistols for Tali, but if you are going to team her up with Liara or your own bioticist character, having her use shotguns makes for a nice pistols-shotguns-assault rifle combo.
Apart from that, Basic Armor, Electronics, Decryption, and Quarian Machinist will probably be your first choices here. You can safely skip Hacking, and even Damping isn't necessary if you don't need it, but if you have extra points to spare, it's one more thing for her to autocast. First Aid is also skippable if Liara or another character that has it is around.
The special skill here is Quarian Machinist, which increases Tali's resistance to tech skills and increases her shield capacity. A maxed Electronics and maxed Quarian Machinist will increase Tali's shields by 480, which will make her almost untouchable in combat, especially when you take Shield Boost into account.
- Basic Armor
- (u)First Aid
- Quantum Machinist
Liara is an Asari scientist that will be the last follower to join your party. As the daughter of one of the primary foes of the game, you'd think her alliegiances would be mixed, but that proves not to be the case; Liara winds up being one of your character's main love interests in the game, should you wish her to be.
While a bit na´ve, Liara winds up getting a quick education in the ways of the world after tagging along with you and your group. She may sometimes wish for things to be better than they are, but hey—life's rough, and the grown-ups have to make the tough decisions.
As a bioticist, Liara is incapable of training in any weapons, which makes it difficult for her to do a lot of damage with guns. Given a powerful enough pistol, however, she'll still contribute in a fight. She won't fire terrifically accurately, but she'll land enough hits to at least make a difference in a battle.
Of course, her weapons are usually only going to come out after she's blown through most of her biotic powers, which will happen pretty quickly if you have them set to Active cast in your options. The two key powers here will be Lift and Singularity, both of which can incapacitate large groups of enemies for lengthy periods of time. Throw and Warp can also be valuable in certain situations, so you'll want to unlock all of them and have her progress through the powers as far as you can.
Barrier is also handy for Liara; she'll likely have the least health of anyone in your group, and since she's incapable of wearing anything but light armor, she won't have much in the way of shielding. Stasis is handy situationally against powerful enemies, but in most cases the Lift/Singularity will be just as good. First Aid is definitely where you want to put a few of Liara's points. Electronics is pointless, since you will almost always have someone else with tech skills to be your Decryption/Electronics monkey. Pumping electronics will boost Liara's shield rating, but at the expense of spending your points in places that they'll really make a difference.
Liara's special skill is Asari Scientist. This passively reduces the cooldown on her biotic powers and First Aid, and enables First Aid to heal for more hit points. This skill should be pumped before the actual First Aid skill is pumped, if possible.
- First Aid
- Asari Scientist
Mass Effect Skills And Abilities
There are a couple dozen skills to choose from in Mass Effect. We'll describe the bulk of them here for your perusal.
Increases damage and accuracy while you shoot. Pistols are fine weapons for the characters that can train them: they fire rapidly and with a fair amount of precision, even at medium range, and they seem to lose accuracy while moving slower than assault rifles do. You have to click your trigger for each individual shot, but you'll still likely fire more accurately than your assault rifle-wielding friends, especially if you have to snap off a large number of shots.
Marksman: While the Marksman ability is active, your accuracy will be increased by 60% and your rate of fire will be increased by 1 to 2 shots per second. The rate of overheating on your weapon will decrease to compensate for the increased rate of fire.
Increases accuracy and damage while firing shotguns. Shotguns are best used for close-up encounters, since their rate of fire and accuracy aren't the best, although their Carnage ability essentially turns them into rocket launchers in the hands of an expert.
Carnage: Adds a large splash damage effect to your shotgun blast, causing an increase of 50% to 150% of weapon damage in an area around where you hit. Fire this at the center enemy in a group to dish out the hurt to everyone nearby.
Increases damage and accuracy. Assault rifles are fine weapons for soldiers and some of the NPCs; they fire rapidly and have decent accuracy. Stabilize the fire and add a heat sink to let yourself fire more rapidly, and remember to fire in bursts to avoid overheating your weapon.
It's worth pointing out that assault rifles are difficult to use early on in the game; every one that you find up until level 20 or so will have a 1 rating for accuracy (out of 100 or so). This makes them frustratingly difficult to fire at long ranges or for more than a couple seconds at a time. To counteract the accuracy problems, try to fire from a kneeling position (which helps your aim), and fire bursts of a couple seconds in a row to hit distant targets.
Overkill: Overkill allows you to fire more rapidly for a short period of time, during which you'll lose accuracy less slowly. (This doesn't make you more accurate, necessarily; it simply prevents your fire from spreading out from the target zone as quickly.) Great for spraying down multiple enemies or attempting to take down a single distant target.
Increases damage and accuracy with sniper rifles. Without some amount of training, sniper rifles will be basically unusable by your character, as you won't be able to even zoom in. In the hands of a well-trained character, though, sniper rifles are great for taking down distant foes.
If your main character can't use sniper rifles, we wouldn't recommend training any of your followers in their use. Doing so will let them hit distant enemies, sure, but in most cases your foes will come towards you when you engage them, forcing you to switch your teammate's weapon. If you're in the habit of rushing forward in front of your teammates, then they might be able to support you from the rear, but a better strategy might be to train yourself in sniper rifles and use your team commands to send your team forward to intercept the enemies as they come for you. Of course, in most interior fighting, sniper rifles will be a bit unwieldy to use, so be sure to have another weapon skill to fall back on.
Assassination: Assassination lets you greatly increase the amount of damage that you deal with a single shot from your sniper rifle. While there aren't a lot of bosses in Mass Effect for you to use this on, it can still come in handy when you're attempting to take down oversized foes like Geth Primes.
Basic armor is the basic armor talent for weaker characters, like Adepts. It allows you to wear light armor, but not medium or heavy armor. Increasing your skill here will increase the amount of damage reduction that your armor provides you, as well as the "hardening" effect, which…well, we have no clue what it does, but presumably it's favorable to you.
Shield Boost: Activating shield boost will recharge your shields very quickly, preventing you from having to wait for them to recharge naturally. You'll have to wait 45 seconds in between using the ability, but still, it'll greatly increase the amount of time that your shields are active and protecting you during battle.
The same as Basic Armor and Combat Armor, but Tactical Armor will usually let you start off wielding basic body armor and eventually unlock medium armor.
Shield Boost: Activating shield boost will recharge your shields very quickly, preventing you from having to wait for them to recharge naturally. You'll have to wait 45 seconds in between using the ability, but still, it'll greatly increase the amount of time that your shields are active and protecting you during battle.
Combat armor is for soldiers and characters capable of wearing the medium and heavy armors. The lower ranks will let you wear medium armor, but as you increase your skill, you'll unlock the ability to wear heavy armor.
Shield Boost: The effects of shield boost are the same as the Basic Armor skill. It's more important to get high ranks of Shield Boost when you have Combat Armor, though, as the amount of shielding you have will be proportionally greater than your light armor-wearing compatriots.
Assault training will increase your weapon damage by one percent per point applied. It's a decent bonus, but one you'll want to start taking only after you've maxed out your weapon skill, which also adds accuracy. The secondary bonus here adds to weapon melee damage. It'll be useful if you enjoy whacking enemies in combat, but it won't be very much use if applied to a follower, since they'll rarely partake in melee combat.
Adrenaline Burst: Activating this power will immediately reduce the cooldown on all your other abilities, allowing them to be used again. This is more useful for Vanguards than Soldiers, since you'll have biotic skills that you can use repeatedly, but even Soldiers may sometimes need to activate Immunity or Shield Boost in rapid succession.
Fitness offers up a basic health boost. The first point of fitness will net you a flat 10% bonus to your health, but after that it'll only be giving you 4% or fewer health per point. Health bonuses aren't as necessary as they may seem; playing carefully will generally allow you to get through combat while only taking shield damage. We'd recommend getting this up to the point where you can unlock the first rank of Immunity and then stopping.
Immunity: This power will increase the amount of protection you have from damage for a short period of time. At first, it'll offer you 50% damage immunity for 10 seconds, a very appreciable number. If you manage to max out the skill, though, you can reduce the damage you take by 80% for 20 seconds, with a recharge time of 30 seconds, meaning that you can be almost unkillable almost all the time. This is a great skill to max if you intend to use melee attacks a lot, but otherwise it's merely a safety net if your shields go down while your First Aid is on cooldown.
Think "Force Push". Throw causes enemies in your sights to be thrust backwards away from the caster. It doesn't do much damage, but it can knock enemies down, forcing them to get back up again before they can continue the fight, allowing you and your teammates to shoot them while they're lying on the ground. If you manage to push your enemy into an area where they normally wouldn't be able to go, or off a cliff, they'll often die instantly.
Advanced/Master Throw: As you increase the strength of Throw, the damage and distance that your targets get thrown will increase, as will the radius of effect, while the recharge time will decrease.
Lift raises enemies into the air, immobilizing them and preventing them from taking action for a few seconds. This is going to be one of the primary offensive abilities of a biotic character. Not that it's necessarily all that offensive; Lift, in and of itself, does not do much damage to enemies. However, while enemies are Lifted, they'll be incapable of firing on you, allowing you to shoot them without a care in the world. Lifting will also let you bring enemies up above their cover positions. As with Throw, any enemies that drop into an unmapped area of a level will instantly die.
Advanced/Master Lift: Increased the radius, duration, and reduces the recharge time.
Warp is a damage-over-time spell. When cast on enemies, or a group of enemies, it will deal a small amount of damage to them every second and decrease the amount of protection from damage that their armor lends them. This is probably the least useful of the biotic skills; by the time you get far up the tree here, the damage dealt will be a pittance compared to the damage you'll be able to deal from your weapons. The protection reduction feature is nice, but if you have a character capable of Overloading shields, that's just as good.
Advanced/Master Warp: Further increases the damage, radius, and duration of Warp while reducing its recharge time.
Singularity is another very useful biotic skill. It's somewhat like Lift, in that it can suck enemies upwards, but instead of only going upwards, Singularity can force them up, down, or all around. It creates a small area of energy that will suck all nearby foes towards it. If it lasts long enough, they'll actually go into orbit around it. You can use Singularity in some weird ways, such as by casting it in such a spot so that it pulls your foes out from cover, or sucks them out over a ledge so that they fall to their deaths, but in general it will usually be useful mostly as an incapacitating device.
Advanced/Master Warp: Further increases the radius and duration of Warp while reducing its recharge time.
Barrier temporarily overcharges your shields, causing them to become capable of absorbing much more damage for a short period of time. This is a handy skill to have for Adepts and other light armor-wearing classes, as it will let you absorb damage as you position yourself to make the most use of your abilities in combat.
Advanced/Master Barrier: As you increase your skill level with Barrier, it will become capable of absorbing more damage, will last longer, and will have a lower recharge rate. By the time you Master the skill, you'll be capable of keeping Barrier up over half the time.
Stasis locks an enemy into a mass effect field, preventing them from moving or attacking, but also preventing them from taking damage. It's a handy way to isolate a particular enemy while you take down its teammates. Unfortunately it only works on one enemy at a time, when most of the combat you're in will be against many enemies simultaneously. It can still be useful to eliminate that Krogan Battlemaster that's charging at you, or temporarily restrain a single tough enemy in the midst of a bunch of cannon fodder, but in most cases your skill points will be better spent elsewhere, at least in our opinion.
Advanced/Master Stasis: Increases the length of time that enemies are locked up while reducing the recharge time.
Decryption has a number of effects: it will increase the amount of omni-gel that you gain when you break down objects that you find (supposedly, we never noticed a difference); it will allow you to decrypt secure locks to open doors and chest that would otherwise be impassible; and it will let you use the Sabotage ability to shut down enemy guns. It also increases the explosive damage from some tech effects by a percentage.
The main benefits here are the unlocking and the Sabotage ability. Sabotage will prevent any of your enemies from firing their weapons for a short period of time, but then, a short period of time will usually be all you need to kill all of them. Use this when you see enemies like Rocket Soldiers or Snipers taking aim at you.
Unlocking crates and doors is the other main utility of this ability. Our engineer character maxed out Decryption, but we still found only a handful of hard-difficulty locks in the game, so you may be able to get past with only the "Advanced Sabotage" rank of this ability, which allows you to use the unlocking ability on Easy and Average locks. This will prevent you from unlocking Hard difficulty locks, but as mentioned, those are fairly rare, and don't often seem to have much better loot in them than the other crates will.
Sabotage: This is a large-area direct-damage effect. It does a decent amount of damage (although at later levels it won't deal much damage at all compared to your foes' health reserves), but also causes enemy weapons to overheat and become useless for a few seconds, which is the main point of the skill. It also has a damage-over-time effect that will cause additional annoyance.
Hacking is marginally useful. While its passive effect reduces the recharge time on Sabotage, Overload and Damping, which is kind of useful in the absence of a good omni-tool, the AI Hacking ability that it offers you is somewhat more restricted in use.
AI Hacking: This ability lets you confuse AI and VI-controlled enemies, temporarily causing them to fire on their opponents. Enemy drones can be hacked, but they're typically not very tough to defeat anyway. Stationary turrets, like those outside of planetary bases, can also be hacked, but it's fairly dangerous to try and get close enough to pull it off. Geth can be hacked, save for the four-legged Armatures and the rare Geth Prime. It can be difficult to hit Geth that are moving with the hacking ability, though; you're best off saving it for enemies that are standing still.
Hacking foes can be amusing, but if you're playing on the normal difficulty, you almost certainly won't actually need to do so; most enemies will simply fall over when you hit them a couple of times with your weapons. On higher difficulties, though, hacking may be the best way to approach dense groups of Geth. Be sure to hold your party back behind you so that they don't shoot your hacking target, hack something, then drop back behind cover until you see the experience gain and repeat the process. It'll take a lot longer than actually shooting stuff, but it can be handy.
Electronics is somewhat analogous to Decryption; it pairs up a lockpicking ability with a direct-damage attack. It also has the passive effect of adding to your shield capacity, which is great for light armor-wearers, and will let your character repair extra damage to vehicles when you happen to be in one. The vehicle repair talent isn't very necessary; if you drive well, you won't often lose your shields to the point where the hull of the Mako actually takes damage. The extra shield capacity will be very handy, however, especially for character that can only wield light armor.
Overload: Overload will cause a small amount of damage to the enemies near where it hits, but it will deal around four times that damage to their shields directly. It's a great opening blast in a fight, as it will make it that much easier for you and your teammates to finish off your foes' remaining shields and finish them off. On top of that, it will make anyone it hits less resistant to damage for a few seconds.
Damping, by itself, increased the radius of effect of Sabotage, Overload, and Damping by a set percentage. It's the skill itself that you'll probably want…or not.
Damping: When used, Damping (the skill) will prevent your foes from using their tech or biotic powers for a short while. This can be handy when fighting biotic enemies, but there aren't many of those, and there are almost no enemies that use tech powers on you that we can remember. It can be handy to have, but not 100% necessary.
By default, medi-gel will apply a small amount of healing to all party members. The First Aid skill will increase the amount of healing done as you increase your proficiency here. It's pretty simple, really! Unfortunately the amount of healing applied doesn't scale well with the health totals as you reach the higher levels; it maxes out at 180 points of healing, but you can easily get over 400 points of health on your tougher characters by the end of the game. Luckily your shielding will increase proportionally as well, making it less likely that your team members will actually take damage to their bodies.
Note that if multiple members of your party have First Aid points, the skill itself uses the sum of all party member's skill. So if two members have four and six skill points in First Aid, the power will assume that you have 10 points total and give you back an appropriate amount of health.
Medicine alone will reduce the cooldown on First Aid ability. Handy, but not incredibly necessary, as you'll probably be taking a lot more shield damage than health damage as the game goes along. Like First Aid, the amount of Medicine that all party members has is added together.
Neural Shock: Neural shock will knock down an organic enemy for a very small period of time. It also deals a small amount of toxic damage. In short, it's kind of pointless: it only affects one target at a time, it can't affect robotic or Geth enemies, the damage is negligible at high levels, and the stunning effect won't last as long as a high-level Lift or Singularity will. You've got better things to spend your points on.
Your player will have access to some skills that only he or she can learn; they'll be inaccessible to your party members.
Almost every BioWare game has allowed you to put skill points in a conversation skill that opens up new options in dialogue. They're arguably more important here than they were in the Knights of the Old Republic game, but they're still probably not critical to you, unless you care a lot about getting paragon or renegade points. Charming opponents will often let you avoid combat and will often let you obtain the maximum number of paragon points in a conversation, while Intimidate will often wind up earning you renegade points.
Note that avoiding combat as a result of talking to people will usually wind up carrying a hefty experience and cash penalty. Some missions will let you avoid fighting a dozen or so enemies if you're a skilled negotiator, but you'll often get more experience and cash (and items) if you instead choose to fight.
Spectre Training is only available to you after you become a full-fledged member of the Spectres. When you put points in it, the damage and duration of all of your powers and attacks is increased, your health increased, your maximum accuracy is increased, and you regenerate accuracy more quickly while firing your weapon.
Unity: The Unity skill is handy in that it can bring dead party members back to life in the middle of a fight; normally you'd have to wait until all enemies are dead before your party members will pop back up. They'll be wounded when they come back, but you can quickly pop a medi-gel to fix that. This is useful when an enemy sniper gets a lucky Assassinate in on one of your party members before you can get behind cover.
Mass Effect Walkthrough
After creating your character, you'll be permitted to begin your career in the Alliance. Well, that's not quite true: your character will already have spent many years in the Alliance military, so that you don't wind up having to go through basic training or anything like that.
You begin the game on the Normandy, an Alliance vessel that's on a shakedown run. Your conversation with the pilots here will be your first introduction to the game's conversation system, which BioWare has designed to be more powerful than ever. If you've played Knights of the Old Republic, you'll be familiar with the idea that your conversations with people will let you gain influence with them, and will also change your Light Side and Dark Side ratings…er, "paragon" and "renegade". These rankings will further determine how other characters view your own character, and will eventually determine the ending of the game that you receive. You can gain paragon points by generally being solicitous and helpful, while renegade points will result if you're rude or downright hostile.
Speak to Joker and the co-pilot here (you can use the X button to skip dialogue), then start making your way backwards through the ship. You can speak with Navigator Pressly as well as Doctor Chakwas and the unfortunate Corporal Jenkins for some Codex information and small XP bonuses. You can also go to the Squad screen to allocate your first skill points.
When you reach Nihlus, speak with him and Captain Anderson. When your conversation is over, you'll receive a transmission from Eden Prime. The next thing you know, you'll be on-planet.
Head To The Dig Site
Your initial grouping here includes Corporal Jenkins and Kaiden Alenko. Jenkins is a fine soldier, but, well…. Kaiden is a Sentinel, capable of using both tech and biotic attacks. He doesn't have any weapon skills at all, so you'll need to make the most of his abilities. Give him points in First Aid and Barrier to begin with; he'll activate Barrier if he comes under fire automatically.
Get your bearings here, and get used to the basic combat systems. Pull the left trigger to aim your weapon, and the right trigger to fire. You can switch weapons with the LB button, but note that any weapon you're untrained with will be all but unusable; you won't be able to aim properly. RB will use any special attacks that your character is capable of.
Make your way through this first area, using the gasbags as target practice. You can find your first treasure chest in the water in front of you; hang a right into the little culdesac to find some upgrades. Move on until Jenkins takes a dirt nap. Be careful here; the Geth Probes have special weapons that will ignore your shields, so it's easy to take damage from their fire. Shoot back until they go down, then check Jenkins body before moving on.
Continue To Dig Site
Move along, continuing to shoot any enemies you spot and check for loot in the chests and containers that you spot. You'll probably gain another level pretty soon, so be sure to check your menu screen and allocate points when you can do so.
Eventually you'll run across Ashley Williams, who's on the run from the Geth. Save her and she'll join your squad. As a Soldier, she's a good replacement for Jenkins. Load her up with Assault Rifle points and give her some Soldier skills to regenerate her health.
Near Jenkins, you'll find a bunch of equipment in chests. You'll want to use the Equipment screen around this time to switch out your equipment and upgrade it with any new tech that you've found. You probably have a set of Scorpion armor at this point; if your character can only use light armor, it'll be a handy upgrade.
You'll come to the dig site soon enough. Clear out the Geth around it with your weapons and abilities, and get used to the cover mechanic. It's kind of clunky—Gears of War this isn't—but it'll help you stay behind cover in combat, which is sometimes all you can ask.
Investigate Research Camp
When you reach the camp, a few Husks will reanimate. Like any other zombie, they'll shuffle towards you, attempting to overload your shields with an electrical burst. Backtrack away from them to prevent them from reaching you, and use Kaiden's Throw ability to keep one of them on the ground while you shoot the others.
When you get past the Husks, move into the camp and attempt to unlock the door with the Decryption mechanic. Save your game before doing so. Decryption is a basic button-tapping game. It will either be easy or difficult, depending on your hand-eye coordination, but if you miss your chance at the decryption it'll cost you 25 omni-gel to override, which you probably won't have unless you break down a number of items. If you can bust through the door, though, you'll find Dr. Warren and her crazy assistant. If you investigate, she'll tell you more about the attack; you can also punch out Manuel.
Head To Spaceport
Make your way to the spaceport over the hill; you can kill the Geth Troopers by firing on the explosives near them. When the Husks are dead, hack the door on the pod nearby to find some farmers. When you attempt to leave them, you can use your Charm/Intimidate abilities, if you have them, to try and wheedle out more goods and information from them. At the very least, though, you'll get a nice pistol. Be sure to check inside the hut, too; there's a locker you can hack into for more goodies.
Head to the spaceport nearby to find Nihlus' body. Before checking it, open the medical crate nearby and look behind the fire for an upgrade kit. When you check out Nihlus' body, a man nearby will tell you what he saw. If you managed to get Cole to give up his contact's name, you can press him for some grenades.
Take The Train
Start making your way down to the train level. There are loads of Geth on it, however, including a Destroyer. If you look carefully, though, there are also some plasma cells that you can shoot to blow them up; that'll help you wean the enemy Geth a bit. The Destroyer will make its way up the center of the train, so take cover and shoot at it as it approaches. If it gets near to you, use Throw and any other abilities you have to knock it out, then sprint down the train to get close to the remaining Geth and destroy them as well. This can be a tough fight, to be sure, so don't hesitate to replay it and get used to the controls here. Your abilities can make all the difference in this fight, so don't hesitate to use them.
Shut Down The Charges
When you get to the other platform of the spacedock, you'll find that the Geth have triggered four charges designed to blow the whole place sky-high. Apparently they're not concerned with their own well-being, either, as they've decided to stay behind and guard the charges in an attempt to prevent you from shutting them down.
The Geth here are a lot more difficult than what you've been facing before; there are shock troopers and even a sniper or two in position. They'll deal heavy damage to you, so take things slowly. Stay behind cover as you approach, use your grenades from a distance, and use your abilities to weaken them up or knock them down. Don't worry about the charges until your foes are dead. When you've cleared everything out, return to their positions on your minimap and shut them all down.
With the charges done, head to the other side of the spaceport, where a few Geth await you. Shoot them and the Husks, but be sure to examine the port carefully for containers and lockers before approaching the beacon. When you do investigate it, your mission ends.
Return To The Normandy
After speaking with Anderson, head out to the mess hall and talk to Ashley and Kaiden. This is optional, but you can get into their good graces, or bad graces, depending on how the conversations progress. You can check the CIC area and the navigation area for some codex entries. When you're ready to move on, head to Joker and begin your run to the Citadel.
You land on citadel station and immediately meet with the human Ambassador, Udina. He's not a pleasant man. He'll tell you and your party members to meet him in the Council Tower so that you can brief the Council on Saren's actions.
You now have free reign of the Citadel, but you'll want to head directly to the Council Tower. Doing so will get you some quests and give you a little context to your actions. When you do get the chance to explore, though, make note of the Citadel transit system: it'll help you get around quickly. You'll also want to speak to an Avina module to get more information on the Citadel, if necessary.
Missions are critical quests that you must address before you're capable of leaving Citadel. Check the next few pages if you want to know more about the many assignments that you're offered.
Mission: Expose Saren
This is going to be the main quest that you have to deal with during your time on Citadel.
Go To The Tower
When you get done speaking with Ambassador Udina, head to the Citadel Tower through the Rapid Transit system. When you arrive, speak to Garrus, then head up the stairs to find Anderson.
Regardless of what you do, the Council will find Saren not guilty, so it'll be up to you to find some proof of his misdoings. That will lead you into the Garrus and Shadow Broker quests. You can perform both of these quests at the same time; both will net you new party members.
From now on, we'll mostly focus on giving walkthroughs for individual missions and assignments instead of telling you what to do step-by-step. If you're curious about where to obtain a mission, we'll usually tell you where to nab it; if not, you can assume that it pops up normally while you play.
Garrus is the C-Sec investigator who was assigned to look into Saren's misdeeds. Saren hides behind layers of obfuscation, though, and nothing that Garrus found was capable of sticking to him. If you can track Garrus down, though, you can perhaps compare notes with him.
Speak to Harkin
Head to Chora's Den in the Wards. Some special friends will be waiting for you outside. Kill them and head in. You'll find Harkin at a table inside the bar. He's no charmer, but he'll give you the information you need: Garrus can be found at Dr. Michel's place in the Upper Wards.
Go To The Med Clinic
Head to the Med Clinic on the wards and clear it out. There'll be four enemies to kill; take them all down, then speak to Garrus. He'll join your squad at this point and end the mission.
Note that Dr. Michel will sell some pretty handy armor upgrades. If you don't have health regeneration on your main character, you may want to buy something from her.
Mission: Shadow Broker
The Shadow Broker is an information agent that apparently has an employee here on Citadel: Barla Von, who works in a bank in the Financial District. Perhaps he'll know something about Saren.
Go See Barla Von
Travel to the bank and speak to Barla. He'll give you the next mission in the chain.
Wrex is a krogan bounty hunter that was apparently tasked with tracking down Saren on behalf of the Shadow Broker. He can currently be found in the C-Sec Academy. Track him down and speak to him; he'll join up.
Mission: Expose Saren
Take Down Fist
After gaining both Wrex and Garrus for your party, it'll be time to make a little trip to Chora's Den, where Fist is located. Chora's Den has been shut down, however, and converted into a bit of a shooting gallery. You may want to park your party members outside by pressing down on the D-Pad, then moving to the doorway and using your powers to off a few of the guards before regrouping and heading inside to mop up.
After dealing with the warehouse workers, head into Fist's office. You may want to deal with him yourself, again. You can simply hold your partners back, hide behind one of the panels, and start shooting; you can also just tell your teammates to move forward to the far panel and fire from there. The turrets offer a bit of experience, so try to kill them before taking down Fist.
Fist will reveal that he's set up the Quarian in an ambush; she'll die in a few minutes if you don't reach her first. If Wrex is along, he'll ice Fist whether you like it or not. You can grab a data disc off of his body which will come in handy for the Reporter's Request; presumably you have some way of obtaining it if Fist doesn't die. Before you leave the room, hack Fist's wall safe for some upgrades.
Save The Quarian
You have four minutes to reach the Alleyway near Chora's Den. The barroom will have been restocked with enemies, so make your way through them and head out to the Wards. Take a left when you leave the Chora's Den area and head up the stairs to reach the alleyway.
So long as you reach the alleyway within four minutes, you can start a fight with the assassins sent to take down Tali. You can expect to be sabotaged at the start of the fight, so be ready for it and duck behind cover if your weapon overheats.
Kill all of the assassins, and you'll wind up back at Udina's office. Tali will join your party, and you'll be able to head back up to the Council to present your evidence of Saren's involvement with Eden Prime.
Return To The TowerSpeak to the Council to induct yourself into the Spectres.
Speak To The Ambassador
Udina will relocate himself and Captain Anderson to the Alliance docks, which can be located in the C-Sec Academy. Wrap up any stray side quests you have and head down to the Academy. The Quartermaster here will sell you some goods, if you like, but they're prohibitively expensive. (The grenade capacity upgrade is nice and cheap, though.)
When you reach the dock, Anderson will turn the Normandy over to you. It's your ship now, and you can do with it what you like. Vegas, here we come! You have three main missions to attempt here, and probably have numerous assignments that require a ship. The galaxy is yours! Skip to the mission you wish to attempt first for the walkthrough. We recommend Find Liara T'Soni, as it will net you another party member.
Assignments are side quests; you can perform them or ignore them as you like. Performing them will get you extra XP, cash, and the occasional item, however, and will also usually let you earn more paragon or renegade points. You will find some assignments here that can only be completed after you unlock the ability to command a spaceship. You can find those assignments in the Galaxy Assignments chapter.
Scan The Keepers
Speak to Chorban in the Citadel Tower to obtain this quest. He asks you to track down and scan 21 individual Keepers that are found throughout the Citadel. Doing so will net you a few coins and experience for each scan that you complete. Here's a list of Keeper locations. The numbering is ours; there's no specific order you need to find them in.
|Keeper Location||Keeper Number|
|Citadel Tower 1||Near Chorban.|
|Citadel Tower 2||South, near the Council Chamber.|
|Citadel Tower 3||East.|
|Citadel Tower 4||Northwest, off in one of the side corridors.|
|Presidium 1||Western side, near the elevator to Citadel Tower.|
|Presidium 2||Northwest, near Wards Access.|
|Presidium 3||Northeast, in the small room to the northwest of C-Sec HQ.|
|Presidium 4||North, in the small corridor behind the Embassy Lounge.|
|Presidium 5||Northeast, Volus and Elcor Office.|
|Presidium 6||Southeast, near entrance to Consort Chambers.|
|Presidium 7||South, to the east of the Emporium near a set of stairs leading to the bridge.|
|Presidium 8||South; take the stairs on the south side of the Emporium.|
|Wards 1||Take the elevator down from the Presidium and you'll land in Flux and Wards Access. The Keeper is in one of the northern rooms in this quadrant.|
|Wards 2||Northwest, in the Alleyway.|
|Wards 3||Western side, in the corner of the Upper Markets.|
|Wards 4||Inside Flux, in the gambling room upstairs.|
|Wards 5||Near the elevator to C-Sec Academy. Take the stairs down from the Upper Wards and it'll be near Officer Lang.|
|Wards 6||Outside the Med Clinic.|
|C-Sec Academy 1||In the Requisition Officer's room.|
|C-Sec Academy 2||In Traffic Control.|
|Citadel Docking Bays||You can access the Docking Bays through the C-Sec Academy.|
You'll meet Jahleed in the C-Sec Academy. If you speak to him, he'll tell you that Chorban, the questgiver for Scan The Keepers, is trying to kill him! He wants you to meet Chorban near the Markets in the Upper Wards. Talk to him, then talk to Jahleed again. Whether you're nice or mean, you should be able to complete the quest easily.
There's a preaching Hanar near the Wards Access area here, and a C-Sec officer that wants it to move along. Speak to the officer and the Hanar to learn more about their dispute.
As with most two-sided stories, there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute. The easiest is to simply purchase a permit on behalf of the Hanar, but if you have a decent Charm or Intimidate score, you can try to use them on either the officer or the Hanar to talk them down. Your rewards are marginal in either case, but you can get some decent reputation swings.
Head to the Consort's chambers in the southeastern corner of the Presidium and speak to Sha'ira. She asks you to travel to Chora's Den in the Wards and silence one General Septimus. You can find him at a table there; with enough talking-to, he can be convinced to return to Sha'ira and straighten up. You'll need to return to her for your reward.
Septimus will also want you to head to the Elcor embassy and bring a datapad to an Elcor there. This leads to the Xeltan's Complaint mission.
Xeltan can be found in the Vorlus and Elcor Embassy in the Presidium. Give him the datapad that Septimus gives you for a small reward.
Conrad Verner wants to speak with you in the Upper Markets of the Ward. Remember the movie of the same name? If you sign his autograph, Verner will jet back off to Earth, and offers to buy you a drink. You'll need to leave the Citadel and return in order for this assignment to complete it.
If you head off into the galaxy and return to the Citadel after completing a mission, you can speak to Conrad again in the same part of the station. His demeanor toward you will depend on your initial response to his request. You'll need to leave and return a third time to complete the quest, when Conrad asks to be inducted into the Spectres. You'll need to talk him down somehow; our renegade character did it by shoving a gun in his face.
Reporter's RequestEmily Wong tracks you down in the Upper Wards, near the entrance to Flux. If you talk to her, she'll ask if you can bring her any information that'll help her investigation into corruption and organized crime.
You'll grab some discs when you take down Fist in Chora's Den. Return them to Emily for your reward; you can sweet talk her into an exclusive interview for more cash if you have Charm or Intimidate.
Check the Suspicious Gambling Machine in Flux to start this quest. It would appear that someone is funneling money from the machine into a private account.
Take the elevator from the Wards up to the Presidium; it stops in the Flux and Wards Access station. There's a signal relay here; check your map for the exclamation point. Find it, then head up to the Financial District. The next relay is behind Borla Von. Head from there to the Exporium to find the last relay.
The AI that was funneling money is not particularly pleased with the thought of being detected, and initiates a self-destruct sequence. Before it explodes, tap in this button sequence: Y, X, Y, A, X, A, A. That'll shut it down and give you a decent XP and cash reward.
Speak to Rita in Flux to pick up this quest. Rita is concerned about her sister, Jenna, an informant for C-Sec who works in Chora's Bar. Maybe you could help explain why her career path is a dangerous one?
You can find Jenna behind the bar in Chora's Den. If you speak to her, she'll refuse to talk to you. On your way out of the bar, though, a man named Chellick will tell you to meet him in the C-Sec Academy. Track him down there and speak to him. If you do, he'll ask you to meet a man named Jax in the lower Markets and return with some illegal weapons mods.
Head down there and talk to Jax. If you want renegade points, try to arrest him; otherwise, just pay him the money and bring the mods back to Chellick.
Samesh Bhatia will be in the Embassy suites after Tali joins your party. He'll ask you for answers: his wife's body is not being returned to him by the military after she died on Eden Prime. It's pretty obvious that she probably got Huskified, but he still wants to know why he can't cremate her.
Head to the bar to the northwest of Samesh to find Clerk Bosker. He'll tell you that the body is actually being held so that scientists can analyze the wounds in the hope that they can create better defenses against Geth attacks in the future. You can use your Charm/Intimidate skills on either Bosker or Samesh to try and convince them to give in. We used our Charm on both characters after loading a save and found that pressuring Samesh to give in gave us slightly more experience, but we received the same paragon point shift either way.
Schells The Gambler
If you attempt to head into Flux after you take down Fist, you'll see a man named Schells getting thrown out of it. He's attempting to sell a gambling device that will help predict the outcomes of Quasar games, but needs more data to perfect it. To help him, he'll need you to head back into the bar and win a few games of Quasar for him.
If you head into the bar, you can hand the device over to Doran for some easy experience and cash, but no paragon points. If you intend to use the device, you'll have a slightly better than average chance to get a positive payout. Regardless of your winnings, Schells will give you the exact same experience and cash bonus reward for returning the device to him when you have the data.
After first encountering Michel, you can return to her offices later on for another quest (we returned after taking down Fist). She's being blackmailed. If you agree to help out, she tells you her contact: a merchant named Morlan in the Wards.
Speak to Morlan, and you'll soon be fighting a blackmailer. Kill him, then return to Morlan. Ask about Banes, but he doesn't have any info. Michel will thank you for your help, and give you a discount on her (incredibly expensive) supplies. She'll also tell you about Banes; maybe Captain Anderson would know more about him? If you follow the chain to Admiral Kahoku in the Council Tower, he'll offer you the UNC: Missing Marines quest.
Find Liara T'Soni
Go To Artemis Tau
This mission will net you another party member, so it's worth tackling first. Head to the Artemis Tau system, then proceed to the Knossos system and land on Therum. Save your game as soon as you land.
As you roll through the rocky landscape, you'll come across a couple of Geth Armatures. These are tough, tank-like enemies that have plenty of shielding and which pack a punch with their cannons. Luckily, their cannon fire moves slowly, so engage them at range (you can fire your own cannon with the RB button), dodge their cannon fire, and take them down slowly but surely.
Proceed along the path until you spot the refinery. Avoid the frontal entrance; the turrets there will tear you apart. Instead, veer off to the right into the small corridor there that lets you bypass the gate. The Geth inside will be tough foes, but you'll be able to take them down. Clear out the entire base, then check the buildings for items and the gate switch required to move on. (You can use the B button to hop out of the vehicle.)
Make your way slowly but surely through the rest of the planet, taking down enemies from long range and giving your shields a bit of time to recharge if they get low. Eventually you'll reach a spot where you're forced to get out of your vehicle. Make your way slowly through the canyon ahead, using the squad commands to keep your teammates where you want them. Save your game after all the enemies in the canyon are dead!
At the end of the line, you'll come to a very tough ambush, where a horde of Geth units drops from the sky. Rocket soldiers, snipers, hoppers, and even an Armature wait for you here. Taken together, these guys will rip you to shreds if you don't get under cover, so you need to move off to the left of your position immediately. Tell your squad to move underneath the building there and to get behind the metal plates that will protect you from the Armature's fire. From there, kill anything that follows you, then slowly move out to take down the snipers and the Armature. The Armature will usually kill you with one shot from its cannon, so stay behind cover and order your team into a position from where they'll have cover as well, then Overload and Sabotage it until you can blast through its remaining shields and take it out.
Into The Earth
Head into the cave and take the elevator downward. After meeting up with Liara, agree to help her, then get behind some cover to avoid the Geth below you. After killing them, head down and explore the area to find some storage and weapons lockers.
After clearing out the Geth, activate the mining laser. The code for us was AXB, but it may be randomized. Head into the facility and get Liara out of her cage, then take the elevator upwards to meet with the Krogan Battlemaster. He and his Geth friends will spread out as soon as the fight begins, so try to tag them with tech or biotic skills at the outset, then finish them off individually. With that done, you can return to the ship and welcome Liara into your crew.
Take the time to travel the ship, speaking to all of your party members and advancing any personal plots you wish to. When you're ready to move on, pick another mission and head out.
Feros: Geth Attack
Speak With Fai Dan
Head to Feros when you want to investigate the recent Geth attack there. Land on the planet and speak to David al Talaqani on the dock. He'll tell you to speak with the leader of the colony, Fai Dan, and then immediately get taken out by Geth. Fight your way through them to reach the remaining human colonists a bit further down the line.
When you reach the colonists, poke around their camp (you can find a quest by hacking a terminal in one of the pods), then speak to Fai Dan. You'll immediately shunt off to the next portion of the quest.
Stop Geth In Tower
Head up the stairs and kill all of the Geth that you spot. When you reach the exclamation point, hide around the corner and try to lure your targets back to you. When you kill everything, check the alcove on the far side of the area for items before returning to Fai Dan.
Fai Dan has another mission for you: get to the ExoGeni HQ and find out why the Geth are attacking. That's your main mission here; you'll also have a number of assignments that you can get from Fai Dan and some of the other colonists in the area. Speak to May O'Connell to get the Power Cells assignment, Macha Doyle for the Water Restoration assignment, and Davin Reynolds for the Varren Meat assignment. Fai Dan will also offer up the Geth In The Tunnels assignment.
A few of the assignments can be completed in the tunnels under Zhu's Hope. You can find the entrance a bit beyond where you can take the elevator up to the skyway. You can complete Water Restoration here (look for the large blue water valves on the walls), Geth In The Tunnels (find and disable their transmitter; it appears on your maps, but watch out for the Krogans that guard it), Varren Meat (kill the Alpha Varren in the collapsed highway segment), and Power Cells (strip the burning car in the highway segment).
You can also find another survivor on the northern edge of the tunnels map. He's a bit…off. If you ask Fai Dan about him, he'll be cagey and unwilling to tell you anything.
Get To ExoGeni Headquarters
Head up to the Skyway and take the Mako to the little hideout halfway to ExoGeni headquarters. The people there are scared, but not as odd as the people at Zho's landing. You'll be able to pick up a new assignment here by speaking to Hossle: Find the Console. We'll cover it in the course of the main walkthrough. Talk to everyone here until you also learn about the missing Lizbeth Baynham, as well.
Investigate ExoGeni HQ
Get back up on the skyway and head out to the HQ. Keep in mind that if there are enemies on your radar that you can't see, you can leave the vehicle and head into the maintenance tunnels underneath the roadway to find them, as well as more crates and such.
Head to the end of the road; you'll come to a narrow gap that you can't pass through. Shoot as many of your foes as you can through the gap, then head through yourself. The locked door here will lead to a crate with some goodies; looting it will activate the Armature nearby, though, so be ready to deal with it.
After poking around a bit, check your map for the "Drop Down" section and drop into the hole there. You'll soon run across Lizbeth, who'll give you a keycard to get you past the locked doors in the facility. Head back up the stairs nearby and kill the Krogan Commander, then speak to the VI nearby for more information. You can head back to your original location near the Drop Down from here.
Remove Force Field
You need to get back to your ship ASAP, but the force field around the facility will prevent you from leaving. Head back along the corridor near the VI to encounter one of the Geth claws that are being used to anchor their ship into the headquarters. You'll need to find a weakness in one of the claws and destroy it.
Head on a bit until you find the two walkways leading up to the Upper Level. One of them has a few Krogans, as well as the console that Hossle wanted you to access. The other has Geth in it. You can hack the ExoGeni console here to obtain the Investigate Facility galaxy mission. You can also hack the Geth terminal to learn of a force of Geth ships in the Armstrong Nebula; that'll give you another quest, Geth Activities. Another hack, on the Server Node, will result in the Investigate Samples quest. Sheesh.
When you're ready to move on, check the Shuttle Bay Door Control. You need to get the PSI between 31 and 33 to have it chomp through the Geth's landing claw. Toggle the 5, 17, and 11 PSI valves to achieve the high pressure here, then shut the door to unclamp the Geth ship. Sucks to be them.
Exit ExoGeni/Speak With Refugees
Sounds like the Geth are coming for payback. Head downstairs to meet up with Lizbeth and get back to the Mako. When you return to the refugees, Jeong will be going pretty crazy. You'll have to put him down. It's for his own good, really.
Return To Zhu's Hope/Minimize Casualties
Juliana will give you Anti-Thorian Gas that you can use in your grenades. It'll help you disable the colonists in Zhu's Hope without killing them; if you're going renegade, though, you can feel free to kill them. Don't forget to talk to Hossle and turn in his quest, if you completed it.
Some of the corpses in Zhu's Hope have been turned into Thorian Creepers; kill them at will. Take down the colonists with grenades, but be sure you've inserted the anti-Thorian upgrade. After opening the door to the colony, numerous Creepers will appear; you can pop back into the Mako to finish them off, then start grenading the colonists. You'll get two paragon points for each colonist you leave alive, and presumably the same amount of renegade points for each one you kill.
Make your way into the colony. If you're using grenades to knock out the colonists, you may run out at some point; you can use melee attacks to knock out your foes if that becomes the case, but there's a box of five grenades that you'll find when you reach the primary area of the colony. Continue your path of peace or carnage, take down the colonists, and get to the crane controls. When you lift the crane, the path into the bottom of the facility will open.
Destroy The Thorian
The Thorian speaks through a clone; when the talking's over, kill the clone, then find the small corridor nearby and back up, letting the Creepers come to you. Use grenades or powers to shut them down, then start making your way towards the stairwell nearby. Shoot the Thorian Neural Node to start causing some pain to the Thorian.
The Creepers in this section can be annoying; you may want to have your teammates hold a position, then lure the Creepers back to them so that everyone has a clear line of sight towards the enemies as they come through the door or whatever. Use Lift and Singularity powers, if possible, to separate them and get them on the ground. Keep in mind that they're organics; if you've been using armor-piercing rounds against the Geth, switch to anti-personnel rounds for this section.
Continue upwards, shooting away at the neural nodes that you see. Many of them will cause Creepers to awaken when they get shot, so keep that in mind. Head up to the top of the area and shoot every node in your path; one of them will block the onward path, so keep that in mind. When you reach the end and shoot the last node, Shiala will be freed from her prison. Mindmeld with her to see a more clear version of the beacon's vision. After you do so, you'll return to the colony and will be free to leave. The merchant here will sell you a Haliat Armory license now, if you wish to obtain it.
Return To The Normandy
Make another sweep of the Normandy and talk to your crew. We managed to pick up the Find Wrex's Armor quest from Wrex here, the Find Dr. Saleon mission from Garrus, and get a little more serious with Liara and Kaiden. Speak to everyone before starting the next mission. As you step up to the galaxy map, you'll probably receive a message from the Council. Head to the comm room to find a new mission: Virmire. Since it's the last one you obtained, we'll head to Noveria first.
Noveria: Geth Interest
Land on Noveria and prepare for some drama. The local authorities will try to confiscate your guns when you arrive. No matter what your response, you'll be allowed to keep them when your identity is confirmed. Head in to speak with Parasini: Benezia is here, on the planet. Now.
Leave Port Hanshan
In order to find Benezia, you'll need to proceed out of the facility and onto the planet's surface. Unfortunately, the port's administrator has denied your request to access the garage. You'll need to persuade him to let you pass. There are a few top-level Missions here, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll keep them all in one walkthrough. There are also assignments here, too. We'll cover them here before moving on with the main walkthrough.
Head through to the main plaza here. Merchant Opold will have an assignment for you, if you wish to be a smuggler. You can take the package from the docks near the Normandy and return it to Opold. If you wish to keep the package, you'll find that it contains Polonium Rounds IV (or at least it did for us). Handing over the package will let you earn up to 500 credits. You can also learn that its intended recipient is a Krogan named Inamorda. Sounds like a friendly sort. All in all, a quest with few rewards, but hey: experience.
Inamorda dwells upstairs in the hotel bar here. It's possible that if you decide to keep the device for yourself that he'll attack you or otherwise continue the quest.
An asari named Mallene Calis will accost you as you enter the hotel and ask you to conduct a bit of corporate espionage on Rafael Vargas, at the bar. She explains that you'll need to keep him on-topic so that he doesn't cut you off, but that he rubs the back of his neck when he's nervous. If you see him doing so, press him on the subject at hand. You need to keep him conversing long enough for Calis' device to hack into his personal communicator. You can also just refuse to perform this mission for eight paragon points.
You have a couple of options here. You can hand the device over to Rafael, then tell Calis that you completed the task; that'll earn you plenty of renegade points. If you want to play the mission straight, try to use your speech talents as often as you can; Charm probably works a bit better than Intimidate here. Keep him on the line as long as you can; eventually he'll mention his surprise that you're here on business. If you tell him he sounds guilty, you should get the prompt from Calis' device and can leave. Completing the quest in this manner will get you a small renegade boost and a credit reward.
Back On Track
Your first goal here is to get a pass to the garage. You have to get one, but speaking to Anoleis is a dead-end. Paranisi will refer you to a man named Qui'in, who can be found in the hotel bar. Head up there and poke around.
Lorik has evidence that Anoleis is corrupt, and wants you to retrieve it from the Synthetic Interests office. To do so, though, you'll have to take down some moonlighting security guards. Feel free to tell Anoleis about his offer; he'll make a counteroffer, as well.
After shutting down the SI security in the hotel, make your way to the office elevator and head upwards. The two guards at the door here can be assaulted or convinced to leave, with the appropriate reputation shifts. The rest of the guards are bad guys to the last, so take them down quickly and start poking around. You can find a quest on the computer on the lower level. You'll find the evidence in Lorik's computer, as promised.
Of course, complications arise here. Kiara Sterling will run into you on your way out, and she isn't pleased at the deaths of her men. Her reinforcements have some damn fancy weapons capable of killing weak party members instantly. You may want to try and backtrack to Lorik's office and set up your defenses there; Kiara will follow you, at the very least, letting you take her down before dealing with the men.
Piranisi will be outside the office when you leave, and tells you to meet her for a drink at the hotel bar before speaking to Qui'in. You may be able to speak to Anoleis here and wrap the quest up, but we preferred to do it the straight way.
Head to the bar and speak to Piranisi. She'll tell you that she works for the planet's internal security bureau, and is trying to help set up a hearing on Anoleis' corruption. If you can get Lorik to testify, you'll get your pass. This is mostly a chance for more paragon points; he'll give you the pass to the garage if you simply hand over the evidence. If you manage to use Charm or Intimidate to convince him to testify, though, you'll get the aforementioned paragon points.
If you do get him to testify, return to Anoleis' office. If you tell him about Gianna, things will turn out…poorly. You'll still get your garage pass, though. If you want the most experience, however, tell him about Lorik's evidence, but not about Gianna. After you get the experience from him (you may need to use Charm or Intimidate to convince him that you're not going to arrest him, but don't hand over the evidence), return to Giana and tell her about Lorik. She'll take Anoleis in and you'll get your pass. Don't forget to hack into his wall safe.
Time to head off to Peak 15. When you reach the garage, though, you'll be ambushed by Geth. Switch your upgrades to take on synthetics, then start making your way through them. You may be able to spot the destroyers on the far end of the court before they see you; if you can hit them with a Singularity or something, it'll help you take them down.
Head out in the Mako here and get onto the snow. The Level 1 Hazard warning here indicates that you'll take damage if you get out of the Mako for too long; you'll have 30 seconds or so to do any explorations that are necessary. Try to stick close to the Mako and only pop out if absolutely necessary. There are some good items in the crates that you'll spot, usually near wrecked vehicles, so grab those.
You'll have some tough fights here, especially on the first bridge, where Rocket Troops will keep you entangled. Do your best to dodge their fire and keep your machineguns trained on them; their shields will quickly drop and you'll be able to take them out.
Into The Facility
When you arrive at Peak 15, head inside and start combing the area. Take the elevator up when you find it, after checking the Security area. Killing the upstairs Geth will cause a cutscene to play, revealing the Rachnis, poisonous creatures that will apparently be running throughout the facility. Say what you will about them, but at least they're rich; even the smallest ones will net you 1,000 credits per kill.
Head through Administration and up to Mira Core. You'll need to manually restart the station's VI in order to get the place back online, so find the elevator leading downward and take it. You need to repair the Memory Core here in order to bring the VI back online. You can either pay 100 omnigels to do so, or try to repair it manually.
The manual repair is a puzzle game. You need to transfer all of the memory block one items to stack two or three. The catch is that you can't access the lower blocks of a stack until you've moved the upper blocks. Here's one solution to the puzzle: X, B, X, Y, B, Y, X, B, Y, X, Y, B, X, B, X, Y, B, Y, B, X, Y, X, B, Y, X, B, X, Y, B, Y.
'Crap, a pop-up.' Heh. With Mira back online, you can inquire as to the status of the facility. The landline connections to the sublabs have been severed, and the main reactor is offline. You'll need to repair the damage before you can go after Benezia.
Start with the landlines by heading up to the roof. Restoring the landlines is as simple as flipping a switch, but you have to fight your way through a horde of Rachnis. Stay in the hallway and let them come to you. From there, head down to the main reactor. You'll have to fight off a lot of Geth to reach the reactor, but when you do, you can restore the fuel line and bring the station fully back online.
Return to Mira to learn of a new problem: Rachnis are in the decontamination area. You can open the gates that hold them back to take them on by yourself, if you wish (and this may be the more profitable approach, given their penchant for dropping credits by the fistful), or you can attempt to fix the failsafe device that will flush all of them out with plasma jets. The latter will probably net you more experience, but you'll need to have a fairly advanced Electronics skill character, or 25 omnigel to burn. The former will almost certainly net you more credits.
To Rift Station
Regardless of your choice, head through decontamination and head through to the Rift Station. Only the Science Station lab elevator will be working, so head on up. Speak to Captain Ventralis here to learn more about the situation, and receive an access card that will let you move on. He'll also tell you that Matriarch Benezia is in the Hot Labs. You may want to check the merchant nearby before moving down though; he may be inaccessible to you later.
QuarantineBefore attempting to complete the main mission here, head down to the medical bay behind Ventralis and talk to Dr. Cohen. He'll give you the Quarantine quest; he wants you to head to the quarantine lab and help find a cure for the sick scientists. You'll need to talk to Ventralis again and convince him to let you into the lab.
After speaking to Ventralis, take the elevator to the Quarantine Lab/Barracks and speak to the guard outside the lab; he'll let you through. Head in and use the terminal to make the cure. The minigame here is simple: press A to start it, then press the highlighted button when the meter is in between the two arrows on top of it. Do this a few times and you'll have your cure.
Unfortunately, the Asari you saw earlier comes to assassinate you here. Kill her, then return to Dr. Cohen with the cure. He'll let you access the maintenance areas if you wish; that will let you avoid the Hot Labs. Doing the Hot Labs as well will simply mean a lot of extra experience, though, so it's worth doing.
The Hot Labs
There are plenty of parts to the Rift Station that you'll want to explore here, but for now, you can head down into the Hot Labs by returning to the tram station. You can find the elevator that leads to the Hot Labs in there. If you speak to Yaroslev Tartakovsky inside, he'll tell you all about the Rachni, and the need to arm the neutron purge that will eliminate all life from the Hot Labs. He'll give you the keycard required to initiate the purge, but is killed before he can input the code into Mira. D'oh!
Grab the codes from his body, then head to the Mira terminal in the back room here. If you start the neutron purge, you'll have two minutes to return to the elevator before you all get wiped out. There will be a bunch of Rachni waiting for you in the room where Tartakovsky was sitting, so you'll have to fight your way through them to the elevator, but you should have enough time to do so.
You can return to Ventralis' station now; he's moved back a bit into the Rift Station. When you reach him, he'll open fire on you under orders from Benezia. No choice but to take him out! Ventralis himself has a pretty nasty weapon, so try to nail him with a Singularity or Lift to keep him incapacitated while you deal with his soldiers.
Benezia is somewhere in the labs: that much seems clear. It seems likely that she's in the Secure Labs in the center of this complex. You can check the Medilabs here for some items, as well as the Guard Barracks. When you're ready to move to the Secure Labs, you have two options: you can either head north through Security and reach them directly, or take the elevator to the Quarantine Lab, which will let you move through the back corridors of the facility. The former route will alert the guards in the Secure Labs to your presence, while the latter is considered "sneaking in" and may let you fight fewer guards. Since we like a fight, we took the former route.
Regardless, when you enter the Secure Labs, you will indeed encounter Benezia. (Try to loot first aid kits from the area before heading in, as you'll likely need them.) This boss fight is a multi-phase encounter; she won't engage you directly at first, but will instead bring in Asari commandos and Geth warriors in shifts.
You begin this fight in the northeastern corner of the lab area. The first wave of enemies will come from your south, then from the northwestern corner. What you may find helpful here is to head to the northwestern corner as soon as the fight begins, then move down to the middle-western walkway. You won't have much cover, but since Benezia doesn't move, she won't be able to fire on you or use her biotic powers on you through the cage that holds the rachni queen.
The last encounter here will take place with groups of enemies in the northwestern and southeastern corners. Use grenades and area-of-effect abilities to take them down, then deal with Benezia herself. She'll give you the location of Saren's next objective, the Mu Relay, then turn on you and attack with some powerfully bad voice acting. It's difficult to overcome, but it's doable. When she attacks again, quickly use your powers on her, bust down her health, then take out the Asari commandos in the room to finish the fight.
Approach the rachni cage here to deal with the queen. You can choose to let it go for paragon points or burn it up, presumably for renegade points. With that done, check the area for crates, then head back to the tram via the shortcut nearby and get back to your ship.
Return To The Normandy
Head back to the ship to talk down the mission. If your character has been carrying on romance plots with more than one teammate, they'll likely come to a head now; Kaiden and Liara both confronted our character, for instance, forcing us to choose. Regrettably, a menage a trois situation doesn't seem to be very palatable to anyone. Make your choice and move on.
Vermire: Saren's Base
As a note here: after completing the fourth of the four main missions, you will automatically be returned back to the Citadel and after the next time you leave you'll be prevented from heading back there. If you want to complete any side quests, be sure to do so before heading to Vermire; otherwise some of them will wind up uncompletable.
Go To Vermire
A salarian spy team has some kind of info on Saren. You need to rendezvous with them and discover what precisely it is they know. After landing, you'll have a lengthy Mako section that will see you attempting to disable the planet's AA towers. Keep in mind that some of the overhanging structures that the Geth inhabit here can be entered if you get out of the Mako and look for stairwells.
After shutting down the anti-air turrets (check the control rooms in the facilities you come across) and opening the gates that impede your progress, you'll reach the Salarian camp, where you'll learn that Saren has cured the Krogan genophage and is planning to unleash an army of Krogans to match his geth.
Survival Of The Fittest
Speak to Wrex on the beach here, but save your game first. This is an important conversation, and you and Wrex will eventually wind up gun to gun. There's apparently only three outcomes here: either you shoot Wrex, Ashley shoots Wrex, or you use your Charm or Intimidate skill to talk Wrex down and you all walk away. Hope you've been investing in your speechcraft!
With that done, speak to Kirrahe. He'll offer you a chance to sneak around to the back of Saren's facility and infiltrate quietly, but it will mean sending either Ashley or Kaiden to an almost certain death. You have to choose one of them to accompany Kirrahe's men; there's apparently no way around it. Keep in mind that sending your loved one may wind up preventing you from completing your romantic interactions with them. Regardless, you have to choose someone, so pick one or the other and volunteer them. For the record, we picked Kaiden, but you'll have to make another choice in a little while.
Before starting the mission, sell any unnecessary goods to Commander Rentola and hack the station nearby him to get some amps. When that's done, speak to Kirrahe to get his little Shatner-esque speech, then get ready to move on to the mission.
Your team is tasked with taking out the AA guns above Saren's base, but you also need to help Kirrahe and his men by disabling as much of the Geth defenses as possible. Begin by heading north to the communications tower near where you begin and using the machine there to disrupt the Geth communications. There's a satellite uplink to the west; destroy the targetable tower there to continue the disruption. Another target is the northern refueling bay: kill the drones there, as well as the fuel tanks.
When you reach the entranceways to the lab, check your map; you'll note that there are entrances to the north and to the south. Walk onto the beach through the gap in the guardrail and take the southern entrance; it'll require you to hack into the door controls. When you do, though, you'll soon come across a security station that will let you disable the alarms in the base. You can choose to reroute the alarms so that more of them occur near Kirrahe's men, but that'd be pretty mean.
Into The Labs
You start making your way up through the facility here, starting with Cell Block B. Letting the salarian here out of his cell will force you to fight him, but it will earn you paragon points.
From this point, you should try to explore the base a bit before moving on with your objectives. The Maintenance and Warehouse areas aren't important to explore, but they have enemies that will net you more cash. (Following the path from them will lead you back to the rear entrance of the base.) If you take the stairs down to the Detention Cells from the mid-level Security Office, you can find more Salarians to deal with.
When you're ready to move on, though, take the elevator up to the Lab. You'll have to kill Doctor Droyas. Put him down, then head to the security office to meet up with Rana Thanoptis, the administrator of the facility. After she unlocks the path to the communications tower, head up through the elevator for another vision…and an interesting conversation.
Disable AA Guns
Head back down to the security office; the path leading to the breeding facility is now open. Head around the outside of the Base Main Level, poking around near the stairs for obscured crates, until you reach the security control that'll shut down the first AA gun. Activate it, then defeat the counterattack and head up the elevator. Make your way through the breeding trench here to meet up with Ashley.
Ashley, Kaiden, Kaiden, Ashley
Save your game before heading up the elevator here, if possible; another tough decision awaits. You'll have to choose between proceeding forward and nabbing Kaiden or falling back to protect Ashley. Whomever you choose will wind up being the individual that lives through this mission; the other one will be staying behind. If you choose to head back to Ashley, the fight will be slightly more difficult, as you'll face off against your first Geth Prime. This hulking beast will have extremely quick shield regeneration, but you will be able to take it down if you hit it with everything you've got.
Your first encounter with Saren will occur here, no matter which team member you've saved. He's tough, but not impossible to beat, especially since you'll be taking him on three-on-one. Hit him with Overload, Sabotage, and everything else you can think of, then use your weapon skills to finish him off. He won't die, of course, but he will retreat, allowing you to escape Vermire before the nuke detonates.
Back To Normandy
When you return to Normandy, you'll have your path to the Conduit. If you completed enough of the side objectives to help out Kirrahe's men, he and they will be in your Engineering section, and Rentola will sell you some unique objects, including a couple of rare licenses. Be sure to nab them before heading to your next destination, as they'll leave the ship when you do so.
The Last Citadel Trip
When you complete the four main missions (Noveria, Feros, Vermire, and Find Liara T'Soni), you'll automatically be warped back to the Citadel. Unfortunately for you, the Normandy will be grounded and you'll be prevented from leaving the station; apparently the visual proof of Sovereign's existence from Eden Prime isn't enough for the Council to go on. Soon enough, you'll get a message indicating that Captain Anderson wants to speak to you; he's waiting for you in Flux.
Head down to Flux and dance with Doran for a gag, then speak to Anderson. He'll offer to remove the lockdown on the Normandy, and will need a recommendation as to how to do so. If left to his own devices, he'll hack into Udina's computer and remove the shutdown orders from there. Either path will be dangerous, but he has to perform one of them. Either way you go, he'll succeed, but he'll be placing himself in mortal danger for you.
Go to Ilos
When you're off the reservation, feel free to complete any side quests that you like before heading to Ilos.
The Fourth Estate
After coming down off of the elevator to meet with Captain Anderson, a reporter will be waiting for you. You can speak to her or not; it's up to you. If you do agree to speak with her, you'll be able to respond to a number of questions she poses you. If you have high Charm or Intimidate, you can respond eloquently; otherwise your answers will be rather plain. You may not want to mention Saren, however.
Rebekah and Michael are arguing in the financial district. If you talk to them, you can convince them to pursue one or the other option. There's no particular right or wrong choice here, so do as you like. Either way, it's basically free experience.
Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things
A man named Zabaleta will call you over if you happen to run through the Wards Access corridor. He says he's an old friend of your mothers, and asks for 20 credits to buy a meal. Loan him the money, if you like, then return to the Normandy and use the communications room to check in with your mother. (The backstory here may change based on the history of your character you created.)
If you do so, after Anderson unlocks your ship, your mother will confirm Zabaleta's story and asks you to urge him to head to the VA Office for treatment. Unfortunately, if you've already left Citadel for Ilos, then this mission becomes uncompletable at this point. We'll return to it in an update to this guide.
Our Own Worst Enemy
If you head to the Wards, one Charles Saracino will enlist your aid in an upcoming election; he's running on an Earth-first platform. Hear out his ideas and accept or reject his offer to issue a statement of support.
You'll run into Elias Keeler outside of Flux. He requests that you purchase a regulated stimulant for him from the medical offices here in the Wards. You can attempt to talk him into getting treatment immediately, if you like. You get no cash reward for this option, but slightly more experience. Actually buying the stimulant for him and handing it over is a neutral action in terms of paragon/renegade, but if you buy him the depressant instead, that'll net you a decent number of renegade points.
Mission: Find The Conduit
When you're done on the Citadel, you can take off for Ilos. Before you land, you'll have the opportunity to complete your romantic subplot with your chosen mate. Do what you do best, then get ready to head for Saren's base on the planet.
Override The Security
After you land, head south into the Plaza, being careful not to upset the two Armatures there. Well, you can't really help but upset them, but you can kill them when they come around to attack you. Head down the ramp into the Lower Ruins here; there's a computer marked Armature Control that will presumably shut down any Armatures you haven't encountered yet.
Anyway, continue to make your way south through the Courtyard, towards the elevator down that way. When you reach the bottom, move into the Armature Room, but hide behind one of the stairwells on your left or right and use it as cover from the many Geth here. You can also try to hack into one of the Armature Repair Bays here, to turn an Armature to your side, but it's probably not necessary. Get to the security room here and access the panel to open the path to the Archives.
The Archives is essentially one long line. Some light Geth defenses will have been set up, but nothing major. Make your way to the force field and then exit the Mako, entering the doorway and elevator nearby. The Watcher is there.
Save The Citadel
After your lengthy conversation with Vigil, you'll have to restart your pursuit of Saren. Head through the trenches below the Archives to reach the Conduit, which has already been activated. You'll have to drive through it to make your way back to the Citadel. You can talk with Avina if you wish, but your main goal here is to reach and use the elevator near your starting point.
After you get stuck in the maintenance shaft, start walking! You have plenty of enemies to fight here, but you should be well-geared for combat, so you won't have much to worry about. The farther you go, though, the more likely you'll be to run into an enemy dropship. When you do, quickly find the three Citadel Defense Turrets scattered around it and hack them. If you do so quickly enough, you can shoot down the dropship automatically while your party concentrates on the enemies themselves.
Eventually you'll reach the Exterior Defense Grid, where a number of heavy turrets will have been set up. You can avoid them by sticking to the long access trench to the east, or you can hack and blow up the turrets themselves for lots of experience. At the southeastern corner of the Grid is a panel that will let you return to the interior of the Citadel.
Make your way up through the Citadel Tower towards the Council meeting area. More Geth stand in your way, but hey—they're there to be killed. You'll find Saren at the end of the line. It's time to end this fight once and for all, but before you head up to him, you'll want to save your game; the final portions of the game involve some choices.
First Saren Fight
In the first dialogue with Saren, an interesting option appears. If you've increased your Charm or Intimidate enough (presumably you need to max it out), then you can actually talk Saren into shooting himiself in the head! It's a pretty badass option, and one you'll definitely want to use if you're playing on a difficulty higher than Normal.
If you don't have enough speechcraft abilities, or simply wish to fight, then get started on Saren. He's fairly tough, understandably. He's got a lot of shields, does good damage with his pistol, and dashes about the area very quickly; he'll be hard to hit unless you have aim assist turned up. What's more, he can use Sabotage and Damping on your characters, preventing anyone from attacking for a while.
The best way to proceed here is to wear him down over time. Use Polonium or Inferno ammo to prevent him from healing, use Overload of your own to wear down his shields, and let your teammates do most of the damage if you're having a hard time hitting him. He's immune to most biotic attacks while he flies around, so you'll want to take him down with your weapons. Keep up the pressure on him, prevent him from healing with special ammo, take down his shields, and eventually he'll fall—literally. He'll actually give you loot when he dies, but it's all terrible level two stuff.
Your choice now is to either save the Council—a paragon act—or ignore their distress calls. You can save your game immediately after killing Saren here, if you like, in case you want to investigate the three options available to you.
Second Saren Fight
After you make your call, Saren will reanimate and come at you again. He's essentially a super-powered Geth Hopper at this point; he'll jump all over the walls and the ceiling while attempting to shoot at you. He doesn't seem to use his Sabotage or Damping powers here, but he'll still be very tough to beat, if only because he's so difficult to shoot.
Luckily, Saren/Sovereign is not immune to biotics or tech, at least not on Veteran difficulty. Every so often, a lucky Lift will break through, incapactitating him for a few seconds; it's at these times that you want to unload on him with Marksman or whatever your weapon skill might be. Overload his shields down (he has a lot of them) and keep the pressure on him at all times to prevent the shields from regenerating.
There will be an interlude in this mission, after which his shields will probably be fully restored, so watch for that. Also, he'll periodically attach himself to the ceiling and rapidly fire rockets at you. Hide behind the single pillar in the room to avoid these, and be sure to use Unity as soon as possible after a teammate goes down. If you head into this fight without a lot of medi-gels, it can be difficult to survive, especially on higher difficulty levels, but if you wait until Saren's incapacitated by a Lift or Singularity or something, you'll have a much better chance of taking him down.
After completing the game, you'll unlock a new difficulty setting, Hardcore, as well as the ability to reach level 60 in the game. You can also restart the game with the same character you have now, at the same level. You'll need to ramp up the difficulty to keep things challenging, though. Or you can restart the game with a new character class for extra fun.
Mass Effect Galaxy Assignments
As you roam the galaxy, you'll pick up distress calls, hack terminals with odd information, and otherwise stumble across side missions. Feel free to explore if you like; most quests will have a starter assignment ("go to this system and check out this planet!"), but if you simply stumble across the quest destinations, you'll still be capable of completing them, even if they won't have much context. For instance, if a quest assigns you to travel to planet Urkel to kill a bounty hunter, you can travel to planet Urkel and kill the bounty hunter even without obtaining the starter quest; you'll complete the quest when you kill the bounty hunter, even though you were basically just fooling around.
We're aware that this isn't a complete list; some of the quests that we picked up wound up being incompletable after you head to Ilos. If you want to get all the side quests done, explore the galaxy thoroughly before completing the fourth of the main missions in the game. We'll update the guide in the future with more of the side quests, but for the most part they're simple to complete…with one exception.
The Prothean Artifact
On the planet of Eletania, in the Hercules system of the Attican Beta cluster, there lies a mysterious Prothean artifact in the southwestern corner of the map. It's very difficult to get to with the Mako, as it lies nestled in a valley that's hard to climb to. If you reach it, it'll activate, and say that there's some kind of keyhole in it. But where's the key?
The key to the Artifact is in a strange place. Remember Shi'ara, the Asari consort back on Citadel? Apparently you can obtain a Prothean trinket from her if you complete both of the quests that revolve around her on the Citadel; one involves General Septimius and the other revolves around the Elcor diplomat. Complete both and return to her, and she'll give you the trinket if you respond correctly to her questions. This is only true if you're a paragon, by the way; if you have more renegade points, you'll get a more personal thanks.
UNC: Missing Survey Team
You can "find" this quest by riding the elevators on Citadel Station; we obtained it just as we were heading up to see Udina and Anderson before obtaining the Normandy for our own. It indicates that a survey team in the Hades Gamma cluster has dropped out of contact. Head to the Antaeus system and land on Trebin to track them down.
When you land, check out the prefabricated pods at the survey team's site; one of the computer consoles there indicates that the team unearthed alien technology. If you head into the digsite, you'll find that they've all been turned into Husks. Whoops! Kill them all to end the mission.
UNC: Major Kyle
If you head to the Hawking Eta cluster, you'll pick up this quest. A man named Major Kyle has set up a messianic cult. It's up to you to investigate and see if you can get Kyle to return for treatment. Head to the system in the Hawking Eta cluster and land on the small moon Presrop there.
When you reach the compound, you'll need to talk your way inside the building. You can try and talk your way inside, if you like, or simply storm the place. If you do manage to convince Kyle to see you, you can find him in the science station, a bit away from the main building here. If you have enough Charm or Intimidate, you can convince him that either he surrenders himself, or the entire base will be held responsible for the deaths of the investigators. He'll offer to surrender, but will need you to leave him behind while he explains his surrender to his followers. If you return to your ship, you can click on the map to conclude the mission.
On the other hand, if you decide to fight your way through the compound, you can then clear out the science station and still talk Kyle into coming with you, or simply shooting him and finishing off his followers. You gain a lot of paragon points for talking down Kyle, but you don't necessarily gain renegade points for killing him, if you say that he's leaving you no other option. Killing everyone also nets you a lot more experience and cash than the peaceful method.
UNC: Missing Marines
If you speak to Admiral Kahoku in the Council Tower after becoming a Spectre (you can also follow the Banes trail from Michel's blackmailing mission to Anderson to him), he'll ask you find out what happened to a team of marines that have gone missing in the Sparta System. Obviously enough, they were kicked down a well after their diplomatic overtures were rebuffed.
Head to the Artemis Tau cluster, Sparta system, then land on planet Edolus. You'll have to fight off a Thresher Maw to find the marines, but when you do, it'll appear that a distress beacon was used to lure them into the Maw's area of influence and kill them. Return to Kahoku to turn in the quest.
After handing in the Missing Marines quest, this assignment will probably appear as you travel around the galaxy. It involves a Cerberus outpost on the planet Binthu, in the Yangtze system in the Voyager cluster. Go there and investigate all three of the Cerberus bases; one of them will have Kohaku's body in it. Find it and return to the Normandy to start...
UNC: Hades' Dogs
When you return to the Normandy, you'll be able to track down the main Cerberus base. It's on Nepheron in the Columbia System, Voyager Cluster. Head there and kill everything you see! You'll find a terminal in the rear of the facility; grab the data on it to end the mission. When you return to the ship, you'll be contacted by an agent of the Shadow Broker; you can choose whether or not to sell him the data, but doing so is a renegade move.
UNC: Lost Module
When you arrive in the Attican Beta Cluster, you'll receive a message asking you to travel to the Hercules system there to find a data module that's crashed on the planet. Land on Eletania when you reach the system and make your way to the module.
You'll discover that a monkey from one of the monkey tribes nearby has apparently stolen the data disc. Head to the northernmost monkey colony on your map to find a set of caves; one of the monkeys in the rear room will have the data disc. Grab it from him and fight your way through the Geth to finish the mission.
Another quest you'll probably pick up by riding an elevator in the Citadel. This one explains that a politician has been kidnapped by biotics, who are on a freighter in the Hades Gamma cluster, Faranita System.
Head there and board the MSV Ontario. You only have three minutes to kill all of the biotics in the first large room here; any longer, and they'll kill the hostage. It shouldn't be too hard to take them all down in that timeframe, though. When you do, you'll have to enter negotiations with their leader. If you don't have the proper Charm/Intimidate skills, the hostage will probably die; otherwise, you can convince the remaining biotics to surrender.
UNC: Asari Diplomacy
In your travels, you'll eventually find a datapad from a mercenary named Dahlia Dantius, who was threatening her diplomat sister on the Citadel. There's probably a starter quest for this, but we happened to run into Dahlia on an otherwise unremarkable planet and killed her. If you return to Nassana, in the embassy bar on the Citadel, you can try to sweettalk her into letting you buy prototype Asari weapon mods.
UNC: Rogue VI
You'll obtain this mission after warping into a system; you'll receive a communication from Admiral Hackett telling you to return to Sol and help defeat a training VI that's gone rogue.
Head to the Local Cluster and find the tiny dot near Earth that indicates Luna's presence. Land on it, find the facility, then use one of the entrance consoles on the structures outside after defeating the turrets. Inside, you'll find a swarm of assault bots, as well as eight VI conduits. Destroy the conduits, then repeat the process at each of the other facilities to finish the VI off entirely. (The binary text you get at the end of the mission simply reads "HELP".)
You'll be able to select a specialization for your class at the end of this mission, for some reason. This will be different for each character class, so read your options carefully! The choice that you make will be added to your skill tree on top of the default character class skill. E.g. our engineer selected to be an Operative, so the Engineer skill had five or six ranks added to the end of it with added bonuses for the electronics and decryption skills.
UNC: Beseiged Base
After warping to a system (for us, it was the Gagarin system in the Armstrong Nebula), you'll receive a transmission about a beseiged research facility in the Cacus System of the Hades Gamma cluster. You'll have to find some way to eliminate the biotic terrorists while saving the researchers.
Head to Chohe, in the Cacus System of the Gamma Hades Cluster. You need to kill the biotics here without harming the scientists. The scientists will wander around the combat area, getting in your line of fire, so you have to be careful. The best way to proceed here will be to enter the combat zone and try to lure the biotics back through the hallway towards the entrance. When the bulk of them are cleared out, you can make your way through the rest of the facility, trying to avoid getting anywhere near the scientists; that'll help you avoid hurting them by accident. When all of the biotics are down, return to the Normandy and use the map to relay the info to Admiral Hackett.
UNC: Distress Call
If you head to the Hydra System of the Argos Rho Cluster and attempt to investigate the planet Metgos, you'll receive a distress call from a ship that's crash-landed there. Land on the planet, find the wreckage, defeat the Geth ambush, and move on.
UNC: Lost Freighter
We never actually got the starter quest for this assignment, but we stumbled across a freighter in the Ming system of the Gemini Sigma cluster. After boarding the ship, you can play the logs of the crew to discover that a biotic named Julia went crazy after her boyfriend was about to be taken off life support. She's killed the crew, but she won't be able to do much to you. Kill her, then make the call as to whether or not you want to take Jacob off life support.
UNC: Espionage Probe
If you enter the Voyager Cluster and head to the Amazon system, you'll receive this quest. Apparently a booby-trapped probe has landed somewhere in the Voyager Cluster. You need to find it and dismantle it before anyone else does.
Head to the Amazon system and land on Agebinium. The probe is located in a set of caves. Unfortunately, when you get there, it's apparent that the caves are a trap! For you! Personally!
The nuke will have three hardpoints on it that need to be disabled. The minigames here are easier than they normally are, but if you have the omni-gel it's probably easier to simply spend it to disable them. When you do that, take the back exit to come out on top of a hill above your enemy's position. You can charge down the hill to the Mako there and use it to clear out your foes, then return to the Normandy.
Missing Person/UNC: Privateers
In Noveria, you can hack a computer in the Sythentic Interests office to receive this quest. A man named Garoth is worried about his brother, whose ship was attacked by privateers in the Strenuus System.
You won't have to travel far to reach Strenuus; it's just on the other side of the Horse's Head galaxy, where Noveria is also located. It can be tough to spot what you're looking for here, especially on an SDTV, but just to the left of Xawin there's a hotspot in the system. Scan it, then land on Xawin. The privateer camp there will have Willem's body in it, along with a datapad. Bring it back to Garoth in the Citadel Tower to end the mission.
UNC: Derelict Freighter
You'll find a drifting freighter in the Caspian system of the Maroon sea. Head on board, kill the Husks, then check the navigation log to discover the true fate of the crew.
UNC: Listening Post Alpha
Head to the Styx Theta Cluster and proceed to the Erebus System. A listening post on the planet Nepmos there is being overrun by alien forces. Time for you to intervene.
Land on Nepmos and make your way to the listening station. You may spot rachni on the way there. When you arrive, defeat the Rachni nearby, then speak to Lieutenant Durand; there's another large group of rachni coming your way! You can choose to fight them on foot by using the Mako to power the turrets here, or get into the Mako itself and use that in combat. Keep in mind that the rachni's acid breath will ignore the Mako's shields, though.
We decided to use the generator and power up the turrets. Durand and her men are seemingly indestructible here, so stay back behind the barriers and position your teammates between two of them to fire away while you hold the rear. If one of them goes down, use Unity and bring them back to you until you're in the clear.
You may have to defeat two waves of Rachni here; we did, at any rate. After you do, Durand will ask you to check in on an outpost that's gone offline, as well as clear out the main concentration of Rachni underground. You may have already cleared out the outpost, but in any case, you'll want to check out the mine. If you can head in there and clear the place out, including the two Brood Warriors in the small rooms, you will be successful in eliminating the Rachni from Nepmos.
UNC: Depot Sigma-23
If you land on the planet Altahe in the Archeron system in the Styx Theta cluster (preferably after completing the Listening Post Alpha quest), you can find another listening post there. Kill the rachni around it and check the terminal inside to find the source of the rachni invasion: Depot Sigma-23 in the Gorgon System in the Argos Rho cluster.
Head there and land on the "unidentified space facility" to uncover the mystery. You'll have to kill the rachni here to find the terminal. Play all of the entries, then set the charges on the ship and book it before the place blows.
UNC: Dead Scientists
A group of UNC scientists has been winding up dead lately, and Hackett thinks that there may be some kind of coverup involved. All of the scientists that have died worked on the same project, but one scientist from the experiment is still alive. He's in the Newton system of the Kepler Verge. Head there and land on Ontarom.
When you enter the underground facility and kill the mercs, you'll come across Dr. Wayne and one Corporal Toombs. Toombs has some interesting accusations about Wayne. You can attempt to talk down Toombs, but you may need to have some Charm points in order to do so. Otherwise, you can let him shoot the good doctor, or take down Toombs with violence. Either way, completing the conversation will end the mission.
Investigate Facility/UNC: Exogeni Facility
You'll find this quest by hacking into an ExoGeni terminal on Feros. Apparently they had a facility on Nodacrux, and suspect that it somehow caused the facility to shut down. Time to investigate. Travel to the Vostuk System in the Maroon Sea cluster to find the facility.
After defeating the Thorian Creepers inside the facility, you can make your way to the main scientist here. If you attempt to arrest her, she'll try to kill you. You can either pursue that course of action or accept her payout and let her leave.
These are simply quests that aren't related to the UNC.
Person Of Interest/Hostile Takeover
Hack one of the computers in the C-Sec Academy to pick this one up, after you've completed the first four missions and returned to the Citadel. C-Sec is investigating a suspected criminal named Helena Blake. She's somewhere in the Financial District.
You'll find Ms. Blake outside of the merchant area in the Financial District. She has a business proposition for you: take out two of her crime boss associates, and she'll reward you kindly. You can tell her "I won't do this", if you like, and you'll still receive the coordinates of the crime bosses, in addition to paragon points. When you leave the Citadel again, you can start tracking your targets.
One of them is located in the Dis System of the Hades Gamma cluster, on the planet Klensal. The other is located on Mavigon in the Han system of the Gemini Sigma cluster. When both of them are dead, head to the Fortuna system in the Horse Head Nebula and land on Amaranthine.
You'll run into Helena when you enter the base. You can attempt to talk her into walking away from the gang entirely, if you want some paragon points, but the better solution is to attempt to arrest her, or to simply goad her into a fight. Killing her and the rest of her gang will net you plenty of experience and cash, far more than simply accepting her offer of walking away will.
You'll find this quest by hacking into a Geth terminal in the upper level of the ExoGeni building on Feros. It details a mass of Geth ships in the Armstrong Nebula; sounds like you should check it out. If you do, Admiral Hackett will fill you on in the locations of four Geth bases. It'll be up to you to take them out.
The outposts are on Gagarin: Rayingri, Tereshkova: Antibaar, Hong: Casbin, and Vamshi: Maji. After attacking the pure outposts, keep in mind that Geth Dropships will usually deposit more forces on the ground. You can shoot down the Dropships with your cannon, if you wish, but it will take a while to do so, and you'll be exposed to fire from the ground troops. Also keep in mind that taking down your enemies on foot will net you more experience than killing them with the Mako; if you manage to wear down a Colossus or something strong like that, you can pop out of the vehicle and finish it off with your weapons for more experience.
When you've destroyed all four bases, the Grissom system will open up, which is where the primary Geth base is located. Land on Solcrum, a small moon of one of the planets there, to find it. Kill everyone in the base and hack the terminals to unlock the Tali and the Geth quest.
Tali And The Geth
On the Solcrum moon in the Grissom system, as a part of the Geth Activities quest, you'll find a terminal you can hack to start this quest. Bring the data back to Tali, and she'll ask for a copy of it for her Pilgrimage. You can withhold it, if you like, or give it to her; it's up to you.
Investigate Samples/Colony Of The Dead
Another quest from Feros; hack the Server Node there to retrieve it. Something about samples that were sent to the Matano system. Head there (it's in the Maroon Sea cluster) and land on Chasca. There are a few settlements here, but everyone around has been turned into Husks. Check the buildings here for clues. In the southwestern facility on the hill (the science station), you'll find a terminal where you can download the logs of the base and complete the mission.
Wrex: Family Armor
If you speak with Wrex in between every mission, he'll eventually give you this quest, which involves tracking down a turian who stole his family armor and is now hiding at a base somewhere in the Argus Rho cluster. Head there and proceed to the Phoenix system and land on Tuntau. Don't forget to bring Wrex along in your landing party.
On your map should be a "hidden structure". Head there and pop inside for a peek. Tonn Actus will be inside, along with a horde of pirates. Kill everyone and poke around in the numerous crates in the back rooms to find the Warlord armor. It's decent enough, but you can probably find better. Regardless, it's what Wrex wanted. Wait until he acknowledges the mission completion, then reduce it to omni-gel to have a laugh at his expense.
Garrus: Find Dr. Saleon
If you speak to Garrus enough during the intermissions, you'll eventually be able to unlock this quest. Garrus was at one point tracking Dr. Saleon on the Citadel, but the criminal managed to escape before he could be brought to justice. He's escaped to the Herschel system in the Kepler Verge. Head there and board his ship, the MSV Fedele, but be sure to bring Garrus along for the ride.
Kill your way through the test subjects in the ship until you find Dr. Heart. He'll claim to know nothing about your Dr. Saleon. No matter how you pursue the conversation, he'll attack you. Kill him and get back to the ship.
Survey Assignments and Survey Data
A few of the assignments you get will simply be busywork; they task you with tracking down writings, medallions, or metals. It doesn't appear that there's much of a bonus for actually completing these missions; you get a set amount of XP and cash when you find each individual component of them, and when you find the last item, you get the same rewards as you did for all the others and the mission is complete. Most of the missions will be completable if you simply scour the entire galaxy top to bottom and be sure to check every planet and every signal on planets that you land on.
The five survey quests that we found were Valuable Minerals, Locate Signs of Battle, Turian Insignias, Asari Writings, and Prothean Data Discs. In most cases, there'll be more of the items than you need to find scattered about, so there'll be a little buffer for you to rely on. In any case, if you don't feel like you want to survey every single planet and anomaly that you run across, feel free not to! The rewards are decent for collecting objects, but not to the point where you're going to miss out on anything if you don't complete these missions.
Anyway, here's our rough notes on where you can find certain stuff. We'll try to clean up this list in a future version of this guide. There's a chance all this stuff could be randomized, but we doubt it. Also keep in mind that some systems will be off-limits to you until you unlock them by completing missions and side-quests.
Some planets have multiple listings; this indicates that you'll need to land to find everything. Some items that you can find don't appear on the game's radar when you land on a planet. You can cover the entire planet looking for crap, if you like; usually we just went from landmark to landmark on our own and made detours to check out whatever popped up on our radar.
Artemis Tau Cluster
Alsages: Rare Element (Plutonium)
Asteroid Cluster: Prothean Data Disc
Edolus: Light Metal (Lithium)
Pharos: Turian Insignia
Porolan: Matriarch's Writings
Fargeluse: Xenon Gas
Syided: League of One medallion
Zatorus: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Eletania: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Eletania: Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Sharring: Prothean Data Disc
Maroon Sea Cluster
Rocky Asteroid: Prothean Data Disc
Supay: Light Metal (Magnesium)
Chasca: Prothean Data Disc
Chasca: Light Metal (Beryllium)
Clotanca: Heavy Metal (Iridium)
Farnuri: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Antida: Turian Insignia
Metallic Asteroid: Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Pataiton: Matriarch's Writings
Nodacrux: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Nodacrux: Turian Insignia
Sonedma: Rare Element (Polonium)
Sybin: Turian Insignia
Tremar: Gas Deposit (Nitrogen)
Agebinium: Rare Element (Samarium)
Agebinium: Turian Insignia
Horse Head Cluster
Yunthori: League of One Medallion
Antitarra: Gas Deposit (Helium-3)
Xawin: Heavy Metal (Iridium). You need to land on the planet as a result of the Mission Person assignment that you can find on Noveria.
Light Metal (Cobalt)
Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Veles: Matriarch's Writings
Maganlis: Turian Insignia
Therumlon: Rare Element (Plutonium)
Amaranthine: Heavy Metal (Iridium)
Amaranthine: Turian Insignia
Junthor: Matriarch's Writings
Antirumgon: Light Metal (Cobalt)
Rayringri: Rare Element (Thorium, must land)
League of One Medallion (must land)
Rare Element (Polonium, must land)
Patamalrus: Heavy Metal (Iridium)
Thegeuse: Heavy Metal (Mercury)
Carbonaceous Asteroid: League of One Medallion (look for the bright light in the asteroid field)
Antibaar: Prothean Data Disc (must land)
Antibaar: Light Metal (Magnesium)
Matar: Matriarch's Writings
Treagir: Light Metal
Casbin: ID Tag
Casbin: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Casbin: Rare Element (Uranium)
Pregel: Turian Insignia
Maji: Rare Element (Thorium)
Maji: Turian Insignia
Maji: Light Metal (Beryllium)
Maji: Light Metal (Magnesium)
Rocky Asteroid: Rare Element (Polonium)
Benda: League of One Medallion
Zaherux: Light Metal (Beryllium)
Solcrum: Matriarch's Writings
Hawking Eta Cluster
Metallic Asteroid: Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Canctra: Light Metal (Cobalt)
Tharopto: League of One Medallion
Presrop: Turian Insignia
Presrop: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Quaji: Heavy Metal (Platinum)
Wermani: Prothean Data Disc
Nepmos: Rare Element (Uranium)
Nepmos: League of One Medallion
Nepmos: Light Metal (Titanium)
Nepmos: Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Carbonaceous Asteroid: Turian Insignia
Grosalgen: Light Metal (Magnesium)
Altahe: Rare Element (Samarium)
Altahe: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Altahe: Matriarch's Writings
Argus Rho Cluster
Canrum: Turian Insignia
Syba: Gas Deposit (Helium-3)
Metgos: Turian Insignia
Metgos: Rare Element (Thorium)
Carbonaceous Asteroid: Prothean Data Disc
Patashi: Rare Element (Samarium)
Vebinok: Light Metal (Cobalt)
Tuntau: Matriarch's Writings
Tuntau: Heavy Metal (Mercury)
Hades Gamma Cluster
Edmos: Gas Deposit (Hydrogen)
Ploba: Matriarch's Writings
Vemal: Rare Element (Uranium)
Trebin: Turian Insignia
Mingito: Rare Element (Uranium)
Clocrolis: Rare Element (Samarium)
Nonuel: Matriarch's Writings
Nonuel: Leage of One Medallion (mercenary corpse)
Nonuel: Rare Element (Samarium)
Nearrum: Light Metal (Titanium)
Metallic Asteroid: Light Metal (Lithium)
Raysha: Turian Insignia
Klensal: League of One Medallion
Zayarter: Heavy Metal (Mercury)
Faringor: Rare Element (Polonium)
Chohe: Matriarch's Writings (three of them in crates/safe at the Anomaly)
Chohe: Heavy Metal (Mercury)
Rocky Asteroid: Light Metal (Magnesium)
Juntauma: Prothean Data Disc
Nepneu: Rare Element (Thorium)
Klencory: Matriarch's Writings
Juncro: Gas Deposit (Hydrogen)
Ontarom: Turian Insignia
Ontarom: Heavy Metal (Palladium)
Parag: Light Metal (Titanium)
Altanorch: League of One Medallion
Paravin: Matriarch's Writings
Patatanlis: Light Metal (Beryllium)
Mavigon: Heavy Metal (Gold)
Mavigon: ID Tag
Mass Effect Achievements
All of the achievements below revolve around the abilities of your main character; you can have your AI teammates kill an army with their assault rifles, but it still won't unlock the Assault Rifle Expert ability. As such, getting all of these achievements will probably require completing the game at least three times on various difficulty settings with multiple character classes.
It's unclear if the tech and biotic power achievements require you to cast them on an enemy, or if you can simply cast them at a wall and still unlock them. We were kind of loathe to sit around for an hour testing them, but we're sure some of you achievement junkies will do so. Drop us a line if it works/doesn't work.
|Achievement Name||How To Earn||Point Reward|
|Pistol Expert||Get 150 kills with the pistol. UNLOCKS: Marksman duration increases by 25%.||10|
|Shotgun Expert||Get 150 kills with the shotgun. UNLOCKS: New characters can train with shotguns, regardless of class.||15|
|Assault Rifle Expert||Get 150 kills with the assault rifle. UNLOCKS: New characters can select to train in Assault Rifles, no matter their class.||15|
|Sniper Rifle Expert||Get 150 kills with the sniper rifle. UNLOCKS: New characters can train in sniper rifles, regardless of their class.||15|
|Throw Mastery||Use Throw 75 times. UNLOCKS: Throw skill is available for all new characters.||15|
|Lift Mastery||Use Lift 75 times. UNLOCKS: The Lift skill is available for all new characters.||15|
|Warp Mastery||Use Warp 75 times. UNLOCKS: The Warp skill is available for all new characters.||15|
|Singularity Mastery||Use Singularity 75 times.||15|
|Barrier Mastery||Use Barrier 75 times. UNLOCKS: The Barrier skill is available for all new characters.||15|
|Stasis Mastery||Use Stasis 75 times.||15|
|Sabotage Specialist||Use Sabotage 75 times. UNLOCKS: Subsequent characters can start with the Decryption skill tree.||15|
|Damping Specialist||Use Damping 75 times.||15|
|Overload Specialist||Use Overload 75 times. UNLOCKS: Subsequent characters can start with the Electronics skill tree.||15|
|AI Hacking Specialist||Use AI Hacking 75 times.||15|
|First Aid Specialist||Use medi-gel 150 times. UNLOCKS: First Aid can be trained by new characters, regardless of class.||15|
|Dog of War||Register 150 organic kills. UNLOCKS: Increased health by 10%.||25|
|Geth Hunter||Register 250 synethetic kills. UNLOCKS: Increased shield strength by 10%.||25|
|Scholar||Find all primary Alien: Council Races, Extinct Races and Non-Council Races codex entries. We're told you can actually accomplish this feat before leaving the Citadel for the first time, but it probably involves inspecting every terminal you come across and talking to everyone you can.||25|
|Medal of Exploration||Land on an uncharted world. If you complete some of the side missions, you will likely unlock this eventually; otherwise it may pop up after reaching Ilos.||50|
|Paramour||Complete any romance subplot. Talk to your crewmembers between every mission and eventually you'll take someone to bed.||10|
|Rich||Obtain 1,000,000 credits. You'll probably want to avoid buying any expensive items until you unlock this, as it will let you buy Spectre-level weapons at the C-Sec and Normandy quartermasters that are the best in the game.||25|
|Tactician||Complete playthrough with shield damage greater than health damage. If you play on the normal difficulty, this is all but assured to unlock. UNLOCKS: Shield strength increases by 10%.||25|
|Charismatic||Use Charm or Intimidate to resolve an impossible situation. It's unclear if this refers to a specific situation, but our max-level Charm character did unlock it. This apparently revolves around talking Wrex down from his tantrum on Vermire.||10|
|Renegade||Accumulate 75% of total Renegade points.||15|
|Paragon||Accumulate 75% of total Paragon points.||15|
|Power Gamer||Reach level 50 with one character. Possible to do during your first playthrough if you complete all sidequests while fighting as many foes as possible. UNLOCKS: Experience gain is increased by 5%.||20|
|Extreme Power Gamer||Reach level 60 with one character. Will probably require you to play through the game twice with the same character, if not three times, as the experience required to level up when you hit the high 50's becomes very high. UNLOCKS: Experience gain is increased by 10%. This won't matter for your max-level character, but will help if you decide to make a new character.||50|
|Completionist||Complete the majority of the game. You probably won't get this if you beat the end boss without doing many of the side quests; we didn't. We then reloaded a save from before the end boss and did all of the side quests, but it still didn't unlock, so you'll want to tackle the side quests that are available to you as soon as possible if you want to unlock it, unless you don't mind beating the end of the game twice. UNLOCKS: All experience gained is increased by 10%.||25|
|Soldier Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Ashley Williams. (All of these achievements are apparently tied to the Completionist achievement; if it doesn't unlock these apparently don't, either.) UNLOCKS: All damage taken is reduced by 10%.||20|
|Sentinel Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Kaiden. UNLOCKS: Cooldowns on Lift and Throw are reduced by 10%.||20|
|Krogan Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Wrex. UNLOCKS: Health regeneration of one point per second.||20|
|Turian Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Garrus.||20|
|Quarian Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Tali. UNLOCKS: Sabotage and AI Hacking recharge time is reduced by 10%.||20|
|Asari Ally||Complete the majority of the game with Liara.||20|
|Spectre Inductee||Become a Spectre.||15|
|Search and Rescue||Locate Dr. T'Soni in the Artemis Tau cluster.||10|
|Distinguished Service Medal||Complete Eden Prime.||25|
|Medal of Heroism||Complete Feros.||25|
|Council Legion of Merit||Complete Virmire.||25|
|Honorarium of Corporate Service||Complete Noveria.||25|
|Medal of Honor||Complete the game once. UNLOCKS Hardcore difficult.||100|
|Long Service Medal||Complete the game twice on any difficulty setting. UNLOCKS: All weapon damage is increased by 5%.||25|
|Distinguished Combat Medal||Complete the game on the Hardcore difficulty setting. Set the difficulty when you create your character and don't change it.||25|
|Medal of Valor||Complete the game on the Insane difficulty setting. This is presumably unlocked by completing the game on Hardcore once.||50|