Tag Archives: mass effect

Mass Effect Weaponry

monkeydseehr: Weaponry - Mass Effect [◼] | hexington

monkeydseehr: Weaponry - Mass Effect [◼] | hexington

monkeydseehr: Weaponry - Mass Effect [◼] | hexington

via monkeydseehr: Weaponry – Mass Effect [◼] | hexington.

Top to bottom, left to right:

N7 Valkyrie — the two-round burst is more annoying than helpful, in my opinion

M-55 Argus — three round burst coupled with a relatively slow firing speed, avoid

M-37 Falcon — the only mini-grenade firing weapon worth using is the Striker Assault Rifle, this just seems like a worse weapon by comparison

Phaeston — a decent alternative to the Cerberus Harrier, if you haven’t unlocked that

N7 Valiant — the only thing that lets down this reasonably-fast-firing sniper rifle is its 3-round mag size

M-90 Indra — haven’t actually unlocked this weapon yet, although from memory it wasn’t too bad in single player

M-13 Raptor — a fast-firing sniper rifle that’s probably closer to an assault rifle, but I think I’ve only seen it used successfully in one game

Javelin — the small delay between pressing the mouse and the Javelin means you constantly have to follow your target with the mouse, which takes a bit of getting used to, otherwise, it’s actually the sniper rifle that does the most damage. The scope is a little unorthodox.

Scorpion — sticky grenades might seem like a good idea, but they rarely are. Doubly so if you can’t aim

Arc Pistol — one of my favourites, able to be either shot as-is or charged up and shot. I use it whenever I’m using a biotic character, although I know people that favour the Scorpion as a secondary for characters that don’t have to consider cooldowns

M-358 Talon — a pistol that fires like a shotgun? Since when did that seem like a good idea? I haven’t used this in combat though, so I can’t tell you how it fares in-game

A Short Guide On How To Not Suck At Gold/Platinum Difficulty in Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer

MassEffect3 2013-05-03 01-27-17-15

I’m pretty sick of complete noobs trying to do Gold and Platinum difficulty in Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer and failing on early waves, so I thought I’d write a short guide on a few general tips and strategies. In no particular order…

  • Be at least level 18 for Gold, level 20 for Platinum. Anything else and you’re asking for a bad time. You might not think too much of those extra points, but those tier 6 evolutions of your powers can make all the difference in the world.

  • For crying out loud, take gear and equipment. At the very least, take gear — that’s the square in the bottom right corner of the equipment screen, for those who have never done so (also, shame on you). Gear isn’t a consumable, so it lasts for more than just one game.
    When you’re taking gear, take gear that will help out your character. If your character is a biotic/heavy pistol person, then take the Commando Package. If you’re a Krogan Warlord and like doing damage with melee and shotguns, take the Beserker Package. You’d think some of this stuff is common sense, but you’d be surprised…

  • Equipment is also a must. You can get by without it, but you can do some pretty cool things with ammo and weapon bonuses, such as Warp ammo for increased Biotic damage on targets, or setting up biotic/tech combos with Disruptor ammo and Tech Burst, or Warp Ammo and Warp. Again, take ammo and weapon bonuses that complement your character.
    The extra damage that some ammo bonuses applies helps out more than you’d think — 35% more damage is about twice as much damage as a maxed passive skill tree can afford you in terms of weapon damage, for example.

  • Don’t waste your Medkits in the heat of battle. Mash that spacebar until the little line is almost gone, then use the Medkit — and only if the situation calls for it. I wouldn’t use a Medkit on Wave 1-5, because if you’ve flatlined and no-one revives you on those earlier waves, chances are you won’t make it to the later waves anyway. Might as well save that Medkit for when you actually need it.
    Medkits are best used in a last-gasp, I’m-the-last-man-standing-and-it’s-the-last-enemy-on-wave-10 situtaions, where the difference between using a Medkit and not using the Medkit is winning the round, and not winning the round. If there’s no immediate danger around you, you might as well sit out that little countdown until your knight in shining armour comes to rescue you, or you bleed out.
    There’s no dishonour in bleeding out, either — if it’s a particularly early wave, you really have nothing to lose (unless you’re carrying the team, which is a different kettle of fish).

  • Similarly, use those Cobra Missiles properly. Look, I hate Phantoms as much as you do, and as tempting as it is to pull out your launcher and blast that Phantom back to the depths of hell from whence it came… don’t. But two Phantoms? Maybe. Three Phantoms or more, though, and you’ll have to get in line. Try not to waste those missiles on a single enemy of any kind — like Medkits, they’re best used in a oh-crap-everyone-is-down-right-next-to-me-and-there’s-two-Brutes-here-with-two-Banshees-on-the-way kind of a situation. In those kinds of cases, go nuts.
    Oh, and it’s generally a good idea to aim your missiles at the ground. Many a person has been mocked in-game because their woefully-aimed Missile missed the group of three Banshees and sailed clear off the map — get close, aim your Missile at the ground, and watch those suckers drop. The splash damage on the Missile is around 3-4m, and anything within a 2 meter radius is dead, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be aiming at the ground — long range missile launchers? Generally a bad idea for the same reason that you might miss (unless you’re planning for the missile to hit a wall or something, but the invisible walls and whatnot might put a spanner in that particular plan).

That’s pretty much it. Your own gear/loadouts/characters will determine how effective these few tips are, but they should work for pretty much everyone. If you don’t have any Medkits or Missiles, then what I like to do with the Store is save up all my credits until I’m done playing for the night/day/whatever, then buy all the 99000 credit packs I want, leaving the last set of 99,000 credits for three Jumbo Equipment Packs, which replenishes my stores of Cobras/Medkits as well as ammo/weapon bonuses.

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer: thoughts, strategies, and a guide or two

The N7 Shadow Infiltrator melee attack, with flame sword.

The N7 Shadow Infiltrator melee attack, with flame sword.

Continuing the trend of abandoned games I’m recently just getting back into (see: Battlefield 3, ARMA 2), I’ve been playing Mass Effect 3. I’m now all up to date with all the single player DLC; I’ve re-taken Omega with Aria T’Loak, I’ve investigated Leviathan, and I’ve had a ball in my swanky new apartment on the Citadel (and even invited a few friends over — if you’re a fan of the Mass Effect series and haven’t played through the Citadel DLC, you’re doing yourself a disservice).

But enough about singleplayer and its DLC temptresses. Let’s talk about multiplayer! On the face of it, ME3 multiplayer seems like the worst thing ever, or at least, not the most appealing. It’s four-player, peer-to-peer coop set in a variety of locations from the single player side missions, against a variety of the enemies. It follows a pretty simple formula: choose a location (there’s quite a few so I’ll link you to the appropriate Wikia page), choose an enemy (Geth, Cerberus, Collectors, Reapers), and choose a difficulty (in order of least to most difficult: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum). From there, you form a four-man squad of varying races and classes, all of which have their own unique skill sets (even though their skills will be shared by other characters, no characters have the same set of skills), choose from a massive variety of weapons, and kit out your characters.

There’s actually quite a bit to it. There’s millions of possible equipment and weapon combinations alone, which makes for unique games. You can be playing with four of the same characters, but each of those characters could have different playstyles (and hence carry a different weapon loadout and consumables, etc). Plus, there’s a heap of stuff you can unlock. 62 weapons, each of which has 10 “levels”. 65 characters over 6 classes. I’m not even counting all the weapon mods, character appearance customisations, consumables, or gear. You can see my stats and what I’ve unlocked so far here.

I’ll get to talking strategy in a sec, but first, a few quick tips.

Narida’s Class Builder is an amazing ME3 multiplayer resource where you can choose how to spec your character. It lets you choose everything about your character, including what weapons, how much damage your character does, what different evolutions your powers can take on and how that affects your damage/other stats, and so on. It’s fantastic. When you’re speccing a new character, consult the class builder to get an idea of what powers do what, and how that affects your cooldowns, that sort of thing. The only place where it falls down is giving you a sense of how fast things happen in game: a five second cooldown might not sound like much, but it’s an eternity when you’re trying to reload your Widow sniper rifle and dodging that Geth Hunter that appeared out of nowhere. For everything else, Narida’s Class Builder is your ME3 multiplayer bible.

Now, a lot of the game resides in the characters, and the classes you play. A lot of it depends on your particular play-style — any decently skilled player will be able to pick up an entirely new (level 20) character and do well enough at the bronze and silver levels, but I find gold and platinum require a higher plane of thinking.

The Krogan Warlord. I named my Warlord Thor, for obvious reasons.

The Krogan Warlord. I named my Warlord Thor, for obvious reasons.

As an example, take this particular Krogan Warlord build. The Warlord is a good character for smashing trash mobs on silver and lower difficulties, but like pretty much all melee-based characters, you generally don’t do enough damage to make it worth your time getting close to bosses (Geth Primes, Cerberus Atlases, Collector Praetorians/Scions, Reaper Banshees/Brutes), which means on Gold and higher, you’re generally going to have a bad time if you run in and try and hammer everything. I remember the first time I played the Warlord. I built my Warlord similar to the build linked above, and, thinking I was some kind of god, charged in and attempted to break all the enemies into little pieces with my hammer. That worked pretty well, at least up until the boss characters — the banshees, brutes, scions, praetorians, and atlases — who proceeded to insta-kill me, every single time I got too close. It was during that game that I discovered that even Brutes have their own insta-kill animation. Up until then, I had no idea brutes could even insta-kill you. But now I know, and these days, I tend to keep my distance with my Warlord — at least until I know I can take a boss down with one hammer attack. And that’s really what ME3 multiplayer is all about, working with the skills you have in order to be an effective asset to the team. It’s about knowing your limits, and playing it smart.

One of the first things I do when I unlock a new character is to look up “builds”, which tell me where I should put points into powers. But builds are only half of the story, and they’re almost worthless without knowing the strategy for that build. So many builds don’t have a guide on how to play that particular character/build, so you have to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t — but then, what’s the point of a build in the first place? Isn’t the whole idea of a build where someone else has already done the experimentation for you, and can just tell you what to do to win? Another thing I found really annoying is how builds recommend specific weapons. What happens if you don’t have that weapon unlocked? For this reason, these guides will recommend what weapon I run with, then suggest alternatives if you don’t have it. Which is why I’m going to open my little strategy guides under the proviso that they work for my particular playstyle(s). I have a few different play-styles — some are easy, others require a little more work on your part.

These are less strategies, and more just me telling you what I’ve found to be effective with any given build. In no particular order…

Continue Reading →

Mass Effect, Tolkien, and Your Bullshit Artistic Process – doyce testerman

Let’s pretend for a moment that The Lord of the Rings was released not as a series of books, but a series of games. More importantly, the company behind the series decided to do something really hard but rewarding with the game — they were going to let you make decisions during play that substantively altered the elements of the story. That means that some of people playing through this Lord of the Rings story would end up with a personal game experience that was pretty much exactly like the one you and I all remember from reading the books, but that story is just sort of the default. Whole forums were filled up by fans of the series comparing notes on their versions of the game, with guides on how to get into a romantic relationship with Arwen (the obvious one), Eowyn (more difficult, as you have to go without any kind of romance option through the whole first game, but considered by many to be far more rewarding), or even Legolas (finally released as DLC for the third game).

via Mass Effect, Tolkien, and Your Bullshit Artistic Process – doyce testerman.

If you have no idea why people are upset about the ending of Mass Effect, but have watched and understand the Lord of the Rings, then you should read this.

Actually, you should read this anyway, because it’s one of the best pieces of writing I’ve read in a while (not to mention the best Mass Effect 3 ending-explanation-kerfuffle to date).

Mass Effect 3

Now that I’ve finished my first playthrough of ME3 and grinded my way through some multiplayer, I’ve been sitting on a second playthrough for about a week now.

That is to say, I’ve started my second playthrough, but haven’t actually played any of it yet. A FemShep, Vanguard, Paragon, if you must know.

The way I’ve played all three Mass Effect games thus far is that the first play through is always using the default male Shepard, with all choices made as I would make them. Usually this falls on the Paragon side of things, with decisions made as I would make them (with perhaps a bit of divination as to what might happen in the future). Many people play Mass Effect like this, as it is, after all, a role-playing game.

The second play through is a little more relaxed in terms of choice. It’s the play through that lets me experiment with different choices, as well as allowing me to be a hard-ass Renegade where I believe it’s required. The second play trough is usually played as a female Shepard, too, just so I can experience another level of voice acting and see the difference between the two Shepards.

Then the play throughs get a little murky. I only completed the above two play throughs on Mass Effect 1, but for Mass Effect 2 I started a third play-through, a pure Renegade FemShep. Never got around to finishing that, because my interest at that point waned (not too unexpected when you’ve already completed the 30-hour storyline… twice).

Now that the background is all out of the way, I can tell you why I haven’t brought myself to continue my second play through of ME3 beyond the first priority mission.

It’s about choice.

You see, dear reader, Mass Effect is all about choice. The Mass Effect series has always been about the choices you make as a player, as male or female Commander Shepard. And that’s why I can’t bring myself to play Mass Effect 3 any more than once.

Let me explain: in the first two Mass Effect games, you have lots of choices to deal with. Some of those choices carry across to the second Mass Effect game, and some of the decisions you make in ME2 carry across to ME3, and so on. Lots of choices, like, literally, quite a few — so many that it’s reported over 100 variables are carried across from Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3. As an aside, the whole concept of continuing the same character across games is a brilliant, ingenious concept that I really think more games should adapt: rewarding players for hanging onto their save files so they can continue the story in future titles is nothing short of brilliant, and doubly so in a role-playing game centred around the story. There are small issues with this approach, one being that there isn’t a way to “confirm” your choices in later games (in case you lose your save file); what I’d love to see is some kind of prologue to each game that makes you make those decisions again, but I can see how that would potentially sour the game for many. Tough call, but I digress.

Okay, so back on track: Mass Effect forces you to make choices. Not necessarily decisions between good and evil, but more subtle decisions: sometimes the decision between being a nice guy and a ruthless hard-ass isn’t as clear as some of us would like it to be. Like whether to free the Rachni queen. Or whether to keep a mad Salarian scientist’s work on curing the Genophage. Or killing Urdnot Wrex on Virmire. And so on and so forth; as a player you’re never sure how the outcome of your decisions will turn out. It keeps you guessing throughout the series, and it’s great.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: for the most part, you had no idea how these decisions were going to affect future games. Maybe your act of goodwill in letting the Rachni queen live will come back to bite you in the arse in a future title. Maybe Urdnot Wrex turns out to be indoctrinated, I don’t know. The thing is, in the first two titles of the Mass Effect trilogy, you pretty much can do whatever you want without there being too drastic consequences (at least, not consequences you care about, not consequences you actually know about).

Mass Effect 3 changes all of that. Suddenly, you know what the end-game is. Suddenly, your decisions will weigh heavily on you, moreso if you made the “wrong” decision somewhere along the line.

Being the third title in a trilogy must be pretty hard. Even before you rip open the packaging, you know that this is it. After this, there’s not going to be any of a series you have some kind of a vested interest in, emotionally or otherwise. You know that after this, there will be no more. It’s the final countdown. The end of days. The beginning of the end.

Which is why, as you make your choices in Mass Effect 3, you make them damn carefully. Unless you’re some kind of sadist who doesn’t care about the story at all, you’re going to try and get the “best” ending possible. You’re going to try and make peace with everyone. You try to “do what’s right”, to play the hero Shepard everyone seems to think you are. So many times during Mass Effect 3, I sat there for minutes on end, staring at that little dialog choice circle, agonising over the choice I had to make. Because short of saving right before and reloading saves (a practice somewhat frowned upon), there’s no going back. What choice you make will either be the right one, or haunt you until the very end. There’s no sense in being a ruthless, at-all-costs Renegade, because even though you might get the job done, you’re not going to make many friends along the way. And that, ladies and gents, could affect how it all plays out in the end.

Which brings us, somewhat nicely, to the section wherein I talk briefly about the ending that everyone seems to be so upset over. People have petitioned Bioware over the ending in Mass Effect 3, and rightly so, in my opinion. Gaping plot holes and non-sensical cut-scene theatricals aside, the ending is so incredibly unsatisfying it’s an embarrassment. Unsatisfying is probably too light a word; if I’ve invested over a hundred hours into a series of three games spanning a number of years, I want the ending to be to my satisfaction. I’m all for leaving the reader guessing at the end, but the ending of Mass Effect 3 just doesn’t do the rest of the trilogy justice. It’s almost as if Bioware just ran out of time and/or money to put together something as stellar as the rest of the series, and now we have… The Ending That Shall Not Be Discussed. I mean, this is the culmination of everything you’ve been working towards ever since the first Mass Effect, and for what? I wish I could say something other than “a wholly unsatisfactory ending”, but I can’t.

Yes, it could probably be argued that the entirety of Mass Effect 3 is the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, and in some respects you’d be absolutely correct. That’s not the point though, the point is that the climax of one of the most anticipated games this year, not to mention the entire series, feels like a complete and utter let-down by Bioware. They dropped the ball on this one; not just a small fumble, a complete and utter shambles.

Phew. The good news is Bioware has apparently caved and are planning to re-work things a little. Exactly what that means is still up in their air, but at this stage I’d be prepared to DLC my way to a better ending, whatever that might entail. Bioware, are you listening? I’ll gladly pay for a better ending, one that’s worthy of flying the Alliance flag.

But you know what? Mass Effect 3 is still a fantastic, triple-A title. As a whole, Mass Effect has evolved a little throughout the series, but only to culminate in what is easily the best game of the year thus far.

It’s a passable third-person shooter with quite a decent wave-based co-op multiplayer reminiscent of Left 4 Dead’s survival, or Horde mode in Gears of War, that also features objectives every few waves. The single campaign is where it’s at for the majority of players though, and that’s where Mass Effect shines. The storyline is unparalleled, the pacing, fantastic, and besides that ending that we really shouldn’t be talking about, it has very few, faults.

I’ll admit, there were many times during Mass Effect 3 that I felt something. Reunions with past squad mates in the previous game are particularly heartfelt, as is hilarious dialogue with likeable characters. Mass Effect 3 has managed to pull off one of the hardest hitting emotional aspects of any game I’ve played, and it does it so well. There were times during the game that I sat back and thought: hey, why don’t more games do this? Or, I love how this game manages to evoke some kind of response from the player. The down time between missions isn’t as frantic as the main storyline, and there are periods where you’ll be standing around on the Citadel trying to work out where you’re going/doing next, but it’s all good. All part of the package, if you will. Mass Effect 3 is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of gaming today, whether you think the ending sucked or not.

Mass Effect 3 is the very definition of Role Playing Game, with one of the most epic plots that’s as engaging as it is compelling — triple that if you’ve played the previous games; if you get sucked in, hang on and take a deep breath — you’re in for one crazy ride.

Emo Shepard has a cry

My full thoughts on the game are coming (soon!) but for now, here’s emo shepard having a cry.

via OCAU