So, you’ve finished the single player campaign and saved the galaxy from the Reapers.* Or maybe you’re simply trying to boost your Effective Military Strength before you head into the final battle against Marauder Shields and his minions. No matter why you’re playing the online multiplayer component of Mass Effect 3, one thing is obvious:
You are terrible.
How do I know you’re terrible? Odds are you either clicked on this article because you need the help, or someone sent you this link because you can’t admit you need it.
And from anecdotal evidence, I’d wager 92% of all players on Xbox Live are shameful, scornworthy scrubs just like you. But don’t apologize or despair, my friend, because today we’ll be covering the most important rules to conquering your incompetence and making you a proud member of the Galactic Alliance. If you can read to the end of this article, there’s hope for you yet.
This isn’t Call of Duty
Look, I don’t care what your kill-death ratio is in Battlefield or Counter-Strike or any other shooter. Unless you’re the most godly player on Earth,** being outnumbered even two-to-one in Mass Effect 3 is usually bad news. Enemy have more life than you, deal more burst damage than you, and are generally immune to lag, unlike you. In other words, if you’re planning to solo the (ahem) cooperative multiplayer, you’re doomed to fail every time.
B-b-but points! I can hear you complain through the interwebs. I need to get more kills for more points!
Actually, you don’t, because with minor exception,† all experience and money earned is totaled and split evenly between each player. Just steal a kill from your teammate? Congratulations: you accomplished nothing. Raced your allies to the objective so you could die first? Waste of time, you were going to split the prize anyhow. Stayed away from the Landing Zone during extraction so you could rack up more kills? You just cost everyone on your squad 10,000 exp, including yourself.
So, to recap:
- Running off solo is in most instances suicidal
- Whoring for score is pointless because it’s all shared
- Nobody will want to resuscitate you if you’re a jackass
If you want to earn EXP and loot, your best bet is to stay within eyesight of your teammates, work closely with them to take down dangerous targets, and provide support to complete objectives. Then you might not get auto-booted every time
the map changes you fail a mission.
Play to your strengths
Sure, sniping people is fun, as is charging into everything face-first hoping to annihilate enemies before they bring your heart to a standstill. But if you aren’t any good at the class/species you’re playing, you’re not doing your team any favors. And if your team doesn’t need your current class setup, you’re doing just as much harm.
On the more sensitive first subject, try to assess your personal abilities objectively. How good is your aim? If you can’t snipe the broad side of an Atlas from 20 feet away, maybe it’s time to back out of being an Infiltrator. How good is your spatial awareness? If you find yourself being blindsided by enemies on a regular basis, glass cannon Biotic classes aren’t for you. If your gaming abilities are basically limited to smashing buttons and shouting racial slurs into the microphone, maybe you should just play Human Engineer and provide disruption support. You may not score as well, but your team will live through each round, netting you more EXP, more cash, and more respect from the players whose backs you covered.
Also keep in mind that certain team compositions simply don’t work. There aren’t a lot of times when four Vanguards are going to do well in Silver or Gold difficulties. Sure, your group has gigantic area-of-effect burst damage, but your long-range capacities are a joke. Before you ready-up for your mission, look at what species and classes your squadmates are using. If you know which enemy type you’re facing, you can ask yourself questions like, “Are we adequately prepared to handle lots of shielded Geth?” or “How will our team stop Banshees during the VIP Target segments?” If the answer isn’t something like “My character can fill the gaps here,” it’s time to switch characters. Your team will appreciate it, and you’ll ultimately profit more.
Use your goddamn equipment
While I struggled to pick a witty subhead for this category, it’s simply too important to leave to interpretation. You see those funny icons surrounding the d-pad on the in-game HUD?
That’s your equipment panel and it’s fucking mandatory you understand it.
Your equipment isn’t like your weapon loadout: it’s a bunch of single-use items you unlock from those nifty Recruit, Veteran, and Spectre packs in the in-game store. Generally speaking, you get to bring two of each into every mission (assuming you have two in inventory) so it’s imperative you strike a balance between conservation and knowing when to go all out.
The Cobra Missile Launcher (up on the d-pad) is a single-shot rocket that kills any enemy in its blast radius in one hit. Atlas Mechs, Banshees, Geth Primes can be erased from existence with each use, which (need I remind you) is limited to two. Unlike other equipment, the Cobra will be equipped as a weapon which must be activated by holding the Fire button for about one second. As with all explosive ordinance in shooter videogames, aim at your targets’ feet so you don’t miss completely. If there are multiple enemies at the point of impact, they’ll all be obliterated instantly.
The biggest mistake most players make is using their Cobras too early. Unless your team is about to be completely wiped out by a flanking fatty, it’s best to give everyone a chance to beat down the opposition with conventional warfare. Generally speaking, anything before Wave 7 is a waste. The second biggest mistake is that some players refuse to use their Cobras, even when it’s the only real solution. If your missile launcher will eliminate the VIP before the timer expires, or clear an area long enough to allow you time to revive your buddies, it might be worth it.
Thermal Clip Packs (left on the d-pad) instantly restore both your weapons to full capacity, as well as top off your grenades, if you have a grenade skill equipped. Most players completely ignore this ability since there’s ammo lying around the map, but having the option to chuck nine grenades at once is a powerful one, especially if they’re Cluster Grenades. Thermal Clips also give you the latitude to defend positions for extended periods of time, which may allow allies to get into position or finish the objective. And hey – it always sucks to run out of ammo anyway, so don’t let it happen.
Ops Survival Packs (right on the d-pad) fill your health and shields to 100%. This may not sound powerful against enemies who can generally tear down your defenses in seconds, but that boost may be what you need to survive your mad dash to the extraction point. In some situations, it may be preferable to die since allied revives restore some health (or all health on Bronze difficulty), but that assumes your friends survive the same assault you’re currently buckling under! And keep in mind that Ops Survival Packs are generally useless if you’re totally doomed, but if you think you can win or escape with just a little more life, pop one in and give it a shot.
Finally, Medi-Gel (down on the d-pad) revives you from death with full health (but no shields). You can only use Medi-Gel while you’re still bleeding out; if a foe executes you or your timer expires, you’ll remain dead for the rest of the round.
Once you activate Medi-Gel, any enemies in the vicinity will immediately rain down hell, so it’s best used when you were killed by long-distance fire (usually Ravagers/Geth Prime) or when your teammates have lured more dangerous adversaries from your rotting corpse. Too often do players bleed out in positions that are otherwise salvagable… so if you know a second chance could save your team, don’t be afraid to slather on some of that magical healing cream.
All equipment must be purchased, so try not to waste it. Take a look at your inventory before the battle, and ask yourself how much you can afford to use. And if you’re ever in doubt, ask your teammates. It may not be worth using equipment if your allies either have the situation under control or if they are 100% certain the mission is scrapped. In either situation, using equipment is usually not worth the EXP an extra kill or two would net you.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way
There are lots of new players in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, so teamwork and coaching are important for everyone to have the best gaming experience. If someone on your team keeps dying or doesn’t seem to understand what his/her Cobra does, explain it! If you see a major threat, communicate what it is and where it’s coming from. Don’t have a microphone? Fire your weapon madly in the direction of the oncoming Atlas. It will get your teammates’ attention.
Overall, the Mass Effect 3 Galaxy at War missions offer a strong enough challenge as-is without some idiot Rambo running around and messing everything up. Plan your build, work with your squad, and put the team’s benefit first and you’ll be sitting on a pile of credits in no time. You’ll have enough cash to buy Spectre packs all day and all night. What will you do with all your riches?
Probably form a crippling, lifestyle-crushing gambling addiction.
Sorry, I don’t have a guide for getting out of that one.
* Or did you? Dun dun dunnnnn!
** T3 Tip: You aren’t.
† Bonuses like 5 Melee Kills are not split between players, but are also quite small.