I’ve been playing quite a bit of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode, and I have a few tips to share. All just based on my observations.
Credits Uber Alles
You can gain XP just by participating in multiplayer, but you can only advance so far. Level 20 isn’t an instant-win. Credits are your real measure of progression, so make sure your multiplayer efforts are designed to maximize your credits.
Focus on surviving Bronze challenges. If you can do that, see if you can survive through wave 6 of Silver. Once you start beating Silver, see if you can survive through wave 6 of Gold. But if you can’t survive that long, don’t feel bad about retreating to a lower difficulty. You’re just being smart and maximizing your effort-to-reward ratio.
Open Recruit Packs
Recruit Packs only come with low-quality items, but they come with a LOT of them. A Spectre Pack might grant you 10 consumable items and a level 3 boost. For the price, you can buy twelve Recruit Packs, which will give you 24 consumable items and 12 level 1 boosts.
The boosts aren’t as powerful, but the important thing is that you have a LOT of them. Enough to equip a boost in every match, and to equip the boosts you WANT, not just the ones you happen to have on hand.
Equip your equipment
In particular, ammo powers are great. I had a lot of fun with level 1 Disruptor ammo, which caused any Cerberus agent I tagged with my sniper rifle to go into electrified convulsions (and be easy prey to a follow-up shot).
Read your ‘Training’ power
Every race has a slightly different ‘Alliance Training’ power. Turians get weapon stability naturally, and others get more or less weapon damage and power damage. Make sure your race and class match your play style.
It’s okay not to shoot
In a recent match, my three teammates were repelling an attack, unleashing a hailstorm of bullets down a hallway. Rather than join in, I chose to turn around and watch our flank. It meant that for 30 seconds or so, I was just looking at walls, not shooting or using powers. And that’s okay. I trusted my teammates to handle the main fight.
You need a trick for more damage
On Silver and Gold, shooting your enemies in the torso just isn’t going to cut it. You need a trick to boost your damage. Maybe you focus on setting up or executing biotic combos or tech combos. Maybe you take a Revenant and maximize your close-range shredding, or learn to use a sniper rifle effectively so you can reliably hit the head. Even better, you might coordinate with a partner, such as an Asari locking a target with Stasis so a Krogan can line up a heavy melee hit.
Vanguards and Krogan become a liability, but you can work it out
Melee-focused classes love being in the thick of enemies, furiously lashing out with attacks. Unfortunately, this means that their shield can vanish in an instant, and once they fall, they’re in the middle of a horde of enemies. On Silver and above, this happens unacceptably quickly.
Learn your limits. If your team is effectively sniping targets from a window, you do not need to Biotic Charge down there and mix it up. If you’re dealing with a cluster of enemies, target your charge at weak targets and enemies on the edge of the cluster. It doesn’t help to bravely charge and kill a Geth Hunter if you place yourself right between two Geth Pyros.
A Krogan can be patient, softening approaching targets with their shotgun before finishing them off with a headbutt. Krogan are great at covering hallways, where enemies are funneled in a narrow line. In order to do this, they need to resist their urge to charge forward after a kill, but instead retreat back into position, ready to attack the next target that comes forward.
Also, don’t get locked in a single strategy. So many Vanguards just Charge>Nova>Charge>Nova. Learn to quickly assess the battlefield in that moment after a hit. If you don’t see a target in range, why Nova? If you’re in the thick of things, is there a way you can Charge away to safety?
I’m loving ME3 multiplayer because it rewards intelligence. Spend more time thinking and less time hammering buttons, and you’re on the road to success!
It’s not going to happen, but think there’s room for a remake/update of Mass Effect 1. Give it the Mass Effect 2/3 combat system, maybe some hybrid between planet scanning and the Mako…
Mostly I just want to be able to take a character across all three games. I know I’ve chosen my camp with the PS3, but still, it almost feels…culturally important to have that continuity of character. Like if Lucasfilm said “Star Wars IV, V, and VI are coming to DVD and HD-DVD, and Star Wars V and VI are coming to Blu-Ray!” (Wait, Lucasfilm might actually do that.)
Alternatively, Bioware could give us an updated tool to create a character for the start of Mass Effect 2, including more decisions from ME1. Since the story is concluded now, they don’t need to hide which decisions are important or not anymore. Either that, or allow players to transfer a save file from ME1 on PC to ME2 on PS3; you sell more copies of Mass Effect, and that’s a win.
It’s all very unlikely to happen. And that’s sad.
I’m seeing some parallels between recent big-media releases: The Lorax and Mass Effect 3. Both seem to be bending their ideals without necessarily breaking them. The Lorax, an environmental parable, is hawking SUVs, and Mass Effect, a deeply story-based and canon-focused game, is trickling out DLC weapons and items (which, by nature of their being optional, make it harder to define a ‘canon’ Mass Effect).
Not that I blame either property, but I do think it shows that the larger you grow, the more external pressures and obligations you have affecting your core identity.
I really enjoy watching my wife play Mass Effect and other video games. She believes what the game tells her.
If a character says “We’re running out of time, we need to get out of here,” she’ll drop everything and sprint to the door.
If a big enemy that looks tough appears, she’ll retreat and hide and hesitate to attack it.
On the other hand, I have so much experience with games, I’m always looking behind the scenes. I know that, no matter how much people shout and the screen shakes, I’m not in any rush for time unless there’s a timer on the screen. If a big enemy appears, it doesn’t matter; they’re going to be different from other enemies, but they’ll still be in the same power range. Both situations don’t get my adrenaline pumping like they should.
My advice to designers is to throw in unusual situations every now and then to shake up jaded gamers. Give us fights that we can’t win. Give us dialog that we actually need to listen to. Give us situations both where the obvious solution is the right one, and the obvious solution is inefficient. Help us rebuild that suspension of disbelief, so that we can actually fear our enemies and rejoice in our victories again.
In this sense, old games had more going for them regarding emergent behavior. If I’m playing Doom, I open a door, and a horde of demons turns toward me, it’s possible that I just don’t have enough ammunition to win. The demons aren’t being sent out in waves designed to give me enough time to reload and recharge my shields in between; if I attract too much attention or don’t kill them efficiently, I will be overrun. That isn’t to say that old games are harder; just that they respond more directly and clearly to my decisions.