I have to say that my favorite part of the game is the depth of customize in character progression. But, with great depth comes great confusion. And I wanted to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned to help out new players.
This isn’t going to be an in-depth guide on each category, skill, profile, or anything of the sort. Instead it’s going to be a pathway to help you design your first build.
So to start, I’m going to ask that you consider one of these options for your characters ‘iconic’ play style:
- Guns (Infiltrator & Soldier)
- Biotics (Adept)
- Tech (Engineer)
- Combos (Sentinel & Vanguard)
You can obviously get more in-depth with each of these decisions, but we are just looking to develop our bread and butter. Now that you’ve done that here is a quick step by step on where you should spend your skill points:
- 1 node in your main 3 abilities. (3 Skill Points)
- 3 points in your supporting offensive passives (this includes gun passives as well). (6+ Skill Points)
- These passive bonuses increase with each point you place in that skill category. Which means, you are going to get even more value as you develop your other skills. Obviously cross category classes are going to require more skill points to optimize passives
- Develop your abilities. Focus on either finishing out your gun(s) passives or get your abilities to Rank 5 to 6. Remember to prioritize these in a way that increases synergy. Think about how you are playing (Burst, Sustain, Close Range, Long Range) to help decide which morph works best for you.
- Once you abilities are in a good place, consider the other passives in the tree. There is a defensive passive in all tress, and those scale as well like the offensive passives. I strongly suggest putting at least 3 Ranks (6 Skill Points) in all three trees’ defensive options eventually.
- If you haven’t already, pick a gun passive and rank it up. Chances are no matter what your focus is, you are using a gun from time to time.
- At this point, you have a fairly well developed build, and are level 20-30. Once you have the major passives, a gun passive, and your abilities ranked up decide between: Specializing further in this set up or diversify into another set up. This is where cross classes really start to shine compared to single category classes. It is very easy for a Sentinel/Infiltrator/Vanguard to pick up some extra skills for a Adept/Engineer/Soldier profile.
That’s it, I hope that helps you with a clear path to follow for skill distribution. Now let’s talk about the other parts of your build.
No matter what build you’re playing. You will always have at least 1 gun, and 1 melee weapon. No way around it.
In my experience in terms of pure efficiency the Asari sword is just the best melee weapon. It has an invulnerability window, it can have 5 augments (More on this later), it does insane damage, it has a built-in charge with a biotic blink. Obviously use what you like, but don’t neglect this baby.
As for guns: Experiment. I strongly suggest pooling enough research and materials to build one of every gun in the game (any rank), flying to your first outpost, saving, crafting a few guns, and then trying them out. Mass Effect does have some balancing problems (not all guns are created equal) but it’s very important that you enjoy shooting your gun. Any gun can be made useful, and in my opinion it should feel good to use over more efficient. I do strongly suggest a gun with 5 augments though (Again more on this later).
In terms of pure efficiency for armor, I really on consider 4-5 contenders:
- N7 – Biotics (chest piece is good for Combo based builds as it has Biotic Recharge rate)
- Angara – Tech (Chest piece has construct damage, so consider swapping this out if another chest piece has a better bonus)
- Mercenary – Infiltrator/Soldier (Increases weakpoint damage)
- Kett – Infiltrator/Soldier (increases gun damage)
- Hyperguardian – Vanguard (Increases max shields)
- Remnant – Combo/Soldier (Increases shield and health regen rates)
Now obviously you can mix and match to your heart content, this is just based on my personal preference. I also did not include every bonus, as I’m not at my computer right now.
The most useful, the most hidden, and the most confusing part of the game. Augments are like mods you apply during creation. There is a Cryo perk that adds +1 augment slots to all development, so all my numbers include this perk. Subtract 1 if you don’t have it (or just go buy it already!)
- Guns can have up to 5 augment slots. Some of the best being: Vintage Heat Sinks, +2 Mod Slots, +5% Combo/Biotic/Tech Damage/Recharge, +3% weapon damage. I have no idea if holstered weapons augments apply when not drawn.
- Melee can have up to 5 augments slots. Some of the best being +5% Combo/Biotic/Tech Damage/Recharge, +3% weapon damage. I have no idea if the +3% weapon damage increases the gun damage, or the melee weapon itself, or both.
- Arms/Head/Legs can have up to 3 augments. Some of the best include +5 Damage Resistance (2.5% damage reduction), +2% Combo/Biotic/Tech Damage/Recharge, Elemental Melee Attack (Legs only).
- Chest can have up to 4(?) augments. Some of the best including: include +5 Damage Resistance (2.5% damage reduction), +2% Combo/Biotic/Tech Damage/Recharge, +25% shield on kill.
A few tips on augments:
You can go to the nexus and travel between the docks and any section to refresh vendors with augments if you want to farm a specific augment (looking at you +5%/+2% combo damage).
You should almost always use a +2 Mod, +25% shield on kill, Elemental Melee Slam on your Gun/Chest/Legs respectively. They are really big bonuses. You can buy a +2 Mod on Nexus and the other two are from Research.
You receive on copy of a Augment when you research it. You can then start finding that augment out in the game as drops after that point.
You get all your augments back when you break an item down. SO USE THEM.
Last but not least, mods. We have 2 types, Chest and Gun mods.
For guns it’s pretty straight forward.
- Scopes (Accuracy and adds scope when using ADS)
- Magazine (Magazine Size)
- Barrels (Weapon Damage)
- Stabilizers (Stability)
- Armor Pen (Increased damage to armor, increased terrain penetration aka wallbang)
Bronze Mods offer a flat bonus. Silver mods offer a bonus at the cost of a debuff to another stat. Depending on your weapon, plan appropriately.
As for chest pieces, it’s much simpler. You can only have 1 mod, and they are few and far between. Basically you get 1 to 2 chest mods on each world. In my opinion the best is +50% shields / -50% (25%) Health. The second number is the negative bonus after getting the Cyro perk that cuts this negative in half (GO GET THIS ONE TOO).
That’s it. Please provide feedback below and I will continue to update. I hope this helped.
I am currently playing a Combo Sentinel. My loadout is Energy Drain (Set to be a primer) + Incinerate (Extended Duration and Double Shot) + Lance (Shield use instead of recharge). I use the 1 shot pistol with +2 Mods, +Heat sinks, +15% combo damage, an asari sword with +25% combo damage, Remnant gear with +25% shields on kill, +50% shields -25% health, and +24% combo damage. I enjoy it, and it synergies perfectly. I play on insanity.
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