New Player Help for Mass Effect features information revolving around the basics of the game and the its mechanics for a better understanding of the diverse areas Mass Effect covers.

Useful Links

  • 10 Tips for Mass Effect: Tips and Tricks Beginner Guide to get you going on the ME Legendary Edition!
  • Armor: For a detailed guide on the different types of Armor.
  • Commander Shepard: Information regarding the main character, Commander Shepard.
  • Classes: Information on the starting classes and the advanced classes.
  • Combat: Information regarding the combat phase of the game.
  • Controls: A detailed guide on the controls for all platforms.
  • FAQs: A detailed guide regarding the most common questions regarding Mass Effect.
  • NPCs: For a complete list of all NPCs.
  • Talents: A detailed guide on what each talent brings to the table.
  • Walkthrough: An engrossing guide on how to complete the game, including all items, NPCs and Locations.
  • Weapons: For a detailed guide on all the weapons that can be acquired throughout Mass Effect.


ME Beginner Guide





General Information

  • Incredible, interactive storytelling. Create and customize your own character, from Commander Shepard's appearance and skills to a personalized arsenal. Unleash devastating abilities as you command and train. Your decisions will control the outcome of each mission, your relationships with your crew and ultimately the entire war.
  • An amazing universe to explore. From the massive Citadel to the harsh, radioactive landscape of the Krogan home world – the incredible breadth of the Mass Effect universe will blow you away. Travel to the farthest outposts aboard the SSV Normandy, the most technologically advanced ship in the galaxy. You'll follow the clues left by ancient civilizations, discover hidden bases with fantastic new tech and lead your hand-picked crew into explosive alien battles.
  • Edge-of-your-seat excitement meets strategic combat. Find the perfect combination of squad-mates and weapons for each battle if you want to lead them to victory. Sun-Tzu's advice remains as pertinent in 2183 as it is today – know your enemy. You'll need different tactics for a squad of enemies with devastating biotic attacks than a heavily armored Geth Colossus so choose your teams wisely.
  • Interactions: Engage in emotionally charged interactions with the most realistic digital actors ever seen in a video game, using an innovative new dialog system.
  • Squad: Find the perfect combination of squad-mates and weapons for each battle if you want to lead them to victory. 
  • Story Create and customize your own character, from Commander Shepard's appearance and skills to a personalized arsenal. Unleash devastating abilities as you command and train. Your decisions will control the outcome of each mission

Commander Shepard

Commander Shepard in Mass Effect is the main protagonist and playable character of the game.  He is a male (default) Alliance Military Soldier named John, with the Earthborn/Sole Survivor profile. Shepard is classified N7 by the Human Alliance Military, being the hardest and best training for a Human soldier.

Shepard can be a male or female, named John or Jane depending on the chosen gender. That only affects who will be the romance subplot of the game. The player can customize the first name, which is never spoken aloud in the game, to their pleasure, while the last name cannot be altered for purposes of dialogue. 

Commander Shepard Background

Pre-service History represents the first of many choices that affect how characters will react to you during gameplay. Also, gives you a Morality System bonus, depending on your selection. This is not just text you'll never see again; your choices here affect the storyline by accessing exclusive assignments (side quests) and Shepard's dialogues with various NPCs during the career.

You can customize your character’s early history choosing between:

Earthborn Colonist Spacer

Psychological Profile opens up different dialogue options during gameplay and affects the character's morality. The Psychological profile makes up the second part of your agent's background. Each background choice comes with certain bonuses that directly affect your desired style of play. Your choice affects dialogue during the story and assignments made available at certain points of your career. 

You can customize your character’s early Psychological Profile in Character Creation choosing between

Ruthless  War Hero Sole Survivor


Character Creation

Character Creation for Mass Effect allows players to fully customize their hero. In creating your character, you will be given the opportunity to choose your Pre-service History (Origin), Psychological Profile (Reputation), Military Specialization (Class) and the appearance of your character. Also, you can have a starting team of male and female, or male and male or female and female.  There is a PC-only feature that allows you to create, name, and once again add a custom face to each of your squad members. However you choose to roleplay your squad, custom portraits can help put on a finishing touch.


Talents in Mass Effect is an area of expertise that can improve as you progress in the game. As you gain experience, you acquire Talent Points that you can spend to improve aspects of your character. The talents available to you and your squad are determined by the Class selected in Character Creation.

Biotic Talents

Biotic Talents in Mass Effect are the abilities that allows individuals to create and manipulate fields of dark energy with the brain. Biotic Talents can be used to create protective shields, kick off enemies over from a distance, and gravity manipulation, making them an invaluable tool in combat. Biotic Talents can be improved by using surgical implants called Biotic Amps.



Abilities in Mass Effect are the special tactics granted by becoming increasingly more skilled in any given Talent. For example, training a Soldier with the Assault Rifle Talent eventually grants the three levels of the Overkill ability that get increasingly more lethal: you earn Overkill at level 3, Advanced Overkill at level 9, and finally Master Overkill at level 12. By spending more points in a talent, a character can eventually become proficient in several master-level abilities that dramatically increase their prowess in battle or grant valuable squad support abilities.

Abilities can be learned by the player's character after certain Talents Levels have been unlocked and can be upgraded up to three times after spending a certain amount of Talent points in said talent.  

Morality System

Morality System in Mass Effect is determined by Paragon And Renegade Meters. These meters track your choices throughout gameplay. The Paragon meter increases when your choices are noble, cooperative, or self-sacrificing. Paragons achieve their goals by doing the right thing in the right way. The Renegade meter increases when your choices are aggressive, selfish, or ruthless. Renegades achieve their goals by any means necessary.


There are six base classes, SoldierEngineerAdeptInfiltratorSentinel and Vanguard, with variable strength in up to three areas for the player and two squad members. Some classes concentrate all their strength in one skill area; others divide it between two areas to balance tactics. Combat skills deal maximum damage to enemies. Tech skills allow decrypting security systems and weakening enemy weapons. Biotic skills enable brain impulses to manipulate the physical world.

Character Advancement

As the squad gains experience, they advance in level. All members of the squad level up together. At each level, characters gain Talent Points. Press U to access the Squad Menu. Here you can spend Talent Points to improve the squad's abilities. Remember to level up ALL your squad members!

If you don't want to select your Talents point by point, click the Auto Level Up button to automatically spend points on Talents appropriate to the character's class. If you are not satisfied with any changes, click the Undo Talent Points button to revert all changes. Note: once you exit the Squad Menu, you can no longer Undo.


Mass Effect Combat and Exploration

Combat Tips

Use cover whenever possible.Irregularly-shaped objects may not allow you to move into cover mode behind them. Flat surfaces offer the most reliable cover. 

Press I Left Control Ito toggle into and out of crouch mode. While crouching, your weapons fire is more accurate, but you move slowly.

Press and hold Shift while using the movement keys to "storm" (sprint) for a short distance. While moving in storm mode, you will become fatigued — a bar appears in the lower left of the screen to show your level of fatigue. If you leave storm mode, fatigue will bleed away. If you run until the fatigue bar fills, you will be forced to return to normal movement speed, and will not be able storm again until all fatigue has bled away.

Check your Weapon Upgrades before entering a fight to ensure they fit the enemies you are about to encounter.


Equipment can be bought from Merchants, looted from containers, or taken from defeated enemies. Equipment from enemies will be automatically added to your inventory; there is no need to stop and search corpses. Press I to access the Equipment Screen, which consists of several "boxes" next to an image of the currently selected character.

Armor protects characters from all damage that breaks through shields, reducing it by a fixed percentage. Each suit of armor also gives a level of resistance to biotic and tech power attacks. Heavier armor tends to provide greater protection against all attacks, but requires additional training and slows the character slightly.

All characters possess shields called "kinetic barriers" that absorb a limited amount of damage. In order to harm an enemy, you must first blast through their shields. If shields are damaged, take cover and avoid further damage to give them a chance to regenerate. The Shield Boost power immediately recharges shields.

Some weapon upgrades do extra damage to shields, or allow shots partially bypass them to and strike the character within. 

Vehicle Movement

Basic movement controls for the Mako are the same as walking:

  • Forward: W
  • Turn Left: A
  • Turn Right: D
  • Reverse: S

Press Spacebar to trigger the Mako's thrusters, allowing it to jump over obstacles and enemy missiles. The thrusters propel the Mako upwards relative to the ground. If parked on a 45-degree slope, the Mako will be propelled off to one side, not straight up.

Moving the mouse changes the facing of the Mako's turret and guns, but NOT the direction the Mako moves in. If the turret is not facing towards the front of the vehicle, you will not be able to see where you are driving. 

Press E to enter and Q to exit the Mako. Exit the Mako to fight on foot or enter buildings and facilities.

Press N to leave an uncharted world and return to the Normandy.


To speak to characters, approach them and press E. Most will open the dialogue wheel conversation interface; some will simply respond with a comment.

To select Shepard's responses, move the mouse over the option that best suits your personality and click the Left Mouse Button. Friendly or diplomatic options are placed on the top "spokes" of the conversation wheel, while angry or rude options are placed on the bottom. The spoke directly to the right is a default response that is not particularly friendly or hostile. You will never miss any content by choosing the default options, allowing you to safely skim through a conversation.

The spoke directly to the left is used for "investigate" options. Investigate options provide additional background, but are never required to advance the plot.

If there are many investigation options, choosing the "Investigate" spoke opens a sub-menu of questions. To return to the main topic, select the "Return" option on the right-hand spoke.

Only Shepard may gain the persuasion Talents of Charm and Intimidate. When persuasion skills are used in conversations, they are placed on the left-hand side of the conversation wheel, and distinguished by color. Charm options appear blue, and Intimidate options red. If you lack the level of Talent required to access a persuasive option, it will be greyed out and un-selectable.

The Galaxy Map

The Galaxy Map can be found on the top level of the Normandy. To direct the ship to visit a new location, approach the holographic galaxy and press E.

The Galaxy Map has low levels of detail. When opened, you will see the entire Milky Way, with various colonized dusters highlighted. From here you can zoom in through levels of detail by using the mouse to move the red "croshairs" over a destination and clicking the Left Mouse Button. The levels of detail are:

  • Galaxy
  • Cluster
  • Star System
  • Planet / Ship

Decryption and Electronics

If any character in the squad possesses the Decryption Talent, you gain the ability to override locks on doors and equipment containers. If any character has the Electronics Talent, you gain the ability to repair or salvage broken equipment. If there are multiple characters in the squad with the appropriate Talent, the highest skill is used.

To use Decryption or Electronics, approach an object and press E to interact with it. A pop-up box will tell you what options are available, based on your level of skill and the difficulty of the lock / repair. If your skill is not high enough to even attempt the task, you will be told so. If your skill is barely enough, you may bypass the mechanism by expending omni-gel. If your skill is sufficient, you have the option of playing a mini-game to unlock! re.- ir the otfect without exending omni-gel.

In the mini-game, you control a probe that begins at the bottom of the screen. It can be moved using the basic movement commands:

  • Forward: W
  • Left (Clockwise): A
  • Right: (Counterclockwise): D
  • Back: S

In the center of the screen is a countdown timer that indicates how much time you have to successfully complete the game. You must get the probe to the center before the timer runs out. This is complicated by concentric rings of obstacles representing countermeasures and "broken bits." Some obstacles probe hits an obstacle, it will be knocked back to its starting position at the bottom.

If you fail to complete the mini-game in the time allowed, you still have the option to complete the decryption / repair by expending omni-gel.


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