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Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer: Class Details, Maps & How XP Works

Adam Barnes

Feature


Everything you need to know about Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer and co-op modes.

Published on Feb 14, 2012

The Mass Effect 3 demo is now live, letting Xbox 360, PS3 and PC gamers get a taster of both single-player and multiplayer elements of Mass Effect 3 prior to the game’s release on 6 March.

Not everyone will have access to the multiplayer, however, since EA has seen fit to restrict that to only those gamers who have an online pass activated for Battlefield 3. Not one for making it simple, eh EA?

But what exactly does the multiplayer segment of the Mass Effect 3 demo tell us? We already have a pretty good idea about how the single-player is shaping up, but this is the first time we’ve had the chance to see multiplayer close up.

Here are all the details about Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode:

Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer begins with character selection

You’ll be prompted immediately after starting Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer (well, after a loading screen anyway) to choose your character.

This means character name, spacesuit colour and your class and race. Initially you’ll only have access to the human race with six classes to pick from out of the traditional classes of Mass Effect. The classes are:

- Adept (Human Male)
- Soldier (Human Male)
- Engineer (Human Male)
- Sentinel (Human Female)
- Infiltrator (Human Female)
- Vanguard (Human Female)

Each match takes place through 10 waves

The demo only has access to two maps – Firebase Ghost and Firebase White. Each map plays the same, however, where you must fight through increasingly difficult waves of enemies, Horde-style.

This time there’s a twist, however. The type of mission differs between waves and is randomly selected. While the majority are simple hunting rounds as you pick off opposing forces, others task you with hacking a terminal, gathering intel from specific locations or killing targeted enemies – all within an allotted time.

It’s not much, but it does mix up the Horde template a little – forcing you to move out of a safe position.

Unlocks are bought through in-game ‘packs’

Earning credits is simple. Though you won’t earn anything for just killing enemies (though naturally you’ll get experience points), each time you complete an objective in a round you’ll gather credits.

These are amalgamated together into one pool, which can then be used to purchase different content packs. The first one is free, after that you can choose to get a pack for 5,000 or 20,000 credits.

Regardless of which you buy you’ll get five random items. This collectable card style system could drop a new weapon or character, while additional one-use items such as medi-kits or ammo crates can boost your in-match supplies.

How much you spend affects the grade of unlockable items – but there is an unassailable fear that this will lead to microtransactions to buy additional credits. 

Each race has unique abilities and styles

Picking one race over another has quite a lot of consequences you might need to first consider. A human Soldier, for example, will have entirely different abilities when compared to the Krogan or Turian Soldiers.

Don’t worry, you’re not forced into a single character creation. You can switch character at any time outside of a match and they are all levelled individually, so if you don’t like one set of abilities you’re not locked in.

More than that, though, different races play differently. Humans can roll, for example, letting them evade damage and quick get to cover. Heavyweight Krogan’s, however, cannot but are instead able to deal huge damage with a charging melee attack.

Here’s a list of each race and class combination, and the specific abilities they can have:

Adept 

Human Male/Female
- Warp
- Singularity
- Shockwave

Asari
- Stasis
- Warp
- Throw

Drell
- Reave
- Pull
- Cluster Grenade

Soldier

Human Male/Female
- Adrenaline Rush
- Concussive Shot
- Frag Grenade

Krogan
- Carnage
- Fortification
- Inferno Grenade

Turian
- Marksman
- Concussive Shot
- Proximity Mine

Engineer

Human Male/Female
- Incinerate
- Overload
- Combat Drone

Quarian
- Incinerate
- Cyro Blast
- Sentry Turret

Salarian
- Combat Drone
- Energy Drain
- Decoy

Sentinel

Human Male/Female
- Throw
- Warp
- Tech Armor

Turian
- Warp
- Overload
- Tech Armor

Krogan
- Incinerate
- Lift Grenade
- Tech Armor

Infiltrator

Human Male/Female
- Sticky Grenade
- Tactical Cloak
- Cryo Blast

Salarian
- Energy Drain
- Tactical Cloak
- Proximity Mine

Quarian
- Sticky Grenade
- Tactical Cloak
- Sabotage

Vanguard

Human Male/Female
- Biotic Charge
- Shockwave
- Nova

Drell
- Biotic Charge
- Pull
- Cluster Grenade

Asari
- Biotic Charge
- Stasis
- Lift Grenade

Any class can equip any weapon

While the single-player will generally restrict Shepard to specific weapons – at least prior to collecting upgrades – multiplayer frees every character to pick and choose the loadout they want.

You can only equip two weapons at once, but they can be of any class. Each weapon has it’s own weight, too; equipping two heavier weapons will increase your ability recharge time, while having two lighter weapons (or just one heavy weapon) will decrease the base recharge time.

So quicker classes, like the Infiltrator, is better suited to having a lighter loadout – letting them quickly reuse Shadow Cloak in a pinch. Soldiers are less bothered about their ability charge times, letting them focus on dealing heavy damage with their weapons.

Game setup, difficulty and bonus experience

For demo purposes it’s obviously much easier to jump into Quick Match and get assigned to whatever free game there is, but there is the option create your own with specific settings.

This could be a certain map or which enemies you’ll be fighting (though it’s currently limited to only Cerberus). Interestingly, however, pick a random mission and you’ll earn 10 per cent extra experience throughout that match.

Then there’s the difficulty, which comes in three flavours: bronze, silver and – surprise, surprise – gold. Bronze is manageable, but you won’t be able to tackle silver and gold levels until you have a decent level co-op character and, preferably, a team of friends to fight alongside.

Seriously, this game is hard.

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