The game is a couple of weeks old, so chances are the number of people playing Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer for the first time will increase rather than decrease. The following text is supposed to make life easier for those, but also for everyone willing to consider different strategies and approaches. What you will not find here is a patent solution, no “go here, do this, win” step-by-step guide. These tips are not supposed to make you top scorer in each and every round to play – though you might be surprised by how often you’ll end up in the upper half of your scoreboard.

It’s co-op first, multiplayer second

This is something many players seem to forget. It’s about cooperating first and foremost, because in the end your individual results won’t matter: the same amount of money and experience points is being given to every team member. Yes, the scoreboard will provide each individual’s achievements in detail – but so what? Taking down a brute might take as long as taking down a bunch of cannibals and husks and not earn you as much XP or an achievement – but it might keep your team from getting flanked and overrun.

Remember: it is a team game. There are up to four players on the field and you are all responsible for each other.

This leads to these extremely important aspects:

  1. Get to know the maps as soon as possible!
  2. Be aware of your surroundings at any time!
  3. Do what’s necessary, not what seems most fun!
  4. Together you’ll stand, divided you’ll fall!

Ad 1.: If you’ve played the Mass Effect 3 campaign, you’ll realise that all 6 current multiplayer maps are – an optional – part of that campaign. I’d suggest taking the chance to play these maps in singleplayer, because unlike your squadmates in multiplayer, your AI buddies will support you unconditionally and you’re also being introduced to the various types of objectives in multiplayer. Knowing the maps is key to survival: where to run when a banshee is after you? Where to take cover while protecting a squadmate? You’ll get to know the spawning locations – and spawn system with experience, but by that time you should already know the map layout.

Ad 2.: Mass Effect does not only look good – it sounds even better. Make use of that!

  • Squadmates will announce an enemy type at the beginning of each wave, usually indicating the most threatening type of that wave, especially helpful if you’re playing with random settings.
  • Various types of enemies do have very distinctive sounds. Listen closely to get an advance warning on Geth Hunters or Phantoms decloaking, look out for the start-up sound of the Atlas mech, the heavy roar and trampling of the brute, the biotic jump sound and shrieks of the banshees and dozens others.
  • Listen to the announcer as he has vital info for you: squadmate down, objective completion, time remaining. etc. You are not an island on the battlefield – listen to what’s going on.
  • Look around you! Yes, it is seductive to keep staring straight ahead, especially when lots of enemies are headed your way, but you should still look around you every now and then as the game tends to send enemies in flanking manoeuvers occasionally.

Ad 3.: Okay, you chose a bad spot. The majority of enemies hits your 3 squad members, you’re fighting off random stragglers. Write the wave off as boring and reposition yourself in the next wave. Don’t just wander off and give up the flank. Yes, you might score an additional kill, maybe 2 assists… but you’ll leave your team in a vulnerable state. As mentioned earlier: the game tends to send enemies from more than one direction. Your team got wiped out because something rolled over it from behind where you used to be/should have been? Unnecessary and avoidable.

Remember: combat in your location might seem tedious, having to start over will be worse.

Ad 4.: Yes, this is close to the initial point about this mode being co-op, but it’s important, so another repetition won’t hurt: it’s a team effort, no one is in this on their own. Move together, strike together, stay close to each other. These two screenshots show behavior that isn’t helping much:


In case of screenshot 1, two people are wandering off. What if both go down? The two remaining members will be forced to fight their way through to revive – or fight the remaining enemies on their own, maybe even complete objectives. It is a decision that might weaken the team significantly, even put team victory in jeopardy. In addition, this being a default spawning location, it forces new spawning positions for the enemy, allowing what could be target practice to turn into a surprise attack by an overwhelming force on a separated player team.

Screenshot 2 shows a player wandering off SOLO 20 seconds into the 2 minute evac time. What to do if he goes down? Simply accept the 10k xp penalty for the partial extraction over a full extraction? Fight through waves of enemies, hoping to get there in time to revive? Risking more players to go down, maybe even a team wipe with less than 2 minutes to survive until the mission would be a success?

Remember: it’s a co-operative effort. You’re usually safer with your squad than without. Avoid straying away.

To be continued. Topics: build suggestions for certain classes, tactical positioning, strategies.