Though it’s not a multiplayer format new to us gamers, it does have some iconic ‘Mass Effect’ twists to it, out of which the major are the way your character(s) are leveled and how you earn experience points and credits in the game to advance yourself.
In this guide we’ll be going over some of the general know-hows of the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, and also looking at a few specific methods that should help you level up much faster than otherwise. For more help on Mass Effect 3, read our Crashes Fixes, Companions and Multiplayer Guide.
Firstly, let’s revise the general multiplayer concept:
The concept of the multiplayer is very simple; it’s a horde-styled mode, with waves of enemies coming after you and (at most) 3 other online players.
Your job is simple: fend off the enemy waves and survive. If you manage to do so for all the waves, then you are obviously victorious. However, fail and it you’ll end up depriving yourself of plenty of experience, credits and bonus points (though you still earn points and credits even if you lose).
There are up to 10 Waves of enemies that come at you, and one additional wave in which you must defend your landing zone, after which you are ready for extraction.
Simple enough? Well, it might’ve been if that was the only story. You see, there are few things to keep you on your toes, particularly in the later Waves.
Firstly, some waves will require you to upload data in random locations on the map in a limited time. Others will have you hacking a terminal and defending that region for a good while, also limiting your movement, while sometimes the objective will be to take out a specific set of enemy personnel. Basically, there are quite a few different mission-based waves, and you’ll encounter at least three of these in a match.
But that’s not all, as there are quite a few different kinds of enemies you have to face as well, which I’ll explain below.
Since there are a number of different types of horde enemies to choose from, I’ll generalize their category to make things simpler.
First are the simple enemies with no protection whatsoever. You see their health in red, and they are very vulnerable to biotic abilities and headshots. Use those.
Second are the slightly heavier types, having a layer of shield that must be finished before exposing flesh. They’re more like bullet sponges – won’t pose too much of a threat, but will seriously take up a lot of ammo and time to kill, which is bad because that just allows your four-members squad to be overwhelmed easily.
Third types are with shields – physical ones. These guys are slow, but they don’t care about cover as they have their good old riot shields, and hence they’ll constantly advance. Using biotic/tech abilities will disrupt them and give you a gap to shoot, but take care of these guys only when they get relatively closer than the other enemies.
Then we have the melee fighters with a lot of shield, a hell lot of damage, and a thing for being ultra-aggressive. They don’t care how many weapons you have – they’ll sprint in, try to take you out while their nose nearly touches yours (unless you’re a Quarian, in which case it would be more like ‘face mask’).
This makes them the biggest threat, as they carry the other enemy variants, leading from the front and really closing the gap you so love between your enemies and yourself.
Lastly, we have the biggest of all – the heavies. In case of Cerberus, these are man-mounted mechs called Atlas. They have a thick layer of shield, and are entirely armor underneath. That means that some weapons such as Submachine Guns and Shotguns are not a great idea against the slow but terribly damaging mechs. You’ll face at least three of these in every match, and there’s a special treat for them, which we’ll talk about later on.
Experience Points and Credits
These two things are what you can call your income – you play multiplayer and fend off a variety of enemies to earn this stuff.
Unlike many other games, Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer doesn’t base its experience points’ distribution on to how many kills you got. Instead, the amount of damage you did to assist in killing an enemy is what really counts.
This means that you might get a kill with last hit, but you’ll only get a very small amount of points, just for the bit of damage you helped in doing.
This concept obviously changes the entire aspect of selfish gameplay, because all you really have to do to earn more experience points is to deal out as much damage as possible.
Sure, there are additional points for various match achievements at the end like ’25 kills’ and all, but they are balanced with achievements related to assists, so you needn’t worry about anything like that.
Simply put, kills and assists are treated the same way in this game – it’s really the amount of damage you do that counts.
Credits have a slightly different story as compared to XP. The best way to earn credits in the multiplayer is through winning matches, or through the different objectives given to you.
This means that whenever you have to upload data in different areas in the map within limited time, or have to hack a terminal and defend it, or have to kill specific enemy personnel, the major amount of credits go to the one who manages to actually initiate and execute the sequence successfully.
How To Level Up Fast
Fast leveling obviously means earning points as quickly as possible. When it comes to shooting, just make sure you are doing tons of damage. Also, try to focus on your own enemy – don’t start shooting away at an enemy another team member is already busy with, unless of course they are in trouble.
This is because the more damage you do to an enemy, the more XP you get once that specific enemy dies.
The bigger meaner baddies obviously give you more experience. This makes the Atlas and other similar heavy enemies come in a special category. Try to do as much damage to these guys, as they offer a lot of XP. This is where your cruise missiles come in.
Most people use these on the first Atlas they encounter, and it immediately destroys it. However, I would personally recommend using it on the final Atlas or heavy enemy type you encounter, as it is generally the toughest.
There are also other things to keep in mind that will get you more points. The most obvious are headshots – they don’t get you points directly, mind you. Instead, they accumulate, and ’10 headshots’ or so will unlock an achievement, which will give you extra points.
There are many achievements like these that can be executed, such as ’25 kills with SMG/Shotgun/Sniper Rifle/Assault Rifle (you get the idea)’. Try to aim for these if you can – the amount of points you get from these can really stack up well at the end.
Of course, these aren’t the only few things that will give you XP. If a team-mate is downed, you have the chance to revive him/her by going near and pressing space, and waiting for a meter to fill up. This will also give you plenty of experience.
In short, do whatever it takes to be a team-player, and you’ll be leveling in a manner you’ve never seen before.
Tips for Earning Credits
As previously stated, Credits aren’t earned by killing enemies, but by completing out the randomly generated wave missions.
Every time such waves come, think of them as your golden ticket, as they are the main source of credits. Try to complete the objectives as quickly as possible, but don’t be too hasty, as it can leave you terribly exposed and numerically out-matched.
Now, earning credits is demanding, but spending it is just as tricky. While it may look simple enough, spending credits is more of a strategic move than a common sense one.
As discussed in the Multiplayer Guide, the player can either purchase the recruit package or veteran package.
The Recruit package contains 5 random but useful materials and equipment which are rather common and not necessarily unique. It costs 5000 credits.
The Veteran package contains 5 random but advanced materials and equipment, with at least 1 uncommon item in it. It costs a whopping 25000 credits.
While the Veteran package is an tempting offer that makes one want to save, it is generally a good idea to actually buy the Recruit package the first few times (depending on how well you’ve started off) to get some cheap but very useful equipment for yourself.
Once you feel you already have decent amount of necessary items, you can then decide to go for the Veteran package, depending on your needs.
Races and Classes
Though races and classes may seem like something entirely exclusive to the player’s choice (which they pretty much are), there is a thing or two to keep in mind about them.
Firstly, each race has its own unique ability. For example, a human has the ability to roll to avoid fire, but their melee attack is relatively weak.
Krogans, on the other hand, have the ability of doing a melee charge attack – a very powerful tool in taking out close by enemies. However, krogans can’t roll because of their physique.
When it comes to classes, there are a couple of very important things to note.
For a given class, it doesn’t matter which race you pick – you will always have the same level. So, if I’ve been playing with a human Infiltrator and am on level 10 with it, I will remain level 10 if I changed the race from human to say turian.
However, if I changed the class to any other, my level would be 1 (unless I’ve played and leveled it). Thus each class needs to be leveled up individually.
Now, the other important thing is the set of weapons available. Luckily, all classes can equip all four weapon types.
However, there’s a catch. Heavier weapon load-outs tend to decrease your abilities’ recharge time. Okay, that’s not a big issue for a class like Soldier (which is why I recommend them using Snipers and Assault Rifles), but it will really have an impact on some of the more ability-oriented classes, such as Adept and Engineer.
So, for such classes it is best to use light weaponry like SMGs and pistols/shotguns instead of heavy weapons, as they will severely cripple your recharge time.
Stay tuned for more guides on Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer in the near future.