Do you have what it takes to survive a Reaper Banshee on a premenstrual chocolate and chick flicks bender? I’m not sure I do either, but I do know you should probably just keeping moving backwards and try shooting her in the head before she tears the place apart looking for her Hello Kitty pyjamas. I mean, that usually works – and it’s this kind of information that could be all that’s between you and the end of everything, so it’s important to know.

With that in mind then, I’ve compiled this and other super strategies for win-screening Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode in this conveniently relevant Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode guide. Hit the jump for the win.

"Where's my microwavable ladybug beanbag thing? I have cramps."

Firstly, let’s look at this by the numbers:

  • There are three difficulty levels, awarding 15,000 (Bronze), 30,000 (Silver), and 60,000 (Gold) XP for completion respectively.
  • Each mission is 10 waves plus one bonus wave. Most of the XP is awarded at the end of wave 10, although there’s extra XP if you survive the bonus wave.
  • Extra XP is also awarded for weapon- and ability-specific kills, headshots, revives, and whatnot.
  • Character levels max out at 20. Characters under level 10 should not attempt Silver or Gold difficulty. More on that later.
  • Completing a mission also boosts the game’s shared campaign Galaxy at War Galactic Readiness rating, meaning you need fewer War Assets to add to your Effective Military Strength number, which in turns has an impact on the game’s ending.

 

PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

Just like a real counter-offensive, Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode requires close cooperation and communication between players. Go with a headset or go home, and then you can tell your mother the entire universe is being overrun by angry sentient robots because you don’t know which vowels go in “team”.

Also, stay close to your teammates and use cover. Don’t be the guy who goes down on the other side of the map under a churning mass of Reaper Brutes and Cannibals, leading tragically but no less inevitably to what is now known as the Firebase Dagger Domino Death Effect.

The team that’s comprised of a mix of classes and weapon / ability loadouts is the team that doesn’t go home in N7-branded bodybags, so get this organised in the lobby. Basically, never deploy without big guns, biotics, and somebody who has Overload, Sabotage, or Energy Drain.

 

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

There’s an XP boost for letting the game decide where to put you, and what to put you up against when you get there, but if you’re going for Silver or Gold, it’s a better idea to choose so your team can prepare properly. The XP bonus isn’t worth anything if it’s all over at the end of wave 3.

Cerberus and the Geth are much, much easier enemies than the Reapers, mostly because between the Brutes, the Ravagers, and the Banshees, everything can end very instantly on harder difficulties, whatever the plans of mice, men, and the Human Systems Alliance – best laid or otherwise.

If you’re determined to take on the Reapers, though:

  • The Brutes have a weak spot on their spinal columns, and their armour is easily damaged with Incinerate and Carnage.
  • Ravagers are also very vulnerable to Incinerate and Carnage.
  • The Banshee will pursue a single target at a time. Use this to your advantage, and have your teammates flank her while you avoid her charges, and/or move backwards, attacking her. Her biotic barrier is particularly weak against Overload, Energy Drain, and rapid-fire weapons, but be aware that, because she doesn’t have a health gauge, some abilities – including Pull and Stasis – do no damage to her whatsoever. Do not let her get too close, as she has a one-hit mêlée kill. As a last resort, a Cobra missile will send her to Banshee heaven.

 

For Cerberus:

  • The one enemy you really have to worry about here is the Phantom. Have an Asari Vanguard or Adept spec’ed for Stasis to counter their speed, or even incapacitate them. A maxed  Overload or Energy Drain blast can knock out their barriers in one shot too.

 

And Geth:

  • Winners spam Energy Drain. The Sabotage ability is also fantastic here, and saves on bullets.

Maps are a more personal preference thing, maybe, but I’ve won more games on Firebase Ghost than any other, and by a significant margin. The map’s abundance of corners make for a quick escape when things go wrong, the multiple elevations can be exploited to slow down enemy pursuit, and due to the layout and structures, objectives are rarely out in the open.

 

THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB

When it comes to buying gear, you should divvy up most of your cash between Recruit and Veteran Packs, and only blow out on a Spectre (or special) Pack if you’ve got loads of extra buckazoids. The Recruit Pack almost always includes helpful stuff like Cobra missiles, Medi-gel, and ammo mods that can make a huge difference. A seventh Salarian Engineer, not so much.

That said, I’ve bought one Spectre Pack, and it had a Carnifex in it. Score. I don’t have a reason to buy another one.

Don’t waste ammo mods in Bronze difficulty – save them for Silver or Gold instead, when they actually matter.

If you’re feeling brave, taking only a single weapon massively increases your power recharge time, making you more versatile in combat if you rely on a mix of weapons and abilities. An Infiltrator who can recloak every few seconds is a much more useful Infiltrator than an Infiltrator who also packed an assault rifle.

 

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

If you’re starting a new character, bump it down to Bronze difficulty unless you want to spend most of the next four waves on your knees. Before the game ends. And everybody hates you. Forever.

 

MONEY MONEY MONEY

The faster you complete objectives, the more cash you’ll bank for it. The hacking objective is completed faster when everybody is in the target zone, so don’t break it unless it’s an emergency. Again, map choice is important here.

 

TIME IS (ALMOST) ALWAYS ON YOUR SIDE

Unless you have an objective to complete, there’s no time limit, so take things nice and slow. It’s always better to run away strategically withdraw and regroup somewhere else than die in a sad, soggy little heap just because somebody was in a big rush to impress everybody else.

If you go down, don’t use Medi-gel to revive yourself unless you’re about to get stomped by an enemy. It’s better to have Medi-gel and not need it then not have Medi-gel because you used it the moment you went down right next to three teammates. True story.