Mass Effect 3

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Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Guide

Multiplayer guide for Mass Effect 3.

***********************TABLE OF CONTENTS**************************

I. General
   A. Searching this guide
   B. Multi and Single
   C. "Horde Mode"

II. Gameplay
   A. Game setup
      1. Wave system
      2. Objectives
          a. Kill tarets
          b. Activate objects
          c. Hack computer
      3. Managing your team
          a. What N7 rank means
          b. Kicking players
   B. Difficulty levels
      1. Bronze
      2. Silver
      3. Gold
   C. Maps
   D. Enemies
      1. Cerberus
      2. Geth
      3. Reapers

III. Characters and Skills
   A. Capabilities common to all characters
      1. Weapons
         a. Sniper Rifles
         b. Assault Rifles
         c. Submachine Guns
         d. Shotguns
         e. Heavy Pistols
         f. Weapons to avoid
      2. Melee
         a. Grab
      3. Consumables
      4. Equipment
         a. Ammunition
         b. Rails
         c. Armor
      5. Reviving
      6. Combination effects
   B. Adepts
      1. Human
         a. Singularity
         b. Warp
         c. Shockwave
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Asari
         a. Stasis
         b. Warp
         c. Throw
         d. Asari Justicar
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Drell
         a. Reave
         b. Pull
         c. Cluster Grenade
         d. Drell Assassin
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
   C. Soldiers
      1. Human
         a. Adrenaline Rush
         b. Concussive Shot
         c. Frag Grenade
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Krogan
         a. Fortification
         b. Carnage
         c. Inferno Grenade
         d. Krogan Berserker
         e. Rage
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Turian
         a. Marksman
         b. Concussive Shot
         c. Proximity Mine
         d. Turian Veteran
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
   D. Engineers
      1. Human
         a. Combat Drone
         b. Incinerate
         c. Overload
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Quarian
         a. Sentry Turret
         b. Incinerate
         c. Cryo Blast
         d. Quarian Defender
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Salarian
         a. Energy Drain
         b. Decoy
         c. Incinerate
         d. Salarian Operative
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
   E. Sentinels
      1. Human
         a. Tech Armor
         b. Warp
         c. Throw
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Turian
         a. Tech Armor
         b. Warp
         c. Overload
         d. Turian Veteran
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Krogan
         a. Tech Armor
         b. Incinerate
         c. Lift Grenade
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
   F. Infiltrators
      1. Human
         a. Tactical Cloak
         b. Cryo Blast
         c. Sticky Grenade
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Salarian Prox/Ene
         a. Tactical Cloak
         b. Proximity Mine
         c. Energy Drain
         d. Salarian Operative
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Quarian
         a. Tactical Cloak
         b. Sticky Grenade
         c. Sabotage
         d. Quarian Defender
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
   G. Vanguards
      1. Human
         a. Biotic Charge
         b. Shockwave
         c. Nova
         d. Alliance Training
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      2. Drell
         a. Biotic Charge
         b. Pull
         c. Cluster Grenade
         d. Drell Assassin
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics
      3. Asari
         a. Biotic Charge
         b. Stasis
         c. Lift Grenade
         d. Asari Justicar
         e. Fitness
         f. Recommended skills and tactics

IV. Rewards, loot, and gear
   A. Rewards
      1. Experience
      2. Credits
      3. Special objectives
   B. What's in the packs?
      1. Recruit
      2. Veteran
      3. Spectre
      4. Others
   C. The Armory
      1. Sniper Rifles
         a. Sniper Rifle upgrades
      2. Assault Rifles
         a. Assault Rifle upgrades
      3. Submachine Guns
         a. Submachine Gun upgrades
      4. Shotguns
         a. Shotgun upgrades
      5. Heavy Pistols
         a. Heavy Pistol upgrades
   D. Recommendations on which pack to buy

V. Bestiary
   A. Cerberus
      1. Trooper
      2. Nemesis
      3. Centurion
      4. Guardian
      5. Combat Engineer
         a. Turret
      6. Phantom
      7. Atlas
   B. Geth
      1. Basic
      2. Missile thing
      3. Pyro
      4. Hunter
      5. Prime
         a. Drones and turrets
   C. Reaper
      1. Cannibal
      2. Husk
      3. Marauder
      4. Brute
      5. Ravager
         a. Swarmer
      6. Banshee
   
VI. Closing comments

*******************Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Guide****************

--------------I. General

This is a guide to the multiplayer component of the ME3 gameplay.  It
was written for the PC version, but all of the advice should apply in
a similar fashion to other platforms.

__________
   A. Searching this guide

For now, searching the table of contents for the exact phrases, such
as "1. Cannibal" should take you only to the table of contents and to
the relevant section of the guide.  I may add a fancier search index
later, but for now this is just a first release.

__________
   B. Multi and Single

Multiplayer for ME3 has one specific purpose - raise the galactic
readiness level to improve your effective military strength (EMS) in
the single player game.  The only benefit of increasing EMS is if you
have not completed all of the side missions in the game and want the
normal endings or if you want the "gasp" ending.

In short, most people play multiplayer because multiplayer is fun,
not because it helps them in the single player campaign.

In addition to raising galactic readiness, you can also increase your
EMS by promoting characters from this mode - doing so gives you a war
asset.

__________
   C. "Horde Mode"

The style of the multiplayer is informally called "horde mode" 
referring to a gameplay style in the Gears of War series, which Mass 
Effect has more than borrowed from in other ways.

It is a cooperative mode of up to four players against waves of 
enemies.  There is no friendly fire and there is no player versus
player option.  A competitive score is shown, but it has no effect on
the match - all players in a game receive the same rewards.

__________

--------------II. Gameplay

This section addresses the basic mechanics of the game in general
terms.  For specifics, see sections III through V of this guide.

__________
   A. Game setup

There is only one game mode.  To join a match, it is generally best to
search for one instead of creating your own.  When searching, be sure
to set the correct difficulty - attempting to join a Gold match at low
levels will usually result in the other players kicking you out.  The
advantage to creating your own match is that you will be the host, and
the host always has the least lag.  This is critical for some play
styles, such as Human Vanguard charge/nova.

***
1. Wave system
***

There are 11 waves in each match.  Each wave includes a set of enemies
which will spawn on the map and generally each higher wave will
include a larger number of stronger enemies.  Waves 3, 6, and 10 each
have a random objective and enemies will spawn infinitely until the
objective is completed.  For waves 1-10, the wave ends when all 
enemies have been defeated.  For wave 11, a two minute timer starts
and when it ends the round is over.  Wave 11 also has infinite enemy
spawns.

At the end of each wave, all dead players are revived and everyone
receives a limited amount of ammuniton.

***
2. Objectives
***

Wave 3, 6, and 10 each include a random objective.  There are three
varieties of objective, and the one you get each time will be random,
so you could have the same objective each time or get one of each in
a single match.

If the time expires on an objective other than extraction, the match
ends in failure.

Completing objectives gives credits, and once the credits are rewarded
failing will not take them away.  Completing objectives quickly gives
a bonus, but the bonus is not substantially affected by the time
remaining.  The wave 11 extraction objective gives xp instead of
credits.

Enemies spawn infinitely until you complete objectives, so hunting
down enemies that are not involved in the objective or otherwise not
helping may prove unpopular with your team members.

          a. Kill tarets

          In this objective, a timer is set and one of the spawned
          enemies is marked as a target.  When the target dies, the
          time increases.  After four targets have been killed the
          objective is complete.


          b. Activate objects

          For this objective, an interactable object spawns at a random
          location on the map and a timer starts.  A team member must 
          activate the object and wait for the bar to fill.  Having
          multiple players on the object does not increase the fill
          speed.  Once the bar is filled, a new object appears.  After
          four objects have been cleared, the objective is complete.


          c. Hack computer

          The third objective type sets a timer and places an
          interactable spot in one of a small number of random spots
          on the map.  After a player interacts with the object, a
          blue field is set up.  While team members are within the 
          field, a bar slowly fills.  More team members in range
          increases the fill speed.  After the bar is filled, the
          objective is complete.


          d. Extract the team

          The final objective, which always happens in wave 11, sets
          a two minute timer and a designated area for extraction.  At 
          the end of the timer, the game checks how many players are 
          in the designated area and gives an xp bonus based on that
          number.

***
3. Managing your team
***

Up to four players can join a match, one of which acts as host.  If
the host leaves the match, the game attempts to reassign hosting
duties to one of the other players in the match.  During this attempt
an option to leave the match will come up and many players will leave
the match assuming that there is no other option.

If the host leaves during the match, the wave restarts.  This has some
other odd effects as well, for example all consumables on remaining
players will reset to full even if they were used before the current
wave.

          a. What N7 rank means

          N7 rank is the sum of all the levels of all of the player's
          characters, so a player with all six characters at level 20
          has an N7 rank of 120.  A permanent bonus is applied to N7
          rank each time a player promotes a character.


          b. Communicating

          ME3 does not support text chat.  There are options for
          microphone settings in the options menu.  If you add players
          in Origin's overlay interface, you can use Origin's text
          chat function.


          c. Kicking players

          Since there is no idle timeout, the most frequent reason for
          kicking a player is to deal with someone who is unresponsive.
          To kick a player, click on their entry on the match creation
          screen and select kick player in the bottom left.  The
          player is kicked when all other players in the match have
          elected to kick the player.

__________
   B. Difficulty levels

There are three difficulty levels available in the game.  Increasing
difficulty also increases the xp rewards and the credit rewards.  All
players should start on Bronze unless they have completed the campaign
blindfolded with the basic shotgun and no skill points on Insanity.

I say that because if you join a silver game as a level 1 N7 1, the
other players will kick you and you will be soloing.

***
1. Bronze
***

Bronze is the basic difficulty level, approximately equivalent to
"normal" in the single player campaign.  If your character is level 
1-10 you should be on Bronze unless you have very good equipment, and
when just starting it is probably best to go to level 20 for your
first character on Bronze alone.

Bronze is also a good place to test out new skills and weapons.  It is
sufficiently easier than Silver and Gold that tactics and strategies
that work on Bronze may not be applicable to the harder difficulties.

Bronze can be completed solo by any level 20 character, and being able
to do solo at least up to the first objective is a good indication 
that you are ready for Silver.

***
2. Silver
***

Expect to get kicked immediately from Silver games if your character
is not at least level 10 unless your N7 rank is at least 100-200.
Many, if not most players will play Silver for the 15-20 range.

Silver is substantially harder than Bronze, but it can routinely be
completed by a pickup group of four players without any particular
team or strategy so long as those players are well equipped and know
the game pretty well.

Most casual pickup games with experienced players are played on Silver.

Soloing silver requires serious planning, major skill, and some of the
characters simply cannot do it without major luck.

***
3. Gold
***

Expect to get kicked immediately from Gold games if your character
is not at least level 15 or if your N7 rank is less than 100, 
regardless of your level.  It's also fairly typical for Gold 
players to kick Human vanguards  regardless of level.  Most Gold games
will involve players who have met before, and most people who play on 
Gold will have a microphone and use voice chat, though it's not an 
explicit requirement.

Strategies are more or less required for Gold, you cannot simply waltz
in and kill enemies unless you have truly godly equipment.

Soloing Gold is for YouTube videos and bragging rights.

__________
   C. Maps

There are six maps in the game, all taken from side missions in the
single player campaign.

-Firebase Dagger is a wide open area with a balcony overlooking three
quarters of the map, an excellent place for long range fights.

-Firebase Ghost has three open arena-like areas and several closed
structures.  It is an average map at best.

-Firebase Giant has narrow corridors and a lot of walls, which makes
it better for close range combat with the exception of one open area
and two more open outside corridors.

-Firebase Reactor is a very dark map and it can be difficult to see
enemies.  It is not a popular map.

-Firebase Glacier is the most claustrophobic of the maps, and favors
very short range fights.

-Firebase White is a map that is brightly lit and has two very
defensible positions.

Many players will simply leave the map set to random, as doing so
gives a bonus to xp gained, but playing on Gold usually ends up with
a specific map chosen for specific reasons, such as Firebase White for
the excellent decoy placement or Firebase Dagger for a sniper-heavy
team.

Every map includes spawn points for enemies.  These spawn points are
fixed, but the enemies will attempt to spawn at locations where the
players cannot see the spawn point.  Firebase Dagger, due to its open
layout, will sometimes allow players to see enemies popping out of
thin air.  Cerberus troops will sometimes jump in on jet packs, and
they can get stuck at their starting points by a bug, though typically
they are still visible if you know where to look.

The maps also include ammunition boxes which spawn thermal clips and
grenades.  They only spawn a limited number at any given time and take
a few seconds to recharge (for clips) or longer (for grenades).

__________
   D. Enemies

For more details, see the "Bestiary" entries in section V.  This is
just an overview.  As with the maps, you get bonus xp if you allow the
game to pick which enemy you fight at random.

***
1. Cerberus
***

Cerberus is the most diverse of the enemy groups, but is also arguably
the easiest as only one of the units, the Atlas, is particularly
sturdy and the Phantoms are the only truly dangerous enemies.  The
"Care Bears" employ smoke grenades quite heavily, but they are the
only group that does so.  A sniper rifle mod can see through the smoke
but it is also possible to fire blindly, especially when fighting an
Atlas.  Cerberus Guardians have tall shields that are easily defeated
by cover piercing weapons or mods.

***
2. Geth
***

The Geth are a heavy and slow faction with a lot of sturdy troops that
will simply try to overwhelm you.  The Geth do not have any units that
can instakill a character, and are common choices for soloing.  They
also have a lot of shielded units, and Overload and Energy Drain are
particularly effective.  Sabotage is obviously more useful against the
Geth than any other enemy type.

***
3. Reapers
***

This faction does not include any Reapers, just their ground troops.
The basic enemies are not terribly hard, but the Ravagers do massive
damage at range, the Brutes are fast, aggressive, and hard to kill,
and the Banshees simply refuse to die.

Few people choose to fight the Reapers intentionally, they are usually
only fought as a random pick.

__________

--------------III. Characters and Skills

There are 24 possible characters, 12 of which are available by default.
The male and female humans are identical so there are really only six
choices to start and 18 overall.

The other characters are unlocked at random through purchases.  If you
receive the same character again, it increases the number of options
on the appearance customization.

Each character starts at level 1.  As the character gains experience
they gain skill points.  The maximum level is 20, and each character
gains enough skill points to bring four of the five skills to the
maximum level.  Since cooldowns are shared between skills, leaving
one skill at zero is a common choice.  The "Fitness" skill, which
is given to all classes, is also sometimes neglected for a build that
is intended to be used on Gold since shields rarely last beyond one
hit and melee is suicidal.

If you want to reset your character's skills you can either promote
the character, bringing them back to level 1, or use a reset card if
you have one.  These cards are Rare items from purchases.  Given the
difficulty of finding any specific rare, it is generally better to
just promote the character to get a skill reset.

__________
A. Capabilities common to all characters


***
1. Weapons
***

Each character can carry one or two weapons.  The weight of the weapon
is shown as one of its statistics and affects the cooldown speed of
your powers.  Carrying very light weapons will substantially increase
the cooldown speed of powers, and any class that uses skills heavily
should have a 200% cooldown or be as close as possible or they will be
substantially less valuable to the team.

Despite what the loading screens tell you, carrying multiple weapons
is generally a bad idea unless you are a Krogan with no cooldown-based
powers or one or both of the weapons is very light.

The racial skill, a variant of which is available to all characters,
increases the weight capacity of a character.  Weight capacity is 
subtracted from the sum of the weapons carried and allows a 
character to carry more and remain at 200% or take less penalties from 
carried weapons.

For specifics on the unlockable weapons, see "The Armory" in section
IVC below (search for "IVC" with parentheses instead of quotes).

Weapons that have a "charged" mode will display their fully charged
damage on the information screen.  This is especially misleading for
the otherwise rapid fire Arc Pistol.

         a. Sniper Rifles

         The basic sniper rifle, the Mantis, is a one shot weapon with
         a long reload.  It does very high damage, and is fairly light
         for a sniper rifle.  Depending on your playstyle it is either
         decent or a complete waste of weight.

         Notable sniper rifles include the Widow (Rare), which is a 
         bigger and nastier version of the Mantis, and the relative 
         the Black Widow (Ultra-Rare) which is a heavier version with
         multiple shots.  Some players prefer the semi-automatic
         Viper (Uncommon), which does less damage but can fire more
         shots without reloading.  The N7 Valiant, which can only be 
         unlocked with special events, is by far the best sniper rifle
         with multiple shots, decent damage, and fast reloads.

         Heavy pistols with scopes are sometimes used instead of real
         sniper rifles, especially for weight-conscious classes.


         b. Assault Rifles

         The starting assault rifle is the Avenger, which is not very
         accurate and not very powerful.  It is, however, fairly light
         and once fully upgraded can be used by characters looking for
         a 200% cooldown.  It is not uncommon to see very high ranked
         players carrying this as their primary weapon on power-based
         classes.

         Notable assault rifles include the Mattock (Uncommon), a 
         semi-automatic heavy rifle with good accuracy and damage, and
         the Falcon (rare), which is actually a light grenade launcher
         that is used in the rifle slot.  The Mattock is an all-purpose
         weapon, and the Falcon is primarily good with Cryo ammunition
         as crowd control.  The Saber (Ultra-Rare) is an upgrade to
         the Mattock.

         The Raptor (Uncommon) is technically a sniper rifle, but
         it largely behaves as an alternative to the Mattock.


         c. Submachine Guns

         The Shuriken is a piece of garbage and should never be used
         by anyone.  Due to the way the burst system works, the basic
         heavy pistol can fire faster and is a superior weapon.

         Other submachine guns worth mentioning are the fairly light, 
         accurate Locust (Uncommon) and the light and extremely rapid
         fire Tempest (also an Uncommon).  Neither, however, is very
         good because of their low damage.  Neither will work for 200%
         cooldowns until they have been upgraded substantially.


         d. Shotguns

         While the Katana is one of the lighter shotguns, it still
         should not be used by the cooldown-critical Vanguards, or
         anyone that cares about cooldowns.  The basic shotgun isn't
         terrible, but other than single shot power it has no real
         virtues and there are better weapons.

         There are some better shotguns, notably the Geth Plasma
         Shotgun (Rare), a chargable, accurate, and high damage weapon
         that is unfortunately very heavy.  The Graal Spike Thrower
         (also Rare) is a shorter range version of the same.  The
         Claymore (Rare) is a high power single-shot weapon used
         mostly by melee Krogan or by Infiltrators.  Almost all of the
         shotguns are extremely heavy and are not useful for power-
         spamming characters.
         

         e. Heavy Pistols

         The Predator is, despite being one of the basic weapons, one
         of the most useful weapons in the game.  Due to its extremely
         quick semi-automatic fire, it can deal substantial damage and
         has reasonable accuracy with almost no recoil.  It is also
         light enough to carry as a secondary weapon.  It may, however,
         cause carpal tunnel syndrome or damage to your left mouse
         button if used excessively.

         One notable pistol is the Carnifex (Rare), which can, with the
         addition of a scope, effectively become a light sniper rifle.
         The Paladin (Ultra-Rare) is similar.  The Phalanx (Uncommon) 
         is a somewhat more powerful version of the basic Predator, 
         though it is not as light and not as fast to fire.  The
         Scorpion (Ultra-Rare) fires mines and is a novelty weapon,
         but it is more amusing than useful.


         f. Weapons to avoid

         The Incisor (Uncommon sniper rifle) is universally regarded
         as trash due to its high recoil on zoom.  The Geth Pulse Rifle
         (Rare assault rifle) is also suspect due to its pathetic 
         damage.  The Shuriken (default submachine gun) is discussed
         above.  The Arc Pistol and N7 Eagle aren't bad on paper, but
         the basic Predator is a better weapon in both cases.

         In general, though, few weapons are using at rank I-III or so
         if you have a rank X default weapon available.  The Viper
         sniper rifle (Uncommon) may be necessary for players that
         hate the Mantis.  For most classes, however, the worst weapon
         to use is one that drops your cooldowns substantially, since
         using powers faster is much better than having a marginally
         better gun for most classes.  Some classes, such as the Human
         Vanguard, are so power-dependent that they may as well not 
         carry a gun and should just carry a token Predator.


***
2. Melee
***

Every character has three melee attacks - a light attack which is
identical for all characters, a heavy attack that varies somewhat,
and the grab, a special move where the character instakills an enemy
that is on the other side of a piece of waist-high cover.  All use the
same key, but the key is held down for the heavy attack.

There is some auto-aim applied for most melee attacks, but the Krogan
heavy melee includes a short charge with auto-aim that is very 
effective.  Krogan also receive additional class bonuses that work with
melee attacks, though any character can upgrade their melee attacks
by the way they upgrade the Fitness tree.

The Asari heavy melee attack is a short range biotic nova that can
hit multiple enemies and is the most unusual of the heavy melee, but
most characters simply have a slower and more powerful attack that
resembles a short-range biotic or tech ability.

***
3. Consumables
***

Every character has the same four limited use abilities.  These require
supplies which are included in all of the purchases you make from the
game store.  The most important is Medi-Gel, which can be used to
revive yourself after your health has been depleted.  You cannot use
a medi-gel if you are killed by an instakill attack (Banshee, Brute,
Atlas, or Phantom special melee attacks).

The second important consumable is the rocket launcher.  These one-shot
weapons will instantly kill anything in a fairly large radius.  They
are primarily useful for recovering from situations where your team
is being overwhelmed, but they can also be used to complete kill
objectives quickly or to dispose of difficult enemies.  Despite their
burst radius, they are slow and require a charge-up time so using them
against distant enemies is not advised.

The other two consumables are the survival packs, which instantly heal
you and restore your shields, and the ammo pack, which refills your
ammunition for all of your weapons and also refills your grenades.

Every player starts with the ability to carry two of each supply into
each match.  One of the Rare items you can find from purchases is the 
ability to carry more of each supply.  These affect all of a player's
characters and the maximum is five of each supply, twelve Rares total.

***
4. Equipment
***

The game calls temporary bonuses "Equipment."  These last for one
mission before the effect disappears.  They come in three levels
(I-III), with the higher numbers meaning greater effects.

         a. Ammunition

         i. Armor Piercing ammunition allows your shots to go through
         light cover, such as a Guardian's shield.  They also increase
         the damage you do against armor.
         -                      -                      -
         ii. Cryo rounds make your shots randomly freeze enemies if 
         they do not have shields, armor, or barriers.  Armored enemies
         will be chilled, take more damage, and move slower if the
         ammo effect triggers.
         -                      -                      -
         iii. Disruptor rounds increase your damage against shields and
         barriers.  They also may randomly stun the target.
         -                      -                      -
         iv. Incendiary rounds increase your damage and may light 
         enemies on fire, doing additional damage.
         -                      -                      -
         v. Warp rounds do additional damage to targets that are 
         affected by biotic attacks such as Stasis or Pull.


         b. Rails

         The game calls these "Weapon Bonus" but they are all the same,
         a temporary bonus to the damage with the specified weapon 
         type.


         c. Armor

         The armor bonuses, with one exception, do not affect your
         defense.  There is a shield bonus, but the other armor bonuses
         affect running speed, power recharge time, and power damage.


***
5. Reviving
***

If a characters health is depleted, they collapse to the ground.  A
timer starts and the player can slow down the timer by mashing the
indicated key.

While they are down, another player can come up to them and revive
them by using the action key and waiting.  This is very short range,
and must be done carefully because the action key may have the player
roll or take cover instead of reviving.  Wait for the circle to change
color before hitting the action key to make sure you're giving the
right command.

***
6. Combination effects
***

Not all characters can do all combination effects, but at least some
are available to every character.  Combinations fall into two
categories - kill combinations and skill combinations.

If an enemy is on fire they are killed by a damage dealing skill other
than a fire skill, they will explode and affect nearby enemies with
fire.  This can be set up with incendiary ammo.  Ice attacks work 
exactly the same way.  These are Fire Explosion and Cryo Explosion,
respectively.

If an enemy is hit by Overload, Energy Drain, Sabotage, or has been hit
by the stun effect from Disruptor ammo, then they will set off a Tech
Burst if hit immediately by another, different, damage dealing skill.
The Tech Burst does damage to nearby enemies.

Biotic combos are more class-specific and will be explained in the
descriptions of the specific skills.  In general, if an enemy is being
affected by a biotic power with a duration, they will set off an
explosion if hit by a second biotic power.

***
7. Build recommendations
***

Each of the builds below has a recommendation.  For the humans it is
for a new player starting from scratch on Bronze, for the nonhumans it
assumes that the character will play on Gold eventually.

__________
   B. Adepts

Adepts are biotic specialists.  Most adepts will focus on using powers
over weapons and will carry a minimal number of guns to keep their
cooldowns to a minimum.  Setting up and detonating biotic combos
are necessary for the higher difficulties.

***
1. Human
***

The human adept starts with a single point in Singularity and is
unlocked by default.  Unfortunately, it's probably the worst of the
Adept classes.

         a. Singularity

         Singularity picks up an enemy and floats them around helpless.
         It does not affect enemies with shields, barriers, or armor.  
         It can be used to start a biotic combo, but only on enemies
         that it affects.  The upgrade that makes it deal damage does
         not trigger if the singularity ends by being recast, and the
         damage over time upgrade is not very powerful.

    Recommended: Max this skill, keeping pace with warp.  After the
    first three, select radius, recharge, expand.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo, including a biotic combo on an
         armored target.  It can also be used to finish a biotic
         combo as long as it was not initiated by Warp.

    Recommended: Max this skill, keeping pace with singularity.
    After three, select damage, lasting damage, pierce.

         c. Shockwave

         Shockwave creates a short-range pulse of biotic energy.  It
         can finish a biotic combo by default, and can initiate a
         biotic combo with the lift upgrade, though only against
         unprotected targets.  Shockwave's short range makes it a
         fairly useless skill.  As usual, it can't detonate the combos
         it starts.

    Recommended: Ignore this skill.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: Max this skill eventually.  The first point should be
    taken early, others can wait.  After three, take Damage & Capacity
    then Power Damage then Weapon Damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  Take the three shield upgrades, not the melee
    upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The human adept isn't very good, as singularity is completely
         eclipsed by the far more flexible Stasis.  Using singularity
         and warp to set off biotic combos works against unshielded
         enemies, but it's easier to just shoot them.  Shockwave might
         be used to set off biotic combos set up with warp against
         harder enemies, but shockwave is not a good skill.  One option
         is to ignore on the biotics, use singularity for crowd control
         and focus on shooting things.  If you can find someone to
         work with to set off the warp-based biotic combos that will
         also get the job done, though it's rarely needed on Bronze.

    Recommended: Use the Predator.  Once the Avenger is high enough
    level to allow a 200% cooldown, use that instead.  Since the
    human adept's biotics aren't excellent, other weapons might be
    reasonable, but superheavy weapons, such as many of the rare
    shotguns, are a poor choice.

***
2. Asari
***

The Asari Adept is by far the best of the three, with the powerful
Stasis skill, the ever-useful Warp, and the "just there for combos"
Throw skill.  Sadly, the Asari Adept is a Rare unlock, and can be
frustrating to obtain.  Starts with a single point in Stasis.  Instead
of rolling, the Asari do a super-short biotic charge that lowers their
barriers by a tiny amount.

         a. Stasis

         Stasis, unlike previous games, does not prevent the target
         from being damaged, it actually increases the damage taken.
         It is fairly useless until the final upgrade "Stasis Bubble"
         is taken, since it tends to miss otherwise.  It can affect
         shielded or barriered enemies, but not enemies that have armor
         instead of health.  It can set up biotic combos for anything
         it can effect, and those biotic combos when detonated will
         add a stasis effect to all nearby enemies.

    Recommended: Max this skill.  The fourth and fifth ranks are a
    matter of taste, but the sixth rank is all about Bubble.  When
    using Stasis as a crowd control tool (i.e. against Phantoms) the
    additional duration is important, since enemies build up a 
    resistance to stasis based on number of times cast.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo, including a biotic combo on an
         armored target.  It can also be used to finish a biotic
         combo as long as it was not initiated by Warp.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Detonate, Lasting Damage, Recharge
    Speed.  This optimizes using it as a base for combos.

         c. Throw

         Throw is a biotic attack that does pathetic damage, is easily
         dodged by enemies, and has an extremely rapid cooldown.  It
         is not a great skill, but it excels at exactly one thing:
         setting off biotic combos.  The skill includes bonuses for
         doing exactly that, and other than suppressing weak enemies
         it has no other use.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Force, Detonate, and the sixth
    rank is a personal preference.  Primary use is to detonate combos.

         d. Asari Justicar

         The Asari version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Five ranks.  After three, Damage & Capacity, then
    Power Damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Three ranks.  The third rank is useless, but you may
    as well spend the points.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Asari Adept is used in one of two ways: either spam Stasis
         at everything that moves to lock down enemies, or churn out
         biotic combos with Warp and Throw.  Some players will use
         Stasis with a light sniper rifle or high damage pistol to
         set up easy headshots.

    Recommended: Carry Predator, upgraded Avenger, Phalanx, Tempest,
    or anything you like that allows a 200% cooldown.

***
3. Drell
***

Drell Adept is a bit different.  It is the only adept with a grenade
power.  Like the Drell Vanguard, it has increased running speed,
increased weight capacity, and half the shields of other characters.
The Drell Adept is an Uncommon unlock.  Starts with a point in Reave.

         a. Reave

         This skill is bugged and will cause persistent and annoying
         sound effects.  That said, it is essentially an instant hit
         but slow effect version of Warp and is excellent for both
         setting up or detonating biotic combos, just not both on
         the same combo.  It also gives damage protection to the
         Adept, which is not very useful.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Radius, Recharge Speed, Damage &
    Duration.

         b. Pull

         This variant on Singularity doesn't create a field, it just
         picks up enemies.  While usable for crowd control, it is
         primarily a tool for setting up biotic combos, especially
         with the Cluster Grenade.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Radius, Expose.  The sixth rank
    is a matter of preference.  If you plan to use Reave to set off
    the combo, take recharge speed.  Otherwise, duration & combo.

         c. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo.

    Recommended: Max. After three is a matter of how good you are at
    throwing the grenades.  If you're not very good, focus on area
    rather than damage.  The third grenade on the fifth rank option is
    a dubious choice, as ammunition boxes only hold two.

         d. Drell Assassin

         The Drell version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Five ranks.  After three, Damage & Capacity, then
    Power Damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  For Drell, it also increases their running speed,
         though the shield bonuses aren't so useful when the base
         shields are reduced.

    Recommended: Three ranks.  Rank three is useless, but there's no
    other way to spend the points.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Drell is a biotic combo machine and can generate instant
         biotic combos with the cluster grenades since they don't have
         a cooldown.  Because the poor shields, you have to be more
         careful than usual, but on Gold everyone's that flimsy
         anyway.  Alternatively, at low level you can use the Drell as
         a soldier and focus on increasing the grenades while you tote
         around the big guns.

    Recommended: Carry Predator, upgraded Avenger, Phalanx, Tempest,
    or anything you like that allows a 200% cooldown.
__________
   C. Soldiers

Soldiers shoot stuff.  They don't get fancy tech abilities or amazing
magical biotics, instead they get passive and semi-passive bonuses
and just shoot stuff better.  Each of the three does have a spammable
power, though skill spam is better done with other classes.  Soldiers
more than any other class will likely ignore their cooldown percentage
and just carry the guns that they enjoy.

***
1. Human
***

The Human Soldier isn't subtle.  They just do damage, or in the case
of adrenaline rush, more damage.  If wacky powers aren't your thing,
this is the class to play.  Starts with a point in Adrenaline Rush and
is unlocked by default.

         a. Adrenaline Rush

         This power increases the damage of all attacks and gives a
         variety of other bonuses depending on the upgrades applied.
         Unlike the single player version, it has no effect on the
         game speed.  The cooldown on this ability does not start
         until the ability itself ends.

    Recommended: Max.  After three take damage, duration, and shield.
    If you plan to spam Concussive shot, ignore as possible, three
    ranks eventually when you have nowhere else to spend points.

         b. Concussive Shot

         While this shot does very low damage, it also can be arced
         around cover, has a very quick cooldown, and can knock basic
         enemies down.  It isn't worth getting if you plan to use 
         heavy weapons, but it does give the Soldier a "skill spam"
         option.  Amplification and Warp Ammo may (unconfirmed) allow
         a Soldier to detonate a Biotic Combo.

    Recommended: Ignore or Max.  After three take Radius, Recharge
    Speed, and Shredder.

         c. Frag Grenade

         The simplest of grenade powers, this doesn't do any strange
         damage over time or lifting or carpet bombing, it just does
         old fashioned damage.  Since it ignores cooldowns, it remains
         useful even with a heavily armed soldier.

    Recommended: Max.  After three take radius, bleed damage, and
    armor piercing.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: Max, unless using Concussive Shot.  After three, for
    non-shot builds take weapon damage, headshots, weapon damage.  For
    shot builds take damage & capacity, power damage, and stop.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, weapon damage on four and six, the
    fifth rank depends on playstyle.  For shotters, power damage,
    otherwise headshots.  Shotters may also want to take damage &
    capacity instead of the first weapon damage upgrade.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The question for a Human Soldier build is essentially between
         Concussive Shot or not Concussive Shot.  If you don't intend
         to spam it, you may as well not take it.  Regardless of what
         else you do, make sure to get the frags, as they are the best
         skill the class has.  Other than that, just shoot things and
         pop Adrenaline Rush when things get hairy.

    Recommended: Carry Avenger, maybe Mantis, maybe Predator.  For
    shot builds, carry Predator or whatever gives you a 200% cooldown.

***
2. Krogan
***

The Krogan Soldier's main draw is his mighty melee, but he can also
be played as a tank that refuses to die.  The Soldier is Rare, but the
Krogan Sentinel is very similar and Uncommon, so those wanting to feel
like they have a quad by meleeing Geth Primes might be just as
satisfied there.  Starts with a point in Fortification.  Krogan cannot
roll, but have increased health and shields.

The build here is a fun melee build, not a serious Gold-running build.
Krogan aren't that good for the higher difficulties, as their heavy
shields still go down near-instantaneously.

         a. Fortification

         This power closely resembles the Tech Armor power that the
         Sentinels have.  Instead of dealing damage when turned off,
         though, it increases your melee damage for a short period
         instead.  The first key press turns it "on" and hitting the
         key again discharges it.  While it is on, the character takes
         less damage from all sources.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, take melee damage, recharge speed,
    durability.

         b. Carnage

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off a Fire Explosion if the
         enemy dies while affected.  Unfortunately, the Krogan Soldier
         doesn't have a way to trigger that explosion.

    Recommended: Ignore.  Nice ability, but doesn't play well with the
    other powers available to the Krogan.

         c. Inferno Grenade

         While powerful, the Inferno Grenade is not as good as the
         frag since it takes time to work.  It is, however, quite good
         at slaughtering groups of weak enemies or weakening harder
         ones so that you can finish them off with your mighty melee.
         Like Carnage, it can be used to create Fire Explosions, but
         again the Krogan lacks a way to do this himself.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, take Radius, Damage, Radius &
    Shrapnel.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         The Krogan version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in shotgun weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, weapon damage on four and six, the
    fifth rank depends on playstyle.  For grenadiers, power damage,
    otherwise headshots.

         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill has a different name
         and an additional effect.  If the Krogan kills three enemies
         (reduced to two with an upgrade) with melee attacks they enter
         rage mode and have a melee damage bonus as well as a damage
         reduction bonus.  Note that this is not "kill with melee" but
         "melee and kill."  Other than that, this skill is just defense
         and melee damage like Fitness is.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, melee damage, martial artist, then
    pure rage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         It's possible to use the Krogan Soldier with no cooldown
         powers at all and be completely free to carry the heaviest
         weapons you can find.  Inferno Grenade is very nice, but the
         Krogan's big ability is his improved heavy melee strike.
         While not as useful on higher difficulties, Krogan melee is
         ludicrously powerful on Bronze.  With the right skills, you
         can one-shot most common enemies with a swing of your mighty
         arm.  More important than being effective, Krogan is fun.

    Recommended: Whatever floats your boat.  One possibility is to
    carry light weapons and discharge Fortification whenever needed,
    but more likely carry the biggest and meanest things you can find,
    especially a pistol with the melee stunner upgrade or a shotgun
    with the blade attachment upgrade, as both increase melee damage.

***
3. Turian
***

The Turian's main draw is the class ability that increases stability,
which makes high recoil weapons less useless.  Turians can't roll.
The lack of a grenade power makes the Turian somewhat suspect as a
heavy weapon class.  The Turian Soldier is an Uncommon unlock and
starts with a point in Marksman.

         a. Marksman

         This skill makes you shoot faster and more accurately. It's
         essentially a variant on Adrenaline Rush.  Like the rush, it
         doesn't start cooling down until it ends.

    Recommended: Max.  After rank three, it really depends on which
    weapon you plan to use with it.  For most weapons, firing rate,
    duration, and accuracy & firing rate will work.

         b. Concussive Shot

         While this shot does very low damage, it also can be arced
         around cover, has a very quick cooldown, and can knock basic
         enemies down.  It isn't worth getting if you plan to use 
         heavy weapons, but it does give the Soldier a "skill spam"
         option.

    Recommended: Ignore.  The same trick the human soldier uses is an
    option, but the Turian has other things to do.

         c. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

    Recommended: Max.  After rank three, radius, damage taken, damage.

         d. Turian Veteran

         The Turian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in assault rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.  The Turian also
         gets a bonus to weapon stability, reducing recoil.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, weapon damage, headshot, weapon
    damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  Take the bottom three shield upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Turian Soldier is more or less designed to use the
         Phaeston (an Uncommon, heavier upgrade of the Avenger) or
         the Revenant (a Rare, even heavier upgrade of the Avenger),
         or the Hornet (Rare) or really any high recoil weapon.

    Recommended: Since the Turian has a stability bonus weapons like
    the Avenger and Tempest are ideal.  Keeping weight low will allow
    frequent use of Marksman, but alternatively a Turian can rely on
    passives and largely ignore cooldowns.
         
__________
   D. Engineers

Engineers are tech specialists.  All of them also have the ability to
summon an ally, though the three are each quite different.  The
Salarian Engineer's Decoy skill is a major survival help on the Gold
difficulty. 

***
1. Human
***

While the term is "Engineer" the description that might come to mind
is "mage" with lightning bolts, fireballs, and a familiar.  The
Human Engineer may not be a heavy hitter, but it can still a major
asset to a team.  The Human Engineer is unlocked by default and starts
with a point in drone.

         a. Combat Drone

         This skill creates a temporary ally that floats around the
         battlefield, poking at enemies.  It can be upgraded to spam
         stunning attacks that make it more useful as a defensive
         tool, but it is primarily a distraction.

    Recommended: First three ranks.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.

    Recommended: Max.  Take damage, damage over time, and damage to 
    armor after the first three levels.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.

    Recommended: After three, take chain, recharge speed, chain.  The
    neural shock upgrade increases the duration of the stun, but not
    by any significant amount.  It also makes the enemy fall down,
    which makes them harder to hit.  Recharge speed also works against
    all enemies, not just organics.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: After three take damage & capacity, power damage,
    and skip the sixth rank.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max this skill eventually.  After the first three,
    take the three shield upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Human Engineer is best played with as short a cooldown as
         possible, spamming upgraded "chain lightning" overload to
         lock down entire groups of enemies.  Paired with a Salarian
         Engineer or Infiltrator, Energy Drain and Overload will set
         up insane numbers of tech bursts, perfect for taking down
         hordes of enemies.  The Human Engineer isn't a killing class,
         it's a controlling class, and works best as part of a team.

    Recommended: Carry the Predator or whatever gives you a 200%
    cooldown.  Alternatively, carry the Mantis and use Overload to
    stun enemies while you line up headshots.

***
2. Quarian
***

The Quarian engineer's main perk is the "fire and ice" combination
and synergy.  Unfortunately, her skills don't quite keep up with the
other two Engineers.  Starts with a point in Sentry Turret, and is
unlocked as a Rare.

No recommended build here.  See the contact information if you have
a good one.

         a. Sentry Turret

         The Quarian's "summon" is the most offensive of the three
         and can do decent damage with the flamethrower upgrade at
         short range.  It doesn't, however, seem to shoot that much
         otherwise.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  For the Quarian, the upgrade that doubles damage
         to frozen enemies is a natural pick since she has Cryo Blast
         innately.

         c. Cryo Blast

         Cryo Blast can be used to freeze basic enemies or to chill
         more advanced ones, increasing damage and stopping or slowing
         the enemy.  Unfortunately, it doesn't slow the advanced
         enemies very much and this skill is primarily useful for
         crowd control on weak enemies or setting up Cryo Explosions.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in SMG weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.  This is rather a shame,
         as most SMGs don't weigh much to begin with.
         
         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Quarian Engineer's main perk is the ability to set up
         Cryo Explosions and Fire Explosions, but these are rarely
         useful on lower difficulties as there often aren't enough
         enemies to make them useful.  On higher difficulties, the
         human's lockdown spam or the salarian's decoy are far more
         attractive.

***
3. Salarian
***

The Uncommon unlocked Salarian Engineer is not as effective offensively
as the Human variant, but the Decoy skill is a superpower when dealing
with massive hordes of enemies such as on Gold.  Starts with a point
in Energy Drain.

         a. Energy Drain

         This skill has the odd side effect of restoring your shields
         when used on certain mechanical enemies, which is handy but
         mostly a fringe benefit.  It can be used to either set up
         or set off a Tech Burst and is very effective at stripping
         shields off of enemies.  It has some odd abilities that can
         be added on upgrade, most of which are marginal at best.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, increase radius, recharge, and
    damage.

         b. Decoy
         
         The Decoy is the best of the three "summon" skills, and may
         simply be bugged.  It appears to be immune to damage, and
         upgrading the shields on it does not seem to have an effect.
         The damaging upgrades also appear to be useless or at least
         weak, and the duration is the main focus on upgrades.

         Important note: Enemies will only attack the decoy if it is
         closer to them than any other target, so careful placement is
         critical.  The Decoy does not move and cannot be cast at a
         distance.

    Recommended: Raise to rank three.

         c. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, raise damage, damage over time,
    then damage to armor.

         d. Salarian Operative

         The Salarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in sniper rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, raise damage and capacity, power
    damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Five ranks.  After three, take shield upgrade and
    shield recharge.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Since the decoy appears to not need the shield upgrades and
         the damage upgrades are marginal at best, some points can be
         saved there.  Salarian Engineer is a class that is primarily
         useful on Gold, the Decoy is essentially useless if enemies
         die quickly.  Energy Drain is an effective tool for Tech
         Bursting, and can also be used to stagger enemies while you
         set up headshots.

    Recommended: Carry anything you want that gives you 200% cooldown.
    The Tempest is a good choice once upgraded sufficiently.

__________
   E. Sentinels

The Sentinel class is supposed to be a hybrid between tech and biotic
with a defensive shield for support.  All of the Sentinels share the
shielding in the Tech Armor skill, and each character has different
powers.  Of all the classes, the Sentinels are the most varied.

***
1. Human
***

If Sentinel is a mix between tech and biotic, the Human variant didn't
get the memo, since it only has biotic powers.  The combination of
Warp and Throw makes this character a biotic combo powerhouse, though
that is hampered by the irritating tendency of enemies to dodge both
powers.  Starts with a point in tech armor and is unlocked by default.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

    Recommended: Take to three, but only after everything else is done
    as you may not even be activating it consistently.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo, including a biotic combo on an
         armored target.  It can also be used to finish a biotic
         combo as long as it was not initiated by Warp.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Detonate, Lasting Damage, 
    Recharge Speed.

         c. Throw

         Throw is a biotic attack that does pathetic damage, is easily
         dodged by enemies, and has an extremely rapid cooldown.  It
         is not a great skill, but it excels at exactly one thing:
         setting off biotic combos.  The skill includes bonuses for
         doing exactly that, and other than suppressing weak enemies
         it has no other use.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, Force, Detonate, and the sixth
    rank is a personal preference.  Primary use is to detonate combos.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: After three take damage and capacity, power damage,
    and skip the sixth rank.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  After three take all of the shield upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         On Bronze, the human sentinel is a lackluster character since
         enemies die fast enough to make the biotic combo focus
         unimpressive.  Especially against armor-heavy enemies like
         the Reapers, Sentinels can be devasting with their biotic
         combos.  On Bronze it is best to simply spam Throw to knock
         down enemies and just kill them with guns.  Using the armor
         is entirely optional, since the cooldown reduction may be
         more counterproductive than the benefit justifies.

    Recommended: Carry the Predator or whatever gives you a 200%
    cooldown.  Until you have both Warp and Throw unlocked you might
    as well carry whatever you want, though you could spend the first
    level's point on throw and spam that repeatedly instead.

***
2. Turian
***

The Turian Sentinel is a jack of all trades, but really a master of
none, and desperately needs a friend to make the most of his powers
since he can set up or set off tech and biotic combos but can't make 
use of them alone.  Turians can't roll.  This character is an uncommon
unlock and starts with a point in Tech Armor.

The recommended build is a "jack of all trades" sentinel, not a
"walking tank" sentinel.  This character has many, many options.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

    Recommended: Five ranks.  At rank four, take damage protection 
    and at rank five take power damage.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo, including a biotic combo on an
         armored target.  It can also be used to finish a biotic
         combo as long as it was not initiated by Warp.

    Recommended: Max.  How you upgrade this depends on who you tend to
    play with.  If in doubt, take damage, lasting damage, and pierce,
    though this is not as effective for biotic combos, which would
    require help from a team member.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.

    Recommended: After three, take chain, recharge speed, chain.  With
    a team member's help, can be used to make Tech Bursts.

         d. Turian Veteran

         The Turian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in assault rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.  The Turian also
         gets a bonus to weapon stability, reducing recoil.

    Recommended: After three, take damage and capacity, power damage,
    and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Rank three only.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Turian Sentinel is somewhat crippled by having too many
         options.  It's possible to focus on Overload or Warp instead
         of trying to do both, depending who you typically play with
         and want to set up combos for.  Between the two, Overload's
         ability to mass-stun groups or Warp's ability to take down
         barriers and armor both have their places, and it depends on
         which is more important to the player.

    Recommended: Whatever gives you a 200% cooldown, or close enough.
    This depends heavily on your party members.  If they are depending
    on the Sentinel to provide part of a combo, it's better for the
    group to make the combo work than to have slightly better weapons.
    If you have a Black Widow, this is probably not the best class to
    use it.

***
3. Krogan
***

The Krogan Sentinel is a rare unlock and is really very similar to his
brother, the Krogan Soldier.  Both have a single activated power,
an armor power, and a grenade.  The Soldier can do some things better,
but if you're looking for Krogan Smash! the Sentinel does just fine,
or arguably better.  Starts with a point in Tech Armor.

The recommended build is a "tank" build that ignores melee and ignores
cooldowns.  Incinerate spam is better done by one of the engineer
classes.  Melee is highly unrecommended on anything but Bronze, though
some players do attempt it and it is not impossible.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

    Recommended: Maximum.  At rank four, take damage protection 
    and at rank five take power damage.  At rank six, take damage
    protection.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.

    Recommended: Ignore.

         c. Lift Grenade

         Lift Grenade, like all of the grenade powers, ignores
         cooldowns and instead uses the grenade ammunition.  It has
         the distinction of being the grenade with the largest single
         burst radius, and temporarily lifts enemies, paralyzing them.
         It can be used to set up a biotic combo.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After three increase radius, duration,
    damage & radius.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         The Krogan version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in shotgun weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After three increase weapon damage, 
    headshot, and weapon damage.
         
         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill has a different name
         and an additional effect.  If the Krogan kills three enemies
         (reduced to two with an upgrade) with melee attacks they enter
         rage mode and have a melee damage bonus as well as a damage
         reduction bonus.  Note that this is not "kill with melee" but
         "melee and kill."  Other than that, this skill is just defense
         and melee damage like Fitness is.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After three take the shield upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Like the other Krogan, the easiest way to make use of the
         Sentinel is in melee.  Also like the Soldier, there is an
         option to simply skip Incinerate and not bother with anything
         related to cooldowns at all (unless you set off tech armor).
         The alternative is to build the Krogan Sentinel as a tank,
         since with Krogan bonus health and shields on top of Tech
         Armor you will have the studiest character in the game.

    Recommended: Carry whatever weapons seem appropriate, since setting
    off Tech Armor is the only cooldown available and there is little
    point in doing so.  One long range weapon like a sniper rifle and
    one short range weapon like a shotgun are typical picks.

__________
   F. Infiltrators

The infiltrators are the class with the least variety.  Like the
Sentinels, they all have the same starting skill.  Unlike the Sentinels
the infiltrators use that starting skill as the basis for most of what
they do and in all cases except the Salarian, their other skills are
dubious at best.  Infiltrators are excellent at activating objectives
and reviving teammates since both of those can be done without 
breaking the cloak.

***
1. Human
***

The human infiltrator is unlocked by default, and is stuck with Cryo
Blast and Sticky Grenade, two of the worst powers in the game.  The
Tactical Cloak, however, makes up for it as one of the best.  This
class is an excellent choice for players who prefer to shoot things
instead of using funky powers, as the cloak can massively increase
damage dealt.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         This ability makes the character invisible temporarily.  The
         enemy AI will continue to shoot at your last position and is
         not completely unable to see you, but it is much more likely
         to ignore you.  The upgrades either increase the duration of
         the cloak or increase the damage bonus for firing while
         cloaked.  The cloak does not break immediately on attacking,
         but it does wear off quickly.

         Important Note: cloak's cooldown is based on how long it was
         active.  To cancel it prematurely, hit the key again.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, increase damage, recharge speed,
    and sniper damage.

         b. Cryo Blast

         Cryo Blast can be used to freeze basic enemies or to chill
         more advanced ones, increasing damage and stopping or slowing
         the enemy.  Unfortunately, it doesn't slow the advanced
         enemies very much and this skill is primarily useful for
         crowd control on weak enemies or setting up Cryo Explosions.

    Recommended: Ignore.

         c. Sticky Grenade

         The sticky grenade is the least effective of the grenade
         powers.  While it still has its uses, the small burst radius
         doesn't make up for the slightly higher damage.  As the name
         implies, it sticks to the target, but this is rarely useful
         or even relevant.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase damage, armor piercing,
    damage.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase weapon damage, headshot,
    weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase the shield powers.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Cryo Blast is fairly useless, as it shares the cooldown
         timer with the far more useful tactical cloak.  If you do
         not intend to play on Gold, it's better to get the damage
         bonuses for cloak, as they will allow you to use the Mantis
         or Viper to devastating effect instead of carrying a super-
         heavy rifle like the Widow.  For play on Gold, a longer cloak
         duration is a matter of life and death.  In either case, be
         sure to use cloak immediately before firing whenever possible
         since the very short usage will result in a fairly short
         cooldown.

         A "backstabbing" build based on infiltrator melee is possible
         but not recommended except for fun.  Be sure to use a light
         weapon to maximize cloak usage.

    Recommended: A sniper rifle is obvious, though which is a matter
    of player preference and availability.  The Incisor is not 
    recommended and the Raptor doesn't work well with cloak, but any
    other rifle has its merits and problems except the Valiant, which 
    doesn't have any problems.  Some infiltrators carry a backup
    weapon such as a Predator for close range fights.  Cooldowns are
    not irrelevant to an infiltrator, but they are not critical.

***
2. Salarian
***

The Rare Salarian infiltrator is quite good, ditching the dubious
secondary powers of the Human and Quarian for the very useful Energy
Drain and the situational Proximity Mine.  This class is a common
sight in Gold rank games.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         This ability makes the character invisible temporarily.  The
         enemy AI will continue to shoot at your last position and is
         not completely unable to see you, but it is much more likely
         to ignore you.  The upgrades either increase the duration of
         the cloak or increase the damage bonus for firing while
         cloaked.  The cloak does not break immediately on attacking,
         but it does wear off quickly.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase duration and recharge.  
    The sixth rank is a matter of preference, but sniper damage is
    almost always useful.

         b. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

    Recommended: Ignore or take five ranks, with Radius and the debuff
    of your choice.  The truly brave can maximize this and ignore
    Fitness, but this character already has plenty to keep him busy
    and yet another skill competing for cooldowns may not be of use.

         c. Energy Drain

         This skill has the odd side effect of restoring your shields
         when used on certain mechanical enemies, which is more of a
         novelty than a real benefit.  It can be used to either set up
         or set off a Tech Burst and is very effective at stripping
         shields off of enemies.  It has some odd abilities that can
         be added on upgrade, most of which are marginal at best.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After three take radius, recharge, and 
    damage.  Drain is useful for stunning enemies to set up a headshot
    and for finishing off enemies that are too weak to justify 
    sniping.

         d. Salarian Operative

         The Salarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in sniper rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Maximize.  At rank four take either as suits your 
    preference, at rank five headshot, and at rank five again as per
    your preference.  If in doubt, take weapon damage for four and six.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Maximize, taking the shield bonuses after three.
    Alternatively, take less and grab Proximity mine.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Firing off Energy Drain before shooting an enemy will often 
         stun them briefly, allowing you to set up even easier head
         shots.  As long as you fire immediately after using the 
         ability you will still get the cloak damage bonus even if
         you do not have the "use one skill" cloak upgrade.  If you
         ever plan to play on Gold, be sure to do everything possible
         to maximize Cloak duration when buying upgrades.

    Recommended: Carry one of the lighter sniper rifles, such as the
    Mantis, to ensure that you can make good use of Energy Drain.

***
3. Quarian
***

The Quarian Infiltrator, an Uncommon unlock, has a unique ability that
was abusable early in the game's history - Sabotage, which hacks an
enemy synthetic and makes it change sides.  Unfortunately, Sabotage
is rarely useful now since the duration is much shorter.  It also has
the decidedly irritating problem that your teammates will tend to
shoot whatever it is you hack, and the skill will be wasted.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         This ability makes the character invisible temporarily.  The
         enemy AI will continue to shoot at your last position and is
         not completely unable to see you, but it is much more likely
         to ignore you.  The upgrades either increase the duration of
         the cloak or increase the damage bonus for firing while
         cloaked.  The cloak does not break immediately on attacking,
         but it does wear off quickly.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase duration and recharge.  
    The sixth rank is a matter of preference, but the hidden power
    schtick works well with Sabotage.

         b. Sticky Grenade

         The sticky grenade is the least effective of the grenade
         powers.  While it still has its uses, the small burst radius
         doesn't make up for the slightly higher damage.  As the name
         implies, it sticks to the target, but this is rarely useful
         or even relevant.

    Recommended: Take three ranks.

         c. Sabotage

         This skill takes over a technological enemy briefly.  It also
         stops enemies with weapons from attacking.  Enemies that are
         dominated will at least stand helpless for a few seconds even
         if your allies are shooting them, and taking over Cerberus
         turrets, which are vicious at short range, is also effective.
         Overall, if you can't communicate with your team this skill
         is rarely useful.  It also does nothing against the Reaper
         enemies, who do not have any technological units.  Sabotage
         can also set up Tech Bursts.

    Recommended: Max.  After three take duration, recharge speed,
    and Berserk.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in SMG weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.  This is rather a shame,
         as most SMGs don't weigh much to begin with.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase weapon damage, headshot,
    weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Five ranks.  After three take the shield and shield
    recharge.


         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Quarian Infiltrator is essentially identical to the Human,
         though the Sabotage adds some options if you have a team that
         will play along.  Even if your allies are uncooperative, it
         is still a usable skill, if not a great one.  Against the
         Reapers the Quarian has little to offer.

    Recommended: Carry a lighter sniper rifle if you intend to make
    heavy use of Sabotage.  Otherwise, carry whatever pleases you,
    though keeping cloak's cooldown manageable is a good idea.  For
    alternatives, try carrying the Geth Plasma Shotgun or Graal Spike
    Thrower.  Charging a weapon will not break cloak if you start
    charging before cloaking.

__________
   G. Vanguards

Vanguards are a hybrid between guns and biotics, at least on paper.
The Human Vanguard (aka "Manguard") is a pure biotic and one of the
most powerful characters for Bronze, albeit rather less effective on
higher difficulties.  All of the Vanguards get the Biotic Charge
ability by default, and this ability is all the Manguard is good for,
where the Asari and Drell are more the "part time biotic" expected for
the class.

Despite the tradition set in the previous games, there is very little
reason to use a shotgun on any Vanguard.  The Asari are effective at
long range, the Drell has poor shields, and the Manguard barely needs
a gun.

***
1. Human
***

The Manguard is a controversial character, mostly because there are a
lot of players who play it very, very badly.  Played correctly, it is
near invincible, but the tiniest lag or slipup and it becomes suicidal.
The key to Manguard is that the character is invincible while using
the Biotic Charge or Nova skills, and with a low enough cooldown the
character can alternate between them with mere fractions of a second of
vulnerability while dealing massive damage.

Using a heavy weapon (e.g. any shotgun except the Disciple) on a Human
Vanguard may result in players kicking you from a game immediately
since it is obvious you are playing the class wrong.  Some players
have run into so many poorly played Vanguards that they simply kick
Vanguards by default.

There is no "alternate way" to play the Manguard - it is a one trick
pony character.  Then again, when that pony is a rabid avatar of
destruction, why would you want anything else?

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  Very
         important upgrades to the ability increase the number of
         targets affected and the amount of shield restored, and these
         upgrades are not optional for the Manguard.  The area of
         effect stuns most enemies briefly, preventing you from being
         interrupted before you can Nova.  The shield restoration is
         a no-brainer because Nova deals damage based on your shield.

         Important note: it is generally best to play Manguard as the
         host of a game.  Lag will sometimes result in Charge not
         activating immediately, and those fractions of a second mean
         death.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase area of effect, power
    damage, and shield restoration.  Upgrade this skill first, and
    don't bother with Nova until you have the rank six full shield
    recovery.

         b. Shockwave

         Shockwave is listed for the Manguard, but you'd be crazy to
         spend any points here.  It's a bad ability anyway.

    Recommended: Ignore.

         c. Nova

         Nova reduces your current shield to 0 and changes it into a
         biotic explosion around you which can set off a biotic combo.
         You are invincible while using it, but after the animation
         ends you will die quickly since you are at point blank range
         with no shields.  Following Nova with a Biotic Charge 
         restores the shields, setting up another Nova.  The Nova 
         skill does not use the cooldown timer, it only checks if you
         have a shield to use.

         There is some debate between the use of Half Nova or the
         recharge bonus for the fifth upgrade.  Either will work.

    Recommended: Max.  After three increase radius, recharge, and 
    damage to armor.  Finish upgrading charge before spending points
    here.  Since you have a male and female Vanguard, try putting
    recharge on one and half nova on the other and experiment as to
    which you prefer.  It's the only real decision in playing Manguard.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

    Recommended: Max, eventually.  The first point can be spent early,
    but after that this is a low priority.  Raise damage & capacity
    on four, power damage on five.  The sixth depends.  For new players
    without much choice in weapons, the weight upgrade may allow use
    of better weapons while remaining at the all-important 200%,
    otherwise the weapon damage upgrade is better.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Max.  Take the first two ranks as soon as Biotic 
    Charge is fully upgraded, the others can wait.  After three, take
    the shield upgrades.  While melee may seem appropriate for the
    Vanguard, the shield upgrades increase the damage on Nova.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         If your cooldown is not 200%, you are playing this character
         wrong.  The main purpose to the Manguard is to spam charge,
         then nova, then charge.  There are situations where you'll
         want to actually use a gun.  For example, Banshees, Brutes,
         and Atlases will not be staggered by charge and can instantly
         kill you at short range, so charging them is inadvisable.
         When doing a hacking objective, it is difficult to stay
         inside the circle while charging, so you may have to fall 
         back on using a weapon.  The Predator pistol is more than
         sufficient for these limited tasks, and is sometimes useful
         for finishing off enemies that are more or less dead anyway.

    Recommended: Carry only the Predator.  At first level when all
    you have is a single rank in charge it might be reasonable to
    carry the Avenger instead since it is effective at a variety of
    ranges, but even then the ability to constantly restore your
    shields is far more useful than a slightly stronger weapon.
    There is only 200% cooldown for the Manguard.  Any weapon you 
    carry will be inferior to Nova. 

***
2. Drell
***

This class is pretty bad.  More or less it's a Rare version of the
Drell Adept and instead of the immensely useful Reave it has the
near-suicidal (for a half-shield Drell) biotic charge.  Like the Drell
Adept, it has increased running speed, increased weight capacity, and 
half the shields of other characters.

There is no recommended build, because there is no reason to play the
class.

         a. Biotic Charge

         Unlike the Manguard, there really isn't much point in 
         focusing on charge as the skill of choice.  Charge is useful
         for short range attacks and potentially detonating biotic
         combos and is also sometimes useful for restoring shields
         or just moving around the map.

         b. Pull

         This variant on Singularity doesn't create a field, it just
         picks up enemies.  While usable for crowd control, it is
         primarily a tool for setting up biotic combos, especially
         with the Cluster Grenade.

         c. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo.

         d. Drell Assassin

         The Drell version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  For Drell, it also increases their running speed,
         though the shield bonuses aren't so useful when the base
         shields are reduced.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Don't play the Drell Vanguard.  If you must, take into account
         that Pull and Biotic Charge sometimes fail to set off a
         biotic combo for some reason.  There really isn't anything
         good to say about this class.

***
3. Asari
***

The Asari Vanguard is quite different from the Manguard in style, and
using a respec card to take the point out of Biotic Charge and put it
in something else might even be a reasonable choice.  Between Stasis
and Lift Grenade, the Asari Vanguard is a crowd control queen.

         a. Biotic Charge

         Unlike the Manguard, there really isn't much point in 
         focusing on charge as the skill of choice.  Charge is useful
         for short range attacks and potentially detonating biotic
         combos and is also sometimes useful for restoring shields
         or just moving around the map.

    Recommended: Ignore, and raise to rank three when there's nowhere
    left to put your points.  It can be used to detonate biotic
    combos, and it's not worthless, but it's not that useful either.

         b. Stasis

         Stasis, unlike previous games, does not prevent the target
         from being damaged, it actually increases the damage taken.
         It is fairly useless until the final upgrade "Stasis Bubble"
         is taken, since it tends to miss otherwise.  It can affect
         shielded or barriered enemies, but not enemies that have armor
         instead of health.  It can set up biotic combos for anything
         it can effect, and those biotic combos when detonated will
         add a stasis effect to all nearby enemies.

    Recommended: Max this skill.  The fourth and fifth ranks are a
    matter of taste, but the sixth rank is all about Bubble.  When
    using Stasis as a crowd control tool (i.e. against Phantoms) the
    additional duration is important, since enemies build up a 
    resistance to stasis.

         c. Lift Grenade

         Lift Grenade, like all of the grenade powers, ignores
         cooldowns and instead uses the grenade ammunition.  It has
         the distinction of being the grenade with the largest single
         burst radius, and temporarily lifts enemies, paralyzing them.
         It can be used to set up a biotic combo.

    Recommended: Max this skill.  After third raise radius, duration,
    radius and damage.  Lifted enemies are hard to hit with charge, 
    so using this to open a biotic combo isn't that effective.

         d. Asari Justicar

         The Asari version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After third raise weapon damage, headshot
    damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

    Recommended: Maximize.  After third take the shield bonuses.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Stasis can be used to set up reliable headshots on enemies,
         and it gives a damage bonus as well.  Since Lift Grenade
         ignores cooldowns, the Asari Vanguard can be played as a
         biotic Soldier class, carrying around big guns like sniper
         rifles to take advantage of the stasis effect.

    Recommended: Light sniper rifles such as the Mantis are on option,
    but this build is ideal with a weapon like the Carnifex or Paladin
    that can deliver reasonably powerful headshots without massive
    weight.  Because of the way Stasis works, this build will be more
    effective fighting Cerberus than other opponents.

__________

--------------IV. Rewards, loot, and gear

There are two major ways to improve your characters, and neither of
them is dependent on what you did personally in a match, it only
depends on how your team did as a whole.  The third way inovlves
special objectives that will be displayed as pop-up messages, these
have varied and should be self-explanatory.

__________
   A. Rewards

There are two major resources to acquire: Experience, which is
directly based on the team's score from the match, and Credits which
are based on the team's performance on objectives.  Experience
rewards increase somewhat as difficulty increases, and credit rewards
nearly double for each difficulty level.

If your character is already at level 20, you do not get any benefit
from the experience.  Getting to level 20 is not terribly challenging
so most players are more concerned about the credits than the 
experience.

***
1. Experience
***

Experience rewards are based on match scoring.  Each enemy type has
a base experience point value, and the majority of the experience from
each match comes from these kills.  If multiple players participate
in defeating an enemy, the total points awarded will add up to the
value of the kill if a single player had killed it.

There are also bonuses that are granted during the match for various
activities.  Each one has three levels - Bronze, Silver, Gold, worth
increasing amounts of experience.

Some other bonuses include grabs, killstreaks, and bonuses for groups
of waves completed without any characters going to zero health.  A
bonus is applied for completing wave 10, and another bonus may be
applied based on the outcome of the extraction objective.

The amount of experience required to gain a level increases with each
subsequent level, but the higher levels also grant more skill points
than the lower levels.

Again, for clarity, experience rewards are granted equally to all
team members regardless of individual score, so "stealing kills" is
irrelevant and competing for highest score is purely a matter of pride
rather than any game effect.

***
2. Credits
***

Me, as author.  No, just kidding, this section is about money.

A typical Bronze match grants around 15-17 thousand credits.  Silver is
approximately double in the low to mid 30's, and Gold is approximately
twice silver, usually in the low 70's.  The amount awarded varies 
based on how quickly the objectives were completed.

These credits can be used in the store to buy packs which will be
described in section B of this chapter.


***
3. Special objectives
***

Typically called "Operation fillintheblank" these have been limited
time weekend promotions.  Some of them have set community and 
individual goals for various objectives.  If there is an objective,
the reward typically includes a "Commendation Pack" which gives a 
chance at the otherwise unobtainable N7 weapons, which should not
be confused with the N7-marked black "Ultra Rare" items.

The only one of the N7 weapons worth mentioning is the N7 Valiant, the
best sniper rifle in the game as of this writing.

__________
   B. What's in the packs?

The store lets you buy a variety of packs, one of which you get at the
very start of the game and never see again.  There is also typically
a weekly special pack that contains different items each week.  All
of the contents are random, and there are no guarantees that a pack
will contain anything of use.

The rarity lists are the next topic in the guide.

Unlocking a character you already have grants the character xp (if
not already level 20) and unlocks additional appearance customization
options.  If you're at 20 and have unlocked the appearances, the
character is worthless.

Unlocking a weapon you already have increases the weapon's rank,
which decreases the weight and increases the other stats by small
amounts.  Weapon ranks are shown in roman numerals.  Once a weapon is
at rank X, it will cease to appear in packs.

Unlocking a weapon upgrade you already have increases the upgrade's 
rank, which increases the benefits of that upgrade.  Upgrade ranks are
also roman numerals, but upgrades only increase to V.  Like the
weapons they will cease to appear in packs after fully upgraded.

Unlocking a consumable upgrade increases the amount of that consumable
you can carry.  Once you can carry five, the upgrade for that specific
consumable ceases to appear in packs.

Unlocking a reset card allows you to reset the skills of a character
on the powers screen.  If you already have three reset cards, they
will not appear in packs.

This section is based on observation and speculation, not on 
examination of the code.  It may contain errors.

***
1. Recruit
***

These cost 5,000 credits.

Slot 1: One of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item
Slot 3: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item as 1 or 2
Slot 4: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank I
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
Slot 5: An increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon weapon
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon character

***
2. Veteran
***

These cost 20,000 credits.

Slot 1: Three of one of type of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item
Slot 3: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank II
Slot 4: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment, rank II
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon weapon
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon character
Slot 5: An uncommon weapon
        *or* an uncommon character
        *or* (small chance) a rare weapon
        *or* (small chance) a rare character

***
3. Spectre
***

These cost 60,000 credits.

Slot 1: Five of one of type of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank III
Slot 3: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank III
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* an uncommon weapon
        *or* an uncommon character
Slot 4: a common upgrade
        *or* an uncommon upgrade
        *or* a consumable upgrade (considered a rare)
        *or* a reset card (also considered a rare)
Slot 5: A rare character
        *or* a rare weapon
        *or* (small chance) an ultra-rare weapon

***
4. Others
***

There are sometimes other packs for sale, such as the Equipment pack,
which contains five of each consumable and a random weapon/armor/ammo
temporary bonus, or the Premium Spectre pack, which contains two
guaranteed rares and a higher chance at an ultra-rare.

The Premium Spectre pack is identical to the normal spectre pack
except that slot 2 is skipped and there are two slot 5's.

The Equipment pack contains five of each consumable and a random tier
III "equipment" item.

__________
   C. The Armory

This section contains a list of all of the unlockable weapons and
upgrades.  A handy checklist is available at the following link:

http://narida.pytalhost.com/me3/mpchecklist/me3_mp_checklist.pdf

Each weapon can hold two upgrades at a time.

***
1. Sniper Rifles
***

The sniper rifles have the unfortunate distinction of having only
one common upgrade.  Ironically, the main strike against the Viper,
which is otherwise a decent weapon, is that most dedicated sniper
rifle users will want to focus on buying Spectre packs to unlock the
weapon mods and are not likely to see the Viper at high rank.  The 
Incisor is terrible because of the high recoil, though it is usable
if stabilized by firing from cover.

Default/Common:

M-92 Mantis: Single shot, high damage, relatively light.

Uncommon:

M-13 Raptor: Semi-auto, low damage, low scope magnification.
M-29 Incisor: Burst fire, high recoil, piece of trash.
M-97 Viper: Semi-auto, medium damage.

Rare:

M-98 Widow: Single shot, highest damage, heavy, pierces thin cover.

Ultra-Rare:

Black Widow: Three shot, high damage, heavy, pierces thin cover.
Javelin: Single shot, high damage, heavy, pierecs thick cover.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

Valiant: Three shot, high damage, medium weight, just better.

         a. Sniper Rifle upgrades
         ---Common---
         Spare Thermal Clip-increases reserve ammunition count.
         ---Uncommon--- 
         Enhanced scope-increases accuracy, see through smoke.
         Extended barrel-increases damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         
***
2. Assault Rifles
***

Many of the assault rifles are rather trashy, unfortunately.  The real
tragedy of this group is the Phaeston, which was improved and is still
not really worth using over the basic Avenger since it weighs more
and isn't much better.  The Geth Pulse Rifle should be avoided, it does
less damage than a wet noodle.

Default/Common:

M-8 Avenger: Full auto, low damage, low accuracy, low weight.

Uncommon:

M-15 Vindicator: 3-shot burst, low damage, high accuracy, high recoil.
M-96 Mattock: Semi-auto, medium damage, high accuracy, medium weight.
Phaeston: Full auto, low damage, low accuracy, not good enough.

Rare:

Geth Pulse Rifle: Full auto, pathetic damage, high accuracy.
M-37 Falcon: Grenade launcher, staggers enemies, no headshots, heavy.
M-76 Revenant: Full auto, medium damage, low accuracy, too heavy.

Ultra-Rare:

M-99 Saber: Semi auto, high damage, high accuracy, heavy.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Valkyrie: 2-shot burst, low damage, medium accuracy, heavy.

         a. Assault Rifle upgrades
         ---Common---
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Precision scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         Stability damper-reduces recoil.
         ---Uncommon---
         Extended barrel-increases damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.


***
3. Submachine Guns
***

The SMGs are the shortest list, and the list of ones worth considering
is even shorter.  The N7 Hurricane would be a good weapon, but it's
unlikely that anyone but the most obsessive will get it high enough
to make it actually better than the easily obtained and improved 
Tempest.

Default/Common:

M-4 Shuriken: 3-shot burst, very low weight, pathetic damage.

Uncommon:

M-9 Tempest: Full auto, low weight, high recoil, low damage.
M-12 Locust: Full auto, low weight, accurate, pathetic damage.

Rare:

M-25 Hornet: 3-shot burst, medium weight, high recoil, medium damage.

Ultra-Rare:

There are no ultra-rares.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Hurricane: Very fast full auto, low weight, high recoil, low damage.

         a. Submachine Gun upgrades
         ---Common---
         Heat sink-Chance of not using ammo on each shot.
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         ---Uncommon---
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         Ultralight materials-decreases weight.

***
4. Shotguns
***

Most of the shotguns are very similar, and the default Katana will
probably be better than any of the other basic shotguns since it is
much easier to increase.  The chargeable rare shotguns are the only
weapons in this category used with any frequency, though the basic
shotguns are also worth picking up because of the blade attachment.
Pistols can also be used for melee bonuses, but the upgrade there is
uncommon and the shotgun melee bonus is much easier to get to V.

Default/Common:

M-23 Katana: medium weight, low accuracy, medium damage.

Uncommon:

M-27 Scimitar: About the same as the Katana but larger magazine.
M-22 Eviscerator: Like the Katana, smaller magazine, higher damage.
Phaeston: Full auto, low damage, low accuracy, not good enough.

Rare:

Disciple: Light for a shotgun, otherwise about the same as Katana.
Geth Plasma Shotgun: Chargeable, accurate, fires three shot group.
Graal Spike Thrower: Chargeable, accurate, fires slow-moving shots.
M-300 Claymore: Single shot high damage.

Ultra-Rare:

M-11 Wraith: Higher damage Eviscerator with only 2 shots per magazine.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Crusader: A shotgun firing a slug, not shot, that pierces cover.

         a. Shotgun upgrades
         ---Common---
         Blade attachment-increases melee damage.
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         Smart choke-increases accuracy.
         ---Uncommon---
         Shredder mod-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         Spare thermal clip-increases reserve ammunition.

***
5. Heavy Pistols
***

The basic predator, the phalanx, and the carnifex form a progression 
of increasing weight and damage and decreasing rate of fire and
magazine and reserve capacity.  In general, they are the only pistols
worth considering, the others are too quirky.  The paladin would be
good, but as an ultra-rare increasing it to any serious rank is
highly unlikely.  Characters that want 200% cooldown should stick to
the predator or phalanx, none of the other pistols will arrive at a
low enough weight in any reasonable timeframe.

Default/Common:

M-3 Predator: Very low weight, accurate, low damage, high rate of fire.

Uncommon:

M-5 Phalanx: Low weight, accurate, medium damage, medium rate of fire.

Rare:

Arc Pistol: Medium weight, chargeable, otherwise like the Predator.
M-6 Carnifex: Medium weight, accurate, high damage, low rate of fire.

Ultra-Rare:

M-358 Talon: Heavy weight, high damage, shotgun-like.
M-77 Paladin: Carnifex with less shots and higher damage.
Scorpion: Fires proximity mines, heavy, no headshots.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Eagle: Full auto, medium weight, otherwise like the Predator.

         a. Heavy pistol upgrades
         ---Common---
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Precision scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         ---Uncommon---
         Melee stunner-increases melee damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.

__________
   D. Recommendations on which pack to buy

A common question from new players is "which pack should I buy?"

In general, all of the basic weapons except the Shuriken are worth
using for their own class, and there is no reason to use a submachine
gun when the pistol fires faster.  As such, getting the basic weapons
to rank X is a good early-game goal and will require quite a few
Recruit packs, maybe 20 rounds of successful Bronze runs worth.  This
will clear out the list so that the basic weapons don't show up in
the more expensive packs and displace more valuable drops.

Once the basic weapons have been finalized, the next question is more
"what do you want?" rather than general advice.

Players who know that they want a specific weapon should consult the
rarity list.  Some of the uncommon weapons are quite decent, such as
the Mattock and the Phalanx, and players looking to max out those
weapons should buy Veteran packs.

Unless there's a specific uncommon weapon or character that's desired,
or unless the goal is to collect absolutely everything, it's better to
skip the the Veteran packs and go straight to the Spectre packs,
since they're the only reliable way to unlock the uncommon upgrades.

__________

--------------V. Bestiary

This is just a list of the enemies you'll face.

__________
   A. Cerberus

This was the only enemy faction in the demo.

      1. Assault Trooper

The trooper is the basic "Care Bear" unit.  It has a basic gun attack,
a melee attack, and can throw grenades.  The grenades are instant 
death on Silver or higher but are fairly easy to avoid.

      2. Nemesis

The nemesis is a Cerberus sniper unit.  They have shields in addition
to health.  Their sniper rifle attacks are always preceded by a bright
red laser sighting beam.  The nemesis has a tendency to hang back, and
is often the last enemy finished in a wave since it doesn't seek out
the players aggressively.

      3. Centurion

These are essentially a heavier version of the trooper.  In addition
to the guns and melee, they can also throw smoke grenades and the AI
is fairly intelligent about them.  They have shields in addition to
health.

      4. Guardian

Guardians have shields.  No, not the blue kind, the "sword and shield"
kind.  They're glacially slow, but actually rather annoying to kill,
since you either have to shoot them through the slot in the shield or
shoot they feet.  If they're facing a different direction they're easy
and combat drones can make them turn around.  A variety of skills can
stagger them, moving their shields out of the way.  Stasis makes them
drop the shields.  The alternative is to use any weapon that pierces
cover or use an upgrade or armor piercing ammo.  With any of those
effects, you can ignore the shield.

      5. Combat Engineer

Engineers have shields and light weapons, but their main offensive
ability is laying a heavy turret.  Engineers can be killed like any
other humanoid enemy or you can blow them up by targeting their
backpacks.  The engineer can drop an infinite number of turrets, but
generally only sets up one at a time.

         a. Turret

The turrets are far more dangerous than the engineers themselves.  
They fire long bursts with pauses between, so stay in cover until the
turret is done firing.  They also have fairly limited range and can
be taken out safely at long distance.  The turrets have shields and
armor.

      6. Phantom

While not the "ultimate" Cerberus unit, the Phantoms are the most
dangerous.  They have a short range attack with a distinctive sound
and are the only Cerberus enemy with barriers, so they are hard to
misidentify, but they are also fast and tend to stay low so they can
sneak up on you.  They are primarily dangerous with their melee
attacks and can insta-kill players at mele range.  If their barriers
are down they will run and cloak until they are restored.  Meleeing
or Biotic Charging a Phantom is not recommended, but they are weak 
enough that it's not a terrible idea.  Charges will stagger them, so
Vanguards are relatively safe.

      7. Atlas

The most powerful Cerberus unit is actually not that much of a threat.
Their missiles will immediately drop shields, but their rate of fire
is so slow that an Atlas alone will have trouble killing anyone.  Like
the Phantoms they can insta-kill at melee range.  The main risk for
Atlases is that they take quite a lot of punishment to kill and they
can overwhelm you, especially on higher difficulties, if you do not
take them down before they overrun your position.

__________
   B. Geth

Depending on your choices in the game, fighting the Geth may make
very little sense, but they do have a throwaway line that not all of
the Geth were swayed by the decision.

The Geth have a tendency to form large, slow moving groups, and
falling back is sometimes a useful tactic since none of the Geth are
particularly fast.

      1. Geth Trooper

The basic Geth troopers are weaker than the other two factions in that
they lack grenades.  They are also very easy to headshot since they
aren't as fast and have big heads.

      2. Geth Rocket Trooper

Rocket troopers are the snipers of the Geth faction.  They have some
shields, and fire very their rockets very slowly.  Like the Atlas, the
rockets will take down your shields but are unlikely to kill you 
unless there is something else shooting at you.

      3. Geth Pyro

These slow-moving enemies have both shields and armor.  They will
slowly walk towards players and once in range will fire their rather
nasty flamethrowers, which have longer range than you might expect.
Overall, though, it is simply a matter of killing them at a distance.

      4. Geth Hunter

Like the Pyros, the Hunters slowly charge and overwhelm positions.
They approach under cloak, but the cloak doesn't stop you from shooting
them and they aren't hard to spot on the brightly lit maps.  Their
plasma shotguns are actually effective at long range, but the AI uses
them as if they had even shorter range than the Pyros.

      5. Geth Prime

The Geth Prime is the heavy unit for their faction, and like the Pyro
and the Hunter, it moves slowly.  Unlike the Pyro and the Hunter, it
has an effective long range weapon that fires a three round "burst"
that can easily kill if you're out of cover.  They also spawn both
turrets and drones.  With shields and armor, the Prime takes a while
to take down.

         a. Drones and turrets

The turrets and drones aren't very dangerous, only have shields, and
die quickly.

__________
   C. Reaper

No, there are no Reapers in this faction.  There also aren't any 
Harvesters, and those are the only enemy in the single player that's
not in the multiplayer.

      1. Cannibal

Cannibals are the basic troops.  They have ranged attacks and grenades
and their "head" is actually the face on the front of the model.

      2. Husk

Husks do not have armor, just health, and die fairly quickly.  They
also spawn infinitely while other enemies are alive.  With no ranged
attacks, husks just run up to you and grab, forcing you to wipe them
off by mashing the melee button.

      3. Marauder

Marauders have assault rifles and shields, but they spend most of
their time putting additional armor plating on the husks and cannibals.
The buffs they give to the other enemies aren't that significant,
and the Marauders are not a major threat.

      4. Brute

Here's where the Reaper faction gets interesting, and by interesting
I mean dangerous.  Brutes only have armor, and the damage you deal to
them varies based on where you hit them, which isn't as obvious as
the headshots on other enemies.  They move quickly, and deal massive
damage with their melee attacks.  In addition to being slow to die,
they can also instakill you at melee range, though they don't use the
instakill move frequently.

      5. Ravager

Ravagers are the heavy artillery.  It's easy to tell where they are
pointing with the twin aiming beams.  Like the Geth Prime, being caught
in the open by a Ravager's ranged attack is very dangerous.  They only
have armor.  In addition to their ranged attack, they also spawn
little minion creatures called swarmers.

         a. Swarmer

Swarmers are the easiest enemies in the game.  They die when they
attack, and any damage kills them.  They do, however, appear in large
groups, and while they're not that dangerous they're just another
reason to dislike Ravagers.  Their only attack is short range melee.

      6. Banshee

With heavy barriers and armor, the major annoyance of Banshees is 
their absolute refusal to die at any reasonable speed.  Their attacks
aren't terribly strong, but they teleport around at irritating speed
and can easily pop up right next to a player and insta-kill them.
Only the truly suicidal will use Biotic Charge or a melee attack on
a Banshee, as they are very fond of that insta-kill.
 
__________
   
--------------VI. Closing comments

I'd like to acknowledge the help of some folks on the GameFAQs ME3 PC
board for their input on some questions I had.  Cindragoons, SKA_,
Dangaard, Gamemako, mimycri, Spideyknight, Seishomaru, yegaboo11,
Duneman, and El_Kaz.  I'm probably forgetting some people.

This is just the first draft of this guide, and it will inevitably
have to be updated.  Strategy comments and other recommendations will
come eventually, I suppose.

In the meantime, this guide is copyleft - all rites reversed.  Do with
it what you will.  It's kind of lame to steal it and claim that you
wrote it when I did all the work, but honestly I don't care, I enjoy 
writing FAQs.

This is version 0.92, which corrects some minor errors and adds some
build advice.

version 0.91 was submitted and never published.
version 0.90 was submitted and never published.

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