Nightsolo's Mass Effect 3 Shepard Guide

Default Plot Choices When Starting a New Game
Importing A Shepard From Mass Effect 2
Starting A New Shepard
Description of Powers

Default Plot Choices When Starting a New Game

What to expect if you don't import a character from Mass Effect 2:
Mass Effect 1Mass Effect 2
  • Garrus and Wrex were both recruited.
  • No DLC or side quests were completed, including the Rogue VI on Luna.
  • The Asari Shiala is killed by the Thorian on Feros.
  • The colony on Feros was not saved.
  • The Rachni Queen was killed.
  • Wrex was killed on Virmire, doesn't matter by whom.
  • Shepard didn't enter into a romantic relationship.
  • During the attack on the Citadel, the Council was killed and the ship Destiny Ascension was destroyed.
  • Udina was appointed Counselor.
  • No DLC, side quests or Loyalty Missions were completed. This includes the two DLC exclusive characters, Zaeed and Kasumi, who count as never having been recruited.
  • Shepard accepted reinstatement as a Spectre.
  • Tali was exiled from the Migrant Fleet.
  • Shepard didn't enter into a romantic relationship. Again.
  • Grunt was never let out of his tank, and therefore was not recruited.
  • Legion was not recruited, therefore no choice was made for the Geth vis-a-vis reprogramming.
  • Samara was never recruited. She was killed by Morinth trying to escape from Ilium, and Morinth was never recruited either.
  • Suicide Mission Survivors (Squad): Garrus, Jacob, Miranda, and Tali.
  • Suicide Mission Survivors (Normandy Crew): Joker and Dr. Chakwas. All other crew members are considered killed.
  • Suicide Mission Deaths: Jack and Thane.
  • The Collector Base was destroyed.
  • Although the events in the Shadow Broker DLC and Arrival DLC were not completed by Shepard, the events still occurred. The Batarian System is destroyed, and Liara is the Shadow Broker.
  • Maelon's genophage data was destroyed (which means Eve, the female Krogan, will die).

Importing A Shepard From Mass Effect 2

I HIGHLY recommend importing a save game, because a new character in Mass Effect 3 starts with most of the Renegade choices from ME1 and ME2 (see above). Between Ashley and Kaidan, if you choose Numerous Losses, the one of the opposite sex as Shepard will have survived. Shepard will have romanced no one in previous games.

From the Main Menu, choose Configuration, then Save Games, then Copy Mass Effect 2 Save Games. Then browse to where on your computer those are (normally C:\Users\Username\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect 2\Save\). Then once you're in the game, choose Import ME2 Character. You can then change Shepard's appearance and class, and add a bonus power.

If you don't have a save game to import yourself, you can use someone else's save files from

Bonuses for importing a Mass Effect 2 character:
Whatever level your character was in ME2
The talent points you had distributed
All the powers you had chosen
15% of your Paragon and Renegade Points

New Game Plus Bonuses:
After you've beaten the game, you may import a Mass Effect 3 Save:
Reputation and Paragon/Renegade stats carry over.
All Weapons carry over and current Weapon Modifications, but mods must be reequipped.
All Body Armor carries over.
All Credits carry over.
All Fish and Models you previously found are collected.
Your current level carries over, and Skill Points can be reassigned
Weapons can be upgraded past Level V (5). Weapons found in game can now be upgraded two more levels by finding the weapon again. Weapons not found in the game such as the starting pistol can be upgraded to X (10).
Any Squad Member special power can be selected during character creation.
Shepard's face can be changed.

Starting A New Shepard

The Manual and In-Game Character Creation Steps do a good job explaining the basics of creating a character, so I won't go over those here. I will, however, go into some more subtle details.
  1. Choosing a character appearance. This has only aesthetic value. Male or Female only changes your character's body and voice. A few of the lines people in the game say may be gender-specific, but any key plot lines are the same.
  2. Choosing a Class. This will affect the Abilities available to you. This does not affect which Missions you can complete.
  3. Choosing a Background. This will have an effect on your alignment, Paragon vs. Renegade. (see below)
  4. Choosing a Personal Historical Event. This will have an effect on your alignment, Paragon vs. Renegade (see below).
  5. Choosing your experience with combat losses. Numerous means most of your squad mates and crew died at the Reaper Base in ME 2, and between Kaidan or Ashley, the survivor from ME1 will be of the opposite gender as Shepard.
Your choices of Background and History will give you several possibilities for starting Paragon or Renegade scores:
  1. Spacer & War Hero +20 Paragon
  2. Spacer & Sole Survivor +15 Paragon & +5 Renegade
  3. Spacer & Ruthless +10 Renegade
  4. Colonist & War Hero +15 Paragon
  5. Colonist & Sole Survivor +10 Paragon & +5 Renegade
  6. Colonist & Ruthless +15 Renegade
  7. Earthborn & War Hero +10 Paragon
  8. Earthborn & Sole Survivor +5 Paragon & +15 Renegade
  9. Earthborn & Ruthless +20 Renegade
Each class has a different set of starting Abilities and Talents:
Type Power Training Weight Capacity Ammo Training
Soldier Adrenaline Rush, Combat Mastery 20-100 Incendiary
Engineer Combat Drone, IncinerateTech Mastery 10-50 none
Adept Singularity, Warp, Singularity, Biotic Mastery 10-50 none
Infiltrator Tactical Cloak, Operational Mastery 15-70 Disruptor
Vanguard Biotic Charge, Assault Mastery 15-70 Incendiary
Sentinel Tech Armor, Throw, Offensive Mastery 15-70 none

Description of Powers

Class Powers

Each class has a unique Class Power that provides bonuses to reputation gains, among other things.
Biotic MasteryIncrease Weight Capacity
Tech MasteryIncrease Power Damage and Duration, and Weight Capacity
Operational MasteryIncrease Weight Capacity and Time Dilation
Offensive MasteryIncrease Power Damage and Duration, and Weight Capacity
Combat MasteryIncrease Power Damage and Duration, Health, Weapon Damage, Storm Speed
Assault MasteryIncrease Power Damage, Weapon Damage, and Weight Capacity

Combat Powers

Ammo Powers last until you activate a different ammo power.
Adrenaline RushSlows down time, increases Weapon Damage
Concussive ShotA single, powerful shot
FitnessIncreases stats complementary to a specific class
Cryo AmmoFreezes enemies, increases damage done against a frozen enemy
Disruptor AmmoIncreases Damage against Shields and Synthetics
Incendiary AmmoBurns through armor, sets enemies on fire, and damages health
Cluster GrenadeBreaks apart and knocks enemies off their feet
Frag GrenadeThrows shrapnel over the blast area
Lift GrenadeCauses targets to float in the air
Sticky GrenadeSticks to the target

Biotic Powers

NovaConverts a biotic barrier into a short-range shockwave
Biotic ChargeRam into an enemy, causing damage and knocking an enemy back
PullTarget floats towards you
ShockwaveArea knockback and damage
SingularityEnemies near the sphere float around it
ThrowThrows targets away from you
WarpDamages enemy targets and stops health regeneration, detonates any biotic powers already affecting the target causing further damage, effective against armor and biotic barriers

Tech Powers

SabotageTurns synthetics over to your side for a short time, causes weapons to overheat
Combat DroneSpawns a drone to attack enemies
Cryo BlastCauses cold damage to enemies
Tech ArmorGenerates extra energy armor, and detonates when destroyed
IncinerateCauses area fire damage
Sentry TurretDeploy an immobile heavy turret for a short time
OverloadCauses area damage to shields and synthetics
Tactical CloakYou're invisible for a short time

Bonus Powers

Each player class can choose one bonus power. Unlock them through conversation with squad mates or completing DLC.
Inferno GrenadeAshleyCluster-bomb a small area with incendiary munitions
MarksmanAshleyBoost weapon accuracy and firing rate for a short time
Proximity MineGarrusFire this sticky mine into traffic. It will detonate when an enemy steps within range
FortificationJamesReinforce armor using protective Foucault currents. Purge the current and send its charge to your gauntlets for increased melee damage. Slows power usage by 60%
CarnageJamesRip a target to shreds with this vicious blast. Major collateral damage to enemies nearby. Effective against armor.
Armor Piercing AmmoGarrusExtra damage against armor and against unprotected enemies
Warp AmmoLiaraBlast vulnerable opponents already lifted by biotics for a damage bonus, and weaken the armor of grounded targets
Defense MatrixEDIReinforce armor with protective Foucault currents. Purge the currents to restore shields
DecoyEDIa hologram copy appears approximately 3-5m away. This hologram mimics the activator's appearance and movements but does not actually move, nor does it actually attack
Defense DroneTaliElectrocutes enemies within its firing range
Energy DrainTaliHit an enemy with this energy pulse to inflict damage and to steal barrier and shield power.
StasisLiaraStop an enemy in its tracks with this powerful mass effect field. No effect on armored targets. Enemies eventually break out of Stasis after taking major damage
BarrierKaidanReinforce armor with this biotic field. Detonate the field to lift and dangle nearby targets. Reduce all forms of damage taken. Slows power use by 50%
ReaveKaidanDrain target's health and disrupt their , receiving increased damage protection while this power is in effect.
SlamJavikDeal massive damage with a biotic body slam
Dark ChannelJavikPlague an opponent with a persistent, damaging biotic field. Effect transfers to a second target if the first is killed. Only one field may be active at a time.
DominateLeviathan DLCDisrupt the synaptic harmonics of an organic brain so it can't differentiate between friend and foe. A single affected target will fight on your side for a short time
LashAriaLatch this biotic field onto enemies to jerk them towards you, doing massive damage in the process
FlareAriaFocus and expend all biotic energy to unleash a huge flare that throws enemies within its range, causing massive damage.

last modified 6 April 2018