Welcome to Mass Effect multiplayer
Completing missions earns you the credits to unlock new equipment and characters. To answer your most pressing question, yes, you can be a Krogan. You can also be a Drell, a Quarian an Asari, and a plain old human, each race having their own special abilities and powers. Playing online is also a great way to try new classes. If youve never wielded the power of an Engineers Incinerate or unleashed an Adepts biotic combos, now is your chance.
Missions come in three challenge ratings, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Completing a mission will net you about 15,000, 30,000 or 60,000 credits, respectively. Bronze missions are obviously where you should start. Once youve got a character past level 10 and unlocked some gear, move up to Silver. Dont get cocky, youre better off burning through Bronze missions than wiping on a Silver. Youll need a tight group of friends, a balanced squad and the right Equipment to finish Gold missions.
Going for gold
Wanna start winning Gold missions? Two words: preparation and communication. The 15% XP bonus for an Unknown Enemy is tempting, but knowing what youre up against is a huge advantage. Take a minute in the lobby to plan your team, with the enemy in mind.
What's different from single-player?
In multiplayer, upgraded ammo like Incendiary Rounds and Armor-Piercing Rounds are Equipment, not permanent character powers. Theyre one time use, consumable items that can be applied to your character for a single mission. Dont waste them on public Bronze missions, or against the wrong enemy. Keep them for when youre confident your team isnt going to bail on you. Same goes for Medi-gel and Ops Survival packs, try to save them for when things are truly dire.
Not all characters of the same Class have the same moves. Powers have been divided up to give the different races different abilities. Example: Human Vanguards have Shockwave, while youll want to unlock the Asari Vanguard for her powerful Stasis.
Stay aware of your objectives
With a seemingly endless wave of enemies pouring toward you, it can be easy to forget about that terminal youre supposed to hack. You wont have an objective every round, but when you do, keep it in mind. Theres always a tidy bonus to be had for finishing objectives quickly. Especially when facing Reaper or Geth forces, you want to knock out an objective or two before you get overrun.
Ever bought a pack of Pokemon cards? Sure you have. You know that while it may be a random assortment of characters, items and gear, you're guaranteed a few rare and uncommon items. Unlocking gear in multiplayer works just like that. You can choose from Recruit, Veteran and Spectre packs, and whatever special Bioware might be offering.
As far as which packs to buy, its really up to you. A few Recruit and Veteran packs will help you build up some basic gear thats useful for different types of characters. Pricey Spectre packs give the rarer, more niche equipment that may only suit certain character builds. If you want to build up a stable of several versatile characters, buy more of the cheaper packs. If youd rather have one or two powerhouse characters, sooner rather than later, then save your credits for Spectre packs. Keep checking in on the store, you never know what Bioware might be offering that day.
Keep modded up
Just like in single-player, weapon mods provide a real edge in combat. Youll get a few with every upgrade pack you buy, always make sure each character has two on every gun. Most give boosts to damage or ammo capacity, but scopes and melee attachments can completely change your strategy with a given weapon. The Shotgun Blade Attachment is a great choice for Krogan warriors, or any character who likes to mix it up at melee range. Pistol and assault rifle scopes greatly extend range and accuracy, but make close quarter combat difficult. Carry another gun to fall back on, or try no-scoping (firing without aiming) when enemies get close in. Remember, the pinpoint accuracy of a scope and bonus headshot damage make a nasty combination. Salarians and Turians have perks for that compliment this combo.
Crowd control vs. direct damage
When it comes to evolving your powers in Ranks 4-6, the choice often comes down to either dealing more damage or hitting more targets. Want to put major put hurt on a single target? Then choose upgrades that increase damage. For crowd control, choose upgrades that extend your attack radius or allow you to affect more than enemy. You can expand the radius of moves like Concussive Shot, Singularity or Shockwave to make them into crowd control powers. A balanced team is composed of both heavy damage dealers and crowd control characters.
Max level is 20, 80 points to spend
In multiplayer, characters can get up to level 20. You get four Level-Up Progress Points per level, making for a total of 80 points you get to spend (every character starts out with one point in their primary skill, making the grand total 81). It takes 21 points to max out a skill. This means you can max out three skills and have 17 points left over. Look over your character's powers and think about how you plan to spec him. Its not cheap to reset your powers.
When specing your character ask yourself two questions: first, am I crowd control or direct damage, or a balance of the two? Second, what enemies am I best against? Can I lower Geth Shields, damage Cerberus armor or handle large crowds of Reapers? Balanced, general characters are good for public matches, and honed, specifically designed characters are what you and your friends need to take on Gold matches.
Watch your weight
As you know from single player, in Mass Effect 3 heavier guns mean a longer cooldown for your powers. Online, characters can only carry two guns, but tweaking their combined weight means a big change for your gameplay. Classes that rely heavily on their powers, like Adepts, Engineers and Vanguards, are at their most dominant with low cooldowns.