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Mass Effect Wiki
Disambiguous This article is about the biotic ability Barrier in Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3. For the Barrier skill in Mass Effect: Andromeda, see Barrier (skill).

Biotic barriers use mass effect fields to protect the user from damage much like how a kinetic barrier does, but with some unique characteristics.

Mass Effect[]

A Barrier

Barrier is a biotic talent in Mass Effect. Barrier surrounds the user with a high-gravity mass effect field essentially strengthening the player's shields for a certain period of time (or until the extra points are taken off by damage, whichever comes first). Barriers do not protect against physical damage like melee attacks, explosive ordnance, flying debris, or environmental hazards.

Talent Ranks[]

  1. Level 1: Barrier: Absorbs: 400 points Duration: 10 sec Recharge Time: 60 sec Accuracy Cost: 80%
  2. Level 2: Increases Barrier duration to 10.5 sec and shielding to 420.
  3. Level 3: Increases Barrier duration to 11 sec and shielding to 440.
  4. Level 4: Increases Barrier duration to 11.5 sec and shielding to 460. Unlocks Stasis (Adept).
  5. Level 5: Increases Barrier duration to 12 sec and shielding to 480. Unlocks Stasis (Asari Scientist).
  6. Level 6: Increases Barrier duration to 12.5 sec and shielding to 500. Unlocks Stasis (Sentinel, Krogan Battlemaster).
  7. Level 7: Advanced Barrier: Absorbs: 700 points Duration: 16.5 sec Recharge Time: 50 sec Accuracy Cost: 80%
  8. Level 8: Increases Barrier duration to 17 sec and shielding to 720.
  9. Level 9: Increases Barrier duration to 17.5 sec and shielding to 740.
  10. Level 10: Increases Barrier duration to 18 sec and shielding to 760.
  11. Level 11: Increases Barrier duration to 18.5 sec and shielding to 780.
  12. Level 12: Master Barrier: Absorbs: 1000 points Duration: 23 sec Recharge Time: 40 sec Accuracy Cost: 80%


Bastions gain Barrier Specialization at level 9.

Vanguard Shock Troopers gain Barrier Specialization at level 9.

Level 9: Barrier Specialization: Increases Barrier's shield strength and duration by 25%. Barrier will regenerate 40 shields per second.

Player Notes[]

  • The Barrier Specialization shield strength bonus stacks additively with Biotic Amp Power Bonus. Fully developed Bastion with a Savant X model amp equipped is capable of producing a Barrier with a base shield strength of 1650.
  • Recasting Barrier before the duration expires will refresh the duration but not the strength of the shield. While Barrier is active the only ways to recharge a damaged shield are by not taking damage, allowing normal automatic shield recharge; using the Shield Boost talent; or by training in Barrier Specialization which enables the shield to constantly regenerate even while taking damage.
  • Changing the equipped body armor will cancel an active Barrier. The blue visual effect of the Barrier may still remain but the bonus shield is immediately lost. Switching Armor Upgrades on the other hand does not cancel Barrier.
  • Legendary Edition: the shield meter in the HUD turns white while Barrier is active. Unlike in the original game, the health of the increased shield is no longer visible as it takes damage; only when the bonus shield has been completely destroyed is there any indication in the HUD, as the white effect disappears and the normal blue status bar returns.


These classes have access to the Barrier talent:

Mass Effect 2[]


Creates a shield that soaks huge amounts of damage.

Power Ranks[]

  • Rank 1 - Creates a mass effect field that lasts a few seconds and can absorb a large amount of damage.
    • Recharge Time: 12.00 seconds
    • Duration: 60.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: +25.00% of maximum shields
  • Rank 2 - Creates a mass effect field that lasts a few seconds and can absorb a large amount of damage.
    • Recharge Time: 12.00 seconds
    • Duration: 60.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: +50.00% of maximum shields
  • Rank 3 - Creates a mass effect field that lasts a few seconds and can absorb a large amount of damage.
    • Recharge Time: 12.00 seconds
    • Duration: 60.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: +75.00% of maximum shields

Rank 4

Evolves Barrier into one of the following options:

Heavy Barrier[]

  • Your barrier is nearly impenetrable, shrugging off even heavy weapons.
    • Recharge Time: 12.00 seconds
    • Duration: 60.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: +100.00% of maximum shields

Improved Barrier[]

  • Your barrier lasts a few critical seconds longer.
    • Recharge Time: 12.00 seconds
    • Duration: 180.00 seconds
    • Barrier Strength: +75.00% of maximum shields

Player Notes[]

  • Barrier is a biotic power in Mass Effect 2.
  • Barrier is functionally the same as Fortification and Geth Shield Boost, and differs only slightly from the Improved evolution of the latter.
    • Barrier, being a biotic ability, is eligible for biotic upgrades (e.g. Biotic Cooldown), while Fortification is not.
    • The bonus from Barrier is added to your total current shields. Barrier therefore expires only when the duration expires or if your shield is ever completely collapsed.
  • Barrier is unique among the four Mass Effect 2 "armor powers" (the other three being Tech Armor, Fortification, and Geth Shield Boost) in that it does not have an activation animation.
    • This is actually an advantage, as it means that Shepard is less likely to be interrupted when activating Barrier under fire, e.g. by a pyro's flame stream. It also fits the mental flavor of a biotic ability.
    • Like Fortification and Geth Shield Boost (but not Tech Armor) Barrier is also one of the few powers in Mass Effect 2 that can be used without interrupting Shepard when storming.
  • Barrier and the other defensive shield powers can be activated when your shields are down, giving you an immediate recharge. However, be aware that damage to your health does not recover from this, and should your shields go down before you are able to regenerate normally, your health will still be compromised.
  • The graphical effect for Barrier fades much more quickly than Fortification does, and the only way to verify your true current shield maximum is on the Squad tab of the main menu.
  • Unlocking Jacob's Barrier (on completion of Jacob: The Gift of Greatness) can create the conundrum that he will constantly reactivate it during battles even if Squad Power Use is disabled, making him less likely to use his other powers or be able to use them on demand. The only way to have a loyal Jacob but avoid automatic Barrier activation is to reset his powers using the Advanced Training terminal at the Shadow Broker's Base (requires either Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC or Legendary Edition) and invest no points in Barrier.
  • In Mass Effect 2, both Level 4 Barrier evolutions already have a duration far in excess of their cooldown. The Barrier can simply be refreshed if it is about to lapse. Improved Barrier is far less likely to run out at the wrong time during a combat situation if the player is careful not to let their shield break from damage, though Heavy Barrier, being tougher, is easier to keep from being broken by damage.
  • The long duration of Improved Barrier is helpful for all classes as it enables more use of other powers before it must be recast to renew its duration. This is especially helpful for Soldiers who tend to have the slowest power recharge speeds.


Mass Effect 3[]

ME3 Barrier

Power Ranks[]

Rank 1: Barrier[]

Reinforce armor with this biotic field. Detonate the field to lift and dangle nearby targets.

Reduce all forms of damage taken.
Slows power use by 60% (50% multiplayer).

  • Recharge Speed: 10 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 15% (25% multiplayer)
  • Blast Damage: 90 (500 multiplayer)
  • Blast Radius: 3 m

Rank 2: Recharge[]

Increase recharge speed after detonation by 25%.

  • Recharge Speed: 8 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 15% (25% multiplayer)
  • Blast Damage: 127 (650 multiplayer)
  • Blast Radius: 3.90 m

Rank 3: Blast Effect[]

Increase damage, force, and radius of the detonation by 20%.

  • Recharge Speed: 8 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 15% (25% multiplayer)
  • Blast Damage: 135 (750 multiplayer)
  • Blast Radius: 4.50 m

Rank 4: Blast Effect/Barrier Strength[]

Blast Effect

Increase damage, force, and radius of the detonation by 30%.

  • Recharge Speed: 8 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 15% (25% multiplayer)
  • Blast Damage: 162 (900 multiplayer)
  • Blast Radius: 5.40 m

Barrier Strength

Decrease damage taken by 5%.

  • Recharge Speed: 8 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 20% (30% multiplayer)
  • Blast Damage: 135 (750 multiplayer)
  • Blast Radius: 4.50 m

Rank 5: Shield Recharge/Power Synergy[]

Shield Recharge

Increase shield regeneration rate by 15% while Barrier is active.

Power Synergy

Increase damage and force by 25% (30% multiplayer) while Barrier is active.

Rank 6: Power Recharge/Barrier Strength[]

Power Recharge

Reduce power speed penalty by 30%.

Barrier Strength

Increase damage protection by 10%.

  • Recharge Speed: 8 sec
  • Damage Reduction: 25% (35% multiplayer) [Blast Effect], 30% (40% multiplayer) [Barrier Strength]
  • Blast Damage: 162 (900 multiplayer) [Blast Effect], 135 (750 multiplayer) [Barrier Strength]
  • Blast Radius: 5.40 m (Blast Effect), 4.50 m (Barrier Strength)

Player Notes[]

  • Barrier's detonation deals 1.5x damage to barriers.[1] The blast is much more damaging in multiplayer.
  • The detonation of Barrier can hit a maximum of 3 targets.
  • Rank 2 shows an increase of 25% recharge speed (for the in game text) but when selected Blast Damage and Blast Radius also increase by 30%.
  • The power use penalty at Rank 1 Barrier is not 60% (50% multiplayer) overall reduction to power recharge speed, but a 60% (50% multiplayer) points reduction of the Power Recharge Speed bonus visible in the weapon loadout screen. For example, if you have +200% Power Recharge Speed bonus when looking at the weapons screen, activating Rank 1 Barrier reduces that Power Recharge Speed to +140% (+150% multiplayer).
    • The power speed penalty reduction of 30% at Rank 6 Barrier reduces the penalty down to 30% (20% multiplayer). E.g. if you have a +200% Power Recharge Speed bonus, activating Rank 6 Barrier only reduces that to +170% (+180% multiplayer).
  • Barrier activates instantly, with no character animation; the screen turns bluish-purple for a few seconds and this eventually disappears.
  • Detonation of Barrier is instantaneous, but leaves the player exposed for a short while as a short animation of the character throwing his/her head backwards is shown.
  • Blast damage from detonating Barrier will not go through walls and cover. This is in contrast to the detonation of Tech Armor.
  • As with most biotic powers, only unprotected enemies (no shields, barriers, or armor) can be lifted by Barrier detonations; the force component of the blast usually ends up sending lifted enemies flying as well. The lift duration lasts only a few seconds but does serve as a "primer" for Biotic Explosions that can be detonated by follow-up biotic powers such as Throw.
  • The damage protection bonus of Barrier can stack with additional powers such as Tech Armor and Reave.
  • A character with the Rank 5 Power Synergy evolution and Rank 6 Power Recharge evolution will have a slightly increased damage-per-second from powers while Barrier is active than without Barrier. The Power Synergy evolution for Barrier is slightly less than the similar evolution on Fortification.
  • It can be difficult to self-create Biotic Explosions on enemies lifted by the detonation of the shield due to the power's relatively long cooldown and relatively short lift duration; allies with biotic powers are the most reliable way to execute combos with Barrier.
    • A Vanguard Shepard has the easiest time self-creating biotic combos with Barrier as Nova can detonate lifted targets in range without waiting for powers to recharge. However, enemies lifted by Barrier's detonation are often flung out of range by the force of the blast.
    • Jacob Taylor, Urdnot Wrex, and a Sentinel Shepard can all potentially self-create combos with their Lift Grenades. An Adept Shepard can potentially do so with Cluster Grenades. Squad members have an easier time as their grenade powers land instantly.