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Cooperative multiplayer is a game mode that is featured in Mass Effect 3, and marks the debut of multiplayer in the Mass Effect series. In this mode, up to four players can join together online and customize characters to fight on the front lines of the galaxy-wide war against the Reapers, as well as Cerberus, Geth and Collector forces. Progress in co-op earns the player rewards in Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War that can be used to influence the outcome of Mass Effect 3's single-player mode.

Playing the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode requires an Online Pass, which is now free to download. On October 11, 2012,[1] BioWare published a dedicated website, N7 HQ, featuring stat-tracking and gameplay data for Mass Effect 3's single-player campaign and multiplayer mode alike.

The multiplayer mode is not included in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition remaster of the trilogy.



Missions in cooperative multiplayer consist of pitting the player and up to three other allies against eleven waves of enemies consisting of Cerberus, Reaper, geth, or Collector (requires Mass Effect 3: Retaliation) troops on various battlefields throughout the galaxy.

Missions have four challenge difficulties, in order from easiest to hardest: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. (Platinum difficulty was added by the Mass Effect 3: Earth DLC pack.) Higher difficulties feature stronger and more numerous enemies, as well as difficult enemy types in earlier waves and in larger numbers, but will also reward more credits to spend in the Store and more bonus experience for successful completion. Platinum also features enemies from factions other than the one chosen.

Players must survive the first ten waves by eliminating the enemy forces while also accomplishing objectives for the mission to be successful. Towards the end of a wave when only a few enemies remain, those enemies tend to become more aggressive.

There are five types of objectives that are chosen randomly at waves three, six, and ten:

  • Devices: Enable or disable four key devices in sequence.
    • A player working on a device is unable to act in any way for 10 seconds, but it is possible to activate powers such as Tactical Cloak prior to beginning.
    • Only one player is needed to deal with a single device, but it is possible for more than one player to work on the same one, which can be insurance in case one player is interrupted.
    • Most player classes disabling a device automatically crouch down and also become slightly more resistant to stuns such as from the melee attacks of lesser enemies, but being fully stunned or staggered will interrupt the disabling process.
    • The only way for a player to self-cancel the disarming of a device once they've started is to move a short distance in any direction, or even side to side rapidly.
  • Assassination: Take out four targeted enemies in sequence. Time is extended after each kill.
    • Each target enemy will be stronger than the normal multiplayer version of the enemy. Health, shields, and/or barriers are increased.
  • Hacking: Capture and hold a position in order to hack critical data before time runs out. Additional players within the hacking zone quicken the process.
  • Retrieval (requires Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack): Retrieve two high priority packages and securely transport them to a designated extraction zone on each map.
    • While carrying the package, the player moves slower than normal.
    • Using sprint, combat rolls, and certain powers (i.e. Biotic Charge, Tactical Cloak, Shadow Strike, or Havoc Strike) will cause the player to drop the carried package.
    • Using vault to jump over cover, dropping down from a height, or climbing up/down a ladder will not cause the player to drop the package.
    • There is an exploit where it is possible to maintain a sprint while carrying the package if the player starts to run and then spams the interact button when passing over the package on the ground. This results in a cycle of repeatedly picking up and dropping the package while still moving it forward and not dropping out of the sprint. Latency can make this technique difficult for non-host players to perform.
  • Escort (requires Mass Effect 3: Earth): Activate and escort a drone to an extraction zone while it collects data.
    • Additional players within the escort zone quicken the process.
    • The drone itself is invulnerable and will occasionally replenish player shields and attack enemies with missiles or electrical shocks.

Objective Notes:

  • Warning: Enemies will spawn continuously until the objective is completed. All objectives have a time limit and the mission will fail immediately if time expires.
  • For Hacking and Escort, the speed is based on the number of players hacking/escorting compared to the total players in the game. For example, two people hacking/escorting in a two-player game results in the same speed as four players hacking/escorting in a four-player game.
  • After completing the objective, the remaining enemies still have to be eliminated to complete the wave.
  • Each completed objective awards a base number of credits depending on difficulty level.
  • Bonus credits are awarded depending on the amount of time left when the objective itself is completed.
    • Bonus credits max out at 25% of the specific objective wave. (See the Multiplayer Talk page here for details on bonus credit amounts)
Difficulty Level Wave 3 Wave 6 Wave 10 Wave 11 Base Total Max Credits
Bronze (Max Bonus) 1,875 (468) 4,375 (1,093) 6,250 (1,562) 1,675 14,175 17,300
Silver (Max Bonus) 3,750 (937) 8,750 (2,187) 12,500 (3,125) 3,125 28,125 34,375
Gold (Max Bonus) 9,000 (2,250) 21,000 (5,250) 30,000 (7,500) 7,500 67,500 82,500
Platinum (Max Bonus) 16,500 (4,125) 38,500 (9,625) 55,000 (13,750) 13,750 123,750 151,250

After each successful wave, a portion of any depleted health and/or ammo (not including grenades) will be resupplied to the player depending upon difficultly level. Lower difficulty levels resupply more health and/or ammo while higher difficulties resupply less or even none.

Difficulty Level Health Ammo
Bronze 4 Bars 50%
Silver 3 Bars 25%
Gold 2 Bars 10%
Platinum 1 Bar 0%

Note: Any squadmates that die during a wave will be resurrected when a wave is completed successfully.

After the first ten waves, on the eleventh wave, all players must defend against the enemy for a set time period before retreating to the designated extraction zone within the time limit. Although the mission is considered complete after clearing the tenth wave, bonus experience (relative to the number of players extracted) and bonus credits (for successful player extraction) are awarded after completing wave eleven.

Note: Even if the mission fails, any experience and credits that were earned before the wave failure are still awarded to the player after the multiplayer match. Partial awarding of Galactic Readiness will also take place depending upon how many waves were completed before the wave failure.

†The player must survive and successfully extract for the credits to be awarded for Wave 11.

Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War[]

See also: Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War

Playing cooperative multiplayer ties into the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system. Participating in matches can quickly increase the player's Galactic Readiness rating, and multiplayer characters who reach the maximum level can be "promoted" into valuable War Assets for the single-player campaign. Co-op and the Galaxy at War system are entirely optional, however, and are not necessary to achieve the optimal endings in single-player, although the process could be considered significantly more difficult.[2][3]

Each map, unless chosen at random, is associated with one theatre of war and will increase Galactic Readiness mainly in that theatre.

Completing a multiplayer mission while having an overall Galactic Readiness rating of 100% grants a 5% boost in experience earned, shortening the amount of time it would take to promote a multiplayer character to the Galaxy at War.


Each multiplayer user has several associated rankings. These rankings serve as an indicator of players' overall level of experience with the game. Each ranking can be viewed in multiple locations in the multiplayer system, and on BioWare's N7 HQ, but are most prominently and publicly displayed in the lobby before a multiplayer game. The rankings are displayed on rotating banners underneath the player's name.

  • N7 Ranking is displayed on a red banner with the N7 logo and is calculated by adding together the total levels ever gained by each character class plus 10 for each time a character class has been promoted. N7 ranking is uniform across all character classes.
  • Challenge Ranking is displayed on a gold banner with a gold challenge medallion and is the total number of challenge points the user has accumulated. Challenge ranking is uniform across all character classes.
  • Promotion Ranking is displayed on a blue banner with a galaxy symbol and is unique to each character class. Promotion ranking shows the number of times that the character class has been promoted.

Character Customization[]

Main article: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer/Character Customization

Players can choose from six different character classes and twelve different races to play 65 individual unique multiplayer characters. Individual character weapons and equipment can be customized between matches with additional weapons and equipment obtained by purchasing packs from the Store.

Players are awarded experience points from multiplayer gameplay to gain new levels.

Level(s) Experience Points Required For Level Cumulative Experience Points
1 N/A 0 (Level 1)
2 12,500 12,500 (Level 2)
3 - 4 25,000 62,500 (Level 4)
5 37,500 100,000 (Level 5)
6 - 8 50,000 250,000 (Level 8)
9 - 12 62,500 500,000 (Level 12)
13 - 16 125,000 1,000,000 (Level 16)
17 - 18 250,000 1,500,000 (Level 18)
19 - 20 500,000 2,500,000 (Level 20)

Level Notes:

  • Multiplayer level is capped at Level 20 for all six character classes. Each character class has the same requirement of 2,500,000 experience points to reach Level 20.
  • When the player reaches the experience cap of 2,500,000 points for the character class, no new experience points will be gained from multiplayer play until the character class is either promoted or another character class with less than the 2,500,000 experience points cap is played.
  • Experience points do not transfer over when promoting a character. Promoted characters start back at zero experience points on Level 1. If the player has 499,999 out of 500,000 experience points needed to reach Level 20 before a multiplayer match, after the match is played only the amount needed to reach level 20 will be awarded. (In this case, one experience point.)

As the player gains new levels in multiplayer, additional points are awarded to allocate to powers.

Level(s) Points Per Level Cumulative Points
1 2‡ 2 (Level 1)
2 - 7 3 20 (Level 7)
8 - 12 4 40 (Level 12)
13 - 16 5 60 (Level 16)
17 - 20 6 84 (Level 20)

Note: It is not possible to max out all powers with the 84 points available. 105 points would be needed to reach maxed out full powers.

Using all of the 84 points available at Level 20, filling the ranks for four of the powers and leaving one power with no points uses the most points. Shown here as (6/6/6/6/0). The player can also allocate points as (6/6/6/5/3) to use all 84 points as well.

Points unspent doesn't necessarily mean that the character build is inefficient. Depending upon the race, character class, and play style, choosing to not spend all of the points but filling more powers can be a better use of points.

  • Leaving 1 point unspent, the player can allocate (6/6/6/4/4).
  • Leaving 2 points unspent, the player can allocate (6/6/5/5/4).
  • Leaving 3 points unspent, the player can allocate (6/5/5/5/5).

‡The first time playing with each one of the 65 characters available, one point is already allocated. If the player promotes the character class, the previously allocated point will now be available to allocate at level 1.


Main article: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer/Store
Multiplayer Pack Icon

The Store sells multiplayer item packs and distributes reward packs from weekend events. Contents of these packs include new weapons, multiplayer characters, experience points, weapons mods, and pieces of equipment, all of which are of varying quality. Credits to purchase packs from the Store are earned through gameplay; alternatively, packs can be purchased with BioWare Points on PC, or currency on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Packs can only be purchased via in-game credits on the Wii U version of the game.


Main article: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer/Challenges

Challenges are a gameplay mechanic introduced in Mass Effect 3: Retaliation. Completing certain goals will complete a challenge, providing the player with Challenge Points, which serve as measure of their skill. Completing a Gold challenge unlocks a banner and title card to display in the match lobby.[4] Most challenges can be completed multiple times.

Weekend Challenges and Events[]

See also: N7 Operations

Weekend Challenges were held every weekend, and featured objectives that individual squads or players were able to complete. Upon successful completion of the Weekend Challenge, players were rewarded with Commendation Packs containing unique weapons.

Weekend Events were held periodically during weekends and featured objectives that the entire community was able to participate in. Successful completion of Weekend Events rewarded players with item packs.

Weekend Challenges and Events concluded with Operation Lodestar on March 10, 2013.


Depending on how well individual players or the entire squad does, at certain milestones, they will earn medals. Medals are awarded in Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels with each medal having its own individual awarding requirements.

Individual Medals[]

Individual medals are awards earned by each member of the team. Individual medals are specific to each player on the team and are not shared with other members of the team. Each weapon class has its own medal for killing enemies with it. Medals are also awarded for biotic, melee, over-cover grab, and tech kills. There are also medals for assisting other squadmates with kills, reviving downed squadmates, total kills, and getting headshots with any weapon.

  • Individual medals cannot be earned again in the same match during normal play.
  • The player can only receive one of each individual medal per match.
  • Not all characters can earn every type of medal. Volus characters, Krogan Warlords, and Geth Juggernauts cannot earn over-cover grab medals (as they are unable to take cover to perform the over-cover grab).
  • Weapon medals are limited by the weapon loadout (1 or 2 out of 5 weapon types).
  • Tech and biotic medals are limited by the characters available powers.
  • It is possible for actions to contribute to more than one medal progress, such as performing a headshot with a sniper rifle.
  • The Bronze level of a medal gives +500 XP, the Silver level gives +1000 XP, and the Gold level gives one of two XP bonuses: +1500 XP for Assists, Grabs, or Melee Kills, and +2000 XP for anything else.
  • For Silver Challenges requiring obtaining medals, a bronze medal is worth one medal, silver is worth two medals, and gold is worth three medals towards the medals goal.

Note: In the event that the hosting player leaves the match before the match finishes (but the player remains after restarting the current wave), all medals earned by the player up to that point are locked in. The player essentially starts the match again from that point earning new medals. It is possible to obtain duplicate medals of previously earned medals in the same match if the requirements are met before the match ends.

Medal Title Bronze Medal Silver Medal Gold Medal
Assault Rifle Kills 25 50 75
Assists 10 25 50
Biotic Kills 10 25 50
Grabs 1 3 5
Headshots 5 10 20
Heavy Pistol Kills 25 50 75
Kills 25 50 75
Melee Kills 10 25 50
Revives 5 10 15
Shotgun Kills 25 50 75
Sniper Rifle Kills 25 50 75
Submachine Gun Kills 25 50 75
Tech Kills 10 25 50

Squad Medals[]

Squad medals are awards earned by the entire team. Squad medals are awarded for the percentage of players that successfully extract, killstreaks performed by the squad, the difficulty level of the completed match, completing an unknown map, completing a map with unknown enemies, and surviving multiple waves consecutively without a single squad member going down.

  • Survival and Killstreak medals are awarded to the player after the match (even if the match fails).
  • Level Completion, Maps, and Enemies medals are earned at the end of wave 10.
  • Extraction medals are awarded at the end of wave 11 (as long as at least one of the squad survives extraction).
Medal Title Bronze Medal (Bonus XP) Silver Medal (Bonus XP) Gold Medal (Bonus XP)
Extraction Lone Survivor (+2500) Partial Extraction (+5000) Full Extraction (+15000)
Killstreaks 1 Killstreak (+2500) 2 Killstreaks (+5000) 3 Killstreaks (+10000)
Level Completion Bronze Difficulty (+2500) Silver Difficulty (+5000) Gold Difficulty (+10000)
Maps Unknown Map (+2500)
Enemies Unknown Enemy (+5000)
Survival 3 Waves (+2500) 5 Waves (+5000) 10 Waves (+15000)

Note: Completing a Platinum Difficulty match does not award a level completion medal (or award any Bonus XP).


Multiplayer matches are playable on a variety of different maps. The available maps are:

Standard Maps[]

Resurgence Pack Maps[]

Rebellion Pack Maps[]

Earth Maps[]

Retaliation Hazard Maps[]


Standard Enemies[]

Retaliation Enemies[]

Faction Overview[]

Cerberus is notable for two things: lots of smoke screens and very dangerous elite infantry. The key to handling Cerberus is being able to hold an area of the map securely against their infantry waves without being overwhelmed. Players recklessly charging into Cerberus-held positions will quickly find themselves blundering through smoke into Turrets and sniper fire. As long as players work as a team to fend off the light and medium opponents that advance, the powerful but slow Atlas Mechs and the elusive Nemeses can be mopped up fairly easily afterwards.

The greatest threat are the acrobatic and cagey Phantoms, unique among all the factions for being a foot soldier-sized super elite level unit, capable of swiftly executing players at close range. These opponents are highly damaging and resistant to many powers and weapons, requiring specific techniques to deal with effectively.

Cerberus troops are mostly organic with the exceptions of Atlas Mechs and Turrets. Shields are the most common protection, but the highly mobile Dragoons and Phantoms have armor and barriers, respectively.

An all-synthetic faction, the geth are notable for having only one type of super elite unit: the mighty Geth Prime, which can be an army unto itself. The geth are also the only faction where no unit possesses a close range instant kill, though they are by no means harmless at such ranges, with the stealthy and deadly Hunters, Pyros, and Bombers easily able to overwhelm the unprepared.

The geth excel at punishing players attempting to fight in the open away from cover. Almost every unit is able to deliver stunning attacks, and what's more, many of these stuns are "micro stuns" that don't fully stagger players but only briefly interrupt actions. While this doesn't sound as bad, it actually makes it very easy to become totally stun-locked and unable to act when beset by multiple enemies at a time. Effective tactics against the geth, aside from usual anti-synthetic strategies, involve smart use of cover. Enhanced vision abilities or equipment, especially when they apply to allies, can also be game-changing.

All geth enemies save the Trooper possess shields.

Reaper basic infantry units are not that dangerous, but this is counterbalanced by the extremely high threat posed by their heavy armored units, in particular the super elite Brutes and Banshees. Rounds featuring these foes will always be challenging due to their relentless advance into close range where they can rapidly box in and take down unwary players with devastating close range attacks and sync kills.

Brutes should be eliminated with extreme prejudice, especially on cramped maps where their large bodies can severely limit room to maneuver, but canny players may wish to focus on delaying actions against Banshees, eliminating their barriers to prevent them from teleporting, creating space to eliminate lesser threats and limiting the number of total Banshees that spawn.

All Reaper troops are organic with multiple armored types. Only Marauders possess shields and only Banshees possess barriers.

Players facing the Collectors can expect to face constant pressure from advancing kamikaze units in the shape of Abominations and the summoned Seeker Swarms. Tactics effective for efficiently eliminating these threats from a safe distance and without risking their suicide explosions are key or they go from minor annoyances to lethal threats to the entire team.

Speaking of lethal threats, the Collectors in general pack more punch per unit compared to the other factions, though there are fewer total enemies to face. This is apparent in their unique possession attribute, where a fixed number of active Collector enemies will gain enhanced combat power and durability, and occasionally new abilities as well. Even the super elite enemies of the Collector faction, the lumbering Scions and the fearsome Praetorians, can be possessed, creating the toughest single enemy types in the game.

Almost the entire Collector roster is able to force players from cover, either by pushing in aggressively or utilizing ranged attacks adept at penetrating cover positions. High mobility, stealth, and emergency shield-restoration powers are all great assets to have when facing them.

All Collector forces are organic with a strong prevalence of barriers, which all possessed enemies gain in varying amounts.

Expansion Packs[]

Resurgence Pack[]

The Mass Effect 3: Resurgence Pack is a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 that added two new multiplayer maps, six new multiplayer characters, three new weapons, and four new consumable items. The pack was released on April 10, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PC, April 11, 2012 for PlayStation 3 and on-disc of the Wii U version.

Rebellion Pack[]

The Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack is a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 that added two new multiplayer maps, six new multiplayer characters, three new weapons, a new match objective, and a new equipment slot. The Rebellion Pack was released on May 29, 2012 for all platforms worldwide, May 30, 2012 for the PlayStation 3 in Europe, and on-disc of the Wii U version.


Mass Effect 3: Earth is a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 that added three new multiplayer maps, six new multiplayer characters, three new weapons, five weapon mods, eleven gear upgrades, a new match objective, and a new Platinum difficulty. Earth was released on July 17, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. For the PlayStation 3, the pack was released on July 17, 2012 in North America, July 18, 2012 in Europe, and on-disc of the Wii U version.


Mass Effect 3: Retaliation is a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 that added fifteen new enemies, sixteen new playable characters, three new weapons, six Gear bonuses, three ammo bonuses, environmental hazards for six existing maps, and Challenges for players to complete. Retaliation was released on October 9, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. For the PlayStation 3, the pack was released on October 9, 2012 in North America, and October 10, 2012 in Europe.


Mass Effect 3: Reckoning is a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 that added six new playable characters, seven new weapons, and two gear bonuses. Reckoning was released on February 26 for Xbox 360 and PC worldwide. For the PlayStation 3, the pack was released on February 26, 2013 in North America, and February 27, 2013 in Europe. This was the final Multiplayer DLC for Mass Effect 3.[5]


  • Issues had been reported with already unlocked kits, characters, and items becoming locked again, typically after switching kits.[6] This bug was remedied and it is now impossible to buy kits from the store while "ready".[7]
  • Another bug occasionally happened by using Biotic Charge immediately before getting knocked out. It would cause the player to glitch heavily during movement, float several feet above the ground, before getting stuck either right underneath the map or several hundred feet above the ground. This glitch was fixed by Patch 4.[8]
  • It's reported that host migrations can cause bugs with locking too.[9]
  • Sometimes when grabbing enemies, the grab animation will not occur, and the enemy will appear beside the player, invincible. Should this occur, it is advisable to avoid that enemy until it dies on its own (usually by falling through the map).
  • A bug had been reported that the Ultralight Materials upgrade for SMGs did not actually reduce power cooldown times. This bug was incorrectly reported to be fixed in Patch 1.03,[10] and was eventually fixed with the next patch.[11]
  • Issues of "Waiting for other Players" has been reported where at the end of the match, the screen has "Waiting for other Players" and a black background while your experience and credits is being totaled. The only way to stop this is by pressing Circle (PS3), B (Xbox 360 or Wii U) or F (PC) when the message comes up.


  • The cancelled first-person shooter game, Mass Effect Team Assault, served as the basis for Mass Effect 3's multiplayer.[12]
  • The multiplayer characters are voiced by police and military personnel local to the BioWare studios.[13]

See Also[]

  • Mass Effect: Infiltrator – A game for iOS and Android devices that forms a part of Galaxy at War.
  • Mass Effect 3: Datapad – An app for iOS devices that forms a part of Galaxy at War.
  • N7 HQ – A BioWare website featuring stat-tracking and gameplay data for Mass Effect 3.
  • N7 Operations – A list of the N7 operations constituting the Weekend Events and Challenges.