|This article is about abilities in Mass Effect. For abilities in Mass Effect 2, see Powers. For abilities in Mass Effect 3, see Powers (Mass Effect 3). For abilities in Mass Effect: Andromeda, see Skills.|
Available to each class are 12 talents: four starting talents and eight unlockable talents. Talents that provide primarily passive bonuses to characters can also unlock further active abilities that can be used in during combat, for example Fitness can unlock Immunity. Players are also able to unlock a Specialization Class that augments their base class talent. Below is a list of talents, separated by type and accompanied by which classes can use each talent.
When Shepard commands a squad member to use one of their offensive biotic, tech, or combat-oriented talents, it takes effect as if the Commander personally had the talent. The party member need not have the usual line of sight to the intended target or target location. In this way, Shepard can take point while leaving the rest of the party safely behind. An exception to this are the Sabotage, Overload, and Damping talents as they utilize a unique delivery system called tech proximity mines. Ordering a squadmate like Tali to use one of these abilities will cause her to launch tech mines from her location, so if she is lacking line of sight to the intended target, the abilities will not land hits.
Talent Points Leveling Progression
- See also: Experience Guide
To advance the levels of the various talents, players are awarded 100 points between the character levels of 1-60 to place where they see fit, in addition to the 2 points that are automatically assigned to two starting abilities (one point each).
- Starting talents: For starting talents (talents that have no prerequisite to unlock), there is a cap on how many points can be allocated to a single talent at very low character levels, equal to character level plus 1. Once level 11 is reached starting talents can be maxed out with a full 12 points allocated if desired.
- Unlockable talents: Talents that must first be unlocked by placing a certain number of points into a prerequisite talent are also similarly capped in terms of points that can be invested at once, only the limit begins raising starting at the first character level from which that talent can first be unlocked. Put another way, this limit is equal to character level + 1, minus the character level at which the unlockable talent first unlocks. For example, the Vanguard can first unlock Lift from Throw level 7 at character level 6. The cap on points that can be put into Lift on unlocking it at character level 6 is 6 + 1 minus 6, or 1 point maximum. Thus, Lift can first be maxed out at character level 17.
The player is automatically awarded additional training for becoming a Spectre, and gains points in Charm and Intimidate for advancing the Paragon and Renegade meters respectively. Advancing said meters can also provide unique enhancements to Shepard's combat prowess (see Morality for more details).
Each NPC squad member, on the other hand, receives 80 points between the levels of 1-60 to place where players see fit, in addition to the 2 points that are automatically assigned to two starting abilities. Points for both the player and squadmates are assigned from the Squad menu screen.
Note: In a player's very first playthrough of the original version of Mass Effect, Shepard and NPC squadmates can only reach a maximum of level 50. It is also basically impossible to reach level 60 starting from level 1 in one playthrough of the story even once the level 50 cap no longer applies.
Legendary Edition: In Mass Effect Legendary Edition there is no level cap on a first playthrough and experience scaling is improved in various ways to make reaching level 60 considerably easier. There is also an option to scale character levels to the 1-30 scale used in the subsequent games in the trilogy. This does not affect total talent points awarded.
- Levels 1-5: 3 points per level
- Levels 6-35: 2 points per level
- Levels 36-60: 1 point per level
Total: 100 points
NPC squad members:
- Levels 1-20: 2 points per level
- Levels 21-60: 1 point per level
Total: 80 points
Warning: Point assignments for both the player and squadmates can only be undone or adjusted for a character while their screen in the Squad menu is open; once it is closed or switched to a different character, chosen point allocations become completely irreversible for the rest of the current playthrough of the game's storyline. The chosen point allocations will even carry over to any future Mass Effect playthroughs with the same character. Only the talent point assignments for NPC squadmates are reset on starting a new playthrough of the story and can be reassigned differently if desired. For this reason, it is a very good idea to create permanent save points before choosing point assignments.
Talents Chart: Player Character
|Key: ✓= Starting, ● = Unlockable, x = Starting Ability w/ Extra Point|
The following abilities are unlocked from their respective talents and can be actively used in combat. Click the talent links above or below for detailed information and power ranks. Note that many enemy types can also utilize several of these abilities, such as Immunity, Sabotage, Shield Boost, and Assassination.
- 1 Assassination - fires a devastating single shot that does extreme damage - Unlocks from Sniper Rifles
- 2 Carnage - fires a damaging round that deals heavy damage in an area - Unlocks from Shotguns
- 3 Marksman - briefly improves firing rate and damage - Unlocks from Pistols; Shepard ONLY: Sentinel class talent (maximum of Rank 1)
- 4 Overkill - briefly improves damage and reduces heat generation - Unlocks from Assault Rifles
- 5 Adrenaline Burst - instantly recharges all other abilities - Unlocks from Assault Training
- 6 Immunity - massive boost to damage reduction for a short time - Unlocks from Fitness
- 7 Shield Boost - rapidly restores a large percentage of shields - Unlocks from Basic Armor, Combat Armor, and Tactical Armor
- 8 Unity - revives fallen squadmates - Unlocks from Spectre Training (Shepard ONLY)
- 9 AI Hacking - briefly causes enemy synthetics to fight for you - Unlocks from Hacking
- 10 Neural Shock - stuns a single organic foe - Unlocks from Medicine
- 11 Overload - damages enemy shields in an area - Unlocks from Electronics
- 12 Sabotage - disables all enemies weapons for a short duration - Unlocks from Decryption
Talents Chart: NPC Squadmates
|Key: ✓= Starting, ● = Unlockable, x = Starting Ability w/ Extra Point|
|Class Talent||Soldier||Krogan Battlemaster||Turian Agent||Quarian Machinist||Asari Scientist||Sentinel|
The following talents have the same name as each of the six playable classes. They provide bonuses that help define the unique strengths of each class, and the talents are therefore also called the "class talents". NPC squad members Ashley Williams and Kaidan Alenko share the Soldier and Sentinel class talents, respectively, but with some differences; see the pages or the above two tables for details.
- Soldier - Shepard, Ashley Williams
- Engineer - Shepard
- Adept - Shepard
- Sentinel - Shepard, Kaidan Alenko
- Infiltrator - Shepard
- Vanguard - Shepard
Squad Member Class Talents
The following class talents are found only on NPC squad members. See the links or the table above for details.
- Quarian Machinist - Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
- Asari Scientist - Liara T'Soni
- Krogan Battlemaster - Urdnot Wrex
- Turian Agent - Garrus Vakarian
Class specializations are unlocked once assignment UNC: Rogue VI on Luna is completed. There are six specializations in total, two possible for each class of which one must be chosen. Selecting a specialization offers access to a new trait that add ranks 7-12 to your base class-specific talent; ranks 1-6 are unchanged, and grant the same bonus when you take ranks 7-12. Specializations are only unlocked once per player character and will carry over to subsequent playthroughs with that character, so choose carefully and create a save point beforehand in case you get buyer's remorse. Specializations are not available for NPC squad members.
|Soldiers can train as a||Commando||or a||Shock Trooper|
|Infiltrators can train as a||Commando||or an||Operative|
|Engineers can train as a||Medic||or an||Operative|
|Sentinels can train as a||Medic||or a||Bastion|
|Adepts can train as a||Nemesis||or a||Bastion|
|Vanguards can train as a||Nemesis||or a||Shock Trooper|
The following miscellaneous talents are available to Commander Shepard only:
- Main article: Spectre Training
Unlocked after becoming a Spectre. The talent provides a small but across the board increase to health, and to the accuracy/effectiveness of all attacks, talents, and abilities. Advancing ranks of Spectre Training also unlock and improve the unique Unity ability, one of the only ways to revive squadmates that fall in battle.
- Opens Charm options in conversation
- Decreases the cost of items in stores
- Charm options in conversations will be grayed out if you do not have a high enough skill rank.
- New skill ranks will unlock when you become a Spectre and as you earn Paragon points.
- Talent Ranks
- Level 1: Sets Charm score at 1; opens up new dialog options
- Level 2: Sets Charm score at 2; opens up new dialog options
- Level 3: Sets Charm score at 3; opens up new dialog options
- Level 4: Sets Charm score at 4; opens up new dialog options | Store Discount: Gives a 2% discount at stores
- Level 5: Sets Charm score at 5; opens up new dialog options
- Level 6: Sets Charm score at 6; opens up new dialog options
- Level 7: Sets Charm score at 7; opens up new dialog options
- Level 8: Sets Charm score at 8; opens up new dialog options | Store Discount: Gives a 5% discount at stores
- Level 9: Sets Charm score at 9; opens up new dialog options
- Level 10: Sets Charm score at 10; opens up new dialog options
- Level 11: Sets Charm score at 11; opens up new dialog options
- Level 12: Sets Charm score at 12; opens up new dialog options | Store Discount: Gives a 8% discount at stores
- Opens Intimidate options in conversations
- Increases credits gained when selling items in stores
- Intimidate options in conversations will be grayed out if you do not have a high enough skill rank.
- New skill ranks will unlock when you become a Spectre and as you earn Renegade points.
- Talent Ranks
- Level 1: Sets Intimidate score at 1; opens up new dialog options
- Level 2: Sets Intimidate score at 2; opens up new dialog options
- Level 3: Sets Intimidate score at 3; opens up new dialog options
- Level 4: Sets Intimidate score at 4; opens up new dialog options | Motivated Buyer: Sell items to stores for 2% more credits
- Level 5: Sets Intimidate score at 5; opens up new dialog options
- Level 6: Sets Intimidate score at 6; opens up new dialog options
- Level 7: Sets Intimidate score at 7; opens up new dialog options
- Level 8: Sets Intimidate score at 8; opens up new dialog options | Motivated Buyer: Sell items to stores for 5% more credits
- Level 9: Sets Intimidate score at 9; opens up new dialog options
- Level 10: Sets Intimidate score at 10; opens up new dialog options
- Level 11: Sets Intimidate score at 11; opens up new dialog options
- Level 12: Sets Intimidate score at 12; opens up new dialog options | Motivated Buyer: Sell items to stores for 8% more credits
- See also: Weapon and Ability Achievements Guide
If the player is creating a second character, any unlocked bonus talents may be selected. These talents are unlocked by gaining the achievement for each talent. The player can choose one additional talent to add to their skill base. This talent is not reliant upon the existing class or even usual prerequisite talents. For example, a Soldier can choose Medicine as a bonus talent and put points into it immediately, even though it must usually be unlocked by first putting points into First Aid on the classes that have Medicine by default. A weapon talent such as Assault Rifles can also be chosen if the chosen class doesn't already possess it.
The following 15 bonus talents can be unlocked:
- Assault Rifles
- Sniper Rifles
- First Aid
|Mass Effect Talents|
|Biotic||Barrier • Lift • Singularity • Stasis • Throw • Warp|
|Combat||Assault Rifles • Pistols • Shotguns • Sniper Rifles • Assault Training • Fitness • Basic Armor • Combat Armor • Tactical Armor|
|Tech||Damping • Decryption • Electronics • First Aid • Hacking • Medicine|
|Class||Adept • Asari Scientist • Engineer • Infiltrator • Krogan Battlemaster • Quarian Machinist • Sentinel • Soldier • Turian Agent • Vanguard|
|Player only||Charm • Intimidate • Spectre Training|