Most weapons in the Mass Effect universe are micro-scaled mass accelerators, using mass-reducing fields and magnetic force to propel miniature slugs to lethal speeds. Nearly every gun on the battlefield is laden with features, from targeting auto-assists to projectile shavers that can generate thousands of rounds of ammunition from a small, internal block of metal.
- 1 Mass Effect
- 2 Mass Effect 2
- 3 Mass Effect 3
- 4 Mass Effect: Andromeda
- 5 See Also
- 6 Trivia
In Mass Effect, to generate ammunition a weapon shaves a projectile the size of a sand grain from a dense block of metal contained within the weapon's body. The projectile is launched at supersonic velocities by decreasing its mass in a mass effect field. Thousands of these tiny rounds can be produced from a single ammunition block. Ammunition is never a concern because of this, but managing the weapon's internal heat is; if a weapon is fired too rapidly, heat will build up inside of the weapon and it will overheat, forcing the operator to stop firing long enough for the weapon to disperse that heat buildup.
Damage - The amount of Damage inflicted on a targets Shields first, and then Health minus their Damage Protection (%) on a successful hit. In contrast to subsequent games in the series, weapons in Mass Effect do not deal bonus damage to heads or other specific body parts.
Shots before Overheat - The number of rounds a weapon may fire before being disabled due to overheating. For more information see the relevant section of the Combat page.
Accuracy Rating - Each weapon has a uniquely-sized circular targeting reticle visible in the HUD when weapons are unholstered. The size of the circle is a rough indicator of the "probability cone" where rounds may travel when fired. Narrower circles indicate greater accuracy than larger ones. For more information see the relevant section of the Combat page.
Level - Weapons also have a level (I through X) which denote their overall quality. Higher level weapons inflict more damage, maintain greater accuracy, and can fire for longer time periods before overheating than lower level weapons.
Weapons in Mass Effect fall into four categories:
All weapons of level I-VI can be upgraded with one modification to the weapon itself and one modification to its ammunition and weapons of level VII and above can accept two upgrades to the weapon itself. The exceptions are in-game available weapons from Geth Armory, which do not accept upgrades to the weapon or its ammunition. Upgrades to weapons have various effects, such as increasing damage or stability, but often have negative effects as well, such as reducing shots before overheating. Upgrades to ammo also have effects, such as poisoning or burning targets, but sometimes have negative effects, such as a slower rate of fire or greater heat generation.
In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, weapons can deal bonus damage with headshots against almost all enemies with heads (or head analogs). This mechanic does not exist in the original version of Mass Effect.
Weapons now have different operational characteristics depending on the manufacturer, e.g. a three-burst sniper rifle, a slug-firing shotgun, and a three- or five-burst assault rifle.
- Assault Rifles
|Avenger||Elkoss Combine||Full auto|
|Banshee||Elanus Risk Control||Three-round burst|
|Breaker||Kassa Fabrication||Five-round burst|
|HMWA||Spectre - Master gear||Full auto|
|Kovalyov||Rosenkov Materials||Full auto|
|Pulse Rifle||Geth Armory||Full auto, rate of fire increases over time|
|Raptor||Devlon Industries||Full auto|
|Tsunami||Ariake Technologies||Five-round burst|
|HMWP||Spectre - Master Gear||Full auto|
|Raikou||Ariake Technologies||Three-round burst|
|Razer||Kassa Fabrication||Three-round burst|
|Stiletto||Haliat Armory||Semi-auto (slow fire rate, high damage per bullet)|
|Striker||Elanus Risk Control||Three-round burst|
|Armageddon||Kassa Fabrication||Hexagonal pattern (six pellets around, one in center)|
|Avalanche||Armax Arsenal||Slug (one round)|
|Firestorm||Devlon Industries||Hexagonal pattern (six pellets around, one in center)|
|HMWSG||Spectre - Master Gear||Hexagonal pattern (six pellets around, one in center)|
|Hurricane||Elanus Risk Control||Hexagonal pattern (six pellets around, one in center)|
|Katana||Ariake Technologies||X-shaped pattern (4 pellets on each diagonal, none in center)|
|Scimitar||Elkoss Combine||X-shaped pattern (4 pellets on each diagonal, none in center)|
|Sokolov||Rosenkov Materials||X-shaped pattern (4 pellets on each diagonal, none in center)|
|Storm||Hahne-Kedar||Hexagonal pattern (six pellets around, one in center)|
|Tornado||Haliat Armory||Slug (one round)|
- Sniper Rifles
|Hammer||Elanus Risk Control||Three-round burst|
|Harpoon||Kassa Fabrication||Three-round burst|
|HMWSR||Spectre - Master Gear||Bolt-action|
Mass Effect 2
In Mass Effect 2, personal weapons have undergone a massive shift. It was discovered that, in an age of kinetic barriers, most firefights were won by the side who could put the most rounds downrange the fastest. As such, detachable heat sinks, known as thermal clips, were adopted first by the geth, and shortly thereafter by organic arms manufacturers. Ammunition may never be a concern with modern arms, but the availability of thermal clips is; weapons without thermal clips have nowhere to disperse their heat and are incapable of firing. Luckily, thermal clips litter modern battlefields, and can be obtained from fallen enemies or found lying around the environment.
Thermal clips become more likely to drop from slain enemies when the extra carried ammunition (i.e. not the rounds still in the weapon's magazine) for any of Shepard's weapons starts to drop below maximum capacity. Some enemy types will never drop thermal clips upon death, mainly those that don't utilize conventional weapons such as Husks. Occasionally some clips found in the environment are capable of "respawning" in the same location a short time after being picked up.
Thermal clips dropped by slain enemies restore a smaller amount of ammunition than clips found already lying around the environment. Picking up thermal clips will restore a flat amount of ammunition to all of Shepard's weapons not at full carrying capacity, the amount varying for each weapon type. Ammunition will not be restored to a weapon with an empty or partially empty magazine if the weapon is still at maximum capacity for extra clips, so weapons should always be reloaded before obtaining ammunition pickups to maximize the ammo regained.
The HUD element, in the lower left corner of the screen, shows how much ammunition the player has in their equipped weapon. The number on the left (the one which decreases along with the nearby bar) shows how many shots you can fire before you need to reload. The other number, on the right, shows how many shots are available from your backup clips. The player can manually "reload" a thermal clip at any time, or Shepard will automatically do so when the current clip becomes saturated with heat. Reloading a new clip before using up all of the rounds in a magazine will not waste the remaining rounds.
Weapons in Mass Effect 2 fall into six categories:
Each of the playable character classes is only able to equip some of the five conventional weapon types; the Soldier can wield the most by default, being able to carry all types with the exception of submachine guns. No more than one of each type of equipable weapon can be carried at a time during a mission. Squadmates are only able to carry two types of conventional weapon. In contrast to the original Mass Effect, as long as a weapon type can be equipped, it can be used without any other penalties to effectiveness.
In Mass Effect 2, all conventional weapons save sniper rifles suffer a damage penalty at extremely long ranges and benefit from a damage increase at very close (nearing melee) ranges. Almost all conventional weapons save shotguns gain bonuses to accuracy when aiming down sights (zooming) and a further bonus when clinging to any type of cover; sniper rifles are extremely inaccurate if fired "from the hip," or unscoped. Unlike in the original Mass Effect (not Legendary Edition), there is no longer any accuracy penalty (crosshair bloom) for moving while shooting, however most automatic weapons will lose accuracy the longer they are fired.
Heavy weapons, carried only by Shepard, are a special weapon type separate from the five conventional weapon classes. In Mass Effect 2, they utilize power cells instead of thermal clips. These power cells can be found in crates throughout the environment and are usually an important find because heavy weapon ammo is not automatically refilled to maximum between missions like the ammunition of other weapons. Power cells will also restore a large amount of ammunition to non-heavy weapons at no penalty to the amount of heavy weapon ammo restored. Picking up power cells while at full heavy weapon ammo capacity will refill the ammo of other weapons and also salvage 100 credits. Heavy weapons can only be used by Shepard and not squadmates. They can be researched, unlocked with DLC, and occasionally, found on missions. Heavy weapons usually have special functionalities not available from other weapon types such as homing in on a target, stunning or disabling enemies, or causing damage in large areas.
Upgrades in Mass Effect 2 are not weapon-specific modifications. Instead, the player obtains upgrades through research which apply across an entire weapon type. For example, an Assault Rifle Damage upgrade will boost the damage output of all assault rifles that the player owns, not just a specific model.
Another fundamental change from Mass Effect is how ammo types for weapons can be modified. Previously, a given weapon could be upgraded to use Cryo Rounds to freeze enemies or Proton Rounds to cut through their shields. In Mass Effect 2, ammo for all weapon types except heavy weapons can be modified through the use of different powers which can be applied at any time at the cost of a very short cooldown. Ammo powers usually provide weapons with a damage bonus to specific types of protection or health and often secondary effects as well, all of which become more powerful with rank.
The ammo powers available in Mass Effect 2 are:
All of the ammo powers have rank 4 evolutions that can share the power to all members of Shepard's squad. Only one ammo power can be active per weapon, and activating a squad-evolved ammo power will override other active ammo powers for the currently selected weapons only. Which ammo power is active can be verified either from looking at which power icon is highlighted in the HUD, or by visually inspecting weapons for a glowing holographic effect color-coded for each ammo power, or by firing a weapon as each ammo power imparts a distinctive colored particle effect to the firing bursts, bullet trails, and shot impacts of the weapons they are active on. Note that Shepard's own ammo powers can't be used if a heavy weapon is the current weapon selection, even if the ammo power is evolved for squad-sharing.
The following squadmates all can have ammo powers of their own: Garrus Vakarian, Grunt, Jack, Jacob Taylor, Thane Krios, and Zaeed Massani. Shepard can have access to various ammo powers as either native class powers or as bonus powers. Various enemies in Mass Effect 2 can also use ammo powers at higher difficulty settings.
Mass Effect 3
- See also: Combat (Mass Effect 3)
The weapons system in Mass Effect 3 is expanded by incorporating systems from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Like in the original Mass Effect, a large number of possible weapons and weapon modifications are available in Mass Effect 3, and now many weapons have unique properties and behaviors as opposed to merely differing base stat numbers. Also like in Mass Effect, new weapons and mods can be found during missions by exploring carefully, while others are available for purchase at various locations. Once found, a weapon or mod is "unlocked" and becomes available for use by Shepard and squadmates able to use the item without any restriction on quantity. This improves on Mass Effect 2's general lack of item variety while retaining its more efficient inventory management by preventing redundant item finds.
Weapons can be selected and modified at the beginning of missions with occasional opportunities to change loadouts at specific points within certain missions as well. Finding a new weapon on a mission provides an opportunity to change weapons for Shepard and the squad right then and there, but only to change weapon types, not weapon mods. Both weapons and weapon mods can be changed at weapon benches found during missions, at the start of missions (or by choosing to restart the mission), and aboard the Normandy Shuttle Bay between missions. In the weapon loadout screen, the different base stats of a weapon (Base Weight, Capacity, Fire Rate, Damage, and Accuracy) are shown as blue bars. Changes applied to any stats (except weight) caused by the installation of weapon mods show up as green bars added to the blue. Different weapons can be compared, with gold colored lines helpfully appearing on the bars to indicate how a prospective new weapon choice stacks up against the currently equipped weapon in that slot.
Weapon levels have also been brought back from Mass Effect, but they no longer depend on random drops or player level but are instead upgraded. Upgrades increase a weapon's reserve ammo capacity, damage and accuracy while also reducing its weight. Weapons can be upgraded at a terminal in the Shuttle Bay (and at the Armax Arsenal Arena if the Citadel DLC has been installed and is available) at a cost in credits that increases with each upgrade level. Weapons can be upgraded up to level V on a first playthrough; creating a New Game Plus will carry over the pre-existing upgrade level and also allow additional upgrades to a maximum of level X. In a New Game Plus, finding the weapon in-game adds three levels and is the only way to reach level X for weapons that are found during missions. If such a weapon is already at level X it will no longer be found during missions. Players looking to conserve credits on a subsequent playthrough should purchase the lower level upgrades while waiting to find the weapon during a mission to provide levels VIII, IX, and X at no cost. Because of the limitations on upgrades based on the playthrough and on what missions certain weapons can be found, it can take until a third playthrough to have certain guns available at level X from the start of the game without the use of PC tweaks.
Note: If a weapon that can be found during missions is missed during a first playthrough it will enter the inventory at level III on subsequent playthroughs (with the exception of the M-3 Predator pistol).
Note: Certain weapons aren't found during missions but instead are only purchasable from the Spectre Requisitions office or included with DLC such as the Firefight Pack and Groundside Resistance Pack. These weapons can be upgraded up to level V on a first playthrough and up to level X on subsequent playthroughs without restriction aside from the cost in credits.
In Mass Effect, Shepard's class determined what weapons could be used effectively, while in Mass Effect 2 it determined which could even be carried at all. In Mass Effect 3, any class can carry up to five total weapons, with no more than one chosen from each of the five equipable weapon types; however, the total weapon loadout is subject to a weight limit. Exceeding weight capacity increases power recharge times while going underweight decreases them. SMGs and pistols are the lightest weapons while the most damaging shotguns and rifles are the heaviest. This system allows players to customize their builds extensively: classes wanting to use powers as their primary attack method can choose to equip a light weapon loadout; conversely, any class has the freedom to carry more heavy-hitting weapons if desired though at the cost of rapid power use. Some classes can be built to carry heavier weapon combinations without receiving penalties to power recharge speed. As in the previous game, clinging to cover grants an accuracy bonus to almost all weapons especially sniper rifles, and firing sniper rifles "from the hip" (not scoped) severely penalizes not only their accuracy but damage as well.
Weapons in Mass Effect 3 all fall under one of the following categories:
Heavy weapons are no longer available as inventory selections in Mass Effect 3 and can now only be found as limited-use pickups during certain missions.
- Main article: Weapon Mods
Weapon modification returns from the original Mass Effect, though with some changes. Each weapon class has specific modifications available to it that can be equipped on any weapon of that class but not across classes. Every weapon has two available slots for mod customization, though certain combinations of mods aren't possible. Weapon modifications can be found throughout the game during missions, or purchased at various locations on the Citadel or via the Procurement Terminal in the Shuttle Bay aboard the Normandy SR-2. If a certain mod is missed or not purchased during a first playthrough, they can be found or purchased in subsequent playthroughs.
Once a weapon mod is found, it may be applied to any and all of the weapons of the applicable type for Shepard or for squadmates. Finding another instance of a mod the player already possesses will upgrade that mod to the next level. Weapon mods can reach a maximum level of 5; some mods can't reach level 5 on an initial playthrough due to limited availability. Shops will always carry mods one level above those the player currently has.
The weapon mods available in Mass Effect 3 fall under the following categories:
- Assault Rifle Upgrades
- Heavy Pistol Upgrades
- Shotgun Upgrades
- Sniper Rifle Upgrades
- Submachine Gun Upgrades
Ammo powers return in Mass Effect 3 and in single-player work much the same way as they did in Mass Effect 2. However, one improvement in Mass Effect 3 is that ammo powers no longer have a recharge time and can still be activated even when other powers are on cooldown. In single-player, evolutions of ammo powers that share the power with party members still exist but the ammo power will work at reduced effectiveness for all but the owner of the power. The following squadmates have access to ammo powers of their own: Ashley Williams, James Vega, Garrus Vakarian, and Liara T'Soni. Shepard can have access to ammo powers either as class powers or as bonus powers.
The ammo powers available in single-player Mass Effect 3 are:
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Weapons in Mass Effect: Andromeda are in the following categories:
- Assault Rifles
- Sniper Rifles
- Pistols (a reworked category which includes submachine guns)
- Melee Weapons
Weapons can be customized by two different methods in Mass Effect: Andromeda.
- Main article: Mods
- Main article: Augmentations
Augmentations are semi-permanent customizations to crafted weapons or armor in Mass Effect: Andromeda. When a weapon is created during Development (crafting), hexagonal-shaped sockets are available to add Augmentations to the weapon. These augmentations cannot be changed like weapon Mods and stay part of that weapon until it is deconstructed.
- According to the Mass Effect concept art books, all guns were designed with two barrels primarily for appearance rather than functionality. They were there to create a look that's unique to the franchise. They were originally chrome, then later changed to make them more practical for military use.