Mass Effect: Andromeda team teases improved multiplayer/singleplayer connection

Mass Effect: Andromeda

“You know Mass Effect, don’t you?” asks Graham over IM, neatly ensuring that anything I remember about Mass Effect is instantly expunged from my brain bar the lone figure of Mordin singing I Am The Very Model Of A Scientist Salarian.

“Sure,” I say.

“Did you see the Mass Effect: Andromeda multiplayer stuff?” he says, nudging me towards a news trap. “I’ve not played it so I thought you could take a look…”

CLANG, went the jaws of the trap, snapping round my leg with incredible force. “Graham don’t leave me here! Where are you going???”

While I wave burning torches at the circling, slavering newshounds, here is some information about the Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] multiplayer which comes via Game Informer and their hands-on preview.

The big thing I’m taking away from their article is that the single player and multiplayer modes are interlinked but one does not depend on the other. It sounds like they’re going for a softer approach than with Mass Effect 3. In ME3 you had a multiplayer mode where completing those co-op missions impacted your single player ending. As I recall, it wasn’t *mandatory* to do the co-op stuff and you could still get the perfect ending but it became difficult to do so and thus the push towards co-op got a bit heavy-handed. That said, I’m pretty sure I didn’t feel pushed to do any co-op and I think I took the synthesis ending which means my galactic readiness must have been alright.

With Andromeda the idea seems to be that you shouldn’t feel obliged to play multiplayer if you don’t want to, but that multiplayer isn’t entirely separated from the single player experience either.

Here’s the bullet point section from GI:

  • The mission funds you obtain in multiplayer have “tendrils going out into the rest of the game,” according to Frazier.
  • In the single-player demo we saw, there was an option on the pause menu to jump straight into multiplayer.
  • “You will have possibilities to send teams to complete kind of side missions, or to do it yourself in multiplayer,” Condominas says. “That’s the idea.”

Obviously this is just me thinking aloud now, but from that I’m imagining maybe some resources/in-game credits you can get from multiplayer that make some aspects in single-player a bit easier, or maybe just give you cosmetics you can wear as you wander about. There also seems to be the option that reminds me of Dragon Age where you could send people to go do side missions on your behalf. There’s also another game I can’t think of the name of right now which does something similar – you could send people off from your party to go do things and they would level up a bit. Oh! Pillars Of Eternity! That was it.

Going back to Andromeda, it sounds like there have also been changes to things like cooldown timers (switching from global to individual) and some twiddling to stop people hiding in one spot. The latter is a pretty standard tweak for any PvP or PvE experience. You want players to have to move around rather than camp a single spot. It happened multiple times across Destiny patches and expansions, especially with group PvE stuff where encounters would get remixed and safe zones became noticeably less safe. You can read more about those aspects plus jetpack stuff, prestige and so on over on GI.

Now, can someone let me out of the news trap before I kill anymore innocent newshounds with my singing and torch flailing?

From this site

60 Comments

  1. kibblesahoy says:

    In ME3, as long as you did the side missions, you were fine for the best ending, but I’m the kind of person who does side quest completionism in open-world RPGs. I can see how it would have been frustrating if you wanted to power through the main quest, but Mass Effect is all about the lore, so I’m not sure why you’d want to.

    • Wormerine says:

      My memory might be failing me, as I haven’t touched ME3 since I beat it soon after launch, but I don’t think that getting “the good” ending was that simple. I am a completionist and wasn’t capable of reaching it, without dipping into multi. I believe it was impossible, unless you made all the “right” decisions in previous games. However, after the big backlash, they did patch it so it was easier to get it, so maybe it wasn’t as bad later on.

    • Bluestormzion says:

      That’s only how it was after the Extended Cut patch. Out of the box, it is completely impossible to get the “Best” ending through single player alone.

      Also, the “Best” ending is still self-contradicting bullshit out of left field where you either Love Hitler, Merge with Hitler, or Become Second Hitler. So screw EA and this last ditch effort to milk a world that they took behind the shed, beat, and murdered.

      • welverin says:

        It was not impossible, but it was exceedingly difficult and required certain choices.

        They changed the formula later on to make it easier, and all of the dlc allowed for such ridiculous amounts of resources that it became a trivial matter.

  2. Coming Second says:

    Oh boy, a button that will allow me to jump *straight* from the single-player to the multiplayer! I can tell Bioware are making this game with players like me in mind.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      I like it! Multiplayer in ME3 was really clunky to load up.

    • CaptainDju says:

      I’m just like you, I only play the solo campaign if I really have to, like to unlock stuff for the multiplayer! I wish they would rid the ME franchise from this solo campaign and focus everything on the multiplayer.
      And add cosmetic DLC.

      Too far? You could tell I was sarcastic? Darn, sorry…

    • gwathdring says:

      I really don’t see what’s wrong with having multiplayer that’s actually kinda integrated without being a strict requirement. You can ask why games aren’t just for single player or what-have-you, but there are plenty of games that are. There’s certainly cynical marketing toward investors involved but that’s not going to go away as long as the industry depends on investors. If it weren’t multiplayer it would be something else.

      Why worry about whether or not the game was made for people like you, monogramed handkerchiefs and all? If its crap, its crap. If it isn’t crap and doesn’t get in the way … heck, why can’t people who do end up liking the multiplayer have a convenient segue for it built in to the UI? That seems like such a petty complaint to me …

  3. Premium User Badge

    Dios says:

    Even MORE improved? Oh boy!

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Why does it have to be “send a team” or “play multiplayer” — why not “play with bots”? :(

    • brucethemoose says:

      If it’s anything like ME3, bots simply can’t compete with players.

    • gwathdring says:

      While AI in the main game will presumably be balanced for solo play (I say presumably because good AI is a largely unsolved problem and its far easier to just adjust health bars and such instead), the AI in multiplayer will be designed around several humans who are much better at video games.

      Designing a companion AI that isn’t really frustrating to play alongside against challenges made with multiplayer in mind has a really poor effort to success ratio.

  5. lglethal says:

    Sigh… I do not play ME style games for the multiplayer. What is it with rpg makers now? Is there like a checkbox with multiplayer on it which they need to tick before they get funded? Because if there is, the publishers need to be shot.

    Also integrating the multi with single player. I do not want to get involved in multiplayer, and if that means I miss out on content, I will be massively pi$$ed off… If i miss out on a new hat, fine whatever, but lock any content away behind a multiplayer wall and let me repeat myself, I will be massively pi$$ed off.

    Bioware have form on this, locking away huge amounts of the ME2 and ME3 story behind paid DLC’s. So I will be waiting to hear how much of the story I miss out on, before I part with my heard earned cash on this title…

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      The ME3 MP was amazing. I’ve lost way too many evenings to it. “I’ll just try it out to get my Readiness up a bit,” I reasoned. “It’s probably about as fun-but-forgettable as the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer.”

      It took me five days to get back to the single player again.

      Trust me when I say that announcing multiplayer details makes perfect sense in this case.

      • Khayness says:

        Do you play multiplayer regularly?

        All the folks who were head over heels about ME3 MP back when the BioWare forums existed, cited that this was their first multiplayer experience they invested much time in. The only reason for it was that this is more Mass Effect, and that’s enough for them.

        As someone who played a lot with buddies in the glorious LAN era, I wasn’t captivated with barebones hordemode.

        That said I killed enough time into it to promote operatives, so I NEVER EVER have to touch the stuff again on 50% readiness. That was before they patched the asset needed.

        • Premium User Badge

          Jekadu says:

          Mate, are you trying to gatekeep multiplayer?

          ‘Cause, y’know, don’t. I’ve played multiplayer my entire life and have experienced most forms I can think of (not play-by-email, though) and I have yet to find one I find superior to any other.

        • brucethemoose says:

          As I said elsewhere, ME3MP starts to shine once you really get into it and promote characters. There’s a learning curve.

        • gwathdring says:

          I’ve played multiplayer games as long as I’ve played games. I loved ME3 multiplayer.

          And, you know what? If people played ME3 multiplayer as their first major multiplayer game and really enjoyed it, how the hell is that a bad thing? They made a product their customers got a lot of mileage after, but some of those customers apparently feel like the Real Audience and are miffed that other people got stuff they weren’t that into.

          Criticize it, fine. But don’t come at it like you own gaming. Let alone own specific things like multiplayer games or Bioware. That attitude is extremely frustrating.

        • iucounu says:

          *raises hand* I play zero multiplayer games, but ME3’s multiplayer was brilliant and not only did I play hours and hours of it I even spent real money on unlocks, something I have never, ever even contemplated in any other game.

          What I like about it is that it is co-op, so you get to develop your skills against endless waves of bots without constantly being shot in the head three seconds after you spawn by the guy who plays it all day via a direct brain-computer interface.

  6. ZippyLemon says:

    “Bioware have form on this, locking away huge amounts of the ME2 and ME3 story behind paid DLC’s.”

    You mean that dastardly practice of putting of putting lots of time and energy into story-focused expansions of a story-focused game, and then charging for them?

    Truly, what has the world come to.

    • Phantom_Renegade says:

      When those story segments are a necessity for understanding and even enjoying the main plotline, yes, absolutely, that’s a dick move. Honestly, anyone not getting how it should be done after W3 is being a deliberate idiot. Offer a full experience and expansions should build on that, not be necessary for the enjoyment of the main game.

      • A Wanderer says:

        This. Take the Witcher 3’s DLCs, or Fallout New Vegas DLCs (I take them as an example because I liked them and they were priced like ME3 big DLCs). They were lovely self-contained stories, small games in their own rights that took place within the setting of the main game without being absolutely necessary.
        But ME3’s big DLc ? They weren’t optionnal parts of the story. Omega was heavily hinted at in the game, the climawx of a side quest that never comes in the main game. From Ashes was not THAT important, but still, it shwocased a living prothean, and well, they are quite central in the background of the game. And then you had the biggest joke of them all, Leviathan. A DLC that told you not only the origins of the biggest villains, but a crucial part of the Reaper’s backstory and motives that made the ending a million times clearer. Those three DLCs were parts of the main game that have been cut in developpement because they knew ME fans would buy them anyway to have the complete story. Period.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          And the biggest dick move of all, is that they’re never discounted.
          I don’t mind paying for DLC, but when the game is selling for a fiver, I don’t expect to have to pay thirty quid of the rest of the story.

          I don’t understand why there was never a goty edition?

          • satan says:

            This one drives me nuts, and happens with so many games.

          • welverin says:

            Retailers have to want to sell something for it to be worth making, and it’s not just about PC where digital distribution is king, so don’t use the trivialness of that to think it should have just happened.

          • Frosty_2.0 says:

            Agreed.

            Last time I checked:
            – It was all still locked behind Bioware Points that never get discounted;
            – The DLC’s weren’t even included in the “Mass Effect Trilogy” packs or Digital Deluxe Editions (only ME1 DLC and Pre-order content).

            Why this stuff isn’t directly on Origin store is beyond me, they already have the ME3 content download as Origin items.

          • Gratuitous_Algorithm says:

            And the biggest dick move of all, is that they’re never discounted

            I had some success there & got ALL the DLC for ME2 & ME3 for free on PC.
            I had already bought all the games + DLC on console, and made the argument to Customer Support, that I should get the DLC free for my PC versions on my Origin account. It was all registered on my Bioware account for them to see.

            After a very very long chat (and links to examples where ppl had gotten the DLC given to them) I was told no, it aint gonna happen.

            About a month later I check my Origin account & all the DLC for all 3 games is unlocked for me on my Origin account.

            I was so surprised.

          • Frosty_2.0 says:

            Actually forgot, the console DLCs do get regularly discounted which is a bigger slap in the face for us on PC.
            AFAIK PC/Origin has never had discounted purchase of Bioware Points or the value in BW Points currency ..

            Funnily enough the Origin Store’s Bioware Points pages have disappeared now.. but the actual DLCs are still not available on there. And jumping through Social.Bioware.com ME2/3 DLC purchase pages to find BW Points you get different prices ME2 1600p=$20 / ME3 1600p=$24 which may or may not even work at this point.

        • gwathdring says:

          I don’t consider them super essential to the story. I could easily make up a deep seeming tie-off that Explains Everything to quite a few stories without it ever having been considered essential to the plot before the main game came out. Where does this kind of logic put prequels, exactly? Or sequels?

          Personally I don’t play ME3 for the lore. I play it for the story. That is, I don’t play it for the flavor text about Turians and Asari and The First Contact War and the titular Mass Effect. I’m not looking for something to Explain Everything.

          You may well disagree … but I don’t think Bioware disagrees. I think they thought people would be interested enough in those lore-deepening story beats to buy them but didn’t think they were important enough to try and squeeze them into the amount of content the business side of the company was willing to put into the base game. I strongly disagree that this represents some flagrant abuse of the customer.

          Again, where does this kind of logic put a long series of books or book prequels? I just don’t buy it. It’s not like they made you pay extra to get the ending to the game. They made you pay extra to get backstory. You seem to have thought it was important and cool and it helped you enjoy the story more … which you’ve turned around against Bioware as though they’ve insulted you by doing this.

          • Asurmen says:

            Prequels and sequels are completely different self contained stories. The DLCs mentioned are like not including a chapter in the same book. Different things entirely.

            Your point also somewhat falls apart, when the DLCs mentioned aren’t just lore, but crucial bits of the story they’re trying to tell, which is something you’re saying you play the games for.

      • Disgruntled Goat says:

        The Witcher 3 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, but you know what would have made it better? Half-hearted multiplayer awkwardly shoehorned into the single player campaign!

      • mattevansc3 says:

        Having played both ME2 and ME3 before they even finished releasing the DLC I fail to see your point.

        None of the DLC was critical to understanding or enjoying the main storyline. Did I need to know about the Prometheans or the Reapers? No. The story isn’t about them and having them as an enigma worked better.

        There’s a huge difference between having DLC that fleshes out and helps with the world building as opposed to DLC that fills in plot holes for the main quest.

        Also pacing needs to be taken into account. Retaking the space station is fun in ME3 but its a divergence from the main quest line. It doesn’t feel like you are furthering the war effort by doing so and thusly makes the main quest line feel less important.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          You’re right about the pacing, but how can you say the story isn’t about the Reapers? They’re the baddies in all three games!
          (Although you don’t find that out until near the end of ME1)

          • welverin says:

            Clearly that was wrong, but the actual point about not needing to know about their origin isn’t, that dlc was hardly critical to understanding the game. It’s a nice bit of lore, but far from integral.

        • Divolinon says:

          So you start locked up in ME3. The only reason you know how that happened is if you played one of the ME2 DLC. Seems pretty important to me.

    • kud13 says:

      Please get back to me when Mass Effect 2 DLC can be purchased without buying “bioware points” first.

      Then maybe i’ll start thinking about playing Mass Effect.

  7. Ootmians says:

    I’ll bet you can buy mobile-style booster packs right from the Pause menu, too! The convenience! The innovation!

  8. The Sombrero Kid says:

    “We’ve improved the multiplayer in our game by making it easier to completely ignore”

  9. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I wish it was just a fine exploration-based RPG-shooter in a lore-heavy universe like the groundbreaking ME1.
    Less of multiplayer integration shoehorned in, no companion-app bs or useless unlockables like in the last Deus Ex or one-time boosters.
    Yeah I know it’s optional but it’s being payed with the customers’ money anyway, distracts from the immersion with a lot of flashing text and they could work on improving the game instead.
    I wish for the best like a Firefly meets Voyager outer space mission mix and not getting an overproduced effect mess like “save the universe with absurd story (reapers in ME3) tacked on”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      Sounds like you didn’t play the original ME3 multiplayer. There is good reason to be excited for this.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        No, I didn’t. Wasn’t it like before the ending-patch you had to play the multiplayer to get the “best” ending via your war effort or something like that?
        Well it’s something if you’re into MP I guess.

        • LexW1 says:

          I’m not “into MP”, but ME3’s MP was absolutely fucking superb. Dismissing or trashing it mindlessly without ever having played it or knowing anything about it at all is really a good example the worst kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

          • brucethemoose says:

            Sadly I had the same attitude before I tried it. It felt like a desecration of a great story/game.

            It was after my… 2nd series playthrough, maybe? I was desperate for more ME3.

            And now I’ve put hundreds and hundreds of hours into ME3MP, far more than the 1-3 campaign, and will probably put more in thanks to mods. The gameplay and powers are just so tight when you ramp up the difficulty, it’s brilliant!

      • MultiVaC says:

        Just out of curiosity, what in particular did you guys find so great about it? I only ask because I see a lot of people giving it high praise and I’m not entirely sure why. I played enough of it to boost my readiness to maximum during two playthroughs and stuck with it a little while longer. It wasn’t bad by any means and I had a good enough time with it, but it seemed like a pretty standard “horde” type game without anything to recommend it over other, similar games (besides it being Mass Effect).

        • Premium User Badge

          Jekadu says:

          It’s Horde Mass Effect! Great progression system, incredibly varied skill pool, a steady stream of updates, fun and easy to play with friends — what’s not to like?

        • brucethemoose says:

          What difficulty did you play on?

          You don’t notice it at first, but the gameplay and balance is actually really tight. The powers and when you use them, the weapons… The game is balanced so that you’re always walking on a knife’s edge in gold/platinum, between being too bold and dead or being too slow and unable to beat back the hordes of enemies.

          Singleplayer’s highest difficulty is childsplay compared to platinum difficulty with a rough team. It’s exhilarating.

          • A Wanderer says:

            Agreed on that. PLaying as the N7 fury with a good team in gold/platinum remains one of the best Mass Effect experiences I ever had.

          • Frosty_2.0 says:

            Exactly. The best gameplay in the series (tank controls, balance bogeymen and terrible match making/lobbies aside), especially with the new classes/kits.

            There was a great intensity and momentum, constantly kiting, in & out of fleeting safe zones, the global cooldowns & loadout gave it a real rhythm for power based classes.

            Asari Valkyrie on Gold with little/no consumables was probably my favourite: Weaving in & out of melee with biotic dodge – right in the danger zone of heavies & enemy-clusters detonating Biotics, Hurricane or Arc shots in between. Then Biotic sliding back to support others/flank/kite or run away like a madman :D

  10. Uberwolfe says:

    Oh boy!

  11. Unsheep says:

    Not this nonsense again, single-player AAA games are indeed getting extinct, and replaced by MMO game design. Why not make two versions of the game: one for multiplayer people, one for single-player people. Multiplayer gamers don’t care about single-player content anyway.

    • Sandepande says:

      If the multiplayer works in solo mode, like ME3’s (though it was rather difficult to manage alone), then why not.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      Half the reason the ME3 MP is so compelling is because it ties in so well with the rest of the setting. You can finally play as a Quarian!

      How about a compromise? Let’s put single player and multiplayer into the same game and let players mix and match according to whim and taste!

  12. ooshp says:

    The ME3 multiplayer was excellent. If they further improve the combat system and fix the awful MP menus I’d happily buy it as a standalone product.

    Also, individual cooldown timers is awesome. Should make solo power combos much easier to pull off with a greater variety of classes.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Yeah, ME3MP has the unfortunate reputation of being a trashy SP sidekick. If they sold it as a separate game (or maybe F2P with those packs?), I feel like it would be gotten more recognition.

      Then again, maybe staying out of the limelight is what made it so good against all odds.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I thought global cooldowns worked pretty well actually and made some logical sense (for Biotics anyway).
      It gave a definite rhythm to power combat and what power you chose to use at a given moment. I think it also made use of cover and weapons more important & integrated.

      Just updating the movement system & controls could be a massive improvement, let alone new powers & combos.

      I played ME3 Co-op at least as much as I did Killing Floor (A Lot), so a standalone with less grind would’ve worked for me too.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Jekadu says:

    The number one thing I actually want in a new Mass Effect multiplayer mode is a wider FOV. It’s the one thing that is really showing its age at this point.

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