Mass Effect Andromeda’s co-op adding batarians

A new higher difficulty setting and, seemingly, batarian troops are coming to the cooperative multiplayer of Mass Effect: Andromeda in a future update. Unhelpfully, Electronic Arts don’t have much to say about either at this point.

They don’t have much to say about anything connected to Andromeda these days. Rumours are floating around that no follow-up is coming and that nor are any singleplayer expansions. That’s all just rumour for now, mind. Anyway, check out ol’ four-eyes here:

That trailer is ostensibly cranking the hypometer for Platinum difficulty (“Take your skills to the next level,” says an accompanying tweet. “Platinum Difficulty is coming to APEX Multiplayer.”) but it focuses on a batarian who, er, EA forget to even acknowledge. The alien race didn’t appear in Andromeda at all so it’s probably not wild speculation to guess they’re being added to multiplayer.

Several batarian classes are in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, most of them with beefy melee attacks and a ‘Blade Armour’ skill which made people hitting ’em cut their own hands to ribbons, the idiots.

No word yet on when that update will launch. As for the future of singleplayer Mass Effect, we don’t know.

Last week, a load of big sillies were fooled by a hoax Facebook post from a company claiming that they had been working on Andromeda singleplayer DLC until it was cancelled. They hadn’t.

However, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier claims that he has spoken to “three sources familiar with the company’s plans”, who spoke under condition of anonymity because the industry punishes leaks harshly, and they confirmed that no singleplayer DLC is currently planned. So they say.

As for whether another game is coming, we do know that EA moved staff at BioWare’s Montreal studio onto other projects after Andromeda launched. Shuffling people around to support the development of different projects at different stages is fairly standard for mahoosive companies but, according to more rumours from folks Schreier said were in the know, supposedly EA have made a definite decision to let Mass Effect rest rather than launch right into making another. Though EA don’t usually announce sequels right after a game launches, of course.

Anyway! Platinum and batarians, yeah? I’ve not picked up Andromeda at all yet but I was unexpectedly fond of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. What’s it like in this one, gang?

47 Comments

  1. Booker says:

    My problem with the multiplayer in MEA is, that you always feel like you are glued to the floor. In ME3MP you could run and it would feel reasonably fast, but MEA is way too slow. As a result, I focus on only playing classes, which have optional abilities that can make you move faster.

    Honestly, every character should run at least twice as fast as they actually are.

    They also removed the over-cover grab melee kill ME3 had. I have no idea why, that was so cool.

    The rest is mostly identical to ME3. They also cut the unique dodges all the characters had. Now everyone just uses the jumpjet dodge. I thought that really added some flavor in ME3MP.

    Also, almost all the guns feel like they are filled with blanks, so IMHO playing a class which focuses on doing all the damage with powers is a must. Maybe it’s different if someone has unlocked all the guns on the highest level, I don’t know.

    I have more to say but it’s tl;dr already, so… ;)

    • Wulfram says:

      Why are you running when you’ve got a jet pack? Too slow is about the last criticism I’d make of MEA MP.

      • Booker says:

        Good one buddy. Because moving forward is what you have to do like 99% of the time. The jetpack shoots you up in the air vertically, it doesn’t move you forward. I know right? And no, the dash isn’t faster than just running since it needs a recharge and all, it’s just for dodging, someone who runs constantly and someone who only dodges reaches a target at the same time, so…

        This should seriously be fixed, they should at least give it the same speed ME3MP had. That was okay.

        Come to think of it, playing as a Vanguard doesn’t feel as fast and hectic either.

        • Von Uber says:

          Er if you jetpack whilst moving forward you jetpack forward…

          • Booker says:

            No, you don’t. You can only jumpjet vertically. You can dash in every direction. But dashing obviously is only short bursts. It’s by no means a replacement for running.

        • Wulfram says:

          Dash is faster than running, I just tested it. Running is around 20% slower to dashing

          • Booker says:

            It’s really not, since you have to pause between dashes, while you can run constantly. That’s not even taking in account characters like the Asari who can get a bonus to movement speed.

          • Wulfram says:

            It really is, I know about the cooldown, but dashing still makes you considerably faster, as I’ve confirmed through testing but is also just obvious when playing.

            Movement bonuses might change that, yes. I haven’t tested their impact.

        • welverin says:

          Jump and Dash are two different things.

  2. Faldrath says:

    You know, I hope someone someday tells the story of how one of the most famous franchises in gaming was completely devastated by *one* bad game. It’s just so weird. CoD, Asscreed, etc., had their bad games but they’re still going, whereas right now it looks ME is just done.

    • vorador says:

      AFAIK while it hasn’t set the charts on fire, it has sold relatively well. It didn’t do so bad to kill the franchise. at least.

      Then again EA are pretty weird with sequel development. I’m still waiting for a new Dead Space.

    • Anti-Skub says:

      AssCreed was designed from the ground up to be a sequel machine. Mass Effect was never meant to be more than a trilogy.

      The reason ME:A feels like it’s killed the franchise is that it very much felt like Mass Effect was already done and they were seeing if they could make something good in the same universe, the answer being no…no they can’t.

      There was no similar finality with AC. AC3 was a bad game, but it wasn’t the culmination of a Trilogy, just a low point in an ongoing series, there was no question that there would be another one, and they followed it up with what is probably the best game in the series. It’s just not the same.

    • Zenicetus says:

      My uninformed guess is that it was a question of not having the right studio assets available to recover and continue the series.

      The Montreal studio blew it, in oh so many ways, and they’ve been split up and reassigned to other projects. Everyone else is already working on other projects, so there wasn’t an “A team” available to continue the series.

      That doesn’t mean the IP is dead. It’s still worth something, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it resurrected after enough time passes for MEA to be forgotten. There will always be a market for a good action-adventure-RPG game set in space.

      • Ghostwise says:

        Uninformed weren’t necessary, methinks. We’ve had pretty good leaks/interviews about how the project went.

    • wombat191 says:

      apparently on the PC alone it sold 63,000 copies in the first week.. yeah they lost alot of money

      • Booker says:

        That’s almost certainly not true, since PC is always the weakest platform sales-wise AND they never reveal the digital sales. These sales you mentioned are the retail packages and “no one” buys these anymore, so the majority of sales are excluded from this number.

        From playing MP I can tell you this game is stacked with players around the clock. There is never any waiting period during matchmaking. The second you click it, you are thrown in a room with a bunch of other players. It’s super popular.

      • vorador says:

        EA said Andromeda sold 1 million on all platforms in the first week. Those 63k are PC retail copies, and PC retail is mostly dead these days.

        Still, EA expected 3 million in the first month alone. I don’t think it got anywhere near that much, hence the reason why EA is putting the franchise on hibernation.

        • Booker says:

          Now this just makes me dislike them. Releasing such a super-buggy game and then having such unrealistic expectations for it? That’s insane.

          • Spherical says:

            I think you might be approaching this from the wrong angle.

            EA has certain sales expectations on all the games they publish. This expectation is arguably set well before the game is released and is probably tied to the amount of money EA invested into the development of the product.

            So EA spent X amount of money to have ME:A developed with the expectation of having Y amount of money returned on that investment. BioWare failed to deliver on those expectations.

            EA is not the bad guy here, although I’m not sure anyone really is.

            To me it seems that ME:A ended up the way it did due to a series of unfortunate events rather than a single act of evil.

      • Von Uber says:

        Xbox sales appear to be have been around 1.5million by the end of May, and the EA earnings report seems to suggest they hit their initial target of 3million sales. What I don’t think this game was is a financial failure, but when the game is released and a female dev gets death threats because she (falsely) was accused of a few janky animations, and then we have the whole Sinclair Networks charade amongst other things, you do begin to wonder what is going on.

    • Booker says:

      I don’t think that’s what this is about at all. BioWare doesn’t want to be a singleplayer game company anymore for a while now. Nothing more to it.
      It started with shoving in mp even if it didn’t make much sense (Dragon Age Inquisition). The thing is, you can buy packs with real money in those multiplayer parts. There are people who dump $2000 for those packs and more. So that’s obiviously where the money is now. Just imagine how many games BioWare would have to sell to those people to make the same amount. Fiscally it makes much more sense to create a smaller niche of customers who will pay tremendously more than a seemingly bigger crowd.
      They can barely make normal single-player stuff anymore. Even MEA feels MMO-esque at times.

      Just look at their new games. This is the market they want. If MEA didn’t have the multiplayer part, where the packs are sold, MEA wouldn’t have been made at all. The singeplayer part only exists to bring the MP shop to players. That’s why they gave the game to the studio that made the ME3MP part in the first place.

    • jp says:

      Because for some reason they had an inexperienced B team make the game.

  3. Anti-Skub says:

    “What’s it like in this one, gang?”

    A tedious grind filled with microtransactions and piss poor networking and matchmaking coupled with a movement system directly tied to connectivity so that other players having a high ping will actually cause input delay on your client…and if you’re imagining how frustrating that is, you’ve low balled by quite a bit.

    • Booker says:

      Yeah, the grind is much more extreme this time around. They really thought a lot about, how they can make more people pay real cash for the packs.

      • Captain Kirk says:

        Saying the grind is much worse this time around is actually an objectively incorrect statement when it comes to items. The ‘grind’ while referring to UR collection is less in this game. The match length and credit payouts are almost in exact proportion in ME:A and ME3 gold multi. 17 minutes for 55k in ME:A, and about 25 minutes for 80k in ME:3. The ratio is essentially identical. The packs are identically priced in the game as well, 99k vs 100k for the premium/arsenal/reserves. The total number of Ultra rare cards – very similar. ME:A has 200, ME3 had 222, although ME:A might ultimately be slightly higher by the time they stop making multi DLC.

        The real difference and the reason why ME:A is way less of a grind currently is the UR drop rate in the packs. For ME3 multi it was 7.5% for each guaranteed rare slot in a premium pack. For ME:A it has been observed to be somwhere between 10 to 12.5%. So it will take somewhere between 25% to 40% less time to max the manifests as they currently stand. ME:A would need to get an additional 7 or so UR weapons before it approaches parity.

        We will have to see the payout for platinum and how long it takes in ME:A, but if it continues to have parity with ME3 multi it will take 100’s of hours less time to max an ME:A manifest vs ME3.

  4. Wulfram says:

    I think MEA MP is very good, though the initial guns seem a bit weaker than they should be. The crazy amount of mobility available to the player is fun but also makes things a bit more hectic and makes the map seem a bit smaller

    It took me a while to find a class which clicked for me. Asari Sentinel is currently my go too option – I like having the defensive options from energy gain and backlash, while still being able to set off some nice combos

    Disclaimer: I think Mass Effect Andromeda as a whole is very good, which according to some people probably makes me crazy or something.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I don’t think you’re crazy. Just more tolerant of some of the things that put others off.

      I managed to finish MEA, despite thinking it was a badly designed game with juvenile writing and dialog. And boring companions. And a terrible RPG system that ran out of meaningful upgrades once you leveled up far enough.

      I finished it anyway, because I’m a hopeless fan of sci-fi games, and there aren’t many around to choose from.

      • Ghostwise says:

        Also, a lot of us reacted badly to ME:A because we had REALLY HIGH expectations from something with “Mass Effect” written on it.

        That doesn’t automatically means that ME:A is the worst game ever.

        • Booker says:

          Oh come on. Seriously? Of course it’s not the worst game ever. There is still a lot of disappointment in this game and it needs to be criticized. It deserves that. Don’t try to deny people criticism by acting like they are trying to say it’s the worst game ever instead. None of the biggest problems in this game deserve a defense.

      • vorador says:

        Basically this.

        There was a lot wrong with Andromeda, from the writing and dialogues (which went to serviceable to absolutely dreadful) to boring sidequests (scan this, pick x of this, kill these…urgh) and companions that did nothing for me. Outposts were just four houses in the middle of nowhere, and the enemy pool was very limited.

        And quests choices barely mattered at all. On a Mass Effect, that’s criminal.

        Still, i enjoyed it enough to finish it. The combat was really fun, and the RPG system didn’t annoy me as much as you since it gave a lot of choice. True that it did annoy me that it limited the active skills to just 3 and changing modes also reset the cooldowns, basically making on-the-fly changes useless. So once you maxed out your selected skills and passives, there was little point to leveling up.

        • Wulfram says:

          I don’t think the dialogue was immature, except in that it’s deliberately portraying a slightly immature and lighthearted main character, rather than the standard stoic badass. It certainly sings compared to stodgy stuff like Pillars of Eternity.

          The quest choices mattered about as much as they did in the first two mass effect games. I’d say more than ME1, which was very limited aside from Virmire stuff.

          I didn’t find changing powers was useless, since you can get those cooldowns pretty quick, and “surplus” skill points are still valuable to improve your passives and to allow you to try some more eclectic mixes of profile and power – I’m enjoying playing a soldier with tech powers in NG+, for example, which is impractical without having a lot of skill points available..

          • Booker says:

            “I don’t think the dialogue was immature, except in that it’s deliberately portraying a slightly immature and lighthearted main character, ”

            Come again? What does that have to do with the 10.000 characters in the game which are not the main character? Pretty fallacious logic there.

        • Zenicetus says:

          You were probably switching skills more than me, so found more to do in the skill tree.

          I finished the game at level 52. By the time I reached level 40, I had already maxed out the Engineer tree, the weapon and combat trees I was interested in, the passives, etc. When I finished the game at level 52, I had 36 points left to spend, and nowhere useful to spend them.

          Same thing with crafting. By Level 40 I had top-tier armor, and after that it was just adding tiny stat points with the armor looking exactly the same. No opportunity to get cooler weapons either, just the same visual model with tiny stat upgrade points.

          Looking at the MEA skill tree and crafting at level 50+, I think it’s obvious that the game was padded out at the last minute to make it last longer. It doesn’t feel like the player was ever originally intended to get much past level 40, which is why there is no meaningful skill or crafting content after that.

          • Wulfram says:

            I really have pretty close to the opposite view, to be honest. Level 30-40 is where to me the mechanics really come into their own, because that’s when you start to have the freedom to experiment. The lower levels are the worst part because then you’re just filling out the core of your build – I’d argue Bioware really should have been less stingy with the skill points early on.

            There’s no such thing as a skill point with nothing useful to spend it on. Even if you’re buying a skill that you don’t use, each point makes that categories passives stronger, which is valuable. Maxing out the grenade skill, for example, won’t just mean you have something you can easily switch to and spam at particularly annoying enemies, it will also boost weapon and melee damage by 3%, and health and shield by 5%.

  5. Premium User Badge

    james.hancox says:

    It makes me very sad that there seems to be no single player DLC coming. I loved the crap out of Lair of the Shadow Broker. It makes me even more sad that it’s being killed in favour of a Destiny clone.

  6. wombat191 says:

    adding batarians?.. hey if you are killing the series might as well forget about lore

    • Ghostwise says:

      The Hegemony was exiling a *lot* of criminals and dissidents during the decades before the Arrival. Many became pirates and slavers and hobos, but that some joined the Initiative might be workable.

    • Booker says:

      For once, that doesn’t bother me much. In ME3MP you could fight the collectors and those were all wiped out in ME2, so… They’ve always been a little bit more open (let’s say) with their lore or other restrictions during MP.

  7. Von Uber says:

    I enjoyed this game. The internet seems to have had it in for the game before it was even released – I assume it is (still!) the hangover from ME3. Even now forums are full of people wanting a remastered OT with a changed ending. It’s all a bit sad, especially as (as of 1.08) it’s a good game.

    What’s funny to me is that as a character, femRyder is miles ahead of femShep, mainly because she isn’t a one note power fantasy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Serrit says:

      I’m still loving this game, having played nothing else since its release. I’m coming near the end of my 4th playthrough (different characters / personalities / preferred squadmates / builds), and am debating having a break from it, or moving onto a 5th.

      I just love the themes in the game, backed up by the space and planetary visuals, and the music. The characters are fantastic, and I’m finding new things even on my current playthrough.

      I am usually willing to meet games more than halfway if I like certain things about it though, so I’m not excusing any of the (largely valid) complaints people had – just that for me, the game sold me enough that I could overlook them.

      I’m strongly considering this my all-time favourite game (in the context of having played and loved ME1-3 too, and the impact those had on Andromeda).

  8. brucethemoose says:

    Wait, whaaaaaaat?

    How did Batarians get on the other arks? Not a single Citadel friendly Drell, Hanar, Elcor, or Volus made it. No stowaway Vorcha or Quarians… hell I expected to see a Geth or Varren before a Batarian.

    Am I the only one suprised by this?

    What I’m getting at is there’s a missing SP explanation for them. I bet the Batarians were involved in a singleplayer DLC, but after that got cut they get show up randomly in MP.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The whole premise in MEA is so bonkers that I wouldn’t worry too much about a few Batarians.

      You’re supposed to be “The Pathfinder,” but everywhere you go in this new Galaxy, there are already settlements, shops, and bars. Plenty of opportunity for a few random stowaways, when all of that somehow got there ahead of you.

      • brucethemoose says:

        Supposedly the more developed places (like Kadara) were partially built up by the Angara, while the other existing settlements look like they could’ve easily had that year before the human ark arrived to develop.

        They are comically small settlements, but that’s a trope that’s as old as the 3D RPG itself.

        Problem with stowaways is that (unless they’re Krogan/Asari), they need to be in powered, monitored hibernation pods. I guess the Nexus has a VI instead of a SAM, so maybe it just missed them.

    • Booker says:

      The Andromeda Initiative has nothing to do with the Citadel.

  9. Captain Kirk says:

    I have about 800 hours in ME3 multi (and a maxed manifest) and nearing 200 in ME:A multi (with a full gold manifest and an average UR rating of around 3). Speaking as, I would hope given the time investment, one of the ‘experts’ on ME3 multi and Andromeda multi I would say that they are both very similar and surprisingly different. In the end, I think ME:A is a much better designed game with way less idiosyncratic bullshit than ME3 multi – both in terms of mechanics (from defense/resistance, to shield gate, to the way powers interact, to invincibility frames) and strategies. But people like idiosyncratic bullshit – see DOTA. So how much you like one depends significantly on that factor. The other major factor over which you think is a better game stems from the game engine itself. ME3 is an Unreal engine game and it does shooting really well. But it’s movement mechanics are weaker. The levels are extremely sticky for sprinting characters (yes you can mod out the everything key, but as designed, it blows). The dodge mechanics are okay, but the best of them are the default in ME:A. Whereas ME:A has decent shooting, it’s movement mechanics are far more joyful to use and allow the best players a huge amount of freedom that you don’t get in ME3. In the end its more of a question of whether you value better movement or shooting. After spending 800 hours in a game, I have come to the conclusion that the shooting is actually more important (which I am surprised to say, because shooter movement feel is one of my personal bugbears). Probably because so much of those 20-30 minutes matches are spent shooting and as much as UE kinda sucks, it’s shooting feel is clearly extremely polished.

    I will probably max my ME:A manifest in the coming year(s) so I won’t say that I think ME3 multi is better, just different. ME:A is waaaaaaaaaay better balanced though. At least it was until the internet rabble complained about the weapons power levels and they all got a massive buff thereby ruining any challenge and completely trivializing the game. Thanks internet!