Best Ship Upgrades to Research First (& Why)


In Mass Effect 2, Shepard needs to prepare the Normandy to withstand the Omega-4 Relay. Researching Ship Upgrades will improve the chance for success.

Throughout the main story of Mass Effect 2, Shepard will encounter new potential upgrades to weapons, armor, squadmates, and even the Normandy itself. The upgrade system in Mass Effect 2 is accessed via the Tech Lab on the Normandy, where Mordin Solus spends most of his time. Players can access a terminal there to see all the available upgrades and research them using rare minerals they collect while scanning and exploring planets. Some upgrade schematics can be purchased from vendors at hubs like Omega, the Citadel, Tuchanka, and Illium, or found on missions. However, to upgrade the Normandy, Shepard will need to get a few ideas from their recruited squadmates.

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Related: Mass Effect 2: What Happens If You Just Let Everyone Die

Every squadmate Shepard recruits during Mass Effect 2 has one upgrade to unlock. Many of these will be ship upgrades to improve the Normandy, while a few offer improvements to squadmates’ abilities and weapons. Generally, it is best to prioritize ship upgrades ahead of weapons and armor upgrades, as these play a vital role in survival during Mass Effect 2‘s endgame Suicide Mission and unlocking more rare minerals during exploration. While every Normandy upgrade will ultimately be beneficial, there are a few Shepard can and should prioritize, especially near the start of the game when they may be low on rare minerals. Here are the best Normandy upgrades to research first in Mass Effect 2.

Best Normandy Upgrades to Get Early in Mass Effect 2

The squad prepares in the coms room aboard the Normandy in Mass Effect 2

The order in which Shepard unlocks Normandy upgrades in Mass Effect 2 will depend in part upon the order in which they recruit squadmates from The Illusive Man’s Dossiers. At first, they will only have access to Jacob’s, Miranda’s, and Mordin’s suggestions, gradually unlocking more as they complete main story missions.

To ask squadmates about potential upgrades, Shepard will first need to find and recruit Mordin Solus on Omega. Recruiting Mordin opens the Tech Lab on the Normandy, allowing Shepard to begin researching all upgrades. Then, Shepard need to find the squadmate aboard the Normandy between missions and use the Investigate dialogue option, followed by [NORMANDY UPGRADES]. After a brief bit of dialogue, this will automatically open the upgrade interface from the Tech Lab. Players can choose Ship Upgrades to see all the available options. If they have enough materials, they can purchase the upgrade on the spot. If not, they can exit the interface and the conversation with the squadmate and access the upgrade again later from the terminal in the Tech Lab.

There are three critical upgrades Shepard must make if they want every squadmate to survive the trip through the Omega 4 Relay. Failure to get any one of these upgrades before going through the Relay will result in a squadmate’s death before the infiltration of the Collector Base, usually regardless of their Loyalty to Shepard. These are the three Normandy upgrades Shepard should research and purchase first. The upgrade name, mineral cost, and the squadmate who suggests it, appear below:

  • Thanix Cannon: Garrus; 15,000 Platinum
  • Heavy Ship Armor: Jacob; 15,000 Palladium
  • Multicore Shielding: Tali; 15,000 Palladium

A player scans a planet for resources in Mass Effect 2

Players can usually research the Thanix Cannon and Heavy Ship Armor even before the mission to Horizon. If they go to recruit Tali immediately following Horizon, they can have all three upgrades quite quickly.

Next, Shepard will want to prioritize upgrades that make galactic exploration and researching upgrades easier. These include:

  • Advanced Mineral Scanner: Miranda; 15,000 Iridium
  • Modular Probe Bay: Thane; 15,000 Iridium
  • Extended Fuel Cells: Samara/Morinth; 3,000 Element Zero

The Advanced Mineral Scanner allows players to scroll faster when scanning a planet for rare minerals. The Modular Probe Bay doubles the number of probes the Normandy can carry, and Extended Fuel Cells increases fuel capacity so players don’t have to stop exploring and return to a system with a Mass Relay to refuel as often.

Mass Effect Normandy Changes All Games

Other squadmates provide upgrade suggestions that benefit their specific abilities, including the following:

  • M-300 Claymore: Grunt; 15,000 Platinum
  • +20% Mordin Tech Damage: Mordin; 3,000 Element Zero
  • +20% Jack Biotic Damage: Jack; 3,000 Element Zero
  • M-98 Widow: Legion; 15,000 Platinum

All of these will usually be found under the Prototypes tab in the upgrade interface. These are lower priority and can be researched at a player’s discretion.

The last Normandy upgrade is a Med Bay upgrade that grants Shepard access to plastic surgery. Using this removes any of the cybernetics scarring Shepard has following the Lazarus Project that serves as the opening to Mass Effect 2. These scars usually go away with a higher Paragon score and get worse with a higher Renegade score. Using the station in Med Bay will prevent scarring from getting any worse regardless of Shepard’s morals and actions. This upgrade unlocks via an email from Dr. Chakwas following Mordin’s recruitment and can be saved for later unless players are anxious to eliminate Shepard’s scars.

Next: How Mass Effect’s Normandy Ship Changes In Each Game

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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