Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is just around the corner. The packs together the first three games with lots of former downloadable content and further quality of life changes. To be ready for the final conflict of Mass Effect 3, Electronic Arts and Bioware suggest players go through the entire trilogy to boost galactic readiness.
While the first Mass Effect game features all the same classic characters, there is an underlying system that some characters may have missed. On each planet, team members will have different opinions on the situation. This isn’t always static, and keen players can influence the dialogue of the human companions Ashley and Kaidan. But like all decisions in the game, choices like this can have long-lasting effects on the other two games.
Party Member Mortality in Mass Effect
In the original Mass Effect, Shepard is guided by the moral quandary of Paragon actions (cautious, compassionate) or Renegade actions (bold, ruthless). Party members do not have individual opinions, instead taking a moral stance opposed to the other party member. A sort of angel and devil on Shepard’s shoulders at all times. This leads to the two companions never agreeing and instead vocally suggesting either the Paragon or Renegade action. Each of the six characters has a scale of Paragon to Renegade as follows:
- Base Morality: Liara – Kaidan – Tali – Garrus – Ashley – Wrex
This means that if Tali and Garrus were brought together, Tali would always suggest the Paragon choice, while Garrus the Renegade option. However, in a Kaidan and Tali team, Tali would always be Renegade; the same for a Garrus and Ashley team, Garrus would suddenly be pro-Paragon. While the four alien squadmates have static morality, the two human companions can be influenced by Shepard, but only after the critical mission on Virmire. Since one of the humans gets left behind, the final morality scale can be changed as follows:
- Ashley left on Virmire: Liara – Tali – Garrus – Wrex – Kaidan
- Kaidan left on Virmire: Ashley – Liara – Tali – Garrus – Wrex
Not only does this directly change Ashley or Kaidan’s initial outlook, but it can also inadvertently alter the personalities of Liara and Wrex for the rest of the game. Pairing a deeply Renegade Kaidan with Wrex will cause the Krogan to be the calm voice of reason. Conversely, putting a reformed Paragon Ashley with Liara will make the Asari more brutal and devious. If going for these team compositions, it is a good idea to make Shepard a class that can harmonize with the others, possibly Infiltrator for the former and Engineer for the latter.
Changing Human Companion Opinion in Mass Effect
Only one of Ashley or Kaidan can have their outlook on life and the universe change per playthrough. The other will need to fall in pursuit of this goal.
Paragon Ashley Williams
Players will need to create a male Shepard, and at minimum flirt with Ashley once on board the Normandy following the prologue on Eden Prime. Players should invest in the Charm skill to raise their Paragon points to around 6 or more. After becoming a Spectre, stop by the Normandy’s shuttle bay and speak with Ashley and again flirt and talk to her about her past military history and flirt with her. Do this each time after completing Ferros, Noveria, and Therum to ask her opinion on the missions and gain more details about her history. When the mission on Virmire occurs, always save rescue Ashley over Kaidan.
After the conclusion of Virmire, speak to Ashley twice. First, discuss the death of Kaidan and how it wasn’t her fault. Later, in a second conversation Ashley will talk about her grandfather and his time in the First Contact War. She will explain that the Alliance screwed over her father and the whole Williams military tradition. Tell her that the Alliance is an alright Government, followed by a final Paragon check (the Renegade option will not change her outlook).
Renegade Kaidan Alenko
For a more aggressive Kaidan, players will need to select a female Shepard. Start flirting with the Lieutenant right away, even when first on board the Normandy and at any chance on Eden Prime. When picking new skills, go for increasing Intimidate until it is around 6 points. Once gaining control of the Normandy, go to the mess and talk to Kaidan about his past at the Jump Zero academy. Also, players should show more romantic interest. Do the same after each major story event at Ferros, Noveria, and Therum. When it comes to the mission on Virmire, select to go after Kaidan instead of Ashley.
After coming back to the Normandy, talk to Kaidan about Ashley’s death and take full responsibility as commander of the mission. Begin another conversation to learn that Kaidan’s fellow student Rahna was harassed by the Turian teacher Commander Vyrnnus. During a training event, Kaidan only wanted to best the teacher in combat, but Vyrnnus retaliated with lethal force and Kaidan killed him in self-defense. Instead of showing sympathy, tell Kaidan that the Turians are all the same and deserved it, followed by one last Renegade prompt (Paragon will keep Kaidan unchanged).
Liara Makes Three a Crowd
As noted in both requirements, starting a romance with Ashley or Kaidan is required. This can get complicated if players want to change their companion morality but actually wind up with Liara. While tough, this isn’t an impossible feat. It is a good idea to leave Liara trapped on Therum until after Virmire is completed. One can then do all the necessary steps to make Ashley Paragon or Kaidan Renegade by hopping between side missions and then dump them for Liara afterward. If either romantic partner asks about the other, simply lie to their face and dodge that Shepard is two-timing them. Keep in mind that if the full confrontation scene happens then players will be locked into a single romance (or be kicked out of both).
Being so close to the end of the game, players will only be able to witness the results of their hard work on Ilos, the Citadel, and any unfinished side-quests (including former DLC like Bring Down the Sky on Terra Nova). Still, it can be exciting and a bit hilarious to now have Kaidan or Liara shouting brazen frustration, while Ashley or Wrex try to advocate for peace and empathy.
Next: Mass Effect: The First Contact War Explained
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14, 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
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