This section covers the main story missions and the important side missions. These have the biggest impact on future games. If you wish to do the bare minimum in a playthrough look no further than this section.
The Normandy – Mandatory. Get to know some people and learn a bit about the lore. Don’t forget to spend your first skill points (I recommend in Charm or Intimidate).
Eden Prime – Use Charm or Intimidate to get some bonus stuff from the farmers and dock worker. Need at least 3 Charm or 3 Intimidate.
The Citadel – Don’t go around accepting too many side missions yet. You won’t have high enough Charm/Intimidate levels to properly finish them all yet. You can start Scan the Keepers and assist reporter Emily Wong but I wouldn’t do much more than that. Be sure to recruit Garrus, Wrex and Tali. You’ll want all of them.
UNC: Lost Module – Head to the Hercules cluster, Attican Beta system, planet Eletania. This uncharted world has a very useful glitch to max out your Paragon bar really quickly. I recommend using this glitch to fill up your Paragon bar so you can get extra points in Charm. If you are willing to use this glitch, do it early.
After you find the downed satellite you’ll discover that a monkey has stolen the data module. There are four monkey colonies. The one you want is built around a mineshaft. The monkey in question is in one of the chambers in the back of the mine. As soon as you click on the correct monkey and it drops the data module, save your game. Then reload this save. You’ll have the ability to click on this monkey again as often as you want. Do so to quickly max out your Paragon bar. Note that this glitch only works if you did not kill any monkeys before locating the correct one. You’ll have to fight some geth on the way back out.
Therum – Visit this story planet first to recruit Liara, your final squadmate and potential romantic interest. This planet is also home to the Mining Laser Glitch which can give you infinite experience points. It is slow and tedious but it helps to reach the level cap or just boost you a few levels. Use this with the infinite Paragon points glitch to max out your Charm skill very early.
Activate the mining laser’s control panel and enter the sequence (A), (X), (B), (Y) for the Xbox 360 version. The PS3 code is X, Square, Circle, Triangle. The PC code is Down, Right, Up, Down, Right. After the laser fires you will get some experience and the experience counter will appear on screen. As soon as the counter appears on your screen and before it disappears, save your game. Reload that save. You should get the experience reward again. Once again, save your game as soon as the counter appears and before it disappears. If you should pause the game before the counter appears the glitch will fail so be patient. The experience reward changes based on your level and will increase as you increase in level. Keep repeating until you reach your desired level.
Visit the Citadel/Uncharted Worlds – Now is a good time to visit the Citadel and various other Uncharted Worlds to do some shopping and various side missions. When shopping focus on buying licenses (especially Elkoss Combine), grenade and medi-gel capacity upgrades. Also look for Quarian armor for Tali since it is rare. The C-Sec requisitions officer sells Spectre grade weapons once you get the Rich achievement. I will list below the side missions I think are the most critical. Their impacts vary from big to small on the overall story. There are a lot more than what I have listed and I recommend you do all of them but if you just want to do a bare-bones run these are what I recommend.
UNC: Rogue VI – This mission on Earth’s moon opens up after you reach level 20. Hackett will contact you to start it. Do this mission as soon as possible. It unlocks your specialization class.
Citadel: Doctor Michel – Save the good doctor from her blackmailer. Visit her clinic and you’ll see her talking on the phone. If she isn’t talk to her, leave the area (maybe the Citadel) and come back. Need 6 Charm or 3 Intimidate.
Citadel: Rita’s Sister – Help Jenna get out of Chora’s Den safely. Talk to Rita in Flux to get started. Need 7 Charm or 6 Intimidate.
Citadel: The Fan – You have three separate encounters with everyone’s favorite idiot fanboy. He is in the Wards Market. Be friendly during your first two encounters and use Charm/Intimidate during the third. Need 2 Charm or 2 Intimidate.
Citadel: The Fourth Estate – You’ll meet a reporter in C-Sec headquarters after leaving the elevator from the Normandy dock. Need 6 Charm or 5 Intimidate for all options during this interview. If you wish you can end the interview with a punch to the face.
UNC: Asari Writings – Try to find at least 10 Matriarch Writings while exploring the galaxy.
UNC: Asari Diplomacy – Talk to Nassana Dantius on the Citadel and complete her mission. She’ll contact you on the Normandy to meet her after your first story planet. Or you can visit the Artemis Tau cluster, Macedon system, planet Sharjila first before speaking to her. You get a slightly more amusing reaction from Nassana if you do. Need 3 Charm or 4 Intimidate.
UNC: Missing Marines/Cerberus/Hades’ Dogs – Talk to Admiral Kahoku in the Council Chambers to start this chain of missions. After you complete Missing Marines you’ll be contacted by Kahoku sometime later on the Normandy. This leads to the remaining two missions. Missing Marines is in the Artemis Tau cluster, Sparta system, planet Edolus. Cerberus is in the Voyager Cluster, Yangtze system, planet Binthu. Hades’ Dogs is in the Voyager cluster, Columbia system, planet Nepheron.
UNC: Geth Incursions – Travel to the Armstrong cluster and Hackett will contact you about a number of geth bases. Wipe out four bases and a fifth one will be revealed. The first four bases are on Maji in the Vamshi system, Casbin in the Hong system, Antibaar in the Tereshkova system and Rayingri in the Gagarin system. The final base is on Solcrum in the Grissom system. After all this is done you’ll get some data about the geth. Talk to Tali and she will ask for a copy. Give it to her.
Garrus: Find Dr. Saleon – Talk to Garrus enough and he will ask for your help to find the doctor. Make sure Garrus is with you. The location is in the Kepler Verge in the Herschel system.
Wrex: Family Armor – Talk to Wrex enough and he will ask you to help him locate his family’s old armor. You can actually find it before he mentions it and give it to him immediately. If he is present when you find it you will start and finish this mission in one go. The location is the Argos Rho cluster, Phoenix system, planet Tuntau.
Bring Down the Sky (DLC) – Need at least 4 Charm or 4 Intimidate to do everything. Be sure to locate all the missing engineers (there are three). If your level is high enough, using Charm/Intimidate with the Chief Engineer at the end will give you the best omni-tool in the game, Savant X. Note that this omni-tool is only available if the mission is completed at higher levels. If you want this omni-tool put this mission off until later.
Feros – Get as many grenade capacity upgrades as you can before starting this mission. Help the colonists restore water, power, get food and shut down the geth communicator before leaving. Be sure to talk to Gavin Hossel at the Exo-Geni camp. His data terminal is in the Exo-Geni building you are heading towards. Be sure to find it before leaving the building. A critical Charm/Intimidate opportunity with Jeong requires at least 12 Charm or 10 Intimidate.
Uncharted Worlds – A few new Uncharted Worlds become available to visit.
Noveria – Take Liara with you on this mission even if you don’t normally use her. You need at least 6 Charm or 8 Intimidate to finish everything here. There is also a glitch to get infinite Renegade points on this world.
Uncharted Worlds – A few new Uncharted Worlds become available to visit.
Virmire – You need at least 8 Charm or 8 Intimidate to finish ev
This section covers the side missions that have small impacts on the later games. Mostly they impact cameo appearances, news reports and e-mails. Complete these for the money or experience and if you want to add a little extra flavor to the later games. Most of these side missions unlock after completing your first story planet such as Therum, Feros or Noveria. Complete them in any order and at your leisure. They are not listed here in any particular order.
Citadel: Reporter’s Request – In the Wards near the entrance to Flux during your first Citadel visit you will meet reporter Emily Wong. The files she wants are in Fist’s office. You can pick them up immediately after fighting Fist or return later. Using Charm/Intimidate gets you more credits.
Citadel: Asari Consort – Visit the Consort’s Chambers. It is near the Hanar Emporium. Need 4 Charm or 4 Intimidate.
Citadel: Xeltan’s Complaint – Connected to the Asari Consort mission. Do this BEFORE reporting back to the Consort after dealing with the General.
Citadel: Homecoming – After reporting to Udina with Tali you will meet Samesh Bhatia on your way out of the embassies. Need 3 Charm or 3 Intimidate. Having Ashley in your party provides additional dialogue.
Citadel: Scan the Keepers – After speaking to the Council in the Council Chambers for the first time speak to the Salarian who is near the Keeper. Hard to locate all the Keepers.
Citadel: Jahleed’s Fears/Secrets – Speak to the Volus Jahleed in C-Sec headquarters. Need 7 Charm or 6 Intimidate. Best completed after Scan the Keepers.
Citadel: Snap Inspection – A Rear-Admiral is waiting for you on the Normandy docks after completing your first main story planet. Need 9 Charm or 9 Intimidate.
Citadel: Family Matter – Near Barla Von’s office you will find a man and a woman arguing next to the Rapid Transit system. Need 3 Charm or 3 Intimidate.
Citadel: Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things – Spacer background only. In the Wards Access corridor you’ll find a man named Zabaleta. After speaking to him you’ll need to use the communicator in the Normandy’s conference room. Need 4 Charm or 5 Intimidate.
Citadel: Old Friends – Earthborn background only. You’ll meet a man named Finch outside of Chora’s Den. Need 8 Charm or 8 Intimidate.
Citadel: I Remember Me -Colonist background only. After stepping off the elevator in the C-Sec academy you’ll be contacted about this mission. Return to the Normandy docks. Need 7 Charm or 7 Intimidate.
UNC: Hostile Takeover – Speak to Helena Blake near the Hanar Emporium. She’ll give you the locations for two criminal bases to attack. The first is in the Gemini Sigma cluster, Han system, planet Mavigon. The second is in the Hades Gamma cluster, Dis system, planet Klensal. After you’ve cleared both these bases a third one unlocks. Head to the Horse Head Nebula, Fortuna system, planet Amaranthine. Need 10 Charm or 7 Intimidate.
UNC: Dead Scientists – Head to the Kepler Verge, Newton system, planet Ontarom. Upon entering the system you’ll be contacted by Hackett. Need 10 Charm or 8 Intimidate. This mission has special dialogue if Shepard has the Sole Survivor psych profile. Some dialogue also changes if you’ve finished UNC: Hades’ Dogs first.
UNC: Hostage – You might hear a news report about Chairman Burns while on the Citadel. You can also get this by heading straight for Hades Gamma, Farinata system. There will be a ship in the system called MSV Ontario. You need 6 Charm or 5 Intimidate. Be sure to save before starting this mission because it has a timer.
UNC: Besieged Base – To unlock this mission you need to fill up 80% of your Paragon bar. It rises to 90% if you’ve filled 80% of your Renegade bar first. Hackett will contact you when you access the galaxy map. Head to the Hades Gamma cluster, Cacus system, planet Chohe.
[1.07] Unimportant Missions
These missions have absolutely no impact on the later games. They can be done for money, experience or equipment but they are entirely optional. These are in no particular order.
Pinnacle Station (DLC) – This DLC is a collection of different combat challenges. If you don’t find the normal battles in the game challenging enough try these.
These missions can function as an additional source of experience. Completing all the challenges plus the bonus challenge and you will be rewarded with a private apartment for Shepard. There is a terminal in the apartment where Shepard can buy a parcel which gives a random piece of rare gear.
Citadel: Presidium Prophet – Near the entrance to the Wards on the Presidium you’ll see a hanar arguing with a turian C-Sec Officer. Helping the hanar requires 4 Charm or 7 Intimidate. Helping the turian requires 7 Charm or 4 Intimidate.
Citadel: Schells the Gambler – Need to at least start Citadel: Rita’s Sister. Try to enter Flux to trigger this side mission. Either do what Schells wants or give his device to Doran.
Citadel: Signal Tracking – Start this by examining one of the gambling machines in the back of Flux. The next location is in the Wards Access Corridor (take Rapid Transit to Wards Access on the Presidium and take the elevator down). The next location is in Barla Von’s office. The final location is in the back room of the hanar’s Emporium.
The disarm code on the Xbox 360 is Y, X, Y, A, X, A, A.
The disarm code on the PS3 is Triangle, Square, Triangle, X, Square, X, X.
The disarm code on the PC is randomly generated.
The faster you disarm it the more money you’ll make.
Citadel: Planting a Bug – Help Emily Wong in the Wards and she’ll later turn up in the Council Chambers. Helping with her task gets you a small reward. If you want a larger reward, immediately after accepting the side mission talk to her again. Use Charm to convince her it is a bad idea or use Intimidate to trick her. Requires 4 Charm or 5 Intimidate.
Citadel: Our Own Worst Enemy – During the Lockdown late in the game you will find a group of protestors gathered in front of the entrance to Flux. Talk to their leader, Charles Saracino.
Citadel: Negotiator’s Request – During the Lockdown late in the game talk to Elias Keeler in the entrance hall to Flux. Requires 8 Charm or 7 Intimidate.
Noveria: Espionage – An asari named Mallene Calis will approach you in the Mezzanine area. Refuse her offer for the biggest Paragon reward. If you help her you need 12 Charm or 9 Intimidate.
Noveria: Smuggling – Opold the hanar merchant will ask for your help to smuggle. Refuse, help him or sell the product directly to the buyer.
You can also tell Administrator Anoleis about the smuggling to get a quick garage pass. I recommend you DO NOT do this because you will miss out on a lot of rewards.
UNC: Prothean Data Disks – Find these as you are exploring the galaxy. You get experience and money.
UNC: Turian Insignias – Find these as you are exploring the galaxy. You get experience and money.
UNC: Valuable Minerals – Find these as you are exploring the galaxy. You get experience and money.
UNC: Locate Signs of Battle – Find these as you are exploring the galaxy. You get experience and money.
UNC: Colony of the Dead – Find a data log while on Feros in the upper level of the ExoGeni headquarters, near the PSI controls. Go to Maroon Sea cluster, Matano system, planet Chasca.
UNC: Listening Post Alpha/Listening Post Theta/Depot Sigma-23 – Need to complete Noveria first. For part one go to the Styx Theta cluster, Erebus system, planet Nepmos. Part two is in Styx Theta, Acheron, planet Altahe. The final part is in the Argos Rho cluster, Gorgon system. It is a ship rather than a planet.
UNC: Derelict Freighter – Must finish Feros first. In the Maroon Cluster, Caspian system you’ll find a ship. Board it and deal with it.
UNC: Distress Call – You can find out about this mission by hacking a terminal on the Citadel or just going straight to the Argos Rho cluster, Hydra system, planet Metgos.
UNC: Espionage Probe – Head to the Voyager Cluster, Amazon system, planet Agebinium. You’ll be co
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