Mass Effect 1
Mass Effect trilogy: the optimal order of missions to save the Milky Way
The Mass Effect Legendary Edition remaster offers the possibility to choose the order in which the player can perform a majority of the missions. Sometimes without consequences, the game order can also make you miss some sequences or optional missions. It can also bring another look on the adventure by giving more or less importance to some of your teammates (example with Liara in Mass Effect 1 and Javik in Mass Effect 3).
This guide aims to propose an order of missions of the trilogy that seems the most appropriate to us to succeed serenely your part. We focus on key missions and key ancillary quests.
However, everyone is free to do as it seems to him because it is precisely the philosophy of Mass Effect and its Legendary Edition remaster: your adventure and your Shepard.
That says order of the missions, necessarily says presence of SPOILS. Do not consult the guide if you are afraid of getting spoiled. I have divided the missions into main quests (mandatory, but you may have the choice of time depending on the case), optional quests (secondary missions therefore optionelles… and potentially impossible depending on the case) as well as the DLC (to be considered as secondary missions but that you can do at any time, except after the ends of Mass Effect 1 and 3).
Mass Effect 1
You are starting the Mass Effect saga. Remember to talk frequently with the characters around you, especially with your teammates aboard the Normandy. Visit the Citadel frequently to complete secondary missions that will allow you to earn XP and money more easily.
MAIN QUEST – Eden Prime
MAIN QUEST – The Citadelle
Do not accept too many secondary missions yet. You will not yet have Charm/Bullying levels high enough to complete them all properly. Be sure to recruit Garrus, Wrex and Tali. Note that you may also not recruit Garrus or Wrex (detailed consequences). If you have not recruited Garrus or Wrex from the beginning, you can still go and recruit the unfortunate one left behind during the adventure (probably up to Virmire).
PRIMARY QUEST (timing) – Therum
Visit this planet first to recruit Liara, your latest teammate and potential romance. His role will be important on the mission of Noveria, since you will have to face his mother, the matriarch Bénézia. You can also recruit her after Virmire (see details below).
OPTIONAL – Wrex: Family Armour
Talk enough to Wrex and he will ask you to help him locate his family’s old armor. You can also find it before he mentions it and give it to him immediately (by going here: Argos Rho > Phoenix > Planète «Tuntau»). This mission makes it easier for you to get the confidence of Wrex on Virmire.
MAIN QUEST (Timing) – Faroes
Improve grenades transport capacity as much as possible before starting this mission. On site, carry out secondary missions to help the settlers restore water, electricity and obtain food, then neutralize the geth communicator before leaving. Be sure to speak to Gavin Hossel at Exo-Geni Camp so you can complete the associated secondary mission. Finally, try to save Shiala and the colony in the outcome of the mission (more on this in this guide).
MAIN QUEST (Timing) – Noveria
Take Liara with you on this mission even if you don’t normally use her.
DLC – Turbulence at 900,000 Feet
Be sure to locate all the missing engineers (there are three). If your level is high enough, using Charm/Bullying with the Chief Engineer at the end will allow you to get a very good omni-tech.
PRIMARY QUEST (Timing) – Virmire
There are some very critical decisions on this mission. To save Kirrahe and her team, and resolve the conflict with Wrex, check out our Choices Guide.
MAIN QUEST (timing) – Therum
If you have not done so, Liara’s recruitment mission can still be carried out after Virmire. This influences the importance of Liara’s knowledge in your adventure. Shepard will know more about Protheans/Reapers than she does (video).
MAIN QUEST – The Citadelle
Once you leave the Citadel, you will not be able to return. Buy everything you need and complete all remaining secondary missions.
MAIN QUEST – Islands
MAIN QUEST – Citadel: End of the Game
You will not be able to continue the adventure directly after this final mission. You will need to use a backup placed before the end of the game.
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 develops the concept of team member recruitment and associated missions (loyalty). The choice of the order of missions becomes even broader. Nevertheless, it is essential to complete all loyalty missions related to your teammates before embarking on the suicide mission.
MAIN QUEST – Freedom’s Progress
In the end, you will make a decision about a quarian named Veetor. The Conciliatory option can potentially help you greatly in Tali’s loyalty mission.
Normandy: Kelly Chambers
Make it a habit to talk to Kelly Chambers after each mission. You will have a few opportunities to flirt with her (regardless of s*x). Getting dinner with Kelly Chambers will secure her survival in Mass Effect 3. Dating her does not interfere with other romances.
MAIN QUEST – Citadel
As soon as you arrive, you can recruit Kasumi.
Take a cab to the Presidium to meet Anderson and maybe get your Spectre status back. Visit the stores to get improvements and complete Dr. Chakwas’ secondary quest.
MAIN QUEST – Omega
As soon as you arrive, you can recruit Zaeed. Talk to Aria to find out where to find Mordin Solus and Archangel. You can also complete Ken and Gabby’s secondary mission.
RECRUITMENT – Mordin Solus
With Mordin on your team, the technical lab is now open. You can look for improvements for your weapons, armor and Normandy. Talk to your teammates about the improvements. All research projects require mineral resources to complete. You get them by scanning planets. Focus only on mineral-rich planets.
When analyzing planets, you may encounter anomalies that will sometimes lead to secondary missions that will not impact Mass Effect 3.
RECRUITMENT – Archangel
Complete the mission to recruit Archangel. During this mission, you may find a datapad that would be of great interest to Aria. Give it to him when the mission is over to get a reward.
OPTIONAL – Fakir pack and Normandy SR1 crash site
Complete these 2 secondary missions for easy rewards (money and experience).
LOYALTY MISSION – Kasumi
All non-soldats players will certainly want to complete this mission right from the start. It unlocks the Locust, the best machine gun in the game.
RECRUITMENT – Jack and Grunt
Don’t forget to release Grunt from his tank once his mission is complete.
MAIN QUEST – Horizon
Automatically triggers once you have completed all current files.
After Horizon, your team members will begin to entrust you with their loyalty missions when you meet them. There is no time limit to complete them, but of course they must be done before the end of the game and especially before the mission to retrieve the Reaper module, because after this mission you will lose crew members of the Normandy if you perform too many side missions before launching into the Omega 4 relay.
However, be careful, for some loyalty quests, it is better to wait to get a minimum of reputation points that will allow you to properly unlock some conflicts between teammates (Jack/Miranda, Tali/Legion).
RECRUITMENT – Tali
Complete Tali’s recruiting mission. Try to save Kal’Reegar. Use either the Conciliatory Interrupt to convince him to withdraw, or destroy the Geth Colossus as quickly as possible. It may help you during Tali’s loyalty mission.
MAIN QUEST – Illium
Talk to Liara to get information about Samara and Thane, and possibly launch the Shadow Broker DLC.
RECRUITMENT – Samara and Thane
Recruit Samara and Thane. During the mission for Thane, you can find a datapad that a gentleman from the central Illium area is looking for. Retrieve it and return it for additional experience and credits. You also get a different dialogue during this mission if you have dealt with Nassana Dantius in Mass Effect 1.
DLC – Shadow Broker
You can start the Shadow Broker DLC right now, this will allow you to collect many resources for the rest of the adventure. You can also choose to do this DLC after the end of the game, which offers a more complete transition to Mass Effect 3. Option 1 still makes the most sense to quickly get the rewards associated with this DLC.
On Illium, you will also meet many secondary characters of Mass Effect 1: characters met on the missions of Féros and Novéria, as well as Conrad Verner. Be sure to complete these secondary missions to progress in XP.
DLC – Supremacy
There are several parts to this mission and it will take time to complete. The final decision of the mission will have some consequences for Mass Effect 3.
MISSION LOYALTY – Mordin
Complete this mission to earn Mordin’s loyalty. The final decision of this mission will play a major role in Mass Effect 3 (learn more about the different choices regarding Maelon).
MISSION LOYALTY – Grunt
You just have to survive five minutes against the Devourer. However, the reward will be greater if you manage to kill this monster.
MAIN QUEST – Harvesting Vessel
Starts automatically after completing five missions after Horizon. During this mission, you may receive training on assault rifles, precision rifles or pump guns.
LOYALTY MISSION – Miranda, Jacob and Garrus
MISSION LOYALTY – Thane
Careful, this mission may fail. If you no longer have your Spectrum status, be sure to use all Pragmatic interruptions during the interview to get the information you need. When you follow your target, do not lose sight of him too long and make sure to keep Thane informed. Failure to do so will end the mission and Thane will not find his son.
LOYALTY MISSION – Jack
Complete this mission to earn Jack’s loyalty. Once this mission is over, Miranda and Jack will quarrel. Be sure to use Charm/ Intimidation to end the fight peacefully (therefore requires to have enough reputation). If you don’t, you’ll lose Jack’s or Miranda’s loyalty. It will nevertheless be possible to recover the loyalty of the character concerned afterwards by talking to him.
LOYALTY MISSION – Samara
Careful, this mission may fail if you miss your interview with Morinth. We must take into account Samara’s information about her daughter’s interests. At the end of the mission, you can turn against Samara and recruit Morinth. This choice will offer less interesting consequences for Mass Effect 3, but it is very surprising.
MISSION LOYALTY – Tali
Careful, this mission may fail. The result of this mission will have a significant impact on Mass Effect 3. During the second half of the trial, you will have several possible results.
You can present the evidence, preventing Tali’s exile, but you will lose her loyalty. You may refrain from presenting the evidence, which will result in Tali’s exile, but you will ensure his loyalty. None of these results is preferable.
For the best result at this mission, you must choose the final option Charm/Bullying or the option «Rally the crowd». Please note that this option will only work if Veetor and Kal’Reegar are both alive and present at the trial.
LOYALTY MISSION – Zaeed
Beware, this mission may fail. This mission has two roads, the Road Conciliante and the Road Pragmatic. The Pragmatic Route will always guarantee Zaeed’s loyalty. If you take the Conciliante road, you must pass a very high charm check to guarantee Zaeed’s loyalty.
Special case: if you do this mission after the Suicide Mission and you still have more than 2 team members alive, another choice appears and you can abandon Zaeed to his fate (then stuck in the flames by a metal beam) and watch him die after a final explosion (in video).
Mass Effect 2 Part. 2
MAIN QUEST – Harvester Identification Module
With the mission to retrieve the Harvester Identification Module, you are approaching the point of no return. Before continuing, be sure to check the following:
Loyalty of all teammates
Normandy Upgrade: Thanix Cannon + Heavy Armour + Multiple Nucleus Shield
Secondary missions and DLC mentioned previously performed (even if you can do them after the end of the game)
Advanced Targeted Romance: You have spoken enough with this person to show some interest in you.
RECRUITMENT – Legion
When you return to the Normandy, you will decide the fate of Legion. You can sell it to Cerberus for a few credits or you can activate and recruit it. If you recruit him, make sure you speak to him again immediately to unlock his loyalty mission. If Legion doesn’t give it to you, go to another place on the Normandy and come back. Do not access the map of the galaxy until you have obtained the mission.
LOYALTY MISSION – Legion
The final decision of this mission will have a significant impact on Mass Effect 3 in resolving the Geth/Quarians conflict.
Once the mission is over, Tali and Legion will fight back. You must use Charm/Intimidation to end the conflict. Otherwise, you risk offending one of the two characters and losing his loyalty. This will also impact Mass Effect 3 and the Geth/Quarians conflict. You will also have the opportunity to talk to them after the conflict to resolve the situation.
MAIN QUEST – Normandy
Access the map of the galaxy and the next mission will start automatically. For this mission, you will control Joker.
Once the mission is complete, you will master Shepard again, head immediately to the Omega 4 relay. It is time to begin the suicide mission. Do not carry out any other secondary missions, or else let the crew members kidnapped by the Collectors die.
MAIN QUEST – Suicide Mission (end of game)
Consult our guide dedicated to this final mission to avoid any failure. Remember to make a manual backup just before launching the mission. You can continue the adventure directly after this final mission.
DLC – The Arrival
This mission becomes available after Horizon. As this mission serves as a transition to Mass Effect 3, it is still more coherent to carry it out at the end of the suicide mission. For this entire mission, Shepard will fight alone, so get ready.
Mass Effect 3
This third episode is probably a little less libertarian than Mass Effect 2 in the order of the missions. The question of the order of missions will therefore be less important.
Overall, all “Priority” missions are the primary and mandatory missions. N7 missions and DLCs are optional. Some secondary missions of rescue must be carried out quickly or disappear.
MAIN QUEST – Land
MAIN QUEST – March
MAIN QUEST – Citadel I
Recruit journalist Diana Allers at the docks. Visit Kaidan/Ashley at the hospital where you can also recruit Dr. Chakwas or Dr. Michel. At the embassies, visit Bailey and the journalist you know well.
MAIN QUEST – Palaven
MAIN QUEST – Eden Prime
Recruit one more of your greatest assets for this war.
OPTIONAL – Grissom Academy
This mission must be completed before Citadelle II. Otherwise, you will not be able to complete the mission and this will have dramatic consequences for the students and professors of the academy (including Jack).
Visit the Citadelle
Perform secondary missions. Check out the Spectres office terminal info. Meet Thane and Kaidan/Ashley at the hospital.
After you talk to Liara at the Presidium, talk to IDA and Joker. Find Kelly Chambers on the docks to convince her to change her name in order to protect herself from Cerberus (requires having dinner with her during Mass Effect 2).
Also meet with Aria and Jondon Bau to launch their respective missions. Finally, be sure to speak with Miranda whenever she asks you (on the docks, in the office of the Spectres then in the apartments of the Presidium).
MAIN QUEST – Sur’kesh
DLC – Leviathan
This is the perfect time to launch this DLC that will bring you XP and useful equipment for the progress of your adventure. This extension is divided into several missions so you can finish it while progressing in parallel in the main quest.
For the first survey, you only need Creature Observations, Zero Element Locations and Harvester Activity filters. During the third visit to Bryson’s laboratory, two Pragmatic interruptions will be offered. Taking the first will reduce your search to two systems instead of three. Taking the second one will give you a precise location but will cost you a war asset.
Narrative arc concerning the Krogans
OPTIONAL – Attica Span: Krogan Team
OPTIONAL – Tuchanka: The Turian Platoon
OPTIONAL – Tuchanka: The Bomb
Once unlocked, this mission will no longer be available if you complete 3 other missions before taking care of it. Finish there quickly.
Visit the Citadel – Ensure you have completed all active secondary missions. Some will disappear after the next main mission. Speak to Thane again if you haven’t already done so.
MAIN QUEST – Tuchanka
You must have completed the secondary missions in the Attica Bay (rescuing the Krogans team from the rachnis) or rescued the Turian platoon on Tuchanka to launch the main mission concerning the end of the genophage. Remember to finish them all and fix the bomb problem on Tuchanka.
MAIN QUEST – Citadel II
After this mission is completed, you will be able to discover new secondary missions. Don’t forget to go see Kelly Chambers.
OPTIONAL – Arraé: Cerberus defectors
As with the Grissom Academy, this rescue needs to be carried out quickly. This mission allows you to find Jacob Taylor.
OPTIONAL – Lessus: Ardat-Yakshi Monastery
Do not delay too much in accomplishing this mission during which you will possibly find Samara.
DLC – Omega
You will be able to start the Omega DLC. Once started, you will not be able to return to the Normandy until you have finished this quest for Aria.
Narrative arc concerning the Quarians
If Tali is still alive in your game, she will not necessarily be included in your squad on the 2 optional missions below. We advise you to include it to enjoy a better screenplay.
MAIN QUEST – Perseus Sail
After meeting the quarians, invite Tali to your cabin.
MAIN QUEST – Geth Battleship
Bring IDA to enjoy interesting dialogues. If you’ve romanticized Ashley in Mass Effect 1 and Tali in Mass Effect 2, take both to enjoy fun dialogues.
OPTIONAL – Rannoch: Admiral Koris
Choose Investigate when you talk to Xen at the beginning. Save the Admiral no matter what.
OPTIONAL – Rannoch: Geth Fighter Squadrons
Visit the Citadel – Once again, complete all secondary missions. Also talk to Miranda and each of your outgoing teammates.
MAIN QUEST – Rannoch
This mission is obtained automatically after completing Priority: Battleship Geth, but you will not be allowed to start this mission until you have completed the quest to save the Quarian Admiral (Rannoch: Admiral Koris) OR the quest to neutralize the geth squadrons (Rannoch: Geth fighter squadrons). Do both missions.
This mission offers 3 possible outcomes. End of the Geth, End of the Quarians or Peace between the 2 peoples. Consult our dedicated guide.
MAIN QUEST – Citadel III
Talk to Councilman Asari and complete the Citadel’s secondary missions.
MAIN QUEST – Thessia
Take Javik, this mission takes on a totally different (and far superior) dimension with him, you will not be disappointed.
MAIN QUEST – Horizon
To get the best result, make sure you have done all of the following throughout the game: talk to Miranda on the docks of the Citadel, warn her against Kai Leng after Citadel II in the Spectrum office, meet him at the Presidium and give him access to Alliance resources.
DLC – Citadelle
The Citadelle DLC consists of two parts, the main mission and the party. Once you have started the main mission, you cannot return to the Normandy until it is completed. Then you will have access to a new central area on the Citadel and can organize a party at your leisure.
It is best to do the DLC late to get the most potential guests to your party.
MAIN QUEST – Cerberus HQ
Point of no return. Bring your romance to get a specific dialogue.
MAIN QUEST – Land (end of game)
You will have two opportunities to choose your squad, one at the beginning and one at about one-third during this mission. If you can, take with you the character Shepard romanticized with you on the second part to enjoy an emotional sequence. You will not be able to continue the adventure directly after this final mission. You will need to use a backup placed before the end of the game.
Thank you for reading my guide I hope it will help you to better appreciate this incredible adventure that Mass Effect offers us.
Hope you enjoy the Guide about Mass Effect™ Legendary Edition – Optimal order of missions to save the Galaxy, if you think we should add extra information or forget something, please let us know via comment below, and we will do our best to fix or update as soon as possible!
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