|This article is about scanning planets for resources in Mass Effect 2. For the system in Mass Effect 3 to recover War Assets, see Search and Rescue.|
Scanning is a new system in Mass Effect 2 that replaces driving with the Mako and searching for the minerals inland, from the first game. Scanning becomes available when the Normandy SR-2 enters the orbit of any planet not involved in a main storyline mission, at which point you'll be prompted to start the scan. Once begun the planet will be overlaid with a rectangular grid. You may then press and hold another button to begin a mineral scanner which is slower than the main scanner, though its speed can be upgraded slightly. A data column will appear on the side of the screen and you then move the scanner around until the data column spikes, indicating the presence of minerals at the scanner's current location. You may then fire a probe at the deposit which will in turn add the minerals to your stores.
Abundance Indicators Edit
There are several levels of mineral abundance for a planet. Each planet will start out at a certain abundance, which will decrease as minerals are successfully harvested.
Resources are required to complete research projects that upgrade weapons, equipment, and the Normandy. Resources are found by scanning, probing and mining planets in the galaxy. There are four kinds of mineral resources in Mass Effect 2.
|Element Zero||Element Zero, also known as Eezo, is used for biotic and engineering upgrades.|
|Iridium||Iridium is used to upgrade assault rifles, sub-machine guns, and heavy weapons.|
|Palladium||Palladium is used to upgrade cybernetics, shields, heavy pistols, and armor.|
|Platinum||Platinum is used to upgrade shotguns, sniper rifles and medical equipment.|
Anomalies and AssignmentsEdit
Scanning can also be used to discover loyalty missions and N7 assignments on certain planets. Upon entering orbit, EDI will tell you she has detected an anomaly. Then, once you start scanning the planet, there will be a white line pointing at the direction of the mission. When you find a white blip, you then launch a probe at it. At this point you can go onto the planet to do the mission. For planets with speech-based radio transmissions, the repeated speech fragment will become clearer (less muffled) the closer the scanner is to the location of the blip.
Two upgrades may be purchased that directly affect the planet scanning process. One upgrade doubles probe capacity from 30 to 60; the other upgrade allows the scanner to move more quickly, speeding up the process.
- Recruit Mordin first. You need him to unlock the tech lab (and all subsequent research options).
- Ask Miranda about upgrades to Normandy. Advanced Mineral Scanner will be unlocked which allows you to scroll faster while scanning.
- Recruit Thane and ask him about upgrades. Modular Probe Bay will be available. You'll gain more probes.
- (Optional) Recruit Samara and ask about upgrades. Extended Fuel Cells allow Normandy to gain an additional 50% fuel cell capacity, for a total of 150% fuel capacity.
Don't scan more than you need - more doesn't necessarily mean better. The table below shows the total amount of each resource needed to buy EVERY upgrade in the game. The second column shows how much is needed if all available resources are collected from missions and assignments. The third column shows some convenient places to "top up" a particular resource - all of which are available from the beginning of the game.
|Resource||Total Needed||After Missions Done||Best Planets Available Early In Game|
|Element Zero||31,000||23,000||Daratar, Thunawanuro, Preying Mouth, Etamis, Erinle|
|Iridium||220,000||191,000||Gregas, Quarem, Korar, Fitful Current, Beach Thunder|
|Platinum||275,000||243,000||Lorek, Bindur, Erinle, Utha, Etamis, Rough Tide|
|Palladium||195,000||166,000||Neith, Wrill, Alingon, Aganju, Alchera|
Note: It costs an additional +5000 Element Zero for each bonus training and +2500 Element Zero for each retraining of skills.
- Patch your game. Before you begin mining, make sure that you have patch 1.02 or higher as it reduces the time required for mining by providing a larger scan area.
- Know how much you need. The table above shows the resources required to purchase EVERY upgrade in the game. What that means is, if you have already collected the aforementioned resources in the above numbers, buying more probes to scan for more resources is a waste of credits, especially since between rare resources and credits, the latter is much more difficult to come by. Another way to look at it - if at the very beginning of the game, before doing any missions or even going to Omega, you went around to only the systems available on the galaxy map, and ONLY bothered scanning "Rich" planets, you would end up with enough of every resource to complete the game.
- The bigger the spike on the graph, the bigger the reward. The "seismograph" will consistently peak at a certain height at a given location; the closer the center of your scanner is to the center of the spike, the higher the graph will peak. If the peak is at the third horizontal line, a probe may yield only 200 of the resource. If the graph peaks at the eighth line, a probe could yield as much as 2500. In other words, the progression is logarithmic; one probe at an eighth line peak is worth much more than five probes at lines 2-5. If you want to maximize your resources, you would probe all areas, including low peaks; however, probes cost credits, and it is much easier to find sufficient resources to get all desired research upgrades than it is to find sufficient credits to buy all desired upgrades from stores. (You can get virtually unlimited credits by betting on Urz in the varren fights on Tuchanka, but this can grow tedious.)
- The scanner does not have to be at the exact center of a spike to yield the full reward. To test this, find a large spike of something (palladium is common), and move the scanner to the edge until the graph peaks at only line 2, then launch a probe. If that were the true peak, you would expect only about 200-300 units; however, you will still get 1000-2500. If the graph is showing even a little of multiple resources, a probe will yield all the spikes in that area.
- Optimize probe launching. If you find a large spike, scan the area around it to see if there is any other deposit adjacent to it. If there's one, try to find a position where the scanner picks up both at once. Following the previous rule, you'll harvest two deposits with one probe.
- Planet surfaces never change. If a scan shows no resource at a given spot, it will never have anything for the rest of the game. You can methodically scan the entire surface, probe all large spikes, and then leave that planet forever.
- The overall resource level shows how much resource is still unsurveyed. Very generally, the higher the overall level, the more large spikes you can expect to find.
- Even depleted planets may have large spikes. If you have reason to believe a depleted planet still has a resource you need badly (for example, it's only depleted because you've launched twenty probes all over it, and you still have a fourth of the surface left to scan), it may be well worth it to stay there until you've scanned the whole surface. Any planet which started out as 'Rich' is nearly guaranteed to have at least one more large deposit even after the planet has been 'Depleted'.
- Eezo is rare. Palladium is common. Iridium and platinum are in between. Many planets may have abundant amounts of palladium, iridium, and platinum, and absolutely no eezo. If they do have eezo, chances are high that they will have more. If you have no eezo, it may be worth it to scan a planet's entire surface meticulously if you found even a single eezo spike. (On later playthroughs, you typically start with enough bonus eezo to research every upgrade you could possibly want, other than Advanced Training.)
- Resources are not random. Resources tend to be found on areas that are visually similar. If you find a big resource deposit look where you found it and try scanning areas that are visually similar. You can find resources faster that way than simply "scanning everything".
- Upgrade your scanner. Your scanner will move twice as fast while your scan button is held down, if you upgrade it. You can upgrade it as soon as your research lab opens, and you've asked Miranda about upgrades.
- You can scan fast without upgrading, if you must. The scanner reticle moves much faster when the right mouse button isn't held down. With practice, you can scan almost as thoroughly by tapping the right mouse button repeatedly as you move around the surface. The only downside is a higher chance that you might "skip" a spike by accident. Alternately, you can temporarily increase the mouse sensitivity (either in the game options or on the mouse if it has variable DPI settings) to make the reticle move faster.
- Only scan as required. Don't probe every planet unless there's a side quest available. You'll end up with tons of minerals and nothing to upgrade in the end while wasting a lot of time and money for probes.
- Probes are sold in multiples of five. Each set of five costs 100 credits. If you have probes left over and you're just "topping up" your supply, be aware that you will be charged 100 credits even if you don't need all five probes. For instance, if you find yourself with 29/30 probes and you buy probes, you will pay 100 credits for that one probe.
- Always seek anomalies. If EDI does not report an anomaly as soon as you zoom in on a planet, there won't be one. If she does, then the scanning reticule will show a white line in the direction of the anomaly. Scan toward it; anomalies are always additional assignments, awarding experience, credits, possible additional resources, and even followup assignments. Even if you do not intend to play the assignment immediately, finding the anomaly lets Shepard begin the assignment immediately at his or her leisure the next time the planet is visited.
- Mining isn't the only income for resources. Missions and assignments produce some resource income as well (see the table above). An additional 50000 less is required in each if a Mass Effect 2 play-through has been completed, meaning that with this bonus there is no need to mine Element Zero. The various amounts of initial resource bonuses for importing a Mass Effect character can be found here.
- Do not bother with resource poor or even moderate worlds. Only mine worlds whose initial status is "rich" or "good". There are more than enough of them to cover you throughout the game on all resources. In fact, JUST the "rich" worlds that you have access to at the very beginning of the game are enough to get you all the resources you ever need.
- Mix assignments and mining. Assignment, and some missions worlds, are often rich in resources, some of them also have eezo. If you mine the rich worlds in a system where you currently have business, you will need very few, if any, purely mining trips.
- Mine at the relays. If you do need to go on a mining expedition, then unless you have the Modular Probe Bay, mine the rich and good worlds in the relay system. The relay is not important here, but rather the supply depot where you can buy probes is. With the modular bay, you have somewhat more freedom.
- Know where the eezo is. Element zero is, except for the "Eezo Trio" asteroids in the Micah system, found only on worlds touched by spacefaring civilizations. Therefore, do not go around looking for eezo in gas giants, with the notable exception of Preying Mouth in the Relic System of the Eagle Nebula, focus on life-zone planets.
- Read the planet's description. If a planet is rich in a particular resource, it will likely hint at or directly mention it in the description. For example, worlds with Element Zero, such as Preying Mouth, mention that starships dump their drive cores in the vicinity which suggests you can find Element Zero there. This is helpful of you are looking for a particular resource.
You may find Element Zero on planets where it is listed as None, as each planet has a random number of low value deposits. While there are general rules and assumption for mineral distribution, do not assume that every planet of the same type will give up the same minerals.
|Mining Notes||The minerals on a brown dwarf are typically spread out along the bands of the planet, so look there when mining.|
|Examples||Laena, Bovis Tor, Gotha|
|Mining Notes||Desert planets are rich in minerals, but those deposits are spread out across the surface in small clusters.|
|Examples||Earth, Sanctum, Erinle|
|Mining Notes||Garden planets are one of the few planets where you can expect to find Element Zero – look to the continents. The other minerals should be looked for in mountainous areas.|
|Examples||Neptune, Tula, Alkonost, Imorkan|
|Mining Notes||Minerals on an ice giant are concentrated in smallish clusters. Look for noticeable features, such as massive storms, for the location of rich deposits.|
|Mining Notes||As on brown dwarfs, the minerals on a giant Jovian are spread out across the colorful bands.|
|Examples||Anedia, Maisuth, Lorek|
|Mining Notes||Look for mineral deposits in small clusters.|
|Mining Notes||Similar to Jovian giants, but are locked in close orbit with their parent stars. The orbit causes a tidal lock, meaning that there is a “hot pole” that faces the star and a “cold pole” that faces deep space(and is incredibly dark). Giant Pegasids have hurricane winds that move from the hot pole to the cold pole. These poles are where you should expect to find the richest deposits, which is quite different from other planets, which typically see their deposits along the equator or in the horizontal bands.|
|Examples||Helyme, Etamis, Daratar|
|Mining Notes||Element Zero is highly concentrated on post-garden planets as a result of fallen civilizations. The remaining minerals are spread out across the equator with occasional deposits elsewhere.|
|Examples||Gregas, Quarem, Korar|
|Mining Notes||When mining a rock planet, look to the impact craters for the richest deposits.|
Resource Rich Planets by Type Edit
A rich resource is one above 10,000 of that resource gathered. The following list shows the Planets with a specific 'rich' resource and other resources. (Element Zero is so rare that no planet is 'rich', however the list of all the planets with element zero can be found here.) If you need a lot of one particular resource, try these planets:
- Iridium: Agnin, Aigela, Alingon, Antictra, Atahil, Beach Thunder, Bres, Capek, Clogon, Corang, Crick, Darwin, Dobrovolski, Durak, Ekuna, Elatha, Farlas, Fitful Current, Franklin, Gregas, Imaen, Israfil, Kakabel, Komarov, Kopis, Laban, Maitrum, Makhaira, Mantun, Maskawa, Nepyma, Pahhur, Parnassus, Pluto, Quarem, Raisaris, Sakata, Saleas, Sehtor, Shasu, Shir, Siano, Talaria, Tosal Nym, Uwan Oche, Vatar, Vecchio, Volkov, Yunaca
- Palladium: Aequitas, Alchera, Alingon, Bannik, Beregale, Canalus, Canctra, Epho, Euntanta, Flett, Gei Hinnom, Gotha, Karumto, Ker, Klendagon, Kruban, Laena, Mercury, Moros, Murky Water, Neith, Pietas, Ponolus, Sakata, Sarapai, Surtur, Synalus, Taitus, Tamahera, Tamgauta, Thegan, Tunfigel, Venture, Wenrum, Wrill, Yunaca, Zeona, Zesmeni
- Platinum: 2175 Aeia, Acaeria, Agnin, Anedia, Anhur, Bindur, Boro, Bothros, Dorgal, Dobrovolski, Eingana, Erinle, Etamis, Invictus, Keimowitz, Kopis, Lorek, Makhaira, Odasst, Partholon, Patsayev, Rothla, Rough Tide, Sazgoth, Saturn, Tamahera, Tarith, Theonax, Thunawanuro, Trident, Utha, Venus, Viantel, Watson, Zirnitra
Console Tips Edit
- Scan intermittently. Your scanner moves 5x as fast when you're not scanning (holding LT). Try pulsing Left Trigger instead.
- Rotate the planet for additional speed. - You move your scanner with the Left Thumbstick. You rotate the planet with the Right Thumbstick. You can combine these movements by moving your scanner to the left or right edge of the planet, and then pushing both thumbsticks in that direction.
- Prioritise on resource levels. There is no need to scan every planet to get the resources needed, even if starting with a new character on a first playthrough. Note the rich planets in a system, and give them scanning priority, and you can accumulate the necessary resources much faster, without having to tediously scan several moderate or poor planets.
- As of May 17, 2010 a patch was added to the 360 version increasing the size of the scanner and the rate at which it moves.
- The planet Uranus is depleted of resources, so many people won't notice that, if probed, EDI will give a unique dialogue. Upon launching the first probe, she will say "Really, Commander?", and upon the second she will add in an unamused voice "Probing Uranus...". After this is done it follows the normal speech for the rest of the game.
|Mass Effect 2 Guides|
|Completion||Walkthrough • Morality • Upgrades • Planet Scanning|
|Classes||Adept • Engineer • Infiltrator • Sentinel • Soldier • Vanguard|
|Other|| Squad Members • PC Tweaks • No One Left Behind • Data Hound • Merchants |
Research Guide • Interrupts