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ME3 squad selection a
A squad is the group of team members which Commander Shepard can select to accompany on field missions, or while visiting one of the main civilized centers such as a station or planet.

A squad is typically made of three members: Shepard and two squadmates. Although, for some specific missions, such as loyalty missions, a specific team member is required. In addition, the squad can, for some missions or assignments, be reduced to two members, or even to Shepard alone.

Squad Members Edit

Mass Effect Edit

Mass Effect 2 Edit

Mass Effect 3 Edit

1 Requires Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC pack
2 Requires Zaeed - The Price of Revenge DLC pack
3 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC pack
4 Depending on decision made during Virmire: Assault
5 Requires Mass Effect 3: From Ashes DLC pack
6 Depending on if they survived the Suicide Mission
7 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC pack
8 Temporary squadmate in Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack, if alive
9 Available in the Armax Arsenal Arena in the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack, if alive

Selecting Squadmates Edit

ME squad selection
Squadmates are chosen from a screen whenever you leave the SSV Normandy in Mass Effect, or the Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2. You can only take two squadmates with you at any given time, so be sure to pick carefully as you cannot usually reselect your squadmates once you leave.

In Mass Effect 2, however, you can reselect your squad at any time at the Rapid Transit terminals on each level of the Citadel you can explore, at the airlock to the Normandy on Omega and Illium, the Kodiak on Tuchanka, and if you start a mission on one of those hub worlds, when you start that mission. For example, if you have Miranda and Jacob in your squad when you land on Omega and then start Mordin's recruitment mission, you will have the option to reselect your squad.

In Mass Effect 3, you can only choose your squad if you leave to go on a mission. Shepard explores the Citadel alone but you can encounter squadmates on the Citadel as well as some former crew members from the Normandy.

ME2 squad selection
The screen where you select your squadmate differs from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. In Mass Effect, you have the six squadmates, and below their name is a box which has one or two different colored lines: red representing combat strength; purple representing tech strength; and blue representing biotic strength. Finally, at the bottom of the screen is a box showing the total strength of your squad. Initially, it shows only Shepard's strength, and when you select a squadmate, they will become highlighted, move forward from the others, and their strengths will be tabulated in the box. Once you've selected both squadmates, you have the option to either keep your squad, or reselect. If you have not recruited a squadmate or they are dead, they will be blacked out and you will not be able to select them.

In Mass Effect 2, the squad screen is quite different. Squadmates that haven't been recruited are represented by a datapad icon, while those that have been killed are colored red. When hovering over a squadmate, you have two or three options: select them for your squad, remove them from your squad, and switch their outfits (if they have alternate outfits unlocked). If you select "Info", a box opens that shows their name, what weapons they can use, and what powers they have unlocked. If a squadmate doesn't have a power unlocked yet, it is greyed out. If you have not recruited the squadmate, the datapad icon in their place will be blacked out if you don't have an active dossier on them, and highlighted if you do, in which case a description of them will pop up. You can also change a squadmate's outfit or view their dossier from Shepard's private terminal in the Normandy's CIC or Shepard's cabin. You can change the weapon loadouts of squadmates at the Weapons Locker in the Normandy's armory on deck 2.

ME3 squad selection b
In Mass Effect 3, the squad screen functions are much like those in Mass Effect 2. No icons are displayed in the place of squadmates, however, as squadmates are only added once they have been recruited. From this screen you can change their outfits, which have bonuses for their individual stats (unlike in Mass Effect 2 where they are there for purely cosmetic purposes), and view their powers and weapons. Like in Mass Effect 2, you can change their outfits from the terminal in either the CIC or Shepard's cabin.

Squad Mechanics Edit

Effectively using your squad requires knowing their weapons, what talents/powers they have, and what kind of enemies you will face. Remember though that your squadmates only do about half the damage you do, no matter what weapon they are using, so use them for covering fire or to pin down enemies rather than for taking them out. Against hard enemies, excessively relying on your squadmates is not recommended because of the damage reduction, but if you focus their abilities, you can make it work.

Each game is different, but some threads stay the same. The first is that you need to keep up to date with what your squad is using, in addition to what Shepard is using. You need to keep adapting your squad based on the situation you will be facing. Each squadmate brings certain things to the table, so you need to find out what they have, what they don't, and what Shepard has and doesn't have, then pick a third squadmate based on that. The squad is there to support you, not to do all the work for you.

In Mass Effect, if you don't have access to either Electronics or Decryption, you need to bring along a squadmate with one or both of those talents to be able to loot crates and lockers. Shepard is not required to have access to those talents, as anyone in the squad will suffice. Garrus, Kaidan, and Tali have access to both talents, while Liara has access to Electronics. Ashley and Wrex do not have access to either talent.

Squad Controls Edit

Mass Effect Edit

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Each version of Mass Effect has different controls. On the PC you can command each squadmate individually, while on the Xbox 360 and PS3 using any of the commands will order both of your squadmates to do the same thing.

Xbox 360 and PS3: Use the D-pad to command your squadmates.

  • Pressing "Up" on the D-pad will order your squadmates to the position where you indicated.
  • Pressing "Left" on the D-pad will order your squadmates to rally on Shepard.
  • Pressing "Right" on the D-pad will order your squadmates to focus their fire on the selected target.
  • Pressing "Down" on the D-pad will order your squadmates to hold their position.

PC: Use the HUD to command your squadmates by moving your mouse over the HUD for the appropriate squadmate. The upper box functions the same way as the D-pad controls.

Using Squad Talents Edit

See also: Talents, Combat

Talents are the biotic and tech abilities that Shepard and the squad have access to. They have varying effects and recharge times, so use them wisely. When selecting squadmates, it is recommended that you try and keep a balanced squad of combat, tech, and biotic strength. However, each mission or assignment will be different, so plan accordingly.

Squad Equipment Edit

The first thing you should note is that all squadmate weapons have a damage reduction, meaning that they don't do as much damage as Shepard's weapons do. The second thing you should note is that even if you don't use a particular squadmate, you should still keep their equipment up to the rest of the squad, in all fields of equipment: Biotic amps, Omni-tools, armor, weapon types (even if they are untrained in it) and the various upgrades.

When it comes to their equipment, keep in mind that while your squadmates don't do as much weapon damage as Shepard, they still have talents which can save your life on the battlefield. There should be no stigma attached to giving Ashley a better assault rifle than Shepard, especially if Shepard is untrained in Assault Rifles. The same goes for any other squadmate with any equipment.

At any time, you can change out squadmate equipment at their respective locker in the Cargo Bay of the SSV Normandy SR-1.

Mass Effect 2 Edit

One of the biggest changes from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 is the size of your squad: it effectively doubles from 6 to 12 if you have all DLC installed, otherwise it is 10. Thus you have more options, but unlike in Mass Effect, some squadmates will be required on certain missions.

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Xbox 360 and PS3: Commanding your squad in Mass Effect 2 is a bit less complicated than in Mass Effect. You still use the D-pad, but the controls are more simplified.

  • Pressing "up" on the D-pad will direct both squadmates to fire on the selected target.
  • The "left" and "right" buttons on the D-pad have more options.
    • Using "left" and "right" on the terrain will direct your squadmate to move there and take cover if applicable.
    • Using "left" or "right" on an enemy will direct that squadmate to use their assigned power against that enemy. That power can be changed from the Power Wheel.
  • Pressing "down" on the D-pad will cause your squadmates to leave cover and regroup on Shepard.

PC: The defaults are Q and E for left squadmate and right squadmate, respectively. If not targeting an enemy, the chosen squadmate will go to the direction specified by the targeting reticle. If an enemy is highlighted, the chosen squadmate will attack the target.

Using Squad Powers Edit

See also: Powers, Combat (Mass Effect 2)

The talent system from Mass Effect underwent a massive overhaul, in addition to the renaming. Powers in Mass Effect 2 have a global cooldown for easier and more frequent use, as well as a different upgrade system. Squadmates also have a dramatically reduced power pool to use: they only have three offensive/defensive powers and one passive power. Because the level cap has been reduced to 30, keep in mind that you have fewer points to spend. Squadmate powers have a little more cooldown and do a little less damage than Shepard, but they will often have access to powers that Shepard won't – especially the DLC characters, Zaeed and Kasumi.

That said, you should never count out your squadmates in a fight, where their powers might be much more effective – especially if they are on their respective loyalty mission, which is well-suited for their power and weapon set.

Don't forget that if you specifically order a squadmate to use their power, it is proxied through Shepard, so if you can't see the target, don't do it. However, if squadmates use powers on their own, it isn't proxied through Shepard, so consider turning on Squad Power Usage. Also, squadmate powers don't arc like Shepard's do, but go straight to where you are aiming.

Squad Equipment Edit

See also: Research

Like the power system, the weapon and armor system underwent a massive overhaul from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2. All squad members generally use the same weapons, which can be upgraded through the Research system. The researched weapon upgrades will apply to both Shepard and the squad, so you don't need to go over stats like in Mass Effect.

Again, keep in mind that squadmate weapons do a reduced amount of damage to enemies. In terms of recoil, however, squadmates have a huge advantage over Shepard, as they don't suffer from it at all. Squadmates are also more accurate with their weapons and powers. Since you have a reduced weapon set to work with, you need to keep in mind that some weapons are better wielded by Shepard, and others by squadmates.

The armor system has also been overhauled, or rather done away with: squadmates' outfits are now fixed ensembles without particular stats. In addition to their initial outfit, all squadmates have an outfit that is unlocked once you complete their loyalty mission. For six squadmates, a third option can be obtained with the Alternate Appearance Packs. The outfits from the packs are unlocked at the moment you download and install the packs. Squadmates still have health and shields/barriers as appropriate and that information is displayed on the level-up screen.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

Mass Effect 3 sees a return to a much simpler squad, with a minimum of 3 and, with DLC, a maximum of 7 squadmates. Your squad is smaller, but they are much deadlier than they were the last time you met, even if that was only six months ago.

Commanding Your Squad Edit

Xbox 360 and PS3: The controls are the same as in Mass Effect 2. The only change is that they have been refined.

PC: The controls are the same as in Mass Effect 2.

Kinect Commands Edit

On the Xbox 360, the player can command the squad using the Xbox 360 Kinect device. Below is a list of Kinect Commands.

Using Squad Powers Edit

See also: Powers (Mass Effect 3), Combat (Mass Effect 3)

Importing a save from Mass Effect 2 grants a bonus in this regard because your level in that save will carry over to Mass Effect 3. Since the level cap is now 60, but the system is the same as in Mass Effect 2, you still have more opportunities to level up your squadmates. Furthermore, squadmates now have access to an additonal offensive/defensive power apart from their three other offensive/defensive powers and their passive class power.

There is still a global cooldown as in Mass Effect 2, but it is not affected by the weight of squadmates' weapon loadouts. Squadmates still usually have longer cooldowns than Shepard, but the power evolutions are expanded to level 6 so they can be even deadlier.

Squad Equipment Edit

From Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3, equipment changes are rife. In fact, the equipment looks more like that of Mass Effect than Mass Effect 2. Weapon Upgrades have returned, with each being different and giving different effects to the weapons. While the same system from Mass Effect 2 passes into this game, with a set amount of weapons, a new upgrade system comes in where you have to spend credits to upgrade your weapons, rather than researching upgrades. The Search and Rescue system can also help with this by getting small retrieval quests for turn in and even directly acquiring credits from scanning planets.

Like in Mass Effect 2, weapons are still nerfed for squadmates, but they also still don't suffer from recoil, meaning that you can equip their weapons with piercing and damage increasing mods rather than worrying about recoil or stability mods. A scope, however, will increase a squadmate's accuracy.

Because of the purchasing system to upgrade weapons, you need to keep up with what your squad is running so you can upgrade appropriately – especially since you cannot change weapons of squadmates between missions.

Armor effects also make a return. Each squadmate has at least two outfits with different effects: some reduce power recharge time, others increase shields, and others increase weapon damage. Choosing your squadmate's armor thus has much more of an impact than in Mass Effect 2, where it was for aesthetic purposes only.

Squad Combinations Edit

See also: Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 2), Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)

For any game, it is highly recommended that you select your squad based on what enemies you will be facing. Each game is different in what that entails, however.

In Mass Effect, keeping your squad as balanced as you can is a good recommendation, especially since talents are more effective when it comes to heavier units. The bars on the squad selection screen help you in this regard: if you are facing synthetics, for example, you might want to bring some extra tech along.

In Mass Effect 2, the bar system is done away with. While managing your squad is thus more troublesome, it gives you allowance to customize your squad. There are a few factors that need to be considered: the first factor is Shepard, that is, which weapons and powers you have access to and which you are lacking in. The second factor is what you are facing: if you will be fighting geth or tech-heavy enemies, you will likely need less biotics and more tech. The third factor is what weapons everyone brings to the party: while an assault rifle can't replace a sniper rifle or a shotgun, it is more effective at various ranges. Given the sheer size of your squad, you have a lot of options to customize and adapt.

In Mass Effect 3, you have fewer squadmates, so you need to focus more on what each of them brings: with a minimum of three and a maximum of seven squad members, you need to micromanage more. While Shepard can equip any weapon, squadmates are still limited to two weapon types. You will often be facing different kinds of enemies, so keep in mind that you need to work with smaller resources and in more chaotic situations.

Squad Behavior Edit

In general, your squad is designed to follow you wherever you go, engage any hostiles and take any immediately available cover, with some differences in behavior during the course of three games.

  • If you try to deliberately leave your squadmates behind by ordering them to a specific place then putting as much distance between you and them, they'll magically reappear beside you the moment you look back. You can never really 'lose' your squadmates unless the plot calls for it.
  • Squadmates will only melee opponents who close in on them and cannot be ordered to do so directly, though one can order them to move closer to the enemy to increase chances of such melee attacks.
  • Squadmates do not appear to suffer from weapon recoil.
  • Skill spamming is what squadmates do best across all three games, if auto skill usage is set on.
    • Targetting an enemy then pressing the button that tells the squadmate to attack the enemy will cause the squadmate to let out a skill first, unless their powers are cooling down, or they have no powers considered appropriate to the targeted enemy. If auto skill usage is on the skill let out is highly unlikely to be the one most appropriate for the situation due to cooldowns.
  • Quirks in pathfinding and the limitations of projecting a 3D environment into a 2D screen often mean squadmates won't take cover in the position you mean them to. This poses a danger in that the squadmate won't be able to fire back if improperly positioned.
  • Squadmates do not queue up orders nor do they follow interrupted ones. If you tell them to go somewhere, then use a skill they'll stop what they're doing and use that skill. If you tell them to rush headlong at an unprotected position they will remain stationary at the position even if under fire.
  • Squadmates, if ordered to cover, get out of entrenched positions on their own only after a battle is over.

Mass Effect Edit

  • Squad members with weapon affinities do appear to register a marked effectiveness with the weapon than those who do not. For example, while everyone can wield sniper rifles, Liara with a sniper rifle is decidedly not as accurate or effective as Garrus with a sniper rifle (and training).
  • Squadmates will squeeze the trigger for their weapons as long as the overheat threshold is not yet reached. Giving squadmates the High Explosive Rounds will reduce their firing rate due to the overheat: automatic weapons are reduced to burst fire.
  • Sniper rifles drastically increase squadmates' line of sight even if they're not really trained for it. This is evident in the planetside missions where your squadmates will often snipe at enemies you don't yet see (e.g. in a far-off hill or mountain).
  • Squadmates may automatically switch to a different weapon if they are holding an inappropriate one.
  • Squadmates often take cover if Shepard takes cover.

Mass Effect 2 Edit

  • Squadmates never charge chargeable weapons, like the Geth Plasma Shotgun.
  • Squadmates have infinite ammo, though they do need to reload when necessary.
  • Squadmates do not fire as often as Shepard would and will use whatever weapon they are currently equipped even if it is unsuitable under the circumstances
  • Squadmates automatically set up whatever protection skill/appropriate ammo power they have at the start of a battle.
  • Squadmates' powers will activate instantly when ordered to use them if they are not visible on the screen. If the squadmate is visible on-screen, they will perform the animation for using the power.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

  • All points for Mass Effect 2 apply to squad members in Mass Effect 3, as well.
  • Certain powers with a purge function are ignored by the squadmates who possess them, like James Vega and his Fortification. This means you have to purge their powers manually if you want to obtain the bonuses associated with the action.
  • Squadmates do not take into consideration the trajectories of bouncing projectiles. You'll never see squadmates like Javik or Liara doing trick shots with the Acolyte.
  • Squadmates never use their grenades unless you order them to.
  • Squadmates still automatically set up whatever protection skill they have at the start of a battle. However, extra consideration before putting points on them must be taken this time since some of those skills reduce their cooldown speeds.
  • Squadmates when ordered to use a skill against an enemy through Q or E (the defaults for PC) will stick to their signature moves. Javik always uses Dark Channel first. Liara always uses Singularity first.
  • Squadmates are unfazed by Cerberus smokescreens; they will continue to target and attack enemies as normal through the smoke.

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