Mass Effect Andromeda will officially go live tonight at 9:00 pm Pacific / 12:00 am Eastern. As many reviews, including our own, have pointed out, the first few hours can be agonizingly difficult with a poor tutorial system or things that simply are not explained at all. After over 140 hours collectively in the game, we’ve gone through the painful process of discovery on your behalf and offer a few words of advice to make your first experiences in game more enjoyable and streamlined.
1. Open forward camps ASAP, then proceed to quest normally. You’ll see forward camps designated by an icon that looks something like a satellite. They are visible on your map even if you are just arriving on a planet for the first time.
These camps are crucial for a number of reasons including fast travel between each, changing gear loadouts or companions, gathering ammunition, etc. Doing so will also make questing less painful without having to slog through long drives between each. You’ll be able to jet from place to place to more expeditiously reach quest areas and to get back to turn them in.
2. When you’re on a planet and are ready to leave for other locations or just to log out to chill IRL, hop into the Nomad, press and hold “T” to be immediately transported to the Tempest. You will be out of the atmosphere in a snap. After wasting hours of driving time or running to the Tempest itself, this one tiny thing saved oodles of time.
3. Click X once to move companions to attack or take cover. Press and hold X for a few seconds to bring them back to Ryder. Let’s face it, companion AI leaves a lot to be desired and there is precious little we can do for them. But what we CAN do is order them around and get Drack’s fat ass out of the way of our head shot.
4. As you level, invest points in the three combat abilities you want most, then put some into passives to increase health, shields, combat power, etc. and to unlock Profile bonuses.
Getting your combat abilities unlocked is crucial to success, particularly on harder difficulties. Pick three right away – you can choose more combat skills later on – and then pack points into passives. The more you invest in one of the three trees (Combat, Biotics, Tech), the more Profiles you unlock that also add passive abilities.
5. Andromeda is filled with Sudoku lovers and mathematicians apparently. Every vault has these puzzles that require players to complete grids to unlock them. To help out the *coughs* mathematically challenged folks *coughs*, there is Sudoko Solver (via http://press-start.com.au/). Put in your grid size, assign a number to each known shape and get instant gratification to spend less than an eternity hoping to luck into the solution.
6. Loadout change in the Tempest airlock across from Peebee. You can also change your loadout on planet at any Forward Station.
7. There is a way to recolor everyday clothes and armor in Ryder’s Tempest quarters. Once satisfied with your color scheme, press spacebar to apply it. New gear will automatically switch to your preferred colors.
8. Respec in Tempest med-bay. We all make mistakes and maybe the skills you invested in aren’t doing what you want. You can head on over for a redo. Besides, it’s a cheap excuse to schmooze with Lexi too.
9. Buy and craft all Nomad mods. These will apply automatically and remain in place forever. Honestly, this is the only Research, Development and Crafting that’s worthwhile.
10. Changing Nomad’s color is done via the Loadout interface. Just click on the little Nomad in the upper edge of the display and paint away!
11. Drive the Nomad with the Mining interface turned on to see the scanner and drop mining drones for easy resource collection. That is…if you’re bothering to craft.