Friday, February 14, 2014

Mass Effect 1 - Console for the best game experience

Mass Effect 1: Using the Console for the Best Game Experience

Obviously, using the Mass Effect Console is cheating. So why would you do it? The main reason is to SAVE TIME. In order to have the best and most complete game experience, you need to play the game a second time. When you play the same character in a second game, many things are different:
  • Enemies can be different. Not everywhere, but in some places you will have a different and more challenging experience if you are on a re-play. For example, you can encounter Geth Rocket Drones very, very early on Eden Prime.
  • Bonuses to Charm and Intimidate conversation skills from having high Paragon and Renegade scores are retained. Therefore, theoretically, if you play the same character several times, you can have 12 levels in both Charm and Intimidate without having to spend any Talent points. Using the console, we can short-cut this.
  • You can reach level 60. You actually only need to finish the game once with any one character with the correct Achievements. Subsequent new characters will be able to reach level 60.
    • If you start a new game with the same character, beginning the character at level 1 (see how below), and if you do every Assignment and both DLCs, you can reach approximately level 58. The final levels require a ton of experience points so it is unlikely you will get to level 60, so just before the final boss fight, bump your level to 60 for the best export into Mass Effect 2.
  • You get more starting bonuses when you import the character into Mass Effect 2 by being level 60.
  • Unlocking more achievements gives you more starting character options, such as Insanity difficulty and bonus talents.
Here is what to do, and why:
  • Unlock all Achievements.
    • Do this instead of making multiple-playthroughs to unlock achievements.
    • If you don't want to unlock everything, the key one to unlock is the one that lets you play at Insanity difficulty. Others to consider are the Achievements that unlock Bonus Talents, and the Achievements that give you an experience bonus. I recommend you just unlock everything.
  • Start a new character.
    • Existing characters do not get to choose bonus talents, even on re-plays.
  • Do one speed run
    • Until you finish the game once with the correct Achievements, all characters are limited to level 50.
    • You will obviously see the ending, but there is still a lot of gameplay that will enhance your experience.
    • We will talk about how to set up your speed run later.
  • Replay the character, but reset starting resources to what you normally start with at level 1 (or, start an entirely new character).
    • Your level is now unlocked to level 60.
    • Even with +20% experience from unlocked Achievements, it is unlikely that you will reach level 60 without experience exploits, so toward the end and before the game creates a Safe File Transfer character save, use the console to maximize your Experience and your Paragon and Renegade scores.
How to set up your first-play speed run:
  • When you start the game in the Normandy, give yourself the following gear:
    • GiveSuperArmor command three times to give three sets of Devlon Survivor X with 8000 shields and lots of protection.
    • GiveSuperGun command three times to give three assault rifles that do 25,000 damage.
    • These will help you zoom through the speed run, and you can still save actual combat experience for your actual game play.
    • Do NOT sell or reduce to omni-gel any basic gear. You will need it back later when you play the same character.
  • Use the console command GiveXP -20000. This puts you at negative XP. On the speed run, you won't get anywhere near that much. Even if you played through only the plot missions, you probably won't get more than 10,000. Therefore, you will end your speed run still at level 1.
    • Console commands can reduce XP but cannot reduce your level.
What to do on your first-play speed run:
  • DO NOT SPEND ANY TALENT POINTS on Shepard. Points spent on crew will be reset when you start your re-play, but points spent by Shepard will not.
  • Use the superspeed console command to run around very quickly. Superspeed basically adds acceleration. The longer you keep moving, the faster you move.
  • Dialog: I recommend you take the middle road all the time and do NOT take any Charm or Initimidate options. Whenever possible, just choose the middle option on the right side of the dialogue wheel. Save full investigation of options for your second "actual" gameplay run.
  • Ignore all sidetrips, hacking, and containers. Don't buy anything.
  • Ignore enemies when you can, just to save time. If there is a lot of driving, get out of the Mako and use superspeed to not only move more quickly than in a vehicle, but to run past enemies.
  • Whenever you get any inventory items, instead of adding them to inventory, convert them to Omni-Gel.
Speed Run Method 1: Skip to the End
  • The recommended method because it hides most of the game from you, and it's a heckuva lot faster.
  • Use the console command At BIOA_END00 Start_END80_00 to skip to the end game.
  • You cannot run past the Geth Dropship because the exhaust from the engines will kill you, even in your spiffy superarmor. You MUST wait for the rocket guns in the area to destroy it.
Speed Run Method 2: Plot Missions Only
  • You can play through the game very quickly by doing only the plot missions.
  • After Eden Prime and the Citadel, you have the choice of three systems to investigate as part of the Main Plot: Noveria, Feros, and Artemis Tau.
    • I recommend doing Artemis Tau last because after each main plot Mission, there is a staff meeting. By doing Artemis Tau last and therefore adding Liara last, you can save all her staff meeting input for your re-play.
    • When Ilos becomes available, do that first to kill off as many characters as possible so you can hide their input during the staff meeting.
    • Liara also has different dialogue if you rescue her after Noveria and Feros instead of rescuing her early.
  • Noveria
    • You can short-cut Peak 15 and avoid the Hot Labs by instead going deeper into the soldiers' area and looking for the locked door. You are at the right one when you get a warning when you approach. Hack it and go to Benezia for the showdown.
  • Ilos
    • You can do most of the Trench Run portion on foot, but you MUST use the Mako at the end. Before the long no-return drop, get back in the Mako. When you are in sight of the conduit but before the countdown starts, also get back in the Mako.
How to set up your re-play:
  • Normally, when you start a game, you start with +30 XP (or up to 36 if you have experience point adjustments from Achievements), 5 units of medi-gel, 5 grenades, 15 units of omni-gel, and 50 credits. We will aim to restore this state.
    • Look through your inventory. Companion inventory will have been dumped into general inventory. Restore basic gear to Shepard and convert everything else to omni-gel.
    • Using the following commands, reset your inventory to starting totals:
      • InitMedigel 5
      • InitGrenades 5
      • InitSalvage 15 - Sets omni-gel to 15.
      • InitCredits 50
  • Use GiveXP until your XP total is 30 plus any experience point adjustment.
  • You should now be reset to what a level 1 character normally starts with.
  • If you want to start at a higher level, use the GiveXP console command to increase your level, and then the AdjustCredits console command to give yourself spending money.
  • If you intend to use the Dr. Chloe money exploit, you might as well give yourself a lot of credits through the console.
  • Maximize your Charm and Intimidate skill:
    • Use SetParagon 340 to maximize your Paragon score. This adds some points to your Charm skill. Use SetParagon 0 to zero it. Repeat to add even more points to your Charm skill. Keep doing this until your Charm skill is maximized.
    • Do the same using SetRenegade to maximize your Intimidate skill.
    • Reset your Paragon and Renegade scores to 0 when you are done.
What to do on your re-play:
  • Since you have maximized your Charm and Intimidate skills, you can now explore all dialogue options and "speak your mind" whenever you want without being artificially constrained by thinking about whether a dialogue option is going to increase your Paragon or Renegade score.
  • Do Artemis Tau first so that you can get Liara's input during mission debriefings.
  • Maximize your level with the GiveXP console command before the final fight -- You will likely reach only level 58 on Insanity difficulty.
Additional Tweaks:

I highly recommend changing the maximum number of credits you can hold and the maximum number of items you can carry. The default limit is 150 items and 9,999,999 credits. However, in the mid to late game, you can start pushing the item limit and easily have more than 10 million credits (40+ million by the late game, and nothing to buy).

In \My Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\ (or wherever the save game directory is located), there is a Config directory. In this directory are various INI files that are text files which can be edited.

In BioGame.ini find:


You can change Grenades, Medigel, and Salvage (Omni-Gel), but I would leave them alone. Just change m_nMaxCredits=9999999 to m_nMaxCredits=2000000000 (2 billion), which should be more than enough. Likely you won't even pass the 100 million mark unless you started the game at a very high level.
Omni-Gel awards are rare in the game, and you might not see more than 300 if you never convert anything to omni-gel and never spend any of it.

In BioParty.ini find:


Add a zero to the end of both entries. At 1500 maximum inventory items, it is unlikely that you will hit that limit. This lets you continue with missions and accumulate items to sell without having to run back to a merchant frequently.
In the late game, when you are looking for the highest-tier items (tier X), it is more convenient to play the convoy lottery at Sheperd's Apartment than run around stores waiting for them to restock. Even faster than this is to just use the console to give yourself items.

In BioGUIResources.ini find:


This parameter controls how many shield points one shield bar represents. In the early game a value of 60 is meaningful, but by mid-game, it will seem like everyone has 6 bars because enemies have been scaled up in difficulty. Instead, change this to 100. By mid- to late game, you may even want to change this to 200, so that you can get a better idea of how much shielding you are up against, especially compared to any Overload powers your party has.

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