Mass Effect Legendary Edition

The full details on the mechanics are given below. It is not absolutely necessary to read the following, as the new mechanics should be mostly self-explanatory while playing. However, since my goal was to create a system that remains interesting even when the mechanics are known, it should not "ruin" the experience either. You can also check the specific details and probabilities sections (marked as spoiler), which is even less necessary, but not problematic either.


General Notes:

  • You can roughly expect to lose 2-5 squadmates during the mission, though it can definitely be more than that, and it is possible that everyone survives.
  • The random elements are determined partly when going through the Omega-4 relay, and partly on the spot. So reloading saves during the mission will give mixed results. 



Part 0 - Squadmate Readiness

Readiness score is used to describe how well each squadmate is prepared and motivated for the mission. It can take 5 possible values: Very Low - Low - Medium - High - Very High. Squadmates with higher Readiness are more likely to succeed at any assigned task. But squadmates with lower Readiness have more to gain (in terms of their own motivation) if you trust them to accomplish certain tasks. The Readiness score of squadmates will be shown before any decision where it matters.

An initial value of the Readiness score is evaluated at the moment you go through the Omega-4 relay. All squadmates are on the lowest rank by default (Very Low), but may gain ranks depending on Loyalty, Romance, and Field Experience (presence on the Horizon, Collector Ship, and Derelict Reaper missions). During the suicide mission, selecting a squadmate for the fighting squad or for some specific tasks will give that squadmate a motivational boost, which will translate in a significant increase of their Readiness score (unless it was already very high).

Computation of the Readiness score.
Spoiler:  
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Part 1 - Approach

As in vanilla, up to 3 squadmates can perish in the Normandy during the approach, depending on whether or not the ship upgrades (Armor, Shield, Weapon) have been purchased. However, with this mod, the outcome is not systematic. Even with the corresponding upgrade, there is still a small chance of death. And even without the upgrade, there is still a significant chance of survival. The cutscenes have been adapted for the "no upgrade but no death", and "upgrade but death anyway" situations (except that Miranda always says "As long as the new plating holds" when nobody dies, but she is talking about the "new" plating installed by Cerberus when rebuilding the Normandy, obviously).

Good to know:
  • As in vanilla, Miranda, Jacob, and Mordin are safe during this phase, and squadmates you take to fight the Oculus are safe for the Shield check. But other than that, all other squadmates can die from any of these 3 events.
  • Squadmate Readiness does not play a role during the approach, so deaths during this section are mostly random.

Specific details and probabilities:
Spoiler:  
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Part 2 - Infiltration

Before leaving the Normandy, you must choose a Tech Specialist and a Team LeaderBoth have to succeed at their task, or the Tech Specialist will die. The chances of success depend on the Readiness score of each. In addition, Tali, Kasumi and Legion receive a specialisation bonus for the task of Tech Specialist. Miranda, Jacob, Garrus AND Zaeed receive a specialisation bonus for the task of Team Leader.

After this segment, the Team Leader (even in case of failure) and the Tech Specialist (if they survive) receive a motivation boost corresponding to 2 Readiness ranks.

Good to know:
* The specialisation bonus corresponds to one Readiness rank. So Tali with Medium Readiness and Jacob with High Readiness have the same exact chances of succeeding as Tech Specialist.
* Since Very High is the maximum Readiness score, squadmates with Very High readiness have nothing to gain from the motivation boost, and squadmates with High readiness will only gain +1 rank.
* Therefore, choosing squadmates with higher Readiness gives larger chances of success, but squadmates with lower Readiness will benefit more from the motivation boost, which may end up being the only thing saving their asses later in the mission.

Specific details and probabilities:
Spoiler:  
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Part 3 - Normandy Crew and Escort

Like in vanilla, whether the crew members can be extracted alive from their pods depends on the number of missions completed after their abduction. However, with this mod, the outcome is not systematic. Even if the Suicide Mission was started directly, there is still a small chance of losing some team members. And it is possible to complete a few missions before the Suicide Mission and still have a good chance that everyone makes it out alive.

When what is left of the crew returns to the Normandy, you can choose to send a squad member as escort to accompany them. The Readiness score of the escort will determine the chances of everyone reaching the Normandy alive. If Shepard did not romance anyone from the ME2 team, the crew receives a bonus corresponding to one Readiness rank.

Note that the survival chances for squadmates with Low or Very Low readiness are not great, but higher than for the final battles, so if you have too many squadmates with low readiness, this may be a chance to save one of them, by putting the crew at higher risk.

Specific details and probabilities:
Spoiler:  
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Part 4 - The Long Walk

For this part, you must choose a Biotic Specialist and a Team Leader. Both will be tested individually against their Readiness. If the Biotic Specialist fails, one of the two members of your combat squad will perish. If the Team Leader fails, they will die themselves. Note that Miranda cannot die at this point, so if she is chosen as Team Leader and fails at her task, somebody else will take over and die instead. Jack, Samara, and Morinth receive a specialisation bonus for the task of Biotic Specialist. Miranda, Jacob, Garrus AND Zaeed receive a specialisation bonus for the task of Team Leader.

After this segment, the Team Leader (if they survive) and the Biotic Specialist (even in case of failure) receive a motivation boost corresponding to 2 Readiness ranks.

Good to know:
* The specialisation bonus corresponds to one Readiness rank. So Jack with Medium Readiness and Jacob with High Readiness have the same exact chances of succeeding as Biotic Specialist.
* Since Very High is the maximum Readiness score, squadmates with Very High readiness have nothing to gain from the motivation boost, and squadmates with High readiness will only gain +1 rank.
* Therefore, choosing squadmates with higher Readiness gives larger chances of success, but squadmates with lower Readiness will benefit more from the motivation boost, which may end up being the only thing saving their asses later in the mission.

Specific details and probabilities:
Spoiler:  
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Part 5 - Hold the Line and Final Battle

The last decision Shepard has to make, is to choose the two squadmates that will join her/him for the last battle. The rest of the team will be holding the line as a group. During this phase, each squadmate still present and alive will have to pass an individual test against their current Readiness score. Squadmates with higher Readiness have a higher chance of survival.

The catch is that, in the group holding the line, squadmates that successfully pass the test have a chance to perform a heroic action and save a squadmate that failed the test. The two squadmates present at the last battle are "on their own" and cannot be saved, nor save anyone else.

Good to know:
* There are no specialisation bonuses for this phase. Mordin or Jack are just as capable to hold the line as Grunt or Garrus (at equivalent Readiness).
* In the group Holding the Line, squadmates with Low or Very Low Readiness still have a very good chance of survival, if they are accompanied by enough squadmates with High or Very High Readiness. So a balanced team is ideal (two squadmates with Medium Readiness are more likely to die than one squadmate with Very Low and one with Very High readiness).
* In your squad for the last battle, taking squadmates with relatively low Readiness is dangerous as they cannot be saved by other squadmates and are thus more likely to die. However, taking squadmates with relatively high Readiness means that they will not be able to save anyone else, which may lead to more deaths in the Hold the Line team.

Specific details and probabilities:
Spoiler:  
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Part 6 - Epilogue

As in vanilla, Shepard will survive if at least two squadmates survived. I did not change that. If you start with 12 squadmates, it is technically possible to lose 11 or even all of them, but extremely unlikely.

If you can't deal with the losses

Once you regain control of the Normandy after the mission, a cheat gives you the possibility to revive all dead squad and crew members. Go to the Captain's cabin in the Normandy and interact with the Prothean Relic (it will be there even if you did not complete the Firewalker missions). You will have a few opportunities to cancel, but if you go on, everyone will be revived, and all (in principle) plot bools will be set as for a "perfect run". Even your fish will be revived (after leaving the cabin and coming back, don't clean the tank).

This will only work if my mod was installed when starting the Suicide Mission, and will only revive squadmates that were present and activated at that moment.

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