Multiplayer guide for Mass Effect 3.

New or revised material for this version, 1.1.1, is marked with
an asterisk at the left side of the text.  Removed sections will
have an asterisked line and a brief summary of the removed
contents in parentheses.

* I have removed a lot of the specific build advice for the
* characters for this guide, and included some general comments
* on approach instead.  There are a lot of guides that already
* exist on multiple sites, and this is intended to be a general
* guide, not a character build database.


***********************TABLE OF CONTENTS**************************

I. General
   A. Searching this guide
   B. Multi and Single
   C. "Horde Mode"

II. Gameplay
   A. Game setup
      1. Wave system
      2. Objectives
          a. Kill tarets
          b. Activate objects
          c. Hack computer
          d. Escort drone
          e. Retrieve objects
          f. Extract the team
      3. Managing your team
          a. What N7 rank means
          b. Challenges
          c. Communicating
*         d. Kicking players and idle timeouts
   B. Difficulty levels
*     1. Bronze
*     2. Silver
*     3. Gold
*     4. Platinum
   C. Maps
   D. Enemies
      1. Cerberus
      2. Geth
*     3. Reapers
*     4. Collectors

III. Characters and Skills
   A. Capabilities common to all characters
      1. Weapons
         a. Sniper Rifles
         b. Assault Rifles
         c. Submachine Guns
         d. Shotguns
*        e. Heavy Pistols
         f. Weapons to avoid
      2. Melee
*     3. Consumables
      4. Equipment
         a. Ammunition
         b. Rails
         c. Armor
         d. Gear
      5. Reviving
*     6. Combination effects
      7. Defense and shields
*     8. General comments on builds
*             __Character Descriptions__
   B. Adepts
*     1. Human Adept
*     2. Asari Adept
*     3. Drell Adept
*     4. Asari Justicar
*     5. Phoenix Adept
*     6. N7 Fury
*     7. Volus Adept
*     8. Krogan Shaman
*     9. Batarian Slasher
   C. Soldiers
*     1. Human Soldier
*     2. Krogan Soldier
*     3. Turian Soldier
*     4. Battlefield 3 Soldier
*     5. Batarian Enforcer
*     6. Vorcha Soldier
*     7. N7 Destroyer
*     8. Turian Havoc
*     9. Geth Trooper
*     10. Quarian Marksman
   D. Engineers
*     1. Human Engineer
*     2. Quarian Engineer
*     3. Salarian Engineer
*     4. Geth Engineer
*     5. Quarian Male Engineer
*     6. N7 Demolisher
*     7. Volus Engineer
*     8. Turian Saboteur
*     9. Vorcha Hunter
   E. Sentinels
*     1. Human Sentinel
*     2. Turian Sentinel
*     3. Krogan Sentinel
*     4. Batarian Sentinel
*     5. Vorcha Sentinel
*     6. N7 Paladin
*     7. Volus Mercenary
*     8. Asari Valkyrie
   F. Infiltrators
*     1. Human Infiltrator
*     2. Salarian Infiltrator
*     3. Quarian Infiltrator
*     4. Geth Infiltrator
*     5. Quarian Male Infiltrator
*     6. N7 Shadow
*     7. Turian Ghost
*     8. Drell Assassin
*     9. Asari Huntress
   G. Vanguards
*     1. Human Vanguard
*     2. Drell Vanguard
*     3. Asari Vanguard
*     4. Krogan Vanguard
*     5. Phoenix Vanguard
*     6. N7 Slayer
*     7. Volus Protector
*     8. Batarian Brawler

IV. Rewards, loot, and gear
   A. Rewards
      1. Experience
      2. Credits
      3. Special objectives
   B. What's in the packs?
      1. Recruit
      2. Veteran
      3. Spectre
      4. Others
   C. The Armory
      1. Sniper Rifles
         a. Sniper Rifle upgrades
      2. Assault Rifles
         a. Assault Rifle upgrades
      3. Submachine Guns
         a. Submachine Gun upgrades
      4. Shotguns
         a. Shotgun upgrades
      5. Heavy Pistols
         a. Heavy Pistol upgrades
   D. Recommendations on which pack to buy

V. Bestiary
   A. Cerberus
      1. Assault Trooper
      2. Nemesis
      3. Centurion
      4. Guardian
      5. Combat Engineer
         a. Turret
      6. Phantom
      7. Atlas
      8. Dragoon
*  B. Geth
      1. Geth Trooper
      2. Geth Rocket trooper
      3. Geth Pyro
      4. Geth Hunter
      5. Geth Prime
         a. Drones and turrets
      6. Geth Bomber
*  C. Reaper
      1. Cannibal
      2. Husk
      3. Marauder
      4. Brute
      5. Ravager
         a. Swarmer
      6. Banshee
*  D. Collector
      1. Trooper
         a. Collector Webs
      2. Captain
         a. Seeker Swarms and Plagues
      3. Abomination
      4. Scion
      5. Praetorian
   
* VI. Closing comments

*******************Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Guide****************

--------------I. General

This is a guide to the multiplayer component of the ME3 gameplay.  It
was written for the PC version, but all of the advice should apply in
a similar fashion to other platforms.

The guide assumes that all multiplayer DLC to date has been 
installed, including: Retaliation, Earth, Rebellion, and Resurgence.
All of this DLC is free and available on Origin.

This version of the guide was written in January of 2013.  Many
changes have been made to the game since release, and future changes
may make some of the specifics in this guide obsolete.

__________
   A. Searching this guide

To find a section, searching the table of contents for the exact 
phrase, so "1. Cannibal" should take you only to the table of 
contents and to the relevant section of the guide.  In some cases
* there are references in the text to a search, but these are rare
* and shouldn't inhibit searching.

__________
   B. Multi and Single

Multiplayer for ME3 has one specific purpose - raise the galactic
readiness level to improve your effective military strength (EMS) in
the single player game.  The only benefit of increasing EMS is if you
have not completed all of the side missions in the game and want the
normal endings or if you want the "gasp" ending.

In short, most people play multiplayer because multiplayer is fun,
not because it helps them in the single player campaign.

In addition to raising galactic readiness, you can also increase your
EMS by promoting characters from this mode - doing so gives you a war
asset.

If your only objective is to increase EMS for single player, stick
to Bronze difficulty missions and play the class you play in single
player, as the human default classes are broadly similar to the
single player Shepard's skills, though more limited.

__________
   C. "Horde Mode"

The style of the multiplayer is informally called "horde mode" 
referring to a gameplay style in the Gears of War series, which Mass 
Effect has more than borrowed from in other ways.

It is a cooperative mode of up to four players against waves of 
enemies.  There is no friendly fire and there is no player versus
player option.  A competitive score is shown, but it has no effect on
the match - all players in a game receive the same rewards, with the
exception of a successful extraction bonus - if you aren't in the
landing zone (alive) at the end of the mission, you don't get it.

__________

--------------II. Gameplay

This section addresses the basic mechanics of the game in general
terms.  For specifics, see sections III through V of this guide.

__________
   A. Game setup

There is only one game mode.  To join a match, it is generally best to
search for one instead of creating your own.  When searching, be sure
to set the correct difficulty - attempting to join a Gold match at low
levels will usually result in the other players kicking you out.  The
advantage to creating your own match is that you will be the host, and
the host always has the least lag.  This is critical for some play
styles, such as Human Vanguard charge/nova.

If you are creating a game, setting the enemy and map to random gives
XP bonus to all enemies killed as well as an additional XP bonus from
a "medal" at the end of Wave 10.  These medals also count towards a
challenge in addition to the XP.

***
1. Wave system
***

There are 11 waves in each match.  Each wave includes a set of enemies
which will spawn on the map and generally each higher wave will
include a larger number of stronger enemies.  Waves 3, 6, and 10 each
have a random objective and enemies will spawn infinitely until the
objective is completed.  For waves 1-10, the wave ends when all 
enemies have been defeated.  For wave 11, a two minute timer starts
and when it ends the round is over.  Wave 11 also has infinite enemy
spawns.

At the end of each wave, all dead players are revived and everyone
receives a limited amount of ammuniton (not grenades).

***
2. Objectives
***

Wave 3, 6, and 10 each include a random objective.  There are three
varieties of objective, and the one you get each time will be random,
so you could have the same objective each time or get one of each in
* a single match.  Wave 11 always has the extraction objective.

If the time expires on an objective other than extraction, the match
ends in failure.

Completing objectives gives credits, and once the credits are rewarded
failing will not take them away.  Completing objectives quickly gives
a bonus, but the bonus is not substantially affected by the time
remaining.  The wave 11 extraction objective gives xp instead and
credits to any player that extracted successfully.  All other rewards
are exactly the same for all players, so getting the "high score" is
only for bragging rights.

Rewards are saved to your character at the end of the match, so if
you quit or are kicked from the match due to inactivity, you will
not receive credits or XP.

Enemies spawn infinitely until you complete objectives, so goofing
off and not helping with the objective is actively harming your team
and may result in angry team members, especially on the higher
difficulties.

          a. Kill tarets

          In this objective, a timer is set and one of the spawned
          enemies is marked as a target.  When the target dies, the
          time increases.  After four targets have been killed the
          objective is complete.


          b. Activate objects

          For this objective, an interactable object spawns at a random
          location on the map and a timer starts.  A team member must 
          activate the object and wait for the bar to fill.  Having
          multiple players on the object does not increase the fill
          speed.  Once the bar is filled, a new object appears.  After
          four objects have been cleared, the objective is complete.


          c. Hack computer

          The third objective type sets a timer and places an
          interactable spot in one of a small number of random spots
          on the map.  After a player interacts with the object, a
          blue field is set up.  While team members are within the 
          field, a bar slowly fills.  More team members in range
          increases the fill speed.  After the bar is filled, the
          objective is complete.

          This objective is the most common offender for total idiots
          who run around instead of helping with the objective.


          d. Escort

          An object appears on the map, and after a player interacts
          with the object, it transforms into a holographic drone that
          moves across the map.  The speed of the drone is directly
          linked to the number of players near the drone.  The drone
          will sometimes stun enemies or restore player shields while
          it travels.  Once the drone arrives at the destination, the
          objective is complete.


          e. Retrieve objects

          An object appears on the map and a player that interacts with
          the object adds a heavy backpack to that character which must
          be walked to an extraction zone.  Dashing, activating cloak,
          or rolling will cause the object to be dropped, but otherwise
          the carrying character can fire and use powers normally.  This
          is repeated once, and after both objects have been returned
          the objective is complete.

          The object, sometimes called "the pizza," can be carried
*         faster if you move backwards.  It is also possible to 
*         repeatedly drop the object and pick it up to carry it faster
*         but this requires some practice.


          f. Extract the team

          The final objective, which always happens in wave 11, sets
          a two minute timer and a designated area for extraction.  At 
          the end of the timer, the game checks how many players are 
          in the designated area and gives an xp bonus based on that
          number.  Extracted players also receive some credits.

***
3. Managing your team
***

Up to four players can join a match, one of which acts as host.  If
the host leaves the match, the game attempts to reassign hosting
duties to one of the other players in the match.  During this attempt
an option to leave the match will come up and many players will leave
the match assuming that there is no other option.

If the host leaves during the match, the wave restarts.  This has some
other odd effects as well, for example all consumables on remaining
players will reset to full even if they were used before the current
wave.

          a. What N7 rank means

          N7 rank is increased by one each time a player gains a level
          on any character.  It starts at zero, but it can instantly
          be raised to six by starting a character of each class.  Each
          time a class reaches level 20 and the player promotes the
          class, N7 rank is increased by ten.  Nominally a player could
          only use one class for their entire multiplayer career and
          never promote it, ending up with an N7 rank of 20 even after
          playing thousands of hours, so N7 rank is a poor indicator of
          player experience.  The rank itself does nothing.


          b. Challenges

          These can be accessed by the menu that appears if you are in
          multiplayer but not in a game lobby.  They are mostly self-
          explanatory, and these points add up to a score that also
          displays in the game lobbies.  Like N7 rank, there are ways
          that players could avoid gaining challenge rank.  The rank
          itself does not convey any benefits.


          c. Communicating

          ME3 does not support text chat.  There are options for
          microphone settings in the options menu.  If you add players
          in Origin's overlay interface, you can use Origin's text
          chat function.


*         d. Kicking players and idle timeouts

*         In early versions of the game there was no idle timeout, so
*         players who sat idle in a match lobby would block the start
*         of the mission.  This is still true for private lobbies, but
*         in public games the mission will start anyway after a twenty
*         second delay if only one player is not ready.

*         Idle players are also eventually kicked from matches, which
*         was not present in early versions of the game and was abused.

*         In the lobby system, players can be removed by unanimous vote.
          To kick a player, click on their entry on the match creation
          screen and select kick player in the bottom left.  The
          player is kicked when all other players in the match have
*         elected to kick the player.

__________
   B. Difficulty levels

* There are four difficulty levels available in the game.  Increasing
difficulty also increases the xp rewards and the credit rewards.  All
players should start on Bronze unless they have completed the campaign
blindfolded with the basic shotgun and no skill points on Insanity.

I say that because if you join a silver game as a level 1 N7 1, the
other players will likely kick you and you will be soloing.

***
1. Bronze
***

Bronze is the basic difficulty level, approximately equivalent to
"normal" in the single player campaign.  If your character is level 
1-10 you should be on Bronze unless you have very good equipment, and
when just starting it is probably best to go to level 20 for your
first character on Bronze alone.

Bronze is also a good place to test out new skills and weapons.  It is
sufficiently easier than Silver and Gold that tactics and strategies
that work on Bronze may not be applicable to the harder difficulties.

* Bronze doesn't really require four players to complete, even with
* level one characters, though a group of four completely new players
* will probably have trouble.  Failing to complete Bronze is an
* indication that there are serious problems with your group.

Bronze can be completed solo by any level 20 character, and being able
to do solo at least up to the first objective is a good indication 
that you are ready for Silver.

* Soloing isn't terribly hard when just killing enemies, the real
* challenge is completing objectives.  Luring enemies away from
* objectives and running back is a common strategy.  When soloing, try
* not to stay in one position too long as the enemy will flank you.

***
2. Silver
***

Each of the increases in difficulty levels means that enemies have
better stats and that harder enemies appear earlier and more
frequently.  For example, in a Bronze game you might see three or
four Atlas enemies total when fighting Cerberus.  In Silver, you will
* see quite a few more, often with more than one active at a time in
* the later waves.

* Silver games are often played with random pick-up groups, and it's
* unusual to see a player kicked from Silver, but if you are a level
* one, N7 rank one, it very well may happen.

Silver is substantially harder than Bronze, but it can routinely be
completed by a pickup group of four players without any particular
* team or strategy so long as those players are familiar with the
* game.

* Soloing silver is not trivial, but it's also far from impossible,
* especially with the right characters, builds, and the right weapons
* and consumables.

***
3. Gold
***

It's unusual to see characters in Gold games that are not at least
level 18.  Expect to get kicked if you don't have some obvious
indication that you're a veteran player (i.e. N7 rank or challenge
* rank), though some players may ignore it.

* Gold has become more casual since the release of the game, and
* while organized groups are not unheard of, many games are played
* with random players.

* Planning, especially on combos that will be performed between
* players, helps on Gold.  It is not required, especially if you
* have a team of well equipped, experienced players, but charging
* in like Cpl Jenkins will produce bad results.

* Soloing Gold is rather difficult.  For the solo challenge, you have
* to do it twice.  Most players will not succeed even once.  Careful
* choice of character, build, and the right map and enemies, however,
* can make it much, much easier.

***
4. Platinum
***

This is the "super hard" difficulty for the crazy and the bored.  If
you're reading this FAQ for advice, you probably shouldn't be trying
it.  Platinum adds a twist to the usual gameplay in that you fight a
mix of all enemy factions instead of just one at a time.  Later wave
enemies will spawn almost immediately, with Atlases in the first wave.
Watch some YouTube videos to get a sense of the setting before
playing it - stick to your team, communicate, and be ready to use lots
of consumables.

Soloing Platinum need only be done once for the challenge.

__________
   C. Maps

There are several maps in the game, mostly taken from side missions in
the single player campaign.  Most of the maps also have a "hazard"
variant where some aspect of the map is changed.

-Firebase Condor is not an area from the single player game, though
it uses textures and layout from the Turian moon mission.  There is
no hazard variant.  Extractions from this map are required for the
* Resurgence Mastery challenge.  This map has poor ammunition spawn
* rates and may prove difficult to grenade or ammo-hungry classes.

-Firebase Dagger is a wide open area with a balcony overlooking three
quarters of the map, an excellent place for long range fights.  The
hazard variant adds a sandstorm that impairs vision.

-Firebase Ghost has three open arena-like areas and several closed
structures.  The hazard variant adds rain that damages shields and
barriers, both yours and the enemy's.

-Firebase Glacier is the most claustrophobic of the maps, and favors
very short range fights.  The hazard variant adds a damaging vortex
that wanders around the map, causing severe damage to enemies and
* players that are in the way.  It is very slightly different from
* the way the map is used in the single player campaign, as at
* release Glacier allowed for an unflankable camping spot.

-Firebase Giant has narrow corridors and a lot of walls, which makes
it better for close range combat with the exception of one open area
and two more open outside corridors.  The hazard variant makes the
map much darker.

-Firebase Goddess uses the textures from Thessia, but does not
resemble any layout in the single player game.  It has a large inside
room and an outside area, as well as some hallways and side rooms.
There is no hazard variant.  Extractions from this map are part of
the Resurgence Mastery challenge.

-Firebase Hydra uses textures from an area cut from the single player
game, though it resembles some of the geth surface areas.  It has a
very large open area and is an excellent map for snipers.  There is
no hazard variant.  Extractions from this map are required for the
Resurgence Mastery challenge.

-Firebase Jade is based on the Salarian lab mission textures, though
it does not resemble the area in the single player game.  Two enclosed
hallways with balconies surround a central courtyard.  There is no
hazard variant.  Extractions from this map are part of the Resurgence
Mastery challenge.

-Firebase London is based on the area at the end of the single player
game, and vaguely resembles the forward operating base.  There is no
hazard variant.  Extractions from this map are part of the Earth
Mastery challenge.  It favors long-range fights, with a very effective
sniper perch.

-Firebase Reactor is a very dark map and it can be difficult to see
enemies.  The hazard variant has the central section of the map close
down and turn into a lethal damage zone every so often.  This effect
can be triggered using buttons near the zone, and this can be used to
kill enemies... or allies.

-Firebase Rio is a two-sided map, one side has a maze of storage
containers that hide spawn points and one side is more open.  There
is no hazard variant.  This does not appear to correspond to any
area in the single player game.  There is no hazard variant.
Extractions from this map are part of the Earth Mastery challenge.

-Firebase Vancouver uses the textures from the area at the very start
of the single player campaign.  It is an open map with few structures
though plenty of clutter for use as cover.  There is no hazard
variant.  Extractions from this map are part of the Earth Mastery
challenge.

-Firebase White is a map that is brightly lit, with a large outside
section and a narrower inside section.  The map was substantially
changed during one of the content updates and has a different layout
than the single player incarnation.  The hazard variant adds a snow
storm to the outside areas that impairs vision.

Many players will simply leave the map set to random, as doing so
gives a bonus to xp gained, but playing on Gold usually ends up with
a specific map chosen for specific reasons.  There is also an xp bonus
for intentionally playing on a Hazard map, but it is smaller than the
random map bonus.

Every map includes spawn points for enemies.  These spawn points are
fixed, but the enemies will attempt to spawn at locations where the
players cannot see the spawn point.  Firebase Dagger, due to its open
layout, will sometimes allow players to see enemies popping out of
thin air.  Cerberus troops will sometimes jump in on jet packs, and
they can get stuck at their starting points by a bug, though typically
they are still visible if you know where to look.  Other enemies have
similar propulsion aids and will also sometimes get stuck.

The maps also include ammunition boxes which spawn thermal clips and
grenades.  They only spawn a limited number at any given time and take
a few seconds to recharge (for clips) or longer (for grenades).  The
number of grenades from boxes is not fixed.  On higher difficulties
grenades spawn in smaller numbers, typically only one per box, and
heavy grenade users will have to move from box to box very frequently
to restock or rely on the consumable thermal packs for refills.

__________
   D. Enemies

For more details, see the "Bestiary" entries in section V.  This is
just an overview.  As with the maps, you get bonus xp if you allow the
game to pick which enemy you fight at random.

***
1. Cerberus
***

Cerberus is the most diverse of the enemy groups, but is also arguably
the easiest as only one of the units, the Atlas, is particularly
sturdy and the Phantoms are the only truly dangerous enemies.  The
"Care Bears" employ smoke grenades quite heavily, but they are the
only group that does so.  A sniper rifle mod can see through the smoke
but it is also possible to fire blindly, especially when fighting an
Atlas.  Cerberus Guardians have tall shields that are easily defeated
by cover piercing weapons or mods.

***
2. Geth
***

The Geth are a heavy and slow faction with a lot of sturdy troops that
will simply try to overwhelm you.  The Geth do not have any units that
can instakill a character, and are common choices for soloing.  They
also have a lot of shielded units, and Overload and Energy Drain are
particularly effective.  Sabotage is obviously more useful against the
Geth than any other enemy type.

* The Geth have a nasty tendency to stun lock players, with units like
* Hunters and Rocket Troopers and Bombers that have abilities which
* cause a player to stagger briefly, unable to act.  Other factions can
* also do this, but the Geth do so far more often.

***
3. Reapers
***

This faction does not include any Reapers, just their ground troops.
The basic enemies are not terribly hard, but the Ravagers do massive
damage at range, the Brutes are fast, aggressive, and hard to kill,
and the Banshees simply refuse to die.

The Reapers used to be the "hard" faction, but with the addition of
Geth Bombers and Cerberus Dragoons, the others have caught up.  Some
* players choose to fight against them specifically, and they are
* sometimes considered the easiest enemy.  The Banshees have an
* instant kill attack which is supposed to be melee range but sometimes
* reaches farther for unexplained reasons, referred to as "magnet hands."

***
4. Collectors
***

This faction was not in the original multiplayer, and the enemies are
mostly returned from Mass Effect 2's single player campaign, though
the captains are new and the seeker swarms are used in a different
fashion.

Their troops are more aggressive than some of the other factions, and
they are much faster about executing downed players before they can
be revived.  None of the Collectors are mechanical or have shields.

* They are often considered the "hard" faction, though some players
* will dispute this.  They lack the middle troop variety of some of
* the other factions, so being able to rapidly kill off their basic
* soldiers with headshots (easier with the big heads) makes this more
* a matter of requiring different characters and weapons than the
* other factions.

__________

--------------III. Characters and Skills

The number of available characters has increased dramatically as the
expansions have arrived, but all starting players have access to the
six human characters, one for each class.  There are male and female
variants but these are entirely cosmetic.  The unlocked Quarian male
and female characters are different, and there are also additional
unlocked human characters.

One character is an anomaly, the Battlefield 3 Soldier, and that
character is unlocked by a cross-game promotion with the game of the
same name.  He is not involved in any challenges and isn't all that
special.  He's also a available as a rare unlock with more recent
patches.

The non-basic characters are unlocked at random through purchases.  If
you receive the same character again, it increases the number of options
on the appearance customization and give XP to that class.

Each character starts at level 1.  As the character gains experience
they gain skill points.  The maximum level is 20, and each character
gains enough skill points to bring four of the five skills to the
maximum level.  Since cooldowns are shared between skills, leaving
one skill at zero is a common choice.  The "Fitness" skill, which
is given to most classes, is also sometimes neglected for the higher
difficulties, as attempting to survive hits outside of cover is
improbable against any major enemy force.

If you want to reset your character's skills you can either promote
the character, bringing them back to level 1, or use a reset card if
you have one.  These cards are Rare items from purchases.  Given the
difficulty of finding any specific rare, it is generally better to
just promote the character to get a skill reset.

__________
A. Capabilities common to all characters


***
1. Weapons
***

Each character can carry one or two weapons.  The weight of the weapon
is shown as one of its statistics and affects the cooldown speed of
your powers.  Carrying very light weapons will substantially increase
the cooldown speed of powers, and any class that uses skills heavily
should have a 200% cooldown or be as close as possible or they will be
substantially less valuable to the team.

Despite what the loading screens tell you, carrying multiple weapons
is generally a bad idea unless you are a class with no cooldown-based
powers or one (or both) of the weapons is (are) very light.  Very
situational weapons like the Acolyte pistol will likely require a
second weapon, as will weapons like the Javelin that have extremely
limited ammunition carrying capacity.  The Infiltrator Tactical Cloak
ability largely overrides normal cooldowns for those characters.

The racial skill, a variant of which is available to all characters,
increases the weight capacity of a character.  Weight capacity is 
subtracted from the sum of the weapons carried and allows a 
character to carry more and remain at 200% or take less penalties from 
carried weapons.

A section below in the guide, "The Armory" has full lists of weapons,
these are just general highlights.

Weapons that have a "charged" mode will display their fully charged
damage on the information screen.  This is especially misleading for
* the otherwise rapid semiautomatic fire Arc Pistol.

Armor (yellow) reduces damage by a flat amount, so it's best to use
weapons with higher base damage against armored enemies instead of
* rapid-fire weapons.  On Bronze, this is 15 damage reduced from each
* shot, 30 on Silver, and 50 on Gold.  Shots always do a minimal amount
* of damage even if less than the armor.  For comparison, the base
* damage on the Shuriken SMG is 12.

         a. Sniper Rifles

         The basic sniper rifle, the Mantis, is a one shot weapon with
         a long reload.  It does very high damage, and is fairly light
         for a sniper rifle.  Depending on your playstyle it is either
         decent or a complete waste of weight.

         Many sniper rifles have a damage penalty if fired from the
         hip instead of from the scope.  Many also have only a single
         shot before reloading.  The reloading can be sped up by using
         a separate action, such as activating a power, which cancels
         the rest of the animation and if done after the display updates
         ammunition to full will speed the reloading process.  Even
         attempting to use medi-gel, which does nothing if the player
*        is not dying, will cancel the animation and allow firing, but
*        the medi-gel only works on the PC version.

         Heavy pistols with scopes are sometimes used instead of real
         sniper rifles, especially for weight-conscious classes.


         b. Assault Rifles

         The starting assault rifle is the Avenger, which is not very
         accurate and not very powerful.  It is, however, fairly light
         and once fully upgraded can be used by characters looking for
         a 200% cooldown.  It is not uncommon to see mid-ranked
         players carrying this as their primary weapon on power-based
         classes, but the Predator pistol is a better weapon overall
         with the caveat that rapid fire semi-automatic weapons are
         hard on fingers and mouse buttons.

         Assault rifles fall into three general groups: fully automatic
         weapons like the Avenger, semi-automatic and burst-fire weapons
         like the Mattock or Vindicator, and oddities like the grenade
         launcher Falcon.

         The Raptor (Uncommon) is technically a sniper rifle, but
         it largely behaves as a semi-automatic assault rifle.  There
         are several of these "in the wrong category" weapons scattered
         among the various weapon classes, and they are useful because
         sometimes modifications such as thermal sight or piercing are
         not available to the "right" category of weapons.


         c. Submachine Guns

         The Shuriken is a piece of garbage and should never be used
         by anyone.  Due to the way the burst system works, the basic
         heavy pistol can fire faster and is a superior weapon.

         There are not very many submachine guns, with the Hornet and
         Shuriken the only burst weapons and all others at full auto.

         The Avenger basic assault rifle makes for a decent submachine
         gun substitute, as does the Geth Pulse Rifle.

         d. Shotguns

         While the Katana is one of the lighter shotguns, it still
         should not be used by the cooldown-critical Vanguards, or
         anyone that cares about cooldowns.  The basic shotgun isn't
         terrible, but other than single shot power it has no real
         virtues and there are better weapons.

         In later patches, the Scimitar was made lighter and can now
         go to 200% cooldown when fully upgraded, important for any
         Vanguard that expects to use a shotgun.  The Disciple is a
         a rare shotgun that, once upgraded, can also reach 200%.

         There are some better shotguns, notably the Geth Plasma
         Shotgun (Rare), a chargable, accurate, and high damage weapon.
         The shotgun group also includes oddities like the Reegar
         Carbine, basically a flamethrower, and a shotgun that fires
         single slugs, but many of the shotguns are just different
         stats on the same basic weapon.

         e. Heavy Pistols

         The Predator is, despite being one of the basic weapons, one
*        of the best weapons for a new player.  Due to its extremely
         quick semi-automatic fire, it can deal substantial damage and
         has reasonable accuracy with almost no recoil.  It is also
         light enough to carry as a secondary weapon.  It may, however,
         cause carpal tunnel syndrome or damage to your left mouse
         button if used excessively.  Some people have reported success
         with binding the fire command to the rolling function of the
         middle mouse button.

         Pistols include some oddities, such as the Scorpion minelayer
         the Acolyte anti-shield grenade launcher, and the Talon
         shotgun pistol.


         f. Weapons to avoid

         There have been a lot of rebalances to the weapons, and few of
         them are completely useless.  The N7 Eagle, for example, was a
         terrible weapon at the time of release.  While it isn't stellar
         now, it isn't unusably bad.  Some weapons are also only useful to
         specific characters.  For example, the Incisor sniper rifle has
         a lot of recoil and is best used by Turians because they have a
         passive that reduces recoil.

         In general, though, few weapons are using at rank I-III or so
         if you have a rank X default weapon available.  The Viper
         sniper rifle (Uncommon) may be necessary for players that
         hate the Mantis.  For most classes, however, the worst weapon
         to use is one that drops your cooldowns substantially, since
         using powers faster is much better than having a marginally
         better gun for most classes.  Some classes, such as the Human
         Vanguard, are so power-dependent that they may as well not 
         carry a gun and should just carry a token Predator.


***
2. Melee
***

Most characters have three melee attacks - a light attack which is
identical for all characters, a heavy attack that varies somewhat,
and the grab, a special move where the character instakills an enemy
that is on the other side of a piece of waist-high cover.  All use the
same key, but the key is held down for the heavy attack.  Volus are
the only exceptions, they have their own mechanics.

There is some auto-aim applied for most melee attacks, but the Krogan
heavy melee includes a short charge with auto-aim that is very 
effective.  Krogan also receive additional class bonuses that work with
melee attacks, though any character can upgrade their melee attacks
by the way they upgrade the Fitness tree.  Each race has a different
melee attack with the exception of the Volus characters, where they
have some minor abilities activated by the melee button, one of which
does damage and is technically a melee attack, though that is not the
primary use.

Geth melee attacks are also notable since they deplete the user's
shields.  While powerful, this is quite dangerous.  Geth attacks, like
many of the nonhumans, affect an area and can hit up to three enemies,
though only one is staggered.

Heavy melee attacks tend to have long animations.  During those,
the player usually has substantial damage reduction applied, though
this isn't terribly reliable.

***
3. Consumables
***

Every character has the same four limited use abilities.  These require
supplies which are included in all of the purchases you make from the
game store.  The most important is Medi-Gel, which can be used to
revive yourself after your health has been depleted.  You cannot use
a medi-gel if you are killed by an instakill attack (Banshee, Brute,
Atlas, Phantom, or Praetorian special melee attacks).

The second important consumable is the rocket launcher.  These one-shot
weapons will instantly kill anything in a fairly large radius.  They
are primarily useful for recovering from situations where your team
is being overwhelmed, but they can also be used to complete kill
objectives quickly or to dispose of difficult enemies.  Despite their
burst radius, they are slow and require a charge-up time so using them
against distant enemies is not reliable.  They should not be wasted on
hard enemies just for the sake of killing enemies, especially on Bronze,
they are tools to solve problems, not lazy point-grabbers.


* The two remaining consumables are less critical.  Ammunition packs
* are rarely important for the bullet count since there is infinite
* ammunition available at the boxes, but they also refill grenades.
* Both ammuntion and grenades spawn at boxes at a fixed rate, so the
* packs allow a player to bypass waiting for respawns, very useful for
* grenades on anything but Bronze.  The ammunition packs also give a
* very temporary damage boost to all of the player's weapons.

* Survival packs, the last consumable, restore your health and shields
* to full and add a brief shield bonus that behaves like invincibility
* on the lower difficulties, though it only lasts a few seconds.  These
* packs are very unreliable as panic buttons, especially with server
* lag, and may take effect only after you have died, which isn't very
* useful.

Every player starts with the ability to carry two of each supply into
each match.  One of the Rare items you can find from purchases is the 
ability to carry more of each supply.

* Originally the maximum capacity for each supply was ten, and it's
* possible that long-time players still have those capacities, but for
* current players the maximum is five for missiles and ammo packs and
* six for the two healing supplies.  These can be further modified by
* equipment bonuses.

***
4. Equipment
***

The game calls temporary bonuses "Equipment."  These last for one
mission before the effect disappears.  They come in three levels
(I-III), with the higher numbers meaning greater effects.  There is
also a "IV" level, but these items do not appear until all rares 
have been completely unlocked, so they are unlikely to be seen by
most players.

The fourth "equipment" slot (Gear Bonus) is different in that those
bonuses are retained, not consumed.  All of these have five tiers,
and are improved by receiving the same item again, much like the
weapon upgrades.

         a. Ammunition

         i. Armor Piercing ammunition allows your shots to go through
         light cover, such as a Guardian's shield.  They also increase
         the damage you do against armor.  Drill rounds are a variant.
         -                      -                      -
         ii. Cryo rounds make your shots randomly freeze enemies if 
         they do not have shields, armor, or barriers.  Armored enemies
         will be chilled, take more damage, and move slower if the
         ammo effect triggers.
*        Cryo rounds can be used to start a Cryo Explosion combo, but
*        only against enemies that are frozen solid, not just chilled.
         -                      -                      -
         iii. Disruptor rounds increase your damage against shields and
         barriers.  They also may randomly stun the target.
         Disruptor rounds can be used to start a Tech Burst combo.
         -                      -                      -
         iv. Incendiary rounds increase your damage and may light 
         enemies on fire, doing additional damage.
         Incendiary rounds can be used to start a Fire Explosion combo.
         -                      -                      -
         v. Warp rounds do additional damage to targets that are 
         affected by biotic attacks such as Stasis or Pull.
*        Unlike the single player, they do not make concussive shot
*        into a detonator for biotic combos.
         -                      -                      -
         vi. Phasic rounds increase damage and prevent enemies from
         recharging their shields.  They are extremely effective
*        against shields and barriers and are especially useful for
*        single shot weapons, such as many sniper rifles.
         -                      -                      -
         vii. Explosive rounds do exactly what they say - they explode.
*        The damage is based on the base damage of the weapon.  They
*        are not very good.

Data from Supernova 163 on GameFAQs, though this may have changed:

AP Ammo:
Armor Reduction = 50%/65%/75%
Damage = 10%/20%/30%
Penetration = 50/75/100cm

Cryo Ammo:
Weaken Armor = 25%/35%/50%
Freeze chance = 1/1.4/1.8 (these numbers aren't explained)
Duration = 3/4/5 seconds
Speed Reduction = 15%/25%/35%

Disruptor Ammo:
Damage = 5/10%/15%
Stun chance = 1/1.4/1.8
Stops shield regeneration for 8 seconds at all levels.

Incendiary:
Damage = 10%/20%/30%

Warp Ammo:
Weaken Armor = 25%35%/50%
Damage = 15%/25%/35%
Damage to Lifted targets = 25%/50%/75%


         b. Rails

         The game calls these "Weapon Bonus" but they are all the same,
         a temporary bonus to the damage with the specified weapon 
         type.



         c. Armor

*        The armor bonuses, with two exceptions, do not affect your
         defense.  There is a shield bonus, but the other armor bonuses
         affect running speed, power recharge time, power damage and
         other effects.


         d. Gear

         Unlike all of the other equipment, Gear Bonus items are not
         consumed.  Many of their effects are fairly minor, but some
         such as the grenade capacity upgrades can be quite potent.

***
5. Reviving
***

If a characters health is depleted, they collapse to the ground.  A
timer starts and the player can slow down the timer by mashing the
indicated key.

While they are down, another player can come up to them and revive
them by using the action key and waiting.  This is very short range,
and must be done carefully because the action key may have the player
roll or take cover instead of reviving.  Wait for the circle to change
color before hitting the action key to make sure you're giving the
right command.

Enemies can also execute fallen players while the timer is running
down.  Collectors in particular are very aggressive about this, so
a player that falls in the midst of enemies may not survive despite
vigorous button-mashing.

***
6. Combination effects
***

Not all characters can do all combination effects, but at least some
are available to every character.  Combinations fall into two
categories - kill combinations and skill combinations.  The skill 
combinations have a quirk in that the damage they do is based on the
maximum health of the enemy.  They are not terribly effective on the
Bronze difficulty, but are dramatically more useful in harder games.

All of these are explained in the class sections below since they
are limited by avaialable skills.  The only parts of the combinations
that are not skills are the ammunition effects (Cryo, Fire, and
Disruptor) all of which can be used to prime combos.

All combos have two parts - a source and a detonator.  Even if a skill
is valid as both parts of the combo (e.g. Warp for biotic combos)
the same skill cannot be used for both parts.  There is a fairly short
window for all of these effects and often one player will act as a
source for another player's detonator when using skills.

Only one combo can be primed at a time, so if a player uses Warp to
set up a biotic combo and another player hits the target with
incendiary ammo, the biotic combo will not detonate (though the power
attempting to detonate the Warp might set off a Fire Explosion).  The
* first effect may still detonate anyway if a second detonator is used
* quickly enough.

There are four combos:

Tech Bursts use electrical type powers and cause area damage that is
twice as effective against shields.

Biotic Combos use biotic powers and cause area damage that is twice as
effective against barriers and armor.

Fire Explosions use fire type powers and cause area damage that is
twice as effective against armor.

* Cryo Explosions require freezing an unshielded unarmored target solid
* to start.  These do damage and attempt to freeze nearby targets.  The
* cryo explosion does the same damage to all targets.

* In all cases, the strength of the combo is based on the number of
* points invested in the skills used, so a rank one Warp detonated by
* a rank one Throw will do less damage than a rank six Warp detonated
* by a rank six Throw, even without the biotic explosion damage
* improvement evolutions on both powers.

***
7. Defense and shields
***

All of the player classes have either shields (blue) or barriers
(purple).  The difference is purely cosmetic and does not have any
game effect, so this guide will often refer to "shields" for players
* to mean both.  The recharge time for shields is based on the game
* difficulty - 3.5 seconds on Bronze, increasing half a second for
* 4 seconds on Silver and Gold, up to 4.5 on Platinum.

Shields on enemies, displayed in blue, are distinct from barriers, 
shown in purple, in that some player abilities, such as Concussive 
Shot, are more effective against one or the other.  In the case of
Concussive Shot, it does additional damage to barriers and not to
shields.  Some skills, like Energy Drain, work against both.

Shields have an additional effect in addition to absorbing damage.
A shield that goes down absorbs all of the remaining damage from the
attack, referred to as the "shield gate."  This only works if the
remaining damage is not enough to completely kill the target, so a
headshot with a powerful enough sniper rifle will still kill an
enemy, shields and all.  Players are very rarely killed through the
* shield gate, but it does happen.  This gating effect has a hidden
* recharge timer, but the exact time is not known.

Player health is displayed as five bars, and will regenerate partially
lost bars automatically.  Fully lost bars are usually restored at the
end of every wave, when the player is revived, or when a survival pack
consumable is used.  Vorcha also have an ability that regenerates
health.  These five bars are simply divisions of the character's
stat, so each bar could represent as little as 30 health (Volus with
no health upgrades) or as much as 277.5 (Krogan with all health
upgrades.

Enemy health is displayed in red.  Some enemies do not have health
and instead have armor, displayed as yellow.  Armored enemies are
protected from many powers and take less damage from being shot.

Players can be "staggered" and briefly unable to move when they take
enough damage from a single attack.  Some enemies, such as Geth
Bombers, have attacks that stagger players regardless of damage.

Players can also "stagger" enemies by dealing damage.  Most offensive
skills will also cause enemies to stagger, and this is very useful
for setting up shots with slow or single shot weapons.

**********************************************************************
                        Character Descriptions
**********************************************************************

* After some thought, I have decided to remove the specific build
* advice on this FAQ and have just included some general comments on
* builds instead.  I am not an expert with these things, and there
* are plenty of good sites for build advice, which sometimes changes
* as nerfs and changes come and go.  The default Adept, for example,
* was originally a fairly weak class and is now a very strong choice.

* http://me3multiplayer.com/ hosts a large variety of builds, though
* that site is best approached with popup blockers and such since it
* has some very obtrusive advertising.

* If looking for highly competitive builds, ask the forums.  YouTube
* videos of ME3 multiplayer gameplay may have suspect advice, so read
* comments sections.

* http://narida.pytalhost.com/me3/classes/ has a class builder that
* shows a lot of the nuts and bolts mechanics of the class.

__________
   B. Adepts

Adepts are biotic specialists.  Most adepts will focus on using powers
over weapons and will carry a minimal number of guns to keep their
cooldowns to a minimum.  Setting up and detonating biotic combos
are necessary for the higher difficulties.

Because of the cooldown dependence, it's better to be good at one
skill than bad at several.  Every biotic should build around
* eventually having at least one biotic combo available.  Biotic
* combos do not receive a damage bonus from the passive class abilities
* that boost power damage, and Adepts will sometimes skip the passive
* abilities entirely to free up points for powers.  These are called
* "6/6/6/0/6" builds, with the five numbers each referring to a skill.
* 6/6/6/4/4 builds are also common with Adepts, as the weight bonus
* from the passive allows more choice in weapons without penalties.

A lot of the biotic powers refer to "unprotected" enemies, meaning
those without armor, shields, or barriers.  In general, a power that
does not affect an unprotected enemy cannot be a source for a 
biotic combo.  This seriously harms the utility of Pull and Lash.

Adepts, unless otherwise stated, have a 141% cooldown with a Katana
X equipped.  This isn't a useful weapon, it's just a benchmark for 
the character's "base" weapon carrying capacity.  Characters with 
higher numbers can carry slightly heavier weapons with less penalty.

***
1. Human Adept (default, Male and Female)
***

The human adept starts with a single point in Singularity and is
* unlocked by default.  While originally a dubious class, the Human
* Adept was massively improved by the changes to Singularity.

         a. Singularity

         Throws a projectile that creates a spherical field.  Enemies
         in the field take damage over time, and this damage is a 
         biotic combo source, not a detonator.  Enemies with no 
         protection are picked up and float helplessly.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Shockwave

         Shockwave creates a short-range pulse of biotic energy.  It
         can finish a biotic combo by default, and can initiate a
         biotic combo with the lift upgrade, though only against
         unprotected targets.  Shockwave's short range makes it a
         situational skill.  As usual, it can't detonate the combos it
         starts.  The main perks to Shockwave are that it can be fired
         through walls and can stagger large groups of enemies.
         Shockwave also detonates fire explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        Keep your weapons light and spam powers.  Infantry enemies
*        will often dodge Warp, so reserve that power for softening up
*        major armored enemies.  Against slow-moving enemies like an
*        Atlas, Scion, or Ravager, use biotic combos to deal heavy
*        damage, otherwise just use powers to lock down and control
*        enemies.

*        Chaining biotic combos by casting Singularity then Shockwave
*        then Warp can be very effective.  For new players it may be
*        better to stick with just two of the three powers and use all
*        of the passives, but for any serious use the Adept will want
*        all three powers, taking biotic explosion and area of effect
*        bonuses where possible.

*        For builds, a common practice is to skip the Alliance Training
*        passive entirely and max all three powers.  This limits the
*        weapons available for 200% cooldowns drastically, so weapon
*        modifications like ultralight materials may be needed.  More
*        balanced builds like a 6/6/6/4/4 with some points in both the
*        weapon and health passives are also reasonable.


***
2. Asari Adept
***

The basic Asari Adept is a combo powerhouse, but suffers from the
problem that there are three useful skills and not enough points.
There is a second Asari Adept, the Justicar, described below.
This Asari starts with a single point in Stasis.  Instead of rolling,
the Asari do a super-short biotic charge that lowers their
barriers by a tiny amount and their heavy melee attack is a slow
biotic nova.

         a. Stasis

         Stasis, unlike previous games, does not prevent the target
         from being damaged, it actually increases the damage taken.
         It is fairly useless until the final upgrade "Stasis Bubble"
         is taken, since it tends to miss otherwise.  It can affect
         shielded or barriered enemies, but not enemies that have armor
         instead of health.  It can set up biotic combos for anything
         it can effect, and those biotic combos when detonated will
         add a stasis effect to all nearby enemies.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Throw

         Throw is a biotic attack that does weak damage, is easily
         dodged by enemies, and has an extremely rapid cooldown.  It
         is not a great skill, but it excels at exactly one thing:
         setting off biotic combos.  The skill includes bonuses for
         doing exactly that.  It knocks down unprotected enemies and
         does not do any meaningful damage other than combos on 
         protected enemies.  It is only a detonator, not a source.
         It also detonates tech bursts and both explosion types.

         d. Asari Justicar

         The Asari version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Asari Adept is used in one of two ways: either spam Stasis
         at everything that moves to lock down enemies, or churn out
         biotic combos with Warp and Throw.  Some players will use
         Stasis with a light sniper rifle or high damage pistol to
         set up easy headshots, and those characters will probably
         skip all but the most basic ranks of the Throw power, but
*        the combos are where the Adept really shines and using it
*        as a weapons class isn't the best way to play it.

*        Like the Human Adept, skipping Asari Justicar entirely is a
*        common choice.  Players using it for sniping will obviously
*        want to have some points in that skill, but this isn't a
*        recommended tactic.

***
3. Drell Adept
***

Drell Adept is a bit different.  It is the only adept with a grenade
power.  Like the Drell Vanguard, it has increased running speed,
increased weight capacity, and half the shields of other characters.
The Drell Adept is an Uncommon unlock.  Starts with a point in Reave.

* The Drell Adept has a 155 cooldown with the Katana X, ~15% better.

         a. Reave

         Reave is a hitscan power which cannot be dodged.  Like Warp,
         it can be used both for source or detonation of biotic combos.
         All of the damage is dealt over time, and hitting an enemy
         except a blue shielded type with Reave gives the caster a brief
         reduction in damage.  Reave does extra damage to barriers and
         armor.  Recasting Reave cancels the current effect, so there
         is no point in spamming the power.

*        The Drell has poor shields by default and the damage reduction
*        bonus from Reave makes him less squishy, but far from a tank.
*        It is, however, still an important part of the power.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         b. Pull

         This projectile picks up unprotected enemies and holds them
         helpless.  It does a tiny amount of damage at first, but does
         not do more unless the upgrade is purchased.  It acts as a
         source for biotic combos, but only against unprotected targets.
         With the fast cooldown it excels at setting up combos, but it
         only works on enemies where combos aren't really necessary.

         c. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo, but cannot start one.  They also detonate fire
         and cryo explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Drell Assassin

         The Drell version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  For Drell, it also increases their running speed,
         though the shield bonuses aren't so useful when the base
         shields are reduced.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Drell is less of a combo-focused adept, though with Pull
         it can churn out fast combos against weak enemies.  Using a
         heavier weapon is reasonable, especially sniper rifles since
         Reave will stagger enemies long enough to set up a headshot.
         Because of the poor shields and fast movement, the Drell
         Adept is best played as a skirmisher, tagging enemies with
*        Reave and staying out of the line of fire.  The grenades can
*        be used to set up combos with Reave.

*        Since Pull is somewhat situational, many players will put four
*        points in it so that they get the radius upgrade, but don't
*        bother maximizing it.  This makes it useful for crowd control,
*        but limits the effectiveness as a biotic combo tool.

*        Drell builds sometimes maximize the Drell Assassin passive for
*        gun damage, leaving Pull at four and Fitness at four.  Builds
*        that intend to use Pull for combos will switch these two.


***
4. Asari Justicar
***

The Asari Justicar is a rare unlock in Resurgence DLC.  Confusingly,
it's also just called Asari Adept.  It has more in common with the Drell
Adept for powers, though it has the unusual and defensive Biotic
Sphere power, which is at one point by default.

The Justicar has a 150 cooldown with the Katana X, ~10% better than
average.  The class also has 100 extra barrier above a human (600
instead of 500) and this is further increased by the percentage
bonuses.  Like the other Asari, it uses a short biotic charge instead
of a roll.

* With Reave and Sphere, the Justicar has a lot of options for damage
* reduction, though the Sphere's stationary nature gives it a bit of a
* learning curve.

         a. Reave

         Reave is a hitscan power which cannot be dodged.  Like Warp,
         it can be used both for source or detonation of biotic combos.
         All of the damage is dealt over time, and hitting an enemy
         except a blue shielded type with Reave gives the caster a brief
         reduction in damage.  Reave does extra damage to barriers and
         armor.  Recasting Reave cancels the current effect, so there
         is no point in spamming the power.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         b. Pull

         This projectile picks up unprotected enemies and holds them
         helpless.  It does a tiny amount of damage at first, but does
         not do more unless the upgrade is purchased.  It acts as a
         source for biotic combos, but only against unprotected targets.
         With the fast cooldown it excels at setting up combos, but it
         only works on enemies where combos aren't really necessary.

         c. Biotic Sphere

         This creates a defensive field that reduces damage dealt
         to allies and increases damage dealt to enemies.  Because it
         is cast at the Justicar's location, it is extremely limited
         as an offensive tool, and it is primarily useful for defense
         of a fixed spot.  The final upgrade can be used to make it
         a starter for biotic combos, but the logistics of using it
         for combos are awkward at best.

         d. Asari Justicar

         The Asari version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.
 
         The Justicar's variety of this skill is different from the
         other Asari Adept's, but not significantly.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        The Justicar, unusually for an Adept, is primarily a weapons
*        class rather than a powers class.  While Pull can be used for
*        crowd control and Reave can be used in combos, most Justicars
*        will opt for serious weapons instead of relying entirely on
*        their powers.  With Reave and "Bubble" both providing a bonus
*        to damage protection, the Justicar excels at holding fixed
*        points.  Typical builds are 6/6/6/4/4, with low passives but
*        complete skills, or 6/4/6/6/4 with Pull's radius upgrade and
*        Asari Justicar maxed out for weapon and headshot damage.

***
5. Phoenix Adept
***

This is described as an ex-Cerberus human adept.  There is a Vanguard
variant of this class that is identical except that it has Biotic
Charge instead of Singularity.  The heavy melee attack for this class
is weak but has a large area of effect.  It is a rare unlock.

         a. Singularity

         Throws a projectile that creates a spherical field.  Enemies
         in the field take damage over time, and this damage is a biotic
         combo source, not a detonator.  Enemies with no protection
         (only red health) are picked up and float helplessly.

         b. Smash

         Attacks a short area in front of the Adept.  Depending on the
         level 4 upgrade, this can either be a source for a tech burst
         or a biotic combo, but by default it is only a detonator.  The
         major flaw with Smash is the long animation before the attack
         where the character is helpless.  Unlike many other skills
         with long animations, Smash offers no invulnerability frames
         or even damage reduction during that period, so it must be
         used very carefully when under fire.  Like Shockwave, the
         attack goes through walls, but the short range means that it
         cannot routinely be used in this fashion.

         c. Lash

         Throws a projectile that pulls enemies towards the user and
         detonates biotic combos.  The pull effect only works on an
         unprotected enemy unless the shield piercing evolution is 
         taken at level six, and the combos never work on anything with
         armor.  It can be used as the source for a biotic combo, but
         like all skills, it cannot be both source and detonator in
         the same combo.

         d. Phoenix Training

         The only difference between this and the standard human class
         skill is that it gives a 25 bonus for pistols and shotguns
         instead of a 20 bonus for everything on one of the level six
         evolutions.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case, but the Phoenix melee
         attack is dubious.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        The "whip it good" theme does not synergize well, unfortunately,
*        with Smash a short range power and Singularity and Lash both
*        of limited utility against protected opponents.  Lash does
*        not reliably kill enemies, but is helpful for breaking up
*        groups of weak foes.  It can also be used for biotic combos,
*        though again, like Pull, it suffers from the reality that combos
*        that only work on unprotected enemies are not anything special.
*        There are a few options on builds, but skipping Lash entirely
*        may be necessary given the overlap with Singularity on 
*        vulnerable targets.  Alternatively, it can be taken to four,
*        leaving four in Fitness, for the biotic combo upgrade.  Taking it
*        to 6 would mean less points in passives, and the rank 5 power
*        damage passive is important for Smash.

***
6. N7 Fury
***

This is a human adept with a focus on damage over time abilities.
It also has a variant heavy melee area of effect attack.  It is a
* rare unlock.  The Fury is often played without points in passive,
* relying entirely on biotic combos detonated with Throw and set up
* with the other two powers.

* Alternatively, you can focus on either Field or Channel and have
* more points for the passives, allowing more flexibility in the
* weapons carried, but the "Field first" build is better done by the
* Asari Valkyrie and the "Channel first" build by the Asari Huntress.

         a. Annihilation Field

         Creates a damage zone around the Fury that lasts a long time.
         It can be activated again to deal immediate damage, and this
         detonation will finish biotic combos.  The field itself sets
         up a biotic combo, but the detonation effect cannot detonate
         the combo set up by the field.

*        +50% damage against armor and barriers.

         b. Dark Channel

         This is a long duration damage over time effect that acts as
         a source for biotic combos.  It hits automatically, and if
         the target dies, the effect moves to another nearby enemy
         and this continues until the duration is over or there are
         no immediate targets.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Throw

         Throw is a biotic attack that does weak damage, is easily
         dodged by enemies, and has an extremely rapid cooldown.  It
         is not a great skill, but it excels at exactly one thing:
         setting off biotic combos.  The skill includes bonuses for
         doing exactly that.  It knocks down unprotected enemies and
         does not do any meaningful damage other than combos on 
         protected enemies.  It is only a detonator, not a source.
         It also detonates tech bursts and both explosion types.

         d. N7 Fury

         Despite the fancy name, this is identical to the normal human
         Alliance Training and gives the same passive boosts.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics
        
*        For aggressive playstyles, walk up to enemies with the field
*        on and spam throw, setting off a biotic combo.  If it survived,
*        walk back slightly and then forward to reapply the field and
*        repeat throw.  200% cooldowns a must.  Death is certain if not
*        used carefully.

*        Dark Channel is a great tool for long range kills, and again a
*        source for biotic combos, giving the Fury a slightly less crazy
*        option against enemies where just charging in would be suicide.

***
7. Volus Adept
***

This character cannot sweep all that opposes it like a great biotic
wind, unfortunately, but it is a handy supporting member of a team
with Stasis to hold enemies and Shield Boost to restore ally 
defenses.  Unfortunately, by itself the character is basically
helpless.  It is an ultra rare unlock.

The Volus Adept has a 125 cooldown with the Katana X, ~15% worse than
the humans.  They also have incredibly low health.

Volus do not have melee attacks.  Instead, the melee button activates
a short cloaking effect when tapped and a short-duration invincibility
when held.  They cannot take cover, though they can hide somewhat.  
This means that they never have the accuracy bonus for firing from 
cover, and the "standing behind low cover" isn't as effective as
actually using the cover system.

         a. Stasis

         Stasis, unlike previous games, does not prevent the target
         from being damaged, it actually increases the damage taken.
         It is fairly useless until the final upgrade "Stasis Bubble"
         is taken, since it tends to miss otherwise.  It can affect
         shielded or barriered enemies, but not enemies that have armor
         instead of health.  It can set up biotic combos for anything
         it can effect, and those biotic combos when detonated will
         add a stasis effect to all nearby enemies.

         b. Biotic Orbs

         This conjures up three orbs that circle the Volus.  Each one
         reduces cooldowns somewhat and they can be fired as projectiles
         that deal damage and detonate biotic combos.  The recharge
         time is based on when the orbs were summoned, so even with a
         heavy weapon three could be fired, immediately resummoned, and
         another three released.  The recharge time remaining is never
         shown in game.  The orbs do extra damage to armor and barriers.
         They can also detonate Fire Explosions and Cryo Explosions.

         c. Shield Boost

         This is not a biotic ability.  It restores some of the shields
         of all allies in a small radius and continues to restore them
         for a short period after.  While casting it, the Volus is
*        invincible.  Because of the shield gating effect, restoring any
*        amount of shields is the critical benefit for the skill, so
*        evolutions that increase the amount of shields restored are
*        of dubious value.

         d. Volus Training

         This is the usual class passive power, with the quirk that
         there is no headshot bonus, instead the 5th evolution has the
         option to improve the Shield Boost ability.

*   Recommended: Take to rank four, choosing the weight and power
*   damage upgrade at four.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case... but the Volus don't
*        have melee attacks other than the heavy shield.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Volus is a pure supporting character, and while it is
         capable of biotic combos using stasis and orbs, these will only
         affect unarmored enemies.  The best tactic is simply to follow
         allies around restoring their shields and suppressing enemies
         with Stasis, detonating combos with the orbs when necessary
         but using the orbs first and foremost for the cooldown
         reduction.  This may be more of "Biotic Guardian Angel" than
         "Biotic God" but close enough, right?

***
8. Krogan Shaman
***

The most durable of all of the Adept classes, the Shaman like any
Krogan is a walking tank with massive health and barrier bonuses
compared to a human adept.  They are slower and they can't roll.
Like all Krogan, they have great melee attacks which are further
improved by the rage ability.

Surprisingly, the Krogan Shaman does not have a bonus to weight
capacity.  Because of the inherent recharge speed in Barrier, the
Shaman will probably never be the ultimate in power spam.  It is a
rare unlock.

         a. Barrier

         Barrier functions much like a Sentinel's tech armor - it slows
         power recharge in exchange for damage reduction.  It can also
         be released to deal damage to nearby enemies.  This explosion
         also lifts unprotected enemies temporarily and is a source
         for a biotic combo.  The explosion does not detonate combos.

*        Detonating the barrier does 50% extra damage to other barriers,
*        normal damage to anything else.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Shockwave

         Shockwave creates a short-range pulse of biotic energy.  It
         can finish a biotic combo by default, and can initiate a
         biotic combo with the lift upgrade, though only against
         unprotected targets.  Shockwave's short range makes it a
         situational skill.  As usual, it can't detonate the combos it
         starts.  The main perks to Shockwave are that it can be fired
         through walls and can stagger large groups of enemies.
         Shockwave also detonates fire explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         This is the usual class passive power, with the quirk that
         the weight bonuses are larger than usual.

         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill, which is broadly
         similar to the usual health and shield boosts or melee damage
         of other characters except that it has bonuses to the Krogan
         racial ability to enter rage after making melee kills.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Shaman is not a real combo powerhouse because of the speed
         penalty inherent in Barrier, but it is the most survivable of
*        the Adept classes.  With an ally that can start or finish combos
*        the Krogan could very easily skip one of the two powers and play
*        as a gun-focused character with token biotics.  Alternatively,
*        skipping the gun and power damage bonuses in the passives allows
*        the Krogan as a 6/6/6/0/6 build to focus entirely on melee, with
*        biotic combos from Warp and Shockwave a backup tool in situations
*        where Krogan bloodlust is ill-advised.


***
9. Batarian Slasher
***

The only Batarian without the Blade Armor skill is a mishmash of
powers and unless you're a big fan of the four-eye folk, he's not a
great character.  The character is slower than humans, but has more
barrier strength.  Starts with a point in Warp and is a rare unlock.

         a. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         b. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo, but cannot start one.  They also detonate fire
         and cryo explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         c. Lash

         Throws a projectile that pulls enemies towards the user and
         detonates biotic combos.  The pull effect only works on an
         unprotected enemy unless the shield piercing evolution is 
         taken at level six, and the combos never work on anything with
         armor.  It can be used as the source for a biotic combo, but
         like all skills, it cannot be both source and detonator in
         the same combo.

         d. Batarian Enforcer

         Batarians, in addition to the usual class bonuses, also get
         some additional ammunition.  The rank six option is for
         25 points on sniper rifles and shotguns.

         e. Fitness

         Same skill as everyone else, with melee bonuses or shield
         and health bonuses.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Slasher is largely similar to the Drell Adept, with the
         replacement of Lash for Pull and Warp for Reave.  Reave is
         generally a better power, especially for an Adept using heavy
         weapons.  The same general tactic can be used here, carrying
         guns as the primary offensive tool and leaving the biotics for
*        debuffing.  While the Slasher's powers are far less useful, the
*        Slasher himself is somewhat sturdier, though Reave balances this
*        substantially with the damage reduction.  Lash in particular
*        is mostly dead weight on the Slasher, and while some token points
*        might be useful as a spammable power for crowd control, it isn't
*        worth using as a primary tool.  It can be used as a pair with
*        Warp for biotic combos, but it can't make biotic combos against
*        armor or barriers where they are actually useful.

__________
   C. Soldiers

Soldiers shoot stuff.  They don't get fancy tech abilities or amazing
magical biotics, instead they get passive and semi-passive bonuses
and just shoot stuff better.  Each of the soldiers has a spammable
power, though skill spam is better done with other classes.  Soldiers
more than any other class will likely ignore their cooldown percentage
and just carry the guns that they enjoy.

Again, the Katana X is used as a benchmark for base weight capacity.
It is not a recommended weapon.

***
1. Human Soldier
***

The Human Soldier isn't subtle.  They just do damage, or in the case
of adrenaline rush, more damage.  If wacky powers aren't your thing,
this is the class to play.  Starts with a point in Adrenaline Rush and
is unlocked by default.

With the Katana X, the human has 155% cooldown, ~15% better than most
characters.

         a. Adrenaline Rush

         This power increases the damage of all attacks and gives a
         variety of other bonuses depending on the upgrades applied.
         Unlike the single player version, it has no effect on the
         game speed.  The cooldown on this ability does not start
         until the ability itself ends.

         Adrenaline Rush also reloads your weapon.

         b. Concussive Shot

         While this shot does very low damage, it also can be arced
         around cover, has a very quick cooldown, and can knock basic
         enemies down.  It isn't worth getting if you plan to use 
         heavy weapons, but it does give the Soldier a "skill spam"
         option.  Amplification and Warp Ammo do not allow biotic
         combos, unlike the single player.

*        Concussive shot does quadruple damage (!) against barriers.
*        It also does more damage than it seems since the physics
*        of getting knocked down cause damage.

         c. Frag Grenade

         The simplest of grenade powers, this doesn't do any strange
         damage over time or lifting or carpet bombing, it just does
         old fashioned damage.  Since it ignores cooldowns, it remains
         useful even with a heavily armed soldier.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The question for a Human Soldier build is essentially between
         Concussive Shot or not Concussive Shot.  If you don't intend
         to spam it, you may as well not take it.  Regardless of what
         else you do, make sure to get the frags, as they are the best
         skill the class has.  Other than that, just shoot things and
*        pop Adrenaline Rush when things get hairy or even when you just
*        want a quick reload.  This is especially useful with the grenade
*        rifles since it means the Soldier can continue to stunlock
*        enemies for a longer time.

***
2. Krogan Soldier
***

The Krogan Soldier's main draw is his mighty melee, but he can also
be played as a tank that refuses to die.  The Soldier is Rare, and he
starts with a point in Fortification.  Krogan cannot roll, but have 
increased health and shields.

With the Katana X, the Krogan has 170% cooldown, ~30% better than most
characters.  They also have double a human's shields and 50% more
health.

         a. Fortification

         This power closely resembles the Tech Armor power that the
         Sentinels have.  Instead of dealing damage when turned off,
         though, it increases your melee damage for a short period
         instead.  The first key press turns it "on" and hitting the
         key again discharges it.  While it is on, the character takes
         less damage from all sources.

         b. Carnage

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off or prime a fire explosion.
         Like all powers, though, it cannot do both, so it has to be
         paired with an ammo power or a grenade.  It can also set off
         tech bursts and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Inferno Grenade

         While powerful, the Inferno Grenade is not as good as the
         frag since it takes time to work.  It is, however, quite good
         at slaughtering groups of weak enemies or weakening harder
         ones so that you can finish them off with your mighty melee.
         Can be used as a source for fire explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         The Krogan version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in shotgun weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill has a different name
         and an additional effect.  If the Krogan kills three enemies
         (reduced to two with an upgrade) with melee attacks they enter
         rage mode and have a melee damage bonus as well as a damage
         reduction bonus.  Note that this is not "kill with melee" but
         "melee and kill."  Other than that, this skill is just defense
         and melee damage like Fitness is.

    Recommended: Max.  After three, melee damage, martial artist, then
    pure rage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         It's possible to use the Krogan Soldier with no cooldown
         powers at all and be completely free to carry the heaviest
         weapons you can find.  Inferno Grenade is very nice, but the
         Krogan's big ability is his improved heavy melee strike.
         While not as useful on higher difficulties, Krogan melee is
         ludicrously powerful on Bronze.  With the right skills, you
         can one-shot most common enemies with a swing of your mighty
         arm.  More important than being effective, Krogan is fun.

         Carry whatever floats your boat.  One possibility is to
         carry light weapons and discharge Fortification whenever 
         needed, but more likely carry the biggest and meanest 
         things you can find, especially a weapon with some sort of
         blade attachment for melee damage.  A long range weapon is
         also handy when dealing with objectives where you can't run 
         around freely.

*        For variety, you could go light on the passives and get both
*        grenades and Carnage to use for Fire Explosion combos.  Skipping
*        Fortification through promotion or respec card would allow even
*        more of this, but without Fortification the Krogan isn't nearly
*        as sturdy.

***
3. Turian Soldier
***

The Turian's main draw is the class ability that increases stability,
which makes high recoil weapons less useless.  Turians can't roll.
The lack of a grenade power makes the Turian somewhat suspect as a
heavy weapon class.  The Turian Soldier is an Uncommon unlock and
starts with a point in Marksman.

With the Katana X, the turian has 175% cooldown, ~30% better than most
characters and the best base weight capacity of all characters.  They
have 50% more shields than a human but can't roll.

         a. Marksman

         This skill makes you shoot faster and more accurately. It's
         essentially a variant on Adrenaline Rush.  Like the rush, it
         doesn't start cooling down until it ends.

         b. Concussive Shot

         While this shot does very low damage, it also can be arced
         around cover, has a very quick cooldown, and can knock basic
         enemies down.  It isn't worth getting if you plan to use 
         heavy weapons, but it does give the Soldier a "skill spam"
         option.

*        Concussive shot does quadruple damage (!) against barriers.
*        It also does more damage than it seems since the physics
*        of getting knocked down cause damage.

         c. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

         The mine is also handy as a way to stagger enemies to line up
         headshots.  It also detonates fire and cryo explosions as well
         as tech bursts.

         d. Turian Veteran

         The Turian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in assault rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.  The Turian also
         gets a bonus to weapon stability, reducing recoil.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Turian Soldier is more or less designed to use the heavy
         rapid fire weapons with recoil problems, most notably the
         N7 Typhoon.  With Marksman, however, even full auto submachine
         guns can turn into laser-accurate bullet hoses, though be sure
         to take something to use against heavily armored enemies.

*        This class is one of the weaker soldier options, with three
*        powers that share cooldowns and little synergy between the
*        three.  The stability bonus is really the only selling point on
*        the class, and all of the Turians have it.  Proximity Mine is a
*        solid power, and the Turian Soldier isn't unplayable, it's just
*        not good.

         
***
*4. Battlefield 3 Soldier
***

The BF3 soldier is a cross-game promotion only available to people
who also have Battlefield 3.  It's a variant on the Human Soldier
with Carnage instead of Concussive shot, and honestly isn't that
different.  There isn't a full guide here, just review the Human
Soldier above as it's almost indistinguishable.  There is no female.

*        a. See above.

         b. Carnage

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off or prime a fire explosion.
         Like all powers, though, it cannot do both, so it has to be
         paired with an ammo power or a grenade.  It can also set off
         tech bursts and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

*        c-e. See above.

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off or prime a fire explosion.
         Like all powers, though, it cannot do both, so it has to be
         paired with an ammo power or a grenade.  It can also set off
         tech bursts and cryo explosions.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        The one thing that the BF3 soldier can do that the basic Human
*        cannot is Fire Explosions, with Carnage used to prime and frags
*        to detonate.  With a 6/6/6/4/4 build, taking only four ranks in
*        the two passive skills, the soldier would be less survivable and
*        less effective with guns but have a powerful option against major
*        enemies.  Carnage cannot be spammed the way Concussive Shot can,
*        so a BF3 soldier is often built exactly like the standard human
*        counterpart - Adrenaline Rush, frags, and passives.

***
*5. Batarian Enforcer
***

The Batarian Soldier was added in the Resurgence DLC and is a rare
unlock.  The fun use (like the Krogan) is in melee, but the Batarian's 
Ballistic Blades power is also quite potent.  The class starts with one 
point in the blades.

With the Katana X, the Enforcer has 141% cooldown, the same as most
characters.  They have 50% more health and shields than humans and
cannot roll.

         a. Ballistic Blades

         This ability fires a short-range cone of blades in front of
         the Batarian, like an oversize shotgun.  In addition to the
         damage, which is decent, the blades also stun enemies, setting
         them up for the melee attacks.

         b. Blade Armor

         The Batarian version of the armor power reduces incoming
         damage like all of the other armors.  It also increases melee
         damage and deals damage to enemies that use melee attacks on
         the Batarian.  Unlike the other armors, it cannot be
         detonated.  It can be turned off, but this has no effect.

         c. Inferno Grenade

         While powerful, the Inferno Grenade is not as good as the
         frag since it takes time to work.  It is, however, quite good
         at slaughtering groups of weak enemies or weakening big ones.
         Can be used as a source for fire explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor.

         d. Batarian Enforcer

         The Batarian version of the class skill, in addition to the
         usual schticks, also gives additional spare ammo capacity,
         which is rarely important.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        While it would be tempting to skip the blades through respec or
*        promotion and just use the armor and grenades on a weightless
*        character, the blades are incredibly powerful as a tool for
*        staggering enemies even if their damage is only moderate.
*        Many players build the character around the blades, sacrificing
*        either defensive passives or the armor.  Skipping the grenades
*        entirely is an option, especially if playing with other heavy
*        grenade users that are competing for grenade spawns.

*        Since the blades aren't useful for combos, they could be kept at
*        fairly low level and points moved to Blade Armor and passives,
*        leaving the Batarian as a 3/6/5/6/6, with the armor and passive
*        choices depending on whether a melee build or a gunner build is
*        desirable.

***
*6. Vorcha Soldier
***

The Vorcha is another Rare unlock, and differs from his Sentinel
cousin only in that he has Carnage instead of Cluster Grenades.  Both
classes have the Flamer, a powerful anti-armor weapon, and a berserk
mode where the Vorcha gets temporarily stronger as he kills enemies.
The ability to regenerate health is offset by the lower shields of the
Vorcha (half of a human), though they have 50% more base health.

The Vorcha soldier has a 141% cooldown with Katana X, the same as most
non-Soldier characters.

         a. Bloodlust

         This is an activated passive ability that remains active until
         turned off.  It does slow power usage while active.  While it
         is in use, the Vorcha regenerates health, moves slightly
         faster, and does increased melee damage.  Every kill increases
         these abilities for 15 seconds.  Unlike shield regeneration
         where the player needs to be temporarily safe, the health
         regeneration is constant, meaning that the Vorcha can survive
         constant low damage as long as there are a few stacks up.

         b. Flamer

         This power has a duration once activated, but can be cancelled
         early.  It's a short range "Hollywood" style flamethrower that
         does good damage at short range, especially against armor.
         Enemies struck by the fire will continue to burn and the power
         is a source for fire explosions.  It can be dangerous to use
         on higher difficulties because of the time spent out in the
         open, and firing short bursts to ignite enemies allows some
         time in cover and less recharge time.

*        50% more damage to armor.

         c. Carnage

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off or prime a fire explosion.
         Like all powers, though, it cannot do both, so it has to be
         paired with an ammo power or a grenade.  It can also set off
         tech bursts and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         d. Vorcha Resilience

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is for 25 points of shotguns or assault
         rifles.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The rank six melee damage also gives a temporary
         bonus to weapon damage after a melee kill.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Because the Flamer can be fired and cancelled to drastically
*        reduce recharge time, carrying heavier weapons is reasonable,
*        though Carnage is somewhat less forgiving.  Lighting enemies on
*        fire only takes a flicker from the flamer, so learn to cancel it
*        immediately after lighting enemies.  Detonating those enemies
*        with Carnage is an obvious next step.  Many players run the
*        Vorcha Soldier with very low Fitness, relying on the health
*        regeneration from the racial ability to stay alive.  It's also
*        possible to skip the Flamer and use ammo powers to set up the
*        combos or to skip Carnage and rely on your allies for detonators.

***
*7. N7 Destroyer
***

The Destroyer is a guy in a suit of powered armor, and all of his
abilities are described as being from the suit, but in reality it's
just another character.  Unlocked as a rare, the N7 Destroyer has a
lot of neat ideas, but the missile launcher and the grenade are both
* frustrating and neither is a simple skill to use.
 
Despite the battlesuit, the Destroyer still has a 141% cooldown with
the Katana X, meaning no bonuses.  He does have double the shields of
the average human, but slower movement which is further slowed by
Devastator Mode. 

         a. Devastator Mode

         This is a toggled mode that slows the Destroyer's movement
         speed while active but gives bonuses to damage, rate of fire,
         and magazine size.  The movement speed penalty is noticeable,
         but it is not crippling.  Magazine size bonuses make this mode
         especially useful with Collector weapons and the particle
         beam rifle, but for most weapons the rate of fire and damage
         are all that matters.

         b. Hawk Missile Launcher

*        This is another toggled mode power, and at first glance it is 
*        terrible.  The launcher on the suit's shoulder will, every so 
*        often, fire a weak missile, similar to Concussive Shot.  Because 
*        the suit doesn't aim very well it often hits terrain on the way 
*        to the target, and even upgraded the damage is nothing special.  
*        While the mode is active, the user's shields are reduced 
*        substantially.  The launcher's missiles can be dodged, and this 
*        is sometimes just as useful as hitting, since the purpose is to 
*        stagger enemies to be killed by the guns.

*        Some people swear by it as a "must have" for the class.  While
*        the shield penalty may seem harsh, all it does is remove the
*        bonus that the Destroyer gets for base shields over a normal
*        human.

         c. Multi-Frag Grenade

*        This skill looks good on paper, but in practice it is borderline
*        unusably bad.  The grenades fired by this skill launch in a
*        shotgun-like pattern upwards, making them almost impossible to
*        aim.  With practice it can be very powerful at short range and
*        is far from useless, but it's still not very desirable.  The
*        empty grenade power, at least on PC, also cancels reload
*        animations.

*        d. T5-V Battlesuit

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is the usual human 20 reduction on all
         weapons.

         e. T5-V Internal Systems

         Fitness by another name.  Given that none of the Devastator's
         abilities complement melee attacks, the upper row of options
         might as well not exist.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Since none of the three skills on the class are spammable, the
         impulse would be to take the heaviest weapons available, and
         this isn't terrible unless you expect to disengage Devastator
         Mode in order to run and set up in another location.  This is
         not likely to happen often and playing without Devastator mode
         for a few seconds isn't lethal, but it's probably best not to
         be at -200% penalty cooldowns.  This class was made for the
         N7 Typhoon, an ultra-rare assault rifle, but it works with most
         weapons.  Short-range weapons like some of the shotguns are
         inadvisable given the class's slow movement speed.

*        Devastator Mode is the only consistent thing used in Destroyer
*        builds, with the grenades and missile launcher often a matter of
*        taste and experience since neither is very user-friendly.  It is
*        also possible to just skip Fitness and use the Destroyer as an
*        immobile point defender stuck behind cover, but this is very map-
*        dependent and will not work in many situations.

***
*7. Turian Havoc
***

The Havoc is a variant on the Turian Soldier that has some dubious
skills and one great skill.  This is a class that excels at soloing
because of the ability to recharge shields at will on an already
sturdy class.

The other Turian Soldier gets the highest bonus to weight capacity,
and the Havoc gets the same 141% with the Katana X as most characters
do.  The Havoc gets the same 50% extra shields as the basic Turian,
but while he also cannot roll, he can do a jet powered hop that ends
* up being more of a liability than an asset unless you know how to use
* it.

There is no Turian Vanguard, so this is the next best thing.  The
Havoc has a partner, the Turian Ghost, an Infiltrator, that shares the
Stimulant Pack power that makes the Havoc useful.

         a. Havoc Strike

         This is a rocket powered charging attack that moves the Havoc
         to an enemy and deals some damage.  The Havoc is invincible
         while the power is active and after arriving has 4 seconds of
         50% damage reduction.

         b. Stimulant Pack

         This is a power that uses grenades to represent the charges of
         avaiable uses.  When activated, the power restores the user's
         shields and gives a small temporary damage bonus.  This skill
         is excellent when soloing, as it massively increases your
         ability to survive in dangerous situations and can be used far
         more times than the consumable supplies with a similar effect.

         c. Cryo Blast

         This power does not do damage, but instead throws a freezing
         projectile at enemies.  Affected targets are frozen solid if
         they do not have shields, barriers, or armor, and targts that
         are frozen solid can be used as a source for cryo explosions.
         Targets that are not frozen solid will be slowed and take
         additional damage.

         d. Armiger Legion

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is 30 weight reduction on assault rifles.
         Like all the Turians, it includes stability bonuses that
         reduce the effect of recoil.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         While the melee build is the most fun to have on the class, the
         Havoc is mostly useful for the Stimulant Packs and the ability
         to survive massive punishment.  Use of ammunition packs to
         restore grenade counts, especially grenade counts augmented by
         gear bonuses, mean that the Havoc can survive things that would
         kill just about anything else.  The Turian Ghost Infiltrator
         can do similar things, of course, and is for the most part just
         a better class.

*        Havoc Strike is amusing, but it is not as good as Biotic Charge
*        since it has a much larger time lag and does not restore shields.
*        While nominally the reason for the Havoc's existence, you could
*        just as easily promote or respec out of it and leave the Havoc
*        as a heavy weapons platform with instant shield recharge and
*        a debuffing power.  The Stimulant Packs work great as a low level
*        ability, as almost all of their utility is the shield restoration
*        and increasing duration or shield boosts or the tiny damage 
*        boost is a fairly low priority.

***
*8. Geth Trooper
***

Could also be called Geth Pyro.  This rare unlock has two almost
contradictory passive activated skills, and using both is improbable,
so Flamer will almost certainly be taken eventually.  Geth have great
shields and terrible health, so taking cover only when shields are
down may be too late.  With Fortification the Geth is a fairly sturdy
soldier type, and the powers do not interfere with heavy weapon use.

         a. Flamer

         This power has a duration once activated, but can be cancelled
         early.  It's a short range "Hollywood" style flamethrower that
         does good damage at short range, especially against armor.
         Enemies struck by the fire will continue to burn and the power
         is a source for fire explosions.  It can be dangerous to use
         on higher difficulties because of the time spent out in the
         open, and firing short bursts to ignite enemies allows some
         time in cover and less recharge time.

*        50% more damage to armor.

         b. Fortification

         This power closely resembles the Tech Armor power that the
         Sentinels have.  Instead of dealing damage when turned off,
         though, it increases your melee damage for a short period
         instead.  The first key press turns it "on" and hitting the
         key again discharges it.  While it is on, the character takes
         less damage from all sources.

         c. Hunter Mode

         This is an activated passive skill which remains on until
         deactivated.  It shows you the location of enemies through
         walls or smoke and gives combat bonuses, but it also drops
         your shields in half.  It also causes a lot of visual field
         changes, which can take some adjustment since you will see
         enemies that you can't shoot at and there is clutter on the
         screen.

         d. Networked AI

         This is the Geth class skill.  In addition to the usual class
         skill bonuses, it includes an additional damage bonus to Geth
         weapons (the Javelin is the only affected weapon without
         "Geth" in the name).

         e. Advanced Hardware

         This is the Geth version of the fitness skill.  In addition
         to the usual abilities, it also gives a shield recharge
         speed bonus at rank 1 and a wacky power damage/melee synergy
*        at rank six.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        The Geth Trooper has two very different approaches - on Bronze
*        and Silver he can be a sturdy front line tankish build, skipping
*        Hunter Mode in favor of maximium health and defense while burning
*        enenmies right and left.  On higher difficulties nothing survives
*        long in the open, and he falls into "just another Geth" using
*        Hunter Mode and the maximum possible Flamer damage - assuming he
*        survives.  Balancing between Fitness and Fortification may be
*        necessary, as improving one without improving the other can be
*        inefficient, but the "max damage flamer" build needs the armor
*        skill for the power damage evolution at five.

*        Without Hunter Mode and with passives, with a powerful but short
         range Flamer, the Trooper is a top tier front line fighter.  It
         lacks a way to detonate combos, however, and that limits the
         offensive capability of the class.  Since Flamer can be pulsed
         to ignite enemies and retain a minimal cooldown, the Trooper
         can afford to carry quite a bit in the weapons department,
         though going below 0% is inadvisable.

*        The trooper with armor up is actually sturdier than the Krogan
*        in some respects, as the Geth have a racial bonus to shield
*        recharge.  The perilously low health, however, makes this less
*        useful on the higher difficulties, where shield gating is a major
*        portion of defense and after that hits, the Geth is microseconds
*        from dead.  On those difficulties, Hunter Mode is less suicidal
*        since shield recharge is more important than the actual shield
*        strength and the increased damage potential.

***
*9. Quarian Marksman
***

The Marksman is sadly not voiced by Adam Baldwin.  Between Marksman
and Tactical Scan, the Quarian is based more on upgrading existing
weapons rather than using powers to directly attack enemies.  The
Sabotage power is marginal, since with two other cooldown-based powers
and no way to detonate the tech bursts it simply isn't useful except
against Geth, and even there it's marginal.

Quarians have 20% more shields than humans, and the Marksman has the
same 141% with Katana X as most characters.  Sadly, the Marksman has
little to offer, since the Turian Soldier does the Marksman power
better with innate stability bonuses and better carrying capacity and
the Quarian Infiltrator does Sabotage better with less competition
between cooldowns.

         a. Marksman

         This skill makes you shoot faster and more accurately. It's
         essentially a variant on Adrenaline Rush.  Like the rush, it
         doesn't start cooling down until it ends.

         b. Tactical Scan

         This power debuffs a target, showing their position to all
         allies, even through walls.  While the target is affected
         their movement is reduced and they take additional damage.
         This does not stagger the target or do any damage.

         c. Sabotage

         This skill takes over a technological enemy briefly.  It also
         stops enemies with weapons from attacking.  Enemies that are
         dominated will at least stand helpless for a few seconds even
         if your allies are shooting them, and taking over Cerberus
         turrets, which are vicious at short range, is also effective.
         Overall, if you can't communicate with your team this skill
         is rarely useful.  It also does little against the Reaper
         and Collector enemies, who do not have any technological 
         units.  Sabotage can set up Tech Bursts.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian class skill is like all the others, with a level
         six option for a 30 weight reduction in SMGs.

         e. Fitness

         The usual melee and defensive upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Quarian will likely use fairly light weapons such as the
         Mattock or Tempest so that he can hit an enemy with Tactical
         Scan and quickly open up with Marksman.  In general, the
         Turian Soldier is a better Marksman user because of the better
*        base weapon capacity, but the Quarian is more agile and Tactical
*        Scan has a shorter cooldown than Proximity Mine.  Sabotage
         allows for fun with Geth, but even there it's a marginal
         power that requires more work than the results justify.

*        Other than theorycrafting some crazy headshot damage numbers,
*        there's little to recommend the Marksman as a class.

__________
   D. Engineers

Engineers are tech specialists.  Many of them have drone powers that
can distract enemy fire, though melee enemies ignore the decoys.
Almost all of the engineers can do some sort of combo innately,
typically either fire explosions or tech bursts, and like the Adepts,
they are more driven by their abilities than by the weapons they
carry.


***
1. Human Engineer
***

While the term is "Engineer" the description that might come to mind
is "mage" with lightning bolts, fireballs, and a familiar.  The
Human Engineer may not be a heavy hitter, but it can still a major
asset to a team.  The Human Engineer is unlocked by default and starts
with a point in drone.

         a. Combat Drone

         This skill creates a temporary ally that floats around the
         battlefield, poking at enemies.  It can be upgraded to spam
         stunning attacks that make it more useful as a defensive
         tool, but it is primarily a distraction.  The "Detonate"
         evolution will detonate tech bursts, fire explosions, and cryo
         explosions, but making this happen can be tricky at best.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.
         Overload will also set off fire and cryo explosions.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Human Engineer is best played with as short a cooldown as
         possible, spamming upgraded "chain lightning" overload to
         lock down entire groups of enemies.  Paired with a Salarian
         Engineer or Infiltrator, Energy Drain and Overload will set
         up insane numbers of tech bursts, perfect for taking down
         hordes of enemies.  The Human Engineer isn't a killing class,
         it's a controlling class, and works best as part of a team.

*        Human Engineer builds always include maximized Incinerate and
*        Overload, but they vary dramatically on the other three.

*        The drone has been nerfed somewhat and is not as useful as a 
*        distraction as it once was, so it requires actual points in
*        order to make it useful.  Taking it to at least three is a good
*        start, further use will depend on the build.

*        Some players have skipped the passive (Alliance Training) and
*        focused on the tech burst/fire explosion combos as their source
*        of damage.  At least five ranks in this skill is highly
*        recommended, though, as Incinerate in particular does excellent
*        damage.  The sixth rank is usually skipped, as this is rarely
*        used as a gun class, though using Overload to stagger enemies
*        for Mantis headshots is a decent way to play at level one.
*        A 3/6/6/5/6 build might be ideal for new players still getting
*        a hang on multiplayer, though veterans will probably want 
*        6/6/6/5/3.

*        Given the stunning power of Overload, the drone distraction, and
*        no incentive to be anywhere close to enemies, some players have
*        skipped Fitness entirely in favor of other skills, but three
*        ranks is a common choice for at least the basic health and shield
*        bonuses.  With the skipped rank six in Alliance Training, the
*        Engineer can max out all three attack skills this way.

***
2. Quarian Engineer
***

The Quarian engineer's main perk is the "fire and ice" combination
and synergy.  Unfortunately, her skills don't quite keep up with the
other Engineers.  Starts with a point in Sentry Turret, and is
unlocked as a Rare.

Quarians have 20% more shields than humans.

         a. Sentry Turret

         This turret does not fire enough to be very useful or potent,
         but it can do decent damage with the flamethrower upgrade at
         short range.  The flamethrower can be used to set up fire
         explosions and the cryo ammo can set up cryo explosions.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.  It is a
         projectile attack and can be dodged by enemies.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Cryo Blast

         Cryo Blast can be used to freeze basic enemies or to chill
         more advanced ones, increasing damage and stopping or slowing
         the enemy.  Unfortunately, it doesn't slow the advanced
         enemies very much and this skill is primarily useful for
         crowd control on weak enemies or setting up Cryo Explosions.
         It is a projectile attack, and can be dodged, though the radius
         upgraded power may score a hit even when dodged.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in SMG weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.  This is rather a shame,
         as most SMGs don't weigh much to begin with.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Quarian Engineer's main perk is the ability to set up
         Cryo Explosions and Fire Explosions, but these are rarely
         useful on lower difficulties as there often aren't enough
         enemies to make them useful.  On higher difficulties, the
         fire and ice synergy can make short work of armor, but the
         Quarian will have trouble with barriers and shields.
         Unprotected enemies are easily handled with Cryo Blast.

         The Quarian lacks the ability to detonate her own fire
         explosions with the exception of enemies set on fire by the
         turret.  Mixing in an ammo power to set up tech or fire combos
         can allow Incinerate to detonate those powers.

*        Since the Quarian needs all three activated abilities, like the
*        Human Engineer the usual question is whether the turret or the
*        Fitness goes to minimum.  Leaving Cryo low is also an option,
*        though inadvisable.

         Given the spamming of powers inherent to the class, keeping
         cooldowns reasonable is critical, though 200% is not necessary.
         An SMG or shotgun to use against shields and barriers is ideal,
         and the Acolyte pistol is exactly what the doctor ordered.

***
3. Salarian Engineer
***

The Uncommon unlocked Salarian Engineer is not as effective offensively
as the Human variant, but the Decoy skill is a superpower when dealing
with massive hordes of enemies such as on Gold.  Starts with a point
in Energy Drain.

Salarians have 20% more shields than humans.

         a. Energy Drain

         This power has many effects and uses.  Firstly, it deals
         damage to an area of effect that is very powerful against
         shields and barriers, as well as staggering smaller enemies.
         If it hits shields, barriers, or technological enemies it also
         restores the user's shields by 50%.  This acts as a source for
         a tech burst.  It will detonate tech bursts, fire explosions,
         and cryo explosions, but only on enemies with shields/barriers
         or technological types.

         Because of the area of effect and no projectile travel time,
         Energy Drain is great for staggering enemies to line up easy
         headshots.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         b. Decoy
         
         The Decoy is just that, a distraction for enemies.  On lower
         difficulties it is a waste of time unless soloing, but on
         higher levels it is a godsend as enemies will waste time and
         effort on the image, which seems to be more durable than the
         numbers suggest.  The "Exploding Decoy" evolution will 
         detonate tech bursts and fire, and cryo explosions, but this
         is primarily a defensive skill.

         Important note: Enemies will only attack the decoy if it is
         closer to them than any other target, so careful placement is
         critical.  The Decoy does not move and cannot be cast at a
         distance.

         Decoy has been nerfed and is not as effective as it was
         at release.  It is still a very useful skill.

         c. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.  It is a
         projectile attack and can be dodged by enemies.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         d. Salarian Operative

         The Salarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in sniper rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Since the decoy appears to not need the shield upgrades and
         the damage upgrades are marginal at best, some points can be
         saved there.  Salarian Engineer is a class that is primarily
         useful on hard fights, as the Decoy is essentially useless if 
         enemies die quickly.  Energy Drain is an effective tool for 
         tech bursting, and can also be used to stagger enemies to
         set up headshots.

         Tech bursts are the major damage output of the class and it is
         primarily a power spamming character, so keep cooldowns quick.
         Long range weapons that excel at headshots, like sniper rifles
         and heavy pistols, are ideal since Energy Drain will stagger
         enemies long enough to make long distance shots easy.

*        For builds, the same 6/6/6/5/3 as most Engineers is a solid
*        option, though skimping on Decoy is also reasonable, especially
*        on Bronze where the improved health of a 6/3/6/5/6 build would
*        mean less Salarian liver stewed and eaten.

***
*4. Geth Engineer
***

The Geth Engineer is a rare unlock.  Like all Geth platforms, they 
have poor health and excellent shields.  Unfortunately, this platform 
is somewhat lacking in offensive skills, and makes for a "guy with 
drone" more than a full Engineer, but the Geth Turret's ability to 
restore shields makes this one of the sturdiest Engineer classes 
and a big boon to group play.

         a. Geth Turret

         The turret will shoot at enemies, but the primary perk is
         that it restores the shields of allies.  With the flamethrower
         evolution it can act as a source for fire explosions.

         b. Hunter Mode

         This is an activated passive skill which remains on until
         deactivated.  It shows you the location of enemies through
         walls or smoke and gives combat bonuses, but it also drops
         your shields in half.  It also causes a lot of visual field
         changes, which can take some adjustment since you will see
         enemies that you can't shoot at and there is clutter on the
         screen.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.
         Overload can also detonate fire and cryo explosions.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. Networked AI

         This is the Geth class skill.  In addition to the usual class
         skill bonuses, it includes an additional damage bonus to Geth
         weapons (the Javelin is the only affected weapon without
         "Geth" in the name).

         e. Advanced Hardware

         This is the Geth version of the fitness skill.  In addition
         to the usual abilities, it also gives a shield recharge
         speed bonus at rank 1 and a wacky power damage/melee synergy
         at rank six that is a complete waste of time given the lack
         of pure damage attack powers.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Geth Engineer is more of a Soldier than an Engineer, and
         uses Overload mostly to stagger enemies or set off combos from
         ammo powers or teammates.  Take heavier weapons than with most
         engineers, especially sniper rifles with penetration, using the
         stagger from overload to line up shots on visible enemies and
         the penetration to hit hidden ones.

*        Unlike the other Engineers, there's little point in prioritizing
*        the damage bonus from powers, and a 6/6/6/4/4 build or even a
*        6/6/6/5/3 build, both with very little in the passive, are viable.
*        The power damage does help the turret and Overload, but this
*        platform is not for spamming powers.  6/6/6/6/0 is only for the
*        brave, but would maximize weapon damage.

***
*5. Quarian Male Engineer
***

The second Quarian is also a rare, and shares one power, Incinerate,
with the female variant.  It does not have a drone power and instead
has grenades that with upgrades allow the male to do both tech bursts
and fire explosions.  Reliance on grenades is problematic on higher
difficulties, but does allow the character to carry heavier weapons
and still make use of powers.

         a. Tactical Scan

         This power debuffs a target, showing their position to all
         allies, even through walls.  While the target is affected
         their movement is reduced and they take additional damage.
         This does not stagger the target or do any damage.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.  It is a
         projectile attack and can be dodged by enemies.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Arc Grenade

         This grenade, unlike most, detonates on contact instead of
         bouncing, which makes it easier to aim but limits trick shots.
         It can detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions, and
         can act as a source for tech bursts with one of the rank five
         evolutions, Electrical Damage.

*        Double damage to barriers and shields.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian class skill is like all the others, with a level
         six option for a 30 weight reduction in SMGs.

         e. Fitness

         The usual melee and defensive upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         With only one spammable power, Incinerate, the male is a bit
         less cooldown-dependent than the female Quarian, and can carry
         a heavier weapon selection.  Sniper rifles are inadvisable
         since the character lacks a tool for staggering, though
         Incinerate works in a pinch since if they dodge it they will
         stop briefly.

         Upgraded Arc Grenades mean either using Incinerate to Arc
         Grenade for a fire explosion or the reverse for a Tech Burst,
         depending on the situation.  The reliance on grenades for
         combos makes the character less appealing on higher
*        difficulties where grenades are less frequent, though ammo
*        packs and equipment that boosts grenade capacity can help with
*        this problem.

*        For builds, Incinerate and Arc Grenade are both must have skills,
*        but many of the other skills could vary substantially.  The
*        Tactical Scan is mostly a bonus for the entire team rather than
*        just the Engineer.  A 6/6/6/5/3 build, taking power damage to
*        boost the grenades and Incinerate and minimal health and shield,
*        is one option.  A 3/6/6/5/6 build may work with maximum health
*        and shields may be better for new players.


***
*6. N7 Demolisher
***

This is a wacky class based entirely on grenades, with a unique power
that keeps the character supplied with the tools of the trade.  It is
a rare unlock.

* There is no easy way to play this class, since even with the supply
* pylon it is still incredibly dependent on a very limited income of
* grenades.  On Bronze this will not be terribly important, since the
* boxes spawn plenty of grenades, but with Silver and higher this is a
* very dicey class to play, though potentially very powerful.  Expect
* to use a lot of ammo packs.

         a. Supply Pylon

         The Demolisher's unique power is the ability to spawn an ammo
         supply box that generates grenades, valuable on the higher
         difficulties where the standard supply boxes are less than
         generous.  It has a long recharge time and only one can be
         placed at a time so you cannot just construct additional
         pylons and have a huge supply.  It also provides ammunition
         and gives a bonus to shields in a small radius.

*        The pylon takes time to set up, so using the power in the middle
*        of a fight is inadvisable.

         b. Arc Grenade

         This grenade, unlike most, detonates on contact instead of
         bouncing, which makes it easier to aim but limits trick shots.
         It can detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions, and
         can act as a source for tech bursts with one of the rank five
         evolutions, Electrical Damage.

*        Double damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Homing Grenade

         This grenade functions like a projectile power as the homing 
         is minimal and requires a target.  The Fire Damage evolution
         at rank five allows it to be used as a source for fire
         explosions, and it detonates tech bursts, fire explosions, and
         cryo explosuions by default.

         d. N7 Demolisher

         The Demolisher's class skill is quite unusual in that instead
         of giving carrying capacity for weapons, it gives capacity for
*        grenades.  It also gives even more power damage at six.

         e. Fitness

         The usual melee and defensive upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         With no activated powers except grenades and more grenades, the
         Demolisher is capable of impressive damage output over short
         times but may have trouble with routine fights.  The Homing
         Grenade can be used against normal foes, resupplying often to
         keep a deep reserve for emergencies.  For tech bursts throw
         the Arc Grenade followed by a Homing Grenade and for fire
         explosions reverse the order.
 
         For weapons, cooldowns are not irrelevant since spawning the
         Pylon will give another grenade or two, but the cooldown is so
         long that you will not be spamming it regardless.  Since the
         class is inevitably going to spend a lot of time with ammo
         boxes to resupply grenades, using an ammo-hungry weapon like
         the Cerberus Harrier or the N7 Typhoon is more practical here
         than with most other characters.

*        For builds, the class is largely doomed to either have weak
*        grenades, less grenades from the pylon, or no bonuses to shields
*        or health.  A 6/6/6/6/0 build is common, with no defenses to
*        speak of other than "kill them first."  On Bronze, the pylon
*        can be left at minimum since there are plenty of grenades around
*        elsewhere, but on higher difficulties this may not be an option.

***
7. Volus Engineer
***

This ultra rare unlock is a quirky support specialist that is useless
in a straight up fight, but with two mine powers and a shield boost,
he can contribute to the team even if he's not tall enough to see
over the chest high cover.

The Volus Engineer has a 125 cooldown with the Katana X, ~15% worse
than the humans.  They also have incredibly low health.

Volus do not have melee attacks.  Instead, the melee button activates
a short cloaking effect when tapped and a short-duration invincibility
when held.  They cannot take cover, though they can hide somewhat.  
This means that they never have the accuracy bonus for firing from 
cover, and the "standing behind low cover" isn't as effective as
actually using the cover system.

         a. Recon Mine
 
         This power sets up a scanner that shows the position of all
         enemies in range, even through multiple walls.  It can be
         detonated for massive damage or left in place for scanning
         and as a debuff with the right upgrades.

         b. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

         The mine is also handy as a way to stagger enemies to line up
         headshots.  It also detonates fire and cryo explosions as well
         as tech bursts.

         c. Shield Boost

         This ability restores some of the shields of all allies in a 
         small radius and continues to restore them for a short period 
         after.  While casting it, the Volus is invincible.

         d. Volus Training

         This is the usual class passive power, with the quirk that
         there is no headshot bonus, instead the 5th evolution has the
         option to improve the Shield Boost ability.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case... but the Volus don't
*        have any real melee attacks.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Volus does not have innate combo abilities, but the
         Proximity mine can be combined with an ammo power to give a
         big boost to damage capability.  Cooldowns are the lifeblood
         of the class since Recon Mine is slow to recharge and the
         Shield Boost has to be spammable or the Volus will die very
         quickly.  A submachine gun or pistol, with weight reduction if
         available, is the ideal choice.

         The focus is on supporting allies with shields, proximity mine
         damage boosts, and information.  Alternatively, just spam the
*        Recon Mine as fast as it will go (not very fast) since it does
*        massive damage.

*        While taking as much Fitness as possible to counteract the very
*        flimsy nature of a Volus might be a reflex, the reality is that
*        Volus, especially spamming Shield Boost, aren't that flimsy.
*        A 6/6/6/5/3 build is reasonable, focusing on the radius first
*        then damage for the mines and using the passive to boost their
*        damage.  For shield boost, focus on radius and benefits rather
*        than raw shield restoration since restoring the shield gate is
*        more important than the raw shield number.

***
*8. Turian Saboteur
***

The only non-Quarian with the Sabotage power, the Saboteur is another
Engineer that plays more like a Soldier with a pet than as a tech
specialist.  Like all Turians, it cannot roll, but it has 50% more
shields than a human.  It has the jet powered hop that it shares with
the Havoc and Ghost Turians instead of the roll.

* It is generally regarded as a terrible class, though it's not so bad
* that it's unplayable.

         a. Sentry Turret

         This turret does not fire enough to be very useful or potent,
         but it can do decent damage with the flamethrower upgrade at
         short range.  The flamethrower can be used to set up fire
         explosions and the cryo ammo can set up cryo explosions.

         b. Sabotage

         This skill takes over a technological enemy briefly.  It also
         stops enemies with weapons from attacking.  Enemies that are
         dominated will at least stand helpless for a few seconds even
         if your allies are shooting them, and taking over Cerberus
         turrets, which are vicious at short range, is also effective.
         Overall, if you can't communicate with your team this skill
         is rarely useful.  It also does little against the Reaper
         and Collector enemies, who do not have any technological 
         units.  Sabotage can set up tech bursts.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         c. Homing Grenade

         This grenade functions like a projectile power as the homing
         is minimal and requires a target.  The Fire Damage evolution
         at rank five allows it to be used as a source for fire
         explosions, and it detonates tech bursts, fire explosions, and
         cryo explosuions by default.

         d. Armiger Legion

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is 30 weight reduction on assault rifles.
         Like all the Turians, it includes stability bonuses that
         reduce the effect of recoil.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Saboteur is best equipped with fairly heavy and rapid fire
         weapons, ideally the N7 Typhoon.  Homing Grenades are a backup
*        against major enemies.  Toss the turret once in a while up close
*        to the enemy or at a choke point, but don't expect much from it.

*        Sabotage is fairly useless, even against Geth, though it has one
*        quirk for the Saboturian - it can start a tech burst.  Given the
*        number of points involved this is a dubious choice, but the
*        Turret is also fairly bad.  For builds, maximizing Homing Grenade
*        and the two passives is almost a given.  Using the turret for
*        the flamer evolution might allow a Fire Explosion once in a blue
*        moon, but don't expect much from it.

***
*9. Vorcha Hunter
***

The Vorcha is another Rare unlock, and is notably inferior to his
Sentinel and Soldier brothers since he is much more dependent on 
cooldowns, and these are hampered by the Bloodlust racial power.
With this issue, the Engineer is probably the best suited of the
Vorcha to use as a melee specialist.

Vorcha have 50% more health and 50% less shields than humans.  With
the Bloodlust regeneration this is not a bad thing, but not having the
defense bonus from shield gating means that the Vorcha can still be
very fragile.

         a. Bloodlust

         This is an activated passive ability that remains active until
         turned off.  It does slow power usage while active.  While it
         is in use, the Vorcha regenerates health, moves slightly
         faster, and does increased melee damage.  Every kill increases
         these abilities for 15 seconds.  Unlike shield regeneration
         where the player needs to be temporarily safe, the health
         regeneration is constant, meaning that the Vorcha can survive
         constant low damage as long as there are a few stacks up.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.  It is a
         projectile attack and can be dodged by enemies.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Submission Net

         Fires a projectile that snares unarmored enemies, paralyzing
         them briefly and dealing damage over time.  Small enemies will
         often dodge, and the net is slow to fire.  It can set up tech 
         bursts but does not detonate any combos.  Deals damage to 
         armored enemies even if it does not hold them.

         d. Vorcha Resilience

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is for 25 points of shotguns or assault
         rifles.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The rank six melee damage also gives a temporary
         bonus to weapon damage after a melee kill.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        For melee builds, a 6/6/6/0/6 build with no points in bonuses
*        to guns or powers works.  The net and fire can be combined to
*        create tech bursts, and the net alone can be used to hold 
*        enemie, and these two tools could be used in situations where
*        charging in blindly would be suicide.

*        Alternatively, a 6/6/6/5/3 build using the racial power for the
*        rank 5 power damage evolution and survivability, throwing nets
*        and fire like a normal engineer, would provide a more "typical"
*        setup.

__________
   E. Sentinels

The Sentinel class is supposed to be a hybrid between tech and biotic
with a defensive shield for support.  Some sentinels have only tech
powers, others only biotics, and not all of them have armor or shields
so apparently they need more bosses since they didn't get the memo on
what they were supposed to do.

***
1. Human Sentinel
***

If Sentinel is a mix between tech and biotic, the Human variant didn't
get the memo, since it only has biotic powers.  The combination of
Warp and Throw makes this character a biotic combo powerhouse, though
that is hampered by the irritating tendency of enemies to dodge both
powers.  Starts with a point in tech armor and is unlocked by default.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Throw

         Throw is a biotic attack that does weak damage, is easily
         dodged by enemies, and has an extremely rapid cooldown.  It
         is not a great skill, but it excels at exactly one thing:
         setting off biotic combos.  The skill includes bonuses for
         doing exactly that.  It knocks down unprotected enemies and
         does not do any meaningful damage other than combos on 
         protected enemies.  It is only a detonator, not a source.
         It also detonates tech bursts and both explosion types.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         On Bronze, the human sentinel is a lackluster character since
         enemies die fast enough to make the biotic combo focus
         unimpressive.  Especially against armor-heavy enemies like
         the Reapers, Sentinels can be devasting with their biotic
         combos.  On Bronze it is best to simply spam Throw to knock
         down enemies and just kill them with guns.  Using the armor
         is entirely optional, since the cooldown reduction may be
         more counterproductive than the benefit justifies.

*        Using a respec card or a promotion and running a build without
*        Tech Armor and the other four skills maxed is one possibility,
*        focusing on the biotic combo bonuses over all other
*        considerations, though the power damage bonus from the Alliance
*        Training does not benefit the combos, so you might choose to
*        take weapon damage if you have a weapon light enough.

*        The tech armor's detonation isn't useless, since it staggers
*        nearby enemies and is a great panic button for creating brief
*        moments of safety when swarmed.  A 6/6/6/4/4 build allows for
*        some survivability, though again remember that the power
*        damage bonus doesn't help the biotic combo.  6/6/6/3/5 would
*        allow for more survability, though it might result in problems
*        of weapon choice.

         Carry the Predator or whatever gives you a 200% cooldown.  
         Until you have both Warp and Throw unlocked you might
         as well carry whatever you want, though you could spend the 
         first level's point on throw and spam that repeatedly instead.

***
2. Turian Sentinel
***

The Turian Sentinel is a jack of all trades, and has a lot of good
abilities that don't mesh well together, making him in need of a 
friend to help with combos.  Turians can't roll.  This character is 
an uncommon unlock and starts with a point in Tech Armor.

The Turian Sentinel gets 170% cooldowns with the Katana X, meaning he
has approximately 30 more weight capacity by default than a human.
Like all Turians, he has 50% more shields than a human.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         b. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.
         Overload will also set off fire and cryo explosions.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. Turian Veteran

         The Turian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in assault rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.  The Turian also
         gets a bonus to weapon stability, reducing recoil.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Turian Sentinel is somewhat crippled by having too many
         options.  It's possible to focus on Overload or Warp instead
         of trying to do both, depending who you typically play with
         and want to set up combos for.  Between the two, Overload's
         ability to mass-stun groups or Warp's ability to take down
         barriers and armor both have their places, and it depends on
*        which is more important to the player.  Overload is far more
*        useful against swarmed enemies and Warp is better against large
*        foes.

         For weapon loadouts, try and keep things light since it is a
         power-based class and Tech Armor will slow you down a bit by
         default.  If focusing on one or the other between Warp and
         Overload a heavier weapon is a good option.  Weapons with high
         recoil like the Incisor or Tempest might find good homes here.

*        Exactly where to spend the points varies greatly from player
*        to player.  Overload and Warp can be used together to make tech
*        bursts if you're lightly loaded, and one serious option is to
*        use a promotion or respect to drop Tech Armor in favor of having
*        both powers.

***
3. Krogan Sentinel
***

The Krogan Sentinel is a rare unlock and is really very similar to his
brother, the Krogan Soldier.  Both have a single activated power,
an armor power, and a grenade.  The Soldier can do some things better,
but if you're looking for Krogan Smash! the Sentinel does just fine,
or arguably better.  Starts with a point in Tech Armor.

Krogan have twice the shields and 50% more health compared to humans.
The Krogan Sentinel also has a 170% cooldown with the Katana X, which
means about a 30 weight capacity bonus compared to most characters.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Lift Grenade

         Lift Grenade, like all of the grenade powers, ignores
         cooldowns and instead uses the grenade ammunition.  It has
         the distinction of being the grenade with the largest single
         burst radius, and temporarily lifts enemies, paralyzing them.
         It can be used to set up a biotic combo.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         The Krogan version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in shotgun weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill has a different name
         and an additional effect.  If the Krogan kills three enemies
         (reduced to two with an upgrade) with melee attacks they enter
         rage mode and have a melee damage bonus as well as a damage
         reduction bonus.  Note that this is not "kill with melee" but
         "melee and kill."  Other than that, this skill is just defense
         and melee damage like Fitness is.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Like the other Krogan, the easiest way to make use of the
         Sentinel is in melee.  Also like the Soldier, there is an
         option to simply skip Incinerate and not bother with anything
         related to cooldowns at all (unless you set off tech armor).
         The alternative is to build the Krogan Sentinel as a tank,
         since with Krogan bonus health and shields on top of Tech
         Armor you will have the studiest character in the game.

         Carry whatever weapons seem appropriate, since setting off 
         Tech Armor is the only cooldown available and there is little
         point in doing so.  One long range weapon like a sniper rifle 
         and one short range weapon like a shotgun are typical picks.

*        Alternatively, you can skip Lift Grenade and focus on Incinerate,
*        combining it with ammo to produce either tech bursts, fire
*        explosions, or cryo explosions.  Pairing this with an otherwise
*        melee strategy gives options against enemies or groups that are
*        too much to melee.

***
*4. Batarian Sentinel
***

The Batarian Sentinel was added in the Resurgence DLC and is a rare
unlock.  The distinctive power is the Submission Net, which isn't
bad but is very slow and unreliable.  Like the Batarian Soldier, the
Sentinel is fun for melee, but isn't exactly stellar overall.

Batarians have 50% more shields and armor than humans, but can't roll
and move more slowly.

         a. Blade Armor

         The Batarian version of the armor power reduces incoming
         damage like all of the other armors.  It also increases melee
         damage and deals damage to enemies that use melee attacks on
         the Batarian.  Unlike the other armors, it cannot be
         detonated, though it can be turned off if the recharge penalty
         becomes a problem.

         b. Shockwave

         Shockwave creates a short-range pulse of biotic energy.  It
         can finish a biotic combo by default, and can initiate a
         biotic combo with the lift upgrade, though only against
         unprotected targets.  Shockwave's short range makes it a
         situational skill.  As usual, it can't detonate the combos it
         starts.  The main perks to Shockwave are that it can be fired
         through walls and can stagger large groups of enemies.
         Shockwave also detonates fire explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         c. Submission Net

         Fires a projectile that snares unarmored enemies, paralyzing
         them briefly and dealing damage over time.  Small enemies will
         often dodge, and the net is slow to fire.  It can set up tech 
         bursts but does not detonate any combos.  Deals damage to 
         armored enemies even if it does not hold them.

         d. Batarian Enforcer

         The Batarian version of the class skill, in addition to the
         usual schticks, also gives additional spare ammo capacity,
         which is rarely important.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         This class is fairly weak, since it has an activated passive
         that slows cooldowns on the other two powers, no innate carry
         bonus, and not much else of note.  While it can do its own tech
         bursts with Submission Net to Shockwave, the cooldowns are
         unlikely to be fast enough with most weapons.  If you have a
*        card or a promotion, you can dispense with the Blade Armor and 
*        use it for the tech bursts, but it will still fail to impress.

*        If trying to make use of the powers, carry light weapons.  The
*        alternative is to ignore the active powers, focus on the armor
*        and passives, and just use whatever gun suits your fancy.  If
*        using more than trivial cooldown times, take Shockwave instead of
*        Submission Net, as the net is easily dodged and typically must
*        be fired multiple times.

***
*5. Vorcha Sentinel
***

The Vorcha is another Rare unlock, and differs from his Soldier cousin
only in that he has Cluster Grenades instead of Carnage.  Both classes
have the Flamer, a powerful anti-armor weapon, and a berserk mode 
where the Vorcha gets temporarily stronger as he kills enemies.  The 
ability to regenerate health is offset by the lower shields of the
Vorcha (half of a human), though they have 50% more base health.

         a. Bloodlust

         This is an activated passive ability that remains active until
         turned off.  It does slow power usage while active.  While it
         is in use, the Vorcha regenerates health, moves slightly
         faster, and does increased melee damage.  Every kill increases
         these abilities for 15 seconds.  Unlike shield regeneration
         where the player needs to be temporarily safe, the health
         regeneration is constant, meaning that the Vorcha can survive
         constant low damage as long as there are a few stacks up.

         b. Flamer

         This power has a duration once activated, but can be cancelled
         early.  It's a short range "Hollywood" style flamethrower that
         does good damage at short range, especially against armor.
         Enemies struck by the fire will continue to burn and the power
         is a source for fire explosions.  It can be dangerous to use
         on higher difficulties because of the time spent out in the
         open, and firing short bursts to ignite enemies allows some
         time in cover and less recharge time.

*        50% more damage to armor.

         c. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo, but cannot start one.  They also detonate fire
         and cryo explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Vorcha Resilience

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is for 25 points of shotguns or assault
         rifles.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The rank six melee damage also gives a temporary
         bonus to weapon damage after a melee kill.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Because the Flamer can be fired and cancelled to drastically
*        reduce recharge time, using a heavyish weapon is more than
         tolerable as long as cooldowns go far into the negatives.  As
         the flamer can handle close enemies and armor, weapons to use
         against shields/barriers and long range weapons are needed.
         The Vorcha Sentinel can do one combo, the fire explosion, which
         is not terribly important on lower difficulties since the
         Flamer will burn down armored enemies without any assistance,
*        but on higher difficulties the extra damage is quite welcome.
*        Typical builds for the Vorcha maximize the racial skill and
*        leave Fitness fairly low, meaning that the character will
*        recover quickly but is vulnerable to being overwhelmed.
*        The Flamer is the must have for this class, many of the other
*        abilities will vary from build to build.

***
*6. N7 Paladin
***

Another Sentinel that didn't get the memo, the Paladin has only tech
powers.  The Sentinel is unique because of his melee tool, an actual
shield that can set up combos, block attacks, and adds depth.  His
actual powers aren't bad either.  He has 50% more shields than an
average human.  The heavy melee is replaced by the Omni-shield.

* For all this talk about the shield, the Paladin is primarily an
* Engineer class with a big variety of tech powers, and is played as
* such, not as the frontline tank that the class name might suggest.

Activating the shield blocks attacks from about 90 degrees, 45 degrees
to either side of the Paladin's face.  The shield can take a limited
amount of damage, and this is recharged every time the shield is used.
The Paladin cannot move while shielding.

         a. Snap Freeze

         This creates a short-range cone of ice that deals damage and
         freezes unprotected enemies solid, chilling anything else and
         slowing it.  All affected enemies take additional damage for
         the duration of the power.  It can be used as a source for
         cryo explosions or as a detonator for tech bursts.

         b. Incinerate

         The basic fire attack can, of course, be used to set up a
         Fire Explosion, but it can also trigger a Tech Burst.  
         Incinerate is also a decent way to dish out damage to armored
         opponents.  It also detonates cryo explosions.  It is a
         projectile attack and can be dodged by enemies.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Energy Drain

         This power has many effects and uses.  Firstly, it deals
         damage to an area of effect that is very powerful against
         shields and barriers, as well as staggering smaller enemies.
         If it hits shields, barriers, or technological enemies it also
         restores the user's shields by 50%.  This acts as a source for
         a tech burst.  It will detonate tech bursts, fire explosions,
         and cryo explosions, but only on enemies with shields/barriers
         or technological types.

         Because of the area of effect and no projectile travel time,
         Energy Drain is great for staggering enemies to line up easy
         headshots.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. N7 Paladin

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         Like most humans, the Paladin gets a 20 reduction as one of
         the level six options.

         e. Shield Mastery

         This is a variant on the typical fitness skill.  In addition
         to the usual health and shield bonuses, the Paladin gets a
         bonus to the amount of damage his Omni-Shield can absorb.
         The final evolution also adds elemental powers to melee
         attacks instead of giving melee bonuses or health bonuses.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Paladin's shield is a useful schtick, but the class is
         also capable of an impressive tech combo variety, with four
         methods for initiating combos.  Sadly, Incinerate is the only
         reliable finisher because of Snap Freeze's short range, and
         since the Paladin lacks the final health bonus he is actually
         a little bit squishier than the average character, especially
         compared to one with Tech Armor or equivalent.

*        For builds, the Paladin ends up using all three of his options,
*        and the question is how the passives are played.  True to the
*        Engineer label, a 6/6/6/5/3 build for the power damage in the
*        class skill and token health bonuses is a typical choice.

*        Actually playing the Paladin as a front line tank would probably
*        mean skipping one of the three powers at least partially, but
*        this only works against the Geth and only because of the damage
*        reduction and shield boosts from Energy Drain.  It's a fun way
*        to play the Paladin, but it's not a great idea on the higher
*        difficulties and it's not a good choice against the Reapers, a
*        common Gold pick.

         Given the huge number of available powers and options, the
         N7 Paladin is ironically well served by the M-77 Paladin, a
         Heavy Pistol with good range and damage, as the tech powers
         and melee can handle closer enemies and a heavier weapon is not
         advisable.  Since the M-77 is an ultra-rare, having it at high
         level to bring the weight down is improbable, so other weapons
         are likely.  Try to keep as close to 200% bonus as possible,
         given the number of tech powers to use.

***
7. Volus Mercenary
***

This ultra-rare unlock is a pure support character with no offensive
powers, just a decoy and a drone and shield recharge.  While people
have used him effectively, he is more of an oddity and a challenge
than a powerhouse.

The Volus has a 125 cooldown with the Katana X, ~15% worse than the
humans.  They also have incredibly low health.

Volus do not have melee attacks.  Instead, the melee button activates
a short cloaking effect when tapped and a short-duration invincibility
when held.  They cannot take cover, though they can hide somewhat.  
This means that they never have the accuracy bonus for firing from 
cover, and the "standing behind low cover" isn't as effective as
actually using the cover system.

         a. Decoy

         The Decoy is just that, a distraction for enemies.  On lower
         difficulties it is a waste of time unless soloing, but on
         higher levels it is a godsend as enemies will waste time and
         effort on the image, which seems to be more durable than the
         numbers suggest.  The "Exploding Decoy" evolution will 
         detonate tech bursts and fire, and cryo explosions, but this
         is primarily a defensive skill.

         Important note: Enemies will only attack the decoy if it is
         closer to them than any other target, so careful placement is
         critical.  The Decoy does not move and cannot be cast at a
         distance.

         b. Combat Drone

         This skill creates a temporary ally that floats around the
         battlefield, poking at enemies.  It can be upgraded to spam
         stunning attacks that make it more useful as a defensive
         tool, but it is primarily a distraction.  The "Detonate"
         evolution will detonate tech bursts, fire explosions, and cryo
         explosions, but making this happen can be tricky at best.

         c. Shield Boost

         This ability restores some of the shields of all allies in a 
         small radius and continues to restore them for a short period 
         after.  While casting it, the Volus is invincible.

         d. Volus Training

         This is the usual class passive power, with the quirk that
         there is no headshot bonus, instead the 5th evolution has the
         option to improve the Shield Boost ability.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case... but the Volus don't
*        have melee attacks worth talking about.  The shield does some
*        damage to nearby enemies.

*        f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The purpose of this class is to harass and distract the enemy,
         keeping your allies safe while they do the dirty work of
         killing.  It is woefully inadequate at killing enemies, and
         Shield Boost in particular demands rapid recharge so carrying
         heavy weapons is inadvisable.  Expect to get the lowest score
         every single game.

*        The exact build will vary, but be sure to get Shield Boost to at
*        least four for the radius upgrade.  Both the Decoy and the Drone
*        should be present in your build, even if at token levels.

***
8. Asari Valkyrie
***

* The Valkyrie is all about activated passives, and the strategy is
* about melee range biotic combos since the Annihilation Field primes
* targets and Warp sets them off.  It is very similar in playstyle to
* some of the N7 Fury's tactics, but has slower cooldowns because of
* Warp and the Tech Armor penalty.

         a. Tech Armor

         The first time this power is activated, it stays on until
         the key is pressed again.  While it is active, the character
         takes less damage from all sources but cooldowns are slowed,
         making it a dubious choice for power spamming builds.  When
         deactivated, the armor causes an unimpressive explosion
         centered on the user.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         b. Annihilation Field

         Creates a damage zone on the Valkyrie that lasts a long time.
         It can be activated again to deal immediate damage, and this
         detonation will finish biotic combos.  The field itself sets
         up a biotic combo, but the detonation effect cannot detonate
         the combo set up by the field.

*        +50% damage against armor and barriers.

         c. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         d. Asari Valkyrie

         Despite the name, this is the same as Justicar, and gives the
         same pistol weight bonus at six.  It's the usual passive bonus
         class skill.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The point of this class is to run up to enemies, "paint" them
         with Annihilation Field, and hit them with Warp for a biotic
         combo.  This is devastating against armor and barriers, but
         the Valkyrie will need a way of dealing with shields and with
         enemies at longer range.  This ends up being a high risk, high
         reward playstyle that will end up with a lot of deaths.  With
         the need for constant combos, cooldowns must be kept at an
         absolute minimum.

*        This class, again, works from the quirk that power damage bonus
*        does not affect biotic combos, so a 6/6/6/0/6 skill layout is
*        a good call.  This limits your weapon options, but "weapons to
*        use against shields" may as well outright say SMG, and with the
*        ultralight mods you can carry an SMG and heavy pistol and still
*        be at 200%.

__________
   F. Infiltrators

Infiltrators are in many ways the class with the least variety, as
all of them share the same cloaking skill, with the Asari Huntress
variant the only substantial deviator.  The nominal description of
the Infiltrator in the first Mass Effect was of a soldier and tech
specialist hybrid, and many Infiltrators retain that influence,
with the Huntress the only Infiltrator with a biotic power.

To save repetition in every class description, cloak is a complex 
ability with a lot of facets.  The most obvious benefit is that the
enemy will sometimes ignore you.  Specifically, cloak makes you a
lower priority target, and the AI will sometimes attack the position
where it last saw you rather than your actual location.  In a group,
the enemies will almost always target your allies if you are cloaked.
In other words, cloak is not "invisibility" and it makes a poor
panic button if cornered.

Cloak increases damage for all of your attacks, and with rapid
firing weapons it will boost several shots before falling.  The bonus
damage for powers does not appear to affect grenades, but should
work with the other abilities.  The Huntress's cloak works better for 
powers but not as well for weapons.

Cloak has a mechanic where the cooldown is reduced if you do not remain 
cloaked for the full duration.  This is very commonly abused, since 
firing a power while cloaked and then canceling the cloak will use this 
reduced cooldown, regardless of the power's normal cooldown, and 
regardless of weapon weight it is easy to hit Cloak's minimum
cooldown of 3 seconds.  This is incredibly valuable in that it allows
Infiltrators to use their powers frequently even when carrying very
heavy sniper rifles, and is even more ridiculous when dealing with
powers like Proximity Mine that normally have very long cooldowns.

If using a charged weapon like the Geth Plasma Shotgun, starting to
charge the weapon will break cloak, but releasing a charge will not,
so you can fire a charged shot without becoming fully visible if you
* start charging before hitting the cloak.

While cloaked, your shield regeneration is frozen and you will not
start recharging shields and any recharge in process is stopped.  For
recharge purposes, any time spent cloaked (including for Shadow
Strike) effectively does not exist.

Cloak's level four evolution is between damage and duration, and the
duration bonus is critical for any Infiltrator that wants to complete
activation/deactivation objectives while cloaked or move any
distance.  

* I've traditionally endorsed duration for cloak, but there are plenty
* of people that strongly disagree.  It's a question of how you intend to
* use the skill - for reviving fallen comrades, activating objectives, or
* other things where it helps to be sneaky, duration is a must have.  If
* the only reason you're using cloak is for the damage bonus and recharge
* time modifier, take damage.

Cloak's level five evolution is largely useless - the recharge bonus
is irrelevant if using the reduced cooldown from not using the full
duration, and the reduction can't bring cloak below the three second
minimum.  The alternative is melee, which is only really useful to
the Shadow.

Cloak's level six evolution is also dubious.  The extra damage is, as 
always, welcome, but it's not very much given the number of points 
required for a sixth evolution, especially if skipping the fifth.  The 
"use one power" ability isn't useless, but it's only necessary for a few 
characters.

***
1. Human Infiltrator
***

The human infiltrator is unlocked by default, and is stuck with Cryo
Blast and Sticky Grenade, two of the worst powers in the game.  The
Tactical Cloak, however, makes up for it as one of the best.  This
class is an excellent choice for players who prefer to shoot things
instead of using funky powers, as the cloak can massively increase
damage dealt.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Cryo Blast

         Cryo Blast can be used to freeze basic enemies or to chill
         more advanced ones, increasing damage and stopping or slowing
         the enemy.  Unfortunately, it doesn't slow the advanced
         enemies very much and this skill is primarily useful for
         crowd control on weak enemies or setting up Cryo Explosions.

         c. Sticky Grenade

         The sticky grenade is the least effective of the grenade
         powers.  While it still has its uses, the small burst radius
         doesn't make up for the slightly higher damage.  As the name
         implies, it sticks to the target, but this is rarely useful
         or even relevant.

         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        There's only one real decision in the Human Infiltrator, which
*        is short or long.  Short-range infiltrator uses Cryo, the long-
*        range variation may also have the skill but is more likely to
*        use the Sticky Grenades.

*        Short, or Cryo, infiltrators will typically take shotguns or
*        other short range weapons, use cloak to close distance, freeze an
*        enemy, and kill them with a single shot, using the damage bonus
*        from cryo to ensure either a kill or at least major damage.  This
*        is sometimes done with the M-300 Claymore, a rare single-shot
*        but high damage weapon.  It can be done with the Katana, though
*        the results are less impressive.  The power usage cloak evolution
*        at six is reasonably useful here.  Since it's a short range class
*        skimping on Fitness is dangerous and grenades are often skipped
*        to free up points.

*        The long range infiltrator is the traditional sniper.  For this
*        character, Cryo might still be used, but it's used more to slow
*        than for the damage bonus and the only critical evolution is the
*        radius upgrade.  Sometimes Cryo is skipped entirely, but since
*        the class isn't up in the enemy's face points can be dropped from
*        Fitness to at least get the four.  Sticky grenades are used by
*        this variant, and they work well since they get a damage bonus
*        from cloak and do not break cloak when thrown.

***
2. Salarian Infiltrator
***

* The Salarian Infiltrator is a sniper for sniping, but he's also almost
* an Engineer with two useful activated powers in addition to the cloak.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

         The mine is also handy as a way to stagger enemies to line up
         headshots.  It also detonates fire and cryo explosions as well
         as tech bursts.

         c. Energy Drain

         This power has many effects and uses.  Firstly, it deals
         damage to an area of effect that is very powerful against
         shields and barriers, as well as staggering smaller enemies.
         If it hits shields, barriers, or technological enemies it also
         restores the user's shields by 50%.  This acts as a source for
         a tech burst.  It will detonate tech bursts, fire explosions,
         and cryo explosions, but only on enemies with shields/barriers
         or technological types.

         Because of the area of effect and no projectile travel time,
         Energy Drain is great for staggering enemies to line up easy
         headshots.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. Salarian Operative

         The Salarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in sniper rifle
         weight instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Firing off Energy Drain before shooting an enemy will often 
         stun them briefly, allowing you to set up even easier head
         shots.  As long as you fire immediately after using the 
         ability you will still get the cloak damage bonus even if
         you do not have the "use one skill" cloak upgrade.

         Proximity mine can also be used to stun enemies, though it
         has travel time and has an irritating tendency to hit walls
         on the way to the target.  Don't worry about using it to
         set traps, just fire it directly at enemies to apply the
         damage bonus or speed penalty or to set off combos.

*        The main question with Salarian Infiltrator builds is whether
*        you plan to use Proximity Mine and if you do, how you plan to use
*        it.  As a weapon in and of itself it is unremarkable, and the
*        purposes mostly boil down to "detonator for combos" or "debuff
*        tool."  If you're just looking to do damage, it's a poor choice.
*        The inevitable thing to be sacrificed if the mine is taken is
*        Fitness, though Energy Drain can also be reduced.

*        If you don't have a specific plan for how to use the mine, it
*        can simply be skipped.  It's a useful power, but it doesn't fit
*        well with the cloak -> drain -> shoot rhythm of the Salarian
*        Infiltrator's normal gameplay.

***
3. Quarian Infiltrator
***

* The Quarian Infiltrator, an Uncommon unlock, has an odd ability that
was abusable early in the game's history - Sabotage, which hacks an
enemy synthetic and makes it change sides.  Unfortunately, Sabotage
is rarely useful now since the duration is much shorter.  It also has
the decidedly irritating problem that your teammates will tend to
shoot whatever it is you hack, and the skill will be wasted.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Sticky Grenade

         The sticky grenade is the least effective of the grenade
         powers.  While it still has its uses, the small burst radius
         doesn't make up for the slightly higher damage.  As the name
         implies, it sticks to the target, but this is rarely useful
         or even relevant.

         c. Sabotage

         This skill takes over a technological enemy briefly.  It also
         stops enemies with weapons from attacking.  Enemies that are
         dominated will at least stand helpless for a few seconds even
         if your allies are shooting them, and taking over Cerberus
         turrets, which are vicious at short range, is also effective.
         Overall, if you can't communicate with your team this skill
         is rarely useful.  It also does nothing against the Reaper
         and Collector enemies, who do not have any technological 
         units.  Sabotage can set up tech bursts.

*        Deals +50% damage against shields.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in SMG weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.  This is rather a shame,
         as most SMGs don't weigh much to begin with.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.


         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The Quarian is unfortunately even more dubious than the
         Human infiltrator, though Sabotage can be used to stagger
         enemies to help with aiming, even to the point where it's
         worth using.  Cloak, Sabotage to stagger, fire, repeat, and
         like the Human use the Sticky Grenades against bigger
*        enemies.  Sabotage itself is worthless as an ability, but it's
*        what the Quarian Infiltrator has, and if you're playing 200
*        waves for the challenge, make the best of it.

*        Many recommended builds for this character actually try to make
*        use of Sabotage for its intended purpose.  Unless you know that
*        you'll be fighting Geth or even Cerberus, it's almost completely
*        useless.  If you plan to use it as a staggering tool, just take
*        it at a minimum level.  Since you'll likely be using it from
*        cloak, even buying the second rank for recharge time is useless
*        though you might as well spend the points at level 20.

***
*4. Geth Infiltrator
***

The Geth Infiltrator is another Resurgence DLC class, also a rare 
unlock.  Like all infiltrators, it starts with a rank in tactical
cloak.  While not as potent as the Salarian since it lacks a useful
non-cloak power, it is the ultimate sniper since it simply has more
bonuses because of Hunter Mode.  Like all Geth, it has big shields
and terrible health.  The heavy melee attack drains your shields
somewhat, but is very powerful.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Hunter Mode

         This is an activated passive skill which remains on until
         deactivated.  It shows you the location of enemies through
         walls or smoke and gives combat bonuses, but it also drops
         your shields in half.  It also causes a lot of visual field
         changes, which can take some adjustment since you will see
         enemies that you can't shoot at and there is clutter on the
         screen.

         c. Proximity Mine

         This skill sets up a mine which will detonate if an enemy
         walks over it.  You can also shoot it directly at enemies,
         which may be useful since it does decent damage.  You can't
         use it to set up huge minefields, only one mine at a time.
         Proximity mine also has some debuffing powers on upgrades.

         d. Networked AI

         This is the Geth class skill.  In addition to the usual class
         skill bonuses, it includes an additional damage bonus to Geth
         weapons (the Javelin is the only affected weapon without
         "Geth" in the name).

         e. Advanced Hardware

         This is the Geth version of the fitness skill.  In addition
         to the usual abilities, it also gives a shield recharge
         speed bonus at rank 1 and a wacky power damage/melee synergy
         at rank six.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Hunter mode is not optional for this build, and in many ways
         the Geth Infiltrator is better off than the other infiltrator
         classes because they can focus on tactical cloak with the
         benefit of a passive.  With incomplete shields and Hunter Mode
*        inevitable in most builds, the Geth Infiltrator is almost
*        suicidally weak, but with cloak the enemies should mostly
*        focus on other targets.

*        The usual weapon for this class is not a sniper rifle, but
*        instead the Geth Plasma Shotgun.  The Javelin also finds a nice
*        home here since the enhanced vision and piercing shots work
*        well together.  Both of these count as Geth weapons.  Using a
*        Geth Pulse Rifle or Geth Plasma SMG with this class is not
*        advised.

*        For this particular class the damage bonus on cloak is useful,
*        partially because of the way it interacts with the shotgun.

*        As with the Salarian, proximity mine is mostly a "how are you
*        going to use it?" question.  Unless you have the power usage
*        evolution for cloak, you can't use it to stagger enemies to line
*        up attacks very efficiently.  Using it with the shotgun is an
*        option since if it detonates after the shot arrives they're
*        still dead.  For a shotgun Geth Infiltrator, the fifth and sixth
*        evolutions of cloak are very weak, so putting four points in and
*        just dropping a mine here and there might work, but it may be
*        best to reduce Fitness instead and get enough points for a 
*        damage or speed debuff.

***
*5. Quarian Male Infiltrator
***

The second Quarian Infiltrator's main power of interest is the
tactical scan, which gives passive bonuses to all allies attacking a
specific target.  Unfortunately the character does not have a
staggering skill, so fighting agile enemies will require either top-
* notch aim or grenades.  Body ("center of mass") shots may be a better
* choice for quick firing since with cloak they are often enough for a
* one shot kill anyway with the heavy rifles.


         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Tactical Scan

         This power debuffs a target, showing their position to all
         allies, even through walls.  While the target is affected
         their movement is reduced and they take additional damage.
         This does not stagger the target or do any damage.

         c. Arc Grenade

         This grenade, unlike most, detonates on contact instead of
         bouncing, which makes it easier to aim but limits trick shots.
         It can detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions, and
         can act as a source for tech bursts with one of the rank five
         evolutions, Electrical Damage.

*        Double damage to barriers and shields.

         d. Quarian Defender

         The Quarian class skill is like all the others, with a level
         six option for a 30 weight reduction in SMGs.

         e. Fitness

         The usual melee and defensive upgrades.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        The perk of the "MQI" is the combination of the Tactical Cloak's
*        damage bonus, Tactical Scan's damage bonus, and a lot of 
*        potential for high damage shots, making it lethal against slow
*        moving targets, particularly Ravagers and Scions.  This is
*        another Infiltrator where skipping Fitness entirely may be
*        necessary to make the best of the other powers.

***
*6. N7 Shadow
***

This class has a lot of complex abilities and is the only one of the
Infiltrators that relies heavily on the "Use one power while cloaked"
evolution at rank six of the cloak, as many of her abilities leave
her very vulnerable otherwise.  This is the only infiltrator that is
specifically built for melee.  There's a lot to be said about this
class, so be sure to read other guides if you expect to make the most
of this character.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Electric Slash

         Creates a wave of electric pulses that pass through walls and
         deal damage.  It will detonate tech bursts as well as cryo
         and fire explosions.  The skill has a "wind-up" attack that
         is separate from the actual skill, and it can be cancelled
         during the wind-up by using heavy melee or roll for a "free"
         attack that won't break cloak.

*        Deals 50% extra damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Shadow Strike

         The Shadow floats to behind a target and slashes it with the
         sword.  This doesn't break cloak until you strike.  You can
         still quite easily be hit while moving, so do this attack from
         cloak.  This is a melee attack, and gets bonuses from all of
         the usual melee attack bonuses.  Electrical Damage evolution
         sets up tech bursts.

         d. N7 Shadow

         Despite the fancy name, this is exactly the same as the other
         human class skills.

         e. Sword Mastery

         This is a quirky variant on the usual Fitness passive.  The
         first few ranks are the same, but the rank five upgrade works
         with all melee attacks (including Shadow Strike) instead of
         just heavy melee or gives movement speed in addition to shield
         recharge, and the sixth upgrade gives options between melee
         damage bonuses (armor or shields/barriers) rather than an
         option for more durability.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         The ideal gun for this class is the Acolyte, a charged pistol
         that can be charged and released so that it will fire while
         "traveling" for Shadow Strike.  The gun can also have a melee
         damage bonus part added, the Melee Stunner.  While the Shadow
         can abuse the cloak recharge like any Infiltrator, cooldowns
         should be kept light as the powers are the focus of the class.
         Be sure to carry a weapon that will be tolerable at long
         range for situations where you can't use your usual abilities.

*        There is a specific guide to this character on this site, so I
*        will not bother with further descriptions.

***
*7. Turian Ghost
***

The Turian Infiltrator is an ideal class for soloing, with cloak,
Stimulant Packs to restore shields allowing for crazy survivability,
and Overload, a skill that is both useful for staggering enemies and
for detonating combos.  The class doesn't innately have a way to set up
combos, but this is easily done with ammo consumables.  Like all Turians
it can't roll, has improved shields, and it has a slight (155 vs. 141
with the Katana X) improvement in carrying capacity.  Like the Havoc,
the Ghost has a jump jet system used in place of rolling.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Stimulant Pack

         This is a power that uses grenades to represent the charges of
         avaiable uses.  When activated, the power restores the user's
         shields and gives a small temporary damage bonus.  This skill
         is excellent when soloing, as it massively increases your
         ability to survive in dangerous situations and can be used far
         more times than the consumable supplies with a similar effect.

         c. Overload

         Overload immediately damages an opponent without a projectile
         and is primarily useful for stunning opponents or stripping
         off shields, especially once upgraded since it can hit three
         opponents with the same shot in a chain lightning effect.  
         This skill is ideal for setting up or setting off Tech Bursts
         because of the multiple targets hit.  The neural shock option
         is truly optional - enemies are stunned just fine without it.
         Overload will also set off fire and cryo explosions.

*        Damage dealt to barriers and shields is tripled (300%).
*        Against organic enemies (e.g. Brutes), this power does half
*        damage to armor.  Against robots (e.g. a Geth Pyro with
*        shields down) it does full damage.

         d. Armiger Legion

         This is just the same class skill with a different name.
         The rank six option is 30 weight reduction on assault rifles.
         Like all the Turians, it includes stability bonuses that
         reduce the effect of recoil.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Overload can be used to stagger enemies from cloak, setting up
         shots against fast-moving enemies.  Like almost all of the
         Infiltrators, weight doesn't matter excessively to the Ghost,
         so take a powerful sniper rifle or really whatever weapon suits
         your fancy.  If using ammo powers for combos, be sure to bring a
         faster-firing weapon than a typical sniper rifle.

*        For builds, be aware that Stimulant Pack is not only a great
*        power, it also works just fine at low levels and does not need
*        to be maxed to be useful, freeing up skill points for other
*        things to spend on.

*        With the ability to restore shields at whim, the Ghost has no
*        reason (other than stun locks) to hang back and hide like other
*        Infiltrators, and cloak can be used just as a damage boost rather
*        than for any sneaky purpose.

***
*8. Drell Assassin
***

This class is the ultimate abuser of the cloak cooldown bonus, with the
ability to fire off extremely powerful Recon Mines at extreme rates.  It
otherwise lacks a power to use for staggering and the homing grenades
are dubious, but it's still a powerhouse.  Like other Drell it has fast
movement and poor shields, but unlike other Drell it has no weight 
bonus, which doesn't really matter since the cooldowns are based on the
abuse of Cloak rather than the normal mechanics.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
         above.

         b. Homing Grenade

         This grenade functions like a projectile power as the homing
         is minimal and requires a target.  The Fire Damage evolution
         at rank five allows it to be used as a source for fire
         explosions, and it detonates tech bursts, fire explosions, and
         cryo explosuions by default.

         c. Recon Mine

         This power sets up a scanner that shows the position of all
         enemies in range, even through multiple walls.  It can be
         detonated for massive damage or left in place for scanning
         and as a debuff with the right upgrades.

         d. Drell Assassin

         The Drell version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  For Drell it also improves movement speed.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        One option is to use Recon Mine from cloak, then cancel.  Once 
*        the Recon Mine is armed, detonate it.  Repeat as needed.  This
*        can be used to attack enemies from around corners and otherwise
*        stay out of sight.  Like all Drell, the Assassin is fairly
*        vulnerable.

*        Since the cloak cooldown is largely immune to heavy weapon 
*        weight penalties, weapon selection is simply a matter of 
*        preferences, but be sure to have something that will work up 
*        close since the mines, like typical Infiltrator weapons, are
*        long range tools.  The Recon Mine can also be used to support
*        weapons like the Javelin that pierce cover.

*        Homing Grenades are fairly weak and can be skipped if there isn't
*        an immediate need.  The Recon Mine serves a grenade-like purpose
*        in damaging large areas and with the Homing Grenade's slow firing
*        animation it isn't exactly the ultimate in short-duration damage.
*        It has uses, and is especially handy when paired to make combos,
*        though the Assassin can't do this without ammo powers.

***
*9. Asari Huntress
***

Infiltrators were originally supposed to be tech-soldier hybrids, but
the Huntress is nothing of the sort.  As predictable for an Asari, the
character is a biotic, and a good one at that.  The cloak serves to 
boost power damage, but the ability to use cloak's cooldown means that
the Huntress can also be better armed than many Adepts.

         a. Tactical Cloak

         Non-invisibility.  See the description under the class heading
*        above.  The Huntress cloak works differently in that it does
*        not boost weapon damage and the sixth rank evolution is for
*        power damage, not sniper rifle damage.

         b. Dark Channel

         This is a long duration damage over time effect that acts as
         a source for biotic combos.  It hits automatically, and if
         the target dies, the effect moves to another nearby enemy
         and this continues until the duration is over or there are
         no immediate targets.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         c. Warp

         Warp deals damage, increases the damage an enemy takes, and
         can start a biotic combo or detonate one as long as either the
         source or detonator is a skill other than warp.  It is a
         projectile skill.  Warp also detonates fire explosions, tech
         bursts, and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, double damage on barriers, half
*        damage on shields.

         d. Asari Huntress

         Despite the name, this is exactly the same as the other Asari
         class skills.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Use Dark Channel to set up biotic combos and Warp to detonate
         them, much like an Adept.  The only real difference is that the
         Huntress is free to use heavier weapons.  Be sure to bring a
         weapon for up-close work, as the Channel/Warp combination is too
         slow to use against fast enemies.

*        The huntress has a slightly different cloak function than the
*        other infiltrators - it does not boost weapon damage at all, but
*        the power damage bonuses mean that it makes the raw damage of
*        the Huntress's powers very impressive.

__________
   G. Vanguards

Vanguards are a hybrid between guns and biotics, at least on paper.
The Human Vanguard (aka "Manguard") is a pure biotic and one of the
most powerful characters for Bronze, albeit rather less effective on
higher difficulties.  All of the Vanguards get the Biotic Charge
ability by default, and this ability is the Manguard's pride and joy,
where the others are more the "part time biotic" expected for the
class as described in the first Mass Effect.

Despite the tradition set in the previous games, there is no real
reason to use a shotgun on any Vanguard.  For the Human Vanguard it
is an especially poor choice since they have far more effective
close range tools in their skills and almost all shotguns are too 
heavy for that completely power-dependent class.  Players that want
a shotgun vanguard should go for the Krogan or Batarian - heavy
fighters that charge, but don't rely on power cooldowns as much.

***
1. Human Vanguard
***

The Manguard is a controversial character, mostly because there are a
lot of players who play it very, very badly.  Played correctly, it is
near invincible, but the tiniest lag or slipup and it becomes suicidal.
The key to Manguard is that the character is invincible while using
the Biotic Charge or Nova skills, and with a low enough cooldown the
character can alternate between them with mere fractions of a second of
vulnerability while dealing massive damage.

Manguard is mostly a Bronze phenomenon, though it works on Silver.
It's just too dangerous to be routinely effective on the highest
difficulties.

Using a heavy weapon (e.g. any shotgun except the Disciple) on a Human
Vanguard may result in players kicking you from a game immediately
since it is obvious you are playing the class wrong.  Some players
have run into so many poorly played Manguards that they simply kick
Manguards by default.  This happens less now than it did in the past
but you may get a lot of snide comments if you're not playing the
class to its full extent.  Then again, other players may keep quiet
because it means they can actually get a few kills in.

There is no "alternate way" to play the Manguard - it is a one trick
pony character.  Then again, when that pony is a rabid avatar of
destruction, why would you want anything else?

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  Very
         important upgrades to the ability increase the number of
         targets affected and the amount of shield restored, and these
         upgrades are not optional for the Manguard.  The area of
         effect stuns most enemies briefly, preventing you from being
         interrupted before you can Nova.  The shield restoration is
         a no-brainer because Nova deals damage based on your shield.

         Important note: it is generally best to play Manguard as the
         host of a game.  Lag will sometimes result in Charge not
         activating immediately, and those fractions of a second mean
         death.

         Biotic charges can also set off tech bursts and fire or cryo
         explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Shockwave

         Shockwave is listed for the Manguard, but you'd be crazy to
*        spend any points here.  It does 50% extra damage to barriers, if
*        for some reason you end up using it.

         c. Nova

         Nova reduces your current shield to 0 and changes it into a
         biotic explosion around you which can set off a biotic combo.
         You are invincible while using it, but after the animation
         ends you will die quickly since you are at point blank range
         with no shields.  Following Nova with a Biotic Charge 
         restores the shields, setting up another Nova.  The Nova 
         skill does not use the cooldown timer, it only checks if you
         have a shield to use.

         There is some debate between the use of Half Nova or the
         recharge bonus for the fifth upgrade.  Either will work.

         Nova will also detonate tech, fire, or cryo combos.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.


         d. Alliance Training

         This skill is exactly the same for all human characters.  It
         increases weight capacity, power damage, and weapon damage.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         If your cooldown is not 200%, you are playing this character
         wrong.  The main purpose to the Manguard is to spam charge,
         then nova, then charge.  There are situations where you'll
         want to actually use a gun.  For example, Banshees, Brutes,
         and Atlases will not be staggered by charge and can instantly
         kill you at short range, so charging them is inadvisable.
         When doing a hacking objective, it is difficult to stay
         inside the circle while charging, so you may have to fall 
         back on using a weapon.  The Predator pistol is more than
         sufficient for these limited tasks, and is sometimes useful
         for finishing off enemies that are more or less dead anyway.

         200% cooldowns are a must once the Manguard has Nova, as the
         time spent in cooldown is your only vulnerable point when
         riding the biotic death train of charge/nova.  At first 
         level when all you have is a single rank in charge it might 
         be reasonable to carry a bigger gun, but even then the 
         ability to constantly restore your shields is far more 
         useful than a slightly stronger weapon.  No weapon compares
         to the damage Nova deals, so the only time you'll actually
         use the gun is against Guardians (Charge moves their shield
         but Nova is too slow to finish them) and when defending
         objectives, drones, or delivering pizza.

***
2. Drell Vanguard
***

Like other Drell, the Vanguard has a higher base movement speed,
half the usual barrier strength, and a higher base capacity for
carrying weapons.  Unlike other Drell, the Vanguard is expected to
use the suicidally squishy shields at point blank range.  While the
character is playable, there isn't anything about it that's very
good, and unless running a challenge there's very little reason to
play this class.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Pull

         This projectile picks up unprotected enemies and holds them
         helpless.  It does a tiny amount of damage at first, but does
         not do more unless the upgrade is purchased.  It acts as a
         source for biotic combos, but only against unprotected targets.
         With the fast cooldown it excels at setting up combos, but it
         only works on enemies where combos aren't really necessary.

         c. Cluster Grenade

         Like similar powers, this works independently of cooldowns
         and instead uses grenades.  Cluster throws a group of grenades
         which pelt an area for moderate damage.  Because of the
         multiple grenade pattern, it is hard to aim at distance and
         is best used for indiscriminate bombardment.  One of the
         upgrades makes it do double damage to lifted targets, such
         as those affected by Pull.  The grenades can also set off a
         biotic combo, but cannot start one.  They also detonate fire
         and cryo explosions and tech bursts.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Drell Assassin

         The Drell version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  For Drell, it also increases their running speed,
         though the shield bonuses aren't so useful when the base
         shields are reduced.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Don't play the Drell Vanguard.  If you must, take into account
         that Pull and Biotic Charge sometimes fail to set off a
         biotic combo for some reason.  There really isn't anything
         good to say about this class.

         If you're playing it for the Outsider Mastery Challenge (or
         just for the challenge, period!) it's best to play the
         Drell Vanguard with some decently heavy weapons, as your
         powers aren't a big source of damage.  A sniper rifle is
         inadvisable without a power to use to stagger enemies, so
         the ever-useful Geth Plasma Shotgun is probably the weapon
         of choice.

***
3. Asari Vanguard
***

The Asari Vanguard is quite different from the Manguard in style, and
using a respec card to take the point out of Biotic Charge and put it
in something else might even be a reasonable choice.  Between Stasis
and Lift Grenade, the Asari Vanguard has a lot of crowd control, but
she's somewhat lacking for options against heavy armor.  She's an
uncommon unlock.  Like all Asari, the Vanguard doesn't roll, she
has a short range biotic dash.  Her heavy melee has a small area of
effect, but is painfully slow.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Stasis

         Stasis, unlike previous games, does not prevent the target
         from being damaged, it actually increases the damage taken.
         It is fairly useless until the final upgrade "Stasis Bubble"
         is taken, since it tends to miss otherwise.  It can affect
         shielded or barriered enemies, but not enemies that have armor
         instead of health.  It can set up biotic combos for anything
         it can effect, and those biotic combos when detonated will
         add a stasis effect to all nearby enemies.

         c. Lift Grenade

         Lift Grenade, like all of the grenade powers, ignores
         cooldowns and instead uses the grenade ammunition.  It has
         the distinction of being the grenade with the largest single
         burst radius, and temporarily lifts enemies, paralyzing them.
         It can be used to set up a biotic combo.

*        This power does 50% extra damage to barriers.

         d. Asari Justicar

         The Asari version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in pistol weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Stasis can be used to set up reliable headshots on enemies,
         and it gives a damage bonus as well.  Since Lift Grenade
         ignores cooldowns, the Asari Vanguard can be played as a
         biotic Soldier class, carrying around big guns like sniper
         rifles to take advantage of the stasis effect.

*        I tend to play the Asari Vanguard without using much in the
*        way of Biotic Charge, sticking to heavier weapons and grenades
*        with Stasis to lock down enemies.  I recognize that this is
*        unusual, and most people will play the Asari Vanguard as a
*        charging character.  Without Nova, there's little reason to
*        charge just for the sake of charging.


***
*4. Krogan Vanguard
***

The ultimate melee god is a rare unlock added in the Resurgence DLC.
With the ability to recharge shields with charge, the ability to add
huge amounts of damage reduction from barrier and rage, and the usual
Krogan strength, he's a blast to play.  This still suicidal on Gold,
and it lacks the Manguard's "near constant invincibility" perk, but
it works pretty well with the massive damage reduction.  Like all
Krogan, the Vanguard can't roll and has 50% more health and double
the shields of a human.  He can use the Katana X with a 160%
cooldown, about 20 better than most characters.

         a. Biotic Charge

         Charge is not really your main weapon on the Kroguard, it is
         a tool for shield restoration.  It is still quite potent, of
         course.  The Krogan variant is slightly different in that it
         offers a bonus to melee damage instead of power damage on the
         fifth evolution.  Charge kills count as melee for triggering
         the Rage ability.  Charge can detonate any combo, and while
         the Krogan can use Carnage for a Fire Explosion he cannot
         do a biotic combo on his own.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Carnage

         This is basically an improved version of concussive shot, but
         it lacks the quick cooldown.  It can stun enemies, deals good
         damage to armor, and can set off or prime a fire explosion.
         Like all powers, though, it cannot do both, so it has to be
         paired with an ammo power or a grenade.  It can also set off
         tech bursts and cryo explosions.

*        50% more damage to armor, half damage to barriers and shields.

         c. Barrier

         This is a variant on the usual armor powers.  It can be
         detonated to detonate a biotic combo, but the Kroguard has
         no way to start that combo.  Mostly it's just damage
         reduction.  It has a bizarre lack of animations.

*        Detonating the barrier does 50% extra damage to other barriers,
*        normal damage to anything else.

         d. Krogan Berserker

         The Krogan version of the class skill is almost identical to
         the human variety.  It increases weight capacity, power 
         damage, and weapon damage.  The final upgrade gives a choice
         between overall weapon damage or a reduction in shotgun weight
         instead of a general weight bonus.

         e. Rage

         The Krogan version of the Fitness skill has a different name
         and an additional effect.  If the Krogan kills three enemies
         (reduced to two with an upgrade) with melee attacks they enter
         rage mode and have a melee damage bonus as well as a damage
         reduction bonus.  Note that this is not "kill with melee" but
         "melee and kill."  Other than that, this skill is just defense
*        and melee damage like Fitness is.  Unconfirmed, but charging may
*        count as a melee attack.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         This is a simple-minded class.  Use charge to close with
         enemies.  Use melee attacks.  If shields are low, charge
         again.  Repeat.

*        Carnage is there for this class, but it doesn't fit well with
*        the other powers.  You could, if you were quick, Carnage and
*        follow with Biotic Charge for a fire explosion, but the skill
*        points are better spent on something that plays to the strengths
*        of the class.  The Krogan Soldier is a better home for Carnage
*        spam.

         For weapons, a shotgun or pistol with the blade attachment
         is ideal.  The Omni-Blade is stronger, but the Kroguard does
         care about cooldowns so the excess weight may be a poor
         choice.  A weapon with decent range is needed for situations
         where charge and melee are inappropriate, such as hacking
         objectives.  The ideal would be the Geth Plasma Shotgun.
         Try to keep cooldowns over 100%, but since the Kroguard is
         not constantly charging, they don't need to be at 200%.

***
5. Phoenix Vanguard
***

This is described as an ex-Cerberus human biotic.  There is a Adept
variant of this class that is identical except that it has
Singularity instead of charge.  The heavy melee attack for this class
is weak but has a large area of effect.  It is a rare unlock.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Smash

         Attacks a short area in front of the biotic.  Depending on the
         level 4 upgrade, this can either be a source for a tech burst
         or a biotic combo, but by default it is only a detonator.  The
         major flaw with Smash is the long animation before the attack
         where the character is helpless.  Unlike many other skills
         with long animations, Smash offers no invulnerability frames
         or even damage reduction during that period, so it must be
         used very carefully when under fire.  Like Shockwave, the
         attack goes through walls, but the short range means that it
         cannot routinely be used in this fashion.

         c. Lash

         Throws a projectile that pulls enemies towards the user and
         detonates biotic combos.  The pull effect only works on an
         unprotected enemy unless the shield piercing evolution is 
         taken at level six, and the combos never work on anything with
         armor.  It can be used as the source for a biotic combo, but
         like all skills, it cannot be both source and detonator in
         the same combo.

         d. Phoenix Training

         The only difference between this and the standard human class
         skill is that it gives a 25 bonus for pistols and shotguns
         instead of a 20 bonus for everything on one of the level six
         evolutions.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case, but the Phoenix melee
         attack is dubious.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Use charge to close distance and use Smash on enemies.  This
         is not nearly as safe as charge/nova because of Smash's
         lack of protection mid-animation, but this character can
         continue to Smash after arriving.  Smashing and then using
         Biotic Charge will detonate a biotic combo or tech burst
         depending on the evolution picked for Smash.

*        This sounds good on paper, but the reality is that the character
*        is standing in the open next to enemies using a skill that takes
*        longer to recharge and fire than enemies will be staggered by
*        charge.  I've yet to see a build for this character that makes
*        sense of this, and Lash does not seem to be any help.

***
6. N7 Slayer
***

The Slayer, like the standard Manguard, has an ability that consumes
barriers to deal damage.  Unfortunately, the Phase Disruptor does not
have Nova's invincibility period, but the Slayer is much less of a
one trick pony charging class, very important for higher difficulties.

This character has some unusual melee attacks, and is invincible for
some of the light melee swings and can teleport through walls with
the heavy melee.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Phase Disruptor

         This skill consumes part of your barrier to create an
         explosion at a distance.  This is not a biotic ability and
         does not detonate biotic combos, but will detonate tech, fire,
         and cryo.

         c. Biotic Slash

         This is a variant on Shockwave that has an excessively long
         windup animation and does a second attack while winding up.
         You can cancel it during the windup, after the windup attack,
         and not suffer a cooldown.  It will detonate all types of
         combos, but does not act as a source for any.  Like all of
         the Shockwave variants, it goes through walls.

*        This power does 50% more damage against armor and barriers.

         d. N7 Slayer

*        Alliance Training by another name.  The same as the usual human
*        class skill, with 20 weight reduction as the final option.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

*        Phase Disruptor and Biotic Slash are somewhat redundant, and it
*        is probably best to choose one or the other.  The PD has some
*        synergy with the restoration from Biotic Charge, but Biotic
*        Slash can be used as a wall-piercing attack, priceless on some
*        maps and useless on others.  If in doubt, stick with the Phase
*        Disruptor, as it's a somehwat less quirky skill.

*        Like most Vanguards with the exception of Manguard, the Slayer
*        has some freedom in weapon choice.  Like the other Vanguards, he
*        must take caution to have a reasonable weapon for situations
*        where charging isn't feasible.

***
7. Volus Protector
***

Probably the weakest of the Volus, this character is a bit of a joke
but is still playable.  The main power that the Volus have is their
ability to restore shields at will, and the main power that Vanguards
have is their ability to restore shields by charging, so there's too
much overlap.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Biotic Orbs

         This conjures up three orbs that circle the Volus.  Each one
         reduces cooldowns somewhat and they can be fired as projectiles
         that deal damage and detonate biotic combos.  The recharge
         time is based on when the orbs were summoned, so even with a
         heavy weapon three could be fired, immediately resummoned, and
         another three released.  The recharge time remaining is never
         shown in game.  The orbs do extra damage to armor and barriers.
         They can also detonate Fire Explosions and Cryo Explosions.

         c. Shield Boost

         This is not a biotic ability.  It restores some of the shields
         of all allies in a small radius and continues to restore them
         for a short period after.  While casting it, the Volus is
         invincible.

         d. Volus Training

         This is the usual class passive power, with the quirk that
         there is no headshot bonus, instead the 5th evolution has the
         option to improve the Shield Boost ability.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to power damage in this case... but the Volus don't
         have melee attacks anyway other than the shield.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         With orbs and boost the Protector can still do an adequate job
         of, well, protecting, but he lacks the ability to do his own
         biotic combos and charging as a flimsy Volus is decidedly
         dangerous.  For the ultimate in insults you could specialize in
         melee and use the power shield against enemies, but don't expect
         to do well.  If really desperate to make the class work, using
         an ammunition power to prime combos that you can detonate with
         Orbs might make for a decent showing, but...

***
8. Batarian Brawler
***

The Brawler, like the Krogan Battlemaster, is a near-invincible
juggernaut with massive health and barriers, a defensive activated
passive, and the ability to Charge for quick shield restoration.
While lacking the Krogan's Rage ability makes the Batarian less of
a melee deity, the Slasher is still a beast at close range.  Like
the other Batarians it has extra health and shields but slow running
speed and the inability to roll.  The Batarian heavy melee is very
slow, but very satisfying.  The character has substantial damage
protection during the melee animation, which makes it less suicidal
than might be expected.

The Brawler is the "shotgun in your face" character that veterans of
Mass Effect 2 vanguard play will appreciate.

         a. Biotic Charge

         This ability restores half of your shields and teleports you
         at an enemy, potentially setting off a biotic combo.  This
         deals moderate damage and knocks the enemy back.  It will
         also detonate tech bursts and fire and cryo explosions.

*        Charge does 50% extra damage to barriers.  It also does more
*        damage in general than might be apparent in the description,
*        as the physics effects of being knocked back inflict damage.

         b. Blade Armor

         The Batarian version of the armor power reduces incoming
         damage like all of the other armors.  It also increases melee
         damage and deals damage to enemies that use melee attacks on
         the Batarian.  Unlike the other armors, it cannot be
         detonated.  It can be turned off, but this has no effect.

         c. Lash

         Throws a projectile that pulls enemies towards the user and
         detonates biotic combos.  The pull effect only works on an
         unprotected enemy unless the shield piercing evolution is 
         taken at level six, and the combos never work on anything with
         armor.  It can be used as the source for a biotic combo, but
         like all skills, it cannot be both source and detonator in
         the same combo.

         d. Batarian Enforcer

         The Batarian version of the class skill, in addition to the
         usual schticks, also gives additional spare ammo capacity,
         which is rarely important.

         e. Fitness

         This skill is nearly identical for all characters.  It can
         be used to increase shields/health or to increase melee
         damage.  The final melee evolution also gives a temporary
         bonus to weapon damage.

         f. Recommended skills and tactics

         Grab a shotgun.  Charge into enemies, shoot them with the
         shotgun, and charge again when your shields go down.  Having
         a 200% cooldown is largely irrelevant, but you don't want to
         carry super-heavy weapons like the Claymore unless they've
         been upgraded substantially.  Be sure to carry a secondary
         light weapon for long range use, such as a scoped Predator.

*        For builds, the obvious advice is to simply skip Lash, as it
*        doesn't work well with the other skills available to the
*        Brawler.  It's amusing as a tool for setting up melee attacks,
*        but it just isn't good enough to justify spending points.

__________

--------------IV. Rewards, loot, and gear

There are two major ways to improve your characters, and neither of
them is dependent on what you did personally in a match, it only
depends on how your team did as a whole.  The third way inovlves
special objectives that will be displayed as pop-up messages, these
have varied and should be self-explanatory.

__________
   A. Rewards

There are two major resources to acquire: Experience, which is
directly based on the team's score from the match, and Credits which
are based on the team's performance on objectives.  Experience
rewards increase somewhat as difficulty increases, and credit rewards
nearly double for each difficulty level.

If your character is already at level 20, you do not get any benefit
from the experience.  Getting to level 20 is not terribly challenging
so most players are more concerned about the credits than the 
* experience unless they are constantly promoting characters.

***
1. Experience
***

Experience rewards are based on match scoring.  Each enemy type has
a base experience point value, and the majority of the experience from
each match comes from these kills.  If multiple players participate
in defeating an enemy, the total points awarded will add up to the
value of the kill if a single player had killed it.

There are also bonuses that are granted during the match for various
activities.  Each one has three levels - Bronze, Silver, Gold, worth
increasing amounts of experience.

Some other bonuses include grabs, killstreaks, and bonuses for groups
of waves completed without any characters going to zero health.  A
bonus is applied for completing wave 10, and another bonus may be
applied based on the outcome of the extraction objective.

The amount of experience required to gain a level increases with each
subsequent level, but the higher levels also grant more skill points
than the lower levels.

Again, for clarity, experience rewards are granted equally to all
team members regardless of individual score, so "stealing kills" is
irrelevant and competing for highest score is purely a matter of pride
rather than any game effect.

***
2. Credits
***

Me, as author.  No, just kidding, this section is about money.

A typical Bronze match grants around 15-17 thousand credits.  Silver is
approximately double in the low to mid 30's, and Gold is approximately
twice silver, usually in the low 70's.  The amount awarded varies 
based on how quickly the objectives were completed.

These credits can be used in the store to buy packs which will be
described in section B of this chapter.


***
3. Special objectives
***

Typically called "Operation fillintheblank" these have been limited
time weekend promotions.  Some of them have set community and 
individual goals for various objectives.  If there is an objective,
the reward typically includes a "Commendation Pack" which gives a 
chance at the otherwise unobtainable N7 weapons, which should not
be confused with the N7-marked black "Ultra Rare" items.

* These N7 weapons vary widely in quality, with the Typhoon and the
* Valiant (SMG and Sniper) both excellent weapons and the other
* three unimpressive, especially since most players will have them
* at rank I compared to their other rank X weapons.

__________
   B. What's in the packs?

The store lets you buy a variety of packs, one of which you get at the
very start of the game and never see again.  There is also typically
a weekly special pack that contains different items each week.  All
of the contents are random, and there are no guarantees that a pack
will contain anything of use.

The rarity lists are the next topic in the guide.

Unlocking a character you already have grants the character xp (if
not already level 20) and unlocks additional appearance customization
options.  If you're at 20 and have unlocked the appearances, the
character is worthless.

Unlocking a weapon you already have increases the weapon's rank,
which decreases the weight and increases the other stats by small
amounts.  Weapon ranks are shown in roman numerals.  Once a weapon is
at rank X, it will cease to appear in packs.

Unlocking a weapon upgrade you already have increases the upgrade's 
rank, which increases the benefits of that upgrade.  Upgrade ranks are
also roman numerals, but upgrades only increase to V.  Like the
weapons they will cease to appear in packs after fully upgraded.

Unlocking a consumable upgrade increases the amount of that consumable
you can carry.  Once you can carry five, the upgrade for that specific
consumable ceases to appear in packs.

Unlocking a reset card allows you to reset the skills of a character
on the powers screen.  If you already have three reset cards, they
will not appear in packs.

This section is based on observation and speculation, not on 
examination of the code.  It may contain errors.

***
1. Recruit
***

These cost 5,000 credits.

Slot 1: One of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item
Slot 3: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item as 1 or 2
Slot 4: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank I
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
Slot 5: An increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon weapon
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon character

***
2. Veteran
***

These cost 20,000 credits.

Slot 1: Three of one of type of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Same list as slot 1, but never the same item
Slot 3: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank II
Slot 4: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment, rank II
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon weapon
        *or* (small chance) an uncommon character
Slot 5: An uncommon weapon
        *or* an uncommon character
        *or* (small chance) a rare weapon
        *or* (small chance) a rare character
        *or* (small chance) a consumable upgrade (considered a rare)

***
3. Spectre
***

These cost 60,000 credits.

Slot 1: Five of one of type of the Gel/Missile/Heal/Ammo consumables
Slot 2: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank III
Slot 3: Weapon/Armor/Ammo "Equipment," rank III
        *or* an increase to a default weapon
        *or* a Human character
        *or* a common upgrade
        *or* an uncommon weapon
        *or* an uncommon character
Slot 4: a common upgrade
        *or* an uncommon upgrade
        *or* a consumable upgrade (considered a rare)
        *or* a reset card (also considered a rare)
Slot 5: A rare character
        *or* a rare weapon
        *or* (small chance) an ultra-rare weapon

***
4. Others
***

There are sometimes other packs for sale, such as the Equipment pack,
which contains five of each consumable and a random weapon/armor/ammo
temporary bonus, or the Premium Spectre pack, which contains two
guaranteed rares and a higher chance at an ultra-rare.

The Premium Spectre pack is identical to the normal spectre pack
except that slot 2 is skipped and there are two slot 5's.

The Equipment pack contains five of each consumable and a random tier
III "equipment" item.

__________
   C. The Armory

This section contains a list of all of the unlockable weapons and
upgrades.  A handy checklist is available at the following link:

http://narida.pytalhost.com/me3/mpchecklist/me3_mp_checklist.pdf

Each weapon can hold two upgrades at a time.

***
1. Sniper Rifles
***

The sniper rifles have the unfortunate distinction of having only
one common upgrade.  Ironically, the main strike against the Viper,
which is otherwise a decent weapon, is that most dedicated sniper
rifle users will want to focus on buying Spectre packs to unlock the
weapon mods and are not likely to see the Viper at high rank.  The 
Incisor is terrible because of the high recoil, though it is usable
if stabilized by firing from cover or by a Turian with their racial
bonus, but even then it has poor stopping power.

The extended barrel and the piercing mod are good choices for general
use, but switching the piercing mod for the spare thermal clip may
by necessary for the rapid-firing Valiant.


Default/Common:

M-92 Mantis: Single shot, high damage, relatively light.


Uncommon:

M-13 Raptor: Semi-auto, low damage, low scope magnification.
Part of the Outsider Mastery Challenge.

M-29 Incisor: Burst fire, high recoil.

M-97 Viper: Semi-auto, medium damage.

Rare:

M-98 Widow: Single shot, highest damage, heavy, pierces thin cover.

Kishock Harpoon Gun: Charged shot, high damage, damage over time.
Part of the Resurgence Mastery challenge.

Krysae Sniper Rifle: Slow firing, more rocket launcher than rifle.
Part of the Rebellion Mastery challenge.

Collector Sniper Rifle: Infinite ammo particle beam, when magazine
expended it has to cool down but will recharge much faster if it
never hits zero.  Best used as a semi-automatic (click repeatedly)
to better control ammunition usage.  Part of Retaliation Mastery.

Ultra-Rare:

Black Widow: Three shot, high damage, heavy, pierces thin cover.

Javelin: Single shot, high damage, heavy, pierecs thick cover.
* Part of Machine Mastery Challenge.  The Javelin has a short charge-up
* time before firing that doesn't change much, but requires some
* adjustment if used to firing other sniper rifles.

M-90 Indra: Fully automatic low damage, not really a sniper rifle.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

Valiant: Three shot, high damage, medium weight, just better.

         a. Sniper Rifle upgrades
         ---Common---
         Spare Thermal Clip-increases reserve ammunition count.
         ---Uncommon--- 
         Enhanced scope-increases accuracy, see through smoke.
         Extended barrel-increases damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         ---Rare---  (These add 50 to the weapon's weight)
         High-velocity barrel-Combined damage and piercing.
         Thermal scope-Like enhanced scope but shows enemies
                       through walls.

***
2. Assault Rifles
***

Many of the assault rifles are rather trashy, unfortunately.  The real
tragedy of this group is the Phaeston, which was improved and is still
not really worth using over the basic Avenger since it weighs more
and isn't much better.  The Geth Pulse Rifle falls in the same camp,
better than the Avenger but not better enough.  Both, like the Avenger
itself, are usable, especially on Bronze, but on higher difficulties
they're like the Spaghetti Factory - mass production of wet noodles.

The two rare assault rifles that fire grenades are best paired with
cryo ammo as crowd control tools.  Neither does excellent damage, but
they can be quite devastating against groups.

For assault rifles, the scope and barrel upgrades are common picks.
Since the barrel is uncommon, it may make sense to use a higher level
basic upgrade instead of a minimal level barrel upgrade.  The upgrade
for penetration isn't useful for penetration, but is useful for the
bonus against armor when using the low damage high speed rifles.

Default/Common:

M-8 Avenger: Full auto, low damage, low accuracy, low weight.  It's
best to think of the Avenger as an SMG that can accept rifle upgrades.

Uncommon:

M-15 Vindicator: 3-shot burst, low damage, high accuracy.  The burst
limiter on this gun means that it's basically semi-automatic for the
amount of times you'll have to press the trigger.  Use the Mattock
instead.

M-96 Mattock: While a lot of people have heaped praise on this semi-
automatic rifle, it's not as good as it was in Mass Effect 2.  That
said, it's by far the best of the Uncommon assault rifles and is only
bad for characters that are reliant on maximum cooldown speeds as it
is a little bit heavy.  Semi-auto means tired fingers, unfortunately.

Phaeston: Much like the Avenger, just bigger and heavier.  Between an
Avenger X and a Phaeston I, choose the Avenger every time.  This gun
is part of the Commando Mastery challenge.

Rare:

Geth Pulse Rifle: Full auto and high accuracy but pathetic damage, 
this gun is part of the Machine Mastery challenge and that's the only
reason to use it.  It is fairly light once upgraded.  Again, like the
Phaeston, a fully upgraded Avenger is a better weapon at first.

M-37 Falcon: Grenade launcher, staggers enemies, no headshots, heavy.

M-76 Revenant: Full auto, medium damage, low accuracy, too heavy.

Striker Assault Rifle: Full auto grenade launcher.
Part of the Resurgence Mastery challenge.

Collector Rifle: Originally available as promo-only, now just a rare.
Part of Retaliation Mastery.

M-55 Argus Pulse Rifle: Fires two shot bursts, heavy.

Ultra-Rare:

M-99 Saber: Semi auto, high damage, high accuracy, heavy.

Cerberus Harrier: By far the best weapon in the class, the only
downsides to the Harrier are its poor ammunition supply and its
fairly high weight.  Part of the Rebellion Mastery challenge.

N7 Typhoon: Powerful fully automatic machine gun, rate of fire
increases as the trigger is held.  Very powerful, but very heavy
and only useful in long bursts.  Part of Earth Mastery challenge.

Particle rifle: Infinite ammunition as long as it doesn't hit zero
on the ammunition counter.  Once zero is reached it requires a long
recharge, otherwise recharge is fairly quick.

         a. Assault Rifle upgrades
         ---Common---
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Precision scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         Stability damper-reduces recoil.
         ---Uncommon---
         Extended barrel-increases damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         ---Rare--- (all add 50 weight)
          High Velocity Barrel-Increases damage, adds piercing.
         Omni-blade-Increases melee damage.
         Thermal scope-Increases accuracy, sees through smoke,
                       and shows enemies through walls.

***
3. Submachine Guns
***

The SMGs are the shortest list, and the list of ones worth considering
is even shorter.  The N7 Hurricane is the most powerful of the SMGs,
but it goes through ammunition at crazy speeds and is not very light.

A very important upgrade to the SMGs is the ultralight materials
option.  With the rank V version of that upgrade, the lighter SMGs
will reduce cooldowns on the order of 5%, almost weightless.


Default/Common:

M-4 Shuriken: 3-shot burst, very low weight, pathetic damage.

Uncommon:

M-9 Tempest: Full auto, low weight, high recoil, low damage.
M-12 Locust: Full auto, low weight, accurate, pathetic damage.

Rare:

M-25 Hornet: 3-shot burst, medium weight, high recoil, medium damage.
Part of Outsider Mastery challenge.

Geth Plasma SMG: Full auto, low damage, accelerating rate of fire.
Part of the Resurgence Mastery challenge.  The GPSMG is amusing
to use with the increased magazine capacity and heat sink upgrades
as it can be turned into a literal bullet hose firing thousands of
rounds over the course of a mission.

Ultra-Rare:

Collector SMG: Full auto, low damage, infinite ammunition.  If the
ammunition counter reaches zero it must recharge, otherwise the 
ammunition comes back quickly.  The magazine or heat sink upgrade
are virtually required to make this weapon function.  It is not
very light, and finally it is part of Retaliation Mastery.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Hurricane: Very fast full auto, low weight, high recoil, low damage.

         a. Submachine Gun upgrades
         ---Common---
         Heat sink-Chance of not using ammo on each shot.
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         ---Uncommon---
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         Ultralight materials-decreases weight.
          ---Rare--- (The barrel increases weight)
         High velocity barrel- Adds piercing.
         Recoil system - Reduces accuracy lost while firing.

***
4. Shotguns
***

Most of the shotguns are very similar, and the default Katana will
probably be better than any of the other basic shotguns since it is
much easier to increase.  The chargeable rare shotguns are the only
weapons in this category used with any frequency, though the basic
shotguns are also worth picking up because of the blade attachment.
Pistols can also be used for melee bonuses, but the upgrade there is
uncommon and the shotgun melee bonus is much easier to get to V.

For upgrades on the shotguns, the barrel is, as always, a good pick.
The choke is useful for the Claymore, but for most shotguns it is a
waste of time, especially the Geth Plasma Shotgun (GPS) where it
literally does nothing.

Default/Common:

M-23 Katana: medium weight, low accuracy, medium damage.

Uncommon:

M-27 Scimitar: Lighter than Katana but larger magazine.
M-22 Eviscerator: Like the Katana, smaller magazine, higher damage.

Rare:

AT-12 Raider: Rapid fire, short range.

Disciple: Light for a shotgun, otherwise about the same as Katana.
Part of Commando Mastery challenge.  Staggers enemies.

Geth Plasma Shotgun: Chargeable, accurate, fires three shot group.

Graal Spike Thrower: Chargeable, accurate, fires slow-moving shots.
Part of Blood Pack Mastery.

M-300 Claymore: Single shot high damage.

Reegar Carbine: Lightning flamethrower, short range.
Part of Rebellion Mastery challenge.

N7 Pirahna: Full auto, short range.
Part of Earth Mastery challenge.

Ultra-Rare:

M-11 Wraith: Higher damage Eviscerator with only 2 shots per magazine.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Crusader: A shotgun firing a slug, not shot, that pierces cover.

         a. Shotgun upgrades
         ---Common---
         Blade attachment-increases melee damage.
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         Smart choke-increases accuracy.
         ---Uncommon---
         Shredder mod-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         Spare thermal clip-increases reserve ammunition.
         ---Rare--- (both add 50 weight)
         High velocity barrel-Increases damage and adds piercing.
         Omni-blade-More melee damage than Blade Attachment.

***
5. Heavy Pistols
***

The basic predator, the phalanx, and the carnifex form a progression 
of increasing weight and damage and decreasing rate of fire and
magazine and reserve capacity.  These are the basic and most common
choices for heavy pistols.  The Talon is also a common pick, though
it is really a shotgun in the pistol slot.

For upgrades, the most commonly used for pistols are the barrel for
more damage and the scope for long-range accuracy.  Armor piercing is
also an option instead of scope if the pistol is a backup anti-armor
tool or for use against Cerberus Guardians.

Default/Common:

M-3 Predator: Very low weight, accurate, low damage, high rate of fire.

Uncommon:

M-5 Phalanx: Low weight, accurate, medium damage, medium rate of fire.

Rare:

Arc Pistol: Medium weight, chargeable, otherwise like the Predator.
Part of Machine Mastery challenge.  The Arc Pistol's charged shot
uses up to three ammunition, and can be quite powerful but takes
some practice.

M-6 Carnifex: Medium weight, accurate, high damage, low rate of fire.

Acolyte: This pistol must be charged to fire, and it fires a slow
arcing projectile that explodes and does quintuple damage to shields
and barriers.  It is part of the Earth Mastery challenge.

Ultra-Rare:

M-358 Talon: Heavy weight, high damage, shotgun-like.
Part of Outsider Mastery challenge.

M-77 Paladin: Carnifex with less shots and higher damage.

Scorpion: Fires proximity mines, heavy, no headshots.
Part of Commando Mastery challenge.  The proximity mines do not
last very long, and it is better to think of the Scorpion as a
grenade launcher pistol.

N7 (Commendation pack only):

N7 Eagle: Full auto, medium weight, otherwise like the Predator.

         a. Heavy pistol upgrades
         ---Common---
         Magazine-increases number of shots before reloading.
         Precision scope-increases accuracy, adds scope.
         High caliber barrel-increases damage.
         ---Uncommon---
         Melee stunner-increases melee damage.
         Piercing-increases damage against armor, pierces cover.
         ---Rare--- (Heavy Barrel adds 50 weight)
         Heavy Barrel-more damage than high caliber barrel.
         Cranial Trauma System-adds headshot damage,

__________
   D. Recommendations on which pack to buy

A common question from new players is "which pack should I buy?"

In general, all of the basic weapons except the Shuriken are worth
using for their own class, and there is no reason to use a submachine
gun when the pistol fires faster.  As such, getting the basic weapons
to rank X is a good early-game goal and will require quite a few
Recruit packs, maybe 20 rounds of successful Bronze runs worth.  This
will clear out the list so that the basic weapons don't show up in
the more expensive packs and displace more valuable drops.

Once the basic weapons have been finalized, the next question is more
"what do you want?" rather than general advice.

Players who know that they want a specific weapon should consult the
rarity list.  Some of the uncommon weapons are quite decent, such as
the Mattock and the Phalanx, and players looking to max out those
weapons should buy Veteran packs.

Unless there's a specific uncommon weapon or character that's desired,
or unless the goal is to collect absolutely everything, it's better to
skip the the Veteran packs and go straight to the Spectre packs,
since they're the only reliable way to unlock the uncommon upgrades.

__________

--------------V. Bestiary

This is just a list of the enemies you'll face.

__________
   A. Cerberus

This was the only enemy faction in the demo.

      1. Assault Trooper

The trooper is the basic "Care Bear" unit.  It has a basic gun attack,
a melee attack, and can throw grenades.  The grenades are instant 
death on Silver or higher but are fairly easy to avoid.

      2. Nemesis

The nemesis is a Cerberus sniper unit.  They have shields in addition
to health.  Their sniper rifle attacks are always preceded by a bright
red laser sighting beam.  The nemesis has a tendency to hang back, and
is often the last enemy finished in a wave since it doesn't seek out
the players aggressively.

      3. Centurion

These are essentially a heavier version of the trooper.  In addition
to the guns and melee, they can also throw smoke grenades and the AI
is fairly intelligent about them.  They have shields in addition to
health.

      4. Guardian

Guardians have shields.  No, not the blue kind, the "sword and shield"
kind.  They're glacially slow, but actually rather annoying to kill,
since you either have to shoot them through the slot in the shield or
shoot they feet.  If they're facing a different direction they're easy
and combat drones can make them turn around.  A variety of skills can
stagger them, moving their shields out of the way.  Stasis makes them
drop the shields.  The alternative is to use any weapon that pierces
cover or use an upgrade or armor piercing ammo.  With any of those
effects, you can ignore the shield.

      5. Combat Engineer

Engineers have shields and light weapons, but their main offensive
ability is laying a heavy turret.  Engineers can be killed like any
other humanoid enemy or you can blow them up by targeting their
backpacks.  The engineer can drop an infinite number of turrets, but
generally only sets up one at a time.

         a. Turret

The turrets are far more dangerous than the engineers themselves.  
They fire long bursts with pauses between, so stay in cover until the
turret is done firing.  They also have fairly limited range and can
be taken out safely at long distance.  The turrets have shields and
armor.

* Because of the dangers posed, Turrets and Engineers are typically
* considered the highest priority targets when fighting Cerberus.

      6. Phantom

While not the "ultimate" Cerberus unit, the Phantoms are the most
dangerous.  They have a short range attack with a distinctive sound
and are the only Cerberus enemy with barriers, so they are hard to
misidentify, but they are also fast and tend to stay low so they can
sneak up on you.  They are primarily dangerous with their melee
attacks and can insta-kill players at mele range.  If their barriers
are down they will run and cloak until they are restored.  Meleeing
or Biotic Charging a Phantom is not recommended, but they are weak 
enough that it's not a terrible idea.  Charges will stagger them, so
Vanguards are relatively safe as long as they're targeting the
Phantom itself!

Phantoms will put up a shield when attacked with powers, and are
immobile while shielding.  The shield only stops powers, it does
not stop you from shooting them in the head while they hide.

      7. Atlas

The most powerful Cerberus unit is actually not that much of a threat.
Their missiles will immediately drop shields, but their rate of fire
is so slow that an Atlas alone will have trouble killing anyone.  Like
the Phantoms they can insta-kill at melee range.  The main risk for
Atlases is that they take quite a lot of punishment to kill and they
can overwhelm you, especially on higher difficulties, if you do not
take them down before they overrun your position.

      8. Dragoon

These were added in a later patch.  They are aggressive armored
soldiers with light guns and heavy, easily dodged melee attacks.
While not terribly difficult, they can do a lot of damage very
quickly and are somewhat sturdy.  Their armor makes them immune
to some of the crowd control measures that keep Phantoms under
control, but otherwise the tactics and problems are the same.

__________
   B. Geth

Depending on your choices in the game, fighting the Geth may make
very little sense, but they do have a throwaway line that not all of
the Geth were swayed by the decision.

The Geth have a tendency to form large, slow moving groups, and
falling back is sometimes a useful tactic since none of the Geth are
particularly fast with the exception of the bombers.

      1. Geth Trooper

The basic Geth troopers are weaker than the other two factions in that
they lack grenades.  They are also very easy to headshot since they
aren't as fast and have big heads.

      2. Geth Rocket Trooper

Rocket troopers are the snipers of the Geth faction.  They have some
shields, and fire very their rockets very slowly.  Like the Atlas, the
rockets will take down your shields but are unlikely to kill you 
unless there is something else shooting at you.

      3. Geth Pyro

These slow-moving enemies have both shields and armor.  They will
slowly walk towards players and once in range will fire their rather
nasty flamethrowers, which have longer range than you might expect.
Overall, though, it is simply a matter of killing them at a distance.

      4. Geth Hunter

Like the Pyros, the Hunters slowly charge and overwhelm positions.
They approach under cloak, but the cloak doesn't stop you from shooting
them and they aren't hard to spot on the brightly lit maps.  Their
plasma shotguns are actually effective at long range, but the AI uses
them as if they had even shorter range than the Pyros.

      5. Geth Prime

The Geth Prime is the heavy unit for their faction, and like the Pyro
and the Hunter, it moves slowly.  Unlike the Pyro and the Hunter, it
has an effective long range weapon that fires a three round "burst"
that can easily kill if you're out of cover.  They also spawn both
turrets and drones.  With shields and armor, the Prime takes a while
to take down.

         a. Drones and turrets

The turrets and drones aren't very dangerous, only have shields, and
die quickly.  If killed, the Prime will just spawn more.

      6. Geth Bomber

      Bombers are harassment units with shields and armor that are
      somewhat difficult to kill because of their agility.  Unlike
      most Geth they can move fairly quickly, and they are considered
      high priority targets because of their abilities that will
      knock players out of cover.

__________
   C. Reaper

No, there are no Reapers in this faction.  There also aren't any 
Harvesters, and those are the only enemy in the single player that's
not in the multiplayer.

* Reapers are considered the "easiest" of the four enemy factions, but
* this is largely a matter of play styles and build choices.  They are
* very vulnerable to biotic combos and fire explosions, combinations that
* many classes can generate.

      1. Cannibal

Cannibals are the basic troops.  They have ranged attacks and grenades
and their "head" is actually the face on the front of the model.

      2. Husk

Husks do not have armor, just health, and die fairly quickly.  They
also spawn infinitely while other enemies are alive.  With no ranged
attacks, husks just run up to you and grab, forcing you to wipe them
off by mashing the melee button.

      3. Marauder

Marauders have assault rifles and shields, but they spend most of
their time putting additional armor plating on the husks and cannibals.
The buffs they give to the other enemies aren't that significant,
and the Marauders are not a major threat.

      4. Brute

Here's where the Reaper faction gets interesting, and by interesting
I mean dangerous.  Brutes only have armor, and the damage you deal to
them varies based on where you hit them, which isn't as obvious as
the headshots on other enemies.  They move quickly, and deal massive
damage with their melee attacks.  In addition to being slow to die,
they can also instakill you at melee range, though they don't use the
instakill move frequently.

      5. Ravager

Ravagers are the heavy artillery.  It's easy to tell where they are
aiming with the twin aiming beams.  Like the Geth Prime, being caught
in the open by a Ravager's ranged attack is very dangerous.  They only
have armor.  In addition to their ranged attack, they also spawn
little minion creatures called swarmers.

Ravagers can be very dangerous on open maps, but in close quarters
they're extremely weak.

         a. Swarmer

Swarmers are the easiest enemies in the game.  They die when they
attack, and any damage kills them.  They do, however, appear in large
groups, and while they're not that dangerous they're just another
reason to dislike Ravagers.

      6. Banshee

With heavy barriers and armor, the major annoyance of Banshees is 
their absolute refusal to die at any reasonable speed.  Their attacks
aren't terribly strong, but they teleport around at irritating speed
and can easily pop up right next to a player and insta-kill them.
Only the truly suicidal will use Biotic Charge or a melee attack on
a Banshee, as they are very fond of that insta-kill.

Banshees are usually the highest priority target when fighting the
Reapers, since they have an irritating tendency to insta-kill at
amazing distances and their insta-kill is permanent until the end
of the round.
 
__________
   D. Collector

The fourth enemy faction was added later.  They are the most
irritating of the enemies, with agile infantry, frustrating and
annoying seeker swarms, and a disturbing tendency to execute
downed players almost immediately.  If a friend goes down, revive
them sooner rather later, because there usually isn't a later.

All of the Collector units can be "possessed" which boosts their
stats and gives them new abilities as well as barriers if they
did not previously have them.  There is, however, no meme-worthy
saying every time this happens.

* The collectors are generally considered the "hard" faction, though
* they are not substantially harder than the other three.  The
* exact reason for their reputation is debated.

      1. Trooper

Basic Collectors are more agile than the basic troops of the other
factions.  They are also substantially more aggressive, though
they are not quite as grenade-happy as the Cerberus troops.

When possessed, Troopers can create "Collector Webs" and get
barriers, but are otherwise similar to their basic varieties.

         a. Collector Webs

Not really an enemy, just a barrier that absorbs shots and blocks
movement.  Some small points are awarded for destroying them.

      2. Captain

The captains, in terms of offense, are not that different from the
basic troopers, though they do have barriers even when not
possessed.  Their most irritating ability is spawning Seeker Swarms
and when they are possessed, Seeker Plagues.

Because of this spawning ability, Captains are often considered
high priority targets.

         a. Seeker Swarms and Plagues

Swarms are fairly durable, fairly agile, and fortunately slow-
moving bunches of bugs.  If they hit a player, they will disable
all cooldown-related powers for a short period.  Plagues are
similar but also have barriers.

      3. Abomination

These are similar to the Reaper faction's husks, but they are
stronger since they explode on death, dealing some damage.  Like
husks, they will grapple with characters if allowed close, leaving
the player an easy target for other nearby enemies.  Possessed
variants on Abominations create much larger explosions on death
and have barriers.  In all cases, headshots will kill the
Abomination without causing an explosion.

* The grappling finisher is always a headstomp that does not make
* the abomination explode.

       4. Scion

These armored enemies are the faction's artillery, firing three
shot bursts that will kill most players outside of cover.  They
have easily dodged melee attacks at close range, though dodging
the attack often leaves a player at range for the main guns.
The possessed variant has barriers and fires a large cluster of
grenades in addition to the three shot burst.  The grenades
will either force a player to move or will make them stand up,
leaving them vulnerable to the guns.

On large open maps, Scions should be considered high priorities.
in areas with plenty of walls, they aren't terribly dangerous.

       5. Praetorian

Large, beetle-like flying enemies that move fairly quickly.  In
addition to their eye-beams, which are slow and easily dodged,
the Praetorian has vicious melee attacks, including an insta-
kill attack that prevents reviving.  While not harmless at range,
they are far more dangerous up close, and they are extremely
sturdy enemies that will not die quickly.  The possessed
variants are even sturdier and have a scion-like long range
attack in addition to the eye beams.
__________
   
--------------VI. Closing comments

I'd like to acknowledge the help of some folks on the GameFAQs ME3 PC
board for their input on some questions I had.  Cindragoons, SKA_,
Dangaard, Gamemako, mimycri, Spideyknight, Seishomaru, yegaboo11,
Duneman, and El_Kaz.  I'm probably forgetting some people.

This the second draft of this guide and it is done in the short term.

In the meantime, this guide is copyleft - all rites reversed.  Do with
it what you will.  It's kind of lame to steal it and claim that you
wrote it when I did all the work, but honestly I don't care, I enjoy 
writing FAQs.

7Apr12-Original release
11May12-Small update, added a variety of recommendations and comments
13Jan13-Major update to include expansions and rebalance.
* 18Jan13-Update to include feedback and error corrections.
Changes are marked with a "*" at the start of the line.