Mass Effect Weekly: Revamped Health System

Hello guys, I have been toying with this idea for a while now, but with some time on my hands I have decided to finally put it into motion. Mass Effect Weekly is a regular(hopefully) segment that either analyzes new features that have been released by Bioware, or information that precedes this blog, depending on the week. 

Mass Effect 3's new Health System

In the Mass Effect 3: Against All Odds Trailer, the game's new health system makes an appearance amidst the chaos of the Thresher Maw-Reaper battle.

Although Shepard does not take damage in the video, nor is the health system the centerpiece, the new graphic still gives some juicy information regarding the system.

The shield and health bars are completely separate now. In Mass Effect 2, the shield overlapped the health bar, and did not show until shield was fully depleted. Instead, the new graphic resembles the style of the original Mass Effect, with blocky shield bars and a health bar both fully visible at all times. Bioware, however, has confirmed that the improved system will resemble Mass Effect 1 more than just graphically.

Mass Effect 1 on the left, Mass Effect 2 on the right

The health is not divided into fifths just for visuals. Similar to how regenerating health operates in the Assassin's Creed series, Shepard will only heal up to the maximum of his/her current health. For example, if Shepard's shield was deactivated, and his health was damaged to halfway through the third bar, Shepard's health would only regenerate to the third bar.

Medi-gel will return to a more prominent role as a result of this. In Mass Effect 1, Medi-gel was instrumental in combat, as it allowed players to administer first-aid to their squad, in addition to being able to revive fallen squad-mates through the Unity power. However, its role was greatly reduced in Mass Effect 2 with the introduction of rapid-regenerating health; Medi-gel was restricted solely to the Unity power as a result. 

Mass Effect 3's health is a mixture of its predecessors'. It keeps the quick-regenerating shield and health that results in the fast paced combat of Mass Effect 2, but builds another layer of challenge by reintroducing a variation of Mass Effect 1's slow/no regenerating system. A combination of the best-of from both games, the health system looks good on paper, but how will it actually play like in the game? I see this affecting a certain class the most; my favorite of them all, the most fast-paced, in-your-face class that enemies see miles away and is staring down the barrel of Shepard's shotgun the next. The Vanguard.

Tune in next week as I cover the Vanguard class in Mass Effect 3

Hey guys, I would really appreciate it if you left I comment if you want me to continue this series. I'm not really sure if the users of this site enjoy this type of content, so if you do be sure to pipe up!

RPGeesus's picture

I approve!

Seriously, keep doing this. This system is something I had no idea about, and seems cool. Also, this was well-written, and I support the continued existence of this.

L33to II's picture

Interesting point on how this will affect Vanguards, Vanguard being my primary class. It's possible that passive health regen (which all classes could acquire in ME1 through the Specter skill) will return in some form. Shield recharge time seems much faster than in ME2 so it seems they are actively incentivizing players to avoid taking health damage. I'm sure medigel will be somewhat more liberally available but not enough to be constantly spamming if a player is losing chunks of health in every single fight.

The main repercussion for Vanguards, assuming the final system is as seen here, will be a reduced margin of error in close combat. That being said, during Vanguard CQC in ME2 I frequently am relying on Charge to recharge shields and keep on killing, without really stopping to regen health. Vanguards depend on cover mostly to buy those precious few seconds out of the line of fire until Charge is ready again, not to fully regen health/shields before going back into the fray like other classes. 

The more streamlined movement/dodging mechanics in ME3 should also be a big help, as there were few things more irritating in ME2 than getting blasted in the back and losing your last shred of health as Shepard woodenly attempts to get into cover in the wrong place.


darthsoraxiii's picture

yes please continue. :)

UberExplodey's picture

Nice job dude, keep at it

bip267's picture

This was a really interesting read. Showing how the health system evolved was actually more interesting than i originally thought.

Vanguard is always a great class to play as. I always start off as a vanguard every new mass effect game, since they have some of the coolest biotic abilities.

If you need a new mass effect blog post i would suggest doing a character write up.. Since new companions are being added it would help everyone make an informed decisions, and to decide on who to take on their missions. 

Josh Kowbel's picture

Well spotted. I wasn't even aware of the health system change. I'm interest in seeing what you cook up next week. 

JoesShittyOs's picture

I guess anything different is better than the last game.  I owned it for two years and only just figured out how the health worked in it.

Mr Hat's picture

A really cool article, I would definently be interested if you kept this up.

Solifluktion's picture

Damn I really want to skip february and get to march already so I can play the game.

ExplicitDQ's picture

I 100% approve of this!! Exactly like a well - made wiki unlike the chaotic ME wiki, that J & D keep shitting on,  which I think is mediocre.

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