Mass Effect 3 Random Data and Information


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Contents | Weapons Data | Downed State Survival | Miscellaneous

Weapons Data

There's a spreadsheet located here that contains a lot of data for weapons. I'm not responsible for it and I won't be replicating it here. I'll only be including the two DPS values. While this spreadsheet contains various values for recoil and aim offset, it's nothing that's practically usable. Consequently, I decided to see what kind of actual recoil and spread results you would see in game.


I used level 5 (V) weapons to conduct each of these tests. No mods were used. Tests were conducted on the center target in the Spectre gun range at the second target distance. Shotguns were additionally tested at the first target distance. I did not test any of the single shot sniper rifles.

With the exception of the Black Widow (see notes section), all tests were conducted "unassisted". I did not attempt to compensate for any of the recoil effects. When I come up with a decent and repeatable methodology, I intend to add some grouped shot results while compensating for recoil.

Testing Methods:

Recoil: Repeatedly fire rounds at the target before the point of aim is pushed above the entire target panel. My starting aim point is near the feet displayed on the target. Conducted both "from the hip" and while aiming.
Group: This is a 3 round group (Exception: Shuriken) fired at the center of the target panel as indicated by the breakable item GUI indicator. Semi-auto weapons are fired with three consecutive mouse clicks. Burst weapons are fired with a single mouse click. Full-auto weapons are fired off-target until 3 rounds remain in the magazine before firing with a click and hold. Conducted both "from the hip" and while aiming.
Empty: Empty the magazine starting at the center of the target. Conducted both "from the hip" and while aiming.
Spread: A spread pattern for shotgun pellets.
Spread Close: A spread pattern for shotgun pellets at the first target position.

Table Legend

[M] Fire Mode:S for semi-auto, A for full-auto, B for burst.
[R] Recoil: Number of rounds fired before the point of aim is pushed above the entire target panel. N/A means "not applicable", meaning the weapon doesn't push the point of aim up with recoil.
[RA] Recoil Aimed: Number of rounds fired before the point of aim is pushed above the entire target panel while aiming.
[G] Group: Number of rounds from a group located inside the silhouette which appears on the target panel.
[GA] Group Aimed: Number of rounds from a group while aiming located inside the silhouette which appears on the target panel.
[E] Empty: Number of rounds from the magazine located inside the silhouette which appears on the target panel.
[EA] Empty Aimed: Number of rounds from the magazine while aiming located inside the silhouette which appears on the target panel.
[S.DPS] Sustained Damage Per Second: From the spreadsheet.
[B.DPS] Burst Damage per Second: From the spreadsheet.
[I] Image: A link to target images for this weapon.
Notes: Any weapon specific notes.

Things to be Aware Of

Weapons in multiplayer go up to level 10 (X). I don't know if the level 5 weapons in single player are equivalent to the level 5s in multiplayer, or are equivalent to the highest level 10 weapons. I don't know if the different levels even have an impact on recoil and spread. I am assuming that they do not, as the spreadsheet lists a range of values for damage, weight, and capacity, but not for anything else.

Burst DPS values in the spreadsheet are the amount of damage done per second between reloads at the weapon's maximum cyclic rate. They are calculated as follows:
Rate of Fire / 60 * Maximum Damage.

Sustained DPS values in the spreadsheet are the amount of damage done per second including the following reload. They are calculated as follows:
Maximum Damage * Capacity / (Rate of Fire / 60 * Capacity + Reload Duration)

It's worth noting that single shot weapons in the spreadsheet have burst DPS higher than their total damage due to the inclusion of rate of fire in their calculations. However, since it's impossible to fire a single shot weapon twice in a row, burst dps on a single shot weapon like the Widow should be considered to be its maximum damage.

Group Aimed and Empty are probably the most useful values overall. To get an accurate picture of any of these values would require a lot more testing than I was interested in doing, and probably way more than would be reasonable for this type of game. I included areas on the target that are between the head/neck areas and arm/body areas for my counts to sort of account for actual targets being shaped differently. The reality is that you're only going to get a general idea of expected performance, since your target types, target orientation, and engagement distances will all vary wildly. Taking all of that into account, the Saber will still suck. Spoiler alert.

Sniper Rifles
Black Widow S 1 1 - 3 - - 323 643 IMG For the group, I reset the point of aim to see the offset when firing no-scoped. Returns to point of aim between shots while aiming.
Incisor B 12 12 2 3 3 5 335 636 IMG
Raptor S N/A N/A 3 3 8 15 304 377 IMG From the hip, recoils halfway up the target and returns to point of aim during reload.
Viper S 5 NA 1 3 2 6 211 238 IMG One round completely missed the panel for the group hip shot.
Assault Rifles
Avenger A 51 17 1 3 10 7 329 402 IMG
Geth Pulse Rifle A 330 123 - - - - 266 411 - Doesn't leave hit decals. However, is generally very accurate.
Mattock S N/A N/A 1 3 8 15 435 714 IMG
Phaeston A 38 19 1 3 8 8 292 372 IMG
Revenant A 13 8 1 3 5 4 424 646 IMG
Saber S 6 3 1 2 2 2 235 292 IMG This rifle is just awful.
Vindicator B 20 7 0 3 5 4 380 446 IMG
Sub-Machine Guns
Hornet B 9 6 3 3 4 3 787 1170 IMG Significantly worse when aiming due to recoil.
Locust A 49 38 3 3 8 16 228 301 IMG
Shuriken B 30 18 4 6 8 7 233 265 IMG Fires a 6-round burst
Tempest A 14 10 0 2 4 4 365 483 IMG Probably still better than the Saber
Arc Pistol S 19 14 3 3 8 7 359 652 IMG Fires a 3-round burst when charged
Carnifex S 19 11 3 3 6 6 406 575 IMG
Paladin S 11 8 3 3 4 4 450 731 IMG
Phalanx S 38 28 3 3 11 11 393 598 IMG
Predator S N/A N/A 3 3 15 15 441 613 IMG
Scorpion S 19 18 3 3 4 4 417 625 IMG Explosive decals make it impossible to get a useful image after firing. Fires sticky grenades that explode after a short duration. The gun is accurate, but the projectile speed is slow, making it easier to miss.
Name M R RA S.DPS B.DPS I Notes
Claymore S 2 1 436 1630 IMG
Disciple S 3 2 338 578 IMG
Eviscerator S 3 2 342 479 IMG
Geth Plasma Shotgun S 3 2 425 643 - Doesn't leave hit decals. Charging doesn't affect recoil
Graal Spike Thrower S 3 2 747 1600 IMG Aiming decreases the size of the spread.
Katana S 3 2 370 482 IMG
Scimitar S 6 3 384 589 IMG
Wraith S 3 2 416 665 IMG


The Raptor fires from the hip quite well, putting it in more a category of a battle rifle. But for the weight, you're better off just getting a Mattock which will pump more damage. The Black Widow is definitely the best semi-auto, and three rounds in a row puts it well ahead of the Widow for damage done between reloads. But it's heavy. For a rifle with more biotic/tech power use, the Viper is the only contender. 1720 damage for 6 shots in ~6 seconds, compared to the Black Widow's 1926 in ~3 seconds. Being on target for six rounds is tough though. For mixing sniping and powers, I'd stick with the Mantis.

The Mattock is probably the best performer for an assault rifle, assuming you're okay with semi-auto operation. The Phaeston and Geth Pulse Rifle are both easy to keep on target, but put out poor damage. The Avenger would be my choice for a full auto rifle, but I don't generally run assault rifles at all.

The Hornet is the reason I need a good methodology for producing groups while controlling recoil. In practice, it's a solid performer with great DPS, providing you manage its recoil. However, it's absolutely worthless if you try to aim it. The recoil is so much greater when aimed that you'll likely only get a single round on target. None of the other SMGs are really worth bothering with. The Locust is definitely accurate, but its slow fire rate and low magazine capacity really hurt it.

If you can handle the fire rate on it, the Predator is one of the best weapons period. Your point of aim isn't moved by recoil, meaning you can keep shots on target all day long. The downside is how many shots you'll have to take with it. 1102 damage in under 2 seconds is great, if you can click that fast. Two rounds from a Paladin in that same time is going to net you 876 damage at a higher weight penalty. Not that the Paladin or even the Carnifex are bad choices. They will play totally different. Single shots from behind cover where you can line up shots, they can be quite potent. But you can't afford to miss with them, which you will when you're on the move.

I haven't seen a Scorpion in multiplayer. I did use it in SP with my Vanguard, but I wasn't doing a lot of shooting. The lag time between hitting a target and the explosive detonating can be pretty detrimental, along with the slow projectile speed. It's fun to play with, but I don't know if it would be a serious contender for co-op.

Graal Spike Launcher. Charge it up and shoot someone in the face from the other side of the map. It's heavy, but lighter than a Claymore. Its ability to accurately deliver a lethal payload is just unbeatable for shotguns in close quarters or at range. The downside is that the aiming reticle uses the same circle that other shotguns use, but it's scaled down. That makes it harder to see and harder to aim for something that has as much accuracy as it does.

Current Personal Equipment

Drell Adept - Hornet
Krogan Sentinel - Graal Spike Launcher
Infiltrators - Mantis (I don't have a Widow or Black Widow)
AOE Overload Engineer - Mantis
Vanguards - Predator


Downed State Survival

First things first, tapping the spacebar to "survive" is an absolutely terrible mechanic. I had a brief interchange with my friend, Chance, where he remarked that "it's not an actual mechanic". Presumably, the point being that "button mashing" isn't really a gameplay mechanic. However, it turns out that it is a mechanic. A really awful one.

I had seen some odd behavior with regards to the meter. I would bleed out before the bar fully expired, frequently with a quarter or more of the bar remaining. Since I hate this mechanic, I decided to bind the survival key as scrolling my mousewheel down. I died, set the wheel to free spin, flicked it, and promptly bled out with over half the meter still showing.

Clearly, there was something to the timing of pressing your survival key beyond "hit it as fast as possible".


I used Reapers as the selected opponents, as they don't appear to stomp your face in. I let something down me and then timed the meter expiration with the following methods:

Do nothing: Simply let the bar run out on its own.
Super spam: I bound the mousewheel to the survive key and scrolled through it extremely quickly.
Slow tapping: I'd estimate this at tapping once every 750ms
High-speed tapping: This was tapping one key as fast as I could
In time with spacebar text pulse: This is the text that appears to tell you to press your survival key. It pulses at what I estimate to be every 500ms.

I did not test every method in every difficulty. Anything untested is indicated with a hyphen.

Level, class, health, shield, and barrier amounts have no effect on the time to death. I tested the "Do nothing" and "In time" approaches in Bronze with a Level 2 Human Adept, Level 8 Krogan Sentinel, and Level 20 Asari Vanguard, with the same results.
I also had a friend revive me from a downed state before being downed again. This resulted in the same time to death, even after being revived twice. I tested this only in Bronze. Results may differ in higher difficulty levels.

Time to Death (seconds) in Downed State
  Bronze Silver Gold
Do nothing 12 11 11
Super spam (mousewheel bind) 13 - 9
Slow tapping 17 - -
High-speed tapping 18 - 18
In time with spacebar text pulse 21 20 19


Tapping in time with the pulsing text appears to deliver the best results in all difficulties. However, in Gold, it is better to tap faster than this ideal rate, than to be slower. As the table shows, you only lose a second from your optimum time, while tapping slower can cost you quite a bit more.

It's not possible to make up lost time with faster taps, so as soon as you go down, you need to be pressing your survive key in order to ensure maximum time on the ground. Going above a certain threshold, either by using the mousewheel, or even rapidly tapping using two keys can dramatically shorten your lifespan, resulting in you bleeding out before the meter reaches the end.

To Bioware: It's a bad mechanic. Not only that, with enemies that can execute you while you're on the ground, it trivializes it. If you really wanted to keep that kind of a mechanic in, apply it to the awful one-hit kills that the Banshee, Brute, Atlas, and Phantom get instead of every time you go down.




No tables needed here. Grenades explode on the fourth contact with a surface. Throwing them in a corner will make them detonate faster than tossing them across the map at Firebase Giant, for example.