Late last night Bioware made an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, showcasing some all-new footage of Mass Effect: Andromeda that RPG fans will likely want to have a look at.
The footage, shown at NVIDIA's CES keynote, offers a first proper glimpse at the game's skill trees and some clarification on how some classic RPG systems, such as level ups and character classes, will work. The trailer complements yesterday's screenshots and release date confirmation - it's out in late March.
How Mass Effect Andromeda's skills and character classes work
While several of the names you see in the video will look familiar, Andromeda's major gameplay mechanics on the RPG front have been significantly changed.
The biggest change is that you can now swap between the various character classes (Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Sentinel, Vanguard, Infiltrator and Explorer) on the fly - and doing so will offer you basic bonuses. We're yet to play the game, of course, but as far as we can tell this is how it works based on the footage in this trailer and previous comments from the team behind the game.
- You won't have to pick a class at the start of the game. Instead, protagonist Ryder will have access to any skill you choose.
- Leveling up will give you skill points which can then be used to buy new abilities. As in previous Mass Effect games, individual abilities have a number of different levels and eventually will reach an upgrade point where they can branch in a more specific direction.
- Each skill has a particular class type - here called profiles - associated with it. In the video we see a flamethrower-based tech power is considered part of the 'Engineer' class/profile, for instance.
- By buying and upgrading skills that belong to a specific class type, you level that class up. So while you're free to buy any type of skill and mix-and-match, it seems it'll still be smart to specialize in one class or another.
- In line with this, classes have ranks and bonuses associated with those ranks. The first, basic rank of soldier gets a +10% bonus to weapon accuracy, damage and clip size, for instance, plus some other bonuses. If you spend skill points on lots of soldier-related abilities, you'll rank up and get better bonuses when using the Soldier class.
- Once you've unlocked a profile/class by getting some abilities that belong to it you'll be able to switch to it, and you can switch classes on the fly. This seems to mean you can move from a more gun-driven profile to a biotic-friendly profile for specific fights and encounters and so on if you choose.
- Oh, and - there appear to be both active and passive abilities available for purchase and upgrade with your skill points.
What do you make of the Andromeda skill system so far?