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The first in a series of articles breaking down the unique features of DotR.

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Ship Classes and Weapons of Mass Effect

Welcome to the first in a series of articles covering the many unique gameplay aspects of Dawn of the Reapers. Today I will be talking about the basics of space combat - ship classes and weaponry in the Mass Effect universe. There are some notable difference between ground combat and space combat, and any prospective Admiral would do well to pay attention to these.

Ship Classes

To begin with, I will explain ship classes. All ships of a particular class share certain properties, no matter who constructed them.


These mighty behemoths of space are the core of any fleet in DotR. They are universally heavily armed, as well being consistently the most well protected ships available. Some rely on heavy shielding, others thick armor, and the mightiest often have both. Dreadnoughts are a hard counter for Cruisers, as well as being the only ships well armed enough to pose a serious threat to other Dreadnoughts or Reapers. They are typically built around massive Spinal Mass Accelerators, but regularly boast sizeable arsenals of other weapons as well. Expensive, but worth every credit.


Carriers are a recent invention in the Mass Effect universe, pioneered by Humanity during the First Contact war. They range in size from cruiser to dreadnought, but they all share a particular vulnerability stemming from the fact that a hangar is a giant hole in a ships armor. Carriers are fragile, often lightly armed and best kept as far from battle as possible. They are highly vulnerable to frigates, but the fighters they bring to battle should never be underestimated.


Line ships of the fleet, Cruisers are universally versatile. They are able to engage any target, but are rarely especially powerful against any particular foe. Cruiser designs and armaments vary wildly, ensuring you will always have a tool available for the task at hand.


The smallest independently operating starships in your fleet, Frigates often fill many different roles, however, some elements of their design are always consistent. Fast but fragile vessels, they rely heavily on speed and agility for defence. Their armament varies considerably, but each frigate is usually built around one particular weapon system of great potency for its size. This combination of traits leaves them fulfilling fast attack and support roles in the fleet. They suffer badly in protracted battles, but thankfully they are also generally very cheap and cost-effective.


Carried into battle in large numbers by Carriers, Fighters are individually weak but powerful en mass. They are versatile craft, carrying Torpedoes to attack larger ships with and Mass Accelerators to engage enemy fighters.


Stripped down variants of the fighter, Interceptors do away with Torpedoes and armor for the sake of superior speed. They have only one role in battle - the elimination of hostile strike craft - a role in which they excel.


And now the good part: Weapons. There are many types of weapons in DotR, and understanding how each one works is important to properly utilising your ships.

Mass Accelerators

The most common weapon, found on almost all ships in the Council and Cerberus fleets, is the Mass Accelerator. This ubiquitous weapon comes in four variants, determined by the length and orientation of the particular weapon in question.

Spinal Accelerator

These huge weapons typically take up 80% of a ships length, making them the most powerful of Mass Accelerators. They fire slowly, but hit extremely hard and from a very long range. In addition, there is very little armor in the galaxy strong enough to deflect a hit from this weapon. Most Cruisers have one of these, and Dreadnoughts almost always have at least one, sometimes even two.

  • Good Against: Cruisers, Dreadnoughts
  • Weak Against: Frigates

Auxiliary Forward Accelerators

Varying between 40% and 60% of a ships length, most ships have between two and four of these weapons as either primary or secondary forward armament. They are a generalist weapon, not really great against any particular type of target, but not especially bad against anything either. Their middling range and rate of fire round out their average stats.

  • Good Against: None
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts

Broadside Accelerators

At most 40% of a ship's width, these guns are always side facing and usually mounted in large batteries. They are rapid fire, dealing damage primarily through weight of fire, but tend to be quite short ranged compared to other Mass Accelerators. These weapons are weak against Dreadnoughts, whose thick armor repels the majority of their impact force, but strong against lighter ships like Frigates and Carriers. They are also the only Mass Accelerator able to hit Fighters, though they have fairly poor accuracy against these nimble targets.

  • Good Against: Frigates
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts

Fighter Accelerators

These short Accelerators are not especially powerful weapons, meant primarily for engaging other fighters. They struggle against any sort of armor, but can at least deal respectable damage to enemy kinetic barriers.

  • Good Against: Strike Craft
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts, Cruisers, Carriers, Frigates


A recent development in weapons technology, Thanix beams were reverse engineered from the weapons salvaged from the wreckage of Sovereign. Contrary to popular belief, they are not energy weapons, instead firing a stream of molten tungsten, iron and uranium at a fraction of the speed of light. As kinetic weapons, they do not ignore kinetic barriers, but their sheer destructive power often allows them to overload weaker barriers in a single shot all the same.

  • Strong Against: Dreadnoughts, Cruisers, Reapers
  • Weak Against: None


Lasers are exclusively point defence weapons in Mass Effect. They come in two variations: Regular GARDIAN and Ultra-Violet (UV) GARDIAN. As pure directed energy weapons, both variants also ignore kinetic barriers entirely. They also have the benefit of perfect accuracy against Fighters, as there is no need to lead a target with a weapon that moves at the speed of light. Though they can be used against larger enemy warships, modern armor is quite effective at minimising incoming laser damage. In particular the armor used by Reapers has been noted to virtually ignore all but the most focused of lasers attacks.

  • Regular GARDIAN Lasers

The standard variant of the GARDIAN Laser is notable for its extremely short range. It makes up for this deficiency with a good rate of fire and complete coverage of a ships firing arcs.

  • Strong Against: Fighters
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts, Cruisers, Reapers

  • UV GARDIAN Lasers

The Ultra Violet variant of the GARDIAN laser is used by the Geth and Salarians, who dont mind its extra cost and tendency to burn out regularly, believing its advantages to be worth it. It boasts a much greater range than the cheaper lasers used by other races, in addition to much better armor penetration, while retaining the perfect accuracy against fighters. UV GARDIANs are also powerful enough to deal noticeable, though still much reduced, damage against Reapers.

  • Strong Against: Fighters, Frigates
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts, Reapers


Self propelled missiles are not a mainstay weapon in Mass Effect space combat, as ships point defence systems are assumed to be able to shoot them down at all but the shortest of ranges. Nonetheless, they do have their uses. They are notable for incorporating mass effect fields to greatly increase their mass, allowing them to bypass kinetic barriers completely. This property allow them to really shine against Carrier class vessels, where they can bypass the kinetic barriers covering hangars and detonate inside the hull of their target.

They come in two variants: Javelin Missiles and Disruptor Torpedoes.

  • Javelin Missile

Fired in pair, Javelins are a human designed missile weapon notable for their comparatively long effective range. Particularly heavy Javelins can even match the range of Broadside Accelerators, making them an effective mid range weapon. Javelins are also notable for consistent reload speeds, and they tend to deal good sustained damage.

  • Strong Against: Carriers
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts, Reapers

  • Disruptor Torpedoes

The more extreme of the two missile variants, Disruptor Torpedoes are fired in large salvoes at very short range. They tend to hit very hard, but reload very slowly, making them a potent burst damage weapon. Their tiny effective range limits their use largely to Frigates however.

  • Strong Against: Carriers
  • Weak Against: Dreadnoughts, Reapers

RepublicCommando101 - - 340 comments

Very informative; short, concise, and not to the point of excess. I'm actually looking forward to this.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+11 votes
andrewator - - 107 comments

This is helpful and awesome! :D

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leetzelong - - 295 comments

me too

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fenix02 - - 319 comments

looking good man.
love a good breakdown like these.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
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