BioWare Promises Big Changes For Mass Effect: Andromeda, Starting Thursday

Mass Effect: Andromeda had a couple of rough weeks thanks to high-profile technical issues, animation wonkiness, and general fan disappointment. In response to that feedback, BioWare has announced improvements to Andromeda that will start easing out the visual kinks, while also teasing some major changes yet to come.

Below are the full patch notes for version 1.05, per the BioWare blog. Most notable are the "improved lip-sync and facial acting during conversations", though we don't know to what degree they will make conversations feel more human:

Improved tutorial placement

Single player balance changes: Ammo crates, armour, weapons, nomad, profiles, attacks, and progression

Multiplayer balance changes: Weapons, cover, and enemies (check back for detailed notes on balance changes)

Added option to skip autopilot sequences in the galaxy map

Improved logic, timing, and continuity for relationships and story arcs

Improved lip-sync and facial acting during conversations, including localised VO

Fixed various collision issues

Fixed bugs where music or VO wouldn't play or wasn't correct

Fixed issue where global squad mate banter sometimes wasn't firing on UNCs

Fixed issue where player was unable to access the Remnant Console Interface after failing decryption multiple times

Fixed issue where fast travel is sometimes disabled after recruiting Drack until the player reloads a save

Fixed issue where Ryder can become stuck in the start of Biotic Charge Pose

Fixes issues related to some saves

Fixed issue where objective sometimes becomes un-interactable for players in multiplayer

Streaming and stability improvements

These tweaks will go live on Thursday. Beyond that, Bioware teased major changes coming down the line, including, vaguely, "Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder". As we reported last month, BioWare was criticised for having disappointing gay romances that did not match the quality of the game's straight romances, though it seems that BioWare is going to address that shortcoming somehow. We have reached out to inquire about specific details. Here are some of the other proposed changes.

  • More options and variety in the character creator
  • Improvements to hair and general appearance for characters
  • Ongoing improvements to cinematic scenes and animations
  • Improving the appearance of eyes for humans and asari characters
  • Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder
  • Adjustments to conversations with Hainly Abrams

Hainly Abrams, for those who don't know, is a trans character that previously told the player about her pre-transition name almost immediately after meeting her. It was a jarring piece of dialogue that some fans felt did not accurately portray the realities of being trans, as real people do not always tell strangers something as personal as a "dead name".

Bioware's announcement comes after an ugly and unfair fan campaign waged against a single developer who was blamed for the entirety of Andromeda's faults. Hopefully the upcoming changes can do some work in changing the narrative around a game that is actually pretty decent despite all the controversy surrounding it.


Comments

    general fan disappointment

    Don't know about this. From what I've seen (and experienced myself) most of the fans are actually enjoying the game a lot. Not saying it's perfect, since it definitely has issues, but personally I definitely haven't been disappointed. But maybe I had low expectations to begin with.

      Yeah, I've been loving the game so far. I've been playing the default male Ryder which seems to have very reasonable animations but the human NPC animations all seem mostly fine, just a little bland here and there. The alien NPC animations all seem great.

      Minor spoiler maybe?:
      I did have to pull my difficulty down from hardcore to normal after about thirty failed attempts on the Eos architect though, sniper build and telegraphed "dead in one hit" enemy attacks don't mix. It was a sad day but I just wasn't making progress.

        That's a hard fight. I'm playing a similar build but didn't tackle it until I was over level 40, and even then it was touch and go.

          That might have been my problem, I hit it at level 16!

          Side note, but holy shit heat-based weapons are amazing on hardcore and up. When every enemy is a bullet sponge, having unlimited ammo is a godsend. I particularly love the Remnant sniper rifle with the standard shots (not the continuous beam one) for that.

            I put points into the beam one. Might have to switch it out. I do love the PAW though

              I have points in the beam one but I don't have the materials to craft it yet. I like to pop up from cover, take a shot and duck back, do you find the continuous beam makes that harder?

                It definitely does make pop shooting harder. I use the current beam sniper rifle more like a second beam assault rifle for my soldier build.

            I'm playing on insanity. Levels 0-30 the best loadout is Isharay and Valkyrie (long range one-shot kills and 5000 dpm not including headshot bonuses). 30 onwards and Black Widow is best because Isharay is no longer able to one-shot and Black Widow can get more shots off in a shorter period to still get the kill. Valkyrie remains the best other gun for anything close up. All other auto weapons can't do enough damage in the short time you get popping out of cover between shots, which is vital in Insanity because enemies kill you in about 4 seconds in the open.

              I definitely agree with you on the Isharay and the BW. Valkyrie, not so sure. I've found the Dhan's guided projectiles and the huge damage output make it optimal for short-mid range. A single clip (3 shots) will take out anything not armored/shielded. For anything armored/shielded, a second clip provided by carefully timed turbocharge (instantly refills clip for free, to larger size if skilled right) will usually finish it off fairly quickly. The accuracy might be off-putting on paper, but the reality of it is that you can fire it without having to pop up from cover, and can still guide the shot in relatively accurately using the homing mechanic of the rounds. Mid range, the Soned with seeking plasma rounds is brutal. Slap in a PAW as a backup weapon in case you run out of rounds on the other 3 (Vintage Heat Sink makes the PAW redundant eventually)

        Yeah, I placed one of those Thumper things, realised it was headed to a barren corner of the map. After defeating the *spoiler* on Voeld, I was like... "Nah... later."

        Taking on architects on insanity made me thankful that the first few levels I gained I plugged straight into boosting shields in the biotic and tech trees. Even then, they were tough as balls. That said, there are a few telltale animations, effects and sounds that you can keep an ear out for that will help keep you alive on those fights. I recommend turning the music off to allow you to hear them better, as it will likely improve your survivability if you use scoped weapons at all. Also, they have a fairly predictable sequence allowing you to anticipate their next moves after you do them a few times. Anyone familiar with MMO endgame raiding should manage quite well in those fights.

          I got through phase 1 fine, but in phase 2 the architect was just chain-casting the electric field ball while a full set of adds was also up and it just got too much. If I even got clipped by the electric field I was either down to 10% health or dead. The visual clues I found difficult to track on phase 2 onwards while zoomed in with the sniper rifle.

          Doesn't matter, I'll just play on normal. At least things aren't bullet sponges on this difficulty, combat was getting a bit tedious.

      I'm with you on this. No, it's not perfect, and it's not visitng-old-friends like ME2 and 3, but I'm really enjoying it. The combat has improved out of sight, the puzzles are at the right challenge level for me and I'm warming to the new characters (some more than others ... I can't be the only one who wants to punt Liam out an airlock, right?).

      If you wanted the Second Coming of Mass Effect, well, I can see you'd be a tad set back. It was so unexpected and original, and has influenced the development of every game of its type since. This is a soft reboot of an existing concept and universe; not a lot of new ground trod here. But it's a jolly satisfying one.

        Liam only really clicked with me once I did his personal mission. Before then he was just too much too quickly.

          Liam's loyalty mission was pure gold, with some of the funniest dialogue in the game.
          The lead-up to it was horribly disjointed until the shooting started though, I couldn't understand what he wanted me to do, or why.
          First I was scanning, then he's apologising about giving something to someone, I was totally lost.

            Some of the dialogue was classic gold in that mission. Loved the star wars reference, especially Liam's reaction to it. The lead-in... you had to be paying very close attention to the conversations with him and use the right convo options to actually be able to make any sense out of it. It had a very "we don't know how to lead into it properly so we'll give him a flimsy excuse to throw the player in harm's way" feel to it. They could have fleshed it out a hell of a lot more like they did with Peebee/Cora/Drack. Even Vetra's side questline, the shortest of them all, had a better lead-up than Liams :/

      Very true. For all it's criticism, plenty of people seem to be having a blast. Myself included :)

    But no fix for the ctd issue making multiplayer unplayable on pc.
    Thanks guys.

      You having that problem too huh? That's my biggest disappointment of the game. It always seems to be on wave 6 or 7 too, grrrr

        Yeah I gather it is pretty widespread.
        I even hear it is a repeat of the same issue that was happening in DA:I multi that Bioware refused to even acknowledge was a problem, let alone fix :/
        If you are the host of the game it tends to not happen, if that helps.

          Yea I read that the host shouldn't disconnect, but I am only on ADSL 8mbps... so I am sure anyone playing with me as host would have a very laggy match. I hate playing with a host who has poor connection, and I don't want to put others through that

    Surely there'd have to be more or perhaps updated reviews now?

      Why would they update their reviews? They made their money on the clicks by saying its bad.

        No, they didn't.

        As a matter of fact they were embargoed by the game's publisher from putting out their reviews until a set date and time, effectively prohibiting readers from making an informed decision until they were inundated with social media posts and streaming video about it.

          This is correct, although it's worth noting the embargoes for the US and AU teams were different (which isn't that uncommon).

          If there's a substantial change or improvement in the game we'll go back and cover it. We've done that plenty of times before (NMS, The Division immediately come to mind), and part of the site's remit is to cover games well after launch, not just the first day or week they come out. Also, Patricia's review was probably one of the more positive among the major outlets; Hayley is also a big fan despite the bugs.

      I would love to live in a world where websites update their reviews after big patches, or after the hype has worn off (*looks towards Skyrim's countless 10/10 scores*).

      But as thatteemo said, there's little incentive to do so. Not to mention Metacritic (bleh) does not use updated scores. Andromeda's 71/74/76 isn't going anywhere.

        Eh, Skyrim was still a great game after the hype died down. It was an open world with a ridiculous amount of stuff to do, and looked damn impressive to boot.

        For an open world, single player RPG, it pretty much was as good as you could hope for at the time. Now, you could easily say Witcher 3 has topped it for a game of the same style, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worthy of that score given the context. Baldur's Gate 2 would score a heck of a lot lower if all the major websites went and did a re-review of it now.

    The ability to skip on the galaxy map is the real mvp.

      Agreed... unskippable cutscenes really should have died out a decade ago.

      I understand when they're used as fancy loading screens, but these are just in the map. Has meant I haven't bothered to do much planet investigation because I don't want to sit through 30 seconds of cutscene.

      Anyway; Yay!

        The missions that are based purely on the galaxy map are super painful. I pretty much threw all the satellite and kett supply missions in a pile, then walked away.

      While this is a great change, a year of waiting in Overwatch has taught me to get the timing down so that I can alt-tab, check fb or something then alt tab back in after the cutscene has finished, so no biggy for me.

        I multitask poorly, as an example I am meant to be doing the banking right now. Instead I saw I have notifications on the last page open (here) and boop there goes me doing the banking.

          I see. Good to see your priorities are in order as well!

    Fixed issues relating to some saves

    Oh dear god I hope that's mine. I can't go to the Nexus any more. Some scripting error or something is crashing my game to the dashboard any time I go anywhere near the docking bay courtyard. Not even running along the wall to the commons. It's limited what I can do to basically staying aboard the tempest or roaming the unlocked planets.

      Ouch. That needs to be fixed, that'll lock you out of the main story.

        Yup. I'm spinning my wheels here with no option but to start a new game or grind APEX loot.

    I want to play the game but the current climate surrounding it makes me cautious, ESPECIALLY on the tail of playing a quality game like BOTW.
    It's a shame, because I've had my mind made up for me. Which I'm also strangely thankful for....

      Once it has a healthy handful of patches I would definitely recommend it. Give a little space between BOTW and Mass Effect though, they're difficult games to switch between abruptly (same with Horizon if you've been playing that)

        Exactly. I'll eventually play it, but I'll wait a few months before I get the 'optimal' experience.

    Is it me or is their only 3 Asari in the game? (PB, PB's ex, and Lexi) all other Asari seem to be clones of Lexi.

      from what I can see the Asari in the game doesn't have unique faces compared to say ME1 / ME2 / ME3 everybody just seems to use a generic face unlike Shiala, Benezia etc

    "Added option to skip autopilot sequences in the galaxy map"

    Holy crap, I thought the only reason they had this was to disguise loading times, what a terrible design decision to not allow this to be skipped right from the start.

      It might be that the patch doesn't just give the option to skip the scene, but actually somehow sped up/optimised the load time that was happening underneath so that you now can skip the scene. Or it could have just been a terrible design decision, as you say.

        to be fair it's pretty cool the first playthrough.

        now on my third I stick the game in borderless full screen and just plough through it in batches whilst watching netflx on the second screen haha

    Hopefully this helps with some of the weirder, more damaging glitches. Like screwing up saves, or having a character remain unconscious after a fight, or having an NPC wander around the room mid conversation, or having quests in your journal that don't get resolved because you've already completed the tasks required...

    Whew. Love this game. Doesn't mean it isn't broken as fuck.

      I had a weird bug where no UI interactions were responding until several minutes later. Like, I'd go to loot enemy remains and the window wouldn't pop up. I'd try that a few times, shrug and walk away... five minutes later, in combat, I get the loot window pop up. And keep popping up for every time that I attempted to make it appear.

      Same deal with trying to save/load/exit to main menu. After this problem turned up, I figured I'd save and quit, reboot and see if it fixed it... except it wouldn't save. I tried a couple times, but no new save files were being created. So I just decided to resign myself to loading my latest autosave, and tried to exit. No dice. Wandered around a little more, explored, shot things, had some conversations... then boom. Back to title screen without warning.

      The most game-breaking and deeply concerning is that my current game no longer has access to the Nexus without crashing to dashboard. I've uninstalled/reinstalled, used different discs, loaded earlier saves... nothing's working, I might be well and truly screwed if this upcoming patch doesn't fix it. (I will cry manly tears of sorrow and defeat.)

      I've had:

      * crewmates die unexpectedly while just roaming the overworld (no environment hazards or combat)
      * fallen through a hole in the map
      * been unable to pick up ammo/health from nearby ammo/health crates
      * lost access to one of my weapons through the weapon-select wheel
      * I am routinely directed to the character-progression/skill screen when trying to open the map
      * Received emails from crew talking about interactions with crewmembers who I hadn't even recruited yet
      * Dialogue options that don't relate to actual choices that I made
      * Conversation camera focusing on random objects or NPCs wander out of convo-camera view to the point of being inaudible (thank god for subtitles)
      * NPCs wandering over the top of furniture (desks, crates) as if it were the floor, teleporting all over the place
      * Having a conversation with a crew member in one location would suddenly teleport me to their room, because that's where that conversation was meant to happen. Only it wouldn't until I opened their door to try and escape, at which point it would generate properly.

      In short, the thing's a fucking mess. But I really do love it, I'm having a ball.

        Hahaha WOW... what a time you're having! On PC?

        Quite telling that you haven't thrown the entire endeavour out the window...

        Seriously, the most annoying thing for me is the lack of pause function in cut scenes and conversation. I end up having to wait for a fork in the thread to go to the loo.

        Not to mention it never ACTUALLY pauses when I press the PlayStation button. I go to check my trophies - come back and I've been killed by some random enemy my squad mates were incapable of killing...

        However, this pales in comparison to the bittersweet horror you continue to embrace ;)

          PS4.

          I tellya, if they can't fix my Nexus issue, though, and it turns out I have to start a new game, I might be done for a while to get over the shattering disappointment.

            12 months of patches and DLC will make a decent silver lining, but FUCKING FUCK THAT. I feel for you :(

        "* I am routinely directed to the character-progression/skill screen when trying to open the map"

        I think this one is a "feature" of sorts. I've had it happen too. When you have points to spend on your skills, it will periodically come up with a message on the side saying "you have unspent points. Press the Start button (or whatever it's called nowadays) to spend them". So when you hit the button, it takes you straight to the skill screen instead of to the menu.
        It's certainly annoying, though.

        "* Having a conversation with a crew member in one location would suddenly teleport me to their room, because that's where that conversation was meant to happen. Only it wouldn't until I opened their door to try and escape, at which point it would generate properly."

        This happened to me yesterday! Came back from a mission and Jaal said "I'm in the tech lab when you're ready". Only he wasn't - he was standing right in front of me by the bunks. I went to speak with him, and got teleported to the tech lab - having the standard filler conversation that they have when they don't have anything substantive to say.
        It was only when I tried to leave that the "real" conversation triggered. Really weird bug.

    Looking at that screenshot of that E3 teaser just reminds me of what it could have looked like...

    Not sure why (maybe they updated their post after this was put up), but your list has missed "Increased inventory limits". Looking forward to that one, given Andromeda's annoying weapon/inventory system.

    I'm also curious about what the single player balance changes will be. More ammo crates? Fewer? What will change about the Nomad? What will change about the profiles?

    Personally, I'm hoping they beef up the biotic/adept profile a bit. I'm playing as a pure biotic, and I'm finding that, without being able to control squad mates' powers, it's a bit underpowered against enemies with shields or armour. I've upgraded my Lance so that it's better against shields, but armour is still a pain unless I use incendiary ammo - kind of going against the tag line that biotics can "win battles without firing a single shot", or whatever it says.

      maybe bump up the alternative drive speed, I can't remember which is which (4wd vs 6wd), I think it's 6wd...

      either way it's just woefully slow pre upgrade

        Not supposed to be fast? Its supposed to be for getting up hills. You also have boost and can upgrade both the top speed of the 6wd and the boost in game already. Never found this to be a problem tbh.

          i don't think it's a problem, it's more a quality of life change to make the pre upgrade faster then it's currently is

            I always figured it operated like a normal 4wd would. Like if you're going uphill you engage the low range gears so that you kept traction. Never even occured to me that it should be faster. The only area I think was maybe a problem with it taking awhile was on Kadara...

            I guess it would be a good change and I wouldnt be unhappy if they put it in, I just thought it made sense as it was so never considered changing it.

              oh that makes sense, I've personally never driven a 4wd. I only noticed because I tend to beeline to the destination and take a straight path haha

    I see the part about fixing objectives in multiplayer that aren't interactable, has anyone heard any word of single player objectives getting fixed?
    I can't activate the Vault on Voeld. Apparently if I reload a previous save it *might* work, but my recent autosaves are either in the vault itself which is too late, or are 2 hours ago.

    Plus at one point when I tried to jump across a gap in there I fell down into the water but instead of ending up back where I started, it actually teleported me halfway up the big mountain on the surface.

    I know I can keep going with the main story but it's so damn frustrating the be locked out of an objective.

      Was the Voeld vault the one with all the jumping and activating-console-to-create-beams-of-light-for-some-reason nonsense?

      Mine glitched as well, and (the morning after jumping around futilely for about an hour at 1am) I managed to fix it by leaving, doing some other quests for a while, then coming back. I was worried that it wouldn't work, because it had saved the positions of all the consoles, but all was well.

        Yeah, that one. I didn't mind the actual segment but what was really annoying was that enemies respawn when you run back to the front door if the objective is locked. So you're constantly running out, fighting through them, fast travelling to your ship and going back hoping it will be different.
        Then you fight through them again and the same thing happens and oh my god.

        So with that happening and the new dark souls 3 dlc being released I've dropped the game until it's patched. I might go back and do some other missions on another planet and then return to see if it's fixed but ehh.

    I hope they fix the triggers to activate NPCs so I don't have to spend 30 seconds walking around each one trying to find the sweet spot. That and making sure there aren't any other fragile quest triggers like the one near the end of the Remove the Heart quest on Veold.

    Pro-Tip - Dying then continuing fixes the problem where, reloading, restarting and wildly running round the room shooting and scanning things do not.

    I guess removing all the redundant ("Look. A floating rock") squad banter isn't likely to happen.

    Last edited 05/04/17 11:02 am

    Remove the ~ key... I've been killed so many times while using powers in a rush...

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