Mass Effect 3: Endings Guide

It’s been a long road, but it’s time for the Mass Effect series to come to a fitting conclusion. What that conclusion is, we have no idea. What we do know is that there are a load of different endings, hundreds of variables, and one big decision that changes the fate of the galaxy forever. For your benefit, we’re keeping spoilers to an absolute minimum, but you’ll find major Mass Effect 2 spoilers beyond with some very implied Mass Effect 3 spoilers to go with. If you’re ready for a second playthrough of just want to see where your Galactic Readiness score does, scroll down below to see how to uncover each of Mass Effect 3′s many endings.

Save the galaxy with our huge video walkthrough for Mass Effect 3. For more extra content, browse over to our cheats page.

We try to keep story details to a minimum, but there are bound to be…

Mass Effect 2 & 3 Spoilers Ahead!

Endings Guide

Note: These decisions alter the events leading up to the ending. For details on the actual endings and how to unlock them specifically, check out the link below.

If you’re looking for some more in-depth spoilers, check out our guide for getting the best endings in Mass Effect 3.

  1. The endings are split depending on your choice at the end of ME2, whether Shepard decides to destroy or preserve the Collector Base.
  2. If you don’t import a save file, ME3 will default to Shepard destroying the Collector Base.
  3. There are 16 total endings, with many different permutations depending on your choices. 8 endings are associated with destroying the Collector Base, while 8 endings are associated with preserving the Collector Base.
  4. All 16 endings are also dependent on your Effective Military Strength, the score provided by multiplying your War Asset score to your Galactic Readiness Rating. The higher your Effective Military Strength, the better your ending will be.
  5. At the end of the game you’ll have three options to consider, but these three options won’t always result in a good or bad ending. Many of the endings do not change despite your choice at the end.
  6. None of the endings are dependent on your morality.
  7. There are two distinct endings for each of the 8 Galactic Readiness Levels — one for destroying the Collector Base, one for preserving the Collector Base.

Galactic Readiness Level Endings By Score:

  • 0-1749
  • 1750-2049
  • 2050-2349
  • 2350-2649
  • 2650-2799
  • 2800-3999
  • 4000-4999
  • 5000+

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20 Comments on Mass Effect 3: Endings Guide


On March 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Uh, this guide isn’t very helpful if it doesn’t actually explain what the endings are. This isn’t spoiling anything, and kind of defeats the purpose of my looking it up in the first place. :/


On March 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm

You want spoilers, Goatmon? I can give you spoilers.

How deep do you want ‘em? The whole ending, or just the choices? We have spoilers galore!

If fan-reaction is anything to go by, prepare to be disappointed. Just don’t blame the messenger.


On March 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

So, getting 5000+ without touching Multiplayer content, how tough was it? Was it a case of hunting down every single possible War Asset you could find and just not being an oaf to the rest of the races? I’m finding it fairly easy at the moment (past the 3k mark with just SP), but the last three bandings of scores seem to jump up enormously.


On March 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

Spowis: I found almost every asset I could (at least I think so, I tried to get everything) and my score was just above 3000. 6000 military strength minus 50% readiness.


On March 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

ggn: I think he confuses the the Total Military Strength with Effective Military Strength. I don’t think it’s possible to go over 4000 EMS just with the single player.

Nick Croker

On March 11, 2012 at 8:44 am

I’m not even certain you can make 4000 in single player – I did absolutely every quest available (and I mean EVERYTHING, including all the N7 missions, the tedious sidequests like providng Engineer Adams with some pipes he wanted – the lot), scanned every single system to 100% and made quest choices that left me with a massive fleet which included every race, and my score topped out at 3503. So, if the scores above are accurate, I don’t see how you can EVER achieve the “best” ending on single-player alone. In light of this, I cordially invite both EA and Bioware to go themselves.


On March 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I did every mission possible, including all the Fedex stuff. I made one decision that may have reduced Salarian support, but have a huge mass of Krogans and Turians and also got support of both the Geth and Quarians and kept all but two of my former team mates around to support (and their deaths seemed somewhat unavoidable, but can’t be sure, though they’d only add up to an extra 25 points each (halved to 12.5 of course) as most of the other guys ended up). My total, after taking the 50% hit was under 4000, thereby preventing me saving my Shepard and killing any hope of reuniting with the lovely Tali after (If that’s even possible anyway).

I wouldn’t call the ending a bad one as such, but certainly disappointed me. I can take doing planet scanning fedex stuff as a substitute to Multi-player, but if I can’t possibly achieve the same ending then I may as well have skipped it as the benefit of improving the galactic readiness seems to make the minor gain of such missions irrelevant anyway.


On March 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Nick, it seems that you haven’t complete everything ’cause my score is 3604. But you’re right. It’s impossible to get best possible ending without multiplayer. It’s a fact. And it’s suck.


On March 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I didn’t have time to play it yet. May be you can reach 5000 if completed the entire trilogy 100%?

TheBearded Phropet

On March 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

It is possible to get over 4000 and I was just playing single player. I Did almost all the scanning crap and did almost every mission, and at my ending i had 50% readiness with a total of 4506 Military strength, and that’s with me making bad calls which equal Tali killing her self, Ashley getting popped, and me loosing the whole Quarian fleet. But anyway, like Kevin said even if you was to get 5000+ the endings Fu&*ing blow dudes.


On March 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm

It’s very easy to get your military strength well above 4,000. I finished the game with 6,900. I imported from ME2 and did everything paragon as well as explored every system. I had every fleet in the end. My recommendation is to explore every area, do every citadel side quest, scan everything, and after each m.ission talk to your crew


On March 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I didn’t even touch multiplayer until I was prompted that I was nearing the end, but by then I had already had 6,900.


On March 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

I got around 5600 in Single Player.

I believe the choices are the ones that matter. I scanned all systems / sidequests to 100%, gaining war assets on different planets. Did all the N7 missions. Sadly, I recruited Rachni (don’t!), and I cured the genophage, meaning Salarians didn’t join up. Also I recruited the Geth, wiping out the quarians.

My guess is that these choices are the key for obtaining military force. All my decisions were mainly based on race preservation and military strength assets.

I got the “best” ending possible, where Joker came out of the ship, and Liara (which I bedded) and also Garrus (who was with me on the final mission, kinda odd, since the beam whooped our asses).

It was SO unsatisfying…the ending, from a narrative POV sucked so hard!!! They left so many loose ends. What happened to the Krogan? Did the Quarian survive? It felt kind of that all “important & crucial” decisions were absolutely worthless and had no impact whatsoever in the fate of the galaxy.

It seemed they rather hurried the ending, with no motivation whatsoever.


On March 12, 2012 at 8:57 am

What difficulty Shayne? I imported a ME1+2 game with everyone alive and did as far as I can tell absolutely everything, finished with just over 7000 at 100% galactic readiness. This was on insane.


On March 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

@Steven, why no recruit Rachni? Didn’t seem to have any bad side effects for me.

You can recruit both the Geth and Quarians but I think you need a ME2 save for it.

Forgot that I’d cured genome, guess that would have added a fair bit.


On March 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

People are mixing up total military strength and military effective strength.


People are mixing up total military strength and military effective strength.


People are mixing up total military strength and military effective strength.

Total military strength x readiness rating gives you military effective strength.

@Shayne There is no way you have effective strength of 6900 if you’re not playing MP (or maybe Infiltrator on your iphone). That would require total military strength of 13800 which is absolutely impossible. I’m at 7000 having done everything in the game apart from save the Quarians and one of their missions. I’ve scanned everything and fetched everything. The Quarians don’t give 7000 TMS.

People are looking at misleading numerical scores when they should be looking at the military strength bar in the war screen. If its FULL green, you’ll get the ‘best ending’.

I got to choose between three different endings with a military effectiveness rating of 4700.

Also I’m pretty sure I got the ‘optimal ending’. Anderson died peacefully having a chat with Shepard. There was also a Stargazer ending after the credits.


On March 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Can anyone confirm if TMS. carries over in a new game + If so then it would be possible to increase score on multiple playthrough.


On March 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

W/out multiplayer or that stupid app only for iPads and iPhones it’s not possible to go over 5000. Maybe if they make you play through it again or what not.

They lied about multiplayer and it’s pathetic. Ea is pathetic and so is Casey Hudson.

But don’t worry. Neither EA, nor Casey Hudson OR anyone who worked on the game, care about what you or I think. It’s obvious by the blatant lies they told the entire time regarding multiplayer and the amount of DLC for only apple products.

If you played the first two game EA and Casey thank you for your money. We are all only dollar signs to them. If the ME series doesn’t fix itself somehow I’ll never buy anything Casey Hudson works on ever again.


On March 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

You have to have above a 50% rating to get the 5000 actual military strength that keeps Sheppard alive at the end instead of killing him.

You get zero closure as to whether everyone is stuck on earth after you destroy the mass effect relays, there is no way to avoid this. And what happens to the citadel? Who lives? How did everyone get back on the Normandy and why did joke flee? Does that mean EVERY SINGLE OTHER ship was incinerated as well? Wouldn’t every star system w/a Mass Effect relay be destroyed just like when you blew up the relay in the Batarian System DLC? IF that’s the case then you don’t take back earth it blows up, along w/every other home world for every other race.

They did a poor job on the ending. Probably because they wasted too much time on the multiplayer, which no one really wanted. ME2′s ending was epic and way more thought out then this travesty.

After these plot holes the writers of ME3 should have no trouble writing in depth laugh track garbage for CBS. Just don’t expect any of these people to be able to turn out a game that’s worth while. Especially if EA is the studio producing it. Stick to sports game w/no depth EA.