Mass Effect 3: Save Import Bonuses List

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The importance of choice is secondary to the importance of consequences. In Mass Effect 3, Bioware wants to give your decisions weight, and to pull that unique feat off, they’ve included the Character Transfer system into Mass Effect 3. Long ago, Mass Effect 2 allowed Character Transfers from Mass Effect 1, but this is a whole different beast. Instead of hundreds of variable, Mass Effect 3 features thousands of changes depending on your actions in Mass Effect 2. Not only that, you’ll find a slew of benefits and bonuses if Shepard continues his journey directly from the previous Mass Effect space adventure. There are far too many changes to list, and many more left to be discovered, but we’ve compiled a list of known factors that will change depending on your choices after a Character Transfer. Give Mass Effect 2 another play and prepare for another perfect run as Commander Shepard.

To help you save the universe, and yourself, check out our huge text and video walkthrough. For another look at the list of special articles covering anything extra in Mass Effect 3, check out the cheats page.

SPOILER WARNING: Massive Mass Effect 2 Spoilers! Minor Mass Effect 3 Spoilers!

Character Transfer Guide

Transfer General Info

  • Mass Effect 3 will NOT accept save files from Mass Effect 2 if Shepard is killed during the final mission of the game.
  • Mass Effect 1 or Mass Effect: Genesis decisions only carry over to Mass Effect 3 if they were transferred to Mass Effect 2 first. Mass Effect 3 only accepts transfers from Mass Effect 2.

Level and Ability Transfer

  • Characters transferred to Mass Effect 3 from Mass Effect 2 will retain their level and abilities exactly. The level cap has been increased to 60 in Mass Effect 3.
  • Credits and resources are reset and not transferred.

Collectibles Transfer

  • No ship collectibles (Model Ships and Fish) are transferred, except for the Prejak Paddle Fish. And only if Kelly Chambers is romanced until she promises to take care of your fish, and only if she survives the Suicide Mission at the end of Mass Effect 2.

Gameplay Upgrades

  • Primary Ship Upgrades (Thanix Cannon, Multicore Shielding, Heavy Ship Armor) are transferred. Other ship upgrades or research upgrades provided by Mordin are not transferred.

Character Transfer Guide – Plot Consequences

Note: The choices below will have a major difference in the story of Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 1 Major Plot Choices

  • Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko will die during the Virmire: Assault mission. Whichever character survives will become available as a teammate in Mass Effect 3.
  • Whether Shepard kills or spares Wrex during the Virmire mission. If killed, a less agreeable Krogan will take over Wrex’s clan. If saved, Wrex will become leader of his clan and willingly help Shepard.
  • The Rachni Queen can be killed or released during the Noveria mission. If released, an Asari will contact Shepard on Ilium in Mass Effect 2, and the story will continue in Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 2 Major Plot Choices

  • Garrus and Tali will be available as teammates in Mass Effect 3 if they survive the Suicide Mission.
  • The remaining squadmates (Samarra, Jack, Thane, Jacob, Kasumi, Taylor, Mordin, Legion, Miranda, and Zaeed) will appear in Mass Effect 3 if they survive the Suicide Mission.
  • Whether the Collector Base is destroyed at the end of the Suicide Mission.
  • Whether the Geth are destroyed or spared during Legion’s Loyalty Mission.
  • Whether Tali is exiled or not during Tali’s Loyalty Mission.
  • Whether the Genophage is data is destroyed or kept during Mordin’s Loyalty Mission.
  • Whether Shepard agrees to become a Spectre again.

Mass Effect 1 Minor Plot Choices

  • Whether or not Shepard aids Captain Kirrahe during the Virmire: Assault Mission.

Mass Effect 2 Minor Plot Choices

  • Whether of not the crew of the Normandy SR-2 is rescued from the Collector Base before they’re killed — including Kelly Chambers.

Returning Characters

Note: Returning characters will recognize different choices and actions depending on your save file transfer. Certain minor or major characters will only appear under certain conditions.


Note: Romance with these squadmates transfers from Mass Effect 2 and can be continued into Mass Effect 3.

  • Ashley Williams: Only appears if she survives the Virmire Mission in Mass Effect 1.
  • Garrus Vakarian: Only appears if he survives the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2.
  • Kaiden Alenko: Only appears if he survives the Virmire Mission in Mass Effect 1.
  • Liara T’Soni: Will always appear in Mass Effect 3. Responses change depending on previous actions.
  • Tali’Zorah vas Normandy: Only appears if she survives the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2.

Minor Characters

Note: These characters will appear as optional or plot-important NPCs, their appearance and responses change with the save file transfer.

  • Admiral Hackett
  • Aria T’Loak
  • Armando-Owen Bailey
  • Captain Kirrahe
  • Conrad Verner
  • David Anderson
  • Doctor Chakwas
  • Udina
  • EDI
  • Engineer Adams
  • Jack
  • Jacob Taylor
  • Joker
  • Kasumi
  • Kelly Chambers
  • Legion
  • Miranda
  • Mordin
  • Samara
  • Thane
  • The Illusive Man
  • Wrex
  • Zaeed

There are thousands of consequences for your choices in Mass Effect 3. Tell us about your Mass Effect experience below!

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5 Comments on Mass Effect 3: Save Import Bonuses List


On March 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

“No ship collectibles (Model Ships and Fish) are transferred”
I collected all of the model ships in Mass Effect 2 and while exploring the Normandy in Mass Effect 3, I found all of my model ships scattered in various crates around the different levels, nooks and crannies of the Normandy.


On March 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

What about my Hamster!?


On March 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Don’t worry Ammo-LessBoy, your Hamster is crammed around the ship, too!

Find it by exploring the bottom level of the ship, where Jack used to stay in ME2. The Hamster will scurry around on the ground. Wait for it to pop out, and you can grab it. Then, when you return to your Cabin, it’ll be safely caged once again.


On February 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

i preached, and thank you very much.


On June 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm

On old GT; Killed Rachni Queen, killed Kaidan, successfully convinced Wrex, killed Council, destroyed Collector Base, Thane and Grunt died, destroyed geth, saved genophage Cure, Tali was not exiled, became Spectre again, aided Salarians on Virmire, and saved Normandy crew. On ME1 on current GT since I did not achieve perfect suicide mission result.