Please note! While it should go without saying, it seldom does in the world of the Internet: reading a guide to the final sections of a game is likely to spoil it for you if you haven't reached them on your own.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends! Literally. This is the last chunk of our tourist guide to the Mass Effect universe before you plunge into the final battle against Saren and his Geth army, so lets mop up those last side quests for maximum experience points. For those inexplicably joining us at this stage, the idea of this guide is not to walk you through the game - the story missions are yours to discover - but to help you find all the side quests and let you know which ones are worth doing. We'll start, as always, with the assignments that take place in and around the story missions, picking up from parts one and two...
- System: Hoc
- Planet: Virmire
Wrex and the Genophage
Upon arrival at the Salarian beach head on Virmire, Wrex will become agitated at the prospect of destroying a facility that could save his species. It's up to you to talk him round. It's not clear why this appears in the assignment list, since you have to go through this encounter in order to continue with the game - but it's in there, so it's in here. The penalty for failure is that you'll have to kill Wrex - or Ashley will do it for you - so if you've been building him up, there's a huge incentive to get this right. Thankfully, if you've maxed out either Charm or Intimidate, it's not that hard.
Worth doing? Well, duh. You save an extremely useful member of your squad, and earn an Achievement in the process. Kids love Achievements. I think they can be traded in for sweets or something.
Assisting Kirrahe's Team
This is less of an optional assignment and more of a string of secondary objectives to be carried out during the Virmire mission into Saren's base. The aim is to mess up the Geth defences so as to make life easier for the decoy squad led by Captain Kirrahe and whichever of your team you sent with him. As you go along, stop off at each of the facilities shown on the map and find the exclamation mark. Your first act of sabotage should disrupt Geth communications. The next involves shooting their satellite uplink (look up!). You can destroy the Geth air support while it's at the refuelling station, and finally opt to switch off the alarms to draw some fire away from Kirrahe and his team.
Worth doing? You'll be heading straight past the locations in question, so the only reason not to help out is if you're playing as a Renegade. Each disruption earns you a couple of Paragon points, you see. You'll also pick up Kirrahe's surviving troops in the Normandy, giving you access to Commander Rentola's supplies for a short time.
NOTE: You can return to the Citadel at any time after you first leave to find a fresh batch of assignments. Once you leave the Citadel after Virmire, you will be able to revisit other planets to complete off-world assignments (such as Hostile Takeover) but will be unable to return to the Citadel so make sure you tidy up any loose ends before escaping.
Conrad Verner is still loitering around the Upper Wards, all creepy like. Following your initial encounter, you can speak with him two more times. You don't need to wait to complete another story mission before returning - a simple jaunt to an uncharted world will do the trick.
Worth doing? Yes, if only because somebody has got to find out where this stalker nonsense is leading...
The Fourth Estate
The first time you return to the Citadel, you'll be pounced upon by a reporter as you exit the Normandy and quizzed on your role in the galactic community. There's no real way to succeed or fail here - just answer how you see fit. Those chasing Renegade points will be pleased to learn that it's even possible to punch her in the face, live on camera. Regardless of how you approach the interview, you'll hear the reaction on newscasts in elevators and Lance Henriksen will also call you up with his thoughts on how you came across. In real life. Not the game. For realz.
Worth doing? You've got no choice. This how Britney must feel every single day.
Planting a Bug
When you return to the Citadel - either as part of the story, or by your own choice - reporter Emily Wong has another favour to ask. She's investigating safety lapses in flight control, and needs you to plant a bug in the relevant room in C-SEC so she can see if overworked controllers are endangering vessels.
Worth doing? Not the most riveting of assignments - you simply walk into the room and press A - but Emily pays well, and she's quite cute. You might get to "do" her in the sequel, so let's be nice.
You'll find Helena Blake loitering near Barla Von's office on the Presidium. You can hack a computer in C-SEC to trigger the quest, and discover that she's a suspicious character, but it's pretty obvious even just from walking up and talking to her. She wants you to eliminate two ganglords - one in the Hades Gamma system, one in Gemini Sigma. New solar systems open up in each for this assignment. If you take her up on the offer, simply visit each syndicate and wipe them out. You then have to rendezvous with Helena and decide how you're going to deal with her...
Worth doing? Yes. The Syndicates put up a good fight, and you'll clock up some cool weaponry, experience and those all important Paragon/Renegade points.
Our Own Worst Enemy
There's a demonstration in the Upper Wards on behalf of the Terra Firma political party. The party leader asks for your endorsement, and it's up to you whether or not you want to align yourself with the space age BNP. No, really. You choose. Racist.
Worth doing? You're in the area anyway to meet with Anderson, and it only takes a moment to make your choice. Much like The Fan, this feels like a decision that will be lurking on your hard drive for Mass Effect 2 so you might as well take a stand.
At the bottom of the steps leading to Flux you'll find Elias Keeler, an Alliance negotiator. He wants you to fetch him some "mental stimulant", which is legal although he's already used up his monthly quota. There are multiple ways to deal with him, from Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" advice to cruel tricks, so the choice is yours.
Worth doing? Not really. You get Paragon or Renegade points, but the Renegade path is the most fun.
Here's an odd little vignette to drop into the game just as everything is building to a galaxy-threatening climax. A man and a woman are arguing in the Financial District of the Presidium. She's pregnant and doesn't want to have gene therapy to eradicate a possible heart condition in the baby, even though her husband died from the same condition. He's her brother-in-law and wants his brother's child to be safe and healthy. Make like Jeremy Kyle, resolve the situation however you wish, and they'll go on their way.
Worth doing? Bizarrely, yes. For such a short and rather silly assignment you can earn 920 XP along with Paragon or Renegade points.