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StriderHoang avatar 11:50 PM on 10.11.2012  (server time)
Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors

Fighting The Collectors in Mass Effect 3's new Retaliation pack is like playing a new third-person shooter for some reason. Against Geth or Cerberus, you'd just take cover and wait them out with potshots. With Reapers, you stay on the move to outflank long range threats and stay out of the way for Brutes and Banshees. But the Collectors are different.

Stay in one place two long and Abominations will break your line quickly and explode if you're close. Move too much and you'll run into a Scion or Praetorian ready to shred you at range. You could keep moving like against the Reapers really, but these are Collectors I'm talking about.

Harbinger will be assuming direct control.

Cerberus are tactical, Geth charge forward heedlessly, and the Reapers will rush your ranks. For the Collectors, it's all about a Collector unit being possessed, amplifying it's powers by a considerable measure. A simple trooper will suddenly have barriers and extra damage. A Seeker Swarm will be both hard to hit and covered with a barrier. Scions not only shoot powerful beam but drop cluster bombs that can induce panic. The one I fear the most are Abominations, as their simple death explosion becomes something akin to a pack of C4 exploding. It is a frighteningly awesome explosion as long as you're not near it.

Get it off! Get it off!

While Reapers can be kited, Collectors need a delicate touch when it comes to pushing and shoving. You need to bunker down in order to halt the progressing hordes of Troopers and Scions but also keep an escape plan open for when Abominations show up and get too close. Especially since Captains can construct webs hat slow movement when entered. Hold on too tight and Harbinger's intervention can wipe an entire squad out at once. Move too freely and the Collectors will get a bead on you will their gunfire.

The good news about fighting the Collectors is that the entire faction has some of the largest critical targets out of all the factions. Collector heads are huge, the bulbuous sacs on Scions are big, and the Praetorian's entire front face hides a fragile plate of armor that can be weakened. And those weak spots are important if you want to put down these threats quickly.

I've found Batarians to be an easy way to power through the Collector swarms. They're tough sobs with tons of health and shields, plus their Blade Armor and melee power is surprisingly useful. Most of the Collector swarm will melee you when you're in close, but when a Batarian is winding up his power punch, he gains massive damage resistance. Combine with Blade Armor's damage reflection, he can plow through the swarm with brute force. Perhaps a bit sacrificially, but with team mates ready to revive when the coast is clear, you'd have probably cleared a broad swath for your friends to revive you. The Soldier's Ballistic Blades can stun a big group of troopers while the Sentinel's Shockwave can throw many off balance. The perfect chance for a Batarian to run in an eliminate a few threats.

Your face + my fist

Having an Engineer to divert threats with their array of powers is extremely useful in order to crowd control the wave of damage coming your way. If Abominations are coming in, Troopers locking you down, and Scions threatening you from range, a Decoy or Combat Drone is indispensable towards cracking open an escape route out of a hairy situation.

Characters that are defined by their powers like Adepts and Vanguards should beware the unique threat Seeker Swarms demonstrate. When they latch onto you, they freeze your power cooldown, leaving you vulnerable when you need your powers most. Imagine a Vanguard depending on Biotic Charge to attack and refill barriers being held up by a Swarm crawling all over your armor. And most Vanguard don't charge unless they need the barrier refill, so these instances can spell doom.

The new asset of Volus operatives provide a unique support solution. Collectors will no doubt be dropping your shields from explosions and power blasters. While Volus sound like ridiculous allies, they provide incredible support to the team. The biggest boon Volus Engineers can provide for example is an instant shield refill from their Shield Boost skill. It instantly refills their own shields and any adjacent allies as well as a variety of buffs depending on the specs.

In fact, earlier this night, I ran around with my Hate-Surfing Sentinel and two members of my N7 squad barely carried their weight. The fourth, a Volus Engineer, I immediately recognized as an important asset. Not only was he keeping up in combat, he'd regularly rush in to refill my shields just when I needed them after punching things really hard. The Volus' value is not to underestimated.

Keep your eyes to the skies N7 operatives. Not only are the Collectors invading to bolster Reaper forces but the hot spots are becoming more and more dangerous. Firebase Dagger is already experiencing sandstorms that are reducing visibility while the Reactor is is undergoing dangerous energy venting that proves dangerous to anything inside the reactor during automated maintenance. Be sure to take your credits to town in order to strengthen your kits and stand fast against the galaxy's toughest enemies!

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