Many thought it was a joke. How can they be included among the ranks of proud Turian soldiers and Krogan battlemasters? Can they honestly compete with the biotic mastery of Asari and Humans? What sort of representation for their skill do we have besides Niftu Cal? But like it or not, they're here and they've managed to carve out a space for themselves.
The Volus have joined the multiplayer war effort against the Reapers.
Hardcore Mass Effect fans should know that Volus are the last thing you'd think you'd see on the battlefield. Volus live in a high pressure environment and can't even interact with other species unless they wear their awkward looking pressure suits. Hell, they can barely speak in their suits, as they use some sort of respirator inside, so every phrase is cut off by the sound of radio static, like a walkie talkie. And how do they even hold guns? They don't really have the surface area on their backs to hold an assault rifle and firearms in the future fold into themselves for convenience on normal bipeds.
A lot of fans cried out that Bioware was breaking lore. That Volus have no place on the battlefield. That the most the Volus can do is offer their VI driven warships to the war effort. In terms of raw combat capability, let me break down their combat traits for you.
- Mediocre shields: you'd think one thing they'd have in common with Quarian combat soldiers is a high shield capacity to offset their sensitive physiology. Quarians boast substantial shields for a lackluster health pool. But while Volus certainly have more shields than health, they barely have shields to begin with. Any Volus expecting to survive a few bullets will definitely have to invest in the Fitness skill tree.
- Pathetic damage bonuses: most species at least have a 7-10% bonus in weapon damage bonuses. The Volus barely registers at 5% at standard. These might sound like small number but you have to keep in mind we're talking about firing a large volume of ammunition that adds up over the course of an extended firefight. While others might only need to shoot 5 bullets, a Volus might need to shoot twice or three times that amount, which is a lot of extra ammo he'll need to gather.
- Laughable offensive potential: Casters are classes that have a larger focus on using powers than weapons. Who cares if you have zero in weapon bonuses if you're just going to use Incinerate or Warp all day? Compounding the Volus weakness in weapons mastery is the fact that none have dependable offensive skills. Nearly every Volus lacks a power that does dependable offensive damage. Sure, the Volus engineer has some Proximity Mines and the unreleased Volus vanguard has Biotic Charge but they're not powers you can reliably use in all situations. Most Volus only utilize support oriented skills like Stasis or Recon Mine.
Well, the above video demonstrates that the lack of upfront power means you won't be an immediately useful asset. But Bioware didn't just introduce the Volus as a way to troll players into picking up your slack. The Volus' racial power is Shield Recharge and it proves to be just like any medic from most darkhorse shooting games: it is a thankless and important job.
When used, the Volus seems to explode with shield energy. Unfortunately, it has zero combat ability, but it does refill your shields along with anyone else nearby and it has a host of other perks depending on how it's speced. By default, it refills a generous amount of shields and continues to impart rapid shield repairs for three seconds. In some builds, that can be increased to six seconds. Or maybe instead you can dole out 50% damage resistance for a few seconds? The bad news is that this doesn't reflect on the leaderboards, so if other operatives see you have 10k points on the 9th wave, they'll assume you're terrible (where the average score between an even team can be 40k). The good news is who cares, you helped your team survive a brutal hack objective with Geth Pyros and Hunters firing down a relentless barrage of pain and earned your bounty in credits. The Volus are primarily a merchant species after all and sometimes these plucky little Volus operatives know that at the end of the day, getting paid is all that matters.
*Mission complete. Hold out until extraction.*
"Time to get paid!"
The Volus met all sorts of criticism on the Bioware Social forums but in the end, they've earned themselves a unique little spot on an N7 squad. In addition to Shield Recharge, Volus can also summon Biotic Orbs to orbit them like little mini Warps. But if you hold onto them rather than launching them, they provide recharge speed bonuses! Even a weapon that's relatively light for other species like the Falcon is somewhat heavy for the little Volus, and that weight will slow down the cooldown on what precious powers you are using like Shield Recharge. But using Biotic Orbs first can add as much as 60% additional cool down bonuses to your weight limit.
For my Volus Adept, I can slap on a Falcon grenade launcher, which reliably staggers enemies, use Stasis to crowd control, and Shield Recharge everyone when the going gets tough.
An alien that was met with much anger and confusion has become the N7's premier support specialist!