Mass Effect Andromeda conversation options guide: what those dialogue icons mean

By Brenna Hillier, Sunday, 7 May 2017 16:00 GMT

Mass Effect Andromeda’s conversation system may baffle series newcomers and BioWare fanatics alike. Let’s break it down.

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Mass Effect Andromeda throws a whole stack of conversation icons at you and doesn’t go hellishly far out of its way to explain what any of them mean.

Find more tips, tricks and explanations in our Mass Effect Andromeda guide and walkthrough.

This is confusing for newcomers and veterans alike, because Mass Effect Andromeda has dropped the original triology’s Paragon and renegade binary system in favour of a tone wheel similar to Dragon Age. Sometimes there are two icons. Sometimes there are four. Sometimes there are a whole range of other icons that have nothing to do with tone at all. What’s going on?

Don’t worry, we have it all sorted out. On this page we’ll explain the differences between meaningful choices (those that affect conversation flow and gameplay) and tone choices (those that shape Ryder’s psychological profile), so you’ll know when it’s safe to hit the button randomly and when you should pay attention.

Let’s kick off with the important ones first, then explain the tone wheel further down the page.

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Conversation branching dialogue icons

Except in situations where you’re choosing between tone responses, the dialogue icon shown on the conversation wheel in Mass Effect Andromeda will indicate if the choice you’re about to make will have a consequence on the conversation and your relationships, or merely provide more information.

The four conversation options are shown above. Here’s what they mean to your Mass Effect Andromeda progress:

  • The branching arrows dialogue icon usually comes in pairs or even greater numbers, and means you’re moving the conversation forward. Once you choose this icon, that part of the conversation will end, forever, and you can’t choose one of the other responses.
  • The question mark dialogue icon will provide more information on a topic, or even open a submenu of further questions. Choosing this won’t end a conversation or lock you to a particular response.
  • The two people dialogue icon means you’re taking steps to forge a friendship with a character. It won’t lock you out of romance options, and can help open up loyalty missions.
  • The large heart dialogue icon is the flirt button. Don’t be afraid to use it often; it takes many uses and plenty of time to lock in a relationship, and on this occasions where you’re making a commitment it’s made obvious enough that you can’t do it by mistake. See our Mass Effect Andromeda romance and banging guide for more information.

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Tone wheel conversation options icons

Although the dialogue icons described above have important consequences for your Mass Effect Andromeda progress, the tone wheel is all about shaping your character. Ryder’s personality is gradually built up by what you choose in dialogue – but these choices rarely have any sort of gameplay impact. They’re just there to make you feel that you have some say in the events unfolding around you – even when you don’t.

You can check the progress of your Ryder’s psychological progress at any time by looking through the Codex. Lexi regularly updates your profile as you make Mass Effect Andromeda your own through conversation options.

There are four tone dialogue icons in Mass Effect Andromeda, although often you’ll only be given a choice of two. The four possibilities are:

  • Emotional dialogue icon

    A small heart always shown in the upper left of the conversation wheel, emotional conversation options are for those who wear their hearts on their sleeves, showing empathy and sympathy – but also sometimes anger and disgust. If you want your Ryder to be driven by their passions and open with their feelings, this is the path for you.

  • Logical dialogue icon

    A cog wheel symbol in the upper right of the conversation wheel, logical conversation options are pragmatic and to the point, efficiently communicating Ryder’s intentions and needs. Ryders who choose this option get things done no matter what distractions arise, but they can seem a little cold and calculating.

  • Casual dialogue icon

    A spiral in the lower left of the conversation wheel, casual conversation options allow Ryder to joke around, lightening the mood and deflating swollen egos. This is for Ryders who face the world with a smile and see everything as an adventure.

  • Professional dialogue icon

    A spiral made of right angles in the lower right of the conversation wheel indicates a professional conversation option. These Ryders get the job done, and approach others with a formal courtesy that some may appreciate, and others find a bit stiff.

Unlike past BioWare RPGS with tone wheels, making repeat choices in the same category doesn’t seem to alter your Ryder’s ambient dialogue, and although you’ll get different reactions from NPCs depending on your choice of tone, it doesn’t seem to matter much which dialogue icon you choose when you’re given this sort of conversation option in Mass Effect Andromeda.

Thanks, Alienware!

Brenna is playing Mass Effect Andromeda on an Alienware 17 with a GX 1070, kindly loaned, at her request, by Alienware Australia’s PR representative.

As such, you should feel free to play Mass Effect Andromeda choosing Ryder’s responses to fit the situation; maybe you’ll want to sympathise with a friend here and there, and other times you might want to be coldly professional when speaking to an authority figure you disagree with it.

This is your story, Pathfinder; do as you will. Mass Effect Andromeda is a new world, to shape as you see fit.

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