Mass Effect Multiplayer: Volus Guide

You might be asking yourself, why is there a guide for a game like mass effect that came out at the start of this year? Well probably not, because if you are reading this then you’ll know that despite coming out as long ago as March, Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer is still going strong and with the Retaliation pack being released very recently there are all new weapons to use, new enemies to fight and more importantly there are new characters to play as.

In this guide I’ll be breaking down and giving tips in the games most unlikely new addition, the Volus. When multiplayer first showed up and we finally got to play as the different races from the Mass Effect universe, there were a few races that looked unlikely to get their chance at emulating Commander Shepard. The Volus were one of them, however, it’s been three additional content packs for the multiplayer and, despite all disbelief, here they are. And as it turns out they’re pretty good.

Diminutive in stature, the Volus come from a planet with exceedingly high pressure, meaning that whenever they leave their home planet they need to wear pressurised suits. Without them their skin would literally burst open. Not exactly the most combat proficient race in the Mass Effect universe, the Volus mainly stick to support roles in the back lines and use their keen minds and organisational skills to aid best they can. Those that do venture into combat do so with the help of highly developed combat suits as well as an arsenal of high tech abilities and biotics.


At this time there are two Volus classes available to play online, the biotic specialist adept and tech specialist engineer. Straight away the Volus differ from every other class in a number of basic ways, making playing them for the first time something of a learning experience. Here is the rundown.

First off the Volus has no melee attack. Instead, their light melee is replaced with a 3 to 4 second tactical cloak. This ability has no cooldown and is ideal for making quick getaways as it can be used frequently and doesn’t interfere with the Volus’s other abilities.

The heavy melee is replaced with an armour lock type ability, locking them down on the spot but greatly reducing the damage taken as well as restoring shields. This gives players the chance to hunker down in areas of heavy fire such as hack points or save the player from going down if they run into trouble. Although you need to hope your teammates are nearby to help you out.

Players will need to get used t using these abilities because the Volus has a very pitiful 150 points of health under the standard 500 shield/barrier points.

Another major difference between the Volus and every other class is its inability to take cover at all. Already this might seem like a massive point against the race, and it does have significant disadvantage, but it does have a few up sides too.


  • Obviously, not being able to take cover means the Volus can’t jump cover either. The Volus will have to make the arduous journey around all low cover and there will be no quick getaways by jumping cover. With your movement around restricted somewhat, you’ll need to get used to making frequent use of your cloak and armour locking abilities to keep yourself alive.
  • This also means the Volus lacks the instant kill grab ability.
  • The Volus can’t benefit from the added accuracy to weapons that comes from shooting from a prone position in cover. When planning to fight from range, you’ll need to take this into account when picking your weapons


  • Due to their size, the Volus don’t actually need to take cover in order to get it’s benefit. Due to the amazing coincidence that all low cover seems to be around the same height, Volus can simply stand behind cover and receive its benefit without actually attaching themselves to it. They also happen to be just tall enough to see over low cover to shoot whatever is on the other side.
  • This, in turn can be a help when there isn’t a much cover in an area that you’re trying to defend such as a hack or an extinction point and your teammates have already taken the cover. You can hide behind them in a spot that they would have normally taken up.
  • This also prevents what I call ‘panic covering’. If you ever get into a dire situation, enemies are surrounding you, and you’re trying revive a teammate quickly or roll away, that always seems to be the time your character jumps on and off of cover rather than doing what you want them too. Given, this isn’t something that happens to the hardened veterans all too often, but it’s an annoyance that doesn’t exist with the Volus.


Now onto the classes themselves and their abilities:

Volus Adept

The Volus biotic comes with Stasis, Biotic Orbs, shield boost, Volus training and Fitness. There are a number of ways to play this class, with the powers available, the Volus adept can be both a surprisingly effective assault presence, or a hugely beneficial supportive one.


  • I continue to think this is one of the best biotic abilities in the game, especially when used in combination with an accurate high power weapon such as the paladin. It is useful against all teams, especially Cerberus.
  • It’s a big help for slowing down enemies that are advancing on you and is also primed for setting up biotic explosions.

Biotic Orbs

  • The unique biotic ability to the Volus sends three orbs orbiting the player until called upon.
  • When levelling orbs, you can either increase the damage they do, which individually isn’t much no better than a half strength warp, however their lack of a cooldown means you can use them in swift combination with other biotic abilities to cause frequent biotic explosions.
  • Aside from damage, the alternative is to increase the biotic orbs other ability. After a hefty initial cooldown the orbs give an increase to the Volus’s cooldown rate per orb active. A final upgrade allows for a forth orb to be active when used giving a max boost to cooldowns.
  • This can be used in conjunction with stasis, but also with the Volus’s other ability for a different kind of effect.

Shield Boost

  • The shield boost is used to restore the user’s shields, and give them a buff that will continue the effect for a further few seconds.
  • It also sends out a pulse that provides a similar effect to all team mates caught in it.
  • The shield can be levelled to various degrees, either increasing the duration the shield boost works for or increasing it’s initial potency.
  • If you plan to play supportive and stick to team mates, the ‘protection’ branch of the shield boost used frequently in combination with the cooldown from biotic orbs can make your team much harder to kill.
  • Focusing on increasing cooldowns, potency of shield boost and using stasis in a defensive and supportive manner can make the Volus adept the best healer in the game.

Volus training

  • The passive powers of the Volus all focus on increasing gun damage or increasing cooldowns of abilities by reducing weapon weight. Volus are highly reliant on their powers, so improving their cooldowns is ideal. There really is no point to increasing weapon damage unless you simply want to pop the heads of smaller enemies you’ve used Stasis on.


I wouldn’t really recommend investing too much into fitness for the Volus. The increase to heath and shields doesn’t provide a whole lot in the long run, and you’re survivability will be based on your use of your melee abilities and your shield boost rather than this. I’s actually recommend not putting any points into this at all.

Build Options


  • For a more attacking style of Volus I’d recommend putting points into strength of the Stasis ability. If you’re looking to cause a lot of biotic explosions, then I’d put the final point in vulnerability, although I love the bubble ability because it catches a multiple enemies.
  • In Biotic Orbs, obviously increase the damage.
  • It’s not hard really. Just damage increase abilities.


  • If you’re looking to play something a little different and try support, the Volus is build well for it. Taking bubble in stasis is probably the best idea, it can caught enemies trouble when trying to get through bottlenecks, lining them up for your team mates.
  • With Biotic Orbs, increasing the cooldown per orb and the additional orb at the end will maximise your cooldowns for Stasis and Shield Boost.
  • If you are planning to hang around team mates and boost frequently taking radius, recharge speed and protection will give you the best chance of getting as many of them as possible and as frequently.
  • In training, take weight capacity, shield boost and weapon weight. Again, when it comes to fitness, I don’t see much point in putting anything into it. Unless you need to put a few points into it, I’d leave it empty.

Volus Engineer

The Engineer can also work both on the attack and in support, although in a different way. The Engineer comes with Proximity mine, Recon mine, Shield Boost, Volus training and Fitness.

While the adept can be a force in supportive healing, the engineer can do the same when it comes to debuffs.

Proximity Mine

Proximity mine as always been an ability of questionable usefulness. In terms of pure damage, the ability isn’t that great, and many only praise it when used by infiltrators with tactical cloak. However,

  • The mine really shines through it’s debuff ability on this class. In the 5th rank, Proximity Mine can either cause enemies to be slowed by 30% for eight seconds or to take 20% more damage when hit by all sources. In the hands of a Volus, the debuff is the most vital function of the proxy mine and gets even better when used in combination with the Recon Mine.

Recon Mine

This is a devastating ability no matter how you spec it.

  • The Recon Mine is a larger mine that takes three seconds to arm before it can be detonated.
  • When it arms is sends out a signal that acts like a portable Tactical Scan, revealing all enemies that walk within it, even through walls. This makes detonating it from a distance much easier as you can see what’s within range from safety.
  • The mine can either be speced to increase it’s already considerable damage and give it a boost against armoured enemies, or you can continue the debuffing route and wreck havoc with stronger enemies that dare come too near.
  • The ‘Invasive scan’ that is available as in the 6th rank increases the damage done to all enemies caught within the range of the scan by 25% as well as slow them by 30%.
  • This can be stacked with the debuff caused by the proximity mine and can make dealing with large slow enemies like the Atlas, Brute and Ravager a lot less painful.

Shield Boost

The engineer also has the Shield Boost ability, however it lacks adept’s ability to increase cooldowns.

  • If you’re playing in an attacking style, the boost is best used for personal survivability, if you’re going for the support role, then topping up your team mates shield while debuffing is an option.
  • The shield boost shares a cooldown with the two mine abilities though, so you’re going to have to choose which one to focus on from moment to moment, although the shield boost is always appreciated in a pinch. Used in combination with the mines though, the Volus engineer can make an amazing support class.

Volus Training

  • Like with the adept, the engineer really benefits from a decrease to cooldowns, although if you simply wanted to make your Recon Mine as powerful as possible that’s also an option.

Build Options


  • In an attacking volus, the only power you should be focusing on is the Recon Mine, the damage it can deal out is huge over an area.
  • Again, increase the damage dealt by the ability. The different debuffs on the proxy mine could come in handy for wrangling enemies together to hit as many as possible with the Recon Mine.
  • Taking the duration branches in Shield Boost means you don’t have to spend your cooldowns on restoring life as frequently.
  • You’ll want to use your recon mine for it’s debuff as much as for it’s damage, picking the Radius, Damage Taken and Invasive Scan branches will is probably the optimal spec for that.
  • With Proxy mine, increasing the radius, damage taken and cooldown speed helps double up the debuffs and staggers the lighter enemies.
  • Taking duration perks in sheild boost will, again, help you focus on debuffs.
  • I’d be taking the power increase and weapon weight perks in training, because it will allow the mine to be an effective weapon when you need it to be. Although, if you have a decent weapon, putting points in that can’t hurt.

Weapon choices

The Volus is a class that requires a deal of thought and planning before hand, rushing into fights with them is suicide. Like the Volus themselves, hanging back, taking your time and being indirect are the keys to success with the Volus. Keep that in mind.

Picking light weapons is the obvious choice here. I would recommend taking a heavy pistol over an SMG every time as they do have some form of stopping power if you need it in a pinch. I would recommend using the Carnifex or even taking that cooldown loss and having a Paladin which is a force all on its own. This comes down to personal preference, but keeping your cooldown rate as close to 200% as possible should be what you aim for.

Enemy Tips

  • Watch out for fast moving enemies like husks and abominations that can slip past defences and take you out pretty quickly if you’re not paying attention.
  • When facing collectors, watch for seeker swarms, as their ability to destroy your power use for a time can be a big problem for the Volus.
  • The armour lock can work in your favour when trying to take out larger, but fast moving, enemies like Praetorians or banshees, keeping them in the engineers mine range while they are attacking you.


I was wary of the Volus when I first heard about them, but they’ve fast become some of my favourite classes to play in the game. I hope you maybe got some ideas of what the Volus is like to play here and I hope my advice helps you out in the future. I play to try and make guides like this for the other classes as they unlock. These are just my thoughts and results of my own play style and experiences, if you have any better ideas then don’t hesitate to post them in the comments. I’ll keep playing and trying to unlock further classes from packs so I can continue writing some more of these guides for you.

Article from

Share This Post

Post Comment