Game Guides

Mass Effect: Squad Power Usage Explained

How often should your team use their abilities?

by Diego Perez


Commanding your squad is an important part of combat in Mass Effect, and determining their power usage will affect how they perform in combat when you’re not giving them orders. You probably don’t want to be micromanaging every single action your allies perform during a firefight, so setting their squad power usage will apply some rules as to which skills and abilities they can use without your input. You can leave everything up to your command, have them only use defensive abilities, or give them complete and total freedom with their skillset. Here’s what each squad power usage setting means in Mass Effect.

What Does Squad Power Usage Do in Mass Effect?

There are three choices for squad power usage. This setting determines how your squadmates will use their abilities outside of your direct commands.

  • Disabled – Squad AI will not use any talents unless ordered by the player.
  • Defense Only – Squad AI will only use defensive powers to protect themselves or others.
  • Active – Squad AI will use all available talents.


If you want complete and total control over your allies, choose disabled. This will prevent your squadmates from using their abilities entirely unless you directly order them to. This includes healing and defensive abilities, so they won’t even use an ability to save themselves unless you outright tell them to. The default setting is defense only, which means the AI will use abilities to protect themselves but won’t use offensive abilities unless you say so. This means they can heal themselves or boost their shields, but your Biotic allies won’t use Throw or anything without your command.

If you want a more hands-free approach, then choose active. This means your squad will use any and all of their abilities on their own without needing your input. This is great if you want to focus on shooting and don’t really care for the squad strategy aspects of combat, but it also means your allies may use skills at inopportune times. On harder difficulties, you’re going to want to have full command of your team, so this setting is not recommended unless you’re playing on casual or normal difficulty and just want to breeze through combat encounters by only shooting your gun.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Check out our review of the game here.

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