Endings in Mass Effect 3 feature the different conclusions to the game, depending on the choices the players have taken during their playthrough. Many of the choices the players make, have consequences that replicate directly or indirectly on the storyline of Mass Effect 3 if the save data is imported.
Effective Military Strength
The Effective Military Strength, is as important and impactful in the Endings as the choices you have been making throughout the entire saga. In Mass Effect 3, the number of Effective Military Strength, will determine the availability of choices but also the severity of the collateral damage the galaxy will take. To learn more about EMS, please refer to the War Assets page.
|0 - 1749||
There will be only one option available to the player. This option depends on the player's choice at the end of Mass Effect 2. You will have only access to the Control ending, if you decided to save the Collector base, or the Destroy ending if you decided to nuke it. Besides that, both will result in massive physical damage to Earth, with the Destroy Ending being particularly devastating, wiping out most Human life on Earth.
|1750 - 2349||You will have both Control and Destroy endings available. Either choice will cause substantial damage to the galaxy.|
|2350-2649||Both Control and Destroy endings available. The Control options will cause no physical damage whatsoever, the Destroy ending, will still cause substantial damage throughout the galaxy.|
|2650+||Both Control and Destroy endings available. None of them will cause physical damage to the galaxy.|
|2800+||The Synthesis ending becomes available.|
|3100+||If you choose the Destroy ending, Commander Shepard is seen barely alive, gasping for breath. (If Admiral Anderson is shot by the Illusive Man, you need a higher EMS in order to see this extra scene).|
All Mass Effect 3 Endings
The Catalyst approaches Commander Shepard and proceeds to explain the origins and purpose of the Reapers. Shepard also learns the ways the Crucible can be used to put an end to the Reaper threat. These three options are: Destroying the Reapers for good, submitting the Reapers to Commander Shepard's will or merging organic and synthetic life. The availability of endings and the damage the galaxy is exposed to, is determined by the choices you have taken throughout the trilogy and the amount of Effective Military Strength you have when you make the final choice.
Once you are presented with the final choice, walk down the path to the right and shoot the structure in front of you. This will cause the Crucible to fire a pulse into the mass relay network. The blast spreads across the whole galaxy but ultimately deals massive damage to the Citadel and every relay in the process.
If your EMS is too low, this ending also eradicates most life throughout the galaxy. The admiral's narrative is different and paints a bleaker future for the galaxy.
To choose this option, walk down the path to the left. Commander Shepard sacrifices in order to command the Reaper fleet. The Reapers will leave Earth thanks to the Commander's will. A pulse is released from the Citadel and spreads throughout the mass relay network, damaging them in the process, but this time, the Citadel remains intact. The Reapers help rebuild the galaxy at Commander Shepard's will. This ending is narrated by Commander Shepard.
To choose this option, walk straight through the center path. The Catalyst views this as the best option, since synthesis is the pinnacle of evolution and will render the Reapers obsolete. A green pulse emanates from the Crucible, altering all denizens of the galaxy on a genetic level, merging organic life and synthetic being into one. Willingly, the Reapers rebuild the damaged relays, and share the collective knowledge of countless extinct civilizations. This ending is narrated by EDI.
Don't activate the Crucible
If you refuse to activate the Crucible, you can tell the Catalyst that a decision of such amplitude cannot be made, and that the war must end on Commander Shepard's terms; or alternatively, you can decide to shoot the Catalyst after initially accepting the options presented to you. Taking both of these options results in a victory for the Reapers, allowing the cycle of extinction to continue.
One of Liara T'Soni's tune capsules is then shown on an unknown world, and a recording of hers explains that while the people of her time failed to stop the Reapers, whoever finds the capsule still has a chance of succeeding
Note that choosing this path, will not unlock the Legend or Long Service Medal Achievements.
The Normandy's Crew
During the Destroy, control or Synthesis Endings, the Crucible's blast hits the Normandy and causes it to crash on an unknown planet. The survival of the crew relies on the amount of Effective Military strength you have amassed.
|Below 1750||Destroy||Nobody exits the Normandy|
|Below 1750||Control||Joker and two of the player's most-favored Companions exit a heavily damaged Normandy.|
|Above minimum and below maximum||Control or Destroy||Joker and two of the player's most-favored Companions exit a heavily damaged Normandy.|
|2800 or higher||Control or Destroy||Joker and two of the player's most-favored Companions exit a mostly intact Normandy.|
|2800 or Higher||Synthesis||Joker, EDI and the player's most favored Companion exit the Normandy. Joker and EDI will embrace.|