Mass Effect: Should Shepard Go Paragon Or Renegade? (2023)

Commander Shepard is the star of the Mass Effect story, butexactly who the Commander isremains up to the player. These games offer many options for customizing Shepard's appearance, personality, combat style, code of ethics, and more.One way to express this is the Paragon/Renegade scale that measures overall morality. Shepard can either be a heroic, diplomatic Paragon or a bold, brash, and daring Renegade.But which is better?

RELATED:10 Hilarious Mass Effect Memes That Only Veteran Players Will Understand

All three Mass Effect titles can be completed to the player's satisfaction as either a Renegade or Paragon Commander Shepard. But a few major plot points are heavily impacted by this dichotomy and a number of minor scenes can play out very differently based on Paragon vs. Renegade. In terms of lore and in-game amusement, how do these two versions of Commander Shepard compare?

Updated June 7th, 2021 by Ben Jessey:There has always been a debate on whether Commander Shepard should be Paragon or Renegade. And with the recent release of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, the discussion around the hero's ethics has started once again.

Fans on either side of the dispute have valid reasons why it's better to play one way or another. We also once added to the moral alignment conversation by giving reasons for both sides. Yet, we didn't disclose all of the benefits tobeing either Paragon or Renegade the first time around, so here are a few more.


14 PARAGON SHEPARD: Fits The Commander's Image

Mass Effect: Should Shepard Go Paragon Or Renegade? (1)

Whether the Commander spends the trilogy saving lives or punching reporters, they're still considered a hero. People in the galaxy rejoice in how incredible they are and many refer to Shepard as the ultimate savior.

Although, their characterizations feel a little odd when describing a Renegade version of the Commander. Yes, Shepard is a hero no matter their attitude, but if they were also committing cruel and dishonorable acts, someone would mention it. The Paragon version feels more like the person everyone describes.

13 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Gain Zaeed’s Loyalty Easier

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Shepard's squadmates— particularly in the second game— aren't all noble individuals. Each of them has varying degrees of honor, with Zaeed being among the most immoral of the group. And during his loyalty mission, the mercenary proves his ruthlessness when he sacrifices innocent workers to get his hands on his mortal enemy.

A Paragon Shepard will step in during this point and help those in danger, making Zaeed miss his target. If that occurs, the Commander needs plenty of Paragon points to win the mercenary's favor. On the other hand, Renegade Shepard can agree with his companion's sacrifices and easily get on his good side.

12 PARAGON SHEPARD: Consistent Tone In Conversation

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Not everything the Commander says is either a Renegade or Paragon comment. Sometimes the protagonist is simply asking questions or giving a neutral response.

Therefore, Renegade dialog options can often feel very forced in a typical Mass Effect conversation. For instance, Shepard can go from being polite and mild-mannered to flying off the handle in seconds with few reasons for doing so. Interactions feel a lot more natural in tone when the Commander is a Paragon.

11 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Cool Facial Scarring

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After the rebuild by Cerberus, Shepard is left with somecybernetic wounds on their face. In an email, Dr. Chakwas explains that the scars react to the Commander's mindset.

So, if the protagonist does evil things, the disfigurements glow more, whereas if they clean up their act, they heal with time. Naturally, by the end of the second game and partway through the third, Renegade Shepard resembles a demon. The red scars and eyes make for a cool and slightly frightening look.

10 PARAGON SHEPARD: Comfort Your Crewmates

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Most of Commander Shepard's beloved crewmates aboard the SSV Normandy and the Normandy SR-2 have some serious baggage. Naturally, they turn to the Commander for leadership, comfort, and direction. They may seek kind and reaffirming wordsas only Paragon Shepard can provide.

By contrast, Renegade Shepard usually responds along the lines of "tough luck" or "you screwed up." Many crewmates will be distinctly annoyed by a Renegade Shepard and that may leave a bad taste in the player's mouth.

9 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Impress The Krogan

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Not all crewmates or aliens want kind, empty platitudes or the trusty shoulder of Paragon Shepard. For example, the tough Krogan people generally favor bold words that speak of violence, domination, and aggression. Renegade Shepard can speak that languageand back it up with action when needed.

The Krogan will scoff at the gentle words of Paragon Shepard while they'll be impressed by theunabashed words and actions of Renegade Shepard. For example, Renegade Shepard will headbutt the obnoxious Gatatog Uvenk for the benefit of their teammate Grunt,and the Urdnot shaman will burst out laughing and voice his approval. Paragon Shepard wouldn't ever chance a diplomatic (or literal) headache like that.

8 PARAGON SHEPARD: Save More Lives

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Commander Shepard will always be the hero of the Systems Alliance Navy and the Council. But Paragon Shepard will take more risks to save every single person around them.Renegade Shepard might simply think "you can't save 'em all" instead. As fans know from many scenarios, Paragon Shepard says otherwise.

RELATED:5 Exciting Changes To Mass Effect Legendary Edition (And 5 We're Still Unsure About)

More than once, Paragon Shepard will risktheir life to rescue someone from danger-- even innocent bystanders or other low-priority parties on a battlefield. Players may feel satisfied that their Commander Shepard is truly everyone's hero; that's what being a Spectre is all about after all.

7 RENEGADE SHEPARD: AvoidProblems With Brutal Efficiency

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It might be fair to say that Renegade Shepard is all about shortcuts-- not just aggression or a mean attitude. It's true that Paragon Shepard has a "no one gets left behind attitude," but that means a lot of extra work and risks that might not be worth it (according to Renegade Shepard).

A variety of Renegade interrupts will allow Shepard to shoot someone or something and thus eliminate that fighter from a battle sequence. Shepard can snipe a LOKI mech during Garrus Vakarian's recruitment mission or even bring down cargo that contains Eclipse mercenaries during Miranda Lawson's loyalty mission on Ilium. That "shoot first, ask questions never" attitude does pay off sometimes, plus it makes some of the best recruitment and loyalty missions even better.

6 PARAGON SHEPARD: Look Good On The News

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Commander Shepard is no ordinary soldier.They are a renowned public figure making history as the hero who took down Saren Arterius while also serving as the first-ever human Spectre. So, Shepard's name often makes it into the galactic news cycles and that's an important piece of the lore. Part of the fun of portraying Shepard is balancing the soldier with the personality.

RELATED:Mass Effect: Everything You Didn’t Know About Turians

If the player is going Paragon, then Commander Shepard's kind, diplomatic words will make a good impression of the Systems Alliance to aliens such as theprotocol-loving Turians. This can only be a boon for humanity's interstellar diplomatic tiesas a fledgling race in the Milky Way. Paragon Shepard's thoughtfulness can help boost humanity's charisma, one interview at a time.

5 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Chase Off Khalisah Al-Jilani

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Then again, the media cycle isn't always kind to Commander Shepard. One particular reporter, Khalisah Al-Jilani, reports for Westerlund News and she always tries to force the conversation into certain directions. It seems that she and her editors don't like the idea of humanity cooperating with aliens.

Khalisah might even become verbally hostile to Shepard and blamethem for just about anything. It is Renegade Shepard who strikes back against these bad faith attacks.Players can choose to have Shepard totally deck Khalisah for her snide and hurtful comments. This act is one that some players may take great satisfaction in.

4 PARAGON SHEPARD: Help Wrex Cure The Genophage

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No matter what Shepard says or does, Urdnot Wrex and Dr. Mordin Solus will attempt to cure the Genophage. The Krogan will only lend military aid to the Turians that way. But Dalatrass Linron, a major Salarian leader, has a deal to offer to Commander Shepard: secretly sabotage that cureto get serious Salarian aid for the war.

Paragon Shepard will be disgusted by this offer to deceive the wrongfully sterilized Krogan and reject it. Thus, they'll allow the Genophage cure to proceed as planned. Wrex will recognize Paragon Shepard as a hero to the Krogan people and declare that "Shepard" will become an honorable Krogan name. Only Paragon Shepard can get that far with Wrex.

3 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Witty Remarks, Cutting Humor, & Punching

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Being Paragon or Renegade will greatly impact Shepard's dialogue and quick-time actions throughout the games. Overall, it can be said that Renegade Shepard's dialogue is much funnier and more memorable. After all, Paragon Shepard is patient and kind which leaves little room for "creativity".

RELATED:Mass Effect: 15 Quotes That Will Stay With Us Forever

Renegade Shepard will say just about anything, often at other people's expense, and this can lead to some mean but hilarious moments. Renegade Shepard will chase off a stock boy with a made-up bomb warning, for example, while carrying out Thane Krios' loyalty mission. Shepard even remarks tothemselves that it's a miracle that such a comical bluff even worked. Moreover, there are several choice Renegade interrupts such as the aforementioned decking a reporter.

2 PARAGON SHEPARD: Save CharactersLike The Rachni Queen

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Paragon Shepard believes that everyone can be saved and, sometimes, that attitude will alter the course of history for the better as with the Rachni race. These misunderstood aliens are intelligent engineers who communicate psychically through sound. Like the Krogan, they're one of the most dangerous races because they can reproduce very rapidly and quickly overrun other races. But Shepard will meet the last surviving queen on Noveria in the first game.

Renegade Shepard will unfairly kill the queen and doom the Rachni to extinction. By contrast, Paragon Shepard will save herin an ethical and strategic victory. By 2186, the reborn (and friendly) Rachni race will help build the Crucible and become a new player in the galactic political landscape.Let's not discuss theother Rachni queen option.

1 RENEGADE SHEPARD: Impress And Empower Garrus

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Garrus Vakarian skirts the line between Paragon and Renegade since he has a good heart but he's also a rogue killing machine.A Turian beleaguered by bureaucracy, he justwants to get the job done by any means. He can't stand unnecessary obstacles, rigid thinking, or red tape. So, the "I make my own rules" attitude of Renegade Shepard appeals greatly to him.

But Garrus is a bit unsure of himself and he turns to Shepard for leadership and empowerment alike. Paragon Shepard will deliver mixed results outside of a romance while Renegade Shepard will really stoke the fire in Garrus' heart and motivate him to push himself further. Garrus will often explain a difficult decision he has made recently and seek affirmationthat only Renegade Shepard will provide it.It makes him feel pretty good when Renegade Shepard tells him "you totally did the right thing."

Next:Mass Effect: Who's the Better Soldier, Urdnot Grunt Or Garrus Vakarian?


Is it better to be Paragon or Renegade in Mass Effect? ›

Paragons Typically Inspire More Love From the People Around Them. Again, this isn't a hard rule (and we'll talk about some of the exceptions to this rule in a bit), but generally speaking, playing as a Paragon means that you're more likely to win over the people closest to you and assist them in their moments of need.

Should Commander Shepard be paragon or renegade? ›

Being Paragon or Renegade will greatly impact Shepard's dialogue and quick-time actions throughout the games. Overall, it can be said that Renegade Shepard's dialogue is much funnier and more memorable. After all, Paragon Shepard is patient and kind which leaves little room for "creativity".

Should I max out both Paragon and Renegade? ›

Each is associated with a particular Morality: Paragon for Charm and Renegade for Intimidate. We reccommend putting 5 Points into both stats, as both moralities will benefit from this exploit.

Can you go both Paragon and Renegade? ›

It is very possible for a hero who is primarily Paragon to also have earned some Renegade points along the way, though this does not typically detract from his Paragon score. However, there are (with the exception of some bugs) a finite number of opportunities to increase your score in either of these aspects.

Can you be full Renegade and Paragon Mass Effect? ›

It's fully possible to collect both Paragon and Renegade points throughout the game, allowing what seems best in the moment to dictate how you talk with people or wrap up problems. However, there are a lot of things in the Mass Effect games that are dependent on you either being very Paragon or very Renegade.

Is Garrus a renegade or paragon? ›

Garrus is Renegade based on his own personal justice, though. His heart's in the right place, but it's also what drives his mentality of accomplishing goals regardless of cost.

Which version of Shepard is canon? ›

If you're familiar at all with the Mass Effect series, you know that your character, Commander Shepard, is totally customizable. Shepard can be either a man or a woman, and you can alter the commander's looks to suit your tastes. That said, it seems in most circles that the male version of Shepard is 'canon' Shepard.

Who can Renegade Shepard romance? ›

In addition to these romance options, both male Shepard and female Shepard can romance:
  • Kaidan Alenko.
  • Liara T'Soni.
  • Kelly Chambers (if romanced in ME2)
  • Diana Allers (Fling)
May 14, 2021

Can Paragon Shepard keep the scars? ›

No it is not possible to keep your scars the legitimate way. There is a way to remove them with the medibay upgrade but this sadly doesn't have the option to prevent them from going away.

Does renegade Paragon affect romance? ›

Paragon decisions unlock a special scene. Renegade choices cause them to leave, but your romance is still considered permanent enough to carry to Mass Effect 2.

What is the max Paragon LVL? ›

There is no limit to a player's Paragon Level and the player will continue to gain paragon points regardless of how high their level is.

How many pops you need for Max Solo Paragon? ›

Waiting until round 136 before upgrading to Paragon should provide enough buffer to achieve the 16,200,000 pops for max degree, assuming the sacrificial towers are responsible for ~80% of all pops until that point.

What happens when you max out Paragon points? ›

Here's a breakdown of what a full Paragon bar will get you: Unlocking all 12 Charm Points in the Squad Menu. If you purchase all of these Charm Points, you'll be able to pick any Charm option in the game. Unlock the Paragon-exclusive Morality Mission.

Do Renegade and Paragon points carry over? ›

While your Paragon and Renegade Points do not transfer over in full, a portion of them will be. So, if you were heavily Paragon in Mass Effect, then you'll start Mass Effect 2 with a chunk of Paragon Points already on your stat bar.

What is the max level in Mass Effect 1? ›

As well, in the original Mass Effect 1, the Level Cap was 50 until you completed the story once, after which the Level Cap was raised to 60 for all saves. In Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, the Level Cap is 60 right off the bat.

What's the best class in Mass Effect? ›

Infiltrator is also a bit better in the sequels, but they're arguably still your best overall option in Mass Effect if you want to pick a class that can use some of the game's better tech abilities.

How do you get infinite paragon? ›

Talk to Gianna Parasini, who's nearby, then head back to Qui'in. Lorik Qui'in. Now you can convince him to testify in court, awarding you either Paragon or Renegade points. And you can do so over and over, awarding yourself an infinite supply.

What is the max level in Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition? ›

In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, it is now possible to reach level 60 in a single playthrough, where previously exploits were required to do so. The level 50 cap on a first playthrough has been abolished, alongside the Mako XP penalty.

Who replaces Garrus if he dies? ›

If Garrus dies there is absolutely no replacement and you have an empty spot on your squad. Also Tali, while nobody takes her place on your squad, is replaced plotwise with Admiral Shala'raan Vas Tombay.

Is Garrus older than Shepard? ›

12 He is Younger Than Shepard

BioWare Writer, Patrick Weekes, has stated that he believes Garrus is two to four years younger than Commander Shepard.

Why is Garrus so loved? ›

Garrus is a loyal man. Despite his complicated relationship with his father, who trained him to shoot at a young age, Garrus loves his family very much and checks up on their welfare throughout his outer space adventures. He grew up on Palaven, with a sister, Solana, and his mother and father.

Who is Shepard's canon love interest? ›

As a potential romance that spans the entirety of the Mass Effect trilogy (even if her best moments in ME2 are limited to the Shadow Broker DLC), Shepard's relationship with Liara is one of the most complete and genuine in the original games.

Is Shepard canonically female? ›

The character is clearly a woman. "Yup, Commander Shepard was originally a woman," said Cooper. That settles it once and for all: FemShep is the one true Commander Shepard. This is definitely canon, right, BioWare?

Who is the default female Shepard? ›

The default names of both the male and female Shepard are the names for an unidentified male (John Doe) and female (Jane Doe) respectively.

Can renegade Shepard get the best ending? ›

Yes. Here is a list of largely spoiler free ending info with requirements listed, you have to click to expand the spoiler for each ending. Morality doesn't affect whether you can get the "best" ending, though whether or not you saved the Collector base in ME2 forces your hand for certain ending levels.

Who is the best love interest for Renegade Shepard? ›

I agree with everyone else though: male shep + jack and femshep + Garrus are your best bet for the truest renegade romance. Personally, if you\re going renegade then pick the sweetest romances and then break up with them, it can be devastating.

Who is the best romance option in Mass Effect? ›

Mass Effect: The 12 Best Romances In The Franchise, Ranked
  • 8 Vetra Nyx.
  • 7 Thane Krios.
  • 6 Pelessaria B'Sayle (PeeBee)
  • 5 Tali'Zorah vas Normandy.
  • 4 Miranda Lawson.
  • 3 Garrus Vakarian.
  • 2 Liara T'Soni.
  • 1 Jack.
Jan 6, 2022

How do I get Shepard's live ending? ›

The players will have to choose the Mass Effect 3 perfect ending by going for the option in which Commander Shepard lives at the end of the game. All the players need to do is collect a total of 7800 Military Strength or higher and choose the Destroy ending.

What happens if Shepard controls the Reapers? ›

The “Control” ending turns Shepard into the new, non-organic Reaper overmind, which will direct the Reapers to repair and defend the galaxy. The “Synthesis” ending results in races of hybrid, organic-synthetic creations who in theory will no longer war with each other.

What happens if you let the Shepard clone live? ›

If players choose to kill the clone, they get a cutscene of Shepard kicking them overboard. If the clone is saved, Shepard offers them their hand and tells the clone that they get to live. They ask "For what?", and then let go, falling to their death. The clone will die no matter which option is picked.

Can Renegade Shepard romance Jack? ›

Jack is only available for Male Shepards, who can begin Romancing her after you've completed her Loyalty Mission, Jack: Project Zero, in Mass Effect 2. Once you complete it, you can begin courting her, which happens in three conversation stages.

Can you romance Tali as a renegade Shepard? ›

Tali is a squad member and potential love interest for those playing as a male Shepard in Mass Effect 2, which is included in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. She is part of Shepard's first mission working with Cerberus, but a romantic storyline can't continue between the two until her loyalty mission is completed.

Can I romance Liara as a renegade? ›

After you complete all four Mission Worlds and return to the Citadel, the Normandy will be grounded and Liara will appear to comfort Shepard. Unless you consistently pick Renegade options here, your romance with Liara will be Locked In.

What happens after 800 paragon? ›

After reaching Paragon 800, all stats in the latter three trees are maxed out, so all further Paragon points are assigned to Core Stats.

Can Sun God sacrifice paragons? ›

Heroes, Paragons, Cave Monkey, and placeable Powers cannot be sacrificed.

How many totems do you need for a level 100 Paragon? ›

If these max requirements are met, a minimum of 45 Paragon Tower Totems are needed to level a Paragon to Degree 100, that value obtainable by using the totems as supplements to the Degree 76 Paragon.

Is there a super monkey Paragon? ›

Possibly the most difficult Paragon to balance, and definitely the most powerful... the Super Monkey Paragon has finally arrived...

Is there a wizard monkey Paragon? ›

Wizard Monkey Paragon was first reported officially on the June 3rd 2022 blog, mentioning Ninja Kiwi's next planned Paragons, alongside the then-named Engineer Monkey Paragon (Master Builder) and Monkey Ace Paragon (Goliath Doomship).

How many players do you need for perfect paragon? ›

Summary. Play in Co-Op with four players, and make sure everyone is co-operative with accumulating the best stats of one specific Paragon.

How should I spend my Paragon points? ›

How to spend Crusader Paragon points. In the Core category, pile all of your points into Movement Speed until it's maxed out - the faster you can clear through content, the faster you'll gain better gear.

What to do with Paragon points after 100? ›

With each level up, you'll earn Paragon Points which can be spent on the Paragon Trees (unlocks as soon as players hit the first Paragon Level) to gain more bonus attributes. To make most of these Paragon Trees, you'll need to spend 100 Paragon Points. As you continue to level up, more of them get unlocked.

Is it better to go Paragon or Renegade? ›

Is it better to play Paragon or Renegade? The short answer is that Paragon is usually better. For the majority of players, it will be the best choice, by far, to (almost) always favor the blue answers in all situations and to seek peaceful solutions as often as possible.

Should I focus on Paragon or Renegade? ›

Being Paragon or Renegade will greatly impact Shepard's dialogue and quick-time actions throughout the games. Overall, it can be said that Renegade Shepard's dialogue is much funnier and more memorable. After all, Paragon Shepard is patient and kind which leaves little room for "creativity".

Can you continue Mass Effect 1 after ending? ›

As mentioned, this is a non-issue in Mass Effect 2 and 3 but for the first game, you will be left with no way to go back and explore the world if you don't make yourself a save point before the final portion of the game kicks off.

How many endings does Mass Effect 1 have? ›

The first Mass Effect title comes with two endings that don't significantly influence the sequels but still serve some purpose for Shepard.

Can I not romance in Mass Effect 1? ›

If you intend to not romance anybody in Mass Effect 1, you should save rescuing Liara until after Virmire. This ensures Liara doesn't have enough time to form an attachment to Shepard. Assuming you picked Liara up before Virmire, you should of course be nice to her in order to establish a friendship.

How many endings does Mass Effect have? ›

There are eight different endings for Mass Effect 3: three core choices (two of which have two variations, and the other having three) and one alternative ending available only in the Extended Cut. Your options and their variations are influenced by three factors: The big choice you made at the end of Mass Effect 2.

What is the best class in Mass Effect? ›

Infiltrator is also a bit better in the sequels, but they're arguably still your best overall option in Mass Effect if you want to pick a class that can use some of the game's better tech abilities.

What is the best military specialization in Mass Effect? ›

The Commando specialization makes the best weapons in the Mass Effect series even better by upping their damage output. What's more, you can enhance your Marksman and Assassination skills, too.

Is Paragon a good guy? ›

The Paragon isn't just a good guy, he's the good guy. Everyone looks up to him. He's at the forefront of every battle, gives the Rousing Speeches, and has probably personally trained most of the heroes.

What is the least played class in Mass Effect? ›

Only a small percentage of Mass Effect Legendary Edition players chose the Engineer class, making it the least popular choice among six options. The character abilities and combat of the original Mass Effect trilogy revolve around six classes.

What rank is Shepard in me1? ›

Lieutenant Commander Shepard, better known as Commander Shepard, is the player character in the Mass Effect video game series by BioWare (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3).

What is the best class for all three Mass Effect games? ›

Mass Effect Best Class – Vanguard

Throw in the ability to deal huge amounts of damage with shotguns and pistols, medium armor compatibility and a range of debilitating biotic attacks, and it soon becomes clear that the Vanguard is the most versatile and capable class in all three Mass Effect games.

Which Mass Effect ending is best? ›

In Mass Effect 3's best ending, it is implied that Commander Shepard survives, along with the entire Normandy squad and all of planet Earth.

Why Soldier is the best class Mass Effect? ›

Unlike some other classes in Mass Effect, the Soldier class is capable of dishing out consistent damage without having to worry about ability cooldowns too much. Soldiers do have some abilities that have cooldowns, but the class's strength lies in their ability to use conventional guns.

Which Mass Effect ending should I choose? ›

Mass Effect is a series that is ultimately about player choice so there is no wrong decision at the end, but Mass Effect 3's control ending is the closest to a truly successful victory.

Who is the best renegade Shepard romance? ›

I agree with everyone else though: male shep + jack and femshep + Garrus are your best bet for the truest renegade romance. Personally, if you\re going renegade then pick the sweetest romances and then break up with them, it can be devastating.

Who is the best romance option in Mass Effect trilogy? ›

1. Jack. You'll have a hard time getting Mass Effect fans to agree on the game's best romance option, but the fact that most of them will probably agree that Jack is, at least, one of the most interesting romance options in the game is a testament to the overall quality of this storyline.

Why did Epic stop Paragon? ›

Paragon was previously shut down to make space for Fortnite.

Who is the next Paragon monkey? ›

It was later released in the 28.0 update. On 4th December 2021, Ninja Kiwi teased the Navarch of the Seas on their Twitter. It was later released in the 29.0 update. Engineer Monkey Paragon has been announced in Ninja Kiwi's Version 30.0 patch notes as the next Paragon.

Why did epic drop paragon? ›

Why Did Paragon Shut Down? Paragon was primarily shut down because it failed to attract a significant player base while Epic's other titles, Fortnite in particular, began to take off. As previously mentioned, Paragon's team, in July 2017, stated that the game had attracted more than 7.3 million players.


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