Paragon & Renegade - Mass Effect Wiki Guide - IGN (2023)

This page of IGN's Mass Effect wiki guide details everything you need to know about the Morality system, including Paragon and Renegade, as well as how to earn more Charm and Intimidate points.

  • Overview
  • Playing Paragon / Running Renegade
    • Playing Paragon
    • Running Renegade
    • Not Neutral?
  • Charm and Intimidate
    • Ultra-Renegade...?



Mass Effect's morality system is one of the showcase features of the game, and is the primary way players can personalize their Commander Shepard. Players can choose between playing as a Paragon (good) or Renegade (bad), with many dialogue choices affecting how characters react to Shepard's decisions and actions.

What makes Mass Effect's morality different from titles such as Bioware's previous game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR), is that Paragon and Renegade are tracked on independant meters, where choices for one will not affect the other. This means that you can make a seemingly out-of-character decision that you feel fits the moment without being punished for it. Also unlike KOTOR, changes appear in the game based on individual choices rather than how much of a meter you've filled, making the experience more dynamic.

Only Commander Shepard has the ability to choose their morality in this way. Squadmates and other NPCs are much more rigid, although Shepard is able to influence their behaviour a bit, an idea that's explored further in the sequels.

The overall story beats and sequence of events are identical whether you choose Paragon or Renegade: what changes are more granular details, which characters are alive or not, and how people percieve Shepard based on their reputation.

Playing Paragon / Running Renegade

The two Morality-based playstyles in Mass Effect are Paragon and Renegade, and each one is explained below, along with the third Neutral option.

Playing Paragon

In many ways, playing as the good guy is a lot more difficult than playing as a bad guy. It's not that the Paragon outlook has a more difficult play-through in the literal sense. Rather, playing as a Paragon forces you to take the high road with people, being very empathetic and placing a high value on life. Instead of being the cause of trouble, you must often be the rectifier of it.

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A great example is at the beginning of the game when Shepard is being inducted into the Spectres. Respecting the tone and significance of the situation, a Paragon Shepard will respond with dignity and humbleness, despite the amount of work it took to get there. Paragons handle many situations with grace and dignity, but they are also very symapthetic towards others and always want to help those in need with no expectation of reward.

Paragon options are almost always represented in the top two corners of the dialogue wheel. Picking them will often reward you with Paragon points, which will unlock more Charm points and a unique UNC Assignment.

Running Renegade

Playing Renegade is a lot easier than playing Paragon, simply because the choices you make will necessitate a lot more fighting and action than decisive problem solving. Indeed, those playing as Renegades will let their guns do the talking, pushing people around and having a general lack of respect for everything and everyone around them. Renegades are also very human-first, thinking only of Earth's agenda and often being abjectly racist towards the other species.

One needn't look any further than Commander Shepard's interaction with their own superiors. While talking to those who outrank you, you can either have respect for them and what they say, or completely disrespect them and their opinions by blowing them off and acting rudely. Due respect isn't what playing as a Renegade is all about, and they are the exact opposite of Paragons for a reason. They worry about themselves and what benefits them. Nothing else matters. Remember that if and when you choose to play as a Renegade.

Renegade options are almost always placed in the bottom two corners of the dialogue wheel. Picking them will often get you Renegade points, which will unlock more Intimidate points and a unique UNC Assignment.

Not Neutral?


Players may notice that in addition to the Paragon and Renegade options, there is often a third one in the middle, often referred to as Neutral. These options are almost always unrewarding because they literally do not reward you with anything; they don't give you any Morality points, nor is the dialogue particularly interesting or different when you do this either.

For this reason, it's highly advised that you commit to a specific morality; being neutral, or bouncing between Paragon and Renegade a lot, will ultimately lock you out of better choices you can make at critical points in the game, as explained below in the Charm and Intimidate section.

While Mass Effect doesn't exactly reward you for bouncing between Paragon and Renegade options, it doesn't truly punish you for dabbling in the other morality if you deem it appropriate, which is the primary difference between it and KOTOR.

Charm and Intimidate

The reason why you want to earn Paragon or Renegade points and fill up their meters is to unlock Charm / Intimidate points for Shepard in the Squad menu. Unlike every other stat, which unlock more Points to buy through levelling up, the Charm and Intimidate stats only open up by earning Paragon and Renegade points, respectively.

You initially start the game with three points open for purchase in both Charm and Intimidate. You unlock 2 more points when you fill up 10%, 25% and 75% of the associated Morality bar (Paragon for Charm, and Renegade for Intimidate). You also get a bonus point purchased for free for becoming a Spectre early in the game.

This is very important, because at critical points in the game you will be presented with a blue Charm option in the upper-left corner of the dialogue wheel, and a red Intimidate option in the lower-left corner. When these show up, they allow you to resolve the situation favourably and often without having to kill anyone (yes, even with Intimidate options).

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In these moments, the game will check how many Charm and Intimidate points you've bought in the Squad menu. If you pass one, that option will be lit in the appropriate colour, and you'll be able to choose it, often with a hefty amount of Paragon / Renegade points to boot. If you don't, the option will be greyed out and you won't be able to pick it.

Crucially, the white options on the right will never have a favourable resolution to the situation. This is the main reason why playing Neutrally, or jumping between Paragon and Renegade too often, is ultimately not a good idea. You simply will not earn enough Paragon or Renegade points to unlock the more preferable options, especially towards the end of the game.


Because Charm and Intimidate always reach the same favourable results, what if you truly don't care and want to kill, hurt and traumatize as many people as possible? In these situations, you should intentionally pick one of the white options on the right in a Charm / Intimidate situation, which often results in the most death, bloodshed and trauma for those around Shepard. This can be seen as an "Ultra-Renegade" approach: you truly do not care about anyone around you, and are borderline evil.

Up Next: Classes & Character Types


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Paragon & Renegade - Mass Effect Wiki Guide - IGN (1)

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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 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 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.

Does Renegade and Paragon matter in Mass Effect 1? ›

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".

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.

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.

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 do you get 100 Paragon levels? ›

Degree 100 (Max)

Accumulate 16,200,000 pops (or $4,050,000 cash generated) across all sacrificed towers. If in single player, Purchase 45 Paragon Power Totems (40 if the player can purchase a second Crossbow Master for Apex Plasma Master). Master Double Cross MK) with 9 additional Tier 5 towers.

Is Canon Shepard paragon or renegade? ›

Unfortunately, the system turns the player character into a one-trick pony if players are determined to choose one or the other, but simply looking at the characteristics of each doesn't determine which is canon. The short answer is neither Paragon nor Renegade Commander Shepard is canon.

Can you romance as renegade Shepard? ›

As long as you are male, you will be able to romance Ashley even if you're renegade. It's actually quite difficult to lock yourself out of the romances. Talk to the crew member after each mission and don't be a jerk. If you want to stay on the safe side don't pick the bottom option in the conversations.

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 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.

Should you play as male or female Mass Effect? ›

In Mass Effect, your choices have real consequences on the story, and you should feel free to experiment accordingly. But here's one choice you absolutely shouldn't make: Do not, under any circumstances, play the protagonist as a guy.

Does Andromeda have paragon and renegade? ›

The main reason is that the system felt too tied to Commander Shepard, the hero of the original Mass Effect trilogy, and so the studio felt it wouldn't feel right when using it with the franchise's new hero, Commander Ryder. "So, Paragon and Renegade is gone.

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.

Can Garrus be a Spectre? ›

Renegade: Garrus began training to be a Spectre but still grew tired of the Citadel and the Council refusing to openly acknowledge the Reaper threat. As a result, Garrus went to Omega and became a vigilante.

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 is the longest? ›

Mass Effect 1 w/ DLC: 17 – 32 hours. Mass Effect 2: 24-35 hours depending on playstyle. Mass Effect 2 w/ DLC: 33 – 45 hours.

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.

Who is the best romance 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 most popular romance option in Mass Effect? ›

Liara T'Soni

Liara's status as by far the best long-term romance option in the original Mass Effect game is already reason enough to rank her high on this list, but her lofty placement is really all about how your relationship with Liara evolves across the trilogy.

What is the most popular romance in Mass Effect? ›

There are many reasons that Jack should be considered the best romance in the Mass Effect franchise. For one, she offers perhaps the most fulfilling relationship through her growth alone. Jack goes from being extremely hostile in Mass Effect 2 to a caring biotics teacher in Mass Effect 3.

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...

How many dart monkeys for Max Paragon? ›

The degree scales as the game progresses, so there is no set number of sacrifices that are “optimal.” In general, it is better to fuse about six or seven total Tier 5 Dart Monkeys at a minimum to get decent Paragon degrees.

How evil is Renegade Shepard? ›

Shepard is a good guy regardless of being a renegade or a paragon. She is saving the galaxy either way. The difference between the two is that paragon is a more polite and diplomatic style whereas renegade is a ruthless, "whatever it takes" style.

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 Shepard's canon gender Mass Effect? ›

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 Canon romance for male Shepard? ›

Although there is no official "canon love interest", Liara is my pick for male Shepard - I think, her story makes most sense with him (and Tali stays with Garrus - also, in Citadel DLC, if Ashley is saved, she can hook up with James, he shows interest in her through the whole game).

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.

Can you renegade romance Ashley? ›

Once you have a Locked In Romance, then when you go to Ilos and start the one-way ticket to the end of the game, Ashley will approach Shepard in their quarters. This is when you'll get the Romance Scene, unless you turn Ashley away with Renegade choices.

How to do the Paragon glitch? ›

The Maximum Paragon & Renegade Glitch is still possible in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
Select the following dialogue options:
  1. "Testify against Anoleis."
  2. "You'd be a hero," or "Damn right I will."
  3. Wait for Lorik to finish talking, then talk to him again.
  4. "Matriarch Benezia"
  5. Repeat the previous steps.
Apr 22, 2022

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 class is easiest for insanity Mass Effect? ›

Soldier is like the easiest class in the series, easily S-tier just like Sentinel for Mass Effect 2, just equip a Mattock and go to town. You should also pick the Widow instead of the Claymore or Revenant, since it's a great choice combined with Adrenaline Rush.

Is Paragon good Mass Effect? ›

There are two Moralities in the game: Paragon for good actions, and Renegade for bad actions. Unlike games like Knights of the old Republic or inFamous (which move a needle up and down a single meter), in Mass Effect performing good and bad actions earn Paragon and Renegade points.

Why is FemShep so popular? ›

In fact, FemShep is so wildly popular because of it. The moment that FemShep prepares to take on the threat to the universe, she inevitably will give an impassioned speech as to why they must do what they are preparing to do. This is true for both games in Mass Effect and many other franchises.

Does gender affect romance in Mass Effect? ›

A male Shepherd in Mass Effect 1 can romance either Ashley Williams or Liara T'Soni, but you can't have both. If you try to develop relationships with both of them, eventually they will tell you to pick one. As a female Sheperd in Mass Effect 1, your options are Kaidan Alenko or Liara T'Soni.

Which Commander 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.

Is the Illusive Man in Andromeda? ›

The short (and more direct) answer is that the Illusive Man does not make an appearance in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Is Paragon or Renegade Shepard canon? ›

Unfortunately, the system turns the player character into a one-trick pony if players are determined to choose one or the other, but simply looking at the characteristics of each doesn't determine which is canon. The short answer is neither Paragon nor Renegade Commander Shepard is canon.

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.

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 Liara Shepard's canon love interest? ›

Although there is no official "canon love interest", Liara is my pick for male Shepard - I think, her story makes most sense with him (and Tali stays with Garrus - also, in Citadel DLC, if Ashley is saved, she can hook up with James, he shows interest in her through the whole game).

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?

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.

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.


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