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Ce n'est past un nom

Too many words about Mass Effect

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Basically, no, this attacking ground force is not as large as people think it is.


Listed ground assets are as follows:


Arcturus Division: 60
Special Operations Division: 175
Engineer Corps: 30
Special Ops team: 35

Terminus Mercenaries: 200~

Asari Commandos: 20

Krogan 1st Division: 50
Krogan Clans: 300
Geth: 300
STG: 70
Turian Marine Division: 90
Blackwatch: 75
Engi Corps: 110

This is what I have, and what I'm working off of.


A US division has at the top range 20,000 troops, not all of which hold guns on the front line. Given how the Alliance is presented, it seems largely western-derived, and I see no reason to assume that their division holds different numbers. A Corps is, let's round off, four divisions. I'll take the classification of the Alliance Spec Ops division at face value and assume full strength. That gives the Alliance force of 6 divisions.

As Mass Effect has its translation convention, whatever word the Krogan use for their armies is being converted into the English division, implying roughly equal strength. One division gives a strength of 50, and since I see no reason to assume qualitative differences between their two entries, Krogan account 7 divisions.

Turians, through the same translation convention, account 5. STG is likely not a full division, given their value in comparison to the Alliance team and their likely qualitative advantage.

Of course, the Geth are a wild card. We have no idea how numerous their ground units actually are. Let's come back to that.

Adding accounted for ground forces gives 18 total divisions, or 360,000 troops. Current divisions are organized in such a way that about 40% of the manpower available are combat troops. Let us be generous and grant this emergency 60% of the same (keeping in mind that the historical trend is towards more logistics units). Multiply out, 216000 troops on the ground.

Now, dealing with the fleets with attached marines is a mess. However, we do have baselines. The Destiny Ascension has a stated crew of 10,000, at the same time it is stated to be 4 times the size of the largest human ship. Dreadnaught crewing is therefore somewhere in the 2-3000 range. Figuring marine percentages is impossible, but for the sake of argument, take 50%.

Alliance Dreadnaughts run 8, carriers 3
Turians 39
Asari 20
Salarian 16
Total crew 258,000.
Marine complement 129,000. Add. Ground forces 345,000 excluding Geth.

The Geth being stated as the largest ground force in the galaxy, assume they match stated coalition ground forces 1:1. Ground forces including Geth 561,000.

Greater London has a population of 7.7 million, round it off to 8 for the future. Only a quarter of London's population needs to be huskized to give them a 4:1 advantage, not counting off-planet imports.


  1. Five_X's Avatar
    Alright, you silly bastard, let me explain to you why the ground forces would be much, much more powerful than you're making them out to be, regardless of your half-made up numbers.

    Let's go in the regular order presented, now.


    First in this category, we have the Terminus Fleet under Aria. They're divided into various pirate vessels, the Eclipse, Blood Pack and the Blue Suns.

    Now, these are the three biggest merc groups in the Terminus Systems, if not the entire galaxy, and they're being commanded by Aria, who is by this time very indebted to Shepard. Surely you must remember the numbers and the power of the various groups, right?

    There's the Blue Suns, with their skills Engineers and Heavy Weapons operators. There are hundreds if not thousands of these guys, and they're incredibly mobile, just as are the other groups. They're big enough to pose a decent threat to Shepard.

    The Eclipse have various mechs, ranging from tons (literally hundreds, I'm not even kidding you - remember the mission where you find the downed shipment of mechs? There were literally hundreds there, and even more being mass-produced.) of LOKI and FENRIS mechs to at least several dozen to a hundred YMIR mechs. Now, LOKI mechs are more durable than a human, taking three unprotected headshots from a fully upgraded and fully powered Mattock to kill, compared to roughly two for an unprotected human. YMIR mechs go without saying; they're hugely tough, possibly near the strength of a brute if you bring in their firepower and tendency to go Cain-style nuclear. And this isn't even bringing in their biotics.

    The Blood Pack have numbers. A LOT of numbers. The vorcha don't live long and in compensation breed like goddamned rabbits, as well as having incredible adaptability and good regeneration abilities. There's also a number of krogan in the Blood Pack, with fewer numbers but a lot of strength.

    Next for ground forces are the Elcor. Due to their long lives and large size, they're likely not a fast breeding species, but they have definite endurance and good firepower, being able to carry seriously heavy weapons into battle on their backs like elephants. They're probably not huge in number, but have a lot of strength.

    After them is a Shadow Broker Wet Squad. They're probably made up of a dozen people at most, but they're highly elite, being the top agents of the Shadow Broker. Given how strong they were in the LotSB DLC... they're more than likely very reliable, and able to make strategically sound battle plans.

    Next, are Volus heavy bombers. They can enter the atmosphere and bomb ground targets, and would most likely be in the Hammer section of the armies since they're specifically bomber-based frigates. It's made up of several flotillas, and I imagine there are likely at least one or two dozen vessels, given modern "flotilla" estimates in terms of modern military numbers.

    This next group is one of the most notable: a whole unit of Spectres, including the guy who's basically the leader of the bunch. The Spectres we've seen (Saren, Shepard, Nihlus, Tela Vasir, Ashley/Kaiden) have pretty much all been cream-of-the-crop people. There's no doubt that the Spectres, as a group, would be able to handle the kind of things that Shepard and co. do regularly, save for perhaps the most extreme stuff.

    Final part of the Alien forces includes a bunch of drell. Frankly, there's no real baseline estimate you can get here, but the War Asset for them states that the hanar are providing the "best" drell combat specialists. These drell are likely somewhere near the level of Thane or so, and he's... kind of really badass. Probably relatively few in number, but very tough.

    That group, you see, is made up less of raw numbers and more ridiculous strength, especially with the Spectre team and the three mercenary organizations.

    Now for the Alliance...

    Leo, you basically went through this group fairly thoroughly. However, I'd like to make a few notes that you seem to have missed:

    Jack and her team of biotics. We know from ME2 and some of ME3 what Jack alone can do; at this point she's had a year of practice and works with a group of elite biotic students. If she gets down to it, she could possibly recreate something on the level of what she pulled at Purgatory. Jack alone is a huge bonus to the ground forces. She's one of the most powerful biotics in existence, after all. Her team, it is to be noted, also includes biotic artillery, with power equivalent to conventional bombs.

    Second, there's also the Feros group from Zhu's Hope. From what we know of them, they alone are able to push back a Reaper incursion. Now, on Earth they'd be out of home territory and wouldn't know the area as well, decreasing their fighting ability a bit, but as a cohesive whole with allied backing, they'd be able to do a sizable amount to a Reaper force much larger than their own.

    Third, you have supplies and provisions from the new-reinstated Eden Prime, which after ME1 is back in action and, due to being a primarily agricultural colony, is likely able to provide a lot of food for soldiers fighting on Earth and eslewhere. This reduces natural logistics costs and makes fighting the war on a large scale and over a longer period of time much more effective. With the Eden Prime support, the soldiers on the ground will be able to start whittling down the Reapers better..

    Kasumi may be on the ground; I'm not sure.

    Then, you have Zaeed "Motherfucking" Massani. The guy just doesn't go down, and against an army of Reapers and with Jessie at his side, I doubt much could stop him, especially if he's in a group. More than likely, he'll end up as the only one who made it out alive. :P

    There's also a squad of elite Alliance troops, who are apparently the equivalent of a skilled SEAL team. They've got skill and power to make up for their numbers.

    Now for the next group, the Asari. I'm getting a bit tired and it's almost time for me to sleep, but I'm eager to prove you very, very wrong, Leo. :P


    Asari Commandoes are the main group in this, and are soldiers that get sent against high-priority targets like Shepard, and guard powerful Matriarchs. There's likely half a dozen to each team, but there are more than like multiple teams, since later Assets go into detail of specific teams.

    Then there's Samara. Do I really have to explain? She's a super-biotic, one of the very best, and managed to infiltrate and fight very well in a Reaper-infested Ardat-Yakshi monastery. She's got a very good chance at being a strong force all by herself, and has extreme will and honour. She would not go down easily.

    Next is the Armali sniper unit, which use Widow rifles, and number probably half a dozen. They could probably do a lot against armoured targets, sicne they're likely operating from ranges of 1000+ metres.

    Finally in the Asari category comes an apparently legendary group of Commandoes, the Serrice Guard. Numbering just five, they managed to defeat a team of Blood Pack mercs numbering at least 100+, probably more due to "over 100" being the number of casualties the Blood Pack sustained. If these commandoes are able to pull off that, they could more than likely do similar against the Reapers. They seem to have a good affinity against enemies that outnumber them, at the least.

    The Crucible troops aren't going to be on the ground, so let's into the Ex-Cerberus folks...


    There's Miranda first - she may be on the ground or not, it's not exactly stated in-game. If she is on the ground, though, she'd be a good person to have as a tactician or leader. It's her forte, and she's naturally very skilled at coming up with plans and ensuring the survival or herself and a group.

    Last of the (meagre, since Cerberus dudes that join you are mostly engineers and stuff) troops on the ground here is Jacob, who's a tough enough marine, enough to be on Shepard's own squad in ME2 instead of being relegated to side duty. He's a good leader and soldier, nothing much more needs to be said. He's definitely good at survival and keeping himself alive, though, so a pitched battle may be good for him to be in.

    Whew. Now we're onto the Geth. Leo, you did some good math on this, but don't forget to note that the Geth are also considered to possibly be the best-equipped infantry in the galaxy, as well as being the most numerous and overall durable.


    There's the Geth Primes - tough, even for Shepard. They're very strong alone, and since Geth are stronger in numbers, a group of Primes could easily take down much of what the Reaper ground forces have to offer. There are plenty of them, too; I forget how many are directly shown in the cutscene where you get them, but there are at least a few dozen, and more in the actual army itself.

    Then, the army of geth, the largest infantry in the galaxy. This includes Primes, Hunters, Rocket Troops, Juggernauts, Pyros, Colossi, Armatures - you name it. And really? Colossi are tougher than anything the Reapers have on the ground save for destroyers, and even then a few Colossi could take down a destroyer themselves, with some coordination. Not even the relatively tough Harvesters or Brutes could do much to them, I'm guessing, and there are more than likely a lot of Colossi, based on how many we saw in ME1, as well as the numbers of ships in each fleet - up to 10k per, all housing extra Geth, with added Reaper tech and whatnot.

    I'll make a note about the what's left later, tomorrow.
  2. SeiKeo's Avatar
    Ya, I'll get a full response later, but tell me if this checks with your game, because I got this but I don't know if it's universal.

    Anderson said that Hammer took 80% losses?
  3. Five_X's Avatar
    Not sure if I have a save from around then. I'm quite sure, though, that there was no direct measurement of overall losses, though. Even if there was (like with the shot down shuttles) I'm almost 100% sure that they're referring to Alliance forces and not overall troops, since it just doesn't make any sense otherwise. I didn't see any geth or krogan whatsoever, for example, and with their numbers (krogan, for example, stated to be at the same level they were at during the Rachni Wars) that they'd go down in shuttles that carry roughly half a dozen people at most.

    Really, a lot of the ending parts with how the War Assets ended up used are probably a result of BioWare just being incompetent and lazy. :|
  4. Theocrass's Avatar
    I don't remember that, but I remember at least four companies getting wiped.
  5. SeiKeo's Avatar
    Welp, I'll be finding ze quote when I get back today then.
  6. Five_X's Avatar
    Those companies had Alliance designations, though. The only non-Alliance troops we saw were some krogan and a few asari.

    The ending really doesn't make much sense in that regard. I just think that BioWare was trying to gradually shoehorn things into their ridiculously silly end there. I mean they show just one Cain taking down a whole destroyer. With that sort of firepower, the Reaper threat is almost benign, really, since there are naturally more where that came from in the various allied alien forces.

    I can understand how BioWare didn't want Hammer to do too well there. :P
  7. Seika's Avatar
    Does this mean we're getting a rant on the ending at some point? There's a lot of them.
  8. SeiKeo's Avatar
    Do you want one?

    Maaa, the necessary words on the ending have been said. This was new ground in nerdery~
  9. Five_X's Avatar
    I broke the post wordcount limit with my own post; had to shorten it from the original. :P

    And I'd rant on the ending, but as Leo said, everyone else is doing that for us! The ending is a sack of crap, but I'll let the fine other people debate about that in my stead. I don't need to argue my opinion!
  10. Laith's Avatar
    Rant about the ending:

    "Ending sucks, want another."