looking for a timeline of mass effect’s story explained? here, we’ll go through mass effect’s full story, with a year by year breakdown of events through all three days
mass effect’s story explained is no easy feat, but this timeline should help you out if you can’t play all three trilogy games before mass effect andromeda.
50,000 BCE (Before Common Era) – The Reapers Wipe Out Prothean Civilization- mass effect story explained
Continuing a repeating cycle of extinction, the Reapers pour through into the Milky Way Galaxy via the large Mass Relay disguised as the Citadel. As the seat of their civilization is hit first, the Prothean Empire collapses, however, it takes several centuries for the Reapers to completely annihilate the race. A handful of Prothean scientists survive in stasis on a secret research station, who access the Citadel after the Reapers return to dark-space in order to prevent another invasion. and so the mass effect story begins
580-520 BCE – The Asari and Salarians Discover The Citadel, Found The Citadel Council- mass effect story explained
Within 60 years of each other, the Asari and Salarians both achieve Faster-Than-Light travel through the manipulation of element zero. The method is dubbed the mass effect, as running current through so-called “eezo” allows for the mass of an object to be manipulated in various ways without detriment. Upon making contact on the Citadel, diplomatic relations are established and the Citadel Council is formed, essentially giving birth to intergalactic society. the mass effect story has just begun
500 BCE – Various Races Join Intergalactic Society- mass effect story explained
The Volus, Hanar, Quarians, Batarians, and Elcor make contact with the Salarians and Asari, and are eventually granted embassies on the Citadel. The Volus are commissioned to draft an intergalactic banking charter which leads to the creation of the credit, which becomes the universal form of currency. The Turian Hierarchy unites the far-flung warring colonies in the Unification Wars around this time, however, they have yet to make contact with the Citadel races.
1 CE (Common Era) – Rachni Wars Begin – mass effect story explained
First contact is made with the Rachni, who instantly begin a war of absolute conquest. Though the Citadel races manage to hold their ground to some extent, they are steadily pushed back. The war rages on for 80 years before the Salarians discover the extremely endurant Krogan, whom they uplift to be footsoldiers for the Citadel. The Krogan prove effective as they can survive on otherwise toxic Rachni worlds. The war turns into extermination, and three hundred years after the Rachni were discovered, they are declared extinct.
693 CE – The Special Tactics And Reconnaissance Branch Of The Citadel Is Founded- mass effect story explained
The Krogan are awarded several colonies and a new homeworld to replace the irradiated, barren Tuchanka. Their population booms and grows uncontrollably. Paired with their inherent aggression, this exponential growth spreads worry among the Council races, who decide to found the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance Branch, members of which would be known as Spectres. Spectres would be selected from the best soldiers, spies and operatives each Council race has to offer who operate outside the law and are authorized to carry out their missions by whatever means necessary. When not on specific missions, Spectres work to uphold the peace and ensure the Council’s authority and oversight.
700 CE – Krogan Rebellions- mass effect story explained
The Krogan forcefully annex territories from Council races. Upon they are ordered to withdraw, they refuse, prompting preemptive strikes from Spectre units on key Krogan infrastructure. A war erupts between the Krogan and every other race. In their desperation, the Citadel races contact and uplift the heavily militarized Turian Hierarchy. Upon joining the war, outlying Turian colonies are obliterated by orbital weapons of mass destruction employed by the Krogan. The Hierarchy vows to stop the Krogan.
710 CE – Genophage Introduced To Krogan Population- mass effect story explained
Even with the help of the Turians, the Krogan steamroll all opposition. The Salarian Special Tasks Group engineers the Genophage, a kind of sterility-plague that only affects Krogan which would effectively cut the fertility rate of the entire species by 99%. The Genophage would also be hereditary. Lacking scientists of their own, the Krogan are hopelessly ill-equipped to cure this ailment. It is deployed on Tuchanka and other major Krogan population centers, and the Krogan population begins its decline. The Rebellions officially end 90 years later, and the Turians join the Citadel Council. this is where the mass effect story gets interesting
1895 CE – The Geth Rebel Against The Quarians- mass effect story explained
The Geth, a subservient race of synthetic AI machines, were created by the Quarians long ago to provide them with cheap labor and protection. The Geth function on a hive-mind principle, meaning that the more individual Geth programs are linked in a network, the greater computing power – hence, intelligence – the gestalt Geth “mind” has. In 1895, a Geth mobile platform first asked a Quarian whether or not it has a soul, prompting the Quarians to begin dismantling the Geth en-masse for fear of an uprising. Instead of preventing a revolt, they triggered one, as the Geth retaliated for the sake of self-preservation. The war is short and concludes when the Quarians have been driven from all of their worlds by the Geth, who do no venture beyond former Quarian space. The Quarians are denied any kind of colonisation permit and are forced to live on the massive ships of the Migrant Fleet. As punishment for creating the Geth, the Quarian embassy on the Citadel is closed down.
2148 CE – Martian Prothean Cache Discovered
A large cache of data is discovered in some Prothean ruins on Mars. Upon part of it is decrypted, humanity discovers the mass effect and achieved FTL travel. One year later, based on further data from the cache, it is discovered that Charon, one of the moons of Pluto, is actually just a frozen dormant Mass Relay. The Relay is activated and the first human ship is sent to explore a different solar system. These events jumpstart human expansion in the Milky Way, with extrasolar colonies soon popping up. The Systems Alliance is founded and the stellar navy is expanded in order to defend human interests in the case of hostile first contact.
2157 CE – First Contact War- mass effect story explained- mass effect story explained
Turians make first contact with humans just as the latter is attempting to reactive another dormant relay. Since the Rachni wars, this act is illegal and the Turian ship opens fire on the humans. This causes the First Contact War to erupt between the Turians and Humans, with the latter unaware of a greater galactic society. For three months, the war rages on and the first human colony falls to an alien race in mankind’s history. Up to this point merely a border skirmish, the Turians begin to gear for total war, leading the Council to intervene, broker a truce and grant humanity an embassy on the Citadel.
2176 CE – The Andromeda Initiative Is Founded- mass effect story explained
The Andromeda Initiative, a privately funded multi-species project is founded with the goal of developing a way to reach, explore and colonize the Andromeda Galaxy. Design and construction begin on the Arks and the Nexus, and the various plans and protocols that will guide the members of the initiative once they arrive in Andromeda are drafted. The initiative also begins to scope out potential recruits. At an unknown date, Alec Ryder, an N7 operative, and his two children, join the project.
2183 CE – Saren Arterius Attacks Eden Prime With A Geth Army, The Events Of Mass Effect Begin- mass effect story explained
The SSV Normandy, a new stealth-ship co-opted by the Turians and Humanity to further reconcile the First Contact War is ordered to Eden Prime for shakedown. A Turian Spectre, Nihlus, is on board the Normandy in order to assess the abilities of Commander Shepard, and N7 elite operative, who is being considered to be the first human Spectre. Upon arrival, the Normandy receives a transmission that the colony has been attacked by the Geth. On-site, the crew discovered a massive ship, which, unbeknownst to them, is Sovereign, a Reaper. Commander Shepard encounters Saren, as well as a Prothean Beacon, which grants him/her muddled visions of a Reaper invasion. The Normandy proceeds to the Citadel to raise charges against Saren.
2183 CE – Commander Shepard Named First Human Spectre- mass effect story explained
After acquiring proof of Saren’s role in the attack on Eden Prime, Shepard is inaugurated as the first human Spectre and is sent on a mission to uncover Saren’s motivations and goals. This task takes the commander to a number of different worlds. Along the way, he/she recruits a number of followers who accompany Shepard on missions. These investigations lead to a number of revelations, including the realization that Sovereign is a sentient ship – a Reaper – and is trying to find a way to reactivate the Citadel Relay, allowing the other Reapers to pour through and eradicate galactic civilization.
2183 CE – Sovereign Attacks The Citadel, Mass Effect Concludes- mass effect story explained
Sovereign, thought to be a Geth Dreadnought by those who are not members of the Normandy’s crew, attacks the Citadel with a fleet of Geth warships. Shepard gains access to the station via a mini-Mass-Relay found on an ancient secret Prothean research facility, where the Commander also discovers a way to lock Sovereign out of the Citadel’s systems, thus preventing a full-scale reaper invasion. Shepard also confronts Saren, whose body is taken over by Sovereign. By killing this body, Shepard disrupts Sovereign’s mind long enough for the Alliance fleet to destroy it.
2183 CE – Normandy Attacked By Collectors, Commander Shepard Dies, Events of Mass Effect 2 Begin- mass effect story explained
One month after Sovereign’s defeat, the Normandy is eradicating the last Geth holdouts in Citadel space. An unknown ship, later identified as the Collectors, attacks and destroys the Normandy, killing Commander Shepard and 20 other crew members in the process. The members of Shepard’s squad each go their own way and the crew is reassigned. The attack is attributed to the Geth in official reports.
2184 CE – First Human Colony Attacked By Collectors- mass effect story explained
Fehl Prime, a primarily human colony, is attacked by Blood Pack mercenaries. After the attackers are driven away by Delta Squad, of which James Vega is a member. Later, the same colony comes under attack from Collectors, who are an unknown alien race which some consider a myth. Occasionally, they arrive in known space through the Omega 4 relay, though no other ship traversing the Relay ever returns. The Collectors abduct the human colonists of Fehl Prime and most members of Delta Squad are killed in the fighting, which results in Vega taking command. Vital information is acquired about the Collectors.
2185 CE – Commander Shepard Is Revived By Cerberus- mass effect story explained
After two years of work, the Cerberus funded Project Lazarus is successful in reviving Commander Shepard. The Commander wakes up just as the facility’s security mechs are sabotaged and turn hostile. Shepard escapes along with Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson, who reveal they are with Cerberus, a pro-humanity group that has often been accused of terrorism. Shepard is taken to another Cerberus facility.
2185 CE – Shepard Temporarily Allies With Cerberus To Take Down Collectors- mass effect story explained
The Illusive Man convinces Shepard to join forces with Cerberus, at least temporarily, to investigate Collector attacks on human colonies. Shepard is given command of an upgraded version of the Normandy and is tasked with assembling a team of specialists who will help find a way to safely pass through the Omega 4 Relay in order to vanquish the Collector threat once and for all. This mission takes Shepard across the galaxy, during which he/she encounters former allies and gains new ones.
2185 CE – The Andromeda Initiative Is Launched
Following 9 years of preparation, the five Arks, and the partially completed Nexus begin their 600-year journey to the Andromeda Galaxy’s Heleus Cluster. The crew of the vessels is cryogenically suspended for the trip, as the ships are automated in-transit. Each of the five Arks carries a large contingent of colonists from a single race, with the Hyperion acting as the human ark. Each Ark also has a designated Pathfinder, an elite mixture of soldier, diplomat, and explorer who will be leading colonization efforts upon arrival. The Pathfinder of the Hyperion is Alec Ryder.
2185 CE – The Collectors Are Wiped Out, Mass Effect 2 Concludes- mass effect story explained
2186 CE – Alpha Relay Destroyed, Command Shepard Charged For Resulting Deaths- mass effect story explained
Commander Shepard is asked by Admiral Hackett to free a scientist being held by Batarians in the Bahak System. Upon freeing the scientist, it is revealed that the Alliance is running a secret project in the system – they discovered proof that the Reapers are approaching the Milky Way manually with the Citadel Relay locked, and they will arrive in the Bahak system. By destroying the system’s Relay, the Reaper invasion would be delayed by months, allowing the Alliance to prepare. Commander Shepard launches an asteroid into the Relay with mere hours to spare before the invasion, destroying it as well as the Batarian colony on the planet nearby, killing 300,000 innocents. The Commander is recalled to Earth to stand trial. Technically this is where the Mass Effect 2 story-arc ends, but this event is told through DLC and the game itself ends with the defeat of the Collectors.
2186 CE – Khar’Shan Is Destroyed, The Batarian Hegemony Collapses- mass effect story explained
Months after the Alpha Relay incident, millions of Batarian refugees begin pouring into Citadel space. Since the Hegemony maintained poor relations with other races, no call for help was sent. The only things that were known were that the Hegemony has collapsed and that Batarian civilization is being wiped away by an unknown overwhelming force. It is later revealed that these are the Reapers, who arrived in the Bahak system regardless of Shepard’s actions, but were forced to proceed at FTL speeds with the Relay destroyed, delaying their progress.
2186 CE – Earth Attacked By Reapers, Events of Mass Effect 3 Begin- mass effect story explained
2186 CE – Genophage Allegedly Cured By Commander Shepard and Mordin Solus- mass effect story explained
In order to recruit the Krogan to assist the Turians in the war against the Reapers, Commander Shepard is tasked with finding a cure for the Genophage, which has plagued the Krogan for centuries. With the help of a Salarian scientist who also aided Shepard against the collectors, a cure is formulated. Shepard is approached by a Salarian dignitary warning that curing the Genophage means losing Salarian support, and instead proposes to fool the Krogan into believing the plague to be cured. Whether the Commander accepts the offer or genuinely cures the Genophage is up to the player, however in both cases the Krogan join the effort against the Reapers
2186 CE – The Geth Conflict Concludes- mass effect story explained
It is revealed that the reason for the disappearance of the Quarian Migrant Fleet was that the race finally decided to wage war against the Geth with the goal of retaking their homeworld and former colonies. Shepard arrives to assist in the hopes of recruiting the Quarians to the fight against the Reapers should they succeed against the Geth. Shepard is also approached by the Geth who would prefer a peaceful solution. This would lead to the conclusion of one of the longest-standing conflicts in Mass Effect. Depending on Shepard’s choices, either the Quarians, the Geth, or both join the fleet being established to retake Earth.
2186 CE – The Crucible Is Activated, The Mass Effect Trilogy Concludes- mass effect story explained
After the Reapers move the Citadel into Earth’s orbit, a massive mixed-race fleet is established to escort the Crucible, the Prothean superweapon, to the location as it is discovered that it must be combined with the Citadel itself in order to be effective. Shepard leads the battle for Earth, landing on the planet to assist Anderson and the human resistance. Eventually, the Reapers are cleared from around the Citadel and the Crucible docks. Shepard boards the Citadel along with Anderson, where they encounter the Illusive Man who has been indoctrinated by this point. Shepard manages to activate the Crucible, which in one way or another pacifies the Reapers and destroys the Mass Relay network, forever changing the course of galactic history, bringing the Mass Effect trilogy to an end. we’re almost through the entire mass effect story now.
2785 CE – The Arks and Nexus Arrive In Andromeda, The Events Of Mass Effect: Andromeda Begin…
As the 600-year journey of the Arks and the Nexus conclude, the vessels arrive in the Heleus cluster of the Andromeda Galaxy. With hundreds of thousands of never-before seen systems and millions of worlds for the Pathfinders to discover, the seemingly insurmountable task of the Andromeda Initiative begins. Due to unknown circumstances, Alec Ryder is no longer capable of filling the role of Pathfinder, however he survives said circumstances. One of his two children take on the role, and begin the latest chapter of Mass Effect.
that’s all of mass effect story explained. stay tuned for more andromeda coverage soon.