Although a lot of the conversation surrounding Mass Effect: Andromeda as of late has to do with its facial animations, there are several other major problems impacting players. And while some can overlook the animations or maybe don’t take issue with them, the game’s multiplayer has problems that are harder to see past.
While Mass Effect: Andromeda’s multiplayer is very similar to the online PvE mode offered in Mass Effect 3, the experience is not nearly as smooth at launch. Both matchmaking and lag problems have plagued the experience thus far, making it harder to stick with it. Admittedly, most will only care about the single player in Andromeda, but those who enjoyed Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer and want to see how Andromeda expands on those concepts will be sorely disappointed.
Andromeda Has Major Matchmaking Issues
For those who want to enjoy Mass Effect: Andromeda solo, matchmaking isn’t as big of a problem. It’s relatively easy to get into a multiplayer match using the Quick Match feature, and groups usually queue within a couple of minutes. Yes, there should be a way to force a game instead of waiting for every player to “Ready Up,” but even leaving and joining a new match is relatively painless.
Things get frustrating, though, when players either want to join a match with friends or if they are looking to complete a very specific multiplayer mission. These missions, which BioWare refreshes every 24 hours, have unique modifiers and increased rewards, so players are encouraged to complete as many as they can.
However, starting a custom match and waiting for others to join can leave players sitting there for inordinate amounts of time. In most cases, it’s better just to accept defeat and try a basic custom match, not a mission.
Much like the struggles with the custom match, trying to play with friends can be a frustrating experience in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Without any way to join up with friends and then enter the quick match pool, players are once again forced to try a custom match and hope that matchmaking gives them enough players to fill out a team.
The hope is that BioWare will work out these matchmaking kinks in time, but for right now trying to find a match using anything but the quick match option is a pain. Mass Effect: Andromeda could have easily bypassed this issue if the multiplayer scaled based on the number of players, but the experience is just as challenging no matter if there is one player or four. What’s more it should be easier to find matches with friends, not harder.
Lag is a Very Real Problem
Alongside the game’s matchmaking problems, Mass Effect: Andromeda has an equally troubling lag problem. Again, it’s very likely that BioWare will be able to iron things out as the days go on, but for right now some matches are so hitch-y that it’s hard to keep track of the action.
At first, it may not seem like a little lag is an issue, especially for a mode that is only PvE. However, things get a bit more complicated when you consider that players can spend money on special boosters and one-time-use consumables in the game. What is the player who use one of those boosters supposed to do when their match is derailed because of lag.
But wait, there is a solution! Mass Effect: Andromeda’s multiplayer uses peer-to-peer connections (not dedicated servers), meaning that as long as the host as a strong connection then the match should be fairly smooth. So if you have a smooth connection, you can start up a custom match and…oh wait.
No doubt the lag and the matchmaking problems in Mass Effect: Andromeda can be fixed, but for the first week, BioWare has put anything but its best foot forward. The multiplayer can be a lot of fun, if all things go right – the only problem is things very rarely go right.