Legendary Mode Explained
The information presented below is rather nitty-gritty, so we’ll sum up the two modes thusly:
- Classic Mode: Level 1-60. More granular distribution of Talent Points over more frequent Level Ups.
- Legendary Mode: Level 1-30. Larger distribution of Talent Points over less frequent Level Ups.
The choice between the two modes is purely aesthetic: a Level 30 Shepard in Legendary Mode is just as powerful as a Level 60 Shepard in Classic Mode.
This doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a change to how the XP system works however: read the XP Balancing section below for more information.
The Legendary Mode and Classic Mode options both refer to how Level Scaling is presented to you the player as you progress through the game, earn XP and eventually Level Up. We’ll start with the Classic Mode.
Classic Mode replicates the presentation from the original Mass Effect release, where you Level Up fairly often and get a few Talent Points to play with. It’s rather granular, however constantly Leveling Up and having to dole out only a small amount of Talent Points can be frustrating for some players.
The Legendary Mode alters the Level Up presentation by making changes to their milestones and the rewards for reaching them. The Level Cap is reduced from 60 down to 30, which helps Level Ups and their rewards feel closer in pace and significance to Mass Effect 2 and 3.
How Legendary Mode does this is remove every second Level Up flag. To explain, in the original Mass Effect 1 you need 100xp to reach Level 2, then 300xp for Level 3, 600xp for Level 4, and 1,000xp for Level 5. In Legendary Mode, you need 300xp to reach Level 2, and 1,000xp to reach Level 3.
We can visually illustrate this in the graph below:
|Classic||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5||Level 6||Level 7|
|Legendary||–||Level 2||–||Level 3||–||Level 4|
Because you effectively miss out on every second Level Up, in Legendary Mode you get double the Talent Points, and unlock twice as many slots to spend them on, so that Shepard doesn’t fall behind compared to Classic Mode.
Ultimately, the choice between Legendary and Classic Mode is purely aesthetic. You’ll still be earning the same progress and Talent Points no matter which one you pick, you’ll just be getting them more granularly in the Classic Mode.
The real change comes from the XP rebalancing, which is present in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition whether you use the Classic Mode or Legendary Mode for Level Scaling.
In the original release of Mass Effect 1, even with both the Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station DLCs installed, it was impossible to hit Level 60 in a single playthrough. This is VERY important because you get a significant amount of bonus Credits and Resources when importing a Level 60 Mass Effect 1 Profile into Mass Effect 2. In order to do that, you would have to replay the entire game again, which was frustrating to say the least.
To that end, in the Legendary Edition the XP rewards have been rebalanced for more consistency, particularly towards the end of the game where Level Ups used to be few and far between. The result is that players who complete most aspects of the game can now reach the higher Levels in a single run, rather than having to play through the game again to do so. Thus, getting the best rewards for continuing into Mass Effect 2 takes significantly less time than before.
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.
As mentioned above, choosing Legendary Mode or Classic Mode is ultimately just for show: the XP has been rebalanced in Legendary Edition no matter which mode you choose, so you can freely pick whichever one you prefer.