While Mass Effect: Andromeda is a gaming experience designed to feel familiar for returning fans who played the original trilogy, a few aspects of the game have been completely overhauled in favor of bringing back the role-playing elements at the heart of the series. Even though many game systems have received their own redesigns in Andromeda, nothing comes close to the complicated and intimidating changes made to crafting your own equipment, which was certainly influenced by Dragon Age: Inquisitions’s open-ended take on the process back in 2014.

When you’re not out with the crew of the Tempest shooting aliens across each new planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, you’re going to want to invest some time into both research and crafting. Now, instead of purchasing whatever you need from roaming vendors, you’ll often have to rely on yourself for equipment upgrades by accumulating new blueprints for better armor, weapons, and augmentations. Even though it’s needlessly complicated, Andromeda’s crafting system does allow you to create the perfect equipment for your character, so here are a few tips to help sift through everything and do exactly that:

Accumulating Research Data

No matter how you plan to customize your character’s equipment loadout with weapons, armor, and augmentations, you’ll need to invest time into accumulating research points to research the blueprints needed to do so. Blueprints allow you to craft new weapons using materials scattered about in Andromeda’s environments, but they require a set amount of research data to unlock to use. That means you have to head out into the galaxy and scan just about everything you can.

In Andromeda, there are three major research categories to worry about: Milky Way (data related to the Andromeda Initiative and colonists), Heleus (data related to the alien races of the Andromeda Galaxy), and Remnant (data related to the mysterious robotic race scattered about the Heleus Cluster). By using your scanner to gather information on relevant objects in each of these three categories, you’ll accumulate research data which can then be spent on new crafting blueprints aboard the Tempest.

The easiest way to stockpile massive amounts of research data is through exploration of a planet’s surface, scanning every little object between you and your next major objective. In general, the best thing to do is to look through all your available research data for a weapon, armor set, or augmentation that you’re extremely interested in obtaining, then specifically hunting down research data pertinent to obtaining it. Don’t spend research too quickly, however, because a decent stockpile of research data is a resource that takes hours to build up.

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Crafting New Equipment

Once you’ve accumulated the required amount of research data and unlocked the blueprint of a specific weapon, piece of armor, or augmentation you’re interested in creating for your character, head back to the R&D terminal aboard the Tempest to get started. From there, head over to the development section on the right to open the actual crafting menu needed to construct new equipment.

Here, you’ll see every weapon, armor piece, Nomad upgrade, and special item blueprint you have unlocked through research of via in-game activities such as questing. Navigate to the appropriate blueprint to see the necessary materials for crafting it, and provided you have them, you’ll then be able to construct your desired piece of equipment. When you do, you’ll also be able to add augmentations depending on the number of slots available in the piece of equipment. These provided damage, power, or resistance bonuses which can further increase the equipment’s performance in the field, so be sure to use these whenever you can.

If you find yourself short on materials, don’t worry about having to sit and farm them for hours like research data. Unlike research data, materials are easy to come by since they respawn throughout Andromeda’s environments after a short amount of time in-game. Mineral nodes are going to be the simplest way to accumulate more resources, which can be found throughout the game world and harvested using your omni-tool. If you’re interested in earning more than a handful of resources from each node, head to one of the mining zones on the map marked with a crystal in the Nomad. Here, you’ll be able to activate your mining computer and search for a highly concentrated area of resources. Then, just drop a mining drone to harvest what you need from the planet.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore

Nicholas is a writer and content creator in Knoxville. He frequently covers video games and other consumer electronics. When he's not writing for Inverse, you can usually find him tweeting about Star Wars or streaming on Twitch.