The Normandy SR2
Back on your ship from the first game, and with your original pilot, Joker, The Normandy is a vital location for forging relationships with your crew. Before you can start fraternising, however, you need to hear out your crew with regards to which location to head to first. Being a BioWare game, you can choose any option (and even pay a visit to the new Citadel). You can feel free to make up your own mind, but for this guide we will be going to Omega to locate Professor Solus.
Get to know your Ship
It is at this point that you will be introduced to a new factor of your ship. While a near-exact replica of the original Normandy, it now has an Artificial Intelligence named the Enhanced Defence Intelligence or EDI. For those new to Mass Effect, this cute computer will show you around the ship. The bridge or Command Information Center has also changed significantly. This is on Deck 2 (where you begin this part of the game) and has a number of features.
1) Personal Quarters: The question of where the rest of the crew's quarters are is a pertinent one, but the main thing is that Shepard's got a roomy suite. In here you can access your Personal Terminal like on the bridge (see below for more details), change your armour and ship-wear, and examine your medal case, reporting your past feats (pretty empty as yet). You will also notice a display cabinet and fish-tank. Around all the places we visit you can buy model ships and fish that then appear in these locations – it is a bit of a nerdy distraction, but can be a good way of getting to know the game's lore.
1) Galaxy Map: This is the most important part of the bridge, as it is used to travel to, and dock or land at, the various locations during the game. You can travel to any of the places on the map at will, steering the ship manually via a 2D interface, before interacting with them.
2) Personal Terminal: Shepard's Personal Terminal is a new addition, and is the location where you can receive personal emails, analyse the crew and check the statistics of you squad. You can also watch some brief tutorial videos here.
3) Yeoman Kelly Chambers: From your first conversation with Kelly you will realise that a possible love-interest lies underneath. She operates the console to the right of the galaxy map and seems the perfect foil for a Paragon-style player. Talk to her, investigating her personality and character. She is designed as your personal admin assistant, notifying you when a new message has arrived for you (though often after you have already read them…) and handling the crew's morale.
4) EDI: The EDI terminal on the bridge is located near Joker's seat (at the head of the vessel). Ask some prying questions about its function, capabilities, and whether it will interfere with the ship.
Your overall opinion on EDI may be determined by these early statements.
5) Joker: Joker and Shepard are good friends, and can reminisce about old times. You should also value his opinion, as he knows your character (including that from the first game) best.
6) Armoury: Here you can pick the weapons for yourself and the squad using the console, but it should primarily be used as your point of contact for Jacob.
7) Jacob: Having Jacob's biotic powers is vital at this early stage, and he also suits a Paragon character well. Talk to him to improved your relationship and find out the story of his past. You may notice some sparks of romance going on, but he will only be interested in a female character.
8) Lab: There will be a science lab available on this deck, but only once you get Professor Solus on board.
9) Briefing Room: Frequently after missions you will begin back here, talking to new recruits or other characters.
You can also examine interactive consoles marked at the side of the bridge to gain XP. After the bridge, Deck 3 is worth a visit.
1) Medical Lab: It is important to pay a visit to the lab to catch up with Dr. Chakwas, a returning character from the first game. The main reason for this visit is to open up a new side-quest, Serrice Ice Brandy. Ask her what she needs. While a Doctor shouldn’t be interested in such a rare alcoholic drink, it will net you some XP, and can be completed on Omega.
2) Miranda: Found in her office on Deck 3, Miranda is the third romantic interest on board your ship. She can seem outwardly hostile, so rather than just being nice and flattering as with Jacob, you must pick your dialogue carefully and intelligently. Having saved your life, you may find that Miranda can seem a bit big-headed, but you may like this in a character.
3) Mess Hall: Where the crew go to relax and eat. The next side-quest you can activate (this one can not be completed on Omega, rather the Citadel, but is worth activating nonetheless) involves Sergeant Gardner, the ship's cook. He also does a lot of maintenance work. When asked if he needs anything, he'll tell you how he is frustrated at Cerberus rations, he wants you to find some ingredients to spice up the menu. Pursuing the correct conversation adds Special Ingredients as a side quest.
Speak to the Mess Sergeant for a side-quest.
1) Engineering: Deck 4 is a minor deck at this stage, but the third side-quest of the Normandy can be initiated here. Speak to the engineers and ask if they need anything. They will tell you that they need a new piece of equipment for the engines, which you can get on Omega, and it will be accepted as a side-mission called FBA Couplings. Continue to speak to Daniels and the Scottish Donnelly as they really seem to appreciate the company and can tell you quite a bit about events since the first game.
While on the Normandy it is a great time to catch up on the Mass Effect back-story and additional detail that BioWare have provided. This can be done through the Codex, where a range of voiced and text-based content can be browsed. Use it to get the low-down on new locations, species and phenomenon ahead of each mission so you know what to expect, and don't forget to explore your surroundings in every location fully so as not to miss any new additions, if you are interested.
Leave for Omega
Before departing for Omega, you should ensure that the following side-quests have been accepted:
Serrice Ice Brandy (speak to Dr. Chakwas in the Medical Lab, Deck 3 [see above])
FBA Couplings (speak to the Engineers on Deck 4 [see above])
You will then be ready to use the Galaxy Map and navigate a course to Omega.
Direct the Normandy to Omega.