Ashley is a romance option for a male Shepard in Mass Effect. To trigger her romance, Shepard will need to choose specific dialogue options.
After recruiting her on Eden Prime, Shepard can romance Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams in Mass Effect. The original Mass Effect includes three possible romantic interests: Kaidan Alenko, who is only available for a female Shepard, Ashley Williams, who is only available for a male Shepard, and Liara T’Soni, who is available for both. While not a central focus of the story, the romances in the Mass Effect trilogy can add an element of immersion to the game. It is notoriously easy to trigger a romantic arc in the original Mass Effect, to the point that some players prefer to avoid romancing squadmates altogether until the sequels. For those who don’t want to wait, Ashley is one possible option. She is a human combat specialist who is dedicated and loyal but often blunt and distrustful of aliens.
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There aren’t many steps involved to locking in a romance with Ashley in Mass Effect. Generally, Shepard will need to accept her teasing remarks and choose Paragon dialogue options when speaking to them. He should also check in with her after every mission to chat and give the romance a chance to grow. If Shepard accidentally or purposely flirts with both Ashley and Liara, he will need to make a choice, cutting off their romantic chances with the other woman. Additionally, there is a chance Ashley will die if the player is not careful, which could end the romance permanently. If the romantic arc is completed, Shepard can rekindle his romance with Ashley later in Mass Effect 3. Here’s how to begin a romance with Ashley Williams in Mass Effect.
How to Begin a Romance with Ashley in Mass Effect
In Mass Effect, Ashley will be available as a squadmate for Shepard starting in the Prologue, once Shepard and Kaidan find her on Eden Prime. Once Shepard wakes up back aboard the Normandy, he can speak to Ashley and should make sure to thank her for her help.
After speaking with Anderson, Shepard should find and talk to Ashley again and reassure her that what happened on Eden Prime was not her fault. In the next conversation Shepard has with Ashley after the missions on the Citadel, he will want to avoid telling her she is out of line when she expresses concerns about Shepard letting aliens on the ship. Choosing that dialogue option will effectively cut off the romance. Shepard can still disagree with her, however, and persuade her to open her mind somewhat. Later in this dialogue, Shepard can flirt with her, to which she will respond with some teasing about regulations.
Shepard should find and speak with Ashley following every major mission in Mass Effect to continue to let the romance grow. It is often advised to select Paragon or Neutral dialogue options, though some Renegade choices will not end the romance should Shepard prefer to use those. Shepard will learn about Ashley’s family history and her love of poetry during these conversations.
If Shepard speaks with Liara T’Soni following her rescue on Therum, Ashley will notice. Shepard will need to reassure Ashley that his relationship with Liara is strictly professional. He can also shut Liara down by telling her Ashley is special to him. If Shepard does continue to flirt with both Liara and Ashley, eventually he will be confronted by both women and expected to make a choice. He will need to choose Ashley to continue the romance.
Ashley plays a key role during the Virmire: Assault mission. Shepard can send her along with Captain Kirrahe, or she will be the one to arm the nuke. Either way, Shepard will eventually need to choose who to aid and who will be left behind when the bomb goes off. He will need to choose to save Ashley and leave Kaidan behind if they wish to continue romancing Ashley. Though she will express anger at Shepard’s decision, Shepard can help reassure her she is needed in the mission against Saren.
When the Normandy is grounded, Ashley will find and reassure Shepard. She and Shepard will almost kiss before being interrupted by Joker. Then, on the way to Ilos, she will appear in Shepard’s cabin and try to reassure him. Shepard will need to choose Stay with me to convince her to stay the night with him, and the two will share an intimate moment. Ashley will continue to tease him even through the end of the cutscene. This marks the end of Ashley’s romantic arc in Mass Effect.
Following the events of the prologue to Mass Effect 2, players will not encounter Ashley again until Horizon, where she will always fight with and refuse to join him. They can be reunited during the prologue of Mass Effect 3 and resume the romance as long as Shepard remained loyal or breaks up with his Mass Effect 2 love interest.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
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