Mass Effect: Annoying Shepard Fan Is Actually a Certified Genius

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Fans of the Mass Effect trilogy may remember Conrad Werner, one of the strangest and rightfully underrated characters in the franchise, who constantly acts as the brightest fan of Commander Shepard. Being a story—driven series, Mass Effect contains dozens of characters, both romantic and absent in the first three installments, but Conrad stands out as one of the most unpleasant and ignorant—though perhaps well-intentioned-recurring characters. Despite his habit of inconveniencing Shepard with his poorly realized attempts at heroism, Conrad from Mass Effect is actually secretly a genius whose experience will come in handy in the third game — if the player manages to keep him alive for so long.

[Warning: The following article contains spoilers of the Mass Effect trilogy.]

Shepard can interact with Werner three times in the first game, and each time Werner is eerily inspired. He seems somewhat obsessed with Shepard and eventually asks to become his fellow Spectre. If, in the turmoil of Mass Effect’s most important decisions, Shepard decides to appease him, he will reappear in the second part, where he began to imitate Shepard and try to correct mistakes throughout the galaxy. In the end, he acts as a pawn for the criminal and proves that he is simply not cut out for a life full of adventure and heroism, leaving players convinced that he is nothing more than well-intentioned, perhaps less than a reasonable responsibility.

Related: Mass Effect 3: Every Squad Member Ranked by Attractiveness

In Mass Effect 3, Conrad reveals a hidden talent and intelligence that challenge his notoriously erratic behavior. After another failed attempt at heroism, Conrad explains that he has written his doctoral dissertation on xenotechnology and the integration of dark energy—two scientific fields crucial to the creation of the Crucible, an alien artifact that Shepard builds throughout the third game. Information about the Crucible, as a rule, is scarce, and there are very few scientists who can help in its construction. In other words, Conrad is a genius in knowledge and the Mass Effect universe, whose views on the most niche science of the universe deserve respect.

Konrad Werner is one of the smartest characters in the Mass Effect trilogy.

Conrad’s research is much more useful than his attempts to become the next Commander Shepard, and seems surprising given his previous behavior. Every character who comes into contact with him is slightly annoyed at best, and he often looks somewhat pathetic. Even his wife (later revealed to be imaginary) seems to want nothing to do with him, as she allegedly pays for his transportation away from home. After he realized his dream of being useful to Shepard, he emphasized his contribution by admitting that he has a temple of the main character at home.

Fortunately, if the player takes appropriate action, Conrad gets a friend — a law enforcement informant who is connected to Conrad by Shepard’s positive influence on their lives. Conrad’s contribution requires certain choices in all three games, so since even Mass Effect Legendary Edition lacks a general guide to this kind of choices, the player will most likely know Conrad as something of a buffoon. But despite being a small, relatively absurd and seemingly inconsequential storyline in the Mass Effect trilogy, BioWare has included a satisfying ending for any player willing to go the extra mile to get it. Anyone planning to start a Paragon walkthrough should take care to talk to Konrad Werner, because this annoying superfan is actually much more than it might seem at first glance.