DLC are packaged differently in all three installments of Mass Effect. This article covers which DLC are present for each game, basic information about SFAR contents, and how DLC file overrides are handled in ME3.
There are only two DLC for the original Mass Effect, housed at ..\Mass Effect\DLC. Folder structure mimics that of the base game.
|Bring Down the Sky||DLC_UNC||6 February 2008|
|Pinnacle Station||DLC_Vegas||25 August 2009|
Mass Effect 2
There are numerous DLCs for Mass Effect 2, including new weapons, armors, characters and locations. Compared to ME1, the DLC folder has been relocated to ..\Mass Effect 2\BIOGame, similar to ME3. Folder and file structure otherwise follow the base game.
|Aegis Pack||DLC_CER_02||6 July 2010|
|Alternate Appearance Pack 1||DLC_CON_Pack01||23 March 2010|
|Alternate Appearance Pack 2||DLC_CON_Pack02||8 February 2011|
|Arc Projector||DLC_CER_Arc||9 March 2010|
|Arrival||DLC_EXP_Part02||29 March 2011|
|Blood Dragon Armor||DLC_PRE_DA||December 2012|
|Cerberus Weapon and Armor||DLC_PRE_Cerberus||9 February 2010|
|Collectors' Armor and Assault Rifle||DLC_PRE_Collectors||18 January 2011|
|Equalizer Pack||DLC_MCR_03||4 May 2010|
|Firepower Pack||DLC_MCR_01||3 August 2010|
|Firewalker||DLC_UNC_Hammer01||23 March 2010|
|Inferno Armor||DLC_PRE_General||Pre-order bonus|
|Kasumi - Stolen Memory||DLC_HEN_MT||6 April 2010|
|Lair of the Shadow Broker||DLC_EXP_Part01||7 September 2010|
|M-29 Incisor||DLC_PRE_Incisor||Pre-order bonus|
|Mass Effect: Genesis||DLC_DHME1||17 May 2011|
|Normandy Crash Site||DLC_UNC_Moment01||26 January 2010|
|Overlord||DLC_UNC_Pack01||15 June 2010|
|Recon Hood||DLC_PRO_Pepper02||Retail bonus|
|Sentry Interface||DLC_PRO_Gulp01||Pre-order bonus|
|Terminus Weapon and Armor||DLC_PRE_Gamestop||Pre-order bonus|
|Umbra Visor||DLC_PRO_Pepper01||Retail bonus|
|Zaeed - The Price of Revenge||DLC_HEN_VT||28 January 2010|
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 DLC are packaged in a compressed, SFAR file format that's a bit similar to a ZIP file. Like ME2, all DLC are housed inside ..\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\DLC. Along with the Extended Cut, there are four story-content DLC and four armor/weapon packs. The five multiplayer expansions and two MP-related patches are included below for completion, and to help users discern whether a DLC is BioWare's or a DLC mod; they will not be discussed further.
|Alternate Appearance Pack 1||DLC_CON_APP01||20 November 2012|
|5-6 March 2013|
|Collector's Edition Bonus Content||DLC_OnlinePassHidCE||6 March 2012|
|Extended Cut||DLC_CON_END||26 June 2012|
|From Ashes||DLC_HEN_PR||6 March 2012|
|Firefight Pack||DLC_CON_GUN01||7 August 2012|
|Groundside Resistance Pack||DLC_CON_GUN02||16 October 2012|
|Leviathan||DLC_EXP_Pack001||28-29 August 2012|
|Mass Effect: Genesis 2||DLC_CON_DH1||13 April 2013|
|Omega||DLC_EXP_Pack002||27-28 November 2012|
|Earth||DLC_CON_MP3||17 July 2012|
|Rebellion||DLC_CON_MP2||29 May 2012|
|Reckoning||DLC_CON_MP5||26-27 February 2013|
|Resurgence||DLC_CON_MP1||10-11 April 2012|
|Retaliation||DLC_CON_MP4||9-10 October 2012|
|Patch01||DLC_UPD_Patch01||18 September 2012|
|Patch02||DLC_UPD_Patch02||10 January 2013|
SFAR Contents (ME3)
ME3 SFARs may be extracted to create a DLC folder structure that mirrors the main game, complete with \CookedPCConsole, \Movies, and PCConsoleTOC.bin in the root. All file types found in the main game are present (and serve identical functions), but have DLC-specific names. There are also a few files without a main game counterpart, most of which are Shared. Shared files allow DLC to pool specific bits of information to avoid redundancy. Sound files are organized differently in DLC, with all music stored in one file and all dialogue in another.
Using Leviathan DLC as an example:
|FILE TYPE||QUANTITY||EXAMPLE FILE||MAIN COOKED COUNTERPART||FUNCTION|
2 (per loc.)
|none (directly)||Audio cache file (stores sounds)|
|BIK||varies||Lev002_LoopingLoad.bik||none (directly)||Cutscenes & loading screens|
|BIN||1||Default_DLC_EXP_Pack001.bin||Coalesced.bin||Defines a variety of game parameters|
|DLC||1||Mount.dlc||none||DLC name, priority, dependency, TLK ID, & more|
|TFC||1||Textures_DLC_EXP_Pack001.tfc||Textures.tfc||Texture cache file (stores textures)|
|TLK||2 (per loc.)||
|BIOGame_INT.tlk||Text for in-game display; both files exist in several localizations|
In addition to these seven file types,the bulk of any DLC consists of hundreds of PCC files with names that correspond to the new levels (e.g., BioD_Lev001.pcc). There are also a variety of "SFX" PCCs, some of which are "Shared." These files hold information about weapons, weapon modifications, powers, and GUI textures. The table below uses Leviathan DLC as an example. Note: "XXX" indicates a parameter that changes in multiple files with a similar name.
|PCC FILE||MAIN COOKED COUNTERPART||FUNCTION|
|SFXAchievementImages_DLC2.pcc||SFXAchievementImages.pcc||Adds new Achievement textures|
|SFXExp001_GAWImages.pcc||SFXImages_GAW_XXX.pcc||Adds new GAW Asset textures|
|SFXPower_Dominate.pcc||SFXPower_XXX.pcc||Adds new power|
|Startup_EXP_Pack001_INT.pcc||Startup.pcc + SFXGameInfoSP_SF.pcc||Files loaded at startup, codex/quest/state event maps, and more|
DLC File Overrides (ME3)
BioWare uses DLC to implement new content and edit existing content. That means some DLC files share the same names as those both in the main Cooked and other DLC. When this happens, the DLC file always overrides its counterpart in the main Cooked. If the same file is present in another DLC, then conflicts are resolved by comparing the load priority property inside the Mount.dlc. The DLC with the higher value "wins" and overrides all others.
SFARs don't come extracted by default, so determining if the same file exists in multiple SFARs can be tedious. The table below contains a list of all conflicts for reference. Leviathan DLC is by far the most problematic for modders, as it overrides many Normandy files, along with the end game Starchild conversation.
|Remember, if you've run a Texplorer scan, or are using toolset rev738+ then all your ME3 DLC should be extracted. This means you can browse the folder structure in the same manner as the base game.|
Note: "+" indicates file is present. Blank cells indicate the file is absent.
|FILE||MAIN COOKED||EXTENDED CUT||FROM ASHES||LEVIATHAN||OMEGA||CITADEL||CITADEL BASE|