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Whenever I'm tooling around in the Citadel, I find that I can overhear conversations between other residents of the structure. If I listen for long enough, or I return to the same group of people often enough, I sometimes get a journal entry for some new thing I should recover or area to explore.

Are any of these ambient conversations missable? Should I be cautious when scouring the Citadel (or any other areas, such as the Normandy?) so as to find them all before I advance the plot?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If the dialog started, and that dialog is supposed to give you a Journal entry, it will even if you don't stick around to let it finish.

I had this happen in the entrance to the Purgatory Bar in the citadel -- I listened to a woman talking on the phone (all the conversation) and got a mission, then I had to go and exited the game forgetting to save (silly me) and had to replay that part. I didn't feel like listening to it all again so I just kept running and a few moments later I got the same mission even though I was obviously out of earshot.

So just be sure to run passed all the people you see, but don't feel obligated to listen to them (although most conversations are really entertaining)

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No,but you can miss some quests that are time-related

Thane's death

and

The Academy etc.

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I'm not sure if you can miss getting them, but you certainly can miss completing them

When Cerberus attacks the Citadel some of these people are killed in the crossfire.

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