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Running around on the Citadel, I have noticed minor conflicts that arise where you can side with one of 2 people. After siding with them, I have noticed in the corner of the screen "War Asset Updated!"

The question lies in that, are there any of these that have a major impact on the war assets, or are they just small boosts/decrements that you can obtain or are there even any that do decrease war assets? Also, is there a set amount of them that pop up?

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Yes, there is a finite number of those, as they require scripts and voice acting. The effect most of them have is fairly negligible, but it doesn't hurt to grab them when they're available. Promoting charity, security and indiscriminate help will result in the best effect.

Some of them will have significant consequences, notably the arguments between Quarian admirals.

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Here is a fairly in-depth list of war assets that I've found handy when trying to decide who to side with.

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