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The war asset display in the war room on the Normandy shows a graph of the effective military strength I collected so far with a marker at a minimum. There seems to be a minimum amount of EMS I need to get to be able to save the galaxy.

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Can I actually fail to gather that minimum amount of EMS? And if it is possible to fail, what happens then when I try to finish the game, do I fail to save the galaxy?

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You'll simply get the worst ending if you get less than a certain amount of EMS, however I don't know if the minimum tickmark is actually that point. –  Ben Brocka Mar 15 '12 at 19:31

2 Answers 2

The worst possible ending is only stated to be < 1,750 points, which, depending on if you play multiplayer or not, could be hard, or easy to attain.

If you don't play the multiplayer at all, your Galactic Readiness Rating (GRR) will stay at 50%, meaning your War Assets rating will be multiplied by 0.50 to calculate your Effective Military Strategy.

If you have a GRR at, or below 3500, it will be halved and thus be below 1750. It's never going to be possible to be at 0, simply because the main quests give you War Assets.

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I've being doing most of the sidequests, but eyeballing it, you probably really can't end up with less than that even doing the minimum possible in the game. That said,

the worst ending that you get for having that number too low is very bleak. Let's just say that, whenever the Mass Relay network is back up again, nobody's going to bother putting one anywhere near Earth...

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Why the downvote? –  Shinrai Apr 10 '12 at 20:10

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