THE FIX – Mass Effect 3 “diplomat terminal” bug

I’d been finding bits of time here and there to play Mass Effect 3 – quite a good game thus far, though it suffers from the same issue as other BioWare games… every so often you’ll have a quest in your log that can’t be completed.

In this case, the bug revolves around the following mission:

Citadel: Hanar Diplomat
Salarian Spectre Jondum Bau suspects that a member of the Hanar diplomatic staff is indoctrinated. Find evidence on the hanar in the Presidium Embassies.

If you’re stuck here and have played ME2, you already know why it’s particularly frustrating that you can’t proceed. It’s worth noting that the only way *not* to trigger this bug in the first place is to do this entire mission as soon as you get it – don’t leave the Citadel, don’t talk to anybody else, etc.

In any case, if you’ve hit the bug, the fix is to edit the saved game. Here’s how you do it (thanks to Fasalina from the thread in BW’s forums here:

1) Just to be safe, back up your savegame directory first. Head to your Documents folder, and find it within BioWare/MassEffect3. I’ll assume you know how to either zip it or make a copy elsewhere.

2) Run the game, and head to the location on the Citadel shown in the image below (click for a larger version):

Note that the terminal is actually near #5 on the map (even though it looks like it should be near #4). Verify that it’s not working/clickable, then create a new save. Remember the save game number. Exit Mass Effect 3.


3) Grab  Gibbed’s Mass Effect 3 Save Editor. If that site is down at some point or <insert-other-problem-here>, I put up a local copy here:


4) Unzip it, and run the program (the icon is pink). Note that it requires Microsoft’s .NET framework – in my case (running Windows 7), trying to run the program simply brought me to the download page and I had it downloaded & installed in under a minute.


5) With the program running, look at the following image (click for larger version):

You start by hitting OPEN – for me, it found the save game location automatically and I simply had to choose the Career and Save  Game number.

Then you go to the RAW section – it may be selected by default.

Head to the Uncategorized section, and select Streaming.

Now that you’ve selected STREAMING, at the location of #5 in the image above, there will be a little button with 3 dots (…). Select that button.


6) A new window will pop up:

Click ADD. A new entry will show up, called Gibbed.MassEffect3.FileFormat (as seen in #7 above). It should already be selected. Move the mouse to the circled region by #8, click, and start typing….

The entry you are adding (typing in) is as follows:


It’s probably case-sensitive. Once you’ve entered it, you’ll be changing the “Active” section from False to True. The image below should help:

Now that you have SS_HanarPlot (#9), set to TRUE (#10), verify that it’s showing up correctly in the left pane (#11). Once that’s done, hit OK (#12).


7) You’ll be back in the main program window. Hit SAVE. It should present a list. I suggest making a new save-game, though I suppose you could overwrite an existing one if you wanted to (hopefully you backed up just in case!).


8 ) Fire up Mass Effect 3 again. I WOULD NOT hit “Resume” because I have no idea whether it would load your newly created save, or load a previous one. Instead, manually load your new save.


9) The terminal should now be clickable (again, on the in-game map it’s closest to the #5 point of interest – NOT the #4). Make sure to follow the entire quest chain through immediately (don’t pick up other quests, don’t leave the Citadel). Basically, after you’ve used the terminal mentioned, you’ll have to use a couple terminals in the Docks:HoldingArea and then return to the Embassy area again.



Hopefully BioWare manages to patch this bug out soon. In the meantime, editing the save-game is the only method I’m aware of to currently fix it, and let’s be fair – not everyone is comfortable dabbling in an editor, and others don’t want to lose hours of progress by reverting to a save that took place before the bug was triggered.


If you have additional tips, or have found another way to work past the bug, feel free to leave a comment below.


Otherwise, hopefully this has helped you to continue enjoying ME3 !