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Leading up to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Electronic Arts revealed that members of EA Access will be able to gain access to the game earlier than everyone else through a trial version of the game. Well, there's also a bit more to it than that in terms of how the trial will work.
Producer Fernando Melo explained on Twitter that there is a gate in the single-player relating to how far players can explore. According to Eurogamer, the trial will allow players to access up to 10 hours of play-time for Mass Effect: Andromeda a week earlier than its initial release date on March 21st. Even though gamers will have access to 10 hours worth of gameplay, the mission area will be limited to a segmented section, only taking place in a small cordoned off area of the single-player campaign.
Despite the single-player portion of the trial being limited to a single area with a few side-quests, the multiplayer portion of Mass Effect: Andromeda will be open for to experience for the entire duration of the 10-hour trial. So you can mix and match your play, taking a dive into a bit of the single-player and then backing out and spending a couple of more hours in the multiplayer to get acquainted with some of the new changes and class alterations.
According to Mass Effect: Andromeda producer Fernando Melo, you can go back and replay the gated segment of the single-player again after you complete the segment. It doesn't sound like it will be very long, and just enough to give gamers a taste of what's to come.
The multiplayer will not have any restrictions, however. This is good news coming off the recent cancellation of the multiplayer test, where a lot of people wanted to get in some hands-on time with the game before release.
Fernando explains that players will be able to put in as much time as they want in the multiplayer. Not only that but the multiplayer will also allow gamers to unlock rewards in Mass Effect: Andromeda called the "Pathfinder Rewards". The loot boxes can be used to unlock new materials and items. They mention in the Eurogamer article that there are two types of loot boxes: Gold Item Loot and Research Data Loot.
We don't find out exactly what the differences are between the two loot types, but it's likely safe to assume that the Gold Item Loot will contain usable equipment while the Research Data Loot will contain research mats for use with crafting new gear and items.
Some of these rewards can also be carried over from the multiplayer into single-player. Fernando mentioned that the rewards seem to be somewhat interchangeable between the two modes, and that what you earn in single-player may be used in multiplayer and that multiplayer rewards can be used in single-player. He mentions that the rewards are the "link between" multiplayer and single-player.
It was also clarified that while a cash shop is present for the multiplayer portion of Mass Effect: Andromeda, you can't use the cash shop to unlock single-player content.
I do wonder, however, what would stop a player from buying multiplayer items in the cash shop and then using the rewards from the boxes to carry over into their single-player game? Or is there a restriction? They didn't exactly say but gamers will likely experiment with the crossover come March 16th when the EA Access trial for Mass Effect: Andromeda goes live.