Shockwave is one of the weaker biotic powers in mass effect 3. Whenever you use biotic powers your main objective should be to set off biotic explosions which can often kill enemies. Shockwave makes it very difficult to even hit an enemy and when it does it only deals 300 points of damage max. In comparison the vanguard deals 375 with charge and up to around 1000 damage with nova. Shockwave is very useful against groups of enemies because it deals damage over distance regardless of how many enemies it hits.
Leveling Shockwave Effectively
Shockwave is powerful versus groups of enemies, but it is hard to aim and has a limited range. Often times I find that I can’t hit my targets if they are moving. You can face shockwave in any direction (even straight up) and it will go through walls until it has reached it’s maximum range. Shockwave sets off biotic explosions when you use warp or singularity first. If you don’t know what a biotic explosions is you can read an article here.
I usually like impact radius more than damage, but especially because the only reason you would use shockwave is to set off biotic explosions I went with the damage upgrade for rank 4.
The next rank offers better biotic explosions or an increase in distance. This and the fourth rank really shows why I don’t like shockwave. You have to choose between your main means of damage, biotic explosions, or the fact that you can use shockwave in a useful manner. I went with the biotic explosions buff, but really it is a close call and in retrospect I would have gone for the increase in distance because usually you don’t even hit your target so the botic explosions buff doesn’t even matter.
The last rank offers a reduce in recharge time or that you suspend enemies in the air for a short time. Both of those aren’t very useful. Small recharge time bonuses don’t really matter unless you are a vanguard. With any other class you won’t really notice the difference. Suspending enemies in the air is a little more useful because it means that they don’t shoot you for a little while.
Shockwave Combat Tactics
Shockwave is designed to be a close range power. It has a maximum distance of 15 m and it progresses very slowly. It is a power designed for a tank. If it was more useful in combination with the vanguard it might be very good, but it doesn’t offer an invincibility frame like nova does which makes that power so effective. I don’t recommend using it on a more passive character like the human adept. In fact there isn’t a class where there aren’t better choices.
If you were to use it remember it can set off biotic explosions. You can’t use shockwave as the initial power for biotic explosions since it doesn’t do damage over time. You can use shockwave aggressively because it does stagger enemies, but you have to be careful because it moves very slowly across the ground.
It is also important to note that you can’t target enemies with auto aim (like warp for instance), rather it goes in the direction your gun is pointing. It also won’t alter course once you have set it off. Really what you have to do with shockwave is use an aggressive power very passively and be sure to use a lot of cover.