Mass Effect fans are remembering the time somebody used science to prove you can get high on Tali: “Her sweat’s a drug and a natural performance enhancer”

Over a decade ago, between the launches of Mass Effect 2 and 3, fans got really invested in Tali’Zorah. The Quarian party member was always beloved, but by the sequels she’d become a romance option and the subject of even more affection – to the point that one fan used science to determine what her sweat would “smell and taste like.” The results are the stuff of fandom legend, and the community still can’t forget it all these years later.

The original post came from the now-defunct BioWare forums and has long since been lost to time, but it lives on in screencaps and copypastas. Community accounts of the whole thing it created suggest it all started around 2010, but I just learned about the sweat analysis thanks to Kala Elizabeth, a prominent Mass Effect content creator who just tweeted a screenshot of the whole thing.

In the post, a user named Thundertactics said that their analysis “started off as an analysis of Tali’s sweat, trying to figure out what it’d smell and taste like.” In Mass Effect lore, Quarians have very weak immune systems and tightly control their environments. So, Thundertactics says, “I quickly realized that most scents originate from bacteria, which would be minimal to non-existant for quarians.”

Ever wondered what Tali’s sweat smells and tastes like? Probably not, but Look no further, here it is! 🫠 #MassEffect 23, 2024

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Another component of sweat is a chemical called urea, which Thundertactics goes on to argue features chemical components including an addictive depressant, a “natural performance enhancer” that boosts testosterone and thus libido, and an amino acid that’d kill some odors.

So “we can tell that Tali would not smell nearly as bad as those filthy humans,” Thundertactics says, arguing instead that “her sweat’s a drug and a natural performance enhancer.” I’ll readily admit that my knowledge of chemistry is extremely limited, but it feels a little too convenient to believe your favorite video game crush might literally make you high and horny.

Looking up urea on Wikipedia just now, it seems that it’s a very minor component of sweat, but a very large component of urine. Thus, it seems you’d get a much stronger version of the effect by drinking Tali’s piss. Somehow that detail seemingly slipped Thundertactics’ notice.

Anyway, this post quickly became legendary among Mass Effect fans, generating no end of debate and jokes. Eventually, it was even referenced in Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC, in which a very drunk Tali randomly says, “It just smells like sweat. Why would you even ask that?”

Please, BioWare, get us some Mass Effect 5 info soon so the community can have something else to focus on. 

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