Wasteland Diaries: Faction interaction

The factions in Fallen Earth are a diverse bunch, each one bent on dominating the other five. They all have their reasons to want to impose their will upon the inhabitants of the Grand Canyon Province. They are all also very narrow-minded in their approach to rebuilding society. They are all very intolerant of the other factions and will impede and harass them at every opportunity. Some factions (those on the opposite side of the wheel) espouse downright hatred of their diametrically opposed faction and kill its members on sight. The factions also have sub-factions which usually straddle the beliefs of an allied faction.

Each faction in Fallen Earth has one arch-enemy, two enemies, and two allies. The two allies are sometimes called the shoulder factions due to their position on the faction wheel. The allied factions, however, are enemies to one another. This can complicate relations in multi-factional task forces. It can sometimes lead to fighting one allied faction to appease the other. Sometimes the ally of yesterday becomes the enemy of tomorrow. Yes, it makes for some intriguing politics and some excellent canonical roleplaying situations. But when players are interjected into the politics, it can get downright confusing. After the cut, I'll describe the faction mechanics in more detail and the players' effect on the wheel as well.

Many new players are under the impression that you choose a faction. It's not that simple. You choose a faction, but it's not a permanent choice. You start with zero faction reputation with all six player factions. There are NPC factions such as Franklin's Riders and the Bankers, but let's ignore them for now. You will gain reputation by doing missions for a certain faction or by killing enemies of that faction. This includes killing other players who are members of that faction. Each faction point you earn in that faction will net you a half point in your shoulder faction. But you will lose that many points with your enemy factions and lose double with your arch-enemy. If you aren't careful, you can wind up on everyone's hit list. You are considered a member of the faction that you have the highest positive reputation with.

A member of your arch-enemy faction will have a red bar over his head. He will also show up as a red triangle on your radar (assuming you can see him). Members of your faction will be marked as light blue. This is where it gets confusing: Both of your allied factions will show up as green, and both enemy factions will show up as orange. Normally you will want to kill anyone who is red or orange, but there are times when you will need to know which faction that green or orange player belongs to. For example: You are a Tech, and you are helping Travelers (green) fight Lightbearers (orange). The Lightbearers call in some Enforcers (green) to help them. You now have green triangles on your radar, and you don't know whether they are Travs or Enforcers. Why isn't each faction a specific color? I don't know.

It also isn't necessary to be friendly with three factions. You can choose to be friendly with only two. Let's say, for example that you want to be a Tech/Enforcer, and you max your reputation with both at 600,000. You will still appear as a green triangle to the Travelers, but you will be shot on sight in their towns. These days, faction choice doesn't matter much anymore. The only real difference is the armor that you can wear and a few other useful items that the faction merchants sell. All of the skills, mutations and capstones have been defactionalized, so the faction you join is really just a matter of taste. That being said, here's a quick overview of the six player factions in Fallen Earth:

CHOTA -- The Children of the Apocalypse stand for chaos and want to destroy the old ways and rebuild a new civilization in which everyone can be free to do as he wishes. They are essentially anarchists who oppose any kind of societal structure. They are allied with the Vista and Travelers and enemies with the Techs and Lightbearers. Their arch-enemies are the Enforcers. Examples of CHOTA clans in the game are Tribal Blood, KAOS and Legends of the Fall.

Lightbearers -- The Lightbearers stand for society's future. They yearn to rebuild the world to be a safe and healthy place. They are practitioners of the martial arts, and while they try to refrain from using violence, the lawlessness of apocalypse sometimes forces their hands. They are allied with the Vistas and the Enforcers and are enemies with the Techs and CHOTA. Their arch-enemies are the Travelers. There aren't any large Lightbearer clans in the game since Heretic was folded into TAO, and then TAO all but disbanded.

Enforcers -- The Enforcers stand for order. They believe that, once law and order is restored, everything else will fall into place. They are allied with the Techs and the Lightbearers and enemies with the Vistas and Travelers. Their arch-enemies are the CHOTA. Some examples of Enforcer clans in Fallen Earth are ETSU, Fall of the Legends and the 7th Cavalry Regiment.

Travelers -- The Travelers stand for profit. Everything the Travelers involve themselves in revolves around the bottom line. If there are no chips to be made, the Travelers aren't interested. The Travelers are organized into families, and their credo is Family before Traveler. Traveler before everyone else. They are allied with the Techs and the CHOTA and enemies with the Enforcers and Vistas. The Lightbearers are their arch-enemies. Some examples of Traveler clans in-game are the Saints and the Kings.

Techs -- The Techs stand for science. They believe that technology will be the greatest asset in the future of civilization. They strive to further science as a means to rebuild the world. Maintaining humanity's achievements and building upon them is their goal. They are allies with the Enforcers and Travelers and enemies with the CHOTA and Lightbearers. Their arch-enemies are the Vistas. Some examples of Tech clans in Fallen Earth are Exile and Orion.

Vistas -- The Vistas stand for nature. The Vistas intend to rebuild the world to coexist in harmony with nature. They are adept at surviving in the wilderness and grow much of the food in the Province. They protect the environment at all costs and try to maintain a symbiotic relationship with it. Their allies are the CHOTA and the Lightbearers. They are enemies with the Travelers and Enforcers. Their arch-enemies are the Techs. The main Vista force in Fallen Earth is Wolves of War.

While there are still omni-factional clans in the game, most of the largest clans have chosen to ally themselves with a single faction. With the game seemingly headed towards single-faction objectives (faction control points are an example of this), the shoulder faction confusion may be solved with a six-way war. Only time will tell what Sector 4 will hold for territory control objectives. But I have a feeling that only one faction will be able to reap the benefits of any new objectives. In the meantime, I'll keep on fighting with one ally against another in fragile allegiances until a six-sided battle breaks out. Until next week, I'll try not to shoot at you if you are a blue or green triangle.

Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the KAOS clan. Wasteland Diaries is his weekly column that covers all aspects of Fallen Earth: PvE, RP and PvP. To contact Ed, send an email to edward@massively.com, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.

This article was originally published on Massively.