Wasteland Diaries: Factions and you

Sunset in Blockade
There was a time in Fallen Earth when the factions were more diverse. When I say diverse, I don't mean in ideology. I am talking about the game mechanics. These days, they are a bit more homogenized. Before everything was de-factionalized, your build would have a great bearing on which faction you chose. Sometimes, if you were a min-maxing PvPer like I am, you would wind up in a faction you didn't necessarily like. That was the main reason I didn't like the faction diversity. The ideology of the factions didn't appeal to me, but the factions' perks complemented my playstyle. I'll get into that a bit later in the post.

Another problem with the wide diversity between factions was the issue of balancing. It's hard enough to balance the three weapon classes, but once you have six different factions with six different sets of abilities, mutations, and capstones, it gets worse. I still see people asking in game about which faction is the pistols faction or which faction has access to Nano-manipulation. The short answer is all factions do. There is a misconception that your faction is still dependent on your build. It isn't. There are still a few artifacts of the old system lying around, but by and large, most of them are just minor annoyances. In this post I'll look at what is really important in choosing a faction in the new Fallen Earth.

Spin the Wheel
Back before the skills, abilities, and capstones were de-factionalized (for lack of a better term), most builds were planned around those three things. Of course, many players just chose a faction that they liked because of the lore, in which case their character build choices were limited. Mutations weren't as important as capstones, and skills were even less so. The main determining factor was the capstones. I'm refering to the time after the capstones were fixed to require faction to use, not just learn. There was actually a time when you could buff your stats to gain a capstone, and some clones were running around with more than half of them.

Many of the capstones were tied to factions and weapon types. This, in addition to skills, trainers, and faction weapons, had a large bearing on which weapon class each faction favored. Sometimes the weapon class you preferred was the main reason you would favor a faction. That is not so any more. All of the weapons and all of the skills are available to all of the factions. Capstones have been removed from the game entirely, so this is no longer a factor in faction choice. Nor is weapon type. All of the skills are also open to all of the factions, so that's no longer a consideration either.

Mutations were never really an issue because the mutation flip was a simple matter. The mutation lines used to be unlocked when you completed certain faction missions. You remember the wheel flip, right? Well, the mutation flip was a shorter, less-rigorous version of that. You got some bonus AP out of it as well. Doing all of the mutation unlock missions got you access to every mutation line. And unlike skills and capstones, mutations had no faction requirement. Once you unlocked them, you could use them all. Getting the injectors was an inconvenience, but it was far from impossible. These days, anyone can use any mutation and buy the injectors anywhere; the mutations you will want to use have no bearing on faction choice.

A Lightbearer meditates
There are only a few minor things that separate the factions as far as the game mechanics are concerned, and they are quite minor. Faction armor is the main difference. The armors are all very similar in protection values and have a sort of themed set of boni intended to synergize with the spirit of that faction. These boni are so ineffectual that they hardly matter at all. There are also factional weapons and consumables that are unique to a particular faction, but nothing really worth choosing a faction over. Really, there aren't many game-mechanics-related things that will influence your decision on factions.

These changes had a lot of impact on the omni-factional PvP clans as well. Combined-arms PvP clans were now possible within a single faction. The PvP clans that were single faction from the beginning were in a good spot, but many of the omni-clanners (including mine) had to change factions. I never did go Tech when Exile did; I just formed KAOS and answered my true faction calling. The changes (along with the addition of repeatable AP quests and random AP) eliminated the need to do any kind of wheel flip. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.

My first experience with choosing a faction led to a bit of research on my part. I wanted to use rifles as my main weapon. I looked at the Enforcer faction and the Vistas. Those two factions were the predominant rifle factions. I wasn't smart enough to see that I could make a Lightbearer rifleman and get the best of both worlds, so I chose Enforcers. I think I liked their armor better; I can't quite remember. I cared nothing about the lore at the time nor what each faction stood for. But as time went on, the more I read the mission text and got to know more about what the factions stood for, the more I realized I was in a faction I didn't like.

Los Alamos cooking facility
I had already maxed out my Enforcer faction to 600k by the time everything was de-factionalized, and I decided somewhere along the lines that my favored faction was CHOTA. All of my other clones would be CHOTA. But my main was stuck as an Enforcer for over a year. Once everything was de-factionalized, I reset my faction as soon as I could. My main is now over 600k CHOTA and can still craft Corporal's PEDs. How's that for a happy ending? CHOTA!

Sure, the factions are incredibly similar now. There isn't much in the game mechanics anymore to differentiate them, but I see that as a good thing. I spent a year in a faction I didn't like. Yeah, I did it to myself; I know that. But now we are free to choose the faction we actually like. We can choose the faction we can relate to, one that maybe has the same basic outlook on life (hopefully most of you are a little less radical). So if you haven't chosen a faction yet, read the mission text and pay attention to the NPC dialogues (especially in Sector 1). Choose the faction you like the best, the rest will all fall in line. See you next week.

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.