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Factions: How to Choose?

Back before Faction Selection was launched, we published a guide to help you choose your faction. Since then, more information has become available, so it became time to revisit this topic and make the ultimate Choose your Faction guide!

This article will cover the following topics:

  • The Major factions (playable)
  • The Minor factions (non-playable)
  • Faction Perks
  • Earnings (SCORE & SCREAM)
  • Inter-faction Trade
  • Manufacturer Access
  • Guilds

Introduction

The Star Atlas universe is home to various, different factions. Three of these are considered to be the major, playable factions, and you will have to choose one of them to call your home upon registering your Star Atlas account.

The others, so-called minor factions, are game-controlled factions that you can not choose to become a part of. However, you can increase your reputation with them through gameplay later on, when more of the game is available for play.

This guide is meant to help you understand better how the faction system works, which factions there are, what their differences are, and how gameplay and your earnings are affected by your choice. The goal is to help you make an informed decision when you go and select your faction. In order to take part in any aspect of the game, you will have to choose a faction first. And, most importantly:

Once chosen, you can no longer change your faction! It is account-bound!

So, this is not a decision to be taken lightly perhaps.

Key considerations here are:

  1. Lore — which faction do you vibe with the most
  2. Faction Perks — Some tech might speak to you more
  3. Guilds/DACs — Make sure the guild you want to join is in your faction as well
  4. Earnings — Starting with SCREAM, your faction plays a big role in your earnings
  5. Access to Manufacturers — Not just if you want to craft ships, but also if you want to buy them

The Major Factions

There are three major factions, the MUD, the ONI, and the Ustur. Upon registering a new Star Atlas account, you will need to select one of these in order to be able to join.

Once upon a time, these three factions waged a brutal war, which finally came to an end nearly 100 years ago, when the leaders of the three factions came together to sign the famous Treaty of Peace. Through this treaty, they collectively established the galactic Council of Peace (CoP). Because of this, these three major factions are also often referred to as The Council [factions].

Below is a short description of each of them, based on, and quoting from, the Faction page on the official Star Atlas website.

MUD Territory

MUD [Territory]

The Manus Ultimus Divinum (which translates to “The Last Divine Hand” in Latin), or MUD is a human faction who has left their ancestral planet, Earth.

“After uniting under a common cause inspired by a benevolent Photoli scout, humans harnessed Earth’s resources to set off for the stars.

Under the contemporary leadership of Charon Gotti Jr., MUD Territory is established as the only legitimate human faction in the Council of Peace. Despite the dramatic losses in the Convergence War decades prior, MUD emerged as an industrial powerhouse in the region by securing diplomatic relations through fair trade with ONI and Ustur.”

ONI Region

ONI [Region]

The ONI faction is a consortium of several different alien species. The faction consists of people from the Om sector, Segal, Akenat, and Neuno systems.

“After the near total wartime extinction of the Sogmian race, the Mierese, Punaab and Photoli united firmly together under a strategic military pact to save their desperate ally. Through this pact, a breakthrough weapon of war was constructed. Before retaliation took hold to destroy the region’s life force, a truce was soon declared for the betterment of all factions and peace settled throughout.”

Ustur Sector

Ustur [Sector]

The Ustur consist of a race of sentient robots, that have chosen to physically resemble a humanoid shape.

“Ustur cybernetic sentient beings have an origin shrouded in complex mystery. One legend tells of a Dyson sphere-powered supercomputer harnessing the energy of a magnetar class neutron star. The energy throughput allowed the installed AI to advance beyond its physical location and withdrew from the parent machine without a trace.

A millennium later, the Ustur appeared in a physicalized form through advanced softform robotics. However, none of them are able to recall their origin. But it is thought that their individual bodies contain a sliver of the original parent AI in pursuit of transcendent awakening and experiencing the universe through an organic medium.”

The Minor Factions

If there are major factions, then there have to be minor ones as well!

The non-playable factions (e.g. Jorvik, ECOS & Tufa) are often referred to as the Minor Factions and other races (like the Photoli). It will be possible to improve your reputation with these factions through quests and by completing certain tasks, but you can not select them as your faction in-game.

Some of these minor factions are home to a manufacturer of ships and associated components/modules, which may be of interest to you (see the Manufacturer section below). However, these minor factions play no role in your faction selection choice.

A Photoli

Faction Perks

All three factions come with their own perks, but these are not as exclusive as you might think at first glance!

Technological Traits

Each faction is located in a different part of space, and consequently has access to a few specific resources that can primarily be found in their territory (and surroundings). These resources are vital to constructing certain tech used on ships.

So, each faction has access to certain technology that other factions can not create that easily.

Note that the major factions do not produce ships or components themselves, it’s actually their affiliated manufacturers that are responsible for constructing these assets.

It stands to reason to assume that these technologies will be tradable via the marketplace. But, if you think that easier/cheaper access to some of these might be beneficial to your in-game exploits, it could be a reason to join the corresponding faction.

Here is the list of the technological improvements that are specific to the factions:

Ustur

  • Hull Strength
  • Maneuvering

ONI

  • Stealth
  • Scanning Distance

MUD

  • Firepower
  • Travel distance

Cultural Traits(?)

Besides the technological traits listed above, each faction has one more trait whose exact implementation remains a mystery for the moment. At first glance, this does not look to be resource-related (contrary to the others, it was never mentioned in relation to the resources) but instead could be an actual cultural trait instead. We’ll have to wait and see how this manifest itself in the game.

Below is the list of these traits:

  • Ustur — Exploratory
  • ONI — Diplomatic
  • MUD — Industrious
Ustur (‘female’) designs

Earnings

Earnings in Faction Fleet (aka SCORE) and SCREAM will work radically different from one another. Below we’ll dive a bit deeper into how both earnings work, so you can digest this information to potentially guide your faction selection process.

What is Faction Fleet?

Faction Fleet — most often referred to by its project name “SCORE” — is a module where you can enlist your ships with your faction, in exchange for which they pay you ATLAS.

Lorewise, this “game” plays out in the past, just after the Treaty of Peace has been signed, with every faction enlisting their inhabitant’s fleets to create a safe space to live (the future Security Zone).

What is SCREAM?

SCREAM (project name) is a game that will be released somewhere in Q4 2022 on the web (so playable in any modern browser). It involves real gameplay, where players will command fleets to secure starbases under the control of opponents. It will feature both PvE and PvP gameplay.

It is lore-wise positioned after SCORE, but before Star Atlas, in the time where the Security Zone has been established, and factions are now looking to secure the territory around it (the future Medium Risk Zone).

Earnings in Faction Fleet

According to the Economics Paper (p.23), the amount of ATLAS that is being rewarded to players is fixed to a curve. However, for Faction Fleet the team chose to assign fixed ATLAS emissions to each ship model. Instead of strictly adhering to the curve, they use it to guide their max emissions.

The alternative would have meant that the earnings per ship would be very volatile, changing whenever ships got enlisted or removed from Faction Fleet, which would have complicated the on-chain program quite a bit and on top of that might have confused participants.

It also meant the team knew they would possibly have to tweak those earnings downwards down the line. If they would keep selling a ton of newly released ships, with the majority of those ending up in Faction Fleet, the rewards would exceed the emissions curvem at some point. However, with the 2022 crypto market downturn, this does not look like it’ll be a problem anytime soon.

Faction plays no role in Faction Fleet

As mentioned above, within Faction Fleet (guide) every ship earns a fixed amount of ATLAS per second enlisted and has fixed costs (Fuel, Ammunition, Food & Toolkits) per second as well. It does not matter which faction you are a part of. An ONI and Ustur player who have the exact same ships enlisted will earn exactly the same (provided both keep their ships well-supplied).

In short:

Your faction has absolutely no influence on your earnings in Faction Fleet (aka SCORE).

Internals of a Busan Maiden Heart

Changes coming with SCREAM

When SCREAM (guide) comes out near the end of this year, Faction Fleet will slowly sunset (meaning that rewards will go down, and then it will end). Where you would earn for simply enlisting your ship in Faction Fleet, SCREAM will require active gameplay in order to get your part of the ATLAS rewards.

Three key changes will be implemented with regard to earnings:

  1. Passive gameplay (Faction Fleet) is no longer rewarded, you’ll need to be active to earn.
  2. The rewards will start following the curve as defined in the Economics Paper.
  3. Each faction has its own ATLAS reward pool, meaning your share of the rewards will differ based on the faction you are in.

Our SCREAM guide goes deeper into the first two aspects, but let’s dive deeper into the last point mentioned, as that might inform your faction choice.

In SCREAM your earnings (in part) depend on your faction

As originally laid out by Michael (CEO), there will be 3 equally sized, capped reward pools, one for each of the factions. This means that every faction has the exact same amount of ATLAS to reward their players with.

Though this notion was ignored in Faction Fleet, it will be implemented for SCREAM. And this has significant consequences, the gist of which is:

  1. You will earn Loyalty Points (LPs) in SCREAM by actively pursuing your faction’s interests (e.g. building/upgrading/destroying starbases)
  2. Every epoch, the LPs you’ve earned during that epoch will be compared to the total amount of LPs that players in your faction earned that epoch. Then, based on your percentual contribution, your share of the rewards will be decided. So, let’s say you contributed 2% of the total LPs earned that epoch, then you will get 2% of the ATLAS earnings from the pool reserved for your faction, for that epoch.

What does this mean? Each faction as a whole will earn the same amount of ATLAS as the two other factions. But the bigger your contribution towards your faction’s objectives, compared to the others in your faction, the bigger your reward in ATLAS. From this follows:

The faction with the least overall player activity will be the faction where you could potentially earn the most.

An example

Imagine the Ustur players racked up 1000 LPs during the last epoch. Meanwhile, your faction, the ONI, racked up 2000 LPs in the same epoch. If you earned 10 LPs, you would get (10/2000 =) 0.5% of the ONI’s ATLAS reward pool for that epoch.

If you would have accumulated the same amount of LPs, while being a member of the Ustur, you would have earned (10/1000 =) 1% instead. As the rewards pools are the same for each faction, this means you could have earned double the amount of ATLAS being part of Ustur.

Note that this is a super simplified example, just to illustrate this potential difference in earnings.

A member of the ONI

Inter-faction trade

In the future, all NFTs will be coordinate-locked. This means that when you trade them, they will remain at their virtual location within the metaverse, and they need to be physically moved to get them to the buyer. In other words, those freight ships will be very important moving forward!

Each faction will have its own, localized marketplace(s), but players with a “Faction Pass” (akin to a visa) from another faction will be able to ship goods from their faction to that faction and sell them there. It is expected that there will be some sort of import/export tax levied in the process.

This works the same for all factions, but the reason this may matter to you is that every faction has its own specialties with regard to the assets it can construct (see the Technological Traits section above). Players in other factions might be able to create the same assets, but this will likely be more difficult.

At this point in time, we are lacking most of the specifics, but we do know more about how this is related to ships!

Faction Alignment of the Manufacturers

Manufacturer Access

Most of the ship manufacturers in-game are affiliated with the major factions, some exclusively with one faction, others by two factions. You can read more on this in our guide on Blueprints & Loyalty.

The key parts from that guide that matter here are: In order to get access to the blueprints for any of the ships (required to be able to craft them), you will need to increase your standing with these manufacturers (expressed in “loyalty”) first. The higher your standing, the bigger/better the ship blueprints you will have access to.

Those blueprints are account-bound, meaning they can not be traded!

You can increase your loyalty to a manufacturer by running missions for them, or by crafting their ships. In order to do so, you first need access to them, however.

There are seven main ship manufacturers that have set up commerce in the zones governed by the CoP-factions. They have established corporate alignments across the major factions, meaning they have tied themselves to them. These alignments are evenly spread across the three factions.

Proprietary Manufacturers

Three manufacturers have firmly aligned themselves with a single major faction. They are referred to as proprietary manufacturers:

  • Pearce — aligned with MUD
  • Busan — aligned with ONI
  • VZUS — aligned with Ustur

Dual-faction Manufacturers

Then there are manufacturers who have aligned themselves with two major factions. They each have a major alignment to one faction and a minor alignment to another:

  • Calico — MUD (major) & ONI (minor)
  • Ogrika — ONI (major) & Ustur (minor)
  • Opal — Ustur (major) & MUD (minor)

The infographic above this section tries to illustrate this.

There are also some manufacturers/minor factions that everybody has the same level of access to, such as Fimbul, ECOS, BYOS, Tufa and Rainbow.

Ogrika Mik’s in action!

Manufacturer Access

By default, you only have access to manufacturers that have some affiliation with your faction (including Fimbul, which is affiliated with all three major factions). Over time you can also get access to the manufacturers that are unaffiliated to any of the major factions.

But to get access to a manufacturer that has no affiliation with your faction, you will need to acquire a Faction Pass (see Inter-faction Trade section above). This journey will be harder, and likely more costly. If you are looking to create certain ships, the faction affiliation of the manufacturers might influence your faction choice.

If you’re not looking to craft ships or components, be aware that the above of course also influences buying those ships on your faction’s marketplace. If it’s more costly to create these ships within your faction, it stands to reason those ships will also cost more to acquire.

Fimbul Mamba — Blueprint

Guilds/DACs

As we reach the end of this article, there is one last very important element that you may want to factor into your decision when deciding on a faction to join.

Like players, most guilds (or DACs — Decentralised Autonomous Corporations) choose to embrace and exist within a single faction as well. As a consequence, if you want to join a specific guild, you will have to choose the same faction as that guild has chosen, or else it will be impossible to join them.

Note: A few guilds have chosen to embrace all 3 factions — which is in “out-of-the-box”-territory — allowing you to choose any faction.

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