The information below is largely derived from an article by Star Atlas’ Chypto and information he shared on Discord, the most recent Townhall, and the Townhall After Party on Twitter.
Since the release of the original white paper, discussions have been running rampant on how exactly ship-building is going to work within the game. This article won’t provide all the answers — most information is still unknown — but instead builds on the information released so far to detail the first thing you need to know if you want to become a ship-builder: How to obtain blueprints.
In Star Atlas, besides requiring a shipyard, the relevant supporting structures, and the necessary materials, there is one more thing you need before you can start your career in ship-building and that is a blueprint.
Like in the real world, without blueprints one can not reliably, repeatedly and in an automated fashion construct complicated designs.
All of the ship manufacturers in-game can be convinced to allow you to construct their ships in their stead. In other words, they are willing to offer you their blueprints, but they’re not handing them out to just anyone.
In order to persuade them to hand you a copy of these highly coveted blueprints, you will need to get in a manufacturer’s good graces. To get there, you will have to prove that both your interests are aligned and/or that you’re supporting them. In in-game terms, you will need to gain loyalty (aka reputation) with them, before they judge you worthy of building ships with their logo on them. The more loyalty you accumulate, the better the blueprints you can get (or possibly: buy) from them.
Accruing loyalty won’t be possible for quite some time, so keep in mind that the gameplay described in this section won’t come live in 2022.
There are two in-game activities that will improve your standing with a manufacturer:
- By completing missions they offer you
- By turning their blueprints into actual ships
Buying a manufacturer’s blueprints for a specific ship does not guarantee that you can construct the ship right away. You will always be able to build the very first (XXS) ship a manufacturer offers you the blueprints for. But before you can move on to more complicated blueprints, you will first need to have obtained the proper skill level associated with building ships.
Your skill level will increase through the construction of ships, so it will take some time and resources before you will be able to move on. Only if your skill exceeds a certain level, will you be able to turn more advanced blueprints into actual ships.
It’s important to note that your shipbuilding skill level is manufacturer agnostic! In other words, you have a single skill that determines how good you are at building ships, instead of having a skill per manufacturer. This implies that if you are skilled, you will be able to skip over a different manufacturer’s entry-level blueprints allowing you to create more advanced ships right away.
Unlike what you might expect, blueprints won’t be available as tradable NFTs. Instead, once bought they will become account-bound properties. This means that they are forever associated with your Solana account, and can not be removed (let alone sold).
The reason for this is obvious. If someone accrues enough loyalty to buy a blueprint NFT, then nothing would stop that person from selling it and buying more. This would lead to everyone else being able to bypass the whole process of accruing loyalty. Instead, they could just buy their way into shipbuilding, which is clearly not desirable for the sake of the economy.
Gaining loyalty is key to getting more blueprints, but that is not yet the full picture. When you enter the game, you will not be able to just pick a manufacturer, start doing missions for them, and earn their blueprints.
The faction you are a part of determines how easily you can gain access to certain manufacturers’ blueprints. To that end, let’s first have a look at the factions that are relevant to building ships, and subsequently dive into how manufacturer’s faction alignment plays a key role in determining how to accrue loyalty with them.
Since the ship manufacturers are aligned with the various factions in the game (more on that in the next section), it is important to first understand which factions there are, and how they relate to one another.
Upon registering a new Star Atlas account, you will need to select the faction you want to join, your options being the MUD, the ONI, or the Ustur. These three factions are considered the major factions in the game.
Once upon a time, these factions waged a brutal war, which finally ended 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].
The faction you choose to join will determine how easy it will be to obtain blueprints from certain ship manufacturers. Or at least, how easy this will be in the future when the relevant game modules have been launched. At the moment of writing, there is absolutely no way to build ships yet.
Next to the three major factions, there are three minor factions that we currently know about. Contrary to the Council factions, these are not available to you when registering an account and as a result, you can never truly become a part of them. However, you can accrue loyalty with them!
The relevant minor factions we are currently aware of are:
- The Jorvik — A faction of outlaws and pirates plaguing the medium and high-risk zones
- The ECOS — A faction of radicals who terraform via bombings in the medium and high-risk zones
- The TUFA — A faction of metagenic creatures, also dubbed the scourge of the cataclysm
Jorvik & ECOS
The Jorvik and ECOS are militant groups that have both been banished from COP territory and have subsequently reorganized themselves outside of the confines of the Council’s security zone. If you head into the medium-, or high-risk zones, you might encounter them, in which case they will likely try to blow you up.
The TUFA are mysterious rock beings, so-called metagenic creatures, that have close ties to the Cataclysm that surrounds the planet Iris (aka the diamond planet). At this point, we don’t know much more about them, except that they can be found in the high-risk zone.
There is one more “faction” out there: the Photoli. The Photoli are an ancient race of light-based creatures and the source of extremely advanced technology. They can be found throughout the galaxy and have their own mysterious agenda.
Besides not being a faction (they are a race), they are not minor either. The Photoli play a big role in the history of the galaxy and are directly responsible for the human race exchanging Earth for the stars.
Major Faction Alignment
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.
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
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)
Fimbul is an interesting case. It is the only manufacturer that is aligned equally with all three Council factions. Its base ships are considered entry-level, and the team’s thinking at the moment is that you do not need loyalty in order to buy their blueprints.
For these reasons, as Fimbul is available to all, it is considered to be the base manufacturer in the game.
The above is important because it defines clear boundaries within which you are able to improve your standing. As a member of one of the Council factions (be it MUD, ONI, or Ustur), you have direct access to missions allowing you to accrue loyalty with:
- the proprietary manufacturer within your faction
- the manufacturer that has a major alignment with your faction
- the manufacturer that has a minor alignment with your faction
- Fimbul — as this manufacturer is available to all without having the requirement to accrue loyalty
As you might imagine, gaining loyalty for the manufacturer that has a minor alignment to your faction will go slower than for the one that has a major alignment.
The picture below depicts all of this visually (focus on the central safe zone). For example, here you can see that members of MUD are able to directly accrue loyalty with the Pearce, Opal, Calico, and Fimbul manufacturers:
Though your faction dictates to which manufacturers you’ll have easy access upon registering your account, this does not mean the other main manufacturers are forever out of reach.
The game will offer you a way to obtain faction passes. These passes function a little like real-world visas, allowing you to visit another factions’ territory and trade with them. More importantly, in this case, a faction pass will allow you to accept and complete missions for the manufacturers that are aligned to that faction.
Like blueprints, faction passes will be account-bound. What’s more, a faction pass only provides access to a single faction. If you want access to both major factions you are not part of, you will need to get two of these.
As an aside: Those who participated in the Rebirth campaign might have received Faction Pass NFT’s as part of their reward. It is not yet clear if these will be burned upon use, or morphed into something completely different (like with what happened to the Pilot/Captain’s license).
Other Faction Alignment
As can be seen in the image above, there are four more manufacturers, that have aligned themselves with the minor factions/races. Though in this case, it is more appropriate to state that these 4 factions have each “set up” their own proprietary manufacturer. These manufacturers are more or less intertwined with the factions they are a part of:
- Fimbul BYOS — owned by Jorvik
- Fimbul ECOS — owned by ECOS
- TUFA — owned by TUFA
- Rainbow — owned by Photoli
With the 7 main manufacturers, you need to earn loyalty with them directly, instead of through the factions they are aligned with. With these 4 manufacturers however that line is blurred as they are more or less faction-owned. This means you will need to earn loyalty with the 4 associated factions/races in this case.
Gaining loyalty with the factions outside of the safe zone is not as easy as walking up to a mission giver, accepting the mission, and launching your fleet. From the outset, the minor factions are hostile towards you. That means you first will have to find a way to appease them before you’ll be allowed to prove your worth.
For those of you who’ve played other MMORPGs, this might sound familiar.
Pure speculation: While you are on a mission outside of the safe zone, perhaps you suddenly encounter a Jorvik pirate’s distress signal. If you choose to help this individual out, you’ve earned yourself a friend and an entry point into their missions.
Jorvik & ECOS
The Jorvik and ECOS are militant groups that have both been banished from COP territory and have reorganized themselves outside of the confines of the Council’s security zone. If you head into the medium-, or high-risk zones, you might encounter them and no doubt get attacked on sight.
If you manage to initiate peaceful contact and start accumulating loyalty with one of them, they will grow less hostile towards you, allowing you to have one less worry when leaving your faction’s security zone.
Through the Jorvik, you can gain access to Fimbul BYOS blueprints, whereas the ECOS can give you blueprints for the Fimbul ECOS-line of ships.
An interesting aspect here is that the two factions are in conflict with one another. They are each other’s nemesis. This might directly influence your ability to accrue loyalty, as gaining loyalty with one will most likely prohibit you from gaining loyalty with the other.
Potentially even more important: Aligning yourself with one of these contraband factions might also influence your standing with your own major faction. This could even reach a point where you have effectively become an outlaw, resulting in the Council of Peace’s security attacking you on sight.
At first sight, it might look strange that the Jorvik and ECOS factions somehow have exclusive access to specific Fimbul blueprints. But the ECOS and BYOS can be thought of as recycled and stolen tech, with which the banished factions have created their own unique lines.
This faction of metagenic aliens is very hostile by default, but once you pass initiation and start accruing loyalty, you will get access to blueprints for the ship-line that carries their own name: The TUFA ships.
The Photoli race is something else entirely. They are present throughout the galaxy, seemingly not restricted by the major faction’s security zones. Gaining loyalty with them requires completing their missions, and allows you to buy the rarest blueprints of all, those for the Rainbow ship-line. Unlike the minor factions, there is no initiation required. However, how and where you can get these missions remains a mystery!
Hopefully, this article made it clear how to accumulate blueprints. The next topic of interest will be where to mine the raw resources required for each of the manufacturer’s ships. More info on this will appear in a different article, but for now, you can find information on this in the original Faction Aligned Companies by Star Atlas’ Chypto.