A comprehensive guide to what each faction offers you, how to court them and why attacking them is a bad idea.
Guide to Factions
Each of the three factions of the game have three main tiers of friendship for you to work through.
When you reach first base with a faction, they reveal all their havens; when you reach second base, they give you all the tech they have researched (instantly), and when you reach third base, they let you research their new research projects with them (non-instantly), to hurry them along to the endgame.
The main two hurdles that we care about are getting to first base with all the factions and getting to second base with the factions that most compliment your play-style.
The reason getting to first base with all the factions is so important is fourfold:
Discovering all the havens takes a lot of work out of exploring, as you always know that any new location you explore will be something other than a haven.
Acquiring all these travel points makes it a lot easier to travel the world map, which you need to do while following the trail left behind by Randolph Symes across the continents and eventually to the arctic. One thing to bear in mind is that if your flight path would have you stop at a haven that you have a little blue question mark next to, go straight to that haven and stop. The timer stops when your aircraft do, so no time is lost, and sometimes stopping manually at a haven (for the first time) activates an event that can give you more resources and faction rep.
New recruits, while you can acquire them from the recruitment window, come pre-equipped (with guns and armour outside of Hero difficulty, and armour outside of Legend) when recruited from havens, letting you save time and resources on building new kit, while also giving you much better equipment to use than the starting Phoenix kit.
Lastly, and most importantly, you want to have an aircraft, empty, flying around as fast as possible all game long trading as many resources as you can with these havens. It’s a fast, easy, risk-free way of generating resources, as the havens always trade more units for fewer… sort of. Tech trades 10 for 2 and 2 for 12 of either Food or Materials, while Materials trade 4 for 6 with Food, one way round or the other (on average, individual havens may vary. The important thing is that trade generates a profit).
In order to explain the next hurdle, we’re going to have to get specific. Let’s start with.
The Disciples of Anu: The Melee Mutant Food Faction
Anu gives you some much better benefits than the other factions do.
For starters, reaching second base with them gives you the ability to create your own food, both from food producing facilities in your bases and from harvesting food from captured pandorans.
They also give two classes, the priest and the berserker, while both other factions only give one class. The priest comes with some very strong abilities and the berserker’s melee weapon arsenal is highly useful if you also bring Synedrion into the polycule.
The big one though, is that Anu is the only faction that cares about mutation. A whole aspect of the game is restricted to people who get the mutation tech, either willing given by, or forcefully taken from, the disciples.
Anu is also a good faction to carry to endgame, because they are the only faction that send you into the final battle with additional support. Really, they’re just so kind and sweet. A shame you kinda have to commit some morally dubious actions for their faction missions.
Anu, like New Jericho, have 5 core faction missions: The Poison within, the second invitation, the fourth invitation, the sixth invitation, and that one where they have a civil war.
Poison within is really easy (if you aren’t playing on Legend, but then nothing is easy on Legend) as you just have some worms to kill, and they drop like flies to gun bashing and grenades.
Second invite is just “kill some human bandits”. Nothing too hard there.
Fourth invite is tough. You’ll be up against New Jericho heavys and snipers, and the heavys have back mounted rockect launchers. Use a heavy with war cry to take two action points away from these enemies, to prevent them from using their 3 action point costing weapons for a turn, but watch out for them rockets, as they cost one action point and hold two shots (they can only be fired once a turn.)
Sixth invite is easier; you kill some Synedrion units. An aspida or two may be there, but if you’re building your team well, it should be little more than a speed-bump for you.
Civil war is also fairly easy. Lots of psychic enemies there, but mind control only works at close range, so just snipe them down. Most of them have fairly low HP (or did the last time I played the mission; they may have re-balanced it since then).
New Jericho: The Robotic Racist Material Faction
NJ is the weakest faction, IMO. They give you the worst benefits, but that shouldn’t discourage you from repping up as high as you can with them. They still give good stuff, just not as good.
Their class is the technician, a vehicle specialist in a game where vehicles are literally worse than worthless; a dedicated healer in a game where there exists no real reason why you can’t have everybody carrying a medkit at all times; a gun turret deployer in a game where… okay, I got nothing bad to say about the gun turrets; they’re actually pretty choice. Still, most of the abilities these guys have are just hot wet garbage, and their go-to gun is just a crappy AR. Easily the weakest class in the game.
Their tech is mostly concerned with robotics, which you can get from either them or Synedrion (NJ give the worse robotics options). Still, there are some diamonds in the rough. Their fire based grenade is a fantastic area suppression tool, as the fire it creates damages enemies that try to walk through it, allowing you to use one to pin down a Siren, which can only attack in melee range. They also give you the best heavy weapon in the game; a mighty minigun that Scylla have nightmares about.
You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned the aircraft that each faction give you, and that’s because they’re all more or less the same. NJ’s has one more crew slot than Phoenix’s and moves slower, and also has more HP (which basically never comes up and is irrelevant), but really, an aircraft is an aircraft is an aircraft.
If you have two, you can send both to one spot, and once both are there, you can deploy troops from both of them into one mission, so even with the 5 troop carrying Synedrion craft you can still deploy the maximum of 9 for the last mission. Just make sure they both do get there, as the first one will try to start the mission early. I tend to just have 2 Phoenix craft for a full campain, so it makes no difference to me what craft each faction gives, since I never use ’em.
Anyway, tangent over; faction missions:
- The dreamers awaken is the hardest starting faction mission because they shoot you when you shoot them! Yeah, break their right or left arm and they can neither shoot you on their turn or your own.
- The next mission is you VS some pandorans. Shouldn’t be super tricky, but try to go slow and steady if it’s giving you grief.
- Same deal with the mission after that, really. Just kill the enemies on the map and then activate the vehicle after they’re all dead.
- The fourth mission is straight out of Satan’s anus. You have to protect this highly killable NPC from an entire gang of Synedrion bastards, many of whom can apply paralysis. If one of those paralyses your NPC, they’ll lose all their action points and you’ll have to wait for them to slowly stagger across the finish line, long, long, long after all the nerds are dead. It’s nightmarishly boring.
- The fifth and final core faction mission is cool as hell. You have a pitched battle in the main NJ base and the faction leader, Mr “I don’t hate mutants, I’m just asking questions!” even shows up and demonstrates why he should never be allowed on a battlefield, with his crappy little handgun and piss poor aim.
Synedrion: The Communist Scientific Tech Faction
Synedrion give lots of fun little bonuses, and have some of the coolest tech in the game. They have loads of faction missions.
The class they give you is the infiltrator; by far the strongest of the four faction classes. These sneaky gits can slink about and reek havoc on enemies of every shape and size with their bag of tricks, and it’s ♥♥♥ fun to do so. They pair well with most other classes, and if you get one with the “Thief” additional ability, they’re basically permanently invisible. They make great scouts, great dps’s, and you should SEE the hell you can raise with an infiltrator/assault that has “ready for action”, “spider pack” and a backpack chock full of spider pistol ammo.
The tech you get from ‘Ned upgrades your base facilities, increasing your power output and letting you establish a mist-repelling shield around each of your bases (or you could go climate restoration, if you’re a dork). They also have access to a sniper rifle and assault rifle which are strict, flat upgrades over the stock Phoenix options, as well as paralytic handguns and sniper rifles, which are really, really strong against heavily armoured targets and Mind-controlled Phoenix operatives who you can’t un-mind control that turn.
The hard part of the sell for the nerds at ‘Ned is their faction missions:
- Enter Synedrion, stage left is a mission that appears easy, until you realise that laser pistols cost one action point to fire and have damn good aim. If you play carelessly, you can easily lose an assault to this mission on higher difficulties. Fortunately, there’ll always be a building above where your team spawns in, and hiding within forces the frail enemies to run into your overwatch cones if they want to hit you.
- The next mission changes based on whether you picked Mist or climate, but either way, it’s a fairly easy “Kill all the pandorans” mission, with one of the two requiring you to plant some seeds after you’re done.
- Mission 3.1 is a simple kill ’em all and then interact with the do-hicky mission, but after that’s done you have the pirate king mission. Jesus christ, this mission the last time I played it. I can only hope they’ve patched that ♥♥♥’s flamethrower since then, because ♥♥♥, if it hits you, you just die. You just die and there ain’t ♥♥♥ you can do about it. Break Abbdon’s arm or lose a teammate or seven. Aside from that, this mission is unique in that it’s the only time you gain a base as a faction mission prize.
- Mission 4 is fairly easy as far as I recall. Again, just take it slow and steady.
- 5 is a major base defence mission. Lots of danger, lots of carnage, lots of fun. Not a whole lot to say, really. It’s kinda generic in it’s “semi-final mission” feel.
How to Rep Up Quickly
There’s 3 main ways you can gain faction rep:
- Save havens from attack by the Pandorans, the Pure and the Foreskin. (that’s not a typo; they ugly mothers).
- Destroy the bases of the Pandorans. (you get 5 for each faction for a level 1, 10 for a level 2 and 15 for a level 3).
- Do missions from the diplomacy tab where you attack the factions for the other factions. (Not recommended).
The other way to gain faction rep, which you’ll mostly do in the early game, is adopting their politics when making choices.
Anu like religious freedom, destroying the old world, and preserving weird ♥♥♥.
NJ like people who don’t disagree with them, destroying weird ♥♥♥, and preserving the old world.
‘Ned like communism, humanity (in the touchy feely sense, not the two arms, two legs, not a mutant sense) and scientific debate.
You can gain small point gains for each faction by making choices they agree with, and doing so is a good way to make it to first base. Bond over shared interests, like any new relationship. Once you’ve got the havens found, though, the main source of point gains is method one. Savin’ Hav’ns is good for trade, good for rep, lets you find enemy bases to destroy for even more rep, and comes with very few inherent downsides.
Attacking havens is bad for rep for the faction that you are attacking, and often a lot more dangerous. Yes, it’s slower to go without, but you’ve got plenty of time to win the campain. I often make it to the final mission with about 55% of the doomsday clock left, and that’s on Hero difficulty. Take it slow and steady, and always put rep above resources, where you can.