“…set in the year 2620. The universe has been colonized, and balkanized. Three factions split control, while somewhere in the deepest, most dangerous sector of space, something extremely valuable lurks. These 3 Star Atlas factions are: MUD , ONI and USTUR…”

So the Star Atlas plot goes.

With just shy of a hundred thousand players to have joined up with a faction in the Star Atlas metaverse, one cannot help but wonder which faction has the upper hand when the time to compete comes. In fact, choosing the “right” faction is the first, and probably the hardest, decision a Star Atlas player needs to make when joining the game.

Your decision for what faction you choose will be permanent as it cannot be changed at any stage of the game – you are eternally bonded to it. Any decision you make after this will be in contribution to whatever faction you’ve chosen. And just like your decisions going forward will be affected by the faction you’ve chosen; that faction will also influence your in-game experience.

Each faction has different qualities

For one, your in-game character will look different to those of other factions. But choosing a character was about the easiest thing in choosing a faction wasn’t it? Because from then on things get tricky.

For instance,

the MUD faction boasts a prowess in diplomacy, which could give it favorable outcomes when it comes to negotiating. MUD also has the advantage in distant astronautical travel (travel distance) and ballistics technology (firepower) due its proximity to the resources that produce such technologies.

On the other hand,

the USTUR faction is said to have transcended every observable spiritual plane, making it conscious to many other sources of information beyond the physical realm. As a member of Ustur you’re also privy to rare minerals vital in the formation of highly nimble thruster tech (ship maneuvering) and top tier hull reinforcing pipelines (hull strength).

Last, but not least,

ONI is made up of different species which, after a total wartime extinction of an ally, united under a strategic united pact. This pact resulted in the construction of a breakthrough weapon of war. As such, the ONI faction has the advantage when it comes to advanced stealth and radar technologies. With its region covering an area with densely clustered raw materials to forge such technologies.

A game of rock, paper, scissors

All of these different traits for each of the different factions makes Star Atlas’ combat or strategy gameplay somewhat of a game of rock, paper, scissors – where one faction has an advantage over only one other faction.

However, just like the game of rock, paper, scissors, having a human element makes things even more interesting because you can always try and anticipate the others’ (opponents’) next moves and come up with a strategy that counters them. In this way, the strategic game also lends itself to familiarity with the game of chess where the further steps ahead you can see, the better.

Regardless of whatever strategy or upper hand one faction thinks they have over the others, players within the Star Atlas metaverse will forever be in battle with each other over resources, wealth, and power. The only thing likely to change is who gets to dominate for the time being.

Choose your moves wisely!

Keep in mind that Star Atlas is an ever-developing game, and as the gameplay unfolds in real-time so too will its mechanics. Even things like faction traits could evolve over. Eventually, the players, particularly the Polis token holders, will be in charge of making all the decisions surrounding Star Atlas’ development – in the best interest of the game (economy, governance, etc.) and the players.

In Part 2, next week, I’ll be discussing which faction currently has a dominant position over the others. Also, whether the advantage one faction has over the others is enough to tip the dominance scales in their favor and under what circumstances.

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