One of the most long-awaited changes coming in our full release version will be an overhaul of the faction system and everything related to it: missions and events, reputation system, faction-specific perks and rewards… There’s a lot we want to write about, so we’re going to go over the upcoming faction overhaul in not one but three posts.
We’ll be shedding some light on all the overhauled systems and new content as well as the various factions. Who are they really? Let’s start with the perhaps obvious one: the Europa Coalition, the governing body of Europa.
The Coalition began as a trade agreement between two prominent settlements roughly a century before the events of Barotrauma, at a time when exonationalism, or the belief that Europa was no mere colony but an independent world, was coming about and gaining popularity. The leaders of these pro-Europan settlements pooled their resources and hired paramilitary groups to defend their investments and trade routes, funneling currency and power to where they needed them the most.
The Coalition expanded their reach, allying with friendly settlements and taking over other ones which were not equally keen on joining. Soon enough, they controlled most of the important trade routes and industry on Europa and were well on their way to becoming the de facto government of the moon. Their goal: to see Europa come into its own, without Earth’s oversight.
“Those people just don’t get it. We’ve reached a point where this isn’t just a couple of research stations where people come to work for a year or two. This is our home now”– Mr. May, proud father of the first human born on Europa
A few decades later, after contact with Earth was suddenly lost and Europan society threatened to fall into complete chaos, the Coalition’s established system of trade and governance became even more important. Legislation developed by the Coalition, such as the Resource Balancing and Control Act, further cemented their rule by regulating trade with settlements which opposed the Coalitions’ ideology.
The noble goal of the Coalition is to keep Europa safe and preserve humanity in an age where Earth has gone silent and there might be no motherworld to return to. Keeping the peace comes with its complications, however, and when the situation demands it, the Coalition will not shy away from using force. It has the military prowess to protect its citizens from horrible monsters, dangerous anarchists, and religious zealots. This has led to the Coalition gaining staunch supporters as well as sworn enemies – most notably the Jovian Separatists.
“It’s taken us decades of literal blood and sweat to shape this place into what it is now”– Herbert May, first Captain of Foreign Affairs of the Europa Coalition
Over the years, the Coalitions’ power and influence have become extensive. The Coalition, led by a handful of elected Captains, controls trade and manufacturing and acts as the pillar of civil society on Europa. They believe firm control is needed, as the environment and social and political tensions pose ever-growing threats. Someone has to be in charge, and the Coalition has proven itself strong enough to bear the burden of power.
Faction overhaul: outposts and reputation
While the Coalition’s rule is strong, it’s not absolute, and they don’t control all the outposts of Europa: with the faction overhaul, the Jovian Separatists get their own settlements. The Separatist outposts being entirely new, we decorated them to show some of the wear and tear of living in a state of constant conflict, and to contrast them with the Coalition outposts that we all know and love. (The husk and clown factions also have their own little corners of the world, and we’ll write more about those in a later post.)
There are new faction-specific events and missions that can only trigger in the corresponding factions’ outposts, such as rescue missions which require you to travel into hostile territory, as well as various events and missions that reveal more about each faction’s story and goals.
Another big part of the faction overhaul is a reworked reputation system. One of the big flaws of how reputation has worked until now was that you invariably had to move on from a place after spending time and effort to make a name for yourself there. We’ve now removed outpost reputation entirely, and instead, your faction reputation serves as your reputation wherever you go. This simplifies the reputation system, makes faction reputation more impactful, and allows you to make choices that affect your campaign over a longer duration, when reputation is no longer bound to any one location.
Reputation determines a number of things you may encounter, benefit, or suffer from: A good Coalition officer may find that certain merchants loyal to the government will offer them special wares, for instance. All outposts have vendors aligned with the outpost’s controlling faction; these special vendors only become available if your reputation with their faction is high enough.
The reputations of opposing factions are mutually exclusive in most cases, so be prepared to lose your good standing with one when you help another. Just like having a high reputation with a faction brings with it some perks, having a low reputation may also result in interesting encounters.
Finally, the faction overhaul introduces two paths from each biome to the next, one controlled by the Coalition and the other by the Separatists. Now you can choose a side and stick with it to the bitter end. Whose torch will you carry?