Today, we talk more in-depth about how missions and factions interact. Factions make up the prime movers of civilized life, and are the sources of standard missions. Although missions have rewards in their own right, raising reputation with a faction is also a powerful reward for players seeking to get ahead in city life.
Feuding Factious Factions
The larger towns become, the more factions they have, dividing the town population in thought and priorities. Some factions are simply job-related, like all the woodworkers in a union, or “the government” of the mayor, representing all the loyal followers and civil servants. Others are based upon divides between the population, like religious differences. Others are powerful families and dynasties of powerful individuals in the political, military, and/or financial sector. Individual citizens may belong to more than one faction, although their loyalty determines who they listen to the most.
Some factions are opposed for obvious reasons: Two rival families run their favored sons for office, and vie for power. If a city has a large enough population to support it, organized criminals may start a faction that inherently are opposed to factions of law enforcers. (Of course, if the mayor and the police commissioner are on the take…)
Other factions may have more fluid opposition to one another: After seeing a growing military threat from a rival culture, the general decides to pull guards out of clearing the mines of dangerous creatures, and blocking off further mining, so that extra soldiers can be put into the military. This outrages the mining corporations/guilds/unions, who don’t want to see their business shut down or members go without work.
Consider the Source
There may be a price to pay for simply taking any mission that comes your way: Raising your reputation with one faction may hurt your reputation with another. Help the guards frequently, and you won’t endear yourself to the criminal underworld. Even aside from missed opportunities for different kinds of quests, there may be a price to pay if you attract too much negative attention from powerful and potentially violent factions. Still, a clever enough player may be able to find a way to keep their good relations with both sides of a conflict. A diplomatic merchant might both flatter the proper authorities and covertly help out or pay off the criminal element enough to let their business go unimpeded.
There’s also the factor of whether or not you care about what happens to a town. Some factions just plain don’t want what’s best for the town. If you really do help the criminals run the town, it’s unlikely they will be good stewards, and the consequences may be far-reaching. For that matter, is the duly elected mayor really a good steward of the town? Are the legitimate businesses? At what point does political dissent hurt a town (and weaken its ability to defend against outside threats) more than it helps? Is there no alternative to living with an abusive mayor if we want to have enough communal unity to keep the hostile outside forces from overrunning the town?
By taking missions for different factions, you advance their agendas, and may eventually catapult one to a position of enough power to change the existing power structure. You can throw the old mayor out on his/her ear, and get someone else put in charge. The personality of the leader affects the whole demeanor of the town, and what its objectives are, so you can turn a warlike expansionist culture into a technocratic one with a well-orchestrated coup.
Of course, if you attract enough reputation with the factions you help make powerful, you, yourself, can be that leader, or at least, be the kingmaker and power behind the throne, if the dirty games of backroom politics attracts you more than the actual office itself.
– The Imagine Nations Team
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