War never changes, but the combatants do. If post-apocalyptic fiction has taught us anything, it’s that mutated creatures, zombies, and a nuclear winter are not enough to stop people from forming tribes and engaging in conflicts. One of the most important role-playing elements in Fallout 4 is the factions system. As in previous Fallout games, there are different organizations and societies that can be interacted with, fought with, and allied with during your journeys.
There are four major factions in Fallout 4. They are The Minutemen, The Brotherhood of Steel, The Railroad, and The Institute. At its heart, the Fallout series is an RPG series. Your choice of factions will reflect the sort of character you are playing, whether it be good, evil, or somewhere in between. You’ll find that the factions in Fallout 4 don’t tend to be overtly good or evil. They definitely lean one way or the other, but they all have their pros and cons.
Do You Need to Join a Faction?
Joining factions is not required to play the game, so the true “Lone Wanderers” out there need not fret. However, you will have to join a faction at some point if you wish to finish the main questline. In addition to this, there are many perks to joining factions.
Every faction has a series of quests that can be completed for them. While these quests are not necessary to completing the game, they do offer interesting storylines and experiences. Also, there are multiple endings to the game, and the faction you end the game with will partially determine which ending you wind up with.
There are also tangible benefits to becoming a member of a faction. Some factions offer flare guns that can be used to call in backup for times when you feel outgunned. There will be equipment that can only be obtained by joining the factions or by completing quests for them. Sometimes the equipment will be given to you, and sometimes it will have to be purchased. Much of it is quite valuable, such as early game power armor and large weapon caches. Also, some of the various companions in the game will be made available to you by joining their faction.
How do you join factions?
Every faction will have a unique method of becoming a member, but it will usually involve completing quests for them. For example, early in your travels you will encounter a town being besieged by raiders. If you decide to help defend the town, you will meet The Minutemen. After completing some quests for them you will be invited to join them. You should have little trouble finding the factions. If you follow the main questline, you will come across them all eventually.
It is important to consider that you can cause a faction to become hostile towards you. This is primarily accomplished by either killing members of that faction or by aligning yourself with one of their rivals. You don’t have to stress too much before you have made your choice though. Talking to The Brotherhood of Steel will not immediately cause The Railroad to declare you an enemy. They will only turn against you once have fully aligned yourself with an enemy faction. You can feel free to interact with each of them and pick your favorite later on. Also, The Minutemen are not directly at war with the other factions, so joining them will not cause conflicts with other factions until the end of the game.
Which Faction Should You join?
Now that you know how the factions work in Fallout 4, you may want to learn more about them. There are short summaries of them below where you will find links to more in-depth guides about each one.
The Minutemen will probably be the first faction you encounter in the game. They are a ragtag militia group that concerns itself with improving The Commonwealth and rebuilding society. Their appearance resembles the Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War.
The Railroad is dedicated to liberating synths from the dangers and prejudices imposed on them by others in the Commonwealth. They don’t operate out in the open, instead residing in a hidden base. They are comparable to the Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves get to freedom during the 1800’s.
The Brotherhood of Steel is a military faction that is infatuated with pre-war technology and military equipment. They adhere to a moral code and genuinely do want to protect people. However, they also want to eradicate mutants, ghouls, and especially synths.
The Institute is a secret organization that is not revealed until late in the game. I won’t offer massive spoilers here. The short version is that they are an organization working with advanced technology to rebuild humanity.