First off, I would like to mention that I never really enjoyed faction systems in the other MMOs I’ve played. In most cases, good standing with a certain faction was a mere necessity to get a specific item or some other reward, and with it came an almost unbearable amount of reputation grinding.
Fallen Earth does have factions, too, and there are item rewards associated with them, but somehow the whole faction system that really starts in Sector 2 is way more enjoyable to me than expected. It might be due to the fact that there are basically three factions you side with (your main faction plus its two allies) and that raising your reputation with your main faction positively influences the other two.
Having understood the basics of factions of Fallen Earth it was quite obvious to me that the anarchistic Children of the Apocalypse (CHOTA) would be my faction of choice, its two allies being the communist Vistas and the savvy Travelers:
Since the current character build I’m working towards with my melee/crafter toon includes the Empathic and Telekinesis mutation lines, I did some research on their availability. Earlier, they seemed to have been exclusive to the Lightbearers but apparently this was changed in a patch and the basics for each mutation line are freely available to members of any faction now. That was the good news… Now here comes the bad part: With the basic knowledge detached from the factions you still need to learn the different mutation skills. And guess what! These skills are still more or less restricted to the various factions. For a CHOTA seeking Empathic skills that means that there are hard times ahead since the Lightbearers are their enemies.
I’m afraid I had to find this out the hard way. If you are a Mutagenics crafter or have friends in other factions, things are not that bad, however. Just spin the faction wheel enough to get access to that faction merchant of your choice – obviously by killing members of his archenemy or enemy faction – and grab the books you need. As I said, I had to find this out the hard way after I had already sided with the CHOTA/Vistas/Travelers. Still, I found the whole experience quite enjoyable because the consequences of my actions were clearly visible. In the process of getting to friendly terms with the Lightbearers (to rob them of their precious crafting stuff) my reputation with the Travelers suffered quite a bit. By running some missions for the CHOTA and by killing a couple of them pathetic Lightbearers after their precious knowledge was in my possession, this could be easily corrected though.
Factions in Fallen Earth are an enjoyable experience to me so far. Depending on your build, your initial choices might require quite a bit of strategical thinking. So plan ahead, think about what you want to end up with and start working towards it!