The inhabitants of Magalan that survived the Comet are divided into factions, few exceptions being several hunters and farmers making their living in the wilderness. Berserkers, Outlaws, Clerics and Albs have the most influence. This world is also inhabited by Alb Separatists, the Domed City where all factions try to coexist, and mindless Mutants transformed by the Elex element and attacking everyone on sight.
A common trait for all Piranha Bytes games, you’ll have to join a faction (each one with their pros and cons) to progress the story and develop your character. There are three options in ELEX: the nature-loving Berserkers, technologically advanced Clerics, and freeloading Outlaws. Just like it used to be in Gothic and Risen games, there is no “right” choice. Neither of the joinable factions is all “good”, and there is none you can call downright evil. Simply choose the faction which appeals to you and has the magic or abilities that you like.
Each faction offers different abilities to Jax. Besides, you’ll get their armour and unique upgrades for your gear: the Berserkers can enchant their swords for fire and poison damage, the Clerics can make energy upgrades for their swords, and the Outlaws can add bleeding and radiation effects. Neither faction does firmly determine your playstyle. You can still be a fearsome melee fighter if you join the Clerics, and nothing will prevent you from using technology and plasma guns if you play as a Berserker. The same is true for Outlaw chems: you can still use them anytime, even though there is an experience penalty of 50% while under effects if Jax doesn’t belong to the Outlaws.
Let’s overview all the major factions and how to find and join them.
The Berserkers Faction
The Berserkers’ Location – Edan
The Berserkers will most likely become the first faction you meet. Their city, Goliet, is not far away from Jax’ crash site, and it’d be wise to visit it to gather experience and find supplies, even if you don’t plan on joining them. The Berserkers won’t teach you magic unless you choose to be one of them, but you’ll be able to learn fighting and survival skills, so visiting Goliet is a good idea.
After the Comet nearly destroyed the planet, the Berserkers found a way to turn pure Elex into Mana. This transmuted form of Elex allows the Berserkers to cast magic and accelerate plants and trees’ growth. The Berserkers actually managed to restore some of the planet’s life: their home region, Edan, is a thriving woodland with lush meadows, cool lakes and plenty of wildlife. It’s their goal to breathe life into the whole planet.
The Berserkers despise technology because it’s against nature. They abide by their Laws, a strict set of rules that bans the use of technology and machinery. They live life the fantasy-way: building wooden houses, fighting their enemies with swords and bows, and using magic to strengthen themselves and compensate for lack of technological advancements. Of all factions the Berserkers have the purest magic, the kind you find in Gothic and Risen series: quickly healing their wounds and raining fireballs on their enemies, they are a force to reckon with.
The Berserkers collect any technology and Elex they find and bring it to their Pit for disposal. To make sure nothing disappears from there, they guard the place all the time. Later, they extract all Elex and bring it to their Mana shrine for transforming.
How to join the Berserkers
To join the Berserkers, speak with their leader Warlord Ragnar. To get in his good graces, you’ll need to complete the Departure for Foreign Lands quest, involving scouting any two of the other factions’ cities. Besides that, Jax will have to complete various side quests in Goliet to earn reputation. After you’ve done enough and brought your report on the other factions to the Warlord, you’ll be free to join and wear the Cultivator armour. The Berserkers will also teach Jax their magic.
The Clerics Faction
The Clerics’ location – Ignadon
After the Comet hit, the Clerics found refuge in the very ground zero: in the utterly destroyed, split by lava rivers and treacherous canyons wasteland of Ignadon. The Clerics may be few in numbers, but they have their machines and combat robots to compensate for it. Their citadel, the Hort, is built into a huge rock and is very well protected, the only means of reaching it is crossing the lava stream by bridge. Inside, the Hort is all sci-fi and futuristic, with combat mechs patrolling the streets.
Curiously, religion is an important thing for inhabitants of the Hort. They worship their mysterious god, Calaan, believing in his great virtue and preaching his teachings to all on Magalan. Among these teachings is the rejection of Elex consumption and a life of virtue in general. They built their great Cathedral in the Hort and various altars to honor their god. The true nature of Calaan is said to be known only to a few of the Clerics’ leaders.
The clerics plan to wage war against the Albs with their mechs and make Magalan a peaceful, technologically advanced place, bringing back the planet’s golden age. That’s where their visions don’t align with the other factions: the Berserkers won’t have Elex in any other form except Mana, and Outlaws don’t care much about side effects of their Elex chems and the planet’s fate in general.
How to join the Clerics
To join the Clerics, speak with their leader Reinhold. You’ll find him in the Cathedral of the Hort city. He’ll issue the Subversive Elements quest where you’ll need to find an Elex trader in the Hort. Completing this and other quests for different Clerics will bring you enough reputation to earn the rank of Acolyte, receiving the faction armour and the right to study Cleric PSI-powers.
The Outlaws Faction
The Outlaws’ location – Tavar
The Outlaws built their improvised Fort in the middle of the Tavar desert on a hill, making it easy to defend themselves against local wildlife and other factions. The inside of the Fort is a chaotic mess of shacks built from scraps. The Outlaws don’t have any mission: their only goal is to enrich themselves and ensure their freedom from other factions. Skilful gunslingers and scavengers by nature, they use any means necessary in combat, their unique feature is the crafting of Elex chems that make them resistant to radiation, enhance their damage, regenerate health and much more.
The Outlaws rely on a lot of firepower. They are armed with conventional rifles, grenade launchers and spearguns. Apart from Elex chems, their key feature is crafting their own weapons and ammo from scrap materials. They are also proficient in dismantling things for components.
How to join the Outlaws
To become one of the Outlaws, you’ll need to do the quest Desert Vultures: impress William, the Duke’ cousin, and earn your reputation by the other key members of the faction. This will bring you the rank of Runner and remove any penalties on using the Outlaw chems.
The Albs Faction
The Albs’ location – Xacor
Hailing from the ice desert of Xacor, the Albs are emotion-stripped killers serving the Hybrid, their mysterious leader. Their citadel is the Ice Palace, an impregnable fortress in the snowy mountains of Xacor. They originate from the Cleric faction and are entirely different in their beliefs, with their cult-like consumption of Elex: just enough to maintain their superb strength without becoming mindless mutants. However, this still comes at a great cost: the Albs are incapable of any emotion and are not much unlike their combat mechs.
Their technological advancement, coupled with consumption of Elex makes them a dire adversary for other factions. Ruthless and seemingly unstoppable, they won’t rest until they’ve conquered all of Magalan for the sake of their leader.
Can you join the Albs?
Jax used to be an experienced Alb commander before his glider crashed in Edan and all Elex went away from his body, but he can’t go back to his former people: the Albs does not tolerate failure, and accepting Jax would be against their Directive, a set of commands issued by the Hybrid to control his army. The Directive makes joining the Albs impossible, though Jax can still come to resemble them a lot if you choose so.
The Domed City location
Shielded by an energy Dome and located in the middle of Magalan, the city of Abessa can play a pivotal role in the battle against the Albs. The Dome itself is an apparent reference to the magic Barrier surrounding the Valley of Mines in Gothic games.
This is the place where all factions meet and coexist. People of many origins and of all factions can be found here under the Dome: those who don’t want to be a part of any faction or the Berserkers who found the Laws too strict to stay in Edan. The Dome itself is a Cleric project to unite the people of Magalan in the fight against the Albs. It turned out to be some kind of a social experiment: things are not running smoothly when Jax reaches the city, with revolts and conflicts looming between the Outlaws and the Clerics. Besides, many of the inhabitants fear the Alb Separatists who live in the city and would have them gone sooner rather than later.
Can you change factions in ELEX?
Whoever you choose to join, it’s impossible to leave once you’re one of them. Joining multiple factions is impossible, and you can’t switch allegiances mid-game. Bear in mind that you’ll only be able to use the abilities of the faction you choose to ally with, and only their specific gear upgrades.
Does joining a faction turn other factions against you?
Each faction has their own mission or philosophy and way of living. They don’t see eye to eye on many things: the Berserkers hate the Clerics for utilizing Elex technology, and the Outlaws only seek their own gain. Joining a faction will always result not only in benefits but trouble as well. Still, it doesn’t mean that the Clerics are going to attack Jax on sight should he choose to ally with the Berserkers. You’ll still be able to trade, and it won’t prevent you from doing some sidequests for the Clerics. Joining a faction doesn’t turn other factions against you.
You don’t have to join Berserkers if you want to play as a warrior or a mage: Jax can be just as deadly in close quarters if you go with the Clerics’ PSI-abilities and energy swords. The same goes for long-ranged combat: plasma rifles may seem superior, but at some point, enchanted bows of the Berserkers start to annihilate pretty much everything, from great trolls to combat mechs. As for the Outlaws, they would happily use anything to bring destruction to their enemies, from chainsabers to grenade launchers and flamethrowers.
Don’t forget to check on all the faction traders when you join a faction. They will have more to offer.