The noob's guide to Fallout: New Vegas factions – how to tell allies from enemies

Las Vegas is a tough town. Everyone wants your money, and damned few are going to ask for it nicely. Even in 2280, a couple centuries after the old world was destroyed by nuclear holocaust, not much has changed. Those found wandering alone or trying to toe both sides of a line may soon find themselves in a hasty and shallow grave.

In order to survive, one must pick a side. But which side? Whom can you trust? How will we choose if we don’t know the difference? Simple – just read on and absorb the wisdom of this beginner’s guide. It’s thick at times, but it’ll get you through the wasteland unscathed…ish.

The Enclave

Appears in: Fallout 2, Fallout 3

History: During the Cold War, the fear of communism triggered the establishment of the Enclave, one of several ‘off the books’ government agencies designed for the express purpose of preserving American ideological “purity.” These shadow agencies were allowed a very large degree of freedom to enforce their cultural policies, including banning ice cream socials (Because, in the eyes of the Enclave, ‘social’ = ‘socialism’, and socialism = communism: lite).

When the Great War began and ended on October 23rd, 2077, the Enclave suddenly found itself free of petty concepts like ‘ethics laws’, ‘constitutions’, or ‘morals’. It could now pursue its plan for American cultural purity with impunity. However, the America the Enclave found after the war was very different than the one it had hoped to find. When a manufacturing facility for the Forced Evolutionary Virus (which had not yet been perfected) was struck by a nuclear warhead, the force was such that the virus was actually integrated with the Earth’s atmosphere. This meant that every living creature was now having its genes modified with each breath it took. While some species, like humans (for whom the virus was designed), were changed relatively little; others, like the horseshoe crab, were radically altered.

The Enclave decided the best course of action would be to ‘start over’, and planned to create a new virus that would target and kill subjects of the old virus. This would mean anything left would be pre-war ‘pure’, and thus fit to exist. The Enclave first attempted to launch the virus into the atmosphere, but these plans were thwarted by the Chosen One (Fallout 2’s main character). A later, similar plan to introduce the virus into the Washington DC water supply was foiled by the Lone Wanderer (Lead character of Fallout 3).

Role in Fallout New Vegas: After three successive defeats (the final being the destruction of its mobile base at Adams AFB), the Enclave has lost much of its potency and has likely split into independent chapters, similar to the Brotherhood of Steel. It is unknown whether the Enclave will appear in New Vegas, but Sin City always has a way of attracting the nefarious. And they don’t make them much more nefarious than the Enclave.

The New California Republic (NCR)

Appears in: Fallout 2

History: Perhaps the largest proper nation in the wastes, the NCR boasts a population of 700,000+ as of 2250. Originally founded by escapees of Vault 13 and 15, its government is similar –though more loose - than the United States that preceded it. The capitol of the NCR, formerly a tiny village known as Shady Sands, was able to rise to power due in large part to the Vault Dweller – also known as the first Fallout’s main character – who removed the threat of radscorpion and raider assaults. Shady Sands was thus enabled to boom unchallenged and was eventually reorganized into the capitol city of the New California Republic.

The NCR is one of the few examples of law, order, and ethics prevailing in the wastes. Slavery is strictly outlawed within the Republic, and women, ghouls, and even super mutants are allowed citizenship and government postings. Each NCR ‘state’ contributes elected representatives to a central ‘council’, which is headed by a President.

Above: Tandi, first NCR President, first woman President, and first President for life 

The NCR actually has its own currency (still trading in bottle caps after 200 years seemed kind of silly) which is backed by water. The NCR’s currency was originally backed by gold; however the Brotherhood of Steel destroyed the NCR’s gold reserves when the two factions went to war. While the Brotherhood is far superior to the NCR in terms of technology, the NCR has the advantage of numbers and a strong propaganda campaign to replenish those numbers.

The NCR’s military is comprised of several divisions; including mechanized infantry and even cavalry. However, the most glamorous posting in the NCR military is undoubtedly the New California Rangers. These Special Forces are government sanctioned do-gooders (similar to the Regulators from Fallout 3), primarily focused on busting up slaver rings and raider gangs. The Rangers don’t believe in borders, and their reputation often leads to bounties on their heads within less ethical territories.

Role in Fallout New Vegas: The NCR is currently in contest with Caesar’s Legion, a highly organized slaver group (and long-time rival) over the Nevada Mojave region. The NCR also commands the Hoover Dam and leases power and drinking water to the New Vegas strip. Furthermore, given that NCR’s nemesis, the Brotherhood of Steel, has been revealed as a presence in New Vegas, we can expect heated conflicts between the two.


  • Dementiev - October 18, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    NCR always since the first game to the last plus the best flag ever
  • lawman2593733 - October 17, 2010 3:42 a.m.

    Oh wait. I guess you don't exctly join The Vault Dwellers, you just are or are'nt. Forgive my misknowledgedness.
  • lawman2593733 - October 17, 2010 3:39 a.m.

    First of all I'll go with NCR, gotta wish they had their own version of power armor though. Then to the damn Brotherhood biggots. Then to The Followers of The Apocalypse, I just love redemtion stories, though it won't be my religion. That all is for the "good" side. Then for the bad side of course. Slaver's Guild, then The Enclave. I'm, quite sure you can't join The Nightkin, and I'm not sure about being able to join The Vault Dwellers. If any of what I said is wrong or if you know somthing about what I'm wondering about, send me a message if you feel like it. If I had good internet access I'd look it up myself.
  • gannsi - October 17, 2010 1:09 a.m.

    about the ncr women president.. shes not the first woman president if this is supposed to be a real game :)
  • L3X18999 - October 13, 2010 12:44 a.m.

  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - September 27, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    The Brotherhood were actually massive dickheads in the first two games. im going to have to say NCR Rangers all the way.
  • nickhh96 - September 24, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    i started playing with fallout 3 so first i'm ally ing with the BoS cause there awesome, and then with ncr or caesers
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - August 28, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    Why bother with joining a faction at all? Piss them all off and pretend you have your own one. I wonder why I never did any well in Fallout 3...
  • GaryTheGuidoHunter - August 27, 2010 4:16 p.m.

    Fuck the Brotherhood! They are a bunch of bigots that shoot the Ghouls .Elder Lyons and Sarah are the only decent BOS characters in Fallout3. The rest could go shoot themselves with a FatMan.NCR is where its at ! Join Today!
  • KingofMadCows - August 27, 2010 5:15 a.m.

    Except most of my complaints aren't nit picks. Vault 13 being sealed was a central plot element in the first game. It's the entire reason why the player gets sent out to find the water chip. The ending of the game where the Vault Dweller gets exiled was because the Vault needed to remain sealed. It's the same thing with the FEV. It's a central plot element in the first two games. The plans of the main villains in both games depended on the FEV. The fact that people who had little or no exposure to radiation made super intelligent Super Mutants was the reason why the Master wanted to take over Vault 13. It's not a trivial plot element, it's the reason why the main villain is after the main character. Super Mutants being sterile was also an important plot element in the first game since you can defeat the main villain of the game with that information. As for this being a noob's guide, how does that justify the information being wrong? It's fine to leave things out when you summarize a story but it's completely different when you get major plot elements wrong. It would be like if I said that in Star Wars Episode 6, after the Millennium Falcon was captured by the Empire, Han Solo planted time bombs all over the Death Star and blew it up after they escaped, or that in Terminator, the Terminator was sent back by Russian communists to kill Sarah Connor because John Connor destroyed the Soviet Union after being elected President of the United States.
  • Kingsman - August 27, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    KingofMadCows...nit picking much? The computer consoles in the GECK quest in FO3 say that 'gender identifiers' for super mutants begin disappearing once the transformation begins (one of the scientists called it 'levelling the playing field). So its accurate enough for a noob's guide. The difference between what makes a super smart or dumb involves a little too much minutia for a noob's guide as well as the author would have had to differentiate mutated FEV and pure FEV. Whether or not the 'special mutants' were gifted by the Master or just plain gifted with their abilities, again, really not important for a noob's guide. All that is important is that they retain aspects of the Master, and that's what makes them special. Heck, for all we know some dudes from Vault 13 wandered into Shady Sands before it became the NCR or immigrated later. Chill out, ease back on the fanboyism, and appreciate the article for what it is: A Noob's guide to the Fallout Factions.
  • wtyonamefooo - August 27, 2010 2:54 a.m.

    probbly NCR and then like the slavers maybe and for sure FoTA
  • KingofMadCows - August 26, 2010 10:20 p.m.

    There are so many mistakes in this article. NCR was not founded by people from Vault 13 and 15, only Vault 15. A few people left Vault 13 after the first game and founded Arroyo, which we saw in Fallout 2. Most of the people in Vault 13 remained in the Vault until Fallout 2 when they were kidnapped by the Enclave. After they were rescued, they founded a new village with the survivors from Arroyo. The FEV wasn't what made Super Mutants stupid. Super Mutants were stupid because they were exposed to too much radiation when they were human. Humans who had no exposure to radiation gained heightened intelligence. The Super Mutants in Fallout 1 and 2 were not genderless, they were sterile, big difference. The Master did not gift Melchior with psychic powers. The Master didn't even make him a Super Mutant. Melchior was a slave laborer used by the Enclave to excavate the Master's base and he turned into a Super Mutant when he accidentally fell into a Vat. As for what happened to the Super Mutants after the Master was defeated. Most of them fled east but a lot of the ones who remained settled down to "normal" lives. NCR even recruits Super Mutants into their army. As for Attis, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, or Piece of **** as most fans call it, has been stricken from canon.
  • CAPST3R - August 26, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    I just go with whoever's paying the most usually, although if killing the highest bidder means getting the best equipment, then I will. Looking forward to New Vegas, I've played the hell out of FO3, but I'll keep on playing it until I get DR2, since it's all I've got to play (I had a clear-out of games, only got 3 left, and the other 2 I'm bored of).
  • bron1417 - August 26, 2010 3:54 p.m.

    imma hafta side with the BoS first time around proboly. tho that could change. i dunno what imma do i just wanna play the game really really badly!
  • philipshaw - August 26, 2010 11 a.m.

    I would say NCR because they are right in thinking bottle caps as a currency is stupid
  • AA95mp - August 26, 2010 7:40 a.m.

    NCR propaganda for the win.
  • ShotgunEric374 - August 26, 2010 6:19 a.m.

    NCR or BoS for me and i dont get whats wrong.... i remember it being mostly like this,i guess there are some nitpicky ass fanboys here but this is perfect for people starting out it even says n00b on the title guys quit pissin on g-dars greatness yeah?
  • Batman - August 26, 2010 1:49 a.m.

    AHHHHHHHHHH I can't wait to play this gonna be so awesome
  • Kingsman - August 26, 2010 12:20 a.m.

    Does anyone know what's wrong with the article? All seems correct from what I remember and from what I saw from the wiki.

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