The many exotic worlds in space have been forced to swear allegience or enmity towards the major factions in DarkSpace. The factions have been detailed on below.
The United Galactic Trade Organization
The UGTO are probably the most well rounded of the three factions. Their ships boast thick armor, which can be rapidly repaired by depots or supply ships. Although the armor repair process is slower than the ICC shield recharge rate, the nanobots reassembling the ship's armor run on solar power and scavenged stellar debris, and do not drain the ship's energy reserves at all. UGTO ships are good at getting into combat and pounding the enemy.
UGTO scientists have recently completed basic research into flux technology. Flux beams have the ability to cause system damage when penetrating enemy defenses, allowing the UGTO to knock out key systems on enemy ships. Additionally, they have developed a flux wave, which affects all nearby ships. The flux wave damages ships and will do system damage if an enemy's defenses are knocked out.
The UGTO also boast mighty Carrier Dreadnoughts. Like the aircraft carriers of the 20th century, the ship has little power on its own, but is capable of launching massive squadrons of fighters from a distance. Rumor has it that advanced fighter prototypes have been seen in the UGTO central research facility on Earth. If true, these fighters will ensure the UGTO's supremacy in space.
The Interstellar Cultural Confederation
The ICC are the most defensive of the three factions. They excel in stand-off missile combat, and are able to quickly rotate shield power to prevent focused attacks from penetrating to the ship's hull. While shields drain power, they provide a fast recharge, and the energy can be quickly transferred to any shield quadrants should the need arise. ICC have adapted their shielding technology to a planetary scale, multiple shield generators can be placed to defend a single planet, each adding to the total shield strength and recharge rate.
Additionally, the ICC have developed a new, ultra-fast charging point defense laser code-named the pulse beam. While this weapon does almost no damage against ships, it can short out the guidance systems of all bombs, missiles and fighters, causing them to explode prematurely. Unfortunately, the manual piloting and shield piercing hull of infantry pods renders these beams nearly useless against enemy invasion forces. There are also rumors of UGTO and K'Luth research into new fighter systems that would resist the power of the pulse beam. The culmination of the ICC pulse beam and shield technologies can be found in the pulse shield. This shield destroys all missiles, fighters, mines and bombs in a radius around the ICC ship. A few ships equipped with pulse shields can defend a planet against orbital bombardment indefinitely.
The K'Luth culture has been the subject of many recent intelligence missions. A rough sketch of their culture and history has been developed, and is under constant revision. It has been determined that the biological ships of the K'Luth have a type of cloaking device, allowing the K'Luth to bend light around their ships and mask their energy signatures. The biological nature of the K'Luth ships also allows their ships to heal without the aid of repair drones. As a result, any K'Luth ship that is not completely destroyed can cloak itself, retreat from combat, and return to battle completely repaired.
The K'Luth have been observed to primarily employ hit-and-run strikes against the humans, although massive fleets have been seen engaged in direct confrontations with valiant human defense forces. It is thought that the K'Luth may have evolved from a sea predator accustomed to lying in ambush for its prey. Part of the fear associated with the mention of the K'Luth is their psychic power. Although human science has yet to explain these phenomena, the K'Luth appear to be able to use their ships to shape their thoughts into weapons! Their psi-missiles are terrifying. Normal sensors cannot detect these projectiles. The scanner device is the only hope for a human fleet under assault by psi-missiles.
The K'Luth are becoming increasingly more difficult to detect on sensors. It is believed that their research efforts are focusing on the continued improvement of their cloaking systems. In the future, human guards will have to be on constant alert, as the K'Luth may be able to reach our very home world without once being seen.
Pirates are a non-player faction. When seen at all, they are usually found picking up the scraps after battles, attacking transports, and generally flying around picking fights whenever possible. They have even been known to raid a planet or two on occasion.
Pirates make do with whatever ships and weapons they can steal, capture, or salvage, which often results in their ships being weaker than their ICC or UGTO counterparts- a weakness countered by unpredictable combat performance and weaponry.
The MI are a non-player faction. The warships constructed by the MI are terrorizing and lethal to any and every ship in space. Their weapons are highly advanced and their ships are huge yet nimble. Destroying an MI ship requires teamwork, persistence and co-ordination by large groups of ships.
MI generally prioritize destruction of ships over controlling planets, as their ships are capable of fighting in wars indefinitely, and also devastate planetary inhabitance using Death Beams.
The metaverse of DarkSpace is not entirely populated by player-controlled ships. Sometimes a planet will revolt, and will become controlled by a neutral force.
In addition to rebel forces, the Metaverse is home to Gaifens, Crystalline Entities, and Energy Entities.
The most common space monster is the humble gaifen. This creature is peaceful unless provoked. However, if it is angered, a gaifen can easily destroy a smaller ship. It is rumored that the K'Luth ships might be based on a genetically engineered gaifen species.
The most terrifying space entity is the crystalline entity. One of these creatures can lay waste to a planet. If these creatures are spotted near inhabited space, it is only a matter of time before lifeless planets are all that remain. Its using Death Beam destroys population and structures alike. Reports have stated that the crystalline entity is capable of moving at over 200gu per second, although most physicists believe this to be impossible.
Energy Entities are a rare and irritating sight. An energy entity feeds off of power emissions, and drains the energy reserves of every ship close to it. Battles near an Energy Entity tend to get rather quiet, as no one can fire any weapons after a short time in the draining field.