There are total six (seven if Drones are included) factions in Urban Assault: The Resistance, Ghorkov, Taerkasten, Mykonians, Sulgogars, The Black Sect.
Out of these factions, four factions are playable in multiplayer with full balance model and design (The Resistance, Ghorkov, Taerkasten, Mykonians). Three factions (The Resistance, Ghorkov, Taerkasten) have the official single-player campaigns, and two factions (Sulgogars, The Black Sect) are only available as a single-player exclusive enemy AI factions. Drones are special tutorial faction that is only available in the Training Missions of the Resistance campaign.
2.1 The Resistance
The Resistance represents the last traces of democracy and freedom to survive global chaos. The Resistance was months away from destruction when a coalition of engineers and hackers wired together the free world's computers to create seven host stations. The host stations, however, had a caveat: no one would entrust the task of defending democracy and freedom to machines, so each host station was piloted by a Synaptic Donor Unit, abbreviated SDU. The faction is also notable for its various state-of-the-art technological inventions, such as the 'Stoudson Bomb', which has a key role in eliminating the enemy forces in many levels it appears in.
The Resistance's HQ and training grounds are located in Britain, with the rest of their forces and former contested territories dispersed throughout Western Europe. In the original single-player campaign, the player's role is the last SDU champion to be deployed into battle, SDU 7. The player can read the diary entries of the fallen SDUs on the briefing for each game. The Resistance assets are focused around at specialisation and cost-efficiency, and therefore has the greatest variety of war machines. Their vehicle designs are chiefly based on modern designs and their weapons consist primarily of conventional shells, rockets, and missiles.
The faction's strengths in general are mainly its versatility and cost-effectiveness. In the original single-player campaign, The Resistance Host Station is the weakest host station in order to justify their declined status in the lore. But with upgrades it can gain access to most unit and building blueprints by the end of the game. In the multiplayer mode, the host stations from all playable factions are equalised in both armour and firepower for balance, as well as available building assets.
The Ghorkovs is a militaristic faction of humanity that holds totalitarianism and communism ideologies, and is the most similar to The Resistance in terms of the vehicles and technology they use. Their vehicle designs and weaponry are more futuristic, including the proficient usage of energy weapons involving the electromagnetic impulses. The Ghorkov host station icon is a red star. The Ghorkovs were originally allies of the Resistance, but later turned against them when the Resistance attempted to sell the Ghorkovs out to the Mykonians.
The faction had emerged from Eastern Europe after The Big Mistake. The Ghorkovs control vast territories across Eurasia, and therefore can be frequently encountered in more missions than the other factions in the original Resistance campaign. In single-player, the Ghorkovs have two different classes of host stations: The weaker Turantul I which appears in the early levels, followed by the stronger mothership Turantul II. The Turantul II, also known as its nickname 'Skorpio', is generally considered the most powerful host station in the game, whose extensive firepower even allow Ghorkov players to use it as an offensive tool in battle. In multiplayer, the Ghorkovs will be always assigned with their Turantul II Skorpio-class mothership.
The Ghorkovian units generally possess higher speed and agility compared to the majority of other faction units, trading off with lesser armour. In combat, exploiting their fast and mobile attack forces to perform a blitzkrieg assault on key enemy strategic targets while capturing ample sectors from both neutral and enemy territories to support production is a common strategy employed by them. The Ghorkovs utilise a variety of both conventional and energy-based weaponry.
The Taerkasts is a fanatical faction of humanity that represent a fundamentalist, Neo-Luddite society, abhorrent of technology. However, they embrace plasma formation technology as a necessary evil, and possess their own versions of 'technologically' advanced armaments and equipment to remain competitive in the post-apocalyptic war. The Taerkasten host station icon is a heraldic emblem with a sword and a shield. A majority of their vehicle design is reminiscent of the First/Second World War with some notable exceptions. The Taerkastens blame the other factions for destroying the Earth's ozone layer and its atmosphere.
The faction was originated in Central and Northern Europe, with the game's lore states that they were the first human group to encounter the Mykonians. They have an organisational structure which resembles a medieval military order or a masonic fraternity. Currently, they are situated in much of Southern Europe and Africa, and have a cult-like formation with their own religion and theocratic ideas. The Taerkasten wants to exterminate all the other factions from the Earth so that only themselves can rightfully rule over the holy planet.
The Taerkasten units are typically heavily armoured, but the majority of their vehicles are slow and especially vulnerable to hit and run tactics. Some of their vehicles are particularly notorious for their extremely heavy shielding. The Taerkasten Host Station is the Flying Fortress, whose turret design possesses a form of defensive blind-spots that sometimes allow a human opponent to stay close to one side and relentlessly attack without fear of reprisal from the host station. Taerkasten units are designed to be more AI-friendly among the playable factions.
The Mykonians are an extraterretstrial, imperialistic invader group who disdains humanity for wasting a precious birthright like the Earth. They see Earth as nothing more than a battery and use the Parasite Machine to drain the energy from the Earth's core. Mykonian units have geometric shapes. This is the result of their biovein construction, which forms in crystalline symmetry in zero-gravity space. The Mykonians are typically located in Northern Europe and Scandinavia with their biovein-infested environments, where their data transfer and war machine operation is optimal, and their vehicles and buildings blend in with the surroundings better. All Mykonian weaponry is classified as Ion Cannon.
The Mykonian units generally have weak shielding, but possess extremely advanced and formidable weapons in the game. Their units also tend to be very manoeuvrable which gives advantages in combat. The Mykonian units consist of various advanced ion-propelled aircraft and ground unit. The Mykonian Host Station in the single-player campaign uses a single rapid-fire Ion Cannon turret as self-defense weaponry, and they can only create one class of power station. In multiplayer, the Mykonians can create the power stations with similar classification as the other factions.
The destruction of the Parasite Machine is the focus and the main objective of the original single-player campaign, which is shown in the final mission where the player must destroy (disable) it before a long in-game timer runs out. In multilayer, the Mykonian Host Station has the same amount of self-defense turrets with more equalised firepower as the other factions. The Mykonian as a faction is specifically designed to excel when controlled by human players instead of AI.
The Sulgogars are a vegetative and plant-like species of bionic alien with an off-world origin. Their powers reside in biotechnology, genetic manipulation and cloning. The Sulgogars hope to claim the resource-rich Earth as their spawning grounds and view humans as fertilisers. Similar to the Mykonians, they make exclusive use of advanced energy-based weapons. The Sulgogars can extract minerals from the ground and view humans as food. They also wish to exterminate the humans and from the Earth for causing the environmental destruction and ecological collapse followed by the Big Mistake. Damaging and devastating their natural habitat in progress.
The Sulgogars are rarely encountered in the game. All Sulgogars weapons are classified as Particle Beam. These energy weapons can inflict substantial damage to many targets, even surpassing the Mykonians in some areas. As a part of the game balance, the Sulgogars' weaknesses in exchange for their individually powerful units are their extreme inflexibility, lack of versatility, and their inability to create buildings. They have a very few variety of units and all are airborne, rendering them mostly vulnerable to attacks from a large group of anti-air tanks, and also get rendered powerless when their power sources are destroyed since they possess no means of restoring power stations on their own. The Sulgogar Queen possesses one Particle Beam turret as a self-defense weaponry, whose projectile is guided and inflicts the most damage out of all the faction's host stations, but with only one turret and a very long reload time.
The Sulgogars are not available in Multiplayer. This single-player exclusive faction is considered out of the balance cycle between the other major factions.
2.6 The Black Sect
The Black Sect is a mysterious splinter faction of human origin, allegedly composed of pirates, scavengers, and mercenaries but whose true identity is completely unknown. The game's lore states that their true "origin could be traced back to the earliest European secret societies, with all the requisite branches into the royal families". Having no original units of their own, the Black Sect relies on stealing technology from the other factions, including the Resistance Anvil-class host station (the prototype host station model of SDU1 that SDU7 was meant to use). The Black Sect also has the ability to create even Mykonian and Sulgogar units, which hints that even the aliens have a history with the Sect. This is backed up with the constant communication with the human forces and the Mykonians during the course of events.
The Black Sect has invaded the region surrounding the Black Sea in the original campaign, and only appears towards the end of the game. Black Sect units have a special stealth projection thanks to the advanced modules of the Anvil-class host station, rendering them invisible to the player's radar. For every mission that the Black Sect appears in, they are able to create a portion of units from all factions that made an appearance in the battlefield. Their host station-the Anvil-class station that was originally developed by the Resistance-is one of the most durable with strong self-defense capabilities involving two turrets. Overall, the player cannot easily exploit any weaknesses in the Black Sect due to their many advantages and therefore they are arguably the most difficult faction to destroy. They are often recommended to be the top priority to be eliminated.
The Black Sect cannot be played in Multiplayer for obvious reasons.