Considering I did one for the Brotherhood of Steel, it’s only proper that I do one for their rival, yes?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you THE ENCLAVE!
So evil, yet so stylish and lovable!
Why do people love them so much? Is it just because they fall in love with evil empires so much? From Star Wars, to Halo, to Gundam and beyond, it seems that they just can’t stop loving the bad guys.
Or is it just because they’re so damn patriotic?
PART 1: INTRO
For those of you not in the know, the Enclave is a faction in the Fallout universe that represents the last legitimate remnant from the government of the United States of America after the nation was nuked into near oblivion by Red China in the Great War that created the irradiated, post-apocalyptic setting for the Fallout universe. Think of it as the Byzantium to America’s Rome. Just like how the city of Constantinople became the sole remnant of the Roman Empire’s government as the Western Empire crashed and burned, the Enclave became the remnant of the US government as the United States of America was nuked to oblivion by the Chinese.
The Enclave is led by a president who is the legal successor of the President of the United States, and as such, the Enclave presidents style themselves as the legitimate presidents of America, the democratically-elected representatives of the people, despite the fact that virtually no-one outside the Enclave voted for them. The Enclave sat out the nuclear war and managed to survive it, waiting in remote bases and offshore installations like the Poseidon Oil Rig, researching and furthering newer technology such as new suits of power armor and more energy weapons for its troops. As the nuclear radiation died down, the Enclave began operations to try and retake the once-glorious American homeland that they once called home. However, what they found horrified them.
Super mutant armies cutting a swathe of blood across the land. Irradiated human survivors known as ghouls who were disfigured and modified by radiation. Animals mutated by the nuclear radiation turning into larger, meaner predators. Raider tribes slaughtering their way across the wastelands. And worst of all, most of the humans who seemed unaffected are irradiated! Permanently changed by their exposure to radiation, despite their pristine appearance. Outside of pure, vault-stock humans, most of the populace of the new post-apocalyptic America is dominated by irradiated freaks, one way or another. The pollution of the land was near-total.
PART 2: RECENT HISTORY
Seeing all this chaos, the Enclave, under the command of President Dick Richardson, decided to go for the nuclear (pardon the pun) option of eradicating all irradiated people and creatures in the US mainland. Creating a modified version of the Forced Evolutionary Virus that was once created in the Great War to make mutant super soldiers, they modified the virus to kill all mutated people, and they planned to spread it through the air from the oil rig which served as their base. However, a tribal human known as the Chosen One, the main character in Fallout 2, managed to stop the plan. One of Richardson’s guards, a mutant cyborg secret service agent named Frank Horrigan, tried to stop the Chosen One, and he detonated the oil rig in a futile attempt to kill said tribal. The tribal escaped, and depending on their choices, some Enclave soldiers could have escaped with them after turning on Horrigan. The destruction of the oil rig and the death of Richardson set the Enclave back significantly, especially since the rise of a new American state, the New California Republic, led to increased attacks on Enclave bases, as the Enclave base on Navarro was overrun by NCR forces that saw the Enclave forces as a threat, thanks to their past president’s xenophobic actions.
By the time of Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Enclave has been split in two, just like the Brotherhood of Steel was. In the west coast, some Enclave personnel integrated with the NCR, with varying levels of success and failure. Some continued to languish in lamentation over their destroyed bases and their lost cause, while others have moved on, serving the communities of the former western US as doctors, soldiers, or whatever jobs they chose. However, the Enclave forces in the east continued the fight, under a new President, John Henry Eden, and his top military operative, Colonel Augustus Autumn. Using power armor that was further upgraded to be cheaper and easier to mass-produce, and banding together in the wasteland surrounding the former capital, Washington DC, they tried to take over the locals’ attempt to purify the water in the surrounding areas, although Eden and Autumn had differing agendas: Eden wanted to continue the Enclave’s plan of eradicating the radiation pollution by eradicating the irradiated populace, while Autumn simply wished to control them by offering purified water as a bargaining chip.
PART 3: PLAYER INTERACTION IN THE NEWER FALLOUT GAMES
This is where the player comes in for Fallout 3 and New Vegas, sister games created with the same engine and were only two years apart from each other. In Fallout 3, the Enclave serves the same role as it did in Fallout 2: as the main antagonists. In that previous game, the Enclave soldiers were introduced in a cutscene where they gunned down some vault dwellers with chainguns. Yikes. In Fallout 3, outside of John Henry Eden’s broadcasts, they’re introduced in the main plotline in a similarly sinister fashion, where their commanding officer, Colonel Autumn, kills the player character’s father and tries to take control of the man’s water purification system project, called “Project Purity.”
Enclave soldiers then begin appearing all over the Capital Wasteland, attacking other enemies as well as the player. While they’re intimidating and tough for beginner players, for players who have played other sidequests and DLCs before tackling the main story quests, they’re an easy source of good weapons and ammo, especially since they’re particularly vulnerable to the same energy weapons they wield. In that respect, they’re similar to Star Wars’ Stormtroopers, who easily go down when shot with the same guns they go into battle with. In fact, there’s a splinter faction of the Brotherhood of Steel called the Outcasts, who trade valuables in exchange for high technology. The player can easily get a huge load of medical items or ammo from them by just farming suits of armor and energy weapons from killing wandering Enclave soldiers and handing them over to the Outcasts.
In a quest to obtain an item called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit that was necessary for the water purifier to work, the player gets ambushed by the Enclave and taken captive. The player wakes up in an Enclave base, held in a stasis field after being stripped of all weapons and clothing. Here, the player is interrogated by Colonel Augustus Autumn, but his strained relationship with his president, John Henry Eden, begins to show. Autumn is overtly hostile to the player, and if the player gives him what he wants, he shoots the player unceremoniously while the player is still contained in the stasis field. However, the president has other ideas. If the player tells Autumn to sod off, Eden intervenes and tells Autumn to leave. The president then remotely unlocks the player’s restraints and gives them back their weapons and equipment, and he further instructs the Enclave troops not to bother the player. Eden has invited the player to talk with him personally.
Autumn, however, couldn’t just let things go, and he instructs his troops to attack the player and ignore the president’s orders. The base then erupts into chaos as the Enclave troops are fired upon by the base’s own remote turrets and automated robot defenders, the latter of whom are on the player’s side. Once the player gets to Eden, the player discovers that he is, in fact, an artificial intelligence, not a human being. Eden offers the player a chance to eradicate the mutant infestation in the capital: he gives the player a vial of the enhanced FEV virus that can eradicate all mutated and irradiated creatures by ingestion. He wants the player to put the virus into the water purifier so that any irradiated person or creature who drinks from the water will die, cleansing the capital area of all mutant and radioactive pollution, at an immense human cost. Eden realizes how dire his plan is, but then writes off the human cost as necessary casualties for the greater good. The player can accept the task, reject it, or pretend to accept it but don’t go through with it. In any case, the player can’t exit the base unless they take the FEV vial. If the player has a high enough science or speech skill, they can talk President Eden into self-destructing, by convincing him that he’s not a legitimate American president and that his programming is flawed. If he is convinced, the base is destroyed once the player leaves, but if that doesn’t happen, then Brotherhood allies like the radio host Three Dog will claim that the player has sided with Eden, even if they have no desire to use the FEV virus on the purifier.
The game then moves on to the final phase, where Elder Lyons’ chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel make a move to take the water purifier in the Jefferson Memorial, which is crawling with Augustus Autumn’s goons. Autumn’s Enclave soldiers serve as the final enemies in the game for the player in the main quest’s finale, and they would have been intimidating, had the game not given the protagonist’s allies, the Lyons’ Brotherhood of Steel, a giant robot by the name of Liberty Prime. Sure, whenever the player is cornered by at least 4 or more Enclave soldiers, they’re in a tough spot, but luckily for the player, they can hide behind Brotherhood paladins or Liberty Prime as they take potshots on Enclave troops. The final face-off is with Autumn himself in the purifier’s core, where he is guarded by two power-armored soldiers. He’s not that hard to finish off, but he can also be persuaded to back down by revealing that Eden has no faith in him, that the president trusts the player more so than he trusts Autumn, which causes the colonel to quit and leave, allowing the player to activate the purifier and end the game. If the player downloaded the Broken Steel DLC, they continue the fight against a remnant of the Enclave forces in the capital, but after that, the Enclave in the East Coast is gone for good, their technology and weaponry left behind as spoils of war for the Lyons’ Brotherhood faction.
Fallout New Vegas, however, has the exact opposite experience with the Enclave’s interaction with the player. Instead of wiping out the Enclave, the player is given the optional task of REVIVING the Enclave as their own personal army. If the player character, the Courier, enlists the doctor Arcade Gannon into their party, and if the Courier has done enough to gain Arcade’s respect, Arcade then reveals to the Courier that he knows several people left over from the Navarro base of the Enclave, and offers to have them help the Courier fight against the slaver faction known as Caesar's Legion. In the optional quest “For Auld Lang Syne,” the player is tasked with finding former Enclave officers and enlisting them. When the Courier has enlisted them all, they are then directed to go to an Enclave bunker near the mutant outpost of Jacobstown, where one of the Enclave officers, Doctor Henry, was working as a doctor.
The Enclave officers were friends of Arcade’s but since the Courier persuaded them to gather together to revive their squad, they take orders from the Courier, not Arcade. The Courier can then send them against Caesar’s Legion as planned, or pull a fast one on Arcade and have them help the Legion fight against the New California Republic, as payback for the NCR’s attack on the Enclave Navarro base. If the NCR option is selected, one of the soldiers, Orion Moreno, storms out, having a grudge against the NCR. The Courier can pass a high speech check (80 speech) to get the guy to stand down, otherwise, they have to kill him. Gannon then asks the player whether or not he should fight alongside the Enclave forces, and if he is told to go back to Freeside, he gives the player his father’s Enclave Tesla Power Armor, as a final gift before he leaves for good. If the player convinces Gannon to fight alongside his father’s old friends, he wears his father’s armor and fights alongside the other Enclave forces for the NCR. However, if the player gets the Enclave to side with the Legion, Arcade storms off in anger, leaving the player for good due to their deception. Either way, the Courier is officially made a part of the Enclave team, and they are given a suit of Enclave power armor, as well as the training needed to wear it.
The Enclave forces then show up to fight at the final battle in Hoover Dam between the NCR and Caesar’s Legion. In the middle of the battle for the top of the dam, a Vertibird lands and drops off the Enclave strike force and they attack the enemy and aid the player. If the NCR/Mr. House/Yes Man side is chosen, an Enclave soldier with power armor and a chaingun follows the player, and if the Legion side is chosen, then two Enclave officers follow the player as they fight to reach the NCR command center. Either way, they become loyal to the player and fight alongside them, after giving the player a prized suit of power armor that has one of the highest defense ratings in the game.
The complete swerve in how the Enclave between Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas was handled might have been a response by Bethesda and Obsidian to fan complaints regarding how Fallout 3’s Enclave plotline was handled. In Fallout 3, even if the player becomes a faithful agent of President John Henry Eden, his men still rebel against him and open fire at the player, trying to stop the player from carrying out the President’s will in killing off the mutated freaks that pollute the capital. No matter how you play the game, the Enclave is your foe, similar as to how the Sith Empire in the Knights of the Old Republic games will always fight the player, whether or not they are Light Side or Dark Side. Fans of the Enclave complained about the railroading in 3, especially when they liked how President John Henry Eden was presented. So instead of having the Enclave be up to their old tricks in New Vegas, they instead made the Enclave officers be more sympathetic and friendly, while they created a new enemy in the form of Caesar’s Legion, a slaver society created by a savant who was a former NCR citizen, a man who crowned himself Caesar. They had the Legion be the army for “evil” players, the NCR/Vegas factions for the “good” and “lawful” players, and the Enclave assists the player no matter what, unless the player sends them to fight on the side of the enemy, as in, for example, the Courier sends the Enclave forces to fight for the NCR while they side with the Legion. Otherwise, the Enclave forces in New Vegas offer no resistance to the player and remain on their side, unless of course, the player kills them all. Considering the fact that the Enclave forces provide valuable backup for the final battle and give the player a sweet armor suit and power armor training to boot, betraying them is hardly the logical move. Most, if not all players, just harness the strength of the New Vegas Enclave to their advantage, getting themselves a suit of shiny power armor and extra guns for the final fight.
PART 4: ENCLAVE FIGHTING PROWESS
As for the Enclave’s fighting power, ever since their introduction in Fallout 2, they were established as a powerful, intimidating foe. In Fallout 2 and 3, they were the main threat, while in New Vegas, they were powerful allies whose help can be invaluable in the final battle. The Enclave is the most powerful of the US remnant factions in Fallout. While they do not have the numbers of the NCR, they do overshadow the Brotherhood of Steel when it comes to technological know-how and military might. Especially when the Enclave, unlike the Brotherhood, is constantly coming up with new tricks up their sleeve, constantly updating their weapons, armor, and equipment to be at their best. The Brotherhood just salvages tech from the old world and tries to use it to their advantage, while the Enclave innovates new tech that leaves the Brotherhood behind. If it wasn’t for the player’s intervention, the Brotherhood would most likely have been wiped out by the Enclave.
In Fallout 2, the Brotherhood of Steel rarely even made contact with the Enclave. They were too scared to even come out and face the threat of the Enclave, preferring instead to watch and wait in the shadows. At most, they tried to steal some Vertibird plans, but even their agent got killed by Frank Horrigan. The Brotherhood basically stayed out of the way while the Poseidon Oil Rig got blown up, and the NCR engaged former Enclave outposts like Navarro, conquering the outpost with superior numbers.
In Fallout 3, the Brotherhood relied on an old war machine named Liberty Prime to take “Project Purity” away from the Enclave, only for Prime to get destroyed by an orbital strike weapon harnessed by the Enclave, which then forced them to rely on the player to give them an edge in fighting the Enclave. And throughout the game, Brotherhood forces are amazed at the equipment used by the Enclave forces. For example, regular Brotherhood forces are annoyed at the fact that Enclave forces have easy access to plasma weapons while they have to make do with bullets and lasers, while gifting the Enclave armor to the Brotherhood Outcasts would make said outcasts very happy, since them getting a suit of armor newly-developed for combat situations is like giving rare pearls and diamonds to a treasure-seeker. This goes to show that the Enclave in Fallout 3, despite being weaker than the Fallout 2 Enclave, was still far ahead from the Brotherhood of Steel in terms of tech. The most the Brotherhood can do was repurpose an old war mech for battle, while the average Enclave soldier was wearing armor and using weapons far more advanced than those of the Brotherhood.
In fact, the Fallout 3 Enclave was weaker than the Fallout 2 Enclave due to one big reason: their soldiers used power armor with weaker defenses. In Fallout 2 and New Vegas, the power armor of the Enclave forces is made out of lightweight metallic alloys reinforced with ceramic castings at key stress points. The Enclave power armor in Fallout 3 is entirely made up of lightweight composites rather than the usual mix of metal and composite plates found in the previous version of the armor. By making it out of composite plates entirely, the armor is easier to mass produce, which explains why there were so many Enclave troops in Fallout 3. It also means that the armor is weaker than the previous versions, but still more advanced than the armor worn by the Brotherhood forces, which are several centuries old, designed to withstand Chinese bullets, and not as adept at protecting them against the energy and heavy weapons used by Enclave forces. The New Vegas Enclave forces were remnants of the Fallout 2 Enclave forces, hence why they used the older, stronger armor instead of the newer, cheaper one. To put it in Halo terminology, the Enclave soldiers in Fallout 2 and New Vegas are like the Spartan-2s, wearing prototype armors that made them more than human, whereas the Enclave forces in Fallout 3 are like the Spartan-3s, the Spartan-2s’ newer, cheaper cousins, meant for mass production.
And it shows: the Enclave forces in New Vegas are far more effective. If they go up against the forces of Caesar’s Legion, the Enclave forces wipe the floor with their best Centurions. Centurions are high-ranking Legion officers who wear parts of Brotherhood paladin armor, which are obviously trophies from dead Brotherhood paladins that they themselves killed. And yet the forces of the Vegas Enclave chew through them like they’re made of paper. This boogeyman enemy of the NCR, and a strike force of Enclave soldiers come in and make them look like fools. As the Courier tells the Enclave soldier Orion Moreno, the Enclave Remnants coming in to save the day makes the NCR look like pansies:
“The Remnants come in, guns blazing, showing the NCR how it's done. You actually don't want that?”
Keep in mind that this is the same NCR that smashed the Brotherhood forces in Helios One. The same NCR that so thoroughly crushed the West Coast Brotherhood that elite soldiers in the NCR forces wear power armor stolen from dead Brotherhood paladins. And yet if the player recruits the Enclave to fight against the Legion, the Enclave forces make the Republic look like pansies in comparison, especially when they chew through squads full of Centurions like a hot knife through butter.
To put things into perspective, the Enclave, untouched by the player, is stronger than the NCR or the Legion. Both the Legion and the NCR are stronger than the Brotherhood of Steel, down to the point where their elites wear parts of BoS armors or whole suits of said armors. In a pitched battle, Enclave soldiers would wreck Brotherhood forces, especially if the latter don’t have a giant robot whose skirts they can hide behind. So yeah, in terms of battle power, the Enclave has practically all the factions of Fallout beaten. Outside of House, perhaps, whose Securitrons have both energy weapons and heavy ordnance, the Enclave is the most heavily-armed faction in Fallout.
PART 5: APPEAL OF THE ENCLAVE
Just what is it about the Enclave that makes them very popular among the fans? They were designed from the ground-up as a despicable faction, a faction made to look as evil as possible. Their president in Fallout 2, Dick Richardson, is an obvious call-back to Richard Nixon, the President who stepped down due to a corruption scandal. Fallout 2 went so far as to make them genocidal maniacs, who want to eradicate almost all life in the American mainland, instead of just another gang of ruffians trying to take the place over. Fallout 3 railroads the player into fighting them, down to the point where even if the player made common cause with President John Henry Eden, his own second-in-command Colonel Autumn overrides his authority and has the Enclave soldiers open fire at the player. Fallout 3’s ending even describes President Eden as “sinister” and harshly berates the player if they sided with Eden and poisoned the water to eradicate the mutant infestation in the capital.
Yet, just like with the Empire in Star Wars and the Principality of Zeon in Gundam, the Enclave garnered a massive following among the fans, no matter how evil the authors tried to make them seem. The Enclave fanbase in the Fallout community is MASSIVE. Many fans express the desire to play as the Enclave, fanart of Enclave soldiers in power armor are present in much of Fallout fan art, and mods that allow the player to fight alongside the Enclave are popular among Fallout’s modding community. Down to the point where the Enclave was modded into games that didn’t have them. When the Enclave was nowhere to be found in Fallout 4, the fans moved to correct that error, and added mods that introduced the Enclave as a faction in the game, as well as Enclave power armors for the player to use.
Point being, the Enclave is one of the most popular factions in the Fallout universe when it comes to fan support. Is it because of all the cool power armors? Maybe. Is it because the Enclave projects such an air of patriotism so absent in the real-world modern society? Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s because of a combination of many of its aspects that it earns the fans’ respect. After all, they’re practically the Space Marines in Warhammer 40K, if those Space Marines carried stronger weapons and were card-carrying Americans whose patriotism makes Captain America look like a liberal hippie. They’re power-armored soldiers cruising through a hellish wasteland, carrying weapons that disintegrate their enemies into ashes or turn them into piles of green goo, and instead of worshipping some dilapidated corpse on a throne, they still believe in the American dream, and they have a plan to restore that dream, despite the fact that America in the Fallout universe got bombed to hell. Instead of fighting for an Imperium that was toterring into collapse for ten thousand years, the Enclave forces fight to retake America from the mutated freaks that infest it, and they constantly upgrade their equipment and weapons. Unlike the Imperium which shuns progressive sciences, the Enclave embraces it, to the point where they’ve reverse-engineered a virus that once created mutants into a virus that can kill them. If the Imperium was that smart, they’d have killed all the Orks and Tyranids by now, by creating a virus that kills the Orks and Tyranids upon contact. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Enclave is able to adapt, and they would have won had the story not forced the protagonists of Fallouts 2 and 3 to be their enemy. Quite literally, they failed only because the story mandated it, by having the player wreck them.
There’s also the fact that the Enclave’s propaganda is far more catchy compared to the Imperium. Instead of glorifying some idiot Emperor who got screwed by his own son and is now reduced to a decaying corpse sitting on a throne, the Enclave propaganda glorifies the idea of America as it existed in the 1950’s, a vision of America that was free, powerful, and idealistic. It’s something that real-world people can relate to more, especially since many real-world Americans today, including its current president, Donald Trump, hunger for that old era of the 1950s America, where God and Country remained in the hearts of people, and when America was going through a golden age. People can relate to that more than they could relate to the agenda of some asshole Emperor of Man who tried to ban all religion and whose Empire became a bastion of superstition, ignorance, and fear. Considering that the Enclave propaganda radio in Fallout 3 plays patriotic music and has President Eden combine wise sayings from past presidents along with his own speeches of how he wants to revive America, and you have one grand patriotic jamboree that gets more of the Fallout community to be Enclave fans rather than Brotherhood of Steel and New California Republic fans. The only other faction with a sizeable fanbase in the Fallout fandom that can rival the Enclave in popularity is Caesar’s Legion, and that is mostly due to the fact that Caesar’s smarts and the Legion’s military professionalism has granted it a sizeable fanbase(along with some alt-right fans who admire the Legion’s stance on women).
PART 6: THE ENCLAVE’S FLAWED AGENDA
Of course, we can’t talk about the Enclave without talking about their biggest screw-up, that being their flawed agenda in the Fallout universe-the agenda of wiping out all irradiated people in the US mainland, be they irradiated ghouls, mutants, or simple humans who have a bit of radiation within them. While from an environmentalist perspective, it makes sense, from a moral perspective, it’s horrifying. Many humans and mutants have adapted to carve out a decent living in post-apocalyptic America, and even some mutants can be reasonable people once one gets to know them. It’s no wonder that only the higher-ups of the Enclave know the full extent of their genocidal plans, whereas most Enclave soldiers simply believe they’re restoring order after the nuclear war devastated their beloved America. In Fallout New Vegas, the Enclave Remnant’s top officer, Judah Kreger, tells the Courier of how the average Enclave soldier thought about their mission:
“We all had a purpose, you know? I admit that some of the folks in charge were pretty ruthless. The rest of us, though - we were just trying to civilize things. The NCR was still new and it didn't look like they'd last all that long.”
And it shows: the regular Enclave personnel can interact with people without going genocidal against all irradiated humans and mutants. In Fallout 2, the squad right outside Frank Horrigan’s room can sign on with the player character who was a member of some random tribe, so they can all fight Frank Horrigan together and leave the Enclave’s oil rig base before it blows up. In Fallout New Vegas, Judah Kreger and Orion Moreno live near Vegas, their pilot Daisy Whitman lives in a town in Novac, and one of the soldiers, “Cannibal” Johnson, has even become a supporter of the NCR, down to the point where he won’t fight against the NCR if the Courier tells the Enclave soldiers to sign on with the Legion. Doctor Henry, the Vegas Enclave’s resident scientist, even works with Super Mutants in Jacobstown, proving that people who worked as servants of the Enclave can mix in with outsiders. Only the top leaders, like Presidents John Henry Eden and Dick Richardson want to wipe out all irradiated people, whereas the rest of the soldiers just follow orders. Outside of Eden, whose men betray him for Colonel Autumn, most Enclave soldiers fought for it until the end. Even Autumn’s men fought to the death rather than retreat in the face of Liberty Prime’s overwhelming power.
It is that dogged insistence on following orders that got most of these fine men and women killed. As I previously stated, the story of Fallouts 2 and 3 force the player to fight against the Enclave because of their leaders’ genocidal intentions. Good or evil, the player has to fight them and defeat them, and the player canonically wins, which means that the most advanced faction in the Fallout universe gets their asses kicked by the player, because the story can’t go on if the Enclave wins and does what they want to do.
The sad thing is, just like with Maxson’s Brotherhood, things didn’t have to end that way for the Enclave. They could have reconquered the US mainland conventionally, using tactics similar to that of Caesar’s in Fallout New Vegas: use military might to dominate the tribes, then press them into service as workers or soldiers. Considering that in Fallout 2, they had the numbers and the tech, they wouldn’t have any problems crushing any random raider tribe or upstart nation, and if they provide the communities of post-apocalyptic America some security, people will line up to support them, just as they did with Owyn Lyons’ version of the Brotherhood of Steel, which in Fallout 3 had no shortage of recruits. They can have their mutated agent, Frank Horrigan, crush any mutant leader that crosses the Enclave, and organize the super mutants into a force that fights FOR the Enclave and the good people of America rather than against them. Granted, the Enclave SHOULD keep the modified “Forced Evolutionary Virus” that kills irradiated humans and creatures as a backup, as a weapon to threaten uppity tribes and mutant warbands that continue to defy the government and threaten the people. Use it as a weapon of last resort if power-armored soldiers isn’t enough to solve the problem. Using such tactics, the Enclave could have dominated the American wasteland, unified the people of postwar America, and rebuilt the nation into that 1950’s-esque vision of the American dream that the Enclave wants to return America to. With more manpower and support from the outside, their chances of success would be more tangible, and the player would probably be on their side instead of against them. But obviously, the writers of Fallouts 2 and 3 needed a powerful villain, and making the Enclave a powerful remnant of the US government that serves as a genocidal threat against almost all the people of the setting was a quick way to make the player oppose them.
Once the Enclave gets separated from their flawed agenda, they can become a powerful force in the post-apocalyptic world. This is evidenced with the New Vegas version of the Enclave, which the player recruits as heavy shocktroops for their side in the Battle for Hoover Dam. Just like how the Brotherhood of Steel excelled the most as the “tip of the spear” for the NCR forces, so too do the Enclave forces excel in being the vanguard for the armies of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. If the Enclave’s mission was just to “civilize” the wasteland as Judah Kreger put it, they’d be far more successful, not to mention well-liked, by the people of the Fallout universe.
PART 7: COMPARISON TO OTHER FACTIONS
The power of the Enclave is based on the fact that they use the most advanced technologies and armors. The Enclave is the most advanced remnant of the United States, with access to all its secrets and technologies before AND after the nuclear war devastated the country. Just like how the Byzantines used flamethrowers and innovative architecture during the Dark Ages where even most monarchs barely lived in luxury, the Enclave continued to research power armor technology, furthering it and creating the power armors that we see in Fallouts 2, 3, and New Vegas. Their soldiers are equipped with state-of-the-art energy weapons that would make them more at home in Star Wars rather than some post-apocalyptic game reminiscent of Mad Max. The only time I’ve seen Enclave forces use bullets is one or two instances in New Vegas, where one Enclave soldier had a chaingun, and their officer had a machine gun. Otherwise, almost every Enclave soldier and officer, from Colonel Autumn to Orion Moreno, use energy weapons. The first time I fought an Enclave soldiers in Fallout 3, and they were taking potshots at me with plasma weapons and lasers. And the fact that the Enclave managed to reverse-engineer the FEV virus, a virus that creates mutants, into a mutant-killer, goes to show how advanced they are in the realm of science.
Even as their country was nuked and they were reduced to a few remote bases, they continued to innovate. Even as their numbers continued to dwindle, they continued to evolve and remain a threat, until finally, their embers were stomped out in Fallout 3, only to have a revival in New Vegas, where after their little stunt at Hoover Dam, both sides respected them out of fear for both versions of the endings:
NCR: “After their bold arrival at Hoover Dam, the Remnants disappeared as quickly as they came. Legends of their power spread throughout the southwest, a reminder of why people once feared the sight of vertibirds in the sky.”
Legion: “Merciless in their assault on the NCR, the Remnants struck fear into the hearts of even the centurions at Hoover Dam. Well aware of the full extent of their power, Caesar commanded his troops to not pursue them.”
Compare that to almost every faction in Fallout, and it almost seems unfair. To prove this point, we will compare the Enclave to the three other major factions in the Fallout universe: the New California Republic, Caesar’s Legion, and the Brotherhood of Steel.
ENCLAVE VS NCR
The NCR has the numbers for a war, but they lack a scientific focus, since at most, they rely on numbers to win against foes like the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave forces at Navarro. Their regular soldiers wear potato-sack uniforms with some leather armor, their rangers wear riot gear worn by pre-war police units, and their heavy-armored troops wear older models of stripped-down power armor that has almost none of the strengths of power armor aside from the defensive capabilities, which makes them even weaker than Brotherhood of Steel paladins, who themselves are already weaker than Enclave troops. Few of the NCR soldiers have the training to wear and use real power armor, which means that even if the NCR lucked out and ran into a massive armory of Enclave power armor suits, very few NCR soldiers could actually equip them, not without their techs sabotaging the suits and removing the parts that give the armor its strength.
There is also the fact that most of the NCR troops have barely even seen energy weapons, let alone used them, which again, means that in firepower, the average Enclave soldier outmatches his NCR counterpart. The NCR’s only real advantage over the Enclave is numbers. A powerful advantage, to be sure, but not one that can win them everything. And sure, the Enclave and the NCR both have skilled operatives: the Enclave with its troops, and the NCR with its Rangers. However, the NCR’s Rangers are few and far between, whereas the Enclave’s power-armored troops are always there wherever the Enclave operates. So while the Enclave’s power-armored troops are present in games where they’re a major power, with the NCR, their Rangers barely show up until the player is at a high-enough level.
So in an all-out war, unless the NCR has the advantage of numbers, the Enclave would win. And it shows: the NCR does not attack the Enclave before the oil rig base goes down. Only after most of the Enclave forces were blown up did the NCR find the courage to attack one isolated Enclave base in Navarro-sure in the idea that the base won’t have any reinforcements to back them up. With most of the west coast Enclave forces devastated by the oil rig’s destruction, and many Enclave troops moving east to work under President John Henry Eden, the NCR was able to wipe out the isolated Enclave base in the west. But make no mistake: if the Enclave had more numbers, they would crush the NCR. This is proven by the fact that the NCR didn’t move against the Enclave before the latter’s oil rig base goes down, because they know that if they did attack the Enclave while the Enclave can still reinforce its outposts, the Enclave would crush them decisively. It was quite fortunate for the NCR that the Enclave were relying on a plan to eradicate the irradiated humans with the FEV. If the Enclave in Fallout 2 simply used its standing forces to simply conquer and unite the American mainland, they would have crushed the NCR without a second thought.
ENCLAVE VS CAESAR'S LEGION
As for the Enclave and Caesar’s Legion, the Legion and the Enclave share some traits, that being training and discipline as well as adaptability despite defeat. Both Legion and Enclave soldiers are loyal to the bone, and few would turn on their superiors or go against their orders. That’s why the NCR was so hostile to both of them: it’s hard to find Enclave soldiers during the height of their power turning against the cause. They were also able to adapt despite their past failures.
In Fallout 3, for instance, the only person from the Enclave to be of any use to the player is the bloody PRESIDENT, and that was after his men betrayed him for Colonel Autumn. And he’s an AI, not a human being. There was that squad of soldiers in the Poseidon Oil Rig in Fallout 2, but seeing as how the place was going down and they were stuck guarding a mutant, it wasn’t that much of a surprise that they turned. The rest of the Enclave forces are disciplined enough to fight until the end. Some soldiers like Orion Moreno still held that discipline and fire within them-the kind of fire that tough leaders like Sergeant Arch Dornan had. Dornan was as tough as they came, almost like Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, except with power armor. No wonder Moreno hates the NCR so much-he still believed in the Enclave even after it fell. And they were all well-trained in using power armor and energy weapons, in a time where many people struggle to use simple guns. And NCR soldiers couldn’t even wear power armor without the servos stripped out. In the same vein, Legion soldiers would rather die than surrender. Legion troops are universally impossible to recruit for the NCR. Even ex-Legion characters like Ulysses and Joshua Graham wouldn’t come back to turn on their former brothers. And their intense training gives them mastery over guns and melee weapons, making them far stronger than NCR forces. Legion Frumentarii like Vulpes Inculta have the discipline to sneak into enemy territory and mimic their customs and attitudes without being found out, while the average Legion soldier is more well-trained and disciplined than the average NCR soldier.
Both forces also adapt in the face of defeat. The fall of the oil rig in Fallout 2 didn’t dent the Enclave’s determination for its plans, as they managed to recover and regroup for Fallout 3. Heck, the fall of the oil rig and the Navarro base didn’t even stop them from developing newer suits of armor, like a new version of the power armor, a new version of the Tesla armor that is capable of absorbing energy attacks, and a so-called “Hellfire Armor” that protects from heat and is a favorite of Enclave troops using flame-based weapons. And again, the Enclave forces were well-equipped to hold Project Purity against the Brotherhood-if it wasn’t for Liberty Prime, they would have held out indefinitely. And later on, the Enclave manages to destroy Prime anyways, showing that they haven’t lost their teeth even after they lost the purifier. If the player accepts President Eden’s offer, the Enclave succeeds in its goal of purifying the wasteland, at least in the capital.
In the same vein, Caesar’s Legion adapted well after their defeat in the First Battle of Hoover Dam. After the Legate Joshua Graham was defeated in that battle, Caesar and his forces didn’t give up the fight, doubling down on their efforts to weaken the NCR and going for a more subtle approach to victory: they recruited tribes like the Khans to help fight the NCR, they were in the process of securing energy weapons from the Van Graffs family, they staged attacks on NCR camps like Camp Searchlight and Nelson, and they had their Frumentarii agents sneak around in enemy territory, sabotaging the enemy wherever possible and learning about their movements. A Legion Frumentarii at the NCR base at Camp McCarran kept the Legion informed of NCR troop movements so that Legion forces can place mines on the path of NCR troops, and he bombs Camp McCarran’s monorail line to sabotage the NCR’s capability to move men and supplies from one place to another. Another Frumentarii squad attempts to assassinate the NCR president, and if the player doesn’t intervene, they succeed. The Legion sacked the town of Nipton, a hang-out for both gangsters and NCR soldiers. Dialogue with the Legion’s second Legate, Lanius, even shows that in preparation for the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, he had his men sneak inside tunnels within Hoover Dam, which gives the NCR a nasty surprise when the battle starts and Legion troops swarm the Dam’s insides. It goes to show that for both of these villainous factions, defeat doesn’t dull their edge, so long as they still have leadership and numbers.
But while they have similarities, the Legion and the Enclave differ due to several issues: the Enclave is constantly coming up with new technologies for battle, whereas the Legion shuns tech outside of weapons that can be wielded by men. The Enclave wants to wipe out the primitive human tribes that have sprouted up after the nuclear war, whereas the Legion is working to dominate them. In these instances, the Enclave has both an advantage and a disadvantage over the Legion. On the one hand, the Enclave’s forces are not hampered by bans on chems, robots, and other such equipment. Meaning that their forces are well-equipped for battle and have the tech to heal themselves after a firefight. Unlike the Legion, which relies on primitive healing powders and the occasional Auto-Doc robotic doctors for medical support, the Enclave is more than happy to use chemical items and more advanced healing technology, and the fact that they don’t shun robot warriors like the Legion does bolsters their forces.
In fact, for Fallout 3, the Enclave leadership benefited greatly from having robotic warriors, as it allowed President John Henry Eden to protect the player when the troops at Raven Rock went rogue. The player character becomes a vital part in Eden’s plan, but Colonel Autumn can’t see the bigger picture and turns against the player, sending the soldiers of Raven Rock to kill the player character. Eden then uses the robots and defense turrets of Raven Rock to protect the player and keep them from harm. The fact that Enclave forces are continuing to innovate new technologies means that they have a combat edge over the Legion, one that the Legion can’t match. If an Enclave army meets a Legion army of the same size in an open battle, the Enclave forces would massacre the Legion troops, especially since the Enclave has power armors, energy weapons, and medical technology. Both armies are disciplined, but only one has power armors and advanced medical care, while the other is stuck using cowboy weapons, machetes, and sports gear for armor.
However, the Legion has the superior numbers, mostly because unlike the Enclave, they recruit locals. Instead of wanting to wipe them out, the Legion either recruits local tribes to join, or forces hostile tribes to be assimilated into the Legion. This policy gives them the same numerical advantage the NCR has, but unlike the NCR, the Legion wipes away the customs of the tribes they conquer, forcing them to train as disciplined troops under one banner, and one ideology: that of the Legion’s. Thanks to this, the Legion combined the discipline and efficiency of the Enclave’s forces with the large numbers that the NCR was known for. This gives them a large reservoir of manpower full of well-trained troops. What the Legion lacks in energy weapons, power armor, and robots, they have the sheer numbers to make up for that. The Legion is able to fight the NCR to a standstill, and if we compared the forces and battle tactics of NCR General Lee Oliver with that of Legate Lanius, the Legate and the Legion would come out on top, especially since Oliver’s men aren’t as professionally-trained as Lanius’ forces, and Oliver himself became a general due to political favors, while Lanius became the Legion’s top general because he was good at fighting and strategizing.
If both sides came at each other at the height of their powers, the Legion and the Enclave would have a tough time fighting each other. Both sides have well-disciplined soldiers. The Enclave would have the superior firepower and equipment, the Legion would have the numbers. The Enclave soldier can cause more casualties than his Legion counterpart, on account of the power armor and advanced energy weaponry, while the Legion soldiers can afford more casualties than the Enclave because of them conquering 87 tribes and using said tribes as pools of manpower to recruit soldiers from. The Legion’s Frumentarii might also be a problem for the Enclave, as Frumentarii agents are expert spies who can blend in with the enemy and carry out missions, from intel gathering, to assassination and sabotage. However, since most of the humans that work for the Legion are irradiated, if the Enclave employs the FEV virus in any capacity, be it to poison the water or spread the virus through the air, it would kill most of the Legion forces.
But outside of that, the two factions would obviously have a stalemate. The Enclave’s numbers are greater than that of the Brotherhood of Steel, as was evidenced with the Enclave forces in Fallout 3, where despite being a remnant of the Fallout 2 Enclave forces, they still had enough numbers to occupy many places in the Capital Wasteland. This means they can pose a larger threat to the Legion when compared to the Brotherhood of Steel, especially when each Enclave soldier employs advanced energy weapons and power armor. But on the flipside, the Legion still has superior numbers due to their open recruitment policy, and their harsh training regimen would mean that even if they don’t have heavy weapons and armor, they can still pose a threat, especially if they use high-caliber guns against the later, cheaper versions of Enclave armor. Of course, the Legion’s openly misogynistic ways might force the women of the wasteland to go and help the Enclave, but at most, the Enclave would keep these women simply as useable assets and auxiliaries, not as actual members, not unless these women are pure vault-stock humans whom the Enclave would most certainly recruit. President John Henry Eden did recruit the player character from Fallout 3, because he thought the player came from a vault, and was therefore a pure, vault-stock human who wasn’t irradiated. (Spoiler warning: he’s wrong, and the player can die from the FEV just like any mutated freak.)
ENCLAVE VS BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL
When compared to the Brotherhood of Steel, one must realize that the Brotherhood isn’t just one organization. They have the West Coast Brotherhood which operate in the Mojave, in California, and other western territories, and there is also the East Coast Brotherhood led by Owyn Lyons. And these are two very different factions with very different ways of operating and interacting with the outside world. But in general, some things about the Brotherhood remain a constant for both versions, and when compared to the Enclave, they’re not necessarily very favorable.
The Brotherhood prides itself in gathering technology kept from the era before the atomic war, and as such, their power armors are armors worn by US soldiers in the war between America and the Communists. Most of the tech they use are remnants of the technology used by America in their war against the Chinese. However, the Brotherhood has barely advanced from that tech level. Their whole modus operandi is to preserve tech and keep it out of the hands of more primitive and violent peoples, not to perfect it or push it further. Which means that unless the Brotherhood has some other advantage other than its standing forces, they’re going to get creamed by the Enclave, because the Enclave didn’t spend the past 200 years after the apocalypse just standing around and doing nothing. They were inventing newer suits of power armor, they gave their soldiers advanced weapons, and they even worked to reverse-engineer a virus that creates mutants into a virus that can kill them and any other irradiated creatures. And since each Enclave soldier is more well-equipped than the average Brotherhood Paladin, on account of the more advanced power armor and easy access to energy weapons like plasma rifles, in an open firefight, your average Brotherhood force would be outgunned by the Enclave soldiers, who are their superiors in numbers, tech, and firepower.
The West Coast Brotherhood, with its hostility towards outsiders and dogged insistence on loyalty to the Codex, would be crushed if they fought the Enclave. Hence why in Fallout 2, they wisely stayed out of the picture-because they knew that they didn’t have the numbers or the tech to stand against the Enclave. They obviously didn’t have the numbers for a protracted engagement, and they certainly have no aptitude for researching new tech to offer them an advantage against the Enclave. The latter point is reinforced by the fact that the West Coast Brotherhood has no aptitude for researching new tech and weapons. This is shown in Fallout New Vegas when the Courier, working with the Brotherhood scribe Veronica Santangelo, try to convince the Mojave Brotherhood Elder, Nolan McNamara, to pursue technologies that are unknown to the Brotherhood. Even if they present him with something new, like a solar-powered orbital laser, he chooses not to pursue new tech or interact with the outside world, and instead, Veronica and the Courier are confronted by hostile Brotherhood paladins who are convinced that they were trying to poison the Elder’s thoughts with heretical ideas.
This is in comparison to the Enclave forces continuing to develop new suits of power armor and weapons, to the point where in Fallout 3, they have developed the Enclave “Hellfire” armor, a durable armor made of “duraframe” components that is also heat-resistant, making it easier for troops with flame-based weapons to withstand any heat they might cause. With such close-minded ideology, the Brotherhood would be no match for the Enclave forces that actually do go above and beyond when it comes to innovating technology. And with the numbers advantage being on the Enclave’s side as well, victory would be assured for the Enclave.
To put it in the words of the former Brotherhood paladin Ishmael Ashur: “They're so obsessed with the technology of the past, they don't care what needs to be done for today and tomorrow. It takes real work to rebuild and run a city. But there isn't a machine to do it for them, so the Brotherhood ain't interested. Good riddance.”
And what’s worse is how the West Coast Brotherhood interacts with outsiders. By the time of Fallout New Vegas, the Brotherhood in the West has become so overtly hostile to outsiders, that they threaten to kill any outsider that dares to get close to them. If the Courier approaches their base at Hidden Valley, the Brotherhood paladins confront the Courier and tell them to strip down to their underwear and drop all their gear. If the Courier disagrees, they are shot on the spot. If the Courier agrees, the half-naked Courier is then led to Elder McNamara, who then places a bomb collar on them and forces them to get rid of an NCR Ranger. So basically, the Brotherhood just forced an outsider to strip down and be half-naked (which is more awkward when a female courier has to strip down in front of male paladins) after which they placed a bomb on them, essentially enslaving them. The same thing happens to the Courier if they follow the Sierra Madre broadcast to an abandoned Brotherhood bunker-they get captured by another Brotherhood elder, Father Elijah, who also has his minion slap a bomb collar on the Courier so he can force them to follow his orders to break into the dangerous, booby-trapped, Sierra Madre Casino.
What do we call people who strap bombs onto other people and threaten them with death unless they do what they’re told? We call those people terrorists. We brand them with that title and we hunt them down and kill them wherever we can find them. House was right to brand them with that word, when he described the Brotherhood: “They're a terrorist group, basically. Militant, quasi-religious fanatics obsessed with hoarding Pre-War technology.”
And the fact that the Brotherhood in the west practically resorts to terrorism means they have very few friends on the outside, which means that the Enclave won’t have any problem crushing them at all, especially when the Enclave has the numbers game down. Even President John Henry Eden recruited outsiders like the Fallout 3 player character without much problems, whereas McNamara has to be convinced of the Courier’s good intentions by having the latter act like a good little slave and do whatever the Elder wants. On the other hand, John Henry Eden has such trust in the Fallout 3 player character that he doesn’t even bother with bomb collars or any kind of insurances against the player. In fact, a virtuous player can just as easily tell Eden what he wants to hear, then turn over the FEV virus to the East Coast Brotherhood. Sure, that ruins Eden’s plan, but it goes to show that Eden saw the player as a person that he can reason with, whereas the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood and Father Elijah treated the Courier like a slave to be exploited.
Which means that even the Enclave, famous for wanting to genocide almost everyone in the US mainland outside of pure humans, has an easier time recruiting outsiders than the West Coast Brotherhood. And given the goals of the Brotherhood elders, with McNamara having his paladins accost people for tech if his chapter becomes free of NCR and Legion interference, and Father Elijah desiring the complete and total annihilation of the NCR and all life in the west, it’s hard to see people volunteering to help the Brotherhood there, especially when one of their elders was worse than the Enclave is in wanting to kill everyone, since Father Elijah wants everyone dead, even pure vault-stock humans. At least when Eden tried to recruit the player to commit genocide, he was nice about it.
However, the East Coast Brotherhood under Owyn Lyons and his daughter Sarah is a different story altogether. Like the NCR and the Legion, they recruit people on the outside and help people protect themselves from super mutants and other threats. This results in the people of the Capital Wasteland being more supportive of the Brotherhood, with local news anchors like Three Dog openly making statements in support of the Brotherhood. This has led to the Brotherhood having so many recruits from the outside, that they have to actually turn down the player in Fallout 3 when the player asks to join the Brotherhood. The East Coast BoS is swimming in popular support due to their protective actions in favor of the populace, and outsiders find it easy to help them. This leads to outsiders like Doctor Li helping the Brotherhood with their own problems, such as getting the war machine known as Liberty Prime online. Thanks to outsider support, the Brotherhood was able to get Liberty Prime online, and Prime decimated the Enclave forces in the battle for Project Purity, allowing the Brotherhood to seize control of the water purifier and use it to cleanse the water of radiation, earning them more popular support and outside help. And given how even Brotherhood initiates wear power armor, it goes to show that the East Coast Brotherhood can field more power-armored soldiers than their western cousins, thanks to more loyal volunteers pouring in.
Against such an enemy, the Enclave would obviously have a harder time. This version of the Brotherhood is willing to work with outsider scientists so they can innovate new ways to improve upon old technology. Doctor Li fixing Liberty Prime’s power issues was an example. And thanks to their large numbers, the Brotherhood under the Lyons family was effectively able to resist the Enclave in Fallout 3, and even defeat them in certain engagements, like during their battle around the Jefferson Memorial to take Project Purity back from the Enclave.
Of course, the Enclave wasn’t totally helpless: their armors and weapons were still more advanced than those of the Brotherhood, and we see the BoS soldiers after the victory in Project Purity wielding plasma rifles obviously taken from fallen Enclave troops, which goes to show that even they prefer Enclave tech when compared to their own. The Brotherhood Outcasts who split from Lyons’ forces so they could focus on collect technology are so enamored by Enclave tech, that their leader puts on the Enclave power armor suit if he was given a set by the player. The Enclave even manages to take down Liberty Prime using an orbital strike weapon in one of their battles. If it wasn’t for the player’s actions in the Fallout 3 DLC Broken Steel, the war between the Lyons’ Brotherhood and the Enclave might have gone into a standstill, or the Enclave might have eventually won due to their superior numbers. But obviously the player helps the Lyons’ Brotherhood, because they are so open and accepting of outsider support.
Perhaps the Enclave could have defeated the Lyons Brotherhood if they were at full strength, like they were in Fallout 2. Especially since they used sturdier power armors back then, and they obviously had greater numbers. But in Fallout 3, they were obviously at a standstill with the East Coast Brotherhood, especially since the Brotherhood recruits large numbers of people to be fielded as power-armored soldiers, as well as scientists from the outside to help them with technical problems. The East Coast Brotherhood is capable of adapting. So if the Enclave becomes too much of a threat for them, the East Coast Brotherhood might try to innovate a solution to overcome the Enclave, which makes the battle between them and the Enclave an even fight, just like how a fight between the Enclave and Caesar’s Legion would be.
Since the Enclave was gone by the time Arthur Maxson took over the Brotherhood of Steel, they had no interactions with said organization, but from what we can see in Fallout 4, Arthur brought the formerly enlightened East Coast Brotherhood back to the more backwards and hostile ways of the West Coast Brotherhood. His forces distrust outsiders, and he openly despises synthetic humans, desiring their total annihilation, even though they are living pieces of tech that according to older Brotherhood rules, should be studied and preserved.
While they have a massive airship and vertibirds, as well as Liberty Prime, if Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood went up against the Enclave’s full might in Fallout 2, they’d still get screwed. Once again, their hostile ways towards outsiders wouldn’t endear them to volunteers from the outside the way the Lyons’ Brotherhood would. Which means that the Fallout 2 Enclave would mop the floor with them, even though they had that giant airship the Prydwen on their side. The Enclave would have the numbers to sweep the Brotherhood and clean their clock, perhaps even invade their airship and kill Maxson aboard his own floating palace. Even if Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood sends Liberty Prime against the Enclave, they would just destroy it like they did before, with an orbital blast, or have their scientists hack it to turn it against the Brotherhood, just like how the Institute in Fallout 4 does when they attack the Brotherhood in their campaign missions.
Even if we reduce it to the Fallout 3 Enclave, they’d still have enough manpower and tech to destroy the Brotherhood. And considering the fact that Arthur fears unknown technologies like Synths more than he accepts them, it is likely that if Maxson’s Brotherhood gets cornered by the Enclave troops, they will die fighting.
So in retrospect, the Enclave would only lose to the NCR if the latter greatly outnumbered the former, and the former was at their lowest point. Otherwise, the Enclave would cream them hard, especially if the Enclave was at full strength with the Poseidon Oil Rig base functional. The Legion can give the Enclave an even fight, due to them having disciplined soldiers, an excellent spy network, and larger numbers than the Enclave bolstered by dozens of conquered tribes. The West Coast Brotherhood would get obliterated by the Enclave in a stand-up fight, whereas the Lyons’ version of the Enclave can fight the Enclave to a standstill thanks to outsider support and being open to tech innovations. Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood, being almost an exact copy of the West Coast Brotherhood, would get creamed by either the Fallout 2 or Fallout 3 Enclave. Going by all these points, it is safe to say that the Enclave is the strongest faction in the Fallout universe, down to the point where the Lyons’ Brotherhood had to break away from tradition to defeat them, and the NCR could only defeat them if the might of the Republic was up against one measly base.
God Bless the Enclave! God Bless America!