The Aeon Illuminate are one of the three factions in the Supreme Commander universe, basing their technology on that of the Seraphim. The Illuminate have the best defenses, benefit the most from research, and have the best point defenses. They have the most focused and specialized Experimental units, such as the Urchinow and Wilfindja.
The Seraphim were first discovered during a deep space exploration mission. The aliens passed on their philosophy called The Way to Dr. Jane Burke, one of the members of the expedition. She formed the Aeon Illuminate to spread the word and avoid what she believed was a future full of warfare and destruction. The Aeon Illuminate fulfilled its own prophecy, first defending itself against Earth Empire incursions and eventually waging all-out war against the UEF and the Cybran Nation.
When the Seraphim invaded a thousand of years later, a large percentage of the Aeon Illuminate population sided with the Seraphim and formed the Order of the Illuminate. They fought against the Aeon Illuminate, those loyal to the Princess and with enough sense to figure out the Seraphim were out for vengeance and would kill everyone, and its leader, Princess Rhianne Burke. The Princess was lost when the Seraphim were defeated, since she sacrificed herself using divine Way powers to close the Rift forever, and the Order was effectively dismantled by the Coalition. However, its members remained in the populace.
The newly elected Aeon Illuminate leadership placated the remaining fundamentalist Order members by renaming the faction to its common, shared name: The Illuminate.
While the UEF flourished, the Illuminate struggled. Its members previously led an ascetic, communal lifestyle; the Coalition imposed a UEF-style capitalist system. Those who struggled pined for the days when The Way was the guiding force.
Multiple splinter groups formed within the faction, the largest and most influential being The Royal Guardians. Its stated goal was to restore the glory of the Illuminate when it was led by Princess Burke. While it gained significant traction, it was eventually consumed by scandal. The movement was tainted by association, so the pendulum of control swung back to the moderates who supported the Coalition.
The former leader of the Aeon Illuminate was Princess Rhianne Burke. After the events of Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, and the formation of the Coalition after the Infinite War, the Aeon Illuminate was shattered and 'The Way' has diminished, and the Illuminate Government is the head of all Illuminate forces, except for the numerous terrorist groups including The Royal Guardians.
The Illuminate are the weakest faction in the early game. Their individual units are specialized like the UEF, but they lack artillery. The Illuminate's hover advantage is not useful early except on heavy water maps, and they are at a disadvantage throughout the game on the water as none of their units are an even match for the other factions' dedicated navy, requiring that they use swarm tactics and microing. On high water maps, though, they can benefit from rush tactics. The Illuminate economy is strong, having multiple research items to boost both Energy and Mass production. They lack artillery structures, meaning that they are highly range limited. This is somewhat offset by teleport technology, and the tactical missile launch facility. The Illuminate benefit slightly from having only one experimental production facility, however there is a tendency to make twice as many of them, thus offsetting this. The Illuminate tend to have larger land and air armies by virtue of having more land and air factories than the other factions, however artillery fire tends to whittle these forces down due to the illuminate's lack of mobile shield generators. The armor booster is of limited comparable utility.
The Illuminate shine in the late game. They have the most specialized of any faction's minor experimentals, and the most powerful major experimentals (although they are vulnerable to air, as neither major experimental has AA capability -- this, however is offset by having the only AA-focused minor experimental). For example, the Wilfindja has the most speed but least health of any minor experimental. On the other side of the spectrum, the Urchinow has the most health of any minor experimental and the least speed.
They also overcome their range limitation quite effectively with the Space Temple, although care must be taken to prevent backflow, particularly as the anchor now has a thirty second cooldown before it can be moved again following a version 1.4. The Loyalty Gun is extremely effective at both defence and attack, although it must be guarded against air. Illuminate air forces benefit the most from upgrades. All in all, the Illuminate are at their best late-game when they have their Experimental units and structures.
- With DLC the illuminate air units can now teleport to locations.(Red Storm)
- Using this can be a good advantage because you can now instantly teleport your air units into an enemy base.(Red Storm)
- The DLC also allows structures but with exception of various buildings to float on water. This could be used if you don't want your base on land that could be attacked by land armies