Starfield‘s story-rich environment is the perfect place to get lost in deep-rooted factions and groups. Whether it be between the United Colonies, Freestar Collective, and House Va’Ruun or the many corporations and gangs looking for new blood. Each can offer you new and exciting equipment that’s specific to their outfit, so it’s worth knowing what’s what. Going over everything from faction joining bonuses, to the penalties for joining too many. Ultimately it’s your choice who you want to go with, but knowing the ins and outs can help you make better decisions in the game.
The different faction types range from governments to mega corporations, all the way down to unions and gangs that work together. They all form one tight-knit galaxy that impacts each other in subtle, and sometimes disastrous ways. By joining these factions and helping them achieve their goals you not only keep yourself above the bleeding edge but also progress the galaxy. You can choose to assist a government to their mutual end or choose to help a gang win back their turf. Everything will have something to offer you, but sometimes the game forgets to tell you what those things are.
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Four major faction types can be found around Starfield ranging from governments, corporations, gangs or syndicates, and private military groups. Each of these has its benefits and systems of operation which range from peacekeeping and trading to murder and piracy. You’ll be assigned either a major faction or a minor faction depending on how powerful they are. Generally, if a faction controls multiple planets or systems, they’re considered a major power, not just a local gang with a few districts. Each will have unique weapons, ship parts, and schematics available to the player, no matter how big or small.
Factions that are classified as governments typically branch into two groups. Planetary governments, and system-wide governments. Planetary factions with a ruling body will generally have more personalized rewards for the player such as discounts, looking the other way, or titles. Meanwhile, a system-wide government faction is keen on offering more ship types, and better weaponry, and typically pays a lot more. Good examples of these would be the Cydonia government versus the Freestar Collective. While these factions have a lot of power, they abide by laws and regulations that can be hard to work under. If you enjoy reputation and military firepower, these factions generally are one of the best ways to go about it.
Corporations are another type of faction you will come across that have several different end goals. You can find them in the form of mining companies, shipyards, or factories; each with its agendas. In outer space, no law can fully restrict a company from forming its militaries, fleets, and resources. And so you end up with organizations that only want profits and have the funds to keep them going. Some corporations you might work under are Xenofresh, various mining groups, and Star Yards. The benefits of joining these groups often result in a lot of credits, discounts, and shipping parts you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.
Gangs and Syndicates
Gangs and other criminal organizations are a great source of revenue if you can get in with them. They are scattered across the galaxy but the most infamous of them is the Crimson Fleet. You can join a great number of these groups and profit from the illegal activities they have to offer. Most of these factions will see you at odds with law enforcement and are generally going to give you a lot of weapons and armor. Besides this, the gangs are great for finding contraband and hard-to-find ship parts you wouldn’t ordinarily find in the wild. The only issue with these syndicates and gangs is that most of them have small-time goals in mind, save for the Crimson Fleet.
Mercenary and Bounty Hunter Factions
The last major type of faction you’ll find are Mercenaries and Bounty Hunters who work as hired guns. These groups are particularly more about serving the highest bidder and range very widely in their motivations. The hunters guild is a great way to bring in criminals and make some solid credits; while other private militarists are more about killing. Each offers a form of military service in the place of a power vacuum, more than willing to suck up all the credits. Groups like this offer the player fortune and weaponry that you wouldn’t ordinarily get access to. In addition, you can find some pretty rare companions and ship parts within these various groups.
One of the perks of joining a bunch of different factions is the ability to avoid combat. For instance, if you are part of the U.C., and the Crimson Fleet neither force will attack you unprovoked. Where this comes in handy is that you can search abandoned locations and battle zones without being attacked. This can prove incredibly useful when trying to build up your credits without wasting ammunition. Additionally, you can freely board ships you want to take before killing the crew and getting their ship. The best part about all of this is you won’t get any consequences besides an isolated incident and a bounty. Both of these can be easily rectified as soon as you get your credits meaning they won’t bother you in the long run.
Each organization has its structure for how you can obtain a reputation inside of them. The main ways you can do this on a basic level is to either complete their quests or to assist them in combat. Beyond this, some factions have repeatable activities or require certain goods. Corporations are notorious for being about profits alone. For this reason, you’ll need to pay attention to the goals and morals of your chosen faction so you can make the most of being a part of them. Governments and corporations have high rewards for excelling high in their ranks, which makes them well worth the effort put in.
The tricky part about the reputation system of various factions is that by increasing one, you are lowering another. This is nothing new for Bethesda titles, however, in Starfield they don’t say much. The only indication that you have caused a problem with a faction is the bounty that can be placed on you. Nonetheless, there will be repercussions beyond bounties if you affect a faction you’re working with. For instance, by working with the Freestar Collective, the United Colonies will lower their reputation with you. Both of them will lower their reputations with you if you work with House Va’Ruun or the Crimson Fleet.
Faction-Based Unique Items
A lot of the time different factions will have specific unique items such as armor sets, clothing, weapons, and ships. These are all great to collect as they can give you a step ahead of the normal equipment vendors offer. Unique items from factions are also a great way of making credits if you don’t mind selling them once they’re acquired. Faction-based items usually have a special effect which can greatly improve your player stats. Some of these faction-unique items include the Anti-Xeno armor from the U.C. and the Stryker outfit from the Stryker gang.
Different uniforms, armor, and even craftable recipes can be made available by working with these factions. In this way, you can make your character have the aesthetic you prefer, and represent the factions you most enjoy. However like in previous Bethesda titles, these uniforms will have an impact on your interactions with other factions. Dressing up as a gang member will often give you fewer chances with persuasion and dialogue options. Because of this, collecting multiple faction armors can be a great way to open doors that aren’t usually available to you otherwise.
Unique Designs and Recipes
One of the most common things you’ll get as far as joining factions is new ship designs and safe houses. Crimson Fleet has prison shuttles and the U.C. has a penthouse on New Atlantis. In addition to these two options, each faction unlocks unique parts, templates, and safe houses. It’s usually a unique weapon like the Street Sweeper for Strykers if they don’t offer ship templates. Additionally, you may have access to some powerful crafting recipes you wouldn’t ordinarily get.
Companions and Crew
Every time you join a faction, you’ll have access to unique companions and crewmates that can be brought along with you on your journey. Some of these include powerful individuals who can help you along the difficult road of Starfield. No matter what faction you go with, there will be a list of generic cream members, and unique companions to take along the way. Some of the best companions you can find are locked behind faction walls, and thus by getting into as many as possible, you can make a star crew. Of course, these companions will cost money, so make sure to build up your credits through faction quests.
Every faction will have its list of unique activities you can partake in to make credits and gain a reputation. These will generally scale to the morals and motivations of the group in question, like piracy or mining. Some of the best credit-making opportunities come from taking part in these activities, as sometimes it unlocks whole new quest chains. Everything you can think of is available as faction quests, and surprisingly a good amount of extra content is hidden behind them. Ultimately it gives Starfield the appearance that it wants you to join as many groups as possible. This way you’re able to make the most of your massive Bethesda title.
The different types of quests available to you include surveying planets for the Constellation, hunting pirates and aliens for the U.C., and piracy for the Crimson Fleet. Bounty hunting, crafting, and a great deal of other activities have found their way into the game that really can improve its quality of life. Unfortunately, much of this is locked behind joining multiple factions that may not fully align. For this reason, you have to try and make a decision on which faction you should and should not join.
Joining Versus Not Joining
The interesting part about Starfield is that you have the opportunity to get in with the factions that will help you the most. Unlike previous titles that locked items of value behind groups that had little to do with the item, Starfield uses a very balanced system. For instance, if you want to be a gun-slinging pirate, the Crimson Fleet will actively help you achieve this goal. Likewise, if you want to be an excellent fighter pilot, the various shipping yard corporations will help you achieve the best ship money can buy. Most of the time you just have to know which ones will help you, and which ones will hinder you.
If you are going to join every faction available, the game can get relatively boring. The more people like you, the less often you’ll get into combat. This situation leaves the player with a dull experience unless you enjoy the negotiator route. Quite often the best part of the game is its amazing combat system, and without it, Starfield starts to feel empty. So by joining factions, you avoid losing out on the best experience. Balance is the key to having a fun time all around.