What are the Starfield factions? Starfield, the gigantic spacefaring RPG from Bethesda, marks the first new universe in 25 years from the developer. Set in 2330, in a pocket of the Milky Way, there’s a brand new expansive area of the galaxy on offer to explore. During your time exploring you will meet a variety of Starfield factions that can be your allies – or your enemies.
The addition of so many factions can the Starfield length vary quite significantly, depending on which ones you want to join. Moreover, there are also a handful of secret factions you can find and join. Thankfully, during our Starfield review, we’ve joined each and every faction, claimed the rewards, and more.
The Starfield factions are:
- Constellation – joinable
- United Colonies – joinable
- Freestar Collective – joinable
- Crimson Fleet – joinable
- Ryujin Industries – joinable
- Ebbside Strikers – joinable
- XenoFresh Corporation
- Ecliptic Mercenaries
- House Va’ruun
It’s no surprise that factions are back in Bethesda’s latest RPG, as they’re a hallmark of its games. Nevertheless, the Starfield factions are perhaps the most interesting and complex we’ve seen in quite some time, with branding paths, interesting characters, and even better rewards. And, unlike Skyrim and Fallout 4, you’re not always swiftly promoted to faction leader.
For a deep dive into each of the Starfield factions, including the joinable and non-joinable ones, read on below. We’ll go over what each of the factions are about, as well as some important rewards that might sway your decision on which ones to join and side with.
Constellation is where your journey begins, as you join this group of intrepid explorers committed to uncovering the mysteries of the galaxy near the start of the main Starfield missions. That’s right, you effectively have to join Constellation if you wish to continue the main story, though you could always ignore the narrative and journey from planet to planet completing other quests instead.
Akin to space exploration organizations such as NASA, Constellation is all about exploring the universe and uncovering its secrets. During the Constellation story – which serves as the main questline – you’ll be hunting down strange artifacts. These begin to unlock the various Starfield powers that can change your playstyle. We won’t spoil anymore of the narrative, but the story will keep developing into the Starfield New Game Plus mode, giving you even more reasons to keep exploring alongside Constellation. Becoming a new recruit to this organization is where it all starts.
Constellation will also be the main source of Starfield companions, with most followers being unlocked through progressing the main missions, such as VASCO, Sarah Morgan, and Sam Coe.
Progressing through Constellation and the main story will unlock the following features:
- New Game Plus
Outside of powers and new companions, the Starfield outposts system is perhaps the biggest incentive to at least reach The Lodge and formally join this Starfield faction. It’s once you’ve join this group that the galaxy opens up to you.
One of the two largest factions in the Settled Systems is the United Colonies. Established in 2159, the United Colonies swiftly founded New Atlantis in 2160, one of the largest Starfield cities, before making it the official capital in 2161.
20 years before Starfield’s main story, it was embroiled in a bloody Colony War with another faction, the Freestar Collective. Looking at the timeline, the United Colonies and Freestar Collective have always been at odds with one-another; their tug-of-war for colonial power kicking off with the Narion War in the late 2100s.
The United Colonies is widely regarded as the most powerful and established faction in terms of both military and politics in Starfield. As an example of how it continues to leverage its draw, the UC established its own civilian navy following the conclusion of the Colony War. In return for enlisting and using their own ships to protect the UC, civilians can become official citizens of it. In fact, it’s this sub-section of the United Colonies that you’ll get to join – the Starfield UC Vanguard.
Joining the United Colonies faction will reward you with:
- UC Vanguard Pilot Pack
- UC Vanguard Spacesuit
- UC Vanguard Space Helmet
- UC Antixeno Skip Pack
- UC Antixeno Spacesuit
- UC Antixeno Space Helmet
- United Colonies Mission Board
- Tempest unique rifle
- Mercury Penthouse
Alongside credits and plenty of XP, the United Colonies Vanguard is a very rewarding faction, and certainly one we’d recommend joining for the rewards. Offering some stellar Starfield armor and among the best Starfield weapons as rewards, it’s got a lot to add to your playthrough.
It’s not all about the rewards though, as there is significant overlap with another of the Starfield factions – the Crimson Fleet. That’s right, the UC is at odds with this band of marauders, and during the faction story, you’ll be tasked with infiltrating this group. However, you might find that you want to switch sides, letting you be almost a double agent. If that sounds interesting, then this is the faction for you.
Once at war with the United Colonies, Starfield Freestar Collective is the second of the largest factions in Starfield, having been formed in 2189. Based primarily in the walled capital city of Akila – itself founded by Solomon Coe in 2167 – this faction is a loose confederation of settlers of the three-star systems that live distanced from the rest.
Starfield design director, Emil Pagaliarulo, says the people of this city “believe in the sanctity of personal freedom and individuality”, and Freestar Collective is said to represent the “space western fantasy”. Pagaliarulo is certainly correct, as the space western theme runs through the narrative and environments of this group, making it one the most exciting Starfield factions. If you’re a fan of this theme, then it’s worth joining solely based on that.
One way in which the Freestar Collective operates differently to the UC can be seen in how it sought to utilize civilian and military ships as part of a hit-and-run strategy to conquer the UC Navy at the Battle of Cheyenne – the decisive fight in the Colony War.
This isn’t the only example of how the Freestar Collective is able to operate, well, collectively. In 2221, the Freestar Rangers – “an elite protective and investigative force” – was founded to protect the collective’s denizens. This is the group that you can join in the faction story, beginning as a Ranger Deputy before moving up in the ranks.
Joining the Freestar Collective will net you the following rewards:
- Ranger Deputy Uniform
- Ranger Deputy Hat
- Freestar Deputy Badge
- Deadeye pistol
- Ranger Duelwear
- Ranger Power Pack
- Ranger Space Helmet
- Ranger Spacesuit
- Freestar Ranger Badge
- Justifier rifle
If you want to roleplay as a space sheriff, then the Freestar Rangers is the faction for you. During the faction story, you’ll be solving the mystery surrounding a mercenary faction and helping the citizens of Freestar territory. Being able to don suitable attire, complete with flashy weapons fit for a space sheriff, is a great way to play.
Lead quest designer, Will Shen describes the Starfield Crimson Fleet faction as “the de facto choice for anyone looking to do an evil playthrough of Starfield” and this statement becomes more obvious when you realize that members of the Crimson Fleet faction are pirate raiders. That’s right, you can play as a space pirate in Starfield.
This faction sees you join a roving band a space pirates who are in opposition with the United Colonies. Working with key members such as Naeva and Delgado, you’ll need to fend of UC SysDef. Whichever side you pick, the Crimson Fleet story is a wild ride that you don’t want to miss out on.
This extends to the incredible rewards earned from this faction, including:
- Crimson Fleet Mission Board
- Crimson Fleet Trade Authority vendor
- Access to The Key space station
- Keelhauler unique pistol
- Revenant unique rifle
The Crimson Fleet offers, arguably, the best rewards of any of the Starfield factions. The Key, home of the Fleet, is the perfect place to live our your pirate life, with all the shops you could ever need, including a Trade Authority which is perfect if you’re looking to get into Starfield contraband.
The Crimson Fleet also offers some of the most unique and engaging repeatable quests at the Starfield Mission Board. While these aren’t elaborate missions, it’s a good excuse to smuggle and steal.
Lastly, you’ll also get the Keelhauler pistol and the Revenant rifle which are among the best Starfield unique weapons. While the former can be earned early on in the faction, not requiring dedication to the cause, the latter will require you to side with the Fleet during it’s faction story, closing off later rewards from the United Colonies.
You’ll need a ticket to ride with this faction, or at least a job offer. This mega-corp is joinable only through being hired, though joining the Starfield Ryujin Industries faction isn’t actually as hard as it might sound.
As one of the mega-corporations holding significant sway over Neon and the Freestar Collective, Ryujin Industries isn’t afraid of getting it’s hands dirty. If you sign up with Ryujin, be prepared to commit plenty of corporate espionage as you work your way up the corporate ladder, from a human coffee caddy up to the executive level. Given all the stealth, check out the best Starfield builds for the right setup.
It helps that the rewards for joining and completing the Ryujin Industries faction are strong:
- An office
- Lots of credits
That’s right, moving up in the corporate ladder and helping out Ryujin will give you one of the Starfield houses for free. Sure, it’s not quite as glamorous as the Starfield Dream Home, but it’s hard to argue with a free room.
You’ll also get a significant number of credits for completing quests for this faction, so it’s a great way to get money for buying and upgrading the best Starfield ships.
The Ebbside Strikers are only a minor faction but they can be joined Madame Sauvage’s in Neon and speaking to Briggs to start The Audition quest. As one of Neon’s many gangs, it’s perhaps better suited to those looking to get into the thick of it and aren’t afraid of a little intimidation.
However, as a reward for joining this minor faction, you will get:
- Striker Maskwear outfit
- Street Sweeper
The Striker Maskwear outfit is one of the best looking armor sets in the game, so it’s worth picking up if you’re focused on fashion. However, completing the full Striker questline – The Audition, Display of Power, and The Showdown – will give you the Street Sweeper, a powerful unique pistol.
The XenoFresh Corporation resides in the third major city of Starfield, Neon. Described as a pleasure city, the aquatic world of Neon was once used for fishing but quickly turned its attention to drug selling when it was realized that the fish could produce a psychoactive chemical called Aurora. This left the faction with a lot more time to party, fuelled by easy money. In fact, Neon itself was constructed by XenoFresh.
While you can’t join this faction, this mega-corp has undoubtedly left it’s mark on the murky underworld of Neon.
Ecliptic Mercenaries are largely just an enemy faction. As a group of bounty-hunting mercenaries, Ecliptic will often be blocking your path while exploring or questing. Given you can’t join the Ecliptic Mercenaries, you’re safe to deal with them however you’d like.
Like the Ecliptic Mercenaries, the Spacers are solely an enemy faction. This is a dangerous group of marauders that occupy abandoned structures in space, so you’ll often encounter them while exploring and completing quests. Again, you’re free to deal with them by any means as you can’t join this faction.
As described by design director Pagaliarulo, House Va’ruun is a faction of “fanatical religious zealots”. However, they are one of the most interesting factions in the game.
According to the lore, this cult began aboard a colony ship that went missing on the way to its destination in 2190. It later reappeared in 2230, with one of the colonists claiming they had communed with a mysterious being, which they call the Great Serpent. Following this, House Va’ruun was formed by Jinan Va’ruun and began expanding it’s influence. While this was initially largely a peaceful mission, in 2240, Jinan declared war on humanity which began the Serpent’s Crusade.
After Jinan’s death in 2263, his son, Jarek Va’ruun, took control of the faction and sought peace. Since then, the faction has mostly disappeared, becoming rather isolationist. However, remnants of Jinan’s more dangerous approach remain, with the Va’ruun Zealots attacking almost anyone they encounter.
Like the Spacers and Ecliptic Mercenaries, you’ll often encounter House Va’ruun as enemies, despite the intriguing lore behind this faction.
Can you join all factions in Starfield?
Yes, you can join all the Starfield factions on a single character, despite how ideologically opposed they may be. However, the United Colonies and Crimson Fleet story does require you to pick a side to dictate the end of the questline.
That’s right, you can join multiple factions in Starfield. With factions often being the most exciting part of every Bethesda game, this is great news for anyone hoping to join all of them. This means you won’t have to start a new character, or potentially four different characters, just to join the four main factions. For roleplaying purposes, you might decide against joining certain factions, but at least you have the option to do so.
This even applies with factions that are opposed. For example, the Crimson Fleet and United Colonies Vanguard are in turmoil but you can join both of these factions, though this does have narrative weight. Likewise, the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective have an uneasy peace, but you can still join the forces of both groups on a single character.
Which faction should you join in Starfield?
We recommend you join all of the Starfield factions and complete the questlines to earn all the unique rewards available, including powerful weapons and armor, ships, and houses.
Given you are able to join multiple factions, you don’t need to pick just one. So, you can gain the advantages of all the factions on a single character, claiming all the rewards.
With that said, if you still want to join just a single faction, then we’d recommend the Crimson Fleet. This is simply due to the quality of the rewards, with both Keelhauler and the Revenant being among the best weapons in the game.
What is the best faction in Starfield?
The best faction in Starfield is the Crimson Fleet as the quest rewards include two of the best weapons in the game, alongside granting access to The Key, a great base for illegal activities like selling contraband.
Since the Crimson Fleet are pirates themselves, they won’t scan you or cause trouble if you bring contraband onboard The Key. Furthermore, they have a full Trade Authority that can purchase contraband. This makes it a very convenient location to sell items, including contraband.
Since all factions are joinable however, don’t let this sway your decision on which group to choose, especially since each one offers great, unique rewards.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about the Starfield factions. Now get out there are explore the deep universe created by Bethesda in one of the best Xbox RPG games and arguably one of the best RPG games of recent times.
Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.