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All Starfield factions you can join

Should you join the Crimson Fleet or the UC Vanguard (or both)?

An explorer flies a ship into Akila City to join the Freestar Collective faction in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Factions flesh out the main story of Starfield and bring life to its corner of the galaxy — or death, and a lot of it, depending on which one you join. Starfield puts few restrictions on joining factions at first, though you’ll have to make some tough choices later on. There’s also a handful of factions that you can’t actually join, though most of them want to hurt you and everyone else anyway. Here are all the Starfield factions you can join and how you can join them, plus details about some minor factions you can’t join.

Factions you can join in Starfield

A civilian walks down the streets of Neon to join the Ryujin Industries faction in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Starfield has five major factions that we know of, though outside of Constellation — the engine of the main story — it’s easy to miss them unless you’re paying attention to side quests. The major factions in Starfield are as follows:

  • Constellation
  • Ryujin Industries
  • UC Vanguard
  • Freestar Rangers
  • Crimson Fleet

Minor factions you can’t join in Starfield

There are other minor factions, though as far as we can tell, you are unable to join them. You can get special bonuses or dialogue options when interacting with these factions, if you choose certain traits affiliated with them, though. For instance, choosing the Raised Enlightened or Raised Universal trait grants you a chest full of items in New Atlantis.

The minor factions in Starfield are as follows:

  • Spacers
  • Ecliptic Mercenaries
  • House of Va’Ruun Zealots
  • House of the Enlightened
  • Sanctum Universuum
  • Trackers
  • The Trade Authority

Can you join multiple factions in Starfield?

An explorer talks to Daniel the sherif of the Freestar Collective faction in Akila City in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Yes, you can join every major faction in Starfield within minutes of each other if you want to. There’s no penalty for joining any or all of them, and except in some cases, your actions for one faction won’t have any effect on how the others view you — at least for a while.

Things get a bit trickier later in each faction quest line, especially the Vanguard and Crimson Fleet quests. The Vanguard wants to eradicate the Fleet, which is, naturally, not going to sit well with the Fleet if you’re working with them. Make sure to juggle multiple save files if you want to see them all through.

How to join each faction in Starfield

Joining a faction involves picking up a certain quest or series of quests and pledging your service to the faction in question. If you’re not sure whether a quest is tied to a faction, open your mission log, and head to the “Faction” tab. Every mission there is a faction quest. Alternatively, head to the “All” tab and check the symbol next to the quest name. Faction quests have a faction symbol next to them, such as the Crimson Fleet’s red skull and bones or the Freestar Rangers’ brown-and-yellow emblem.

How to join Constellation

Sarah Morgan stands in front of a fireplace in The Lodge in New Atlantis in Starfield as part of the Constellation faction. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

You join Constellation automatically as part of the main story. Travel to the Lodge in New Atlantis’ MAST District after leaving Vectera, and speak with Sarah Morgan. She’ll induct you as a new member after speaking about artifacts and join you for a short time as you seek out more of the mysterious objects.

Constellation missions comprise the main story quests, and you’ll need to complete them to finish the game.

How to join UC Vanguard

An explorer talks to a SysDef guard in Starfield to join the UC Vanguard faction. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Head to MAST Headquarters, the large building just above the sector’s transit line, and turn left once you go inside. Speak with Commander John Tuala, and express interest in joining the marines. Tuala sends you to the training hall to register in the system for an exam — you don’t have to actually take the exam — and a flight test.

There’s an optional museum area to wander through, and I strongly recommend stopping and interacting with each exhibit. These exhibits are where you’ll find most of Starfield’s important lore, and it adds some welcome context to your work as a Vanguard marine.

Pass the flight test at the end, and you’re officially part of UC Vanguard. You can pursue the Terrormorph plotline further (the core of the UC Vanguard quests), and you can join UC SysDef to infiltrate the Crimson Fleet.

How to join Crimson Fleet

An explorer talks to Naeva in the Crimson Fleet faction in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

You have to progress the Vanguard story past the introductory “Supra et Ultra” mission to unlock “Deep Cover,” the mission that lets you join the Crimson Fleet. (You can also start “Deep Cover” by getting arrested in UC space.)

“Deep Cover” puts you in contact with UC SysDef, which sends you undercover to infiltrate the Crimson Fleet as an aspiring member. You need to carefully balance your actions if you want to stay on good terms with both the Fleet and SysDef.

Your bosses in the Crimson Fleet want you to do basic pirate behavior — murder, theft, and extortion, for example — but that doesn’t always go over so well with the United Colonies. You might want to save before making any important decisions in this quest line, and whenever possible, try to find non-violent solutions to missions given to you by the Crimson Fleet.

How to join Ryujin Industries

An explorer looks at a red Ryujin Industries kiosk in New Atlantis in Starfield while trying to join a faction. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Joining Neon’s premier corporation is a bit more straightforward, and you can do it pretty early in the game. Travel to New Atlantis’ Commercial District, and make your way to GalBank. In front of the bank is a red kiosk. Interact with it, and choose to apply to Ryujin Industries. Your answers don’t matter, in my experience, so just pick whatever.

The next phase is in Neon on Volii Alpha, which is near Olympus on your starmap. The Ryujin Industries building is at the end of the street once you leave the landing area. Head inside, take the elevator up, speak with the receptionist, and find Imelde, your new boss.

Your first task is picking up a coffee order, but a former employee ambushes you at the counter. You can try to persuade him against using violence, but there’s no downside if you fail and have to kill him.

Head back to Ryujin, and Imelde will promote you to the Operative role. You’re now part of Ryujin Industries, the questline focused on corporate espionage.

How to join Freestar Rangers

An explorer talks to Emma in the Rock in Akila City in Starfield to join the Freestar Rangers faction. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Joining the Freestar Rangers is about as straightforward as joining the Vanguard. In Akila City on Akila, diffuse the situation at the bank — ideally without the hostages or anyone else dying — during the “Empty Nest” main mission. After, continue down Akila City’s main street and enter The Rock. Head upstairs, and speak with Emma, a patron sitting at one of the bar’s tables.

Emma gives you the rundown about the Rangers and asks you to complete a bounty as an evaluation test. Choose one from the terminal nearby. They’re all at roughly the same challenge level, so just pick the one with the highest reward.

You’re inducted into the Freestar Rangers after returning to The Rock. You’ll follow a questline that’s initially about investigating crimes, but eventually blossoms into full on political conspiracy.

What is the best faction in Starfield?

A Ryujin Industries operative talks to Imelde in Neon to join the best faction in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Which faction is best really depends on what you’re after. The Freestar Rangers are more of your do-gooder types, for example, with a more predictable mission structure, and the quest line is full of local flavor and insight into how people in the Freestar Collective live. It also dabbles with the crime community on Neon.

Ryujin Industries is its counterpart. While the opening mission seems like your usual corpo setup, the reality is far from that. Ryujin has its hands in some dirty business that goes right to the core of Starfield’s ideas of humanity and progress. The quests take a dark turn pretty quickly. If you want to play as an antihero, this is a more nuanced version of it than the Crimson Fleet quests offer. (If you played Skyrim, joining Ryujin Industries is akin to joining the Thieves Guild from that game.)

The UC Vanguard quest line has probably the most variety in mission types, with a strong mix of objectives and even genres. It’s also a good way to get more insight into the conflicts that shaped Starfield’s lore. While it may seem a bit vanilla at the start, it slowly turns into one of the more intriguing, mysterious quest lines in Starfield.

The Crimson Fleet quest line does an excellent job of building a pirate fantasy. The search for a grand treasure is at its core, and the tension of balancing good behavior with piratical crimes (if you’re simultaneously doing the UC Vanguard quest) gives it a welcome sense of tension. It also sheds light on the darker side of the United Colonies and its checkered past.

Whatever your choice, make sure to do at least the first two missions in the Crimson Fleet line. You can buy secure storage from their ship seller then, which is the only surefire way to smuggle contraband past security scans.