SysDef or Crimson Fleet: A Guide to Choosing the Best Side in Starfield

Sysdef or Crimson Fleet? Starfield offers players an interesting moral choice between siding with the lawful SysDef faction or the chaotic Crimson Fleet pirates. Both have compelling leaders and philosophies, so which one should you pick for your playthrough? This guide will compare SysDef and Crimson Fleet to help you decide which faction best fits your style.

When embarking on your journey through Starfield’s expansive worlds, you’ll eventually be faced with an important decision – join up with SysDef, the paramilitary arm of the United Colonies, or throw your lot in with the ragtag Crimson Fleet pirates. Both factions offer unique rewards, gear, and storylines that dramatically impact your experience. This guide will outline the key differences between SysDef and Crimson Fleet to help you determine which group better matches your character’s motivations and morality.

SysDef – The Lawful Option

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SysDef, short for System Defense, serves as the main military force of the United Colonies. They are highly organized with massive resources and advanced technology at their disposal.

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Leadership: SysDef is led by Commander Brin Ikande, a strict but honorable career soldier devoted to order and protecting colonists from threats like pirates. He believes strongly in chain of command and obeying superiors.

Goals: To defend United Colonies territories from enemies like the Crimson Fleet and expand their influence. Very focused on law, order and controlling the frontier.

Benefits of Joining: You get access to high-end military gear and weapons as well as the support of a powerful faction. SysDef provides structure and upholding order.

Drawbacks: You must strictly follow a rigid chain of command and rules of engagment. SysDef prefers more orderly methods and condemns unprovoked violence.

Best For: Players who prefer a lawful playstyle keeping order in the colonies. SysDef suits those who value organization and responsive leadership.

Crimson Fleet – The Chaotic Option

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In contrast to SysDef, the Crimson Fleet are loosely organized pirates and mercenaries operating on the fringes of space. They reject authority and prize freedom above all else.

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Leadership: Led by the roguish Delgado, an ex-military man who now commands the largest pirate fleet in the Settled Systems. He’s eccentric but cares for his crew.

Goals: To plunder colonies and ships for resources while staying one step ahead of SysDef. The Crimson Fleet values freedom and the pirate lifestyle.

Benefits of Joining: Be your own boss and live a lawless pirate’s life. Access black market contraband and customized ships.

Drawbacks: You must raid innocents and engage in unlawful activities to advance. Crimson Fleet are vicious cutthroats with little discipline.

Best For: Players favoring chaotic playstyles with lots of freedom. Crimson Fleet provides opportunities for piracy and smuggling for immoral captains.

Quests and Content

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Siding with a faction will grant you access to exclusive quest lines and content. Here’s a brief overview:


  • Unique military-themed quests focused on stability and protecting UC interests
  • Gain access to advanced Starfleet weaponry and ships
  • Opportunity to rise through ranks and command ships/fleets
  • Main story aligned with exploring Order of Endeavor mysteries

Crimson Fleet

  • Rogue-style quests focused on raiding, smuggling, and undermining SysDef control
  • Obtain powerful chaotic-aligned legendary weapons and armor
  • Chance to become an infamous pirate captain and build your own fleet
  • Main story tailored towards mysteries on the fringes of the Settled Systems

So in essence, SysDef provides lawful content centering around military order and hierarchy, while the Crimson Fleet enables chaotic pirate-themed activities and progression.

Playstyle Considerations

When weighing your options, think about how you envision your character and their principles.

Do you want to roleplay as a virtuous soldier of order? Go with SysDef. Are you more interested in playing as a roguish outlaw or freedom fighter? The Crimson Fleet may be a better fit.

Also consider your preferences for combat, questing, and exploration:

  • Structured vs Freeform: SysDef offers an organized path, while Crimson Fleet activities are more open and improvisational.
  • Tactical vs Guerilla: SysDef combat leans tactical, relying on coordinated strikes. Crimson Fleet fighting is more improvised and guerilla-style.
  • Lawful vs Chaotic: SysDef quests favor law and order. Crimson Fleet quests encourage chaotic activities like raiding and smuggling.
  • Known vs Frontier: SysDef focuses on known UC space. Crimson Fleet deals with frontier mysteries and anomalies.

So weigh whether structure, tactics, lawfulness, and exploration of the known appeal more to you. Or if improvisation, guerilla fighting, chaotic activities, and frontier exploration seem more enjoyable.

Choosing Your Side: SysDef or Crimson Fleet

When deciding between SysDef and the Crimson Fleet, consider your character’s motivations and preferred playstyle.

SysDef is ideal for lawful captains who value order and predictability. The resources and authority of a powerful military faction appeal to strategic players. SysDef’s chain of command and rules of engagement won’t fit chaotic personalities.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Fleet caters to opportunistic pirates who crave freedom. Living life on the edge raiding colonies suits aggressive players who don’t mind immoral activities. But you sacrifice stability and face constant danger from SysDef patrols.

Neither choice is inherently good or evil – both factions have reasonable goals but employ very different means. Your decision will greatly impact the tone and direction of your entire playthrough. So choose carefully between SysDef’s rigid order or the Crimson Fleet’s reckless freedom.

Final Thoughts

Joining up with SysDef or the ragtag Crimson Fleet is one of the biggest decisions in Starfield that dramatically affects gameplay. SysDef provides structure for lawful players who appreciate order and advanced hardware. For pirates or marauders, the Crimson Fleet allows full freedom at the cost of stability. Review each faction’s leadership, resources, goals and rules to determine if rigid militarism or unrestrained chaos best fits your preferred playstyle. Let your character’s personality and motivations guide you to picking between SysDef or the Crimson Fleet for an optimal experience. Safe travels!

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