Factions represent political parties and have a potentially high impact on Pop Happiness. There is at least one Faction for each ethic and each Pop will join the Faction matching its ethic. Factions are not present in Gestalt Consciousness empires. A faction's name is randomized but can be manually changed at any point.
Every faction has all of these properties. Approval and size/support are usually the most important figures to keep in mind.
Factions can only spawn after at least 10 years have passed and there are at least 5 pops capable of supporting it. There is an also 180 day lockout between Factions spawning. While many also require having met another species, this is not a universal rule.
Very rarely a Faction might despawn if it loses all its members. If this happens the Faction can form again under a new name later.
Approval is derived from its issues, with a major modification if the Faction is suppressed, supported or a factions Ethic was recently Embraced. Faction Approval adds a Happiness modifier to all Pops who support the faction:
A pop can only support a faction if it's sentient, has Full Citizenship or Residence rights and does not suffer from Stellar Culture Shock. A pop can only support one Faction. As a Pop has to have the fitting Ethics to support a Faction, Ethics attraction plays a major role in Faction strength and distribution. Both systems interact to a degree, with many issues aiming to create (or curb) conflicting Attractions.
It is ideal if happy Factions have a lot of support and unhappy ones as little as possible. Depending on the Support, an unhappy Faction will be listed as White, Yellow or Red in the outliner.
Issues directly translate to happiness: the more issues that are Fulfilled, the happier the Faction. By their nature opposing Ethic Factions have opposing issues, making it impossible to make all Factions happy. An issue can be either fulfilled or not fulfilled. In either case, it might produce a happiness penalty (red), a happiness bonus (green) or be neutral (yellow). Many issues have requirements before they can appear, making it sometimes hard to know what will please a faction before unlocking the proper Options.
As they can only have two states, issues come in a few common shapes that can each only have two of the above states:
- Positive issues will be green if fulfilled, yellow if not fulfilled.
- Negative issues will be red if not fulfilled, yellow if fulfilled.
- Extreme issues will be red if not fulfilled, green if fulfilled.
- Timed issues belong into one of the above, but rely on having a timed country flag.
- Stacking issues are a set of Positive issues. There are 2 or more "levels" to fulfilling these issues. Usually, the higher level is the same basic mechanic/check, but with a higher threshold. Fulfilling one level will unlock the next one (i.e., being 10, 20 and 50 years at peace; having 1, 3 or 5 Non-Aggression Pacts with neighbors). The levels will usually provide +2%, +3% and +5% happiness which will stack for a total of +5% or +10%. However, sometimes unrelated issues share these numbers too.
All Factions produce Influence for the empire. The higher the Faction Approval and Support the more Influence will be produced. All Factions produce in total 2 Influence baseline, which can be increased to 3 with The Living State Technology. This value is then multiplied by Faction Approval and Support, resulting in the total yield.
Faction Influence Gain can be improved by the following:
Every Faction has a Leader. That one will be drawn randomly from the Leaders already hired or hire-able in the empire, but often with weighting towards certain leader classes and towards/against Xenos. Rulers can become the Leaders of Faction or already be before they become Ruler. If the Ruler of the Empire is also the Leader of a Faction, the Attraction for the Faction and the Factions Ethics will also increase by +25%.
Actions the player can do to deal with the Faction:
- Embrace Faction allows an empire to shift its Ethics one step towards that Faction's Ethics. It costs 500 influence, has a 20 year lockout and requires at least 20% Faction support. It will make this Faction Happy (+10%) but all others Unhappy (-20%). The faction with the lowest attraction in your empire will have its Ethics regress a step.
- Suppression allows an empire to reduce the attraction of the Faction's Ethic, which can - in the long run - eliminate the Faction. But its main use is to limit the Faction Support. Suppressing a faction gives -75% Ethic Attraction for the chosen ethic and costs -1 Influence per month.
- Support allows an empire to increase the attraction of the Faction's Ethic. This can be used both to promote the governing ethics or to prepare for an ethics switch. Supporting a faction gives +100% Ethic Attraction for the chosen ethic but costs -2 Influence per month.
There are 9 Factions present in Stellaris, one for each ethic except Xenophobe which has two. Many Faction issues are not present if the empire has the Fanatic Purifiers civic or requires the empire to have established communications with a certain number of empires.