Starfield: Should You Side with UC SysDef or the Crimson Fleet?

Choosing who to side with at the end of the UC SysDef vs. Crimson Fleet questline is a big one. Here's who you should side with.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

At the end of a lengthy Starfield questline involving UC SysDef and the Crimson Fleet, you’ll be forced to make a choice. Do you join the good guys and destroy one of the biggest pirate factions in the Settled Systems, or give the Crimson Fleet pirates all the power and throw the system into chaos? We’ll talk about the pros and cons of both the UC SysDef and the Crimson Fleet in this guide.

Should You Side with UC SysDef or the Crimson Fleet in Starfield?

Should you be up to no good in Starfield and get caught by authorities in or around the Sol system, be prepared to enter the conflict between UC SysDef and the Crimson Fleet. Their feud takes place over a lengthy quest that will force you to choose which side you want to join at the end of it.

Why You Should Side with UC SysDef

Note: the base reward for completing the questline is the basically same no matter who you choose. You’ll receive 250,000 credits and a few pieces of mid-rarity gear. The main difference is in how the rest of the galaxy responds to your decision. Siding with UC SysDef throws the Crimson Fleet into disarray, all but guaranteeing it will unravel in a few years time.

Additionally, your companions in Constellation will all highly approve of your actions, and you won’t have to deal with the fallout of giving an absurd amount of money to a pirate faction. You’ll also have the eternal ire of the Crimson Fleet themselves, meaning they’ll attack you at every opportunity. In gameplay terms, that means you’ll have a good flow of enemy ships to fight, board, loot, and add to your fleet (or blow up).

Screenshot by GameSkinny

When you fight the Crimson Fleet leadership there’s also a good chance for high-rarity loot in The Key where they make their hideout. You will need to kill every named NPC in the place, except maybe Delgado, but if ridding the Settled Systems of scum and villainy is your goal, there are few better choices.

Why You Should Side with the Crimson Fleet

The biggest reason to stick with the Crimson Fleet in Starfield is access to shielded cargo containers, scan jammers, and the largest selection of vendors who buy contraband in the game. You also keep the ability to take on pirate Missions on The Key’s mission board. You lose the ability to fight the Crimson Fleet, but they’ll also be friendly toward you (in that they won’t shoot on sight). The Fleet also won’t scan you when you come in to dock, meaning you can easily offload an entire cargo hold’s worth of ill-gotten gains without needing to worry about ending up in the clink.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Oddly, standard Missions remain available if you side with the Crimson Fleet, and while I don’t recommend fighting your allies, anything else is fair game (the Ecliptic, Spacers, and any other possible Missions on the board).

The Real Play: Don’t Take a Side

If I were to go back in time, I wouldn’t side with either of them, not UC SysDef nor the Crimson Fleet. Instead, I’d leave the quest uncompleted just before heading to Bannoc IV. Once you complete that late part of the questline, the next decision you make on it pledges your loyalty one way or the other. Don’t go to Bannoc IV, don’t choose a side, keep everyone “happy” and keep access to all the resources the Crimson Fleet has to offer.

I won’t lie, the 250,000 credit infusion was a huge help. It gave me the freedom to experiment with shipbuilding (and I did a lot and will do more), as well as a huge buffer for buying ammo, accidental purchases, and other ventures. I know how to make money fast in Starfield, but didn’t need to after siding with the Crimson Fleet. So I didn’t. That said, I still wish I’d left the questline unfinished to reap the benefits.

Now that you know the differences between joining the Crimson Fleet and UC SysDef, you can make an informed decision on which to choose. If you’re looking for more help with Starfield’s reams of content, we have guides on how to romance Sam Coe, where to find the Opportunity Rover on Mars, and more in our Starfield guides hub.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.