Regarding factions, I've been re-reading some of the earliest posts on these forums, and faction management was a relatively common topic even then. Adding to that the low number of votes against factions in the "what would you cut to get LT 1.0 sooner?" poll, this seems like a component of Limit Theory that could help to distinguish it from the other space games released since the Kickstarter.
One thing that I've been wondering about is what behaviors will allow one faction to feel different from another.
For example, if I join (or run) a pirate faction, will managing it be exactly the same as managing a police force? Will managing a faction consisting mostly of a conquest fleet be accomplished through the same functions as managing a manufacturing faction, or a mining faction, or a star system government faction?
I'm generally in favor of simple systems that produce complex results through combination. So it seems to me that it would be a good idea for the specific actions that a player can take as part of, or leader of, a faction to be very similar. That way players only have to learn one interface. But somehow, the kinds of things you can do through that interface, the results of management actions, should not only vary between factions, the specific differences should feel right for the kind of faction you're managing.
One early/rough thought is the idea that the measure of factional success should be driven by the kind of faction being managed. And this measure of success would be the primary determinant of how well your faction attracts and retains NPCs.
Maybe for pirates, the key measure of success is average loot value received per NPC over time, where the captain gets to decide how to divide up shares. A greedy captain might keep 50% for himself and share out only enough to keep the stronger pirates in the faction, while a more egalitarian captain might divide every haul up equally (though maybe at the risk of appearing weak -- and that's probably something else that should be tracked for factional management).
Perhaps a mining consortium measures its success through profit-sharing, with bonuses paid out for lucky strikes. Maybe a production-oriented faction measures success in sales. (Can't wait to see the NPCs of Limit Theory discover "advertising."
) Maybe a market-oriented faction, which just plays the numbers between the marketplaces belonging to other factions, gauges its success through average commission fees. And a government faction could measure its success by a number of things: general economic activity, happiness-through-safety, aggressiveness toward external factions, and so on.
The point of this suggestion is to look for ways to let different kinds of factions immediately feel different in plausible ways when you interact with them. Other ideas are welcome.