Factions (or 'Combine Member Groups) are more or less Guilds of SWC. They are collections of players that have gathered together under a mutual idea, agreement, or simply to make money. Not anyone can make a Faction, though anyone could lead one. The following should help you better understand Factions, what they are, what they can do and other related topics.
Factions are more than Guilds
Guilds are often an association of character or players. But Factions are more powerful in SWC than Guilds in most other games. They have advanced features to administrate their members and their assets. They can own things and allow their members to use them. Factions can even own other Factions. Factions can take on the role that companies, societies or even governments have in real life.
Making a Faction
Therefor making a faction is a lot more complicated than in many other games. A series of requirements need to be met before being able to create one. These are listed below:
- Capital - how much depends on which faction you are trying to make. Cheapest faction requires 30,000,000 credits in asset value.
- Start up Credits - this is either 15,000,000 credits for an Information faction, or 25,000,000 credits for any other faction.
- 7x7 facility - faction creation will convert a 7x7 facility owned by you into the faction HQ.
- Art - several banners and logos are required to identify your faction.
Some requirements are different for different types of Factions.
There are various types of factions. Examples of faction types would be government, mining or security. Not all game features are equally available to all types of factions, so that factions of different types will have to cooperate. For example a government will not be able to build ships for their navy without the help of a ship production type faction.
A full list of different faction types is available in the rules section: 
Maintaining a Faction
Once you have established a faction then it needs to be maintained. If certain conditions are not met then the faction is at risk of being dissolved by the game.
If the active member count falls below a threshold then the faction will be in danger of dissolution. For all government factions this requirement is 35 or more active members. All other factions require just five. If the number of members falls below that count then a notice is provided in the faction events page. This notice is sent once a day for 14 days, counting down until the last day at which point it is dissolved. If the member count returns about the threshold then the countdown is halted and it will count back upwards one day at a time.
Government factions will not dissolve and will instead revert if they fail to meet the requirements. After the timer expires, the Government will revert back to its pre-government type and lose access to all government faction resources including the ability to claim taxes.
Should a faction be dissolved then all assets owned by that faction will be placed on the Combine Market for sale to the general public. NPCs will become the property of the player they are assigned to. All faction specific buildings such as Headquarters will be destroyed.