This a general question about factions purpose and jobs.
I understand the purpose of production factions, that one is out of the question, even tough without a released R&D I don't understand why there are so many.
Services factions I understand they do provide flavour to the galaxy which is nice, even tough I don't see that much GNS posts from information factions any more. (I remember Veritas used to post regularly).
But what do people in mercenaries factions do? There are so many and I fail to see the current tasks they might do.
1) they're an alternative to the Pirate and/or Bounty Hunter and/or Government types with respect to access to certain Facility & Station DCs;
2) They are one of the faction types that can implicitly OOF A/E within their own territory (instead of only in-faction A/E) (BH, Pirate and Gov); and
3) They are one of the faction types that can be assigned Arrest/Execute privileges by other factions (Bounty Hunters and Govs are the other).
RP-wise, Merc factions evoke more of a "Blackwater" feeling than Pirates (too Arr-Matey's) or Bounty Hunters (very specific find and capture bounties), and could have a decent place in SWC as mobile and easily transferable armies for hire without having to get them to HOP (arguably immersion-breaking ooc action).