Wandering around the tower I noticed today an area on the left with merchants from something apparently called "new monarchy".
What's interesting is that in the description of some of the items they sell it says something... I don't remember the wording but it was something like the actions of the character counting towards that faction when wearing that.
Looks like there'll be some kind of competition between factions.
Yeah there are actually 4 factions in the tower, at least so far in the Beta. They all have to do with the Crucible though. If you go to a map-bot in the tower, look for the crossed-swords (guns?) icon. There are five on the map but one is for the Crucible vangaurd. The other four are the factions.
I hope there are PVE factions of some sort. Actually, at this point I'm hoping Bungie is adding just as much stuff to PVE as they are for PVP. I'm really hoping they add some sort of horde-mode for end-game PVE content. That way those of us who don't like PVP as much have something to do that is repeatable but dynamic.