My stealing is in the mid 80’s which makes me a valuable asset to any faction. In order to control a city(which I say while swallowing my own venom. You actually control absolutely nothing), a thief with at least 80.0 in stealing must grab a little bauble from a monument located either in another faction’s fortress, or in the middle of town (if you log in at server restart).

Thieves like myself who have devoted a lifetime to the true thief skills such as hiding, stealthing, snooping, stealing, detect traps, lockpicking, and reveal hidden, have little to no magery skills or combat skills to speak of. This makes you easy prey in a faction skirmish. So rather than lose a set of armor and a GM kryss every five minutes, most thieves will use their guard-fooling skills to steal reagents from the enemy mages, be they orange (the color of your opponents) or blue (the color of your opponents, thanks to an almost two year long unaddressed problem with the combat system in Ultima Online.) This often means that you, as the faction thief, will be gray. In a battle, with 5 or 6 of your comrades behind you, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Warning to True Britains of Chesapeake: THIS IS A PROBLEM.

Why? Because the instant you steal the mandrake from an enemy and flag criminal, you not only have the whole opposing faction to contend with, but you must also elude and outsmart YOUR OWN FELLOW BRITAINS!

This past weekend, during a raid by the ShadowLords (those are the guys OSI has determined will ultimately dominate every single shard. I’ll explain the various reasons why I feel this is the case in a future rant), I was chased by five of my fellow True Britains because I was gray (inside Lord British’s castle are barrels full of free armor and weapons, but you gotta steal ’em.), and during my flight to survive, we passed by a single True Britain being demolished by a pair of ShadowLord mages. With the numbers suddenly turned against them, you’d think the ShadowLords would flee. Once the posse behind me ran RIGHT BY THEM, they realized they were perfectly safe.

Way to go, Imiscor.

But wait, there’s more.

So during the afternoon last Sunday, we get word that the Council of Mages, who have five town “baubles”, left their fortress unguarded. So we gate in, and I being the only thief, stealthed all the way across town, which took me almost fifteen minutes, and grabbed the Magincia stone. Immediately, I am surrounded and beset upon by my fellow True Britains of Chesapeake, and am disoriented with shouts of “PLZ GIVE TO ME I WILL PAY 10K GOLD!” “FLAG GRAY AND THEN GIVE TO ME PLZ I WILL PAY U!!!”. The only thing on my mind was to get the hell out of Magincia and back to Britain so I could place the stone in our fortress and begin our capture of the town of Magincia. That is all there is to factions, and that is how you play the game.

“What a fagit! Kill him!”

“Newbs shouldn’t play factions!”

“dumbass thief!”

and so on…

I learned later that there is a bug in factions that is so “hot” and so rampant, that players have been ignoring the ENTIRE PURPOSE OF FACTIONS, and have been keeping town stones for themselves instead of placing them in the True Britain fortress. When a thief steals a town sigil stone, they turn a bright shade of purple. This is so that everyone who sees you knows you just stole a stone. This is where “capture the flag” turns into an episode of “Dastardly and Muttley” and YOU get to be Yankee Doodle Chicken. Only, there is a bug where you can permanently turn your clothes, your weapons, and your spellbook to this shade of purple. This is why, when I’m doing my best to hide and stealth all the FUCK across Magincia, MY OWN FUCKING FACTION KEEPS REVEALING ME AND SPAMMING “I WILL PAY U FOR SIGIL!!”

Later on Sunday, I saw one of our faction’s thieves mass producing purple sandals and spellbooks for quite a tidy profit. One True Britain lamented, “I need to find a cheap exploiter.” I passed this along to Calandryll who told me it’s being fixed. Unfortunately, until it does get fixed, faction players will not care what cities they control, but only which one of their members is willing to forego the purpose of the system and hue their spellbooks purple.

And the fault for this rests at the feet of OSI. Why? From the very onset, people told them that the factions system was asinine because there were NO BENEFITS OF VICTORY. You can buy a fancy colored horse? JUST GIVE US A HORSE DYE TUB, THANKS. You can buy a fancy colored dagger? CAN I HEAR A “WEAPON DYE TUB” IN THE HOUSE?. They castrated the system design so that nobody would feel any impact of the system, be it a participant, or a non-participant. Do the True Brits or the ShadowLords own the town you live in? IT DOES NOT MATTER. But I ranted on that particular issue until I managed to hue MY OWN FACE a bright shade of Sigil Purple. Memo to OSI: When you offer ZILCH FOR REWARDS, players will find their own.

And they have. Line up for your purple spellbooks while you can folks because when they fix this particular bug, it will remove the *ONLY* reward for participating in the Faction system.