Let me start out by clearly stating I am against the proposed reduction from 4 factions down to 3. Now let me get to the reasons. The first being that UO has 4 clearly defined factions. Removing any one of them could upset the balance on any number of shards. While the Shadowlords may be dead on Atlantic (which they are curently), there could be 6 shards with it being the most powerful faction. What are you going to say to those shards? "Sorry but your faction is being downsized. We can offer you great opportunities in Minax......". Next is which faction could be removed? The one everyone points to is Shadowlords because they supposedly died in the events. I wasn't exactly around for that so I don't know if there was some final Shadowlord boss but I haven't heard of it. I am doubtful the Shadowlords have been crushed completely. However putting all that aside, world events have never been tied to the factions. There was no lead up to them being born. Even if the Shadowlords are gone, so is Lord British. Why are the True Britannians still around? When Minax dies is the Minax faction going to disband? The factions are not tied to people, they are about ideas. The Shadowlord philosophy isn't going away from a lore perspective. Not enough convincing yet? You don't care about history or lore? Okay, lets talk balance. Having 4 factions keeps things in check. If there were only 3 factions then you run into a situation where 2 factions are likely to be ganging up on the 3rd frequently. There is no more opportunity for 2 on 2, it is always 2 on 1. When factions was most active in the early years, temporary truces were frequently formed for whatever reasons. Whether it was to take down another faction or to stay on top. The assumed reason for this proposed changed is 4 factions is too many. I don't know about every shard but I know what happened on Atlantic. We rarely had 4 very active factions, even when it first launched. Most of the time it was 3 groups. The dormant faction would switch on a rather regular basis. A bunch of people would decide they didn't like their current faction so they would move to the empty one and start building it up. Another would end up falling. How is this going to work with only 3 factions? It doesn't if all 3 are active. There is no where to turn for a fresh start. What does it hurt if one faction remains perpetually inactive? If there is some importance as to why a faction can not be empty in the new design, then I say that is a bad design. Basing anything on having every faction active and balanced is doomed for failure. Factions is (or used to be) as much about diplomacy and social interaction as it is about game play. The developers cannot account for those aspects. Even today, well last year, having 4 factions is as important as ever. Our guild spent a lot of time deciding which faction to join. We based our decision mostly on who we didn't want to be in the same faction with. In a three faction system there is a much greater chance you will get stuck playing with people you don't want to. I don't see any good reason why 4 factions can't continue to exist under a new, revamped system. I have put out a variety of reasons why it should remain this way. I also counter that a system based on 3 balanced factions is doomed from the start.