By Chedburn 
Weve made a huge amount of changes to the faction system that were very excited about. The new link Ranking found on the faction page shows factions that are both 25 spaces ahead and behind you in rank. To take their rank, you can war someone within 25 ranks above you and claim victory. You can still war any other faction, but you'll not be able to take their rank or gain as much respect as warring factions within 25 ranks ahead of you.
Rank is the new stat which basically shows how skilled and powerful a faction is. You dont have to be in the top 20 for it to be meaningful, soon any rank under 500 - 1000 will be deemed a good faction. Youll also make huge amounts of respect battling your way up and defending your rank from other factions trying to take it.
Initial rank positions have been determined by faction respect. It is now free game! Respect will play no further part in the ranking system orders.
Weve made the following changes to accommodate this update, and some unrelated ones.
- If a factions respect drops below 100, the opposing faction can automatically claim victory
- Faction war base and war view has been vastly enhanced - All factions now lose a default 1 respect every day to promote activity and to slowly get rid of inactive factions.
- New factions now start at 250 respect
- Very valuable respect bonus for progressing your rank, and defending your rank from others.
- Anti slutting system added. If a user has been attacked several times within an hour, the opposing faction will gradually earn less respect from them.
- Respect cap of 500,000 removed.
- You'll now automatically default to fists if your guns have no ammo.
- Attack losses now appear in the faction attacking news
- Faction and company searches added to the standard search page.
So there's no conspiracy, you lost your faction slowly (1 respect per day) because you were not here to tend to it, which was stated in an Announcement on the 16th February, 2011. So perhaps you were away longer than 1/2 a year? If you weren't you should have been aware of this!