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Thieving is too easy.
And I say this as a thief. Let's make some changes.

I can logout with items instantly. Change it so that you need to hold onto the item for at least 15 minutes before logging out. If you "quit" during this time, your character will still stay as if you've lost your connection for the remaining time. You'll have to drop all stolen items or wait for the countdown to end before logging out safely. The use of hestian or conveyance trinkets should also be impossible during this time.

There's also a small issue with location, it apparently needs to be claimed or it won't stop someone from logging out. Make it so all tiles within a city border count as non-neutral for the purposes of hostiles logging out.

Guards detect too easily, but also die really easily; though probably because I'm a top level assassin. We still want to give lowbie thieves a chance, so here's what I suggest. Since barracks are mostly a placeholder, I'll use it, but go ahead and make a different building if you want.

Each barracks costs 100 empire coins (or 200 misc coins) to make, in addition to normal building costs. Every barracks that you build inside a the city houses 5 guards, one of which will patrol the city. If that guard is killed, the barracks will send out another one; guard replacement is free. Guards populate barracks at the same rate citizens do for houses. Barracks have a maintain cost of 10 coins per depletion cycle. Tweak the numbers if you want.

To give guards a little boost, whenever they encounter an enemy, they'll call for backup. Nearby guards will arrive and also begin attacking the enemy. Guards have a "Swarm" bonus, where they gain +5 to-hit, +5 dodge, and +1 damage for every other guard in the same room.

As crimes, (Attacking NPCs, Infiltrate, Stealing, etc) are committed in the city; the alert level increases. Every city has an "alert level". As this increases, barracks will send out more guards, gates have more guards, and the guards are more likely to see through disguises (Though I don't think disguises do anything against guards from what I've seen). Guard towers will also fire more often (Though they're pretty weak right now).

At regular alertness (low), each barracks will send 1 guard out.
At moderate alertness, you'll get two (or one if there aren't enough guards).
At high alert, every barracks will send 3 guards (if possible). Furthermore, any additional guards will be split and stationed in crucial points, such as resource rooms, gatehouses, and the vault.

If you're worried about the number of NPCs, feel free to group them as "Pair of guards" or something. It gets two attacks, counts as two guards for the purposes of the swarm bonus, and becomes a single guard when it loses enough HP.

An empire can artificially increase their alertness level, however, this costs 1 empire coin per barracks per-ingame day. Raising it to high alert costs 3 coins per barracks per game day. Changes to alert level will be taken at the end of every game-day.

"Natural" alertness caused by crime doesn't cost any coins, but will decrease as time passes.

When at war, all empire cities are immediately raised to high alert until the war ends, this is paid for via the war cost.

On the other side of the fence, let's look at the thief's laments.

1. There are towns that do not have a vault or a secret cache. Make it so that if there isn't at least a single vault/cache on the island, that island's inventory doesn't count towards empire wealth.

2. Thieves cannot attack players in self-defence, this is an issue because skills like backstab and sap will only work if the thief gets the first strike. Make it so that thieves can attack players of an empire, IF a player from that empire already tried to kill them once during a certain period of time.

3. It's easy to see why steal is blocked when there are no players of that empire; but why is infiltrate blocked?

4. The stealth skill tree is locked behind several unnecessary skills. Why do I need pickpocket in order to infiltrate?

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