How likely is it that they are fake/made by someone other than atmel or me mishandling them that has caused them to become more and more difficult?
typo here please reframe the statement.
Weaker print doesn't mean that the ATmega is fake ,Please drop this notion forever because i have many ATmega including i got from original Arduino all are weak print.
I had 4 ATmega168's ,2 ATmega8 one free othe loaded with Bootloader, 3 328P's all are dull printed.
Now at the point of only one of them returning an id other than 0xffffff...
Please clarify further.