Saturday night found me sitting in Central Park in the city of Santa Clara watching a fine Independence Day fireworks display. It was probably the best display finale I have ever seen, the sky ablaze with overlapping bursts of colors all set to the 1812 Overture, a magnificent piece of music if not one I would necessarily associate with the United States or the independence thereof. But it does have cannons.
We arrived home in time for me to peek into Azeroth and catch the fireworks over Stormwind.
I also saw Skronk, Ula, and Earl online, representing the Saturday night group in Northrend. They were running some quests to pick up experience.
But as we gain more experience, the whole group is now level 77 with the exception of Earl who is closing in on that, we also get closer to our tradition of being… well… done when we hit level cap.
When we hit 70 before Wrath of the Lich King, that was the end of instance runs. We finished up Escape from Durnhold Keep then the group stopped showing up in WoW on Saturday night.
Now we’re closing in on 80 with no new expansion in the offing from Blizzard for a long time to come and we’re starting to think about what to do when we hit the level cap.
It is possible that achievements might hold our attention for a while. Some of us in the group are more addicted to them than others though. We might also explore the path of the Death Knight as a group of five… a death squad if you will.
But the time will come where we’ll be done with Azeroth until the next expansion and we’ll be looking for something else to do.
There are, of course, plenty of MMO options. I am just not sure if a break from WoW would be best used playing a similar game. If there was an MMO that would accommodate our play style, which is focused primarily on the five of us playing one night a week, and if that MMO were different enough from WoW to seem fresh, that might be an option. But I’m not sure such a bird exists. Our run at Warhammer Online lasted six weeks before we decided it wasn’t for us, and our time in Middle-earth was hampered by the fact that a group needs six people in LOTRO, and we only had four at the time.
Or we could kick the MMO habit for a time and look for a game that can accommodate five players. Potshot and I have already experimented with Age of Empires II: Age of Kings and found a way to get ourselves connected reliably. And there are certainly other RTS games to look at.
An adventure or RPG might be more our speed though. It is a shame that Diablo II only seats 4 players, that might be an interesting retro experience. I actually played through the original Diablo in a group a couple of times, but did most of Diablo II solo. Too bad as well that Diablo III is still over the horizon.
Then again, maybe we ought to lighten it up and look for a shooter to occupy the time. Something like Team Fortress 2 (if I can get over my grudge against Steam) or Battlefield Heroes might be a refreshing diversion.
So I am looking for game ideas for a regular group of five players. You don’t have to sell me on MMOs, but something that can handle our group and can be fun and rewarding on our limited weekly play budget.