Whatever happened, we need to find out why it happened. But clearly it should not have happened.
-Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)
We are reaching that time of the year when the sun is shining and various members of our regular Saturday night instance group are sometimes lured outside to see the world, visit relatives, or move across town or across country, judging from past experience. The summer hiatus is nearly upon us.
Which would be fine, except that so far 2013 hasn’t been the best of years for the group getting together. Take the weekend before last. Four of us were available. We got into Rift. We poked around. We ran into the Exodus of the Storm Queen instance.
You can tell that is a recent picture because the little orange dino pet from the recent Raptr promotion is there by my side.
We went through the first two boss events and then ended up at the third boss, Valthunder, where we again failed the DPS check, being short on person, and ended up in the usual state of affairs.
Then we chatted a bit, did a hunt rift, and called it a night.
So it has gone. The five of us haven’t been on together since the first weekend of the year.
I am going to guess that it isn’t for lack of desire. It isn’t as though one person has said, “screw it” and just stopped showing up. All of us have missed weeks and then have come back. There is usually a notification in advance that somebody won’t be on because of some event or another.
And now we are at the point where we traditionally break for summer, usually reconvening in late August for a return to our game of choice. So the lack of a full group will continue.
Which means Rift, as least for our main characters, is probably off the table for a while. Not that there is anything new coming in Rift that would impact us greatly. There will be a summer festival of some sorts. I forget what they did last year. And some tweaks no doubt. But the biggest news of late is the free to play transition which means… pretty much nothing to the group. There is another zone coming in, and signs that we might be getting some more dimensions options to decorate. But given the state of my own dimension, that isn’t a big draw for me.
So the question becomes, what should the summer be about?
Should we carry on as we have been? We have a set of intersecting games depending on who is online. We play World of Tanks when it is just the boys. We play Need for Speed World sometimes when the group includes some combo of Earl, Potshot, and myself. We were playing the Neverwinter Nights 2 with just me and the Potshots. But we still end up with intersections of people where Rift is the only game in common, and four player Rift only gets us so far with instances.
(I did suggest the last time around that we could just get the
dungeon finder looking for group tool to assign us a DPS player, but we eventually decided that having one person in the group not on Skype with us would end up feeling odd.)
So should we let Rift go fallow for the summer (unless we all happen to show up) and go for a nostalgia run?
We could go back to the Lone Lands in LOTRO and play some more anachronistic music with Anderson Cooper. My corp in EVE is looking into a summer run in LOTRO. The server they have chosen is Brandywine which, of course, is not one of the servers where I have characters. That is always the way.
We could get some scrolls of resurrection for WoW (Earl is still subscribed) and see what has changed in Azeroth. It could become the summer of dailies and pet battles.
We could even go really old school and take another stab at EverQuest. That is doable in groups of less than five.
I think most of the group has Guild Wars 2 at this point. Oddly, despite its “no need to group” focus and its “every man for himself” view on roles, I think it could work as a group game on the overland content. I ended up standing by myself in a bunch of group events, so bringing your own group would clearly be a help there.
Or is it time to explore something new and different. Neverwinter is out, which is new, but I am not sure how different it really is nor do I have a sense of how noxious the free to play aspects of the game are. There are crazy ideas like Darkfall or Planetside 2 or the like, which promote grouping but where level differentials do not keep people from playing together. Or we could explore co-op games. There is Diablo III, which at least three of us own, or Torchlight II, which is damn cheap for what you get. There is even Borderlands 2, which Gaff made me buy a few weeks back when it was on sale ($25 for the game + all DLC up to that point), but which I am so hilariously bad at on my own that I haven’t gotten very far and have pretty much stopped playing.
I think MOBAs like League of Legends are out, primarily because I cannot stand the genre.
Is there anything else we should be looking at as a possible summer hiatus game?