that didn't mean this would be easy. They would have to fight their way up from the bottom again, and this time everyone knew who they were. They couldn't just become anonymous. Silver Star might be dead, but their names and faces had been plastered all over while they stood atop the A-ranks. What better way for a team to make their name than to take out two of the former top-ranked team?
That did come with an advantage, though. Since everyone knew who they were, everyone would probably be wary of them as well. They could use the intimidation factor to equalize the odds somewhat. And in addition, they'd have two new team members. Even if a team had Silver Star's battle strategies completely memorized, the new team would fight in a completely different manner.
“Like I said, I think this might be the time for us to start over and come up with something new,” she said, watching players going about their business around the plaza. A few glanced at them, but most seemed to be caught up in their own interests.
“I know, but if we're too focused on coming up with something new that might impede our progress.”
“You're such a downer,” Leah commented.
“Because you are. Listen to yourself. We might have lost our rank, but we have a whole path full of potential laid out in front of us. The possibilities are endless. I'm sorry, but sometimes being at the top felt like we were stuck in a very small cage. A very nice, gilded cage, but a cage nonetheless.”
“And this give us the opportunity to spread our wings and fly again,” he said. “OK, I see your point. It's just...”
“Having two friends just walk out on you like that with no warning really sucks,” Leah sighed. “Yeah, I know. I haven't deleted either of them from my contacts. Haven't tried to talk to them either. I probably never will. But...”
“When you work with someone for so long it's hard to just suddenly separate from them,” Darin said. “And it's hard when someone you trusted just stabs you in the back with no warning. Let alone two of them.”
“Let's not take it out on our new comrades,” Leah cautioned. “I don't know Erika all that well and I haven't met your recruit, but treating them with suspicion isn't going to get us anywhere. We have to be a team, not just four separate players working together.”
Teams were always talked about in Avalon Online. Commentators and even players discussed how important their cohesion was to the success of the best units. It wasn't enough to have four strong players on one side. If they couldn't work together, all their strength meant very little. A weaker set of players that were properly organized into a team could very well overcome the level and skill deficiency.
Silver Star had started out as a team, but as they rose up the ranks they seemed to become something more. Leah had heard others refer to them more than once as a machine, unthinking, unfeeling, capable of grinding through anything in its path. That ruthless efficiency allowed them to chew through anything that crossed their path.
But it also meant a loss of some of their camaraderie. They still had close relationships, or at least she had thought that was the case, but it was business as well. Maybe that was why Leo and Jon had decided to leave. Maybe they were tired of it all and wanted to go back to something they longed for, something simpler and more fulfilling.
Leah couldn't exactly blame them for feeling that way, though she wished they would have said something about it. She had similar thoughts at certain points, and now might be the time to go back to that. She wanted to be back on top, but she wanted to do it with a team of friends, blazing their own path. Was that too much to ask? Did she want something completely out of reach?
“It's not worth it if we end up like this again.”
“It's not worth fighting our way to the top of the A-ranks if we just end up collapsing