This is an option I stumbled across somewhere else (precisely where escapes me at the moment) but I'm making a note of it here for future use.
Instead of having each player generate their ability scores/point buy/etc individually, consider trying something like this:
Each player throws the standard 3d6 six times and records the results. The players are then able to compare these scores and mutually decide on which scores they will all share for character generation. The same six scores will be used by each player, but the players assign these ability scores according to their own desires. This would create a party that is quite balanced in terms of ability scores, suddenly removing the bragging rights associated with that statistically improbable lucky "18", and potentially saddling the players with at least one less-than-stellar score. Variation and flavor provided by character class requirements and player's fiat.
Six ability scores, arranged in different ways have the potential to create over seven hundred characters if the horrendously under-used math skills I'm channeling are to be believed.
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