I'm not sure how to start this off, but with my acknowledgement that my time in World of Warcraft is complete.
I feel that the well has run dry, and it is time for me to move on to other things in life. There is nothing left to discover, nothing more to learn, and no more people to meet in this game. The game has changed so much in the time that I have played it, that it's become something else entirely. Perhaps I have stayed the same, or I have changed in a different direction.
Six years. Seems so short when you say it like that.
I got through the first 10 levels of this game, and thought "Wow. Someone has finally gotten things right. I have been playing video games all my life, and this truly feels like something refreshing and different." You don't come across those feelings very often, so I decided to embrace it.
So much has changed in my life since I first started playing in this whole other world. I used to be a grown up before I started playing; things like bills, and credit ratings, and class ranks meant more before I became a paladin. I justified all that time to myself. I had been a hard working student and person all my life, and never really got to have a childhood growing up. Divorced parents, and no real family structure will make you very independent, and you end up having to do a lot of things for yourself otherwise nothing happens at all. The last 6 years have been my childhood, in game and out.
Playing a paladin, I have had to reinvent myself multiple times during the course of my career; these reinventions also mirrored the personal reinventions that have happened to myself outside the game. Just as it was in the game, it is in life; You get the greatest personal benefit when other people share your successes and failures. The people you surround yourself with make the experience all the richer. No matter where you are in life or how alone you feel, there are always others out there who are similar to you and taking solace in that is freeing. Knowing that there are nerds of a feather out in the world, makes the world a little smaller and having a like minded dialogue can turn any day around.
My highs are lows are for myself and myself alone though. My successes and failures in the game have shaped who I am, and the lessons learned have already been integrated into who I am.
On a less dramatic note, I am quitting for a few reasons:
1) Something I used to take pride in being unique is now cheapened.
Raiding is not as much fun as it used to be. It was a lot easier to be a special snowflake back in Vanilla or Burning Crusade. The game was simpler, and raiding was more organic.
2) Pandas et al.
I used to respect Blizzard a great deal more than I do now. Something firmly stated for a long time was that the pandaren race was just an easter egg, something that was a one off in Warcraft 3 and would never make it into World of Warcraft. When I saw Mists of Pandaria's flagship feature would be Pandaren, something broke inside me. Nothing was sacred anymore, and my sneaking suspicion that the game was being tooled more and more to retain subscribers rather than retain the spirit of the game that I loved. Also, pokemon. Give me a fucking break. The game has absorbed so many people that the core fanbase of the game has been diluted into retarded, impatient, and stupid people that play the game. I don't want to play with those people.
3) "Hardcore" Raiding.
I appreciate what raiding needed to become in order to stay fresh and interesting to both veterans, and new people alike. To me this is a fools errand, which LFR has attempted to bandaid. LFR is not fun. Any random pickup group in this game that was mashed together by a computer is not fun at all. I have had probably less than 1% of my experiences in random dungeons and raids over the years be enriching and enjoyable. I digress, but I enjoy raiding and pushing myself as hard as I can. It's one arena where I am incredibly self critical.
This is gone now. It's replaced with encounters that discourage team coordination, and just aren't that interesting.
All three of these reasons are because of the focus of the game trying to attract players who don't want to put anything into their own game experience, and expect all the fun to be provided for them by either the developers, or everyone else that is playing the game.