For me, it was a number of small things that ultimately killed the unbridled joy I once had for the game
The sheer prevalence of discord organized runs. I miss the days of realm when a random group of people could actually complete a difficult dungeon together. I don’t want to be stuck in a discord queue for ages on end, only to be forced to listen to some pubescent teenager talk about gross shit for thirty minutes, or be subjected to god awful music. It’s also equally annoying to try to enjoy the game by yourself or with some friends, and suddenly have a horde of players join the realm that you’re in.
The change in art style, that contributed to a much more noisy and busy screen. For a pixel based bullet hell, increasing only parts of the textures to higher resolutions did not help me discern what was enemy and what was bullet.
The amount of friends leaving the game over the years. I played the game for 11, 12, 13 years. In that time, I’ve made amazing friendships and memories. But within the last few years, I’ve noticed a steady decline in my guild and circle of friends. It could be due to a lot of things, but I think time has a real factor to play here.
Which ties into the next topic, age. I picked up this game back when I was 12 or 13. I had ample time to enjoy wasting hours on it. But as adulthood came, so did the value of my free time increase. Still, in college I had some time to spend with friends, make unwise choices on time management, the ilk. But now in my mid 20s, I just don’t have the drive to keep playing in the permadeath cycle. I’ve done thousands upon thousands of snake pits. I’ve seen three different game companies take the reigns. Resetting ranks, adding new dungeons, adding more powercreep to the game; it’s not going to turn back the clock on the aging player base. Realm, as is, just doesn’t have the same staying power in my life, as other games. To this day, I’ll happily boot up Minecraft or Oblivion. Play Rust or League if I’m feeling masochistic. A myriad of triple A games, or indie ones, but not Realm.
Eventually, you have to put down a game like Realm. I just wish it wasn’t in the manner that it occurred. There are plenty of games that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and quit, without losing that innate joy or fondness over.