The feeling that this game has outgrown me, and moreso really that the community has outgrown me, has reached an apex where it's affecting my enjoyment. I've never felt like I was "too old" or too much of a "boring adult" to play a video game, until now.
With each power-creeping screen-clearing skill, or OP "over-max-isn't-good-enough" boss that comes out, with each time-gated/wealth-gated/RNG-gated content and build...the game becomes much less skill-based and much more time-based.
The elitism and VIPism is the worst I've ever seen in any game community. News posts haven't even been actually GGG lately, they're about streamers, VIPs, giving us info that GGG used to give us directly (and don't get me started about reddit). I feel that "professional gamers" rather than supporters have become the focus even though one shouldn't have to dedicate oneself in such a manner to be part of a "hardcore" gaming community. I've always hated elitism, hero-worship, and giving so much credit for ultimately meaningless bullshit. Maybe that's my hangup, but I'm allowed to feel that way, like I said the game has outgrown me. From what I hear from friends and other posters, many beta players share at least some degree of my sentiments here.
When I play an online game I like to be a part of a community. Being a supporter, contributing to discussions here, helping out newer players with questions...all used to make me feel like I was a part of the PoE community, but not anymore.
I'm not entirely quitting the game though but I'll probably play a lot less and only alone, on standard. I'm definitely quitting the community. Playing at "my pace" isn't good enough for challenge leagues and time-gated content, so I guess I'm considered "casual" now. Oh well, I have better things to do. Maybe when I finish my second college degree I'll be at least as successful, relevant, and respected as someone who sits in his mom's basement and plays video games 16+ hours a day.
Have fun yall.