This was originally a post on my guild's fourms, about my departure from the raiding scene, but since it pretty much voices exactly how I feel about the failure of WoW's end game, I thought I would put it here as well.
There is no progression in WoW. I have fun working on the hard encounters with you all, but at the end of the day it feels to me that we're really just killing time until the next content patch. The carrot on the stick that was once the next tier of raids, is now the next content patch, and it's not even so much of a carrot on a stick anymore as it is a pie on a silver platter.
Instead of making progressively harder content, they just throw arbitrary obstacles in your way like "Defeat this encounter with one arm tied behind your back!" or weekly encounter lockdowns and it just seems like a disingenuous way of keeping people playing.
If each new patch required you to have nearly the best items from each previous patch, that would even be acceptable, it would turn the farm into the progression - but the unfortunate bottom line is that there's no reason to strive for best in slot anymore, because they aim all the content at the lowest common denominator.
Alright, it's starting to get long again. I think you get what I'm saying, I just feel like the few moments in WoW that provide a tangible feeling of accomplishment are drastically outweighed by the number of moments that feel like a pointless farm, or useless grind.
I don't mean to belittle anyone's accomplishments. If you can enjoy this type of atmosphere, I think that's awesome, because at a low level WoW is a really fun game, but it's just not for me anymore.
WoW's popularity is not going to greatly decline because for the vast majority of the players, there is progression. When you can't manage to run heroics, let alone the latest and greatest raid content, you are constantly working to better your character, stock up on potions or increase your DPS/Threat etc.
The unfortunate truth though is that even at the highest end, WoW is still not as challenging as most other games out there, and that's the reason that for the real hardcore gamer, WoW is really never going to be what it could have been.