Stepping down from the raid team
I've informed my guild that I will be stepping down from the raid team. I'll continue raiding until they can find and gear a replacement healer, but I won't be doing any 9.1 raid content above LFR (if I do that). This has nothing to do with my guild or guild leaders or anything like that. The players in Chain Reaction have been fantastic. If you're looking for an Alliance guild on a US server, I would recommend them.
It's a combination of ever-increasing difficulty of raid mechanics, a natural loss of reaction time, and wanting to pour my free time into new pursuits.
Ever-increasing difficulty of raid mechanics
It's like those batting cages at Frankie's. I was crushing the fastballs in the 60+mph cage (MoP/WoD, and even Legion). Due to the necessity to increase the difficulty of raid mechanics as the game evolves, BfA and Shadowlands feel like the 85+ mph cages. I'm barely even making contact.
Future raids will only continue to increase the difficulty. I don't know if it will be in Sanctum of Domination or the final raid of Shadowlands or the next expansion, but at some point, it's going to feel like the I've moved up to the 90+mph batting cage and those fastballs are going to just zip right past me.
A natural loss of reaction time
I've been playing World of Warcraft since late Vanilla. The height of my raiding career was Burning Crusade through Wrath of the Lich King. I don't know if you've noticed, but as the kids say, 'its been a minute.'
As I've matured -- yes, that's the word for it -- both my situational awareness and reaction times have worsened. I know what I'm supposed to do, but either my situational awareness in the moment fails or I'm too slow on my reaction time. The last thing I'd ever want to do is hold back my raid's progression because I'm failing mechanics.
Pour my free time into new pursuits
Finally, like most writers, I'm an aspiring novelist. I've been working on a portal fantasy novel, and I hope to have it ready to pitch to agents and editors at writing conferences in the summer. I simply can't devote the time needed to be a Heroic progression raider and pursue my publishing dreams at the same time.
Look, I know the odds. I'll probably never get published unless I go the indie route (which will only require more of my free time). But I've got to take my shot. I have a separate blog dedicated to my writing journey. If you're interested, you can check it out at tedatchley.com.