Everyone has friends that have quit. Most players have at least considered quitting in the past. When a community is pretty much based on one activity (in this case playing RuneScape) there are vast implications to quitting. The first reaction of most any player when they find out a friend is going to quit is "NO! Please don't quit". This is only natural because of how the community formed and continues. Friends come and go, but friends met through RuneScape tend to end with RuneScape. It is no wonder why people talk each other out of quitting every day. So why is it such a big deal? Why is it so common and why does it continue to make a splash in every community of RuneScape players?
As with most other aspects of the game, the whole "quitting" experience has changed with the unbalanced trade update. In the old days a player would often quit and give away all of his most expensive items, hold a large drop party, and then disappear into the abyss of "the real world". This was a bittersweet departure because although you lost a friend and game play companion, you also had a chance at gaining something. Most people would still prefer to keep their in-game friends, but the extra loot softened the blow. Now there can be no gifts, no drop party without informing everyone on every server, no final blowout to say goodbye and go out a hero.
Personally I have been on both sides of the "quitting" thing. I quit from a very active community and a very involved clan. The reason why I quit was because I was trying to advance my career and I could not afford to focus on anything but career and family. I gave away my rares, my money, and my items but I held on to my character. That is the great part about RuneScape. You can always come back. I quit, didn't think about it for years, and then came back without skipping a beat. It was sad and a lot of fun people told me goodbye, but it was the best thing for me at the time. The sad reality is that I really have only spoken to one of the people I previously used to play with every day. Friends really are lost.
It seems cold to ignore the loss of some friends (some of which have been daily chats for a year or more). But friends come easy in RuneScape and we should expect them to be lost easily as well. The best part about this world is that it brings people together quickly and efficiently. We should try to remember this when we are feeling the loss of a friend. We would not make friends in RuneScape if it was not easy, and for it to be easy to make friends, it has to be easy to lose friends. We got to spend time with our friends while we played the same game, and we have to accept the losses when they leave because otherwise the whole social model of MMO games begins to break down and becomes less casual, less "pickup" play and more like the real life relationships that take work, concentration, and dedication. MMO friendships are fleeting, but it only feels that way when we lose them, it would be best to keep it in mind the whole time.
I will miss all the people I left, I will miss all the people that left me. The game goes on even if we don't and remember you can always come back, and you can always make new friends.