Has anyone, ever, made it to 30th-level? I remember when Dragon-Kings came out and everyone was making plans for when their character made it to 30th. However, the highest anyone ever got was to 10th-level. Most died at 3rd.
Another factor, for us, was competing RPG games; we’d play Dark Sun for the summer, then switch to AD&D2e for the fall and Battletech for the winter then Cyperpunk2020 etc.