I went through a similar issue and after three years also turned the keys over to one of the other players because after 3 years we just didn’t have the same vibe as we did when we started. I took a year and a half break and am recently coming back but have yet to join an alliance again either. Being that we had players in our alliance from the same city we were very close and as those players left the game the whole alliance just wasn’t the same and 2ven the conversation drifted into unfamiliar territory.
Some of us left for another game that we have been at to this day, but the community is nothing like what we had when empires started and we missed that fwel.but I honestly don’t see that feeling in the game anymore. I. Gonna check out how the new alliance stuff is gonna go I guess but as a former leader who helped get my guys to a top alliance I can honestly say that was probably the worst thing I ever did as being around the people up there completely soured my gaming.
Good luck on your journey, just know you are not alone