Hello, readers of the forums! I’m wondering whether anybody is having the same problems I’m having, and if there’s anything I can do about it. When Mangler started, I jumped in with both feet. I joined a guild a few days ahead of time, and when the countdown ended and the server was finally open, I rolled a Bard. I never would have rolled a Bard if I’d known that it involved so much soloing, as I figured that being in a guild would put me in a situation where grouping with guildmates would be pretty much automatic. Except that it’s not, and now I’m thinking that I probably never should have expected it to be. I started out budgeting my playing time to ten hours a week. Unfortunately for me, that just doesn’t seem doable for anybody else. Sometimes it seems one of the prerequisites for playing Everquest is that you have to do it sixty hours per week and, as I should have known, other than one person who is more interested in tradeskilling than leveling (bless her heart), everybody else passed me by like a speeding bullet. By the time I was Level 10, I was looking up at a guild roster of people in their 40’s. They all seem like very nice people, and I have nothing bad to say about them personally, but I know that only on extremely rare occasions will I ever get to group with any of them. They are all grouping together and putting together raids at Level 50, and I’m at Level 27. By the time I get into my upper 40’s, they will all be 75 (especially as much as I solo – As a Bard, I’d be lucky to solo two levels a month) with thousands of AA. By the time I reach 75 with thousands of AA, they will be 85 with tens of thousands. You see my dilemma. A few of the guildmates see my plight and assure me that I will have chances to group more here and there. After all, many of them, once they reach 50, decide to roll alts and start the journey once again, and as each of them rockets past me, perhaps they will be kind enough to try to keep me in mind during that brief one-day window when their level intersects mine. It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe someday. In the meantime, I was stuck at Level 23 for seven straight days fighting marathon battles in the Karanas (Any plate-wearer can probably relate to what this is like) while hoping that a good pickup group would come along – and sometimes they do; I went from 23 to 27 in two days after that with two good pickup sessions in Guk – and now I’ve been stuck at 27 for five days waiting for another one. I guess that even if I find a pickup group once every six weeks or so, things will be faster than soloing every day, three hours a day, for six weeks. (And yeah, my playing has gone from ten hours a week up to fifteen and then twenty, temporarily, in an attempt to try to close the gap as much as I can between me and everyone else.) So, undoubtedly, I should quit soloing totally and only look for pickup groups. So, finally, the Question: Is this as good as it gets? Are there guilds out there (specifically on Mangler) that actually level each other up? Does every guild out there look at a 27 Bard and think “Sorry, man; we’re all at 50.” Is there anybody else out there who looks up at the rest of their guild on their lofty perch, knowing in your heart that there’s no way to reach up there? Is there a better way than going into the game each day hoping that maybe, if you’re lucky, there will be a pickup group with the fortunate timing that they will have a camp, and they’ll need one more, and you’ll be it? Are any of the rest of you waiting for that one-time deal where a guildie has rolled an alt, and just for this brief moment, you may have an opportunity to group with him or her? Or is this just the way it is for everybody? We should thank our lucky stars just to be in a guild and participate in the sometimes lively and humorous guild banter? If this happens to you, what do you do? To be fair, there are Guild Events once per week that are open to all players, Level 1+. At these events, I get to see what some of these people look like, some of these giants whose names I often see in Guild Chat. And when they’re killing things (and I’m helping; last week I’m sure I did several hitpoint of damage, lol!) I seem to be scoring some coin off the kills as my speakers go ‘cha-ching.’ They are trying in that way to keep people involved who would otherwise have no involvement. And shortly after the server opened, our designated tradeskiller (How many guilds have those?) gave everybody a set of armor. I got a full set of Banded Armor, woo-HOO! In fact, as far as I know, anybody reading this would be very lucky to be in this guild, especially if you’re 46+, as our raid numbers aren’t as great as we want them to be. From my very limited vantage point, it seems this guild treats people well. More questions: If any of you are in my situation, would any of you, guilded or not, consider forming some sort of static group? Or, if there are enough of you, several semi-static groups? (Because I know that finding six people who will play at predictable predetermined times is pretty…well, iffy.) Or am I pipedreaming? Are there guilds out there that are more predisposed to helping people level? If so, could I level with you without leaving my current guild? If I absolutely had to, I would leave the guild, but only if it were painfully obvious that there’s just no other way. OR…..Is this just the way it is, and there really is nothing I can do to improve my situation. It’s gotten to where I’m thinking of paying my guildies to group with me ($20/hour sound about right?), or at least to make appearances for autograph sessions, and I sure wish there were a better way? Maybe when Kunark is released, I should make an Iksar Necro, and just not group, because I don’t need to, because I’m an Iksar Necro. I can throw my two-cents into guild chats from time to time, and that will be that. But right now, I’m a Half-Elf Bard, and I’m wondering if I can continue to be one. Thanks for reading!