First statement: Velveeta's post about Istaria was so good I did not dare to enter my own. And now to my experience.
First of all - mysterious thing happened. Some stuff disappeared from our Guildhouse, a structure that only Guild member can access. Tier 6 and some mysterious components just disappeared. Tier 5 items, armor, crystals - everything else left intact. I know I did not take out anything, contrary - deposited stuff so that it may be used by someone else later.
Of course, it was a topic for our chat. There were some advices to ask some persons to be repsonsible for certain things. For example, one player is responsible for Guild crystals, another -for Guild formulas, third - for components etc. Whoever wants to give away or receive this stuff - just adresses appropriate player. So far - Guild leadership made no decision, maybe it was someone's mistake.
Otherwise - things are going pretty well. I am advancing in crafting, although slow. Some 12000 logs are enough only for 1 Gatherer level and some 7000 boards (14.000 logs) - for only one Blacksmith level and I have 10 levels to go.
However, I take it as investment: Gatherer and Fletcher will give maximum woodworking skills. Miner would give maximum metal working and mining skills. Therefore any craft school I would take - would be easier to level up. So I am taking it very calm, as an investment.
I was happy to help other people. Player S. needed my help in locating and killing some monsters:Oak treants, Lava oastics. We hunted together as in old good times. And then she took some really hard quests. Initially it was some named Fire wolf. I knew it was dangerous, but she asked for help and I agreed. I hardl come to the place, guarded by 2 Dragons...only to find being attacked by fire beetles. When it came to the wolf, my Dragon died at least 1 time and I died one time too. I resurrected her, she resurrected me, we healed each other all the time...and finally we were victorious. Next stop was named Thornwood treant. Player S. died one time - a pity, that lvl.103 treant did not attack me, I could take some more damage just because of the heals. However, we were victorious.
And finally - my old enemy, the one I wish I could torture and then kill slowly: Mithril named golem, Mhedon. Once he dared to kill me and now we went for revenge. Player S. knew my "warm" feelings towards it... We spent more time in locating it, than in killing it. Fight was hard, health sometimes running dangerously low, but no one died and we both were very happy. And then it was almost midnight, I had to sleep.
Except of this - once more my impatience is getting me. I was offered some cool spells, all I needed was to hunt some Enraged Glowing wisp. I found two of them in a big place, no one dropped stuff and I decided it was impossible. Other player killed some 20 of them, got 2 stuff and made me cool spells. I was nervous: I could defeat some lvl.99 enemies in a row and get their components...and am unable just to wait. Weird.
Also helped one Dragon to get Holy war and my own Player S. - to find one trainer.
What did not help me - lags and Player A. I am not sure, but for me lags are becoming instatnt problems. Harvesting yew, then suddenly everything stops..."Server connection failure". Fighting treant, treant low on health, but I can't attack and treant won't die..."Server connection failure". Teleporting/recalling - and often game just freezes.
Player A. has met his fate: he is banned from our channel. His third (or is it fourth?) personage (we call them "alts") went to the chat and continued to begg. This time - "plz help me grow up to crafting level 20". Everyone did it himself. yes, sometimes I saw and participated in "craft advancing group", when 2 players gather resources for the third, but it was never because of begging "gimme gimme more", only of free will. Player A. continued to begg. I answered that I never asked for crafting help and levelled myself. He continued to begg and was banned.
I was relieved...but it wasn't quite right. First of all, a warning should be before ban (since it's not enough to put someone in the prison - person must be explained why he is put there). Ye,s it was first ban I witnessed...but Player A. may come with his next alts and begg once again. One experienced player told - maybe we should teach Player A. how game is played? But he would answer his typical "ok" to anything and fail to read our wiki, even if adviced so.
In spite of this, I had a very good time in Istaria. I helped others, I was having fun and relax killing weakier enemies and no grinding is almost a paradise. Things are getting just good - and soon I will begin my new combat schools, that offers me even more fun.