I thought I'd start this discussion in a forum thread rather than discord or in game in hopes that it will help future RoN players.

So far, I'm playing solo. I have been playing for a week or two, quickly ascended to level 70 after discovering the healing potions in the hub. I practically played up to lvl65 without them, but very rarely died. At 70 I hit the Temple of Veeshan to start the T1 task. In T1 the armor patterns dropped pretty freely. But the shards drop rate are extremely rare. This is where I feel like I have hit a wall. I have made the molds necessary for all T1 armor, but can't make them because of the shard requirement. I see the Shard Zones NPC in the hub, but it is under construction. Luckily, Dread was online yesterday and answered a few of my Q's as well as adding which zones are for shard farming. East Karana, PoTactics, Hive, Ferubi, and I think one more that I can't recall. Being at the armor level I am, I went to EKarana and played for about 3 hours. During that time, shards dropped. But only 1 of my class. Dread was also nice enough to explain the exchange rate for these shards. And while exchanging is great, you have to first have 10 of any single class to exchange for 1 of yours. I have 30+ shards, but no more than 5 of any 1 class. So I tried out PoTactics. I could do single kills, but multiple pulls started to task my abilities at this armor level. And the mobs hit much, much harder. I have never been to Ferubi or Hive, so I went there and got waxed almost immediately. So I went back to EKarana for the duration of my playing to kill snakes, spiders, wolfs, and gnolls in a huge zone where the drop rate just seems very very low. I can't really move on to the other shard zones until I can upgrade my gear. But I can't upgrade my gear until I get the shard requirements.

At this point I wonder if I'm doing something wrong? I got just enough shards total in my few weeks of playing to get a pet. This does help as I moved on to T2. Before the pet, these mobs were taking a very long time to kill. But now that I used those shards on my pet, I'm back down to nothing, needing several to get through each piece of T1 armor. Now I have several T2 patterns accumulating and I don't even have 1 piece of T1 armor yet. Splose told me about the exchanging of plat for shards. I checked on this and 1 loyalty token is 500,000 plat. You need 2 loyalty tokens to get 10 shards. In my few weeks of grinding, I had a total of 800,000 plat. I exchanged 500k for 1 token, but now it's back to grinding for both shards and plat.

Please don't take this post as whining or begging. I sincerely wonder if I'm missing something or doing something incorrect. I really do love this server. But as quickly as I ascended to lvl70 and spent some AAs, etc, I feel like I hit the proverbial wall where advancement is as hard as it is in EQ live (ok that is probably an overstatement, but you get my point). With the freedoms that come with a server like this, I felt like progression was not necessarily easy, but fun and not a grind. I'm now at that grind point.

Is it something simple in that soloing just puts you at a disadvantage? Am I fighting in the wrong areas? Am I doing something procedurally wrong? Did I miss a step while leveling or going through T1? Any insight is appreciated.