I hate myself for turning this into a rant, please do forgive.
Playing with friends sounds splendid; the more, the merrier. It used to be the case that one could make a few solid friends over the years by playing random MMOs but now folk are less willing to go try something out on their own unless their pals are already there, or they can coerce them to join in.
My comment regarding online resources was in an effort to emulate the good old '00s lack of comprehensive encyclopaedias, to get you to ask and explore, but it would seem that you're not too fond of the latter and the former has been resolved with servers implementing in-game itemid and monsterid search features.
As for the grind, it gets progressively worse until you reach the final stages of the game and begin collecting specialised resources/equipment for PvP, WoE, etc.. Don't get me wrong, behind all of that grind lies a terrific game with great mechanics and it tries its best to sprinkle novelty and charm all over to stop you from noticing the grindy aspects.
Now excuse me while I go get buzzed on some crack cocaine so I don't relapse on my RO addiction.