After much discussion, Kasul and I decided to start Final Fantasy XIV in Ul'dur (I think that's how it's spelled), me as a Guardian, he as a Thaumaturge. Though I don't think he's created his character yet — he's been fully pulled in to EverQuest, Ragefire style :)
I wanted to get past the newbie quests, eventually ending up in an outdoor zone at level 8 with my second set of armor upgrades. Kasul said the guides said the first ten levels were pretty much solo-only, but I'm already bumping into these Fate events (public quests) and that really sounds like something that indicates I've moved out of the newbie solo stuff.
I don't think it's supposed to be hard to kill things at this level, but there's no harm in waiting. It's discouraging if someone you wanted to group with gets too far ahead — or falls too far behind. Best not let that become an issue in the first place.