I left 15x longlong ago cant tell you hows the situation there, about HR well its worth giving a try for one or two weeks and then make ur own judgment.
HR has low population caused by some unfortunate incident, people exploited npc's to get materials and then other guys got items taking advantage of GM features 2 months ago, many got banned and many ran chasing their Clan leaders tail to some x10000 rate lolservers finally the rest as sheeps went into panic and left when they heard X or Y guild was going somewhere else.
All that seems fixed now but people hesitate playing HR the main cause IMO are those drama/qq topics in the Hellraiser/General forum, newbies read all the sht there and thats enough to scare them away.
Also the low activity from DNstaff due real life issues generates doubt, without activity from forum administrators people are not encouraged to play here.
Bottom line, just try it... right now at this hour you can find people playing olympiads and later hunting lvl 75+ raids. PVP scene is limited to Epic raids and ocasional encounters on Hellbound island and top lvling grounds so check https://droplist.dragon-network.net/stats/raids?name=&server_id=1&from_level=0&id=0
and if Queen ant or baium is alive there's a high chance youll see some pvp action.
About lvling and equipment dont worry, you can hit lvl 70+ in one day and people sells top A equipment very cheap. All the D,C,B stuff is available through Hellraiser shop.
Give it a try for one week or less, invite your friends if you dont wanna farm/lvlup alone (if you are a very social guy then you can talk to everyone and maybe get new friends ingame) it really doesnt take too much time/effort anyway, if you dont like it by the end of the week or sunday its ok, you are not losing tons of hardwork or time with these rates and easy equipment.