Hey Kharas - Welcome back to SL Gor roleplay.
1) I think the overall number of sims are down in SL compared to a few years back before Lindens started working on that new project of theirs, plus it's summertime and usually a bad time to start new story-lines and new sims since overall activity is down for a few months. But I don't really know anything about English city-sims, as I still play my ancient panther woman role in the wilds somewhere. I have seen a few stunningly beautiful and pretty active northern BTB sims so that might be a way to go.
2) I have no clue about meters. If it were up to me I'd never wear them. Now I wear the GM because sim rules where I stay at the moment says I have to. On my own sim I made meters optional. I don't remember when I drew my bow and actually shot at someone using the meter. I did notice a stand with that other meter, but have to admit I was completely uninterested and just moved on without investigating.
3) Primus Weapons: No clue, sorry. I don't even remember what brand my current bow is, who knows perhaps it's banned now too.
4) Yea its lame. You will find plenty of that as you wander. When I asked in groups where the hell the Gorean Forums went a few months back I was met with "Pftttt! EVERYONE knows forums are SO last decade!" So my guess is no one read those discussions or everyone just don't give a fuck if they play Gor or Starwars or some weird combination of whatever tickles peoples kinks. BUT don't get discouraged. There are still great roleplayers out there to play with and great story-lines if you have the resolve to make them happen. I still manage to have fun on occasion.
5) I think everyone started over on alts and some simply disappeared. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one left from back in the day. I miss my mentors. It's weird meeting someone getting that feeling you know them from somewhere and they don't tell you. But I ended up concluding if they are old friends on alts not wanting to tell me, it's their headache not mine. And also if they do tell me I will greet them and be happy to have "found them" again. But two days later I forget their alt name and they are back to being strangers to me. Chances are they will be gone not logging in again in that time span anyway. I refuse dealing with the hazzle of remembering ten names for each old friend I have. To each their own, I am fairly comfortable with my Manon avi and I haven't had the need for creating a brand new character for roleplay with an entirely new avatar in years and years.