Try to party whenever possible for merc recruitment quests, it'll really speed up your progress.
As far as KJ drama goes, it's just like any regular PvP drama I guess. Only the ones who actively seek out drama are going to get involved in the drama. Besides, it seems rather peaceful in Sikyon; I usually only see people KJ'ing bots/macro-ers/etc. Could be because I don't really play in the NA timezone though .-.
It's the nature of my circuitry.