From what I read power leveling is all the rage, go afk level up.
You heard wrong. No one is going to PL you unless you are an old friend. Even if they will, they are doing you a disservice. Getting PL = being bad at level cap, because you have no experience in your class.
New players are almost at a advantage relative to those who reached 50 before 1.20, as the battle mechanics have COMPLETELY changed. You have to re-learn your class(es). Doing this now means you learn as you level, which is best/like creating a new character in a stable game.
I still had many classes that I leveled in 1.20 which is great to learn the mechanics as you earn XP. For the others, I've had to resort to GC leves and Spiritbind parties to relearn (I'm actually still in the process for one or two classes).
As far as XP parties go these days, I find it much easier than before (say, around launch). With a full party leveling against the proper group of mobs (4-5 levels ahead of the party, with 1-3 links) you'll earn about 80-120K XP/hour depending upon how good your group is.
tl;dr - yes, leveling is better/easier now in a group. no, PL is not what the game is about like the whambulance would like you to believe.