Nothing really new here, either... Just my experience(s)
My first attempts at using a rounter were exactly the same, (HSS bits back then).
I will not go into router problems here (I shall on the Router Poll), however with my third router, I started using nothing but carbide bits - WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! (Actually I first tried just one in my second router!) Super clean cuts, nice chips, and NO SMOKE!!, when routing at any speed! Prices of carbide bits have come down greatly and the difference in cost is worth it on the first use!!!! I find sticking with bits one can obtain ratings or opinions on - tend to perform the best. Bits alone convinced me to go from 'never (even) wanting to use a router', to 'what project can I do next?!!', and I work more with metal than wood.
I would suggest looking into buying bits in a set, with all the bits included that one intends on using in the future.
Good Luck, Lou