I will just respond to this post with this. PvE and PvP are both gear grinds and although this is a old formula for aaa mmos it is the road this game has taken. As such, it is simply impossible to base content on skill only. I say this because gear and loot offer incentives and people are used to min maxing their gear in preparation for the next tier.
Should it be different maybe, but the fact is, is that it is a system that is here to stay. As another poster said because you do not raid you do not need the gear. Now for me, I have always advocated that raiding remain as is, however in terms of the wide variety of playstyles yours included, I think that if new stand alone content for soloist were released it would close the gap somewhat.
I disagree only with the statement that it's impossible to change this or any game's formula. that's the entire point of an mmo is that it is constantly changing. changing the way your get your core base of stats shouldn't have any impact on what content you wish to enjoy.
I guess my point is that if all the gear was equal, then you wouldn't need better gear anyways. I just don't see the point in arguin against a level playing field in favor of tiered min/maxing for personal gain. If everyone had the same armor cores, there would be no walls to grind through, everything would be just cosmetic reward wise and content balanced against skill and not gear.
I'm not understanding your "it's impossible" attitude, because physically it's very possible.