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It is ultimately a question of degree.
In Albion Online, the ratio between effort required to create gear and how strong it is is actually designed in such a way that the benefit/cost ratio of higher level gear is lower than that of low level gear.
Said differently: Gear materials/cost increase by around 200% per tier, whereas the actual strength only increases by about 25-30%.
As a result of that, lower level gear is still very strong, and very cheap to use.
However, if you really want to, you could also choose to PvP with super rare gear - just beware of the risks involved. And on the other hand, given that the game is full loot, you might now and then kill somebody with rare gear who was not careful and claim it for yourself.
When it comes to effort and time spent, there is a 100% player driven market place where you can sell your gear our buy gear that other players have made. This will help you if you do not like gathering and crafting and just want to PvP for spoils or ransom.