The item drop rate boost, loot box, and mystic key are the breadwinners here. Item drop rate is a flatout advantage, and mystic key + loot box have a good chance of "pay to win".
There are PvP modes where gear does have an effect, and your actual level does have an effect. Lower level content also would give you less exp and loot than content that's your actual level, so while you could do lower level stuff, you get rewarded more for playing stuff your level. Some of the level scaling might still leave room for gear bonuses as well. And of course, people with better gear will have a stronger character than you at the same real level.
While nothing is set in stone for release yet, something in your brain should trigger your "Hmm, I should be wary of this" sense, when there is evidence of this stuff.