I have sympathy for the hatred of a gear score system.
I played ffxi as well, and stupidity, without question, was a much bigger issue than anything item related. I never once /checked a healer and said "oh I see the problem, their gear sucks." However, you can be sure that without checking, I could tell when the guy was not casting haste, not using regen, and instead spamming Cure IV until he pulled hate or ran out of mana. A gear score system implies that this same guy who cure bombs a ninja that is slowed, rather than removing the slow, knows what he's doing once he equips a damaltica.
It reminds me of league of legends not giving players access to all runes / passives / summoner skills until level 30 (probably shouldn't be using the most popular game in the world as an example of something bad). I played a lot of dota on wc3 before I ever played LoL. I proceed to stomp people who obviously don't know how to play the game, ending with triple their gold, and they want me to do this 40 more times before I can use the skill flash, 200 more times before I can play ranked? Blah.
It might be a wise decision that ultimately ends up benefiting the experience of most people, but the concept is still kind of offensive. Also, *grumble grumble* 8pm-6am est maintenance.