Oh, truly, why do people need gear at all? And even more, why do they need gear that can be obtained reliably, without human sacrifices to RNG gods in raids for which they must grind starting gear for months if not years? And even then, once you have the top gear - what’s next, just stop raiding and quit?
For me, the answer is that - group content is first and foresmost about playing in a group, with all that jokes, communication, talks and other funny social things, and a good gear should just make this easier. If you want a challenge, it is still there, even a best gear you can get won’t make you sleepwalk through any raid. A bunch of T6 geared people can wipe just as easily at T1 as a bunch of fresh 80’s, if they are doing wrong.
Also, you may look how it works in other MMOs, notably ESO.
About some meaningful content, I can agree, but there is a catch - it should be an icing on cake, not a barrier which stops exploring what a game can offer to a player.
And yes, I do not myself enjoy the RF and OS grind. But the key point here is reliability. That is for what all that grind is done. And it is better than wait a week to raid, then get nothing, and repeat this in a next few months.
For a point of all this, see above.