The devs have never said that gear is going to be purely cosmetic. They do have stats from what I know but a lot of it will be situational. For example, you'll need different types of armor for different environments.
Here's some info from my compilation thread:
Exactly. I keep reading all these posts on gear won't matter, which I find impossible to believe. Might as well fight naked then.
I think this game will have deep synergies across skills, biomes, and gear based on what I've read so far. Everything is described as "situational". Understanding these synergies is what I think will separate the knowledgeable player from the "noob".
Of course, I could be completely full of shit - wouldn't be the first time
I suspect the gear system will be much like Guild Wars. Different pieces of gear will have different bonuses, but they won't be tiered. You might have a platebody with 20 fire resistance and a platebody with 20 cold resistance, but you won't have a platebody with 20 fire res and a platebody with 40 fire res.