One of the things I wanted to test is if Tier 1 or Tier 2 is more renown/xp. With one kill in Tier 2 at rank 12, I had my answer and it wasn't even close. Tier 2 is miles ahead in renown/time and renown/xp. Rank 12 is the soonest you can enter Tier 2 and be eligible for Bolster, zone captures, and AAO. I was defending the Altar of Khaine in the Blighted Isle. I killed a DoK on the objective and received 3000 experience and 300 renown. Later when defending the Ironclad in Barak Varr, I killed a Chosen for 1500 experience and 700 renown. Sure, it might be fun to totally dominate the lower Tier, but you don't learn anything like that and I find more enjoyment out of a challenge.
I actually ended up staying up until 2AM fighting in Tier 2. It was so much fun with fights actually happening that I lost track of time. My new character is now R12/RR20. I've bought a few talismans, but good lord, potions can be ridiculous to buy (or sell) at lower Tiers. I'm definitely going Apothecary/Cultivating with Butchering on the alt.
I don't feel underpowered in Tier 2 even though I'm the lowest level in the Tier. You can definitely tell the difference between a Rank 1 and Rank 15 in Tier 1, but it's not that bad Rank 12 versus Rank 26. It's likely because at Rank 10 you have all the basic tools you need to function. I would certainly be in favor of just giving players all their Rank 1-10 abilities at Rank 1. I understand the whole not wanting to overwhelm a new player with everything at once, but it's crippling in RvR. If one side has Rank 10+ tanks and the other doesn't, it's usually decided before the fight starts for example.
For those curious, I'm playing a Swordmaster on Badlands, also named Tarelther. Say hi if you see me there. But please, send a tell before inviting me to anything. I swear that people have forgotten common courtesy these days. Doing stuff like that in FFXI when I played it earned you an instant blacklist (/ignore) and I'm going to be adopting the same policy.