Lucent Guantlets were also released a bit prior to Illium's release, the same might've been true for Cadena, but I don't remember exactly. But you should expect to be able to get all the pathfinder gear on release.
Honestly, it's incredible that people managed to turn this into a negative thing. They still gave out those medals dedicated to each server (EX: Chaos Pride), so you'll still have something to remember them by. But this is such an important change. Dead servers have been relying on botters to have a functioning economy, and with the several ban waves we've had recently, this hasn't been working. Who the flip cares about names when we're finally getting the world merge we've been asking for. Your commentary on the criminal justice system is completely out of place honestly, you're actually realistically expecting Nexon to accommodate those who are currently in prison? Get real.
Aggra put it very concisely, there's not any benefit of having characters on more than one world in a server alliance, you're not really losing anything, and it definitely shouldn't be a reason as to why a server merge shouldn't happen. This is a change for the better.