Thank you for all the attention and replies, I appreciate each of you taking the time to give me advice. I'll try to address a few of the common threads as best I can.
1) "Your renown rank is pretty low". Yes, universally it is. My highest is my BO at 40/40. The rest are 38 and below, which I understand carries with it certain limitations of mastery points, gear, and renown points. For instance, none of my characters can slot full Conq yet and others, like my Marauder, don't even have high enough RR to equip more level appropriate gear like Beastlord. I leveled him when PLing in the Inevitable City was a thing. In hindsight, I wouldn't do that again. My issue has been trying to play my character long enough to pump my renown rank while feeling like I am beating my head against a wall. I log into a character, play for a couple of hours until my patience wears out, then I log into another character or out of the game entirely. The process then repeats itself ad nauseum. Chasing RR 80 is difficult for me when I'm getting my teeth kicked in constantly at RR Whatever-that-is-not-80.
2) "Play what you like/Play what seems fun". I agree with this advice and it is something I have tried to do. Black Orc seemed fun for me, up until I hit a wall at T4. I think their armor looks fantastic (especially that sweet jaw armor), and I liked the idea of being a bit of a 'brawler' that could deal some respectable damage and have some survivability with a shield. Marauder was fun in the lower levels, though admittedly my experience in RvR with him was limited. I like the lore of Chaos, I like the hand mutation (while wishing there was a way to select a 'favorite' mutation for each of the three stances. Some of them look fantastic and some look less impressive), and the forums described it as, again, something of a brawler that was tough enough to survive in the melee. Witch Elf, Black Guard, Witch Hunter, White Lion, Choppa, Squig Herder, Shadow Warrior... I have enjoyed playing all of them at relatively low level. Some of them I like for reasons both cosmetic and gameplay (Witch Hunter, Black Guard) and others I only like for gameplay (White Lion, Witch Elf, Squig Herder). However, for me, a certain amount of fun comes from being able to be effective at whatever my job is. Doing damage, taking damage, whatever. If I'm a tank that melts or a DPS that is hitting for 10 damage per attack, it's hard for me to really enjoy the class even if the feel, lore, aesthetic, etc are all fantastic. Like taking a lover to bed and then having them tell you that your brother is better in bed, the reality spoils the mental fantasy of it all.
3) "Dude, are you aroused by Destro careers or something?" I'm a bit biased towards Destruction for general aesthetics, and I have a fondness for Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy. I like their armor designs better, as a whole, though Altdorf is a much more attractive capital than the Inevitable City. For Order, the only classes I really love the look of are Witch Hunters (whose lore I also enjoy) and Warrior Priests (same). If I had the ability to snap my fingers and have a 40/80 Witch Hunter with max RR and gear, I totally would. Same for a Warrior Priest. My issue with WP though is I'd want to be one of those guys with a 2H beating enemy's skulls in to make my friends feel better about being stabbed and I'm aware that it's not a particularly effective playstyle. Not to mention, if I can't get White Lion to work for me how in the world am I going to get 2H melee Warrior Priest to work?
I like the lore and feel of Dwarfs. I like the aesthetic of their cities and the whole grudge thing is pretty cool. Slayers are one of my favorite aspects of the lore, and Ironbreakers have some pretty neat armor. But those gyrocopter backpacks just kill me. Every time I see one I can't help but want to knock the dwarf pilot off their mount just to spare them further shame. I don't know what it is about them that bothers me--the look of them, the sound they make, the impracticality of spending so much time and effort designing a helicopter that barely gets an inch off the ground, or the way a dwarf's legs dangle like an inert marionette when they're skittering around. If it weren't for the gyrofloater, I'd be a lot more inclined to play a Dwarf and revenge some grudges. I admire you Thunderers though, so keep up the good work. Maybe I can join up with you on an Order character sometime and experience one of your warbands.
As for elves, I really like the way a White Lion plays, in theory. The pet thing was a deterrent for me, at first, but binding some mouse keys to attack/follow made things fairly manageable. I like the maneuverability, the damage, and the fact they use a 2H weapon (I think 2H dps classes are sorely lacking in representation, as a matter of personal taste). The armor is awful, though. Helmets that look like they came out of a Conehead movie, big poofy robes, the white/blue color palette. All the High Elf classes look ugly to me, though Shadow Warrior is somewhat passable.
4) "Grab an MMO mouse". I have played with them in the past and find that my thumb is a bit too large for the models I've tried (Razer and similar imitations). I am using a Logitech G502 Proteus which, while not an MMO mouse, does have a variety of additional buttons I use to bind my keys. I have 5 buttons, modified by shift and control keys, meaning I can relatively easily have access to 15 abilities on my mouse without moving my fingers away from movement keys. If I could bind my mouse wheel up/down, I'd get 2 additional buttons (6 with modifier keys) but there doesn't seem to be a way to bind them that way in the game. I won't deny the effectiveness of a game pad, and I had a lot of good fortune out of an old Nostromo N52 some years ago, but found that it was a bit fragile and tended to break especially with the D-Pad which I bound for movement.
5) "Guilds are a thing, maybe you've heard of them?" I agree with the various points made regarding the game being more fun when playing with others, bantering over comms and typical shenanigans that come with that. My BO did join a Greenskins guild and I've enjoyed the times I've ran with them though, again, my play schedule is a bit erratic. I also suffer from a certain amount of social anxiety and depression which makes the social aspects a bit challenging. Certainly I have always had more fun playing with a group than playing on my own, but I still end up feeling underwhelming in my performance and at that point I feel kind of stuck because I don't want to just drop out and hurt the experience of five other players. Though, there is something to be said about friends making the negativity easier to stomach and I will try to be more social in the game.
6) "If only there was another type of career you could play that wasn't a dps or tank. Something incredibly useful..." I actually have tried healing in T1 with a few different characters, mostly Warrior Priest but some with Shaman/AM. As difficult as it may be to believe, I am the worst at healing. There might be something to be said for a bad healer being better than no healer, but I struggle to a ridiculous degree with healing. I don't know how healers do it, to be honest. You have to keep track of where your team is, where your enemy is, watching all of your friendly health bars, targeting around through enemies and allies, throwing up debuffs and heals. It's certainly fun, in its own way, but it's like putting on a pianist concert while reading a speech and juggling apples with your feet. Just so much stuff going on and I don't have the awareness to keep up with it. Those of you who do might as well be demigods to me.
7) "The default UI is bad and it should feel bad." Not long after I returned to the game, I downloaded a UI off the forums called "VinyUI" and I've been playing with it for all of my characters. I have not, however, done much customization to it other than moving bits of the interface around, and changing the size of certain aspects. While I have you all here, perhaps I can get some specific UI-related questions answered that have been pestering me for a while and, I feel, may help improve my gameplay and awareness to a certain degree.
7A) I have seen in certain videos of tanks having a small shield icon on their screen which displays the distance to their guard target, and it flashes red when the target is too far away. I believe this is a function of the Enemy UI, which is included in VinyUI. However, I have never been able to find the option that enables this part of the interface. How do I make this show up? I am awful at eyeballing how far my guard target is from me and, in addition, I can suffer from tunnel vision in combat but a big flashing red sign of "FOCUS ON YOUR JOB YOU GIT" would be helpful.
7B) I have also noticed a few folks referencing Buffhead, which I believe is also included in VinyUI. My UI does display certain buffs over the target (guard, immunities, debuffs from my skills), but I don't know how to add other abilities (For instance, when a Slayer is using Rampage). I'm still learning what certain icons mean in terms of buffs/debuffs. How can I add something like that to my UI, and is there a way I can tell if the enemy has an enchantment I need to sever? That's an attack I honestly haven't used much of because of general lack of game knowledge. For classes like Witch Elf and Witch Hunter, I use Nerfed Buttons (I know, I know) to just throw it up at the beginning of the series. However, that causes problems with PlanB which I find to be much more useful on a Black Orc.
7C) There was a Marauder video I saw some time back that had a UI element that would flash whenever a reactionary ability became available. For instance, "MUTATED ENERGY" would flash whenever he disrupted a spell to let him know the ability was available. It was in the same size/font style that RvR alerts are given with. He had a similar thing for his parry ability whenever it became available. What addon is responsible for that, and how can I set it up to do something similar with an ability like Ya' Missed Me or Confess? Often, I have no idea whether or not I can use a reactionary ability and often forego them entirely unless I build a Nerfed Button sequence to include them first. It would be nice to have something telling me an ability is up without having to keep looking down at my hotbar or hitting the ability from time to time to see if it is up. I know the combat text provides certain "parry", "block", etc alerts but I often miss them in the middle of fighting.
It means a lot to me that so many of you wanted to offer me feedback, advice and positive attitude. I was concerned that the thread might come across as too much of a whine or vent, but believe me when I say the frustration I've felt has been incredible. I have been careful to endeavor to accept responsibility for the things which are my fault (most of them) and to limit my judgement on any game mechanics because I know I lack the experience to discuss them from an informed perspective. I don't mind accepting fault, because without that one cannot improve, but it has been difficult to constantly see myself not making any improvement despite sometimes knowing exactly what I'm doing wrong.
Finally, I'd like to thank those of you who make playing the game enjoyable and challenging for me. I have been "Zaxxed" more times than I'd care to remember, and I thank you for the kind words of encouragement. Learning and recognizing names is something I'm still learning to do and, while I have probably cussed a blue streak at some of the Order folks at my monitor, I do enjoy running into you at the end of the day. I try to maintain a certain amount of friendly competitiveness in my play and not take things too seriously, at least against my teammates and opponents. I hope, one day, I can build a friendly rapport with all of you and be seen as a worthy ally or foe.