Gears was not really cheat codes. The other age games had real cheat codes that gave powers just by typing in commands. They gave much more power than simply having gear. The consumables that used empire points was much more powerful than gear. I would agree it would be a good thing if gear was introduced here. That would involve strategy because a player could not use all gear at once so they have to choose what gear to use. Now, its much more flexible as far as how hard or easy any quest is though.
Gear will definitely be introduced.
We already have some insight about how that can be.
Gear will be possible to apply on units of one civ + NPC units at a time.
For example, you're playing Greek, so you will apply gear on Greek and maybe on some NPC units (if your scenario has them).
When you play as Babylonian, some of your units will be with the gear you chose for Greeks because we are using unit classes rather than unit IDs for gear application to reduce the size of the tech tree.
Maybe we will improve this behavior.
Aizamk is working on gear UI implementation, so he may find a workaround for this problem.
But anyway, Gear is Near