Gearwise its quickest to purchase the "defiant" gear for your level in the Bazaar (where it should be much
cheaper than on any npc merchant). On my server it goes in the 50-250pp per piece range except the chest pieces which may sell for 200-1000+ pp range for your level defiant gear..
I have a lvl 80 Beastlord alt which was my first character in EQ and for me, duel wielding is best for overall Beast dps and holding aggro especially if you are doing a lot of the tanking. So I would max your "hand to hand" skills and "1hand blunt" with that in mind.
Nowadays, unless your plat rich you could suffice with the cheap defiant weapons until the higher levels (80+) where you would need better upgrades to advance your character. They are commonly sold dirt cheap (ie under 20 plat on my server).
Good luck and enjoy.