I’m in the midst of making a small little guide which will help with some of the questions you have, and one of the things I will recommend to you is to find Albion Online Powerleveling. I also started this game at first just a friend and myself, and as fun as it was, the grind sunk in really hard and really fast. The amount of depth the game has and all the possibilities were hidden in this dense fog of grind. As soon as we joined up in a guild we were able to get much more fame, much faster, besides the fact it was nice to have a bunch of others to help and play with.
Your build as a tank doesn’t actually sound that bad, and as tank as you are, it sounds like you are going for more of a bruiser build compared to tank. Both are completely viable. What separates them however is that a tank is all about damage mitigation and survivability. With Cheap Albion Online Silver on your chest as compared to something like the fire shield, and you saying the build seems “lackluster”, it sounds like you wanna stay tank but do decent damage. To this I would recommend keeping your plate armor, choose the abilities that best fit your play style and what you wanna do, and use a weapon such as the great axe, scythe, claymore, etc. These weapons give a good amount of health and are very viable, especially with the upcoming patch!
For a tank, the hammer and shield is one of the best setups, I would also recommend mace and shield, but the two handed counterparts to each of these are absolutely viable as well, but used more so in PvP.