Unless you have LN or Malephar set for 105~115 you're pretty much screwed and if you don't have DDF, DQ, OC or SK stuff for 115+ you're pretty much screwed anyways. Since only like 1% of the community has control over the World Boss and Instance dungeons, you're at the their mercy. Regular player might have around 5~10 times less stats than the most godly players in the game and even thoses guys struggle with the end game content and need additional beefing via charms and even then that is still difficult.
As a result people just feels discourage from PvE content. Not to mention the game isn't meant for free play. Technically it is, but practically it is isn't. With the servers the way it is the need to tone it down or produce a softcore server.
This is not entirely true at Lvl 135.
ToG is a 5-man party based Instance, which drops Lvl 130 Blues Gear, Lvl 135 Blue Gear, and Lvl 135 Blue Weapons (3rd best weapons in game).
Demonic Queen is a 10-man expedition based Instance, which drops Lvl 135 Blue Jewels (non-binding).
Citadel of Chaos is a 10-man expedition based Instance, which drops Lvl 135 Weapons (2nd best weapons in game).
Shaman Khazul is a Lvl 130+ World Boss, and only drops Lvl 135 Dark Ritual Weapons (best weapons in game).
So you could potentially have the best Amor and best Jewels in the game without farming with "the most godly players in game".
You can't control an Instance. So I'm not sure how you believe "1% of the community has control over the World Boss and Instance dungeons"
The only benefit for farming the World Boss Shaman Khazul, would be a slight Aim and Damage boost, and very small increase in potential stat boost in RNG stats.
So from a PvE perspective, using CoC weapons would be perfectly viable. (I myself am using a 3-socket CoC Axe rather than an SK Axe).
I mean that isn't entirely accurate. My mage and glad are both 115 now and they got there without being full LN or Malephar. My mage had 2 pieces of Ln just for the looks and i never could find a fail 3rd piece. She also had a fail mal hat like +3 str i got for 10g (and i only ever +3 it) sooo thats not out of free to play players price range. My glad on the other hand used greens pretty much and is still in 114 greens.
Could they carry DDF? no, but thats not the only thing PvE is about. There are quests non dungeon farming, and such things to do.
I think the point was that you wouldn't survive in the content, not that it's impossible to get to those levels.
I personally got my Lvl 135 Gladiator and Lvl 135 Reaper capped using Lvl 100 NPC gears of their respective class. But my Warlock was fully geared, SC'd and Charmed, doing all the pulling and killing.
Do you think your Gladiator or Mage would've survive getting to Lvl 115 without someone else killing or at least carrying the party?
I don't think your Mage being in unenhanced LN or Malephar gear would survive without charms or SC against the Dark Neps. Neither would your Glad as you would be within the Whirlwind attack which completely drops your HP within seconds.
If your entire group or DDF run was using average, unenhanced Lvl 114 Greens, without Charms, Extenders, etc, would they be able to survive or even complete the Instance?
The answer would be no.