Via Joseph Skyrim I found the site Neverwinter Uncensored/Unblogged. It's nice to read a bit about the views of players who are more dedicated to the game.
This article by "j0Shi" really drove home the point of how big a gap there is in this game between hardcore (in terms of investment) and casual players. He mentions going into a skirmish with his 4.5k item level control wizard and having to solo the final boss as the rest of the group was unable to kill anything or even survive, apparently because none of them had more than 75k hitpoints or any purple quality gear.
For comparison, my devoted cleric who's been max level for about a month has an item level of just above 1600 (her gear mostly consists of greens, as I have yet to see a level 70 blue drop out in the world) and just over 40k health. I feel like I'm playing on another planet!