Alot of people use the tower in Darkroot Garden to farm easy souls or even use the glitch to get endless souls - but this doesnt mean that they are good.
Yes, in this game your level doesn't mean much. Is more about what skills/equipment do you have and how do you use it.
I'm in the Duke's Archives after getting killed a bunch of times trying to advance in the Tomb of the Giants (and I got invaded too, lovely).
Also, I payed for the second time for my sins and joined the Blade of the Darkmoon covenant. I'll see if I have any luck with that later.