I think the people not knowing much about the rules is because they haven't seen much OF the rules. I'll be running a table at my local game store on the 7th when the books are out. So far I've got the expanded quickstart rules that come with Keep on the Shadowfell.
The other thing I felt the build of the modules made them really tough. I wouldn't tone them down though, I think they're designed to make sure the players get to use all the abilities the new characters have and (unfortunately) get first-hand experience in that new death mechanic.