The only thing that seems really odd is that the OP appears to be miffed about this. There's a lot of vestigial design in the Souls games. Why go out of your way to make an unforgiving game, and then add the white soapstone, which generally lets you summon help and makes most boss fights a cakewalk? Why have starting classes when you more or less have a free hand with crafting your character once you hit the mid-game? Why include a weird nest that gives you stuff when you drop it on the ground? WHY DOES EVERY FUCKING NPC LAUGH AT COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE MOMENTS DURING OUR CONVERSATION?
There's still plenty of uses for the torches in the game, as folks have mentioned. I've shied away from lighting sconces the same way that others shy away from summoning help for boss fights. (The Gutter was real fun, thanks for asking.) But the Souls games are always so deliberately obtuse that it makes sense they'd have something in there that's a little thin but maybe suggests further depth to further drive people nuts.