Yes a range of pain exists. This can be seen probably in your friends who all probably have a completely different threshold for pain. When doctors ask patients to rate their pain it's usually to establish a baseline so after treatment we can see if there's a decrease. The different thresholds have so many factors from general health to receptors to brain activity to emotional state. You name it! Often just focussing on a pain makes it more painful.
It's definitely an unpleasant sensation pain but it's our way of our body saying "hey, you need to pay attention". Usually the response required is rest or to identify what might be there causing the pain. For example pain means we will withdraw very quickly from a hot surface. Doesn't even require the brain as it is a reflex arc which minimises the time we spend burning that part of our body. And as it continues to hurt we use the arm less letting it recover and protecting it from infection by doing so.
As these hazards of being cut, burnt, bit, knocked, fractured are very common there is a survival advantage to be the individual that is alerted to these hazards and take the necessary actions. Particularly in children where pain is necessary as it makes the baby know it needs to eat (or the mother) or that something isn't a good idea (putting hands on something hot).
However as you say there are times when the pain itself is more crippling than anything else and in that situation we have a problem. Childbirth, backache and in cancer or in tension headaches are just some examples. As being able to feel pain is pretty much required for a long life, the disadvantage of having pains like the above is less and doesn't outweigh the benefits. Pain is always going to be necessary. They also usually don't interfere with reproduction and so genes are passed on.