I've been running DCC#18 Citadel of the Demon Prince with a group of seven PC's, over half of whom are die-hard power-gamers or WoW addicts. This adventure is designed for levels 12-13 put my PCs started at 10th-11th level. One of the main demon lords, Red Wisdom (CR 12), has telekenetic powers and a whole library of bookcases to hurl at the PC's for 10d6 DMG each. In a surpise round, Red Wisdom was able to shoot off an Unholy Blight
and spent his first round bashing a couple of PCs with a bookcase (one of whom had the Evasion feat and took no damage). Red Wisdom never lived to see another round. NONE of the CR 11 or 12 NPC monsters have lasted more than three rounds. The best fights we've had so far this adventure were against a couple of Stone Golems (CR 11) and the Caryatid Columns (CR 7).
I'm hoping that in 4E the boss monsters will last a lot longer than a couple of rounds! From what I can tell, WotC nixed all of the "instant death" save/die effects from the game. I suspect this will be a good thing in the long run. PC's won't have to worry about giving up the ghost due to a well placed crit, and battles will be far more varied and interesting to play.
I'm not happy with some of the changes in the Alignment structure (Lawful Good paladins can't serve a Good diety, but Un-Aligned clerics can?
) But I'm overjoyed that the dreaded SPELL LISTS are finally gone for good!
I'm hoping to playtest 4E sometime next month, so I'll find out soon enough how well my expectaions hold up...
RE: 4E damage bonuses:
Having just filled out my first 4E character sheet earlier this week, I think it's safe to say that you usually add half your level (rounded down) to your attacks (+ appropirate ability modifier), but rarely, if ever, to damage. You don't even get to add your STR bonus to your weapon damage unless you have an encounter power that allows you to do so.