I'm posting this as a way to help "figure 4e out".
One thing that I'm figuring out is that "everything is relative" in 4e. Character progression is merely an illusion. You get better - the world gets harder. Not just the monsters -- that I can live with -- I have more dangerous monsters in my game too. Low level characters are well advised to know their limits. Not in 4e. There are no limits. Everything is "manageable" and "comparable".
Let me illustrate by sharing a story. I'm a teacher. There was this other teacher who used to work on a different team. One day, I learned a little about how she graded. Every daily assignment was worth 20 points and every test was worth 100 points. At the end of a 90 day semester, students in her class could reasonably expect to earn over 2000-2500 points during the semester.
One day, I shared with her that assignments in my class were 5 points per day and that my typical test or quiz was about 25 points. Students in my class could expect to earn about 400 to 500 points during the semester.
She told me that I wasn't assigning enough work if the students only earned 500 points. :)
We'll, in 4e it seems like with every level you earn; every skill that's improved; every bonus that's added to your character sheet -- even the mundane things get harder. It's a constant battle for balance. You have more HPs, so now everything does a little more damage to take your HP advantage away.
Here's a snippet from the 4e DMG and a table (click to embiggen):
Example: Shiera the 8th-level rogue wants to try the classic swashbuckling move of swinging on a chandelier and kicking an ogre in the chest on her way down to the ground, hoping to push the ogre into the brazier of burning coals behind it. An Acrobatics check seems reasonable. This sort of action is exactly the kind of thinking you want to encourage, so you pick a moderate DC: The table says DC 14. If she makes that check, she gets a hold on the chandelier and swings to the ogre. Then comes the kicking. She’s more interested in the push than in dealing any damage with the kick itself, so have her make a Strength attack against the ogre’s Fortitude. If she pulls it off, let her push the ogre 1 square and into the brazier, and find an appropriate damage number. Use a normal damage expression from the table, because once the characters see this trick work they’ll try anything they can to keep pushing the ogres into the brazier. You can safely use the high value, though— 2d8 + 5 fire damage. If Shiera had used a 7th-level encounter power and Sneak Attack, she might have dealt 4d6 (plus her Dexterity modifier), so you’re not giving away too much with this damage.
I think that it is safe to assume that if Shiera was 1st level, the Acrobatics check for that same chandelier would be 10 and the damage from the brazier would be 2d6+3. Of course, she'd be fighting something weaker than an ogre so that the relative decrease in the damage from the brazier would be about the same effect on that creature (proportionately) as the damage that the ogre takes in the above example.
When Shiera is 30th level, that chandelier will be a check of 28 and those
I guess the chandeliers earn XP from all the adventurers swinging on them...