[RPG] Monster Manual 1 – Is it balanced? Should I balance it


I've been DM'ing a little lately 4 edition D&D and of course I'm confused again:

My first adventure was a big question mark, I didn't use the exact guidelines for creating an encounter and sometimes it was frightening that some monster could dish out so much punishment to lvl1 characters like Lvl1 Goblin Warrior or Blackblade.

Is the monster manual balanced and I should just use all the monsters and only look on their lvl. Because such pushovers as goblins they seem pretty tough for lvl1 characters.

My example:

Human warrior – no absurd optimization just a typical fighter with a big sword:

Str 18
Con 15
Dex 12
Int 11
Wis 11
Cha 10
HP 22

Feat Toughness
Feat Action Surge
AC 17 (Scale Mail Armor)
Weapon 1d10 + 3 (great sword)
Attack roll +7 

And his opponent is:
Goblin Warrior lvl1 skirmisher (he's not even a brute)

Dmg 1d8 +2 and with 'great position' with javelin 1d6 + 2 + 1d6
Attack roll +6

Cutting this short should I tone down all monsters from Monster Manual 1?

I found some rules in UpdateDMG1, and using their formula this Goblin would be something like this:

HP 17
AC 15
Other Def 13
Attack roll +6
Dmg 1d8 + 4

I really am getting tired of over analyzing all monster statistics.

Best Answer

It's Not Just About the Math

The classic-monster rebuilds in Monster Vault is a better all-around choice when compared to the MM1 - not only do they fix the math, they debug monster powers distribution - this includes where MM1 versions are over-powered, as well as under.

One of my favorite 4e bloggers, Mike Shea aka SlyFlourish.com and @SlyFlourish has written extensively on monster balance and why he never uses Monster Manual 1:

From The Sweet Spot of 4th Edition

The monsters in the Monster Manual 3, Monster Vault, and Monster Vault 2: Threats to the Nentir Vale also run much better than previous monster books.

Status effects are another way MM1 is broken - from Three Powers for Solos to Shake Status Effects

[S]olo monsters published in the Monster Vault and the Monster Vault 2: Threats to the Nentir Vale handle dazes and stuns well. Older books like the Monster Manual 3, and the Dark Sun Creature Catalog try a few different things but sometimes need help.

[He doesn't even mention MM1 in the text above!]

And, of course, if you can afford/borrow a DDI subscription, almost every single MM1 monster has an improved version in the Compendium / Monster Builder - usually introduced as part of Monster Vault, or received some upgrade-love from Dungeon or Dragon magazine.