Here's a new look at the how the Fighter in D&D has changed over the years. I took the same fighters from my first experiment and created a new test for them. This time instead of seeing how many goblins they can kill before dying, I test to see how dangerous is it for him to fight just one goblin (or in the case of 4e - four goblins minions at once).
The test combats are pretty simple. First, I roll for initiative to see who goes first. Then the fighter and his goblin opponent take turns trying to hit each other. The first one taken to zero hit points is the loser. To get a good average result, the tests for each edition are run 10,000 times. The total number of fighter deaths divided by the number of tests gives the percent chance of the fighter dying in a combat with a goblin. I also graphed out the average length of combat per edition as that was also of interest to me. Here are the results-
0e - the almost complete lack of stat bonuses coupled with low hit points lead to a really dangerous game. You better hire some meatshields to help you.
Basic - even with rolling 3d6 for stats, it's much easier to get vital stat bonuses in Basic than in any other pre-3e version of D&D. This brings the death rate down quite a bit.
AD&D 1e - unless you are using greatly inflated stats, you're not going to see much in the way of stat modifiers and that one extra hit point from the d10 hit die isn't that much of a boost.
AD&D 2e - here's the big drop in fatality from previous editions. Weapon specialization is the big reason. +1 to hit, +2 to damage with 3 attacks every 2 rounds gives a big boost to fighter power. Of course, late AD&D 1e had these options too with the publishing of Unearthed Arcana.
D&D 3e - the fighter (albeit one that is optimized for this fight) is almost invulnerable now. It's very hard for the goblin to hit the fighter and almost impossible to crit him. Of course, the goblin still has a good chance to weaken him for the next encounter though.
D&D 4e - two different fights were done for the 4e fighter. First he fights the goblin warrior. He starts off with an encounter power that does an extra W in damage. After that he just attacks with his best at will attack. He also uses an action point to use his Healing Surge. The second type of fight is with 4 goblin cutter minions at the same time. This time the fighter uses his Cleave attack each round.