I have a set of players whose characters I think are great, unique, and powerful. I dont find it hard or impossible to balance around, but they hit way above their weight class. They are a group of 3, and I have found that enemies with CR between 10-12, are essentially fodder for them. I have thrown groups of 6-8 equally(ish) CR creatures at other parties of more players and have had really difficult fights. However this group over the course of one session of combat running through a dungeon, destroyed 40+ enemies, often fighting in large groups at a time. For a lark, I decided to calculate xp they would have earned using the by the book rules. Each player character would have earned 240,000 exp. For a level 11, this is more xp then they have ever earned, and is enough to kick them straight to 13 almost 14.
If you were using traditional xp rules, is it really normal for such massive amounts of xp to be gained if a party is able to tear through such a vast amount creatures? Even in the example above, if I used less but stronger creatures, the xp would wind up being similar as the higher CRs are worth exponentially more xp. If you use these rules, how can ensure you can provide a challenge, without over-awarding xp?