Sucking down miraculous healing elixers like some sort of fantasy gatorade always seemed bizarre to me. To each their own, I suppose.
Yeah!! Bring back the potion interaction tables!!!
In seriousness though - magic was more mysterious in the past, not something that came with having a name (i.e. not being a minion/L0 NPC) Magic just isn't... well... magical in this system. It's mundane, routine.
I totally understand what James is saying about powers - there was a game world rationale for why the mage could only cast the spell once per slot he'd devoted to it. But why is it that when the Warlord encourages you during a fight, the first two times your wounds mysteriously disappear but the third time it does nothing? Or why would the fact that he already encouraged himself and encouraged the fighter make his words less encouraging to you? And for God's sake, how can an encouraging word ever repair the fact that someone stuck a broadsword through your throat?
The problem here is that every character is designed based on their ROLLPLAYING - i.e. having an identical number of abilities that produce an amount of combat damage determined by a mathematical forumula. In previous editions the character was defined by ROLEPLAYING - how does this character interact with and control the world that surronds him?
Some people would beseech the gods to make things happen - some just used their axes to beat the tar out of the things they saw in order to subdue them. It was about who the character was, how the saw the world, how they dealt with the world, the training that they had. Now the character is designed to make sure that the are not better in a fight than any of the others.
It's a game system like any other, but the system does not mesh with the setting well at all. The original system had some awful rules mechanics, because they were trying to simulate how the skill worked. The d20 system made things a little more abstract, trying to simplify the way that outcomes were determined and to a degree it was successful at that. This reason that I dislike this system is that the characters are designed entirely around combat. There's a combat system with a world draped about it like a giant circle cloak - it doesn't fit. 2e (and to some extent 3e) felt like a world with a system created to adjudicate characters actions in that world.
The design team stood the whole process on it's head - tried to make apples = oranges and make a warlock and an archer interchangable. Rather than take the recognizable worlds that were crafted over 30 years and build a new system for adjudicating character actions in that world, they chose to build a brand new system with no regard for the world at all and then they slapped a few tattered pieces of the old world on their new combat system.
I think I may be up to 40 cents in volume, but am afraid I'm below 2 cents in value to this rant. Anyway, that's why our group quit playing 4e and is going back to either 3.5 or 2e (TBD)