Really really. OK, actually really/not-really, he doesn't need to add a new 'arcane power' to the game in order to add a new 'spell' to the fiction - game/fiction are readily separable in 4e, because rule vs fluff text is clearly presented rather than mixed together - introducing new fiction can often be accomplished by finding the best possible representation extant in the mechanics, and adjusting it's fluff. Thus instead of needing to research a new version of magic missile or cast 2e Sense Shifting or take 3e Spell Thematics, you just describe your mm as something else.4e really - really? - doesn't allow a PC to research and design a new spell and add it to the game/fiction?
Or, another way to look at it is they're designing all their 'spells' (or other powers) 'new,' because the rest of the world isn't necessarily using PC classes. It depends on the DM's setting and the PC's concept. Just because a spell is in the PH or Arcane Power doesn't mean it has necessarily ever been cast before - the history of the setting is up to the DM.
Finally, it's not like the spell research system back in the day was all that - it could be used to research an extant spell the caster just didn't know fairly straightforwardly, if very expensively, but a genuinely new spell was simply kicked to the DM, he either approved/re-wrote it or declared the attempt a failure (without telling the poor sucker if he'd had a chance & just been unlucky, or if his spell was hogwash and would never work).
That level of arbitrary works in any system...
...hmm... I suppose in 4e a caster wanting to research a new spell or warrior working on a new maneuver could do anything from costly research to improvising actions (p42) in real fights. Research could buy you an Alternative Reward - much like a magic item - like Grandmaster Training for a martial trick. A new power could start as an improvised action, be 'researched' to purchase it as an Alternative Reward, then, if it worked out well in the game, swapped into an available slot as an Encounter or Daily power, making it 'official....'
… or maybe even 'sold' as Grandmaster Training' (though, making and selling items and their equivalents nets you 0 profit in 4e, because you're an adventurer, not a business man....)
Yeah, none of that probably helped, just thinking out loud.
Resource management is still part of the game, as it always has been. Maybe his point was just that the emphasis, in 4e, can shift off resource management more readily than in other eds because doing so won't shift encounter balance as profoundly, nor risk radical intraparty imbalances? ::shrug::The numbers and recovery rates etc. are different but 4e is still a resource management game, just like all the other editions.
The ghoul doesn't change 'in the fiction' it's the same ghoul (it could even be the exact same individual who had fought the PCs to a draw many levels back, for instance), the PC is just so much more powerful, that the DM, rather than play through the PC auto-hitting ghouls that (non-critically) hit him only on a natural 20, and slowly mowing his way through a mechanically tedious encounter, chooses an alternate resolution threshold to defeat it. Instead of hitting a low AC repeatedly, he hits an ~10 higher AC, once.The inconsistency in the fiction is not that "a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC", it's that the ghoul itself has to be changed in the fiction in order to make this the case, rather than the ghoul just stay as it was and let the skill/level advancement of the PC cover this off.
It's really no different than, in 1e, giving the fighter 1 attack/level vs less than 1-HD monsters, and taking the average on their pathetic attack chance vs him, rather than rolling to hit 20 times a round, similarly, the minion's fixed damage is analogous to that old taking the average trick. The basic D&D d20 resolution system is just limited in the disparity between combatants that it can handle, so, at some point, you have to do something, whether that's introducing called shots, contracting the scope of the game to fit the mechanics, taking averages for hordes instead of rolling dozens of times, or statting the (exact) same in-fiction monsters as minions - or even aggregating many into swarms (something 3e also did to good effect, and 5e hasn't tossed out that I'm aware of).
It's no different, in kind, to what DMs have always done. It's just a little more dramatic in the disparity it can cover while still retaining functional, engaging play - and is already done for the DM.