This article here is just an excerpt from the upcoming 4E D&D supplement "Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium", and I have to say I'm sold and can't wait to get my hands on it!
I admit I've been feeling a bit down on 4th Edition lately. I guess it's mostly because I see so much potential in the system and I haven't really been impressed by how it is implemented in official product from Wizards. This excerpt, however, definitely made me take notice, as they are introducing something new that is a pretty big departure from everything so far.
"Story Items". Not quite artifacts, though one could be, in the old-school sense of the word. Magical, though lacking any bonuses to character stats. The primary function is really to help tell the story. I love it. Finally we're getting some ideas for gameplay outside of the Combat Encounter/Skill Challenge dichotomy!