One of the drastically changed aspects of the Diablo series going into Diablo 3 is how health and healing work. In the debut gameplay, released months back, you could see your character heal damage by collecting red orbs that would refill your health meter gradually. Obviously, this was much to the chagrin of hardcore potion-chugging players of the series.
The official word from Blizzard is that the health orbs won't be dropping like dust from a dirty sheet. In fact, the orbs will only drop sparingly during large fights or against bosses. Potions are not removed completely, but the mechanic for them have been tweaked significantly. They are very expensive, cooldown driven, and rare to boot. I can appreciate this kind of change to the gameplay, it makes it much more aggression based and most big fights will always have that accent of desperation to make it to the end.
When it comes to the non-scripted and story-related boss fights, the healing does seem to come a little bit faster. Say the boss summons up a horde of minion enemies, you will be able to slaughter them wholesale in order to collect the precious red orbs. You'll have to manage a precarious balancing act between slaying monsters not worthy of feeling your power in order to kill the really big thing that's capable of just crushing you with its big toe.
With the implementation of this new system, perhaps the new and improved artisan system can be used to upgrade a health potion's healing power, maybe even give you a mana boost, too? The artisan system seems to be focused more on weapons and armor, but perhaps the world of Sanctuary will have a fancy apothecary that will be able to help beef up your potions.
Source: Game Informer