The D&D Essentials wizard starts with a choice of implement:
Under “Equipment and Magic Items”, write one of these three kinds of implements: orb, staff, or wand. Implements are special items that wizards use to focus magic power into their spells. Your choice doesn’t have any game effect – it just has to do with what your wizard looks like.
I’d read that Essentials wizard builds are based on schools of magic, not on the implement they use, but somehow I hadn’t thought about the corollary: the choice of orb, staff, or wand is unimportant for these wizards. All things being equal, it’s cosmetic, as this passage suggests. It also multiplies by three the variety of implement treasures that a wizard can find and use. Great! Now if only Essentials also got rid of Weapon Focus, Weapon Expertise, and other feats that prevent fighters from using whatever magic weapons they can get their hands on, it would be fun for the DM to give out treasure again.
Agreed, I always resent the presence of those types of feats while greedily taking them. If there was a real benefit to remaining flexibile with weapon choices, it might mean that taking weapon focus or expertise is an interesting choice that increases your power while meaningfully restricting your choices, but for now, those feats are kind of no brainers.
On the other hand, it would be easy to house rule those feats to make them apply to all weapons without any real negative game effects!