I like the direction 3rd ed. is taking magic.
Magic in 2nd ed., especially artifacts, was very mechanistic, with a strong Clarke's Law feel to it. It had a sense that any common technological device of the modern world or near future was routinely replaced with an equally convenient and reliable magical equivalent. This can give an interesting science-fiction-with-magic-ray-guns feel to a story, but I have always been uncomfortable with that, because it quits FEELING like magic.
I know many of you grew up with video games where magic is very formulaic. You find the right ingredients and put them in the cauldron in the right order to make the potion. You wave the wand or recite the words to cast the spell. The actions have no meaning of themselves . Anyone who performs these actions can get the same consistent results.
This is not magic. This is technology disguised as magic.
The evocations and control spells make magic much more personalized in 3rd ed. and that is what is I want. If two solar sorcerers with equal skill levels in Occult and Craft(Weaponsmith) each make a goremaul, these will not be a pair of identical (except for the decorations) orichalcum goremauls. The Twilight with Stormwind Rider as a control spell might create a blue jade weapon whose evocations are based on movement and hurl back groups of opponents or allow its user to spring forward across multiple range bands. Such a weapon might look more like a gigantic fan (think the palm frond fans wielded by slaves of Egyptian royalty in old sword and sandal movies). A sorcerer whose control spell is Death of Obsidian Butterflies may create a goremaul of roughly shaped volcanic glass in an orichalcum haft with evocations of sharpness and area damage. Such weapons have some game mechanic differences and significantly different stage dressing, but more importantly, they FEEL different.
A few general things about magic for those of you who aren't familiar with Frazer's "The Golden Bough" http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3623/3623-h/3623-h.htm:
The two most important principles of magic are sympathy and contagion. Sympathy is the idea that actions create similar actions. Contagion is the idea that if two things are ever connected, they can never be completely separated. A classic example of both of these principles is the curse doll, which is built around a possession or a piece of the victim, and its creator harm on the victim by damaging the doll.
Power accumulates at the edges of things, both physically and metaphorically. Doorways and gates are places pf power, and these can be abstracted as grandly as the trilithons of Stonehenge or as simply as the 19th century American slave tradition of jumping over the broom into the land of matrimony.
Power also accumulates at the edges of time. Sunrise, sunset, solar noon, the change of seasons and years; these are all times of power, and Exalted has always had Calibration, which is this concept writ large. I remember all the mystical panic about the calendar flipping over from 1999 to 2000, and the end of the fifth baktun in 2012. Even ringing in the New Year at midnight is a vestige of this.
Astrology is important, not just for divinations, but simple folk astrology like planting grain and squash when the moon is waxing and root crops when the moon is waning. Sorcerous workings and artifact creation should be timed to the phases of the moon. The full moon is a time to reveal things. The new moon conceals. The gibbous moon is a flint knife in the sky for sacrifice. The cresent moon is bow drawn to rain down arrows of desire or ill fortune.
Magic words have meaning. "Abracadabra" was an actual incantation which would be shortened by one syllable in each iteration until it disappeared, or written as a triangular talisman, shortened by one letter in each line. This is a magic for making things like diseases or curses disappear. Charlatans would show its effectiveness by using it to make small objects disappear before selling their services as doctors or exorcists. Other magic words may be the names of gods or demons or great wizards who bound them. These are not just some randomly generated mystical passwords.
I hope this gives some you ideas for making magic a more interesting part of your game.