Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
Note that it is the outcome I am questioning.

I am not having problems with "4 orcs should be an appropriate challenge for a level 1 party" but rather with the expectations that a standard fight should consume about 20% of the party's resources and a standard adventuring day should consume about 80% of the party's recourses. This is independent of player skill or optimization level.
It isn't, though.

An inexperienced or un-optimized party could wipe on those 4 orcs. Or they could blow all of their resources and barely eke out a victory. A highly experienced or highly optimized party, with a solid grasp of tactics and clever use of resources and abilities, could steamroll those orcs with relatively little thought.

The fact that the orcs "should" consume a fifth of the party's resources don't mean that they will, and yes that is very dependent on the players' skill and optimization.