Recommendation: Banish them entirely. Use contextual in-game scenarios to showcase more complex tasks. Let players play! They'll figure it out or teach one another.
Recommendation: Small, manageable inventories are great. Don't design quests and games that require the player to have 37 pinecones on hand just in case.
Recommendation: Provide a main quest that is so expansive and diverse it allows for organic tangents that feel important. Fetch quests are artificial bulk. Get rid of them. Invest the time in a main quest that satisfies for 40+ hours instead and my time will feel valued.
Recommendation: It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find creative ways for game worlds to make sense. In The Witcher 3's case, why not add an option for the banks in Novigrad to not only exchange currency, but allow you store items in safety deposit boxes?
Recommendation: Allow for maps in towns. Outside of that, no map, no icons, until you explore the area. Create a world that can help players find their way intuitively without a map using landmarks, signposts, and NPCs that can offer more than grunts and stock expressions.
Recommendation: If games insist on traditional save/load mechanics, integrate it into the control scheme. Here’s a freebie, double-tap the touchpad to save, hold it to load. I’m positive that will lead to absolutely zero accidental saves...
Recommendation: Just pay Naughty Dog for their player momentum algorithms and be done with it.
Recommendation: All killer, no filler. Don’t make me backtrack unnecessarily. Use fast travel any time it keeps a player’s progress moving forward and avoid ever making a player move backward.
Recommendation: Have fun with weapon types. If you must have an axe and a sword, make them play differently. Not just heavy swing vs light swing, let it impact the way a character is responded to, let it affect the way a character develops, etc. If your game can’t include explosive teddy bears, then do some research to find the medieval equivalent to one (there totally is one).
Recommendation: Player choice will grow and become more complex as technology (and budgets) advance. But if a game cannot (or does not) provide the foundation for meaningful dialog options, don’t include it. It weakens your story and insults the player.