So, in the past few weeks, my life has been consumed with Kingdom Come: Deliverance. "So, why are you posting in the Elder Scrolls thread," you may ask? Well, I think that there are some lessons that the next Elder Scrolls could learn from how Kingdom Come handles navigation.
Quest markers are a bit of a contentious subject in the Elder Scrolls community. On the one hand, they're incredibly convenient for game developers, as putting a quest marker on the map is much simpler than writing and voicing directions for every quest in the game. From a purely functional view, they're brilliant. From a roleplaying perspective, though, quest markers are intrusive and a bit lazy; "Follow the floating arrow" is much less satisfying and immersive than "Follow the road north from Talmberg, make a left at the abandoned house, and then continue straight through the crossroads."
In Kingdom Come's normal mode, the player is equipped with everything you'd expect in a modern quest log: you get a journal of what happened in the quest, a map with a player marker, a compass, and objective markers for your currently tracked quests. However, in Hardcore Mode, KCD does something interesting: instead of removing map markers entirely and forcing the player to rely on journal entries, KCD removes the player marker. When you open your quest log and map, you can see exactly where that bandit camp is located, but it's up to you to figure out which way to go to get there. And since hardcore mode also removes the compass, you find yourself much more aware of your environment.
It's a fascinating compromise, and one that leads to much greater immersion. I can't tell you how excited I was to discover that I could use the relative position of the sun in the sky to determine east from west when I was lost in a forest. When I was lost in the forest in the middle of the night and fleeing for my life from a pack of bandits, I couldn't just open my map and know exactly which way to go, but instead had to wait until I found a road, a clearing, somewhere I could take my bearings. I was ecstatic to look up at night and realize, "Holy crap, the stars are accurate! I can find Polaris and use that to get around!" The end result is that after a hundred and fifty hours of playing KCD, I feel like I know the roads of Bohemia better than I do the roads of Skyrim, because I had to learn how to get from point to point without getting turned around.
I can hope that Bethesda might take some pointers from KCD for Elder Scrolls VI. I mean, realistically, they're going to continue to play to the lowest common denominator, rather than opting to include features from an optional mode from a Kickstarted game. But hey, that's what mods are for, right?