You might feel that it's a pretty ridiculous notion, but I was reminded this week of a self-imposed rule by which I played Skyrim by a friend who forwarded this Kotaku article to me.
In Skyrim I played by a no fast travel rule. That is, no fast travel by the in-game map. Paying a carriage to transport me to a Hold Capital was fair game but everything else was on foot or by horseback. It might sound a little tedious, but as the article above points out, if you fast travel around you miss half the game. There's an awful lot to explore in a Bethesda game — and a great many random events — some scripted and some emergent. You don't see them if you don't invest time in moving around.
It also reinforces the game's abandoned, wilderness aesthetic. Instantly jumping from one raider or mutant filled objective to another tends to make the wasteland feel populous and busy. When you take the time to traverse the in-between spaces the difference between Boston's cityscape which is relatively busy and the outlying wilderness becomes far more apparent. It adds a lot to the feel of the game.
There are a handful of other things I like to do for the sake of immersion or just getting a little more out of the game.
- No bombing around populated areas at a maximum run. Walk. I know it's kinda hard to slow down sometimes but do it. Take a breath and pay attention to the details of the settlement and the people in it. You don't really need to save the extra thirty seconds.
- Love your gear, use the workshops to improve it. Being able to improve the damage of your weaponry in particular will make life a lot easier. You don't need the best armour if you can end most fights with a well-aimed VATS headshot. Name your favourite weapon.
- Nap before crafting. The Well Rested experience boost combined with the relatively frequent XP gains from a crafting or construction session makes for a pretty significant gain.
- Have either high Intelligence or high Luck. Intelligence boosts all your XP gains; alternatively the Idiot Savant perk boosts the XP gain of low intelligence characters.
- Use third person view, even if only out of combat encounters. Your awesome gear took some effort to acquire so enjoy looking awesome. It also makes for cooler screenshots.