short rests work like they do in almost any game ive ever played: short rest is when youre not in combat.
And thats probably what they were designed to do anyway
On rules, you need to spend a hour to count as a short rest.
You who always complains about arcane casters being OP should know that warlocks gaining his spells on a short rest means that they would be extremely broken if all of his spells are per encounter. Imagine warlocks having Hold Monster per encounter while wizards needs a long rest to re cast Hold Monster... Great old Ones warlocks able to cast Evard's Black Tentacles every battle.
Wizards (And land druids) also regain some spells with a short rest in 5e, too =)
ED: Without short rests, ritual casting and outside-combat spells to RP, wizards will possibly lose some of their usual flair.
I read some posts asking for cooldowns between combat to replenish over time abilities that are recharged in short rests, like fighters´ second wind , wizard and land druid spells, warlocks incantations, etc But let´s imagine what is going to happen if Larian decides to use something that remotely seems akin to a cooldown. The backslash could be brutal.
Cooldowns are one of the mechanics which i hate most BUT is not everything. I honestly prefer play DDO as a warlock than UNMODDED NWN2 as one. But i agree with you. They would receive a massive backlash and the game can fail as sword coast legends...
IMO, i would make that way >
Easy -> unlimited short rests
Normal -> 4 Short rests per long rest
Hard -> 2 Short rests per long rest
And will also allow the PCs to customize everything and for eg, playing everything on hard BUT with unlimited short rests. In that case, the unique requirement to short rest is to be outside of combat.