1) The first thing according to me is that resting should be a moment in which you have things to do.
D&D include all this, there's no need to create tons of things even if some could be a great addition (cooking, ...)
Short rest :
- Hit dice rolling (manual)
- Feature/spell slot recovery (automatic)
- Use features or other (manual, i.e arcane recovery)
Longr rest :
- Spellslot recovery (automatic)
- Use features/spell ritual (manual)
- Level up (manual)
- Spell preparation (manual)
- Other activity
2) the second thing is that we shouldn't be able to click rest everywhere. Resting shouldn't just be a button.
Short rest : Only on specific spot designed on the map.
Long rest : Fast travel to camp needed (only possible from the outside, not from cave or dungeons)
3) the third is that resting should have consequences.
It should really be a part of how action economy works in D&D... Meaning that you have to choose wisely when and how to rest/use your features and spell slot.
The only solution about this is to add random encounters, at least for long rest.
Maybe a camp activity should be "watching" (don't know the right word in EN). Something that would decrease the risk of random encounter.
See how it work in Kingmaker to understand how "non-D&D activities" could be implemented.
=> I think that those things would totally solve the rest mechanic issues and the action economy of the game.
=> On the other hand if you have to rest to lvl up, players won't ever miss the "story rests"
Some things could be easily enabled/disabled as options if needed.
Quoting this for a +1. It sums stuff up well.
There was a mention made in another post about waypoints only able to be used from the waypoints itself (Witcher/Cyberpunk Fast Travel essentially) which also is a good idea I think and solves the issue of just freely teleporting wherever (which makes being in dangerous areas... less dangerous or immersive). But that is maybe a separate thing from just the resting too.
Also OP: -Technically- it is Spell slots. Not Skill slots :P