Recently, I have been thinking about how to implement saving into my game. My game is a top-down, action RPG similar to Zelda but with elements such as character building and questing. At first I thought I could just throw in a pause menu with a save button which could be accessed at anytime similar to Skyrim. After I added that feature into the game I found myself not liking it very much. The feature feels abusive since you can save constantly making some of the game design feel weak. I want the game to be challenging but not impossible. I came up with a few ideas of what I could do.
My first idea was to do the most cliche thing ever and have an inn saving system. The player would spend gold, rest up, and save his/her progress. This would also give purpose to inns instead of a place for rumors. However this would require the player to return to a town or major city every time they want to save. So I came up with a second idea.
My second idea was to have "save alters" which would be these runic looking places that are located at important locations in the game. I liked this idea because it would limit how much the player can save. With the feature I have now, I feel like the player can abuse it and make the game less of a challenge. With this I can put a save alter halfway into a dungeon or outside of a cave or wherever it seems necessary. Also I could put these alters at locations that the player can fast travel to when they are out in the over-world. However, I have this feeling that this is not the best way to implement saving.
So before I settle on what to do, I wanted to see what others have to say about the subject. Maybe I can come up with something better with a little feedback.