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stranger
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I actually really like a party of four. I don't disagree that it has its faults, but I have always been happy in video games, and tabletop games, with a party of 4.

I imagine this will be one of the first things the modding community does though, if DOS2 is any indication.

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Originally Posted by Skarpharald
Gonna be the evil guy for this thread.

I like the 4 man party. The limitation makes you think of more creative solutions to problems and perhaps your own unique character. Want to fill that rogue role but like rangers too? Play an urban ranger. It's flavourful as well. Wizards can open locks too.

In battle, you have to use your classes to their full extent. No party member is just there as a skill monkey. Makes you chosen companions matter more since you really depend on them for success. The cleric is not a healbot, it is a Cleric with a capital C.


I wouldn't say its evil, just an opinion, kind of like flat earthers are entitled to their opinion even in the face of all logic.

The problem here is that while on the surface your argument sounds reasonable enough, like flat earthers, when you look at the details it falls apart. What really ends up happening is either you create artificial difficulty increase by making your party really bad at handling entire aspects of the game (one of the two main attractions to solo runs in BG 1 and 2, which I have also enjoyed once or twice) or you end up building several of your characters to multi-role, which in higher difficulty play can often be a big problem without a DM helping you to do this. As I've said before this is why the wonky 4 man parties work in PnP, or even 2 or 3 man parties but not on pc or consoles where combat is much much more common. Without that outside intervention, you will encounter things you're party just cant handle without resorting to cheese mechanics (because you have no real frontliner your "interesting rogue" frontliner or whatever fun build you do gets annihilated because it is just sub par), much like you had to on solo runs in BG1 and 2 even though multi-role was much more effective due to differing xp rates between a 6 man party and a solo run as well the xp rates of different classes. Overlapping traps, resting every fight, stacking potions, dragging enemies to other encounters that interfere with each other. These "interesting solutions" more often than not, tend to be abusing mechanics that were never meant to be used in that way.

People complain about cheese being optional (I have no issue with optional cheese or sometimes making the game purposely harder because it is exactly that, optional), yet advocate for it being a necessity if you don't want to use the 4 "must have" classes.

With 4 characters you either run the standard setup (frontliner, rogue, wiz/sorc, cleric/druid) or artificially boost the difficulty, that's fine if you want that difficulty, or if you want to rely on kiting enemies or cheesing broken mechanics. Personally, I don't necessarily want that, I might choose to at some point, but I know I WANT to play with a different setup, i like warlocks, bards and rangers. Of course, with a 5 or 6 man party, there's nothing to stop a player from artificially boosting difficulty by taking 4 instead, leaving the other slots empty.

You say wizards can open locks too, this is advocating for resting far more than intended, because your using spells to open locks, which is abusing rest mechanics aka cheesing that aspect of the game.
Cleric isn't just a heal bot he's a cleric with a capital C, i don't think i've seen a healbot cleric in 5e at all, i know it can be done, but its not needed because WotC went out of their way to remove the healbot requirement and instead make it viable to act as proper support caster handling buffs and debuffs, healing is only part of their job for most cleric, for many it isn't part of it at all and is a role that can be filled by potions and resting The thing you need and miss most without a cleric is utility spells. In the standard setup I mention above, cleric/druid is the most flexible slot, but if you take bard instead, its gonna be harder.
You don't need a rogue to handle traps, just buff your fighter and have them run over them all then rest and rebuff for the encounter. Cheesing.
Avoid fights by having a character really good at deception, intimidation and illusions to bypass encounters or whatever, ok, sure, so umm, what about the fights you can't avoid? Which are going to be much more frequent than PnP because in reality there's no way every encounter is going to be setup to handle that kind of input, the amount of workload increase for devs to make this work in a balanced fashion is simply staggering and unrealistic to expect. There is no DM in a singleplayer cRPG campaign, Deus Ex tried this approach and managed it pretty well, but they had a fraction of the potential approaches to consider compared to D&D.
What about luring the enemies in that encounter back to that big trap i encountered earlier, well that trap was put there for me and my party and i'm pretty sure there was no thought put into the notion that players would lure their enemies down a hallway for 5 mins so they could "inventively use the environment" when the devs designed the encounter. I'm sure all those enemies dying on top of the trap they supposedly laid because the ai isn't setup to to work with it. Again, this is cheesing the game.
What if my rogue lays out a massive line of traps and i pull all the enemies through them all. I know it only kills one but when they catch up with me the rest just reset because its encounter can only be dragged so far before they stop chasing. Again this is cheesing.

"Inventive solutions" are 9 times out of 10, cheesing the game in some way, so the idea that a smaller party forces you to come up with inventive solutions, is forcing people to cheese in some way or another.

If you were to try and make the "interesting and different approach, inventive solutions" thing work in a singleplayer campaign without cheesing or live manipulation (aka a DM) of circumstances and events, it would be a truly colossal undertaking for a cRPG dev. Very few cRPGs have aimed for larger party sizes, yet despite all the years since BG2 and ToB, despite all the well written plots and dialogues of so many that have come since, they are still considered some of the best RPGs (not even cRPGs) of all time and one of the large contributors to that, is the vast array of companions and the larger party size which lets players experiment massively with their approach to the game. Bigger party means more player agency.

The freedom to experiment and the impact that party size has on that specific aspect of gameplay is one of the major reasons why BG1 and 2 are so highly regarded compared to their fancier, more modern competitors. I can name quite a few cRPGs that when looked at honestly are better written, better voice acted, more visually impressive, and still less beloved than Baldur's Gate and only difference remaining, is the party systems they used and the resultant difference in player freedom and agency.

TLDR: The idea that a smaller party is better in a game with well defined classes, is nonsense plain and simple.

Last edited by Malkie; 08/10/20 12:50 AM. Reason: TLDR
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Increasing party size per mod doesn't do anything but make the game easier. The encounters need to be improved or otherwise it's pointless.
So far the game is super easy anyway with 4. They'll have to add some challenge eventually. Might as well do it right.

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Originally Posted by Alodar
I disagree completely.


Six players would slow down combat.
Not only would you be adding 2 more bodies on the players side you would need to add additional monsters to make combats challenging.
Six players could mean as many as 6 more turns for combats and that's just too much.


Nonsense, this is the entire reason encounter difficulty exists in 5e. This is the opinion of DM that doesn't know how to tailor encounters to a party.

Originally Posted by Alodar
You really need to explore the backgrounds in 5E. A dedicated thief is no longer necessary. With the Urchin background you gain proficiency in both stealth and Sleight of hand which allows any Dex character to sneak and pick locks/remove traps.


True to an extent, however proficiency and expertise are different things, and is not allowing for party diversity instead your just making a sub par rogue crossed with a sub par something else. Background don't fix this.

Originally Posted by Alodar
There are lots of options, and the smaller the party the more re-playable the game and the more strategy you have to employ.


So less party flexibility and player agency means more replay value? That's not how that works. Go read my lengthy post above where I talk about the notion of "more strategy and inventive solutions" with smaller party, 9 times out of 10 this means go find your own favourite way to cheese. Your argument for replay value works in a system without classes, not one with rigid class progression, smaller party means less flexibility, in turn this means each playthrough has a much more cookie cutter party composition which results in much less replay value. Your dialogue and decisions might differ from one playthrough to the next, but that is only one aspect of replay value, the more places you provide the opportunity for variety the more your overall variety grows exponentially. Akin to RNG layering, each layer provides exponential growth in possible outcomes. To make your claim of replay value is to show a staggering lack of understanding of how mathematics applies to the implementation, of course you make other mathematically anomalous claims in your post but i'll get to that.

Originally Posted by Alodar
There has been no combat in Early Access that I've thought that I needed two more characters to be more effective


This has nothing to do with why people want more party members. Its about player agency and replay value, about having variety in your playthroughs.

Originally Posted by Alodar
Six players would slow down combat, decrease re-playablity, and lessen the strategy required to succeed.
That's a hard no from me.


Extra characters doesn't slow down combat, you as a player are still giving the same rate of input, on a typical turn your input vs ai input will remain at similar ratios, or at even higher ratios because as i said above, if an encounter is properly balanced, you don't need far more enemies, you need more appropriate enemies. So in most encounters you would be increasing the amount of time you are acting compared to the amount of time enemies are acting as such each turn might involve more units going, so each turn is longer, but your are providing relatively more input, as such combat feels faster, not slower, this isn't PnP where each character is controlled by a different player thinking about what they want their character to do and how they can optimally get through their priority list of moves, you are one person thinking about the total effective approach of your entire party. This is basic mathematics and any attempt to refute it only demonstrates a lack of understanding on how a multiplayer pen and paper game translates to a singleplayer computer game. The speed of combat is not equivalent to the length of an individual turn it is about how much input you are providing compared to how long you spend not giving input.

Faster feeling combat means more appealing combat in general, which helps re-playability you are right in saying that, you are absolutely wrong in your understanding of how combat speed translates to a game setting.

As for lessening strategy, this is a nonsense claim built on the idea that more party members mean easier encounter because the game is balanced for 4. Again, this is not what people are asking for, they are asking for it to be balanced around 5 or 6 characters, typically this means more challenging enemies which means an increase in strategic difficulty, not just allowing more characters without adjusting encounters. As an example, a well designed boss encounter vs a mob of cannon fodder, the boss will require more thought every single time. Better enemies and encounter area design is far more effective at providing challenge than simply adding more enemies.

Originally Posted by Alodar

(If it's something you folks truly want you can Mod it in after full release.)



This would be a huge mod project, attempting this without a proper dev team would be a really, really long haul. If you want to play with fewer characters, you don't even need to mod it after, you can just do it and if its too difficult, you can mod a change of xp rate much, much more easily. Once again this isn't some random suggestion out of left field, this has been stated as an expected aspect of any spiritual successor, never mind sequel, to the BG series since ToB rounded out the original story. Long, long before the announcement from Larian that BG3 was coming, and it was brought up, many many times throughout development, it was mentioned in initial replies and reactions to the announcement of BG3. It was well known and understood that a 4 man party was only going to lead to complaints and for very legitimate reasons. Now if you would like to debate further I would suggest doing so with an actual understanding of what your claiming. This was a purposeful design decision by Larian, made in the full knowledge that it would not be well received, they're attempting to balance the game around 4 characters, it would be much easier and better to adjust those balance sliders while they are adjusting them anyway, not to mention when you consider party variety from one playthrough to the next, it would be easier to balance for 5 than 4 given the massive power discrepancy between the the standard 4 man party and the many approaches to the non standard. As it stands, the only way Larian makes the non cookie-cutter party comps viable is by making the game too easy for a standard balanced 4 man party, and given the mechanics of low level D&D 5E, that difference will be very noticeable at times.

The difficulty argument works for free-form character building like DOS2 had, not for a rigid class system.

Last edited by Malkie; 08/10/20 02:41 AM. Reason: Clarification
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journeyman
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I think a party size of 5 would be good. cover the essentials while allowing a wild card

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stranger
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YES! I completely agree. 4 man party is just too small imo, especially when the characters are this compelling and interesting. Please, Larian, give us a larger party.

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Also let me make all the characters in my party, since you are bound and determined to make all your characters edgy jerks to be around. I'd rather not thanks

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stranger
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+1

wholeheartedly agree

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I love the slimmed down 4-player party. I despise the idea of having every available option to handle any situation that may come my way.
I want to have to make an intelligent and involved decision on how I'm going to round out my party for whatever my intention is during that playthrough.
I don't need the "perfect" game where I pass every skill check, unlock every door, or persuade every NPC successfully.
I enjoy playing through a dense game like this multiple times to see how different setups and characters react to each other.
I feel as though being forced to have access to that all at once would somehow cheapen the experience for me.
I'd likely intentionally make two characters as useless as possible or keep them at my camp so that I wasn't provided so many options.


I don't want to fall to bits 'cos of excess existential thought.

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stranger
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Definitely agree with larger party size options.

I wonder if multiplayer limitations is the main concern? If so, I think a 4-player multiplayer limit would be understandable.

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+1 too


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You guys wanting 6 chars are looking at this all wrong. You seem to be basing the need for a 6 char balanced party on older games based on older versions of DnD where a tank and healer were crucial to party survival. 5e classes are more customizable and more self sufficient. You can easily run a group of 4 with no dedicated healer. Self heal options, potions, food heals, etc. are easy to come by. Anyone can attempt any skills, and can be proficient in them depending on background including lockpicking. Even without proficiency you only lose like +2 in the early levels, not a big loss.

I have no tank, just dps fighters (GWF EK and BM Dual Wielder), and the cleric has only used her heal spell like twice when i was level 1. I used the rogue primarily for sneak attack as it seems all of my characters dont really have much trouble picking locks, then swapped him for dual wielding battle master who just provides more toughness and dps overall. I have not had any issues swapping out specific role members just trying a different party makeup as i still dominate pretty well in battle and handle anything else outside of combat just fine.

Pretty much any combination of 4 is totally doable guys even if you need to be a little tactical about it smile

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Not sure about 6 tbh. A party of 5 seems like the right size. 4 is very constricting I have to agree. I was actually completely suprised when I wanted to recruit lae zel and she told me I had to ditch one of my other 3 companions !

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I have no issue with a core 4 person party as long as I can hire additional mercs, tame beasts, have NPC’s for specific quests join, etc...

There are multiple ways to cook a goose and whilst I love the 6 man party aspect of BG1&2, I believe the focus here is on the story and interaction of the core party. So that’s fine by me, as long as I can artificially inflate the group for those epic moments, or in order to have a weird and colourful group composition.

I don’t need 6 heavy story based characters in my party at all times, I mean I’m not against it, but you do build in more replayability by limiting which of the story characters you have taken this playthrough.

Again, I’m not anti 6, I just think this discussion is perhaps too focused on it being black or white, where I do think Larian is considering some middle ground and considering the multiplayer aspect.


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+1
We need one more slot for party versality reason, above 4 covering main roles. And I would also like to note that this will reduce RNG dependence.

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stranger
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I have been playing Dragon Age Origins and I disagree.

4 players is ideal, especially for challenge.

Plus perhaps a pet and summon.


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Originally Posted by Raven_313
I have been playing Dragon Age Origins and I disagree.

4 players is ideal, especially for challenge.

Plus perhaps a pet and summon.


bad example, DAO had only 3 classes

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Originally Posted by arion
Originally Posted by Raven_313
I have been playing Dragon Age Origins and I disagree.

4 players is ideal, especially for challenge.

Plus perhaps a pet and summon.


bad example, DAO had only 3 classes


A lot more with specializations, but yes only 3 base classes.

Plenty of companions too.

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Originally Posted by Riandor
I have no issue with a core 4 person party as long as I can hire additional mercs, tame beasts, have NPC’s for specific quests join, etc...



If we have enough free slot to hire merc or beast, I prefer to choose a "real" companion.
For me, the real pleasure in this king of game is to create a party I love and to interact with them. Discussion, banters, conflict ...
Mercenaries doesn't have a personality, they are boring ^^


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stranger
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how about multiple parties? I always wondered why you cannot control your companions in different groups. One is in a dungeon while the other one is defending the "base" or visiting a king etc. Would make so much more sense than letting them rot in the camp all day.

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