Original Title: "My open letter to Larian on party size"
Good evening to all the staff currently working hard at Larian Studios.
I would like to take a few minutes of your time to talk about the current party size in game, my problems with it and also a possible solution for the future.
Note: this section got away from me and was far longer than expected. It is no essential and only helps to know my gaming history and mindset but can otherwise be skipped if you so choose. But first I would like to give you a quick insight into my history and mindset in the hopes that it will give you a clearer idea of how I am approaching BG3. I am 34 (born July of 1986) and I had lots of fun playing the original Baldur's Gate and to lesser extent Icewind Dale games as a child, I later played and absolutely adored Dragon Age: Origins, although coming to it with the mindset of it been the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate I wish to this day that it had a six man party, to me that is it's only real flaw. When I first heard that BG3 was going to be a reality I was fairly excited, and then upon hearing that it was going to be made by Larian I was apprehensive and then like many others when the first gameplay was shown I didn't like what I saw thinking it looked to much like Divinity: Original Sin, and was pretty much ready to write the game off as not for me as it was too different from what I was familiar with from the original BG games. My experience with the D:OS games has been one of mostly confusion and I will be the first to admit that I have not given them a proper chance despite having pretty much every Divinity game in my Steam library. I put my bad experience down to not understanding the mechanics and systems of the games and never properly learning them. However since the announcement of BG3 I have gotten into the Fire Emblem games so now I'm more amenable to the idea of BG3 being a turn based game and the more I think about it lately the more I think it might actually be a good thing (in BG & BG2I remember leaving my mages in the back not contributing in most fights to conserve their spell slots, something that doesn't seem to be an issue in your game). And keeping up with the progression and development and have been slowly coming around to your vision of the game, I have bought the game and created a character but that is as far as I have gotten so far so I can come and write this. Character creation was much more straight forward and easier dew to me been familiar with the systems and mechanics of previous D&D titles and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with the game going forward. I hope that this has helped some of you understand me a little better.
Now for the reason for this post: I would like to advocate for an option to have a six man party. When forming a party of adventurers in games like this I like a well rounded and balanced party as I would imagine a great many players do as well. You need someone to tank and keep the enemies in place, you need a rouge or thief for picking locks and traps, and for obvious reasons a healer, leaving one slot available which I will most often fill with a spell caster and as such my party composition tends to look very much the same for every playthrough. Increasing the party limit to six not only brings it in line with the original games it also allows the player much more freedom, flexibility and creativity when creating a balanced party. It is my firm belief that a six man party is far superior over a four man party and gives much greater player agency. And what may at first seem like a contradiction to you I am nod advocating for it to be the default way to play, I understand that you have a vision for the game and I will not argue that you are wrong in it because that is not something I believe in. A four man party or a six man party as a matter of preference and therefore is always the right way to go from each individuals perspective. I know there must be a great many people like me who much prefer a six man party and I would like to offer a suggestion on how you could possibly make both groups of players happy. For early access and your balancing process keep working on it from the four man party perspective, make the game you have envisioned and focus all of your time up to full release on making it as good as you can, use the early access period to gather the data you need to make the game the way you envision it, make four man the default way to play. and then when you are ready for full release have an option that can be turned on at the start of a campaign that allows for a six man party, don't spend your time around balancing this option, and when selecting this you can even have a warning that say's the game is not balanced around this size of party so it will probably be easier than intended and as such not compatible with achievements, all I'd like to request for this mode is that dialog sequences and cutscenes account for the increased party size. While mods will probably bring this option to us in the future it would be nice to have an officially supported option to do this implemented by the development staff so we would not have to worry about it not working properly or not playing well with cutscenes and dialog sequences, what I'm advocating for is you to give players the option of party size even if it's not properly balanced to allow for more choice and creativity when choosing who to bring along and so we can have a closer experience to the original games.
I would like to thank anyone who has taken the time to read my long somewhat rambling post and I would encourage anyone who has thoughts on my ideas and suggestions to add to a discussion of why you agree or disagree with me, I will be posting this on the Larian forums, Steam forums and GOG forums to try and get as much impute from as many players as possible to give Larian as much information on this subject as we can, then maybe if enough people want something like this or something similar Larian might consider its implantation when they have finished balancing the game for the full release. Your time is valuable and I thank you all for sharing a little of it with me today.
Last edited by Sadurian; 05/12/2002:03 PM. Reason: Mod edit: title changed after post moved to Mega-thread section