I'm still not following you on how its hard to set up your guy's before a fight?
What is "hard" is selecting them quickly. Not really hard, but time consuming: have to play the UI "minigame" and fix the party first, every single time. That means keeping distance from enemy NPC's and doing stuff that needs to be done first, just because the UI is bad, instead playing the game fluently.
For example: I just left the resting place instance, the camp. In this case the game gives me all 4 characters linked, partied up, and in a "random" order (not in the order I arranged them before entering camp). That's bad already.
I need to re-arrange them in the "correct" order, and that because the way the selection keys work; I want to select my character, the Ranger, when I press the F1. F2 will be the Fighter. F3 will be the Cleric. F4 the Wizard. It's already a lot of work to achieve that, but that alone would be fairly easy.
But I also need to take my Ranger alone, to go ahead scouting, and keep the rest of 3 characters linked (so don't have to move them one by one), left behind in a safe spot.
Now if I just drag the Ranger portrait out and unlink it, will be placed in 4th spot and can select it with F4, not F1. I want it to be F1 always, because otherwise I can't just press F1 and give orders, have to check first which is what and then press the correct key, that takes watching & thinking, it's like solving puzzles.
If I try to drag my unlinked Ranger into the first spot while the 3 other characters are linked, the game assumes I want the Ranger to rejoin the party, and won't allow me to take the F1 spot, can try forever, just won't let me. So I must unlink ALL of them first. Then while they are all solo, to drag their portraits around, until they are in the correct order, as I stated above: F1 Ranger, F2 Fighter, F3 Cleric, F4 Wizard. This will take a few tries, the game will fight back, but in the end after some minigame fun, they are in the correct order.
That's not what I wanted, but have to do it his way, in order to advance towards the planned configuration. Now I can drag the Cleric into the Fighter, and have them grouped up together, while my F1, F2, F3, F4 is in correct order. After that I drag the Wizard into them, and finally have a solo Ranger in first spot, ready to go ahead scouting, that can be controlled with F1.
Scouting went well, found out where I will start the next fight, so now I press F2, without the need to look at party UI or think about which key controls what. F2 will lead my 3 party members to a place nearby. Now I unlink these 3, keeping them in same order, but everyone is unlinked.
Next, depends what is ahead, will start the fight with one of them, let's say with F4 the Wizard, will go close enough but out of vision range or by flanking and cast Sleep on their healer. Or any other character starts, and the others are moved to good spots, after the starting character enters turn based mode. Can't just walk up with a linked party into some ambush.
During fight I can select them easily using F1 to F4, focusing on what I will do next in the fight, instead trying to figure out which F key is my Wizard and which is my Ranger.
After the party UI minigame is solved, the game is "easy". Without this I could move the wrong character to the wrong spot. The bad news is that I will have to start over all this sorting after every rest and every instance change. That's a lot of times, during a playthrough.
I explained all this for those without early access or those not playing with mouse & keyboard, because it's hard to imagine all these problems without playing it.