also afaik D&D started out as an army game simulator and the first 2 editions had whole rulesets for commanding whole armies and encounters could have 300 enemies I know 3e and onwards focussed more on parties but to be locked to a small group of 4 with people saying 'oh you're too full up' is incredibly weird to me knowing the history of the game, the current party is rather anemic and missing a lot of options, even in act 1 I find myself swapping in and out party members constantly because they're actually bringing something interesting to the story beats rather than silent companions + if you actually want to follow up on their stories you need to be bringing them constantly for approval & for them to actually open up their background stories as some of those are locked behind reactions they have to your actions or things you encounter during the game.