HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.
Well, HP-bloat makes combat last longer and drags it out, really. As the only thing that it accomplishes is that you have a chance to hit more, but that is off-set by the fact that everything takes more hits to go down. And you still can miss. Not only that, spells lose some Oomph. Control spells like sleep and colour spray affect less enemies and damage spells make less of an impact. You need more spells to take down an enemy generally. The HP-bloat is one of the reasons combat is such a slog to go through right now.
There actually is a thread in here where someone did simulations and found that the HP-bloat would make combat take the expected number of turns more often. (A more centralized distribution). So the trade offs are: The player loses the chance to end combat quickly, but gains the chance that combat will take the expected number of turns more consistently.
[Edit] Links are nice, so here is a link
Larian clearly did the math to ensure that over 20 hours in the game, the player should have spent the same expected amount of time in combat.On spells
- Just as most spells lose their oomph so do sword swings and arrow shots.
- I've mentioned in other threads, HP Bloat through -AC +HP does hurt spells reliant on spell save DC. And something should be done about that.
- Control Spells should have been adjusted as well. The HP gains for losing 1AC should be close to 5%, so Control spells should have gained a bump as well.
Sleep in 5e the HP pool is derived by rolling 5d8 at level 1. 24 HP (BG3 level 1) is close to the expected roll (22.5). So sleep got the expected pool + ~10%
We'd have to make a table of average enemy adjustment (-AC and +HP%) to find out if sleep is nerfed or not.
(Assuming some variant of HP bloat remains in the game). Personally I would like to get the upside sleep has in 5e, in Baldur's Gate 3. Something like 3d8+16 at level 1 would be more exciting. In the current game meta sleep feels very lackluster and could use a buff.