Again. Why are you arguing against 6 member party? How does it hurt you?
You can argue all day long that party is 4-6 members, but regardless, they have the ability to do 6, it's in the game, and all they have to do is lift the restriction for the rest of it to make us happy. So why resist? Why argue?
It's not that simple. Larian would also need to balance encounters around a 6 character party. It would also make balancing Larian's new Lone Wolf-style homebrew for BG3 a disgusting nightmare. Combat will either become more sloggish (especially if Larian implement reactions in a proper way) or too easy, there will be more inventory management (and for many players that is not fun, for example I find equipment managment for anyone but my main character boring and tedious), the gameplay will shift from an RPG to a tactical strategy like X-COM. There is a reason why so many modern RPGs shifted to a 3-4 person party, it is a perfect compromise for different kind of players.
Originally Posted by Try2Handing
Apparently some players actually dislike having to handle a 6-person party and prefer 4-person. For whatever reason. And also apparently it's not ok for other players to have different preferences.
Some people prefer 1-2 person party, but can deal with a 4-party as a compromise and understand the need for such compromise.
Originally Posted by Tuco
Let me word it in this way: NO game should EVER deliberately withold content from the player exclusively with the goal of "encouraging multiple playthroughs". Which is a bullshit goal, anyway. I will play the game multiple times over the years if I enjoy the moment-to-moment experience, not if I'm forced "to go at it three times to see all the companions". Hell, chances are even at subsequent playthrough I may decide to exclude mostly the same companions for similar reasons.
I played BG2 from start to finish something like 7-8 times over the years and there were character I simply never cared enough to bring along, as there were some other that it pained me to leave out no matter having a larger party or having already played with them.
Being limited in content by who you can group with is akin to being limited in content by making choices in quests that exclude you from other quests. Like doing Thieve's Guild path to get to the Asylum in BG2 excludes you from doing Vampire path to get to said Asylum. There's nothing wrong with that. Wanting more while ignoring deliberating consequences for other players is just selfish and greedy.
These all sound like issues related to other issues and not specifically to party size. Inventory Management, for example, is a pain now and needs to be addressed and fixed. I get that you think managing inventory at this point is a pain and would be worse with 6 party members. That is true. It would be, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't do a 6 member party game. They should fix the Inventory Management so that it's easier. Then having a party of 6 wouldn't be a pain point. For example, Multi-Select would make Inventory Management a thousand times easier. If I hold the shift key and select items, they are all grouped into one and I can easily send all selected to Gale or Wyll or To Camp, that would make it just as easy to manage inventory between 4 or 6 or even more. The issue right now is that Inventory Management is clunky and you have to practically drag and drop every single item one at a time from one person to another, and hope it doesn't lag. That's not a party size issue, though. That's just one example. There are many other things they could do to speed up Inventory Management.
As for balance, again, that's a whole separate issue. You can't base party size on game balance for a game like this because you'll ALWAYS have issues. Being an open world game, roughly, there is too much of an opportunity for a Level 2 or 3 character to run to the Githyanki encounter early on. This is incredibly unbalanced as the Githyanki are WAY too tough for Level 2 or 3 characters. And yet, the game urges you to do just that; rush to the Gith before Lae'zel dies from nagging you to death. I don't care if you have a 4 or 6 party size, that Gith fight will kill players at Levels 2 or 3.
So balance in a game like this needs to be based on several factors, and Larian may need to do something to fix this aside from the size of the party. For example, they could build some logic into the game for encounters. If you take on the Githyanki Patrol and are only Level 2, the Githyanki Patrol is weakened, HP is severely reduced to half or even a quarter of their normal so that a few hits kill them. Maybe they're also suffering from some sort of poison or other debuff to weaken them as well. Sort of like a Level Sync function in other games like Final Fantasy 14 where if you are Level 50 and you enter a Level 5 Fate you get level synced to Level 5 so you don't just severely overpower the entire encounter. In a game like this, to balance it appropriately, they should certainly do something to level sync encounters or debuff enemies based on the player's or players' stats etc. at the time the encounter is triggered.
This being said, if they did something like this, then a Party Size of 6 or 8 or whatever wouldn't harm balance. If I showed up at the Githyanki Patrol with 6 Level 4 party members, the game would recognize that I have a Full Party and throw the Gith at me with full stats and buffs. They came fresh to the battlefield as opposed to arriving just after maybe a fight with the Flaming Fist or something. There are so many ways a DM can handle balancing a normally tough encounter, but reducing HP or inhibiting enemies with debuffs of some kind is one of the most basic ways to do this, and it wouldn't be THAT hard for Larian to implement.
Basic balancing logic: Party arrives and D&D Challenge Rating is Medium or lower, enemies have full stats. D&D Challenge Rating is Challenging, reduce enemy HP by 25% and maybe a -2 debuff to attack and defense (or something like this). D&D Challenge Rating is Deadly, reduce enemy HP by 50% and maybe a -4 debuff to attack and defense (again, or something like this. Just throwing rough numbers out. The concept is what I'm driving at here, not the exact details). In this way, whether you have 4 or 6 or 8 party members, use the D&D basic Challenge Rating system as a basis for your encounters and tweak them in some way to provide the players with a fun and rewarding fight each time without overwhelming them with ridiculously tough enemies just because they wandered onto the scene earlier than they should have. That is no fun.
But again, that is a balance issue, not a Party Size issue. The game is imbalanced because there are too many potential imbalancing variables at play, not because of Party Size. Party Size is only one variable at play, and setting it at 4 doesn't fix the imbalance. It only makes it worse. Set it at 6 or 8 or 4 or 2 or whatever, but you'll still have imbalance because you can be at Level 5 (once EA is done) and face the goblins in the Druid's Grove Tunnels and wipe the floor with them easily because 4 Level 5 characters could easily wipe them out. Or, on the flip side, you can have a Level 2 character go straight to the Gith Patrol and be wiped out easily whether you have 4 or 6 or 8 because they are just that tough.
So, the only answer to imbalance is that they have to set up logic in the game to tweak stats to match your Party Size and Level and even potentially your equipment. If they really want to balance the game, they have to stop trying to fix it with homebrews and restrictions to things like party size and they need to focus on a different approach.
Another example to fix imbalance would be: Party has 6 members, all Level 3, they enter the secret tunnels in the druid's grove, game generates 8 goblins instead of 4. All normal stats and weapons, etc., but the game generates more enemies as opposed to just the regular ones in the game currently. So, instead of debuffs and HP reduction, the game could be built to recognize a certain challenge rating and say, "That's too easy of a fight. I need to generate a few more goblins to make the challenge more difficult." Or vice versa. Instead of 4 gobbos, because I came there right away and am alone, there is only 2 gobbos.
Either increase enemy numbers or buffs or HP or decrease these things. That is the way to handle imbalance, and the game needs to be smart enough to do this or the imbalance will always be there.
But again, that isn't strictly related to Party Size. That is a game imbalance issue that Party Size is only a part of.