I still don't understand the resistance to a 6 person party. It doesn't hurt players who just want 4. If you like only 4 because you don't want to have the hassle of managing the items and equipment of 6, then only have 4 in your party. And by the way, I don't understand this anyway because you still have to manage all the items of your entire group at camp.
Larian hinted that we are going to lose companions after Act I, the party will probably shrink like in OS2. Chances are that your entire group will become four people.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
And if your concern is difficulty of gameplay, because they might build challenges based on 6 characters so that they are too hard for 4 characters, they can tweak the system to make that not an issue. Either they can build into encounters some sort of system that increases or decreases enemy stats based on the number of characters you have in your party at the time, or they can do what we've been suggesting and implement a split XP system where experience is split between the people you have in your party. So 4 characters would level up faster than 6, making challenges just as difficult for 4 as they would be for 6 because the 4 person party would be naturally at a higher level than the 6 person party.
XP split isn't working. Early game becomes much harder, than it becomes much easier when you outscale content too much, then it becomes much harder again when you hit content for max lvl. Balancing encounters via stats and amount of enemies will work, but it will require extensive playtesting of every encounter for 5 and 6 people too. Why waste QA's time on testing combat encounters when they can be looking for bugs or testing quests and other stuff that actually matters for every player? Mods will allow a party of 6, it's not a deal breaker for people, unlike unbalanced gameplay for people who will buy the game only if they can play solo or duo.
Let's start with "Larian hinted that we are going to lose comanions after Act 1." Okay. Fine. They hinted at it. So what? This is a forum for discussing what we WANT Larian to do. That has no bearing on whether they SHOULD shrink the party like in OS2. I sincerely hope they don't shrink the party. As others have said, it would ruin the entire flexibility of being able to have different parties at different times depending on who you need in the party and when. Say I need more magic users in my party to fight a certain magically weak enemy. Let me put Gale and Wyll and Shadowheart in my party. Say I need more physical melee fighters. Let me put my fighter and Lae'zel and maybe Karlach (assuming she'll be an addition to companions) in my party. Don't limit me to just 4 going forward. That's terrible! That forces players into a niche instead of allowing them to strategically implement their team to better face certain enemies and encounters. So, just because they've hinted at it, doesn't mean they should do it, nor does it mean they should limit the party to only 4 period.
And just because they aren't XP splitting correctly now, doesn't mean they shouldn't do it correctly for the future. If they XP split correctly, then it won't matter how they balance their encounters. If I go into the game with only 4 party members and earn a total of 4,800 XP, splitting that 4 ways is a 1,200 XP a piece. So, my characters should be Level 3 because it's 300 to go to level 2 and 900 more to go to Level 3. If I have 6 party members, they'd only gain 800 XP a piece doing the same encounters. So, they'd only be Level 2. The way D&D is designed, an encounter should be just as challenging for 4 Level 3 characters as it is for 6 Level 2 characters. You wouldn't have to rebalance at all because you are trading things off. While you have more party members, they are lower level. Thus, less experience earned per person and thus they won't gain levels as fast and so although you have more people to fight with on your side, they won't be as strong as if you just went with a party of 4.
So, it wouldn't be some big-butt thing they'd have to do to rework the whole game. Just rewrite the code to allow 6 characters regularly (which it is already in the game since you can do this if you multiplayer with 4 people and get Lae'zel and Shadowheart in the Prologue it allows you to have up to 6 in the party during the Prologue), and then just recode it so that it doles out experience a bit differently, splitting it instead of giving everyone all the experience. So, what the game does now is gives you 4,800 XP each for a party of 4 instead of dividing it by 4 and only giving each character 1,200 each like it should. If they implemented these two simple fixes, whether you have a party of 4 or 6, it won't matter from a game balance perspective.
And frankly, right now, the battles are fairly easy, for the most part. I've played through from start through the initial grove experiences, including Harpy Battle and Secret Tunnels Fight, and I just now Long Rested for the first time with a party of 4 at Level 2 max. So, if they change the XP rewards so that they are split instead of everyone getting max XP every fight, they still wouldn't have to rework the entire game for balance purposes.