Hugely enjoyable to me. Very satisfying. Fought the battle with the harpies, and it was pretty easy with 6. Yes, admittedly, the battle is probably too easy with 6. Gale almost got taken down, and Wyll got hit a couple of times, but it was an easy fight. Didn't even use a potion, and no one even healed anyone else with spells or nothing.
That said, I will say that the fight went MUCH quicker. So, the argument about adding 2 more slowing down combat is not true. It does go faster because YOU have more attacks, etc. per round. Sure, if they added more enemies, then it would be probably about the same in terms of how much time it takes, but ultimately I would say that it doesn't slow down combat at all. If anything, it's faster.
In terms of easy fight, I think the fight would be harder if they switched up the enemy AI a bit on those harpies. They all flew right down into the midst of my characters and just let us pound them to pieces. I also used Silence to disrupt their songs, so that didn't help them either. Harpies, also, should use multiattack with claws and clubs. So, again, implementing 5e stats would benefit this battle tremendously. This would make them more tough. They also just swoop down one at a time. It would make for a tougher fight if they swooped down all at once on all sides of my party and attacked all at once. Four or five harpies is nothing to sneeze at. 38 HP and 2 attacks per turn; 1 with claws and 1 with club for a potential of 3d4+3 damage (I think... off the top of my head) each per round. And, I do like that they can throw rocks. That makes it so that the battle would be tougher if you try to just peg them from a distance. If they kept their distance more and just kept pegging with rocks, even a party of 6 might have some serious trouble taking them down especially because of the homebrew height bonus (which I do think works). So, either the ranged strat or the melee swarm strat should be implemented to make this fight tougher, for either party of 4 or 6. I'd prefer the melee swarm strat, because the ranged one would probably be pretty annoying, considering that's the strat they used to use in like 4 patches ago, and it was annoying as heck. They'd constantly fly higher and gain a bonus to hit you and in their AC, and they'd just peg you off from a distance without you ever being able to hit them. So, I'd definitely recommend the melee swarm attack for the sanity of players. The occasional thrown rock is not so bad, but if they use it constantly and keep their distance, that's going to make the fight REALLY not fun.
Anyway, benefits of a party of 6 are that you never have to switch anyone out. The party members feel more like a team working together and talking together. I discovered that party members are talking more because there are more in the party. So, Gale is chatting with Lae'zel about the creche. Astarion then asks something about her and her creche like 30 seconds later. Shadowheart makes a comment a little bit after that, etc. I rescue the boy and Gale is right there. No having to go get Gale BEFORE the encounter so that I learn a bit more about his past. Everyone is interacting a LOT more in the game in various cutscenes, random dialogue, etc. THAT is freaking awesome. I also gave Wyll Speak with Animals, so I'm able to switch out to him to talk to every animal in the grove, and then I can switch to Astarion to pick locks. I can switch to Lae'zel to jump to further places or lift rocks. I can use everyone's skills and abilities as a full team, all without having to constantly go to camp to get the people I want PRIOR to triggering a cutscene that I have to know ahead of time will be better if I have a certain character with me (like having Gale in the party before saving the tiefling boy by the river from the harpies as mentioned above).
And carrying capacity as a party has greatly increased. I don't have to worry as much about encumbrance because now I have two more members to help carry everything. And here's another interesting thing I noticed. There aren't enough cool weapons to go around. Yes! Party of 6 means less magical items per character. I can't just fully equip the entire party with awesome gear right off the bat. I have to be a bit more strategic with it. Maybe Tav gets the good armor, Lae'zel gets the flaming sword, Shadowheart gets the Watcher's Spear, Wyll gets the ring with color spray, Astarion gets the amulet for speaking with dead, and Gale gets magic scrolls or something. I didn't do this. I noticed after the fact that Wyll and Gale and Astarion all have mostly basic weapons and equipment. I didn't have enough money to even remotely get them anything special. I know that will change. Eventually, I'll get enough to spread around so everyone can be fully magically equipped, but the point is that the progress for that is much slower now with 6 to spread it all amongst. So, in that regard, during the harpy fight, Gale and Wyll were easily slapped around by the harpies because their AC is still low and they don't have any cool gear. I didn't have enough to really boost them in that regards, making them weaker than if I only had 4 and was able to equip all 4 characters with better gear faster. So, what I'm saying is, I focused on Tav, Shadowheart, and Lae'zel, and they have better armor and gear, but Astarion, Gale and Wyll are still fairly low AC and their weapons are all their starter or just base short swords, etc., making half the party weaker than the other half. So, in that regard, it balances out.
Item management is also not a big deal. I simply scroll to the right and there are the other two. I can then right click and Send to Tav or Shadowheart or whoever, just like I normally would, to transfer items from one person to the next. There is no real added frustration or anything in that regard. Item management is still just as painful as with 4. So that also knocks down some people's fears that if they made this a party of 6 game then it would be so much worse because item management would take even more time. If anything, I'm not wasting as much time trying to juggle equipment around due to encumbrance. One person is encumbered, throw something at someone else. Again, with 2 more people, I have to send less things to camp or even worry as much about all the crap I'm picking up.
I would say that the biggest frustration for me with the party of 6 is actually the movement mechanics, and even that isn't that big of a deal. It's not that much worse than it already is. I've had a few times that I almost clicked on one of my party members and almost initiated dialogue. They do tend to get in the way a bit more than currently, but only really in zoomed in mode. When I'm zoomed out, it's about the same. Zoomed in, going up and down hills, that's when you start to feel the extra members getting in the way. I'm having to spin the camera a bit more to try to avoid triggering dialogue.
Even the single crouch function we gripe about isn't that much more of a pain. I mean, it's click on their portrait and hit the "C" key. It's four more clicks/button presses every time you want to group stealth. Though this could easily be fixed with the much needed Group Stealth feature that we've been fighting for, the point is that it isn't that much more of a pain point really.
All in all, I still need to test out the party of 6 more, but I would DEFINITELY say that the preliminary result is that the game is better for it. I am absolutely loving the fact that I now have the entire cast of origin characters in my party at one time, and they are all fighting together as a more cohesive team. Even if they didn't change a single thing about the encounters, the end result would be that players wouldn't need to long rest as much, making it more plausible from a story perspective. Characters would do a LOT more in one day than they can currently with a party of 4. Thus, the story would make a lot more sense because your party wouldn't be sleeping after every fight or 2 with a ticking time bomb tadpole in their heads. Of course, I still want them to implement more 5e stats for monsters, as that would make most of them tougher. As I said above with the harpies, giving them clubs and multiattack would make them SO much tougher, and they'd be a more challenging fight for a party of 4 or 6 both.
The biggest issue with less sleeping is that dialogue is tied to long rest. If they changed that so dialogue is triggered on the road or just at camp or whenever you short rest or whatever (except where it makes sense that it should only be at camp), then this wouldn't be an issue either. Gale's Go to Hell dialogue makes sense regardless of whether you are at camp or not. Click a Short Rest, and you should trigger that scene. He's just basically saying that you should have already started changing by that point. Same with his Mirror Image Dialogue. Even Shadowheart's "I'm not sure this is such a good idea," dialogue would be fine with a short rest. She's saying it because she isn't sure resting at all is a good idea. You need to find a healer and fast, so it would make sense even to trigger that with a Short Rest. Astarion biting you on the neck while you sleep only really makes sense during a long rest at camp, so I could see that remaining at camp, but most other dialogues should not. Of course, I think that dialogue with Astarion trying to bite you is off anyway and needs to be entirely reworked. It makes no sense especially if you're an elf who doesn't sleep. And think about it, even if you're a human, why would he bite you in the midst of the entire camp with everyone else around? Come on. What'd he think would happen? Did he think you wouldn't cry out in pain or anything? And where is everyone while you're having this convo about almost getting drained of all your blood? Shouldn't Gale and Shadowheart and Lae'zel be all ready to kill him?
Anyway, sorry. Didn't mean to go off on that tangent in this post. The point is that party of 6 is incredibly fun. I am enjoying it a lot and I'm going to keep testing it to see just how hard/easy the fights are and to see whatever else might be a bonus or handicap with such an option implemented. I'll keep you posted.
Oh, and it doesn't glitch, by the way. It functions just fine as if it was meant to be how the game is played. What I mean is that you don't have characters doing weird things like jumping off cliffs or being left behind or something (any more than they do currently, anyway). The only weird thing I've noticed is that sometimes characters are standing inside one another. Astarion and Gale were blending with Lae'zel during dialogue sequences. But the game does that sometimes anyway.
I also thought it was cool that when I slept for the night, 4 party members were sleeping/meditating on their bedrolls, but the other two were sitting nearby, as if keeping watch. They were ALL at the camp around the fire, as one party instead of just four with the others just not there at all. Wyll and Gale were keeping watch while Astarion, Tav, Shadowheart and Lae'zel were in the bedrolls.
Ah! More please! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this an option, Larian. I don't want to have to mod this game in the future to make this happen. I really don't like mods. REALLY don't like them. I keep thinking it's going to eventually screw up my computer.
PLEASE! Party of 6. At least as an option! I'M BEGGING YOU ON HANDS AND KNEES WITH MY HANDS FOLDED AND TEARS STREAMING DOWN MY FACE CRYING OUT AND SHAKING VIOLENTLY!
Thank you... ahead of time...
... please... please... please...
Hope this gets passed on to the devs, because it is clear, detailed, excellent feedback. THANK YOU!!!