This is actually proving the opposite of your apparent point.
TW1’s combat was terrible - you’ve described how you could exploit a particular terrible aspect of it to more or less make it mindless. That just shows how terrible it was, though. No-one said it was “challenging”, that’s a strawman on your part. They said it was terrible.
DA2’s combat doesn’t “get in the way” if TW1 doesn’t, all you’re really saying there is that you should be playing on Casual if you want to ignore the combat and follow the story. If you do play on Casual, the combat is trivial and thus doesn’t “slow you down”. On Normal and Hard, the combat is actually pretty fun, very much unlike DA:O, which tended to be either tedious slogs on those difficulties (let alone Nightmare), or one-sided facerolls (depending on number and type of Mages on the player side, and level of min-maxing).
The waves of monsters are intentionally predictable - your comment isn’t even a criticism, though you appear to mean it that way.
As for “identikit dungeons are active filler”, you’ve already described how basically all the fights in TW1 are effectively “filler”, and frankly, by that logic, non-identikit dungeons would also be “filler”. Hell, when I think “filler dungeon” in a modern game, literally the first thing that comes to mind is the first big dungeon in TW3, which is completely needlessly large, dull, repetitive, and seems to exist largely to ensure your gear/swords are severely worn down by the time you meet the boss. You could compress all the stuff of any consequence, including all the talking, into a few minutes.
Anyway, the difference is that with TW1, the combat is so bad you simply seek to abrogate it. There’s nothing fun or engaging about it - initially it seemed like there might be, but it’s ultimately a totally failed design, hence the moves away from it in the sequels (much like ME1’s combat was a failed design - neither fish nor fowl). DA2’s combat, on the other hand is actually playable and interesting on Normal and Hard.
You’re also outright wrong re: HP bloat not providing anything interesting - not only is the HP not actually particularly “bloated”, but the amount it is increased by is important because it combines with another limitation - that of how many potions you can carry, to provide real and interesting combat decision-making.
It’s not a perfect combat system, but again this is someone trying to defend TW1’s incredibly terrible combat by pointing out a vastly superior combat system in another CRPG had flaws too. I mean, dude, if you weigh 350lbs, pointing out that Jim Hopper has “dadbod” is not going to make people think you’re cute, and that appears to be your logic here.
Interestingly ME3 tried out a difficulty designed specifically for people who felt like combat was just slowing them down from getting at the story (Narrative) and separately a mode for people who didn’t want to make dialogue choices, and whilst the latter was so unpopular it didn’t go forwards into ME:A, Narrative difficulty did.
EDIT - Talking of Mass Effect, DLC bundles for ME2 and ME3 have finally appeared on Origin:
Dun dun duuuuuuuuun! Well I guess we can all stop complaining (as we were a few months back) that EA couldn’t be bothered.