He’s not missing that, he’s talked about it at great length previously, it’s just not something he thought was particularly important in that context, and I think he’s right. If he did discuss it, would probably have taken the whole 50 minutes anyway, and been of near-zero general relevance, because it’s an issue completely specific to a particular part of the combat system. At that conference you’re supposed to be talking about lessons learned in a more generally applicable way, which he was.
It’s also a difficult criticism to get right, because most people who complain about that are both doing so mindlessly and have no reasonable suggestions for improvement. I’m not saying that’s you, but on the Pillars 2 forums, that’s pretty much 90% of people who moan along those lines. It’s usually mindless suggestions to “go back to Pillars 1”, without them really seeming to appreciate the problems caused.
And I think there’s a bit of that in your comment, because you can’t have attrition has that major a part of combat without a having a huge number of somewhat boring and pointless fights (if you can, literally no-one has ever managed it), or having most fights be gigantic set-piece deals which require you to blow everything to live, a point proven by BG1/2, Pillars 1, PF:KF, all the IWD games, and so on.
The sheer number of largely pointless fights in Pillars 1 was the subject of huge number of complaints, which was a big part of the impetus for moving away from that.
Pillars 2 has similar but less severe flaws to DA:O and DA2, which took a somewhat similar approach to it (in practice), where the main issue is that once you have a solid strategy for fights, you just keep using it over and over, and whilst some things shake it up, nothing totally disrupts it, just makes it a bit harder to do. Oddly turn-based kind of changes this, because the extra time you have to think means you use abilities in a different way, and use abilities you wouldn’t have bothered with on RtwP.
All that said, right, I actually agree to a certain extent. I think the big problem was actually that the mechanic which was supposed to take the place of dailies, the power-up button, which you could use to either massively buff a spell, or get some resources back, was almost never the right thing to do, and because, bizarrely (no idea why they made this decision) it could only be used once a fight, you couldn’t burn all your uses of that to do something cool and then feel the need to rest or the like. Had they implemented that better, making it so you could use it multiple times per fight if desired (perhaps at some kind of longer-term cost), and made it so it was actually worth using to buff single spells (rather than always being better to get more resources with), I think that would have gone a long way to address the lack of dynamic range between fights.
(The other issue is that in Pillars 1, players tended to take one of two approaches, which was to have classes with “daily” abilities basically do nothing but autoattack or use per-fight abilities in 90% of fights, or to have classes with “daily abilities” blow them constantly and rest constantly - something which on harder settings lead to constant trekking back and forth - neither was really ideal.)
The other problem which I believe he alluded to but didn’t go into in detail is the issue of having too many classes who require micro. There are again two ways to solve this - the Infinity Engine way of having a bunch of classes basically not have any abilities, or the DA:O/DA2 way of putting in powerful automation so you can basically set up your characters to run themselves. Pillars 2 went with the second approach, but most people didn’t set it up (and to be fair, it’s less intuitive than DA2, which is kind of the peak design there, and less something you can just tediously work through than DA:O. It requires lateral thinking to set up right and it really shouldn’t!).
Yeah they seem to have somewhat improved that, because a lot of it was just down to them completely fucking up stacking rules from PF (which to be fair, are easy to fuck up), but there are still a lot of enemies which have higher save bonuses, ACs, and BABs than they should because they’re double or triple dipping bonuses. I feel like different people must have worked on the player and monster sides of things, because the player bonus stacking and so on is much more carefully done.