I don’t know if we’re really talking about the same thing. DA:I doesn’t allow you to automate in the way DA:O and DA2 did. It only allows extremely broad-brush stuff like “Defend X” or “Follow Y”, and you can enable/disable/prefer powers (but not tell them when or how to use them).
In DA:O and DA2 you can make it some each character has an elaborate set of specific, individual tactics that control how they use abilities, which can make them behave extremely intelligently in combat. This was pretty amazing in practice, especially in DA2.
As a result, characters in DA:I behave more stupidly and need more micro-management to perform at even close to the level they should. However you can build around this, and minimize the micro at the cost of a little effectiveness. This is despite better underlying AI in DA:I, which means they are smarter about some stuff - they’re still not as smart as a properly set up DA2 character.
Re: difficulty I agree, DA2 only works up to Hard, because Nightmare introduces Friendly Fire which is a total joke because your dudes are literally swinging their swords into each other and so on (it’s like, I’m pretty sure Aveline is smart enough not to stab Fenris just because he’s kinda nearby…).
Re: attrition, what you’re describing is true but has nothing to do with the kind of attrition we’re talking about. In DA:I you regain all your resources the second the fight ends (basically). We’re talking about how in other games if you use up abilities and so on earlier in the day, then you need to go rest or whatever to get them back. DA:I doesn’t have that. Or how in Pillars 1 if you got seriously injured your HP max was reduced (effectively). DA:I doesn’t have that. In fact none of the DA games have a rest mechanism in that sense (DA:O has camping but it servers a different purpose).
That’s not a criticism of DA:I or DA ing eneral, it’s just that the game works in a fundamentally different way. Pillars 2 works more like the DA games than Pillars 1 in practice as a result - it does have a daily resource but you can only use it once per fight, which means it’s very to deplete it, especially as in practice you learn to live without it, and designers seem to have designed fights to not require it, because the impact it has is not gigantic.
Talking of this kind of game, still playing Pathfinder, much to my surprise. I expected I’d be rolling my eyes at it and there’s a lot of stuff that’s dumb and RNG-y (like, your kingdom can fall because you get some bad rolls in the arbitrary kingdom management shit, which is just mind-bogglingly dumb), but overall it a nice game of the type, despite some obvious cutting & pasting of encounters and so on.
Also, and this is always good - you can turn a fight from “Well shit I died really quickly” to dangerous-but-winnable by reloading, and this time actually using all your buffs (scrolls, potions, wands, etc. not just cast buffs), summoning shit, and so on. Using the right buffs matters, too, and buffs that often seem too niche in the tabletop can be worth it here. Also Haste is, as ever, hysterical. Good thing it doesn’t age you a year every time you’re subject to it in Pathfinder (it did in one edition of D&D, possibly 2E). The more thoroughly-designed locations are genuinely enjoyable.
Characters remain decent rather than great. In Obsidian and Bioware games, characters typically feel like people. In pen and paper RPGs, oddly enough this isn’t always the case, characters can often feel more like “points of view” (alignment plays a large part in this), and BG1 and to a lesser extent BG2 had this issue, and PF:KF has this issue. The LN character has an interesting backstory and theoretical personality, but her actual outbursts and so on seem more like someone said “Wait, Valerie is LN, so she would have to object to this!”.
Also apparently in PF Lawful Good is Lawful Murderous rather than the usual Lawful Stupid. Tons of LG options are aggressive apologia for murders you are about to commit! Often LN seems more genuinely decent, like LG but without frilly lies about “the beast that lurks within every kobold!” (as if a similar beast doesn’t lurk in humans!). NG is the usual Good-Good at least, like “Let’s not murder everybody!”, but it can get out of hand “Let’s let the bandits who literally just committed a murder, go!” (pretty sure that’s CG not NG dudes).
They have a fancy square-circle alignment chart, and interestingly, your alignment, based on the dialogue decisions, is shown (seemingly polled once every few days or something, as it’s a bunch of dots). I selected NG and I do indeed seem to hover around there, with a slight tendency toward LN (partly, I think, because you are often presented with three choices, which tend to be LN, CE, and something else (rarely NG even though that’d be the obvious choice - usually LG, LE or CN), and LN is the only sane choice and there’s no “non-aligned choice”. There’s also always the possibly-to-accidentally-click CE “I WILL MURDER YOU RIGHT NOW!” option in virtually every out-of-town conversation, which cost me 15 minutes of play when I accidentally pressed it last night sigh… I do think murder should have confirmation…
Oh another random nice thing - not only do all characters have 4 weapon slots (yay - Pillars 2 should have done this and just balanced guns accordingly) - but they actually wear all the weapons, which often looks ridiculous, but in a very good, D&D-ish way (several polearms on the back of my barbarian for example).