^My question is about point "e." Alkor was telling me that using R1 and circle/square causes the NPC's to apply fortify,mana barrier, and haste. I've never seen my NPC's use these skills, so I want to know the secret!
The optimum party for me is: a mage set to go all out. Fill their command bar with whatever element you need them to use. They will do good damage no matter what. A bow set to heal first, so they can replenish the mage's mana. Myself, mage, attacking and spirit blessing when needed. If I could get my NPC's to apply buffs, it would be even better to solo quests. As is, I can play a lot of quests with NPC's (but I don't like to because of the amount of time some quests take). It was pretty cool to see Kara and Eldore taking out the dragons in FOD2. Once you understand the limits of your story party, they can do quite a bit for you.
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."