Is the game balanced to be played without reloading (aside from play stoppages) on the first game if the player wishes?
A lot of that depends on the difficulty setting and the player's skill, but we aren't designing encounters to require prescience. We're trying to avoid sucker punches in fights, enemy tactics that demand a very specific combination of items, classes, spells, or abilities to overcome. While there will certainly be strategic and tactical choices that will work very poorly in certain fights, we'd rather give the player a number of ways to win a battle. If we wind up creating specific formulae or one valid strategy to win a fight, I think that takes a lot away from the player's potential enjoyment.