GaAs-based high-power broad-area diode lasers deliver optical output powers Popt > 10W with efficiency > 60%. However, their application is limited due to poor in-plane beam parameter product BPPlat=0.25×Θ95%×w95% (Θ95% and w95% are emission angle and aperture, 95% power content). We present experimental investigations on λ = 9xx nm broad area lasers that aim to identify regulating factors of the BPPlat connected to the epitaxial layer design. First, we assess the thermal lens of vertical designs with varying asymmetry, using thermal camera images to determine its strength. Under study are an extreme-double-asymmetric (EDAS) vertical structure and a reference (i.e. more symmetric) design. The lateral thermal profiles clearly show that BPPlat increase is correlated to the bowing of the thermal lens. The latter is derived out of a quadratic temperature fit in the active region beneath the current injection of the laser device and depends on the details of the epitaxial layers. Second, we test the benefit of low modal gain factor Γg0, predicted to improve BPPlat via a suppression of filamentation. EDAS-based lasers with single quantum well (SQW) and double quantum well (DQW) active regions were compared, with 2.5x reduced Γg0, for 2.2x reduced filament gain. However, no difference is seen in measured BPPlat, giving evidence that filamentary processes are no longer a limit. In contrast, devices with lower Γg0 demonstrate an up to twofold reduced near field modulation depth, potentially enabling higher facet loads and increased device facet reliability, when operated near to the COD limit.