FFXIV Summoner: A Pet Class of No-Pet Gameplay

Well, you did not expect me to sit idle and watch a “0” gap in the list of my jobs where Scholar was meant to be, did you? Yesterday I had the idea of leveling arcanist on both of the toons, and split my efforts upon getting a soulstone to Summoner on mi’qote and Scholar on lalafell.

Scholar yet to be leveled on lalafell, yesterday I reached Summoner at 32 on mi’qote… and what do you know, counting. I’ve heard of a massive and plausible job rework upon Endwalker release, but I never thought it would be THAT drastic that it actually turns the job into one of my favorites. And this is why.

Pre-Endwalker Summoner, when I tried it, was basically WoW’s Affliction Warlock. You fight with a number of DoTs spruced with a filler spell, and you have a pet which aggroes half of Eorzea when it tanks and engages enemies. Everything is wrong with that design. DoTs are always one of the least spectacular and least satisfying spells to cast ever, in every game. Pets meddle under your feet, have a separate hotbar to handle basic as it may be, and like I said, in general you end up fighting more enemies than you meant to, losing your pet in certain cases which is also a bother.

Well, guess what? Endwalker’s Summoner design took away ALL these things and nuisances. Today, it’s NOTHING like a previous summoner/warlock, and a pet class which… does not use pets in the common sense, so we could safely name it a plain caster.

See, for most of the time your pet (a kawaii squirrel spirit, btw) is sitting peacefully by your feet “like a cute lemon” (c) discussion in duty roulette) – not doing sh*t, and it is perfectly ok. It wakes up to “cast” healing spells (which is basically you casting, apart from animation), so it does not meddle at the very least. For nukes, it would turn into different color or another pet to plant a couple of hits, but again, it’s not a pet fighting, it’s basically your own nukes which look like your pet is doing them. When it’s done, it goes back to sit idle by your lap.

Now, this design takes away all the pet bother – and all the reasons why I hate pet classes. It does not meddle in your feet, you don’t have to think about how your pet is faring and surviving, you don’t have to control it, because its nukes and heals are your rotation spells in all but name, and it does not aggro anything at all on its own. So, technically you have a pet and a lot of pet spells, but it’s actually not a pet class by gameplay and issues. What can I say? It’s perfect.

Second, the DoTs are gone. In fact, there’s now nothing farther from Affliction Warlock than a current Summoner – lol, a Bard shares more in common with the warlock :) Summoner’s bread-and butter are now instant casts with pretty fast fillers, so its mobility is insane and is actually one of the best not just among casters, but in the whole game, walking hand-in-hand with physical ranged DPS. Its instant casts are spectacular and powerful nukes, which are very satisying to plant, and combined with mobility, it plays like a waterflow, so no wonder I loved it – me, always an acolyte of ranged magical DPS.

Well, what can I say? Summoner made it to my heart, and I intend to play it. By all means, it’s a lot more interesting and fun than a still clumsy Red Mage, and easily one of the very best caster jobs.

On a downside, the whole business of learning the basics and how the class/job even operates was not an easy task to accomplish. I was desperate and on the verge of quitting more than once, and only deliberate perseverance and desire to learn, then judge kept me from doing so. Guides in the internet, as always, are the least helpful for newbies: either they roll out a level-90 rotation (consisting of spells you don’t even have, and still won’t have most of them until mid-game), or simply list the whole number of spells which I can read in game itself, thank you very much. Summoner/Arcanist definitely requires a basics guide, and that’s what I intend to do when I level at least to 50, adding a link to this post.

But all in all, wow! I’m definitely leveling it, and now I’m also eager to try Scholar.

UPD: and here’s the promised basics guide which will help you start with Arcanist / Summoner:

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