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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Column: FFXIV: Improving the Summoner Feel

By Michael Bitton on September 25, 2013

It’s my opinion that the Summoner is probably the most iconic role in all of Final Fantasy. Even though Summoners didn’t really appear until Final Fantasy III (JP), the summons they control are one of the main recurring features across the entire series. Fans always wonder how summons and their Summoners will be represented in the latest Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is no different. Unfortunately, while ARR is an amazing game, I feel Square Enix really dropped the ball with the feel of the Summoner Job.

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Let’s outline some of the problems and their possible solutions.

Scale

When Square Enix first announced the Summoner Job, my mouth was agape as I watched the orbs spin around the character as he summoned his companion. However, once this animation completed, my enthusiasm was instantly deflated at the size and scale of the creature called forth. It looked more like a familiar from a Castlevania game, not a powerful Final Fantasy summon. I held out hope that this was just an early lower-level version, but I wanted to be sure, so I went ahead and asked Yoshida-san about the Summoner ‘pet’ size in one of our many interviews.

Yoshida-san explained that as an MMO it would be difficult to have the massive summons and dramatic effects we often see in other Final Fantasy games and I agreed. However, that doesn’t mean they have to be that small. Heck, even FFXI had summons of reasonable size and scale.

I’d love to see a system similar to Aion’s Spiritmaster, by which players can acquire higher tier versions of the same summons that are also visually reflected in their increased size and presence.

And yes, I realize that calling out the actual Primals themselves in FFXIV would clash with the lore, but I do feel there could be a better middle ground than what we were ultimately given.

More Summons!

This is sort of a gimme, but the amount of summons available are fairly underwhelming given the huge roster of creatures available throughout the series.  There are only a few Primals available to fight in the game right now and all of them are available as summons for the Job, so it’s my hope that Square Enix expands on the Summoner’s repertoire as additional Primals are brought into the game.

Where’s the Epic?

There are many ways to approach this angle, but summons could use a healthy helping of additional epic-ness.  For one, there was definitely a missed opportunity in Enkindle. It’s an ability with a long cooldown that directs your summon to unleash its signature ability. Unfortunately, the result is both visually and functionally underwhelming.  Improvements in both areas would be welcome for sure.

Limit Breaks are another area that I’d like to see touched. This is sort of a larger issue that affects all Jobs and classes and Square Enix has given a lot of pushback on this, but I’d really like to see some level of individual Limit Breaks added to the game, even if it’s just to the primary class. Instead of giving Scholars and Arcanists the generic healer and caster damage Limit Breaks, why not give them a new category of Utility Limit Breaks that have different effects that touch on the different summons available? Since it would be impractical to have an awesome singleplayer Final Fantasy style-summon come in during normal play, this would be a great opportunity to give players a dramatic summon effect without causing chaos in the rest of the game. Meteor is amazing, but that’s distinctly Black Mage territory and I feel that while it’s a shame we aren’t seeing individual Limit Breaks for the other classes, it significantly impacts the feel of the Summoner Job.

I mainly play a Dragoon, who I’d love to have unique Limit Breaks, so I’m definitely not playing favorites for the Summoner here. Obviously, I’d love to see these for every Job, but Summoners could really use this. Especially if Square Enix insists on having pitifully tiny summons available to players during normal play.

How do you feel Square Enix could improve the feel of Summoners?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB

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Michael Bitton
MMORPG.com's Community Manager Michael Bitton gives us his thoughts and opinions on the happenings in and around the world of MMORPGs.
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