FFXIV: The Summoner's Dilemma

Ever since Final Fantasy XIV officially began service back in 2010, there’s always been somewhat of an imbalance between melee and mage classes. Of the original seven classes released with the game, only two were mages, Conjurer and Thaumaturge. This was somewhat alleviated since you could find virtually any kind of spell or magic-related ability you could ask for across both these two classes. There was also the promise of more classes on the way.

Well it’s now two years later and a lot of things have changed. Unfortunately what hasn’t changed is the number of mages in the game. It was early last week that players finally recieved some confirmation of a rumor that had been kicking around for quite a while about the next classes to be released for the game. Some time last week, content about the Arcanist class and the Summoer job was accidentally leaked on the official FFXIV website. The information was fairly clear about what we could expect from the two new roles in the game.

The Arcanist Class

FFXIV Leaked Class: Arcanist

The description of Arcanist as it appeared on the FFXIV website.


Carbuncle from FFXI

The leaked description for Arcanist definitely reads like a Summoner-in-training. At first glance, the mention of the ability to summon Carbuncle gives a clear image of the Summoner job that appeared n Final Fantasy XI. But much of the description doesn’t focus on summoning at all. Arcanists seem to use “symbols of power born of geometric techniques” which allow them to “produce a myriad of powerful spells”. Not to be confused with FFXI’s Summoner despite the appearance of Carbuncle, the Arcanist class seems to have its own collection of spells that may be independent of their summoned creature. This makes things even more interesting when you realize that a lot of dedicated buff and enfeeble spells were lost with the class reform that happened in Patch 1.20 late last year.

So what we could be looking at here is a summoner class with a focus on buffing and enfeebling in combat. Or not. Since there isn’t any official information, we simply won’t know until later. But this leaked info makes a strong case for it. But what about the job that Arcanist leads to? If you don’t know about the Armoury System, for every class that exists, there is a more specialized job that players can take up after a certain level. According to the leak, Arcanist’s eventually job will be called by the aptly-named Summoner.

The Summoner Job

FFXIV Leaked Job: Summoner

The description of Summoner as it appeared on the FFXIV website

The description for Summoner indicates that we’ll be seeing more of what we’re used to from the classic Summoner job from Final Fantasy XI. In this case, it simply mentions the ability to summon primals. If you know how jobs work in FFXIV, you’re given 5 new actions to help differentiate you from your previous class. And since it’s already been mentioned that we won’t be able to summon the likes of Garuda, Ifrit, or any of the other big name classic summoned beings, it’s possible that Summoners may get 5 unique primals of their own to use in battle. It’s difficult to say that for certain however. It’s difficult to determine anything from the description given in the leaked description. Since it seems like there will be more adjustments to classes and jobs for ARR, jobs could be adjusted any number of ways.

The problem with Summoner is that after the job was first introduced in FFXI, it was relegated to a healer role for a very long time, even though it could not access the higher level cures. Due to its larger MP reserves, Summoner could last quite a while by just spamming lower tier Cure spells. Their actual summoning abilities were so lackluster for so long that, in situations when they couldn’t be a main healer, they were forced into a backup healer role and were still unable to rely on the summon abilities. This changed over time as SE continued to update the class, but it was pretty much an insult to the class at the time.

White Mage from FFT

White Mage Job from Final Fantasy Tactics

Although some would argue that another healing class is needed at the moment, it’d be a shame for a similar fate to fall upon FFXIV’s version of Summoner. The worst thing that could happen is if a Summoner was prevented from doing the thing it was meant to do. Summon things. White Mage is already a suitable enough healer class at the moment, and there is so much that you can do with magic classes, that it’d be a shame to waste another class on the same role.

It doesn’t look like there’s much to worry about going by the description of Arcanist. The majority of a job’s abilities in FFXIV still come from its original class, and the original class looks unique enough. Summoner never had it’s own abilities outside of what its avatars could do, so with Arcanist as a base, FFXIV’s Summoner already has a head start. Even with the ability to equip actions from other classes as part of the Armoury system, as far as healing spells go, it seems unlikely that Arcanist itself could take the place of a White Mage or high level Conjurer. Having a Summoner retain its role as a masterful conjurer of summoned beasts is a chance to add a new dynamic to the game and give Summoners their own classic flavor from the very start.

EDIT 8/23/12 3:26 PM: This article has been edited for minor errors, corrections, and readability.