In Final Fantasy XIV, a Summoner stands in front of the primal Ramuh
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It’s all but official: Final Fantasy XIV has given up on Summoner

Okay, Yoshi-P, where's my Ramuh?

Throughout Final Fantasy XIV, the common joke for Summoner has been that if you don’t like it, wait an expansion and you’ll get a whole new job. With Dawntrail, the brand new job they created in Endwalker continues, for better or worse. For most people, it's worse.

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A brief history of Summoner in FFXIV

In the history of the Final Fantasy series, summoners have been some of the strongest and most exciting classes to play. Yuna in Final Fantasy X provides the platonic ideal of a summoner, calling down powerful god-like creatures that replace the party in battle to take on enemies one on one. Obviously this job fantasy can’t exist in an MMORPG like XIV, but Square Enix has recently taken steps to resolve the gap between job fantasy and the reality of a party-based multiplayer game.

Summoner’s history is a torrid one. For most of its lifetime, it was a complex magic job with heavy focus on piling on damage over time effects and a rotation that took a full two minutes just to get started. It was weird, flavorful, and barely counted as a Summoner. Old Summoner was a love it or hate it job, and the total rework was not a surprise.

The new Summoner promised to open up the job and really deliver on big cool summons. The pint-sized egis are now replaced with almost full-sized versions of the same primals we fought all the way back in A Realm Reborn. Ifrit, Titan, and Garuda appear on the field, block our teammates’ views, and rain hellfire (hellearth? hellwind?) down on our enemies.

The job was extremely simplified compared to the old beast of spreadsheets, and even some serious job guides refer derisively to “lego blocks” – the gemstones that act as Summoner’s job gauge (the implication being the job is now made for kids). Still, there are others who enjoy this new style of play, and I have always been in the camp that argues for a strong foundation. Summoner may be simple now, but I was certain it was just a base to build off of.

After all, it couldn’t be denied that the bigger summons doing the majority of the work in Summoner’s rotation does fulfill the job fantasy. You are a wrangler of the gods, and it will just be a matter of time before you add to your deific roster. Any day now.

The problem with Summoner in Final Fantasy XIV

In Final Fantasy XIV, a Summoner fights alongside Ifrit-egi
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

You first battle Ifrit at level 20. Titan’s fight is at level 34. Garuda, long built up as one of the most dangerous primals in Eorzea, is slain at level 44. Meanwhile Bahamut and Phoenix, larger summons that are outside of the regular 1-2-3 rotation, are both associated with the level 50 raids. We’ve fought dozens of primals since then, including many that are vital to the main story of the game in ways that the original trio can only dream of.

So why, at level 100, is our newest summon a second Bahamut? Even staying at level 50, we fought Ramuh, Leviathan, Shiva, and Odin. Summoners have been begging for new summons for as long as the Summoner job has existed, and I truly had hoped that Dawntrail would be the chance to live the fantasy. 

The most common request for new summons involve the other half of the elemental map with lightning, water, and ice. These elements and their appropriate primals were featured in the Eden raid series of Shadowbringers right alongside our current summons, so they’re hardly a new concept.

Several different battles throughout the game include multiple elements interacting, which could have been a fun addition to the Summoner job for some much-needed complexity. At the moment, there is technically a best order to choose your summons in, but there is no tangible benefit to choosing that correct order outside of high-end content. For the average player, summoning Garuda or Ifrit is simply a matter of mobility. With the addition of Leviathan’s water we could make an enemy more susceptible to Ramuh’s follow-up lightning, like many bosses use those same elements against us.

Even without new mechanics to go with the new summons, animation updates can be a sight for sore eyes, a fact that the developers are well aware of. Updating animations seems to be a high priority for all the other jobs, and this is an easy slam dunk.

While the base summons were defeated all the way back in A Realm Reborn, there are two primals that were defeated just recently in Endwalker. Levels 90 to 100 would be the perfect time to cap off Summoner’s primals with the oldest and most powerful primals of all: Zodiark and Hydaelyn. The balance of darkness and light is a theme for the last two expansions, making these two primals incredible summoning options to replace Bahamut and Phoenix, respectively. The new toy that summoner did get, Solar Bahamut, even seems to be leaning into the aspects of darkness versus light as-is.

FFXIV's dev team doesn't know what to do with Summoner

In Final Fantasy XIV, the primal Titan is compared to the Titan-egi
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The only new summon being a reskin of one we already have feels thematically limp, and the mechanics hardly changing at all even more so. Either the development team has given up on Summoner, or has decided that the ‘good enough’ we’ve had since A Realm Reborn is the best we’re ever going to get.

Our final hope for new summons seems to be in the egi glamours, which change our carbuncle into vague approximations of the larger summons. You summon Titan, the god of earth, and your egi looks more like a chicken nugget, but at least it would be something for our poor starved Summoners.

For more Final Fantasy, check out 15 Ways to prepare for FFXIV Dawntrail on Pro Game Guides.

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Howl Lindsey
From Final Fantasy to Fire Emblem to Dungeons & Dragons, if the gameplay mostly surrounds numbers and menus, Howl's probably played it. He spends a majority of his time in Final Fantasy XIV leveling every job he can get his hands on, as well as mentoring new players. For every modern Fire Emblem game that comes out, Howl has a dozen builds to try and much more than that in character trivia. Howl has been professionally published as a writer in several projects spanning independent and collaborative work.

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It’s all but official: Final Fantasy XIV has given up on Summoner

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