Though I doubt it will happen, I feel the most ideal approach to “fix” SMN would be to make SMN evolve from ACN (as now), but separate SCH entirely but making them a special job you unlock similar to the new 3.0 jobs like DRK. Basically, a special job you unlock and start at level 30. It can require ACN 30 if you want, but should NOT draw abilities from ACN.
With that in mind:
-ACN should lose Resurrect; it should go to SCH
-ACN should lose Eye for an Eye; it should go to SCH
-SCH’s dps line-up of skills should be completely rewritten to account for no longer being a branch of ACN, which is why this will probably never happen
What should NOT happen:
-SMN pets shouldn’t get bigger, become “real summons”; there’s nothing wrong with egis, they look fine, no one needs a screen full of 25% size titans blocking everything as far as the eye used to be able to see
-How SMNs generally work should not vary greatly, just relatively minor tweaks. Should still have most dps come from the SMN proper, still be a DoT class, etc.
What I’d like to see happen, regardless of any of the above:
– Make normal pet attacks like Garuda’s Wind Blade an AUTO ATTACK that can be freely interrupted by any other action (like, if I use Aerial Slash, Garuda should use it instantly, instead of ignoring me because she’s busy “casting” Wind Blade). This would be one of the biggest QoL changes possible for SMN.
– Contagion should become a SMN action, and no longer a Garuda pet action.
– Pets should be given more purpose and identity.
— Enkindle damage should be bumped up to account for the long cooldown, and instead of stuff like Wind Blade, pets should get a lower cooldown “big attack” that doesn’t require something like Enkindle to trigger (like Predator Claws for Garuda or something – these attacks can have special attributes if you want). This would help give SMN better burst damage besides Energy Drain (I mean, when you need to kill a mob from 100% to 0% really quickly… not everthing lets you roll 3 DoTs and Fester it away… it may have already killed you or wrecked the PT by then.)
— Pets should get some kind of buff skill to really differentiate each other, like Titan be able to Earthen Ward the whole PT, Garuda Haste the PT, Ifrit give damage buff to PT, etc. The buff can be relatively light — it will still result in a raidwide buff, even if it’s not super strong, giving SMN more of a reason to care about their pet and what it’s doing.
Seriously, SMN burst damage is pretty garbage. The complete opposite of BLM. If you’re at around appropriate iLVL for something and it requires you to kill adds quickly, good luck if you’re rolling double SMN or something in there. Can only Energy Drain so many times before you run out of Aetherflow. It’s like no one on the dev team even plays SMN…