Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Hands-On with Summoner

We recently had a chance to play a preview build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker as part of the North American Media Tour. During our hands-on time, we had a chance to play with many of the updates coming to each Job. For those that we weren’t able to personally get hands-on with, we still had an opportunity to look at the changes that will be coming when Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker releases on November 23.

You can see all of the Summoner changes, along with our thoughts below. Additionally, you can view the upcoming changes on our wiki by clicking on the Endwalker tab on the Summoner Job page.

You can also find more coverage of the Endwalker Media Tour here.

This article is based on play of an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and content in the final version is subject to change.

Welcome to the third new job in Endwalker. I know people have said it already, but it is true.

Before we get too far in depth, let’s just talk about the general flow at max level. That’s because at any other level, things are weird, as is tradition.

The basic flow is basically what we discerned from the Live Letter. Now you’ll have Carbuncle as a pet and you’ll be able to enter Dreadwyrm Trance from the start of battle. After bonding with dragon dad, 2 indicators will be active on the Job Gauge, and that allows you to summon Ifrit, Titan and Garuda in any order. They’ll come out and do a much better version than their old Enkindle abilities and then your abilities will change to match their element and theme. After that, you can enter Firebird Trance and summon Demi-Phoenix. You probably guessed that your abilities would morph to match and yup, you got it now. After that, you’ll gain the Ruby, Topaz and Emerald indicators again and you can use those until your next Demi-Bahamut phase. Now that we have that summary done, we’re going to deep dive and talk about all of the changes because everything is new and beautiful.

Except for Physick, which as always, is old and busted. Resurrection is here as we were told in the Live Letter and that’s fine honestly. Our favorite filler, Ruin and its upgrades have been adjusted. Now Ruin I is upgraded to Ruin II while leveling, and this means that Ruin II is not an instant cast. It also won’t be on your bar at max level because it is upgraded to Ruin III eventually. That’s entirely too simple, please add more jank. Ruin IV has been changed as well but we’ll talk about Aetherflow and our DoTs first.

Just kidding, there are no DoTs! One of the larger foundational changes is the removal of all DoTs and refactoring of all spells and abilities that interacted with DoTs. So gone are; Bane, Bio, and Miasma including all levels of them. We’ll touch on the other adjustments as we go along. Aetherflow gain still works similarly but a little more slowly as now the recast on Energy Siphon and Energy Drain is 60 seconds. Fester now loses its variable damage per DoT on the target and now is a set potency. Painflare… Is the same basically with a little more potency. The biggest change for these abilities is how they interact with Ruin IV.

That may have caught you off guard as a current Summoner main, but this is what is happening. Energy Drain/Siphon now grant the Further Ruin buff and the use of 1 Ruin IV. Yeah that’s a little disappointing, but to match that, Ruin IV is now an AoE instant cast spell with a potency that is around 90% of a Deathflare, spicy. The Greater Ruin buff also lasts for a full 60 seconds so you can pocket that Ruin IV and use it to move or time it under buffs. Tri-disaster resurfaces as an upgrade to Outburst. Now it is a simple AoE filler spell, a bit sad, but it works.  All in all, these completely transform Summoner. But we haven’t even talked about summoning yet!

So at level 2 you learn to Summon Carbuncle, your only pet. No more summoning Egis, at least more than for a moment, but we’ll get there. Carbuncle eventually has two unique abilities that can only be cast while it is around. That will mean outside of the Demi-Summon phases and momentary summons for big attacks. The first is Radiant Aegis, an OGCD with 2 charges at level 88 and a 60 second charge time. It creates a barrier around you that absorbs up to 20% of your maximum HP. A slightly less powerful Manaward that is much more available- Nice. The second takes until level 66 to learn, but it is a familiar effect. Searing Light is an OGCD with a 120 second cooldown that grants a 3% damage buff to you and nearby party members for 30 seconds. This is similar to Devotion but less damage, for longer and usable more often. That’s a fine compromise. The last abilities, Gemshine, Precious Brilliance and Astral Flow are only usable after you get into any of the elemental phases we’ll talk about later so stay tuned.

Now we get weird. Before level 58 you cannot enter Dreadwyrm Trance, but there is another ability, Aethercharge, that serves a similar function in the long run, granting you Ruby, Topaz and Emerald Arcanum. These are the indicators on the Job Gauge and here is when we talk about the bones of the Job. When you have these active, you can use Summon Ruby, Summon Topaz, and Summon Emerald. Each of these is an instant cast spell that dismisses Carbuncle and summons one of those gemstone Carbuncles. They then perform an attack with pretty good potency for the level and then they leave, which resummons Carbuncle and you are granted stacks of a buff depending on your choice of summon. This alters some of your abilities, adding an elemental effect.

We’re not going to get directly into those abilities as I am not going to explain the leveling phases. Instead we’ll skip to level 30, 35 and 45 where you learn Summon Titan, Summon Ifrit, and Summon Garuda. These function the same, summon the Egi versions of each Primal, do some nice damage and then leave you with a buff that changes abilities just like before. Finally the best versions of each summon are granted at Level 90. These are Summon Ifrit II, Summon Titan II, and Summon Garuda II and at this point the enkindles performed by the summon are big AoEs with potencies rivaling Black Mage’s big spells. The last thing to know about each of these is that by level 86 they each give you a stack of a buff called Ifrit, Titan or Garuda’s Favor which interacts with that previously mentioned Astral Flow ability OK. That is what the Summon spells do, now what is altered in each of these phases?

When you have been attuned to fire from using any of the Summon Ruby, or Summon Ifrit spells those abilities we mentioned before; Gemshine and Precious Brilliance are changed to do fire damage. These abilities are the same type of spell cast, but Gemshine is single target and Precious Brilliance is AoE. They both require the use of a stack of Fire Attunement that is granted by the summoning. When you summon any of these fire-aspected entities, you gain 2 stacks of this buff. But at levels 72 and 82, Gemshine and Precious Brilliance are upgraded to Ruby Rite and Ruby Catastrophe and we get weirder. While this behavior is the same for each elemental attunement, at these levels they gain distinct effects, Ruby Rite is still a single target spell, as it takes the place of Gemshine. It is a nearly 3 second cast with a potency equal to Ruin IV so this is a slidecaster’s dream. Ruby Catastrophe has the same cast time, but as it is taking the place of Precious Brilliance it is AoE and hits harder with Painflare. But wait, that’s not all! At level 86 Astral Flow interacts with the Ifrit’s Favor buff and morphs into Crimson Cyclone. This is the gap closing ability that was shown in the trailer and demo. On use, you rush forward and perform an instant cast AoE spell that deals as much damage as Ruin IV with a little more damage falloff. Once you finish that cast, the button changes into Crimson Strike, an instant spell with short range that deals the same damage with the same AoE falloff. You gain Ifrit’s favor as you go into this phase so you can use this gap closer combo immediately, or hold it. It will go away if you cast any other summon. Phew. That’s Ifrit, but the others will be shorter I swear…

Next we’ll talk about Earth elemental attunement from the Summon Topaz, or Summon Titan spells. Now that we know how it kind of works, lets’ throw a wrench in there. Gemshine becomes Topaz Rite an instant cast Spell with less potency than Ruin IV. Precious Brilliance is Topaz Catastrophe in this attunement and yup, that is an AoE, see the pattern makes sense… 2000 words later. Now for the wrench, both spells also grant Titan’s Favor which by level 86 can be used on Astral Flow’s surrogate in this phase, Mountain Buster. This is an AoE OGCD that can be immediately weaved after you gain Titan’s Favor from either Topaz spell. This is a very fast damage phase as you’re able to do this Topaz spell -> Mountain Buster combo 4 times Yeah… The Summons can give different numbers of Attunement stacks. But it is fine, Ifrit is the only weirdo with less than 4. Anyway, this phase is all instant casts and the mobility during it is insane. I think we accidentally summoned the Titan Car, but I am not mad.

Finally we get to Wind elemental attunement from  the Summon Emerald, or Summon Garuda spells.

Once again, Gemshine and Precious Brilliance become Emerald Rite and Emerald Catastrophe, and once again they are different than before. Astral Flow becomes Slipstream and we’ll start with that. You gain Garuda’s favor upon entering this phase and you can use that on Slipstream. This is that ground AoE with a 3 second cast time shown off in the trailer. It does a Ruin IV of damage (like a lot of things) with similar damage falloff. The ground effect does a small amount of damage every tick for 12 seconds. Emerald Rite still affects a single target but now it is an instant cast spell with a short 1.5 second recast and lower potency. Emerald Catastrophe is an AoE instant cast with the same recast. So in this phase you want to keep enemies in your Slipstream and you have really fast instant casts suitable for times when the boss is stationary but you aren’t.

OK, we’re still not done. Bahamut and Phoenix time. In both of these some abilities morph into summon specific ones, as well but these are much more familiar. Summon Bahamut also includes the Dreadwyrm Trance effect now which is great, so we don’t have to think about that anymore. Once Demi-Bahamut is summoned it starts to use an auto attack called Wymwave with a 1.5 sec recast which is miraculous to say the least. Now we don’t have to worry about landing a number of GCDs to get a number of Wyrmwaves and it really looks like Bahamut can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time now. In this phase, the abilities that change are Ruin III, Tri-Disaster and Astral Flow. Ruin III becomes an instant cast single target spell called Astral Impulse, that is of Ruin IV potency. Tri-Disaster becomes Astral Flare, your instant cast AoE version of- OK you probably get it now. Astral Flare becomes Deathflare, an OGCD with huge potency, which you’ll be able to cast once in this phase as the cooldown is longer than the total time of this Demi-summon. Lastly of course you have Enkindle Bahamut which causes it to cast Ahk Morn which is mostly unchanged other than a small increase to the AoE damage falloff effect from being reduced by 50% to 60% on each secondary target.

Bringing it all home is Demi-Phoenix and Firebird Trance. Ruin III becomes Fountain of Fire the single target instant cast spell, Tri-disaster becomes Brand of Purgatory the AoE. They lose that combo interaction that they have now in Shadowbringers which I will miss, but we have that Ifrit combo now. Phoenix also retains the Everlasting Flight HoT with the same parameters. Astral Flow becomes the incredibly interesting Rekindle. Unlike Deathflare in the Demi-Bahamut phase, this is an OGCD that heals! It has a cure potency of 200, but do note this scales off of Intelligence so it is not useless like Physick. Go away Physick. It also has a secondary buff that lasts for 30 seconds. While active, if the target falls below 50% HP, they receive a regen of the same potency for 15 seconds. Oh my, a heal that matters! This could be fun to use when Phoenix overlaps with upcoming damage.

Finally… It’s done. If you are still here, and your brain is not fried. Hello, how do you like the new Summoner? It sounds much more complex than it is and in my time during the Media Tour I could not put it down. This is probably because I have been a Summoner main since ARR and I have been hoping for a rework since… Well about that long. This really looks amazing and it plays incredibly well. The complexity will come from timing those phases with the content and optimizing each phase under party buffs. I am so ready for that.