When I started out play FFXIV my main intention was to level Arcanist and play a Summoner. This is because it's what I always wanted to play in FFXI but felt I was never really allowed. Back then a SMN was basically known as a "sub-par WHM" and you'd never get a spot in an exp party. It's since become much easier to solo on SMN but that came too late for me.
So, when I picked up FFXIV Summoner is what I wanted right from the get go. However, I very quickly started to lean towards Bard and today I find that my Archer has fractionally more EXP than my Arcanist. Now, this seems totally out of left field to me because I never held even the smallest interest in Bard in FFXI but is it really out of character? I thought I'd have a look back at all the classes I have played and see what, if anything, is my type.
Final Fantasy XI
I always wanted to be a Summoner and I was a Tarutaru. I was thus effectively fated to be a career Black Mage, which I ultimately was, at least in raids. When I played alone I enjoyed Puppetmaster and Ninja much more. I think you can readily call PUP a pet job so I guess that scratched the itch.
|Black 'n' Blue: me (on the left) in my full Relic AF|
|Clowning about: in my PUP Relic AF|
My first class in this initially enjoyable but ultimately grindy Korean import was Ranger and I loved the departure from my FFXI classes but after a while, standing at the back going pewpew got boring and I rolled a Chanter to get closer to the action. Chanter was probably the first pure support job I played.
|Power Ranger: big wings, big hair|
I went back to FFXI after Aion but Guild Wars 2 was my next big game. The first character I rolled was a norn Necromancer. I think this was the closest I could see to being a Summoner and I liked the idea of having an undead legion at my command. Didn't really work out that way. I soon switched most of my time to my Engineer whose gadgets evoked fond memories of Puppetmaster. I also spent quite a lot of time on a DoT asura Thief, which, come to think about it, must have tied back into my love of being a back-flipping Taru Ninja.
|Saga of the norn: frankly, most Necros are a walking cliche. I tried to avoid that by playing up the norn|
|Glorious: one of two or three medium armour bodies that aren't coats|
I played a Medic for about 10 levels. I don't even have any screenshots.
The Secret World
I've only played this for about two weeks so far but the first starter deck I worked on was the Commando, followed by the Maverick. Again, slim on screenshots but you can definitely see that melee isn't my thing.
Blade and Soul
I played in one CBT session and, guess what, I played a Summoner. It didn't really gel with my existing notions of what a Summoner should be and once again, the lack of screenshots kind of emphasises the lack of love. I did call my cat Mr Bigglesworth, though.
Final Fantasy XIV
As I mentioned at the start, my two main classes in FFXIV have been Arcanist and Archer, although my Fisher is a higher level than both (but that's another post in itself).
While I think I like pet classes I'm not sure that's true. Looking at the evidence I haven't consistently played pet classes and many of my favourite classes haven't had pets. What is obvious is that I'm not much of a front line fighter. The only real exceptions you'll see above are Ninja in FFXI and Thief in GW2. However, I played that Thief with a short bow most of the time and throwing (yeah, really) was one of the things I liked most about Ninja. You see, when they introduced Ninja into FFXI it was supposed to be a debuffing, ranged damage dealer and that was what caught my imagination. I never really liked tanking as Ninja, though I enjoyed the skill required.
Considering my history I think my affinity with ranged classes is undeniable, whether the damage be via magic or weapons, so my enjoyment of Archer makes a lot of sense. In many ways it's nice to be standing at the back but not using magic. However, the draw in FFXIV isn't Archer, it's definitely Bard and, while the two become effectively synonymous past level 30, being a Bard adds a certain "je ne sais quoi".
In FFXI Bard is very much a support job but I know that's an extremely minor function in FFXIV. Also, looking at my track record, it doesn't seem like I'm a support class kind of guy. Ultimately, it might just come down to aesthetics. Maybe Bard has just captured my imagination that bit more than your usual ranger class. There could also be something to the fact that I am playing a Bard in my D&D campaign but the similarities between the FFXIV class and D&D class could be listed on one hand!
The fact is looking back I can't actually tell you why Summoner appealed so much to me in FFXI. Summoning has always been a big part of Final Fantasy lore but I was never that big a Final Fantasy fan. I only ever finished FFX.
Sometimes I guess it just comes down to what feels right for the character you want to play and that might depend on a whole bunch of choices like race and faction, as well as class. I think lore also plays its part and something that's always been important to me is how classes and their roles have been woven into the overarching world. I think I'll explore that a bit more another day.
For now, I'll continue my efforts towards Bard and Summoner in parallel. Fortunately, I don't think Square Enix will ever make me choose between the two and that's one thing that makes FFXIV a great RPG.