In any Final Fantasy what are 3 things that you will always remember:
1. The Main Villain
2. The hokey new way they have you "level up" or get abilities
3. The Summons
Based on the concept of "the job system will be like Tactics in that you meet certain pre-reqs for advanced jobs", I have an idea. Obviously if this is not true, then this idea holds no water. In FFXI there were two types of blood pacts, Rage and Ward. As a result of this you ended up with the summoners who focused heavily on being the "glorified white mage" and those that are the "glorified black mage". Well what if in this world they were separate "paths" of the summoner class with different prereqs? I am a huge story buff, so if I bore you with my descriptions, for the mechanics-minded I will bold the bottom lines.
The Arcane Summoner
You start your career as a Black Mage, mastering the arcane arts, completing quests that teach you of the arcane world, it's interactions, and it's manifestations. At a certain point your studies can diverge, a more in depth study of the spells them self (you keep leveling black mage) or you begin studying the SOURCE of the arcane magic, and as a result contact one of the Arcane Spirits, that teach you how to make pacts to summon Arcane Avatars (Shiva, Ifrit, Brothers, Quetzalcoatl, Garuda, etc). You continue to have your arcane knowledge, but now you have not just your spells, which obviously will then progress even slower than a red mage, borderline not at all, but these pacts to deal damage. MP is your primary attribute, like SMN is in XI, your pacts cost MP, and much like SMN you will end up with a low HP, high MP, and light armor. Think of Rydia from FFIV). This is the path for those that want to use summons/spells primarily as Melee Proxys and Burst Damage while the summoner stays at the back line. You are comparable to a XI SMN/BLM in astrals using mostly Rage.
The Divine Summoner
You start your career as a White Mage, learning to draw power from the various gods for healing and support of your comrades. As your studies continue, one of the gods speaks directly to you, offering to take you from the abbeys and chapels to the world the gods have made, to show you first-hand their wonder, and the grant you the power of "Miracles". Through your journeys you encounter manifestations of the various gods, each offering to assist you on your journey at a certain cost. You will retain your clerical training, possibly growing slightly better over time. Obviously you will be sub-par at healing, but access to Miracles make you just as well of a buff/debuff, and your "field training" grants you access to heavier armor and buffs to make you a valued member of the "front line". At later levels one might even be able to bring an Avatar of the god to fight along slide them, who knows? HP and MP will with time even out on your character, as some "sacrifices" will be MP, others HP, maybe even 1 or 2 will be TP. Examples of the gods could be from Tactics, XII, even X deified their summons. The trailer made it clear this land is governed by many gods, it is just the next step from harnessing their power to harnessing them. Summoners on this path use their "summons" primarily as debuffs/party buffs and as a method of making essentially a White Mage into a decent DPS. You are comparable to a XI SMN/WHM in Reverant Mail, a shield, and a Hammer, using mostly Wards.
You can stop here if you get the idea, below is just an example of how I see combat working with the two styles....
An encounter with a WAR, THF, Arcane SMN (Rydia), and Divine Summoner (Yuna) versus "Army of Fishies". For the sake of ease explaining I will explain 3 "rounds", not advocating turn-base, just easier this way.
Rydia opens up the fight casting Blindga on the fishies for 24mp, and begins summoning Quetzalcoatl for 224mp.
Warior hits a fish with his sword-chucks for 55, passing through it into another for 21.
Thief gets in position to steal fish scales and make some critical stabs for 50 each, killing a few more.
Yuna engages with her hammer doing 24 damage and casts "Mantle of the Ram" (Belial/Aries/Insert First Zodiac God), spending 40MP to give an AOE buff centered on her Attack Up and Enfire to party members. As an added effect to her alone, Yuna now has a large bonus to her Defense and Strength.
Rydia finishes summoning Quetzalcoatl, who on summoning does 150 lightning damage to all the fishies and engages one of them. He has no upkeep cost, but only hits for 14-16
Rydia orders Quetz to disengage and return to her side, casting Sleep on the fishies the party is not currently engaged with.
Warrior hits a fish with his sword chucks for 81+7 fire damage, cleaving into another for 30+7.
Thief hits a fish for 31+7 normal, then another for 58+7 critical
Yuna attacks with her hammer for 35+7, and seeing the Warrior taking damage, throws him a Cure
Quetz grants Rydia 24mp from spending time next to her and out, think of it as the reverse of upkeep.
It hits the fan, the fishies wake up, all wanting Rydia's blood
Rydia uses Astral Flow, reducing her HP to 25%, and pops some high quality juice to pull off 2 Pacts under the effect. Quetzalcoatl begins casting animation.
The Warrior uses an AOE Provoke and starts taking massive damage fast, using Mighty Strikes to try and kill off as many fish as he can.
The Thief steals some hate from the Warrior with Accomplice and uses Perfect Dodge, but it quickly fades and he begins taking hits.
Yuna uses Divine Intervention, reducing her to 25% HP and 25% MP 0 TP, Yuna quickly begins using Mega-Elixers to be able to pull off 2 Miracles. The ground around the party grows black and chains dripping in "liquid" fly up, wrapping around the fishies giving them bind-gravity-bio-amnesia-silence, Chains of Anima. Yuna swings at a fish doing 35+7 again.
Quetzalcoatl uses Thunder Storm dealing 400 lightning damage to all fishes and disappears.
Rydia begins summoning Bahamet for 300mp
Yuna's HP and MP hit the right thresholds for her to drop down again, this time light surrounding the party as a "wings" animation occurs on each character, having a large amount of HP restored, haste-attack up-defense up-magic up-shell-protect-regen, Wings of Alexander.
Bahamet appears, and since summoned under Astral Flow immediately uses Mega Flare dealing 580 non-elemental magic damage to a cone of the fishies, killing them all the fishies off.
Cue Celebratory Music
Opinions? Criticism? Sorry for length, but thanks for reading this far if you have.