First, will I get a lot of flak if, when I start playing smn, I don't have the end game summons? I seem to remember hearing a little bit about that issue before I quit before...
I dont see how this would be a problem at all. Especially not during the climb to 75. If you end up getting a party, you will most likely have need for that MP to heal and not so much to summon. In the case that you do have to summon, this mostly comes down to Titan's stoneskin or Garuda's Blink/Haste. Diabolos is nice to have starting 75 for when you go after gods/HNM for Nether Blast ofcourse. But really, you shouldnt have to worry about that just yet.
Second, how's the subjob situation? Smn still stuck as /whm 90% of the time, or are other options viable now (like maybe /sch or /dnc)? I quit last time a bit after WotG came out, so I am curious how well the newer jobs played out for smn.
It mostly is either /WHM or /SCH. Unfortunately, /SCH works best if you dont have anyone to cast refresh on you (this interfere's with Sublimation, and is generally weaker than refresh, plus without stoneskin you cannot rest with it up), and if you are facing off against monsters that you can Aspir.
On a related note, I know about astral parties, but outside of burns, how in demand are summoners? Do you get invites for nonburn parties? I means, burns sound cool, but having the option to do other things is always nice.
Well, i hate to say this. But ever since i picked SMN back up at 51 all the way to 75, with my flag up all the time, i have got exactly 1 invite to a regular party. Which on top of that was a friend asking me if i wanted to come cure for his party since he saw me solo for days now.
Finally, anything else I should know before focusing on summoner? Any gear that I can get before 30 that would help a bunch or anything? Thanks for any input, looking forward to coming back.
Maybe Carbuncle Mitts? They're level 20, and cut Carbuncle's MP perpetuation down in half. Outside of that, i shouldnt worry about it too much. Focus on MP gear as much as you can where available. Depending on your race, the RSE pieces (around level 30) can be spectacular for MP. Also the Event MP+1% egg is great to pick up, yet i havent got a clue when the next egg event is being held again. There's also the MP+3% hat from the Halloween event, if that is still going on? Easy enough to obtain. Dont worry about it too much.
Edit: Side question - cause everyone has to ask when making a new account...any suggestion on server?
Pick whichever name you like most, basically. They all have the same good things and the same bad things. Well, except for Kujata. We seem to be the designated target for botting HNM shells to transfer to... Mostly since our EG is one-sided and a mess.