1) I think it was a brilliant solution. I've been playing SMN a fair bit lately and really enjoying it. Just yesterday I helped a friend get two Caturae kills by soloing them. One of them, Sippoy, had always been a massive pain in the arse at 99. This time, I was able to keep Garuda at full HP using Whispering Wind, and didn't resummon once. By the time I killed it, I had an alliance of 11 people standing around waiting for the title. One of them, a group of 4 people with a 99NIN tank, had fought him and wiped right before I waltzed up and started soloing him. Felt pretty good. I also like seeing 4k+ merit BPs in the newer content.
2) I feel like I should have an answer to this, and there are lots of things I'd like to see, but honestly I'm really enjoying SMN again. The various ideas I had for "fixing" SMN might be a bit too much at this point. For example, I really think the BP timer remains a big limiting factor for SMN.
One of my ideas was to have a series of items that enhance/augment Blood Pacts, but must be equipped at the time the Blood Pact is requested, not when the Blood Pact actually lands. One of those would be an item that augments Blood Pacts by removing the -15 second timer cap or increasing it to -30. Let's say that goes on the body. With that equipped, plus magian staff, relic+2 head, hands, legs, feet, Tiresias' Cape, and Caller's Earring, you could get BP timer to -33, or 27 seconds. However, you will blow through MP quickly using BPs that fast, so the trick would be implementing other items using the same slots that enhance/augment BPs at the time of use just like the bodypiece I proposed. For example, a headpiece that enhances Blood Pacts by adding a +10 to Blood Boon if it's equipped when you request the BP. This means you'd have to choose between +10 Blood Boon, or -5 BP timer. If you're blowing through MP too fast anyway, you might as well pick the Blood Boon. Another piece that I think would be really awesome would be once that increases the range of pet commands from 18 yalms to 21 yalms. This could go on legs or feet slot, forcing you to give up another 4 seconds on BP timer if you want to BP from further away.
I liked that idea because it would force the SMN to choose between potency or longevity, giving them a lot more flexibility than they have right now.
However, with the increase in avatar level, this might be a bit overpowering to implement all at once. I guess I see this as more of a long-term vision for what Summoner could be.
____________________________Pergatory (Asura, Kupo LS) WHM99 ~ SMN99 ~ DRK99 "If you want to know me, look inside your heart." -Lao Tzu