On the subject of why we Enchanters cannot control our summoned animations until much higher in the game, I feel the important point is on the mindset behind the various classes.
Take Wizards for example. Wizard Pets are not even pets. They're Familiars. Wizard pets don't do much of anything beyond a resist buff and a fizzle buster. They don't attack, they only make the Wizard better at being a wizard. The purpose for this is that Wizards deal in Raw Mana. Wizards light their enemies on fire, freeze the charred remains, and then blow them up just for good measure. To a Wizard, a pet would be a waste of resources as there are much more efficient ways of converting Mana into dead people. Who needs a pet getting in the way?
Magicians are masters of summoning and therefor look at pets more pragmatically. With four animations and a wide variety of summoned gear just for them to use, A magician will tailor a Pet to the situation. Why go up against Nagafen with the same Fire Elemental you used against Vox? If you've got a person in your group who roots or snares, do you really need an elemental that will suck them into the ground too? This being said, it makes sense for him to have a Pet Heal; he's essentially resummoning the parts that have been damaged, keeping his champion in the game. Magicans look at an enemy and say, "Here's something special from me to you. I hope it fits, but if it doesn't I'll get you another... Oh, and it came with this full set of kitchen knives."
Necromancers are just morbid. A Necromancer is the master of the body and his pet is literally someone he just pulled up out of the ground - the reanimated corpse of someone who is better at melee than he is. To add further satisfaction to a kill, A Necromancer will siphon the hit points of his Enemy to replenish his own life, convert those hit points into mana, and use that mana to heal his pet, which then goes and takes even more hit points from the enemy in one long cycle of death and transference. It's the Circle of Life really. When a Necromancer faces off against his foe, he first points to his latest reanimated zombie and says, "It's like looking into the Future. This is the last guy who tried to kill me, and after I'm done using him to beat you to death, I'm going to use your bloated corpse the same way on the next guy. And if you're really good, I'll keep you around in Bazaar and the Guild Hall so you can breath heavy and annoy the crap out of everyone around you while I'm asleep."
But we Enchanters, we fine Enchanters, we are agents of subtlety. We fly under the Radar. Enchanters are masters of the mind. We make you think faster. We make you move faster (by increasing your reaction time and ignoring fatigue). We disguise ourselves under an illusion and convince NPCs that would have our heads on a pike that we are trusted allies. We steal our enemys' thoughts and fill their heads with dementing visions that drive them to insanity, while simultaneously reaching out and strangling them telekinetically (Darth Vader voice sold separately). When it comes to battle, we don't wade out into the fray, throwing mana after mana into an enemy, we find a pair of individuals and say to them, "I'm not certain I can take both of you on, so why don't you two fight each other and the winner gets to try and kill me." And the joy of it is, that works! We pit two mobs against each other until one is dead and the other beaten and bloody, then we finish of the straggler and walk away like we were never there to begin with.
So that being the case, why do we even HAVE the ability to summon animations? For that answer, look no further than the Tash line and our own Mez spells. A Tash spell is the Enchanter slipping into the mind of his foe and distracting him with the sound of a pack of wild, barking dogs, thus lowering his resistance (magic) to every spell we could throw at him (since all Enchanter spells, save Tash, are Magic or Chromatic Based). Have you ever actually looked at the spell effect for an Enchanter Mez? IT'S BUTTERFLIES! The spell says it's putting them to sleep, but the truth is they're DAYDREAMING, and we're just giving them something to stare at. The Color Flux line is the same way, a Ring of bright colors that distracts Mobs long enough for us to get a spell off. Which brings me to my point:
ENCHANTERS ARE WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION.
That is what an Enchanter's Animation is for. We take a perfectly useless dagger, throw on an illusion to make it seem a lot more impressive, and telekinetically wield it against our foe. It's still the same crappy dagger, but it looks scary and it works great as a way to keep a mob's attention long enough for us to run to a safe distance and throw up another Rune. It's not a tank. It's not even a pet. It's a distraction. Enchanters have to work hard to learn how to make that distraction more effective, but even maxed out, with haste and buffs, it's no match against any of the actual Pets. Nor is it meant to be. Every time I see one of my fellow enchanters with a pet that has been buffed up like a mage elemental, I am caught between twin urges of pity for their poor economic sense, and laughter at their attempts to polish a turd. ENCHANTER ANIMATIONS ARE MEANT TO BE DISPOSABLE. They exist only to give the enemy something else to hit while the Enchanter renews his Rune or brings up a Gate.
But that doesn't mean Enchanter animations cannot be effective. I've found that Enchanters, given proper planning and execution, can solo rather effectively using an animation. It's slow, but again, we're a subtle people. We act in the background. We're not meant for wet work, we have warriors for that. Necromancers perform their Circle of Life dance until the enemy can't dance anymore. Mages build their Champion to fight a Mob and then summon a thousand small pointy objects to stab them with. Enchanters don't have any of those luxuries. Soloing as an enchanter is a simple matter of putting enough obstructions between you and the mob that your pet can kill it.
Start with Rune. It's like Free Hit Points without that disheartening loss of health bar. Runes require a reagent, so use when necessary if you have money issues. After you get Arcane Rune (self only, no reagent), you should get in the habit of having a Rune on at all times. Remember that if a Mob is beating on your Rune, he's NOT beating on your animation.
After that, Haste and Slow. Successful soloing is all about maximizing advantages. Keep your animation hitting fast and your opponent hitting slow. Debuffs are fun too, but I usually don't have room for them in my Soloing Set, so I leave them out. Besides, at later levels DoTs get their own Debuffs.
Scout your area. If you're hunting outside, know the general pathing of local mobs. Inside, keep to a tight section that lets you sit just outside melee range. Find a place in the map that keeps you away from roamers. This is common to anyone soloing, but for an Enchanter it's paramount since your Pet is likely not going to last you long. Use the animation's last few hit points to Root or Mez your opponent and make sure you have room to conjure up another distraction.
Play Smart. Soloing an Enchanter is about knowing your limitations. If you don't have the Mana to take down an opponent by yourself, you won't do it with an animation, since you're likely going to be standing there recasting Rune half the time. Keep the Mobs attention on you, so your pet can act accordingly, but have an out. Enchanters can keep numerous mobs mezzed at once in a group, but that strategy becomes less effective soloing. Try to keep it one on one. Make sure you keep Root up since you can't call off your pet and the last thing you want is a Fleeing Mob to stumble bloody and beaten into a bunch of his friends. A Train will chew through your Animation in one tick, so if you're not sure about a situation, keep Gate up as well.
Lastly, Take your time. Learn to Pick off the weak or the alone. This plan requires patience and you have to think differently. Unless you're in a Hot Zone and/or hunting things that "look comparatively weak," it's going to be slow going. More of a reason for you to go find a group where you can really shine.
Anyway, I got a bit off topic there. We Enchanter's don't get to control our animations from the start because they are not pets. They're distractions. If you want something you can teach tricks, Charm it.
Edited, Dec 12th 2010 5:03am by TAntoneus