Obviously summoning as a skill is pretty entrenched and any suggestions are pretty useless. Regardless, I came up with some proposals and thought I'd put them here, despite the clear point that summoning couldn't possibly change so radically. Got it? Good.
Anyway, here's what I think would make the summoning skill work better. Three simple proposals.
After seeing that summoning is very closely related to magic, I do think that charms might be easier to get. Or at least possible to get magically, or maybe...actually, I have no idea. What would be an interesting move would be to make more charms necessary for familiars, and more xp for making a pouch, such that you didn't have nearly as many wasted familiars to become junk. Nobody needs 552 barker toads, so why try and get players to make them?
Second idea is to make summoning work in a single-combat area. Seriously, why doesn't this already happen? The summoned creature is an extension of yourself and a projection of your magical ability, so there's no good reason for this not to happen. Apart from anything else, it would improve summoning's role in PvP. Yes, combat level based on summoning might need to be adjusted.
Third idea is to get rid of those weird summoning numbers at the top right of the interface. The official term seems to be 'summoning points'. Now, as far as I'm aware this does two things: firstly, it stops the player constantly using a summoned being's abilities, and second, it stops the player summoning another creature shortly after the first has run out.
Why? Why does it do that? What's the point? If I want to constantly use a summon's abilities, I'm already restricted by their special attack bar, and if I really want to I can use potions to completely sidestep that issue. Not allowing extra summoning doesn't help at all: sure, if you want something to hurt a summoning player make sure it drains that stat, but don't just stop me for no reason. This has no advantage and several disadvantages: I shouldn't have to visit little obelisks all the time to strengthen my connection with the spirit world: that is what my pouch did when I summoned the damn thing! When my connection has gone (ie pouch has run out) I will not be able to keep my summon and it will dissapear unless I renew it with another pouch.
So what do these suggestions bring? They're not that complex. They can't be that handy. Well, in my opinion, they have several advantages over the current system. Firstly, it rewards players who have trained summoning by letting them use a summoned creature anywhere, anytime, usefully. Second, it rewards players in a tiered and slowly increasing manner that gets better over time rather than at sudden jumps in high levels. Which is good. Not all skills acheive it, but summoning has the potential to. Third, it gets rid of a bunch of useless pouches.
I think that the summoned creature should be an extension of the self, that it should act as an extra weapon or a new piece of armour, and that it should not be consigned to a team-mate or helper, because that gets rid of much of the potential of the summoning skill to actually work in all combat.
P.S. Happy to explain further beef with summoning if you don't get why I think these ideas (especially 2) should be implemented.