I have found the 3 classes my group have tested are good overall. The mesmerist has felt a little over powered at times with the no save versus stare. Especially when the average monster has a relative low will save as it is. The adjustments made to only one stare at a time has fixed some of the issues in my opinion. The spiritualist feels more like a watered down summoner at times but it is enjoyable. The occultist is by far the best class seems well balanced over all and able to handle most situations. My group has played from 4th to 17th level and have left all of our house rules out we have had many arguments about the meaning of the rules. We are in the process of writing out a list of concerns and issues we found playing each of the three classes we played and I will be adding a post about that at a later date. The game has been ran with mesmerist, occultist, and spiritualist only no other party members have been allowed. They have fought undead, daeomen, giants, dragons, and constructs. It hasn't been easy it has been hard some enemies that would be easy for a normal party were hard to kill, while some that would be a cake walk fell with ease. So I have to say I am well pleased with the new rules and can't wait to see them when complete.
My group are all of an evil bent!
Human Grave Walker Witch Plague Patron worshipper of Set
Dampier Wizard Enchanter worshipper of Set
Human Bone Oracle deity unknown
We call ourselves the Shadow Serpents
I have 20yrs playing D&D then transitioned to Pathfinder when 4e came out.....and my group uses the standard rules while playing and we find that its very balanced. I read one post that said Wizards don't use dice and I am trying to figure that out because I role dice all the time for my wizard and the dice gods see to it that I fail a good amount of the time. I think that the debate over casters and martial comes down to house rules that throw things out of whack, to much multiclass or cherry picking as my group calls it, and everyone not following the rules. Yes the GM is the one who holds the frame work together but they need to follow the rules as written unless and I stress only if it derails the game totally or if it is a total miss use of the rules. As a GM myself there are many times in which a player out thought me and I had to make adjustment to the game. I reward the player for being creative rather than thwarting them because it mess up my plan.
It is all based on the group if you have glory hogs or a group who are working to make it a fun story for everyone. I wizard is only as powerful as you play him and only takes away the glory if they work at it. I have seen fighters wade through a group because a. they got init and b. they built a solid character. A friend of mine recently built a rouge as a fighter and the man is devastating out shines my witch all the time, and my witch is no push over. built as a spell sniper.
In my group of 4 we have 2 who play martial and 2 who play casters on pretty consistent bases. I like casters because well magic is cool and I'm a min maxxer when it comes to creation of characters and I often wonder at the amazing amount of damage my martial counter parts can achieve. I think as long as everyone has a moment to shine it doesn't matter what people play.
With the mythic game does a familiar gain anything as you gain mythic levels. In the games I play with my group familiars are a part of the group often entering into battle. If a familiar is a Extension of the spell caster wouldn't they gain some mythic ability?