My problem is with the D&D 5e paradigm ‘spells do only as they say they do’ which if I am reading flock of familiars correct means that already possessing a familiar weakens this spell to the point where you’d have been better off not having that original familiar.
The spell description of the flock of familiars spell states (emphasis mine):
If you already have a familiar conjured by the Find Familiar spell or similar means, then one fewer familiars are conjured by this spell.
Familiars summoned by this spell can telepathically communicate with you and share their visual or auditory senses while they are within 1 mile of you.
Whereas the spell description of the spell find familiar states (emphasis mine):
While your familiar is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar’s eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses.
This makes it seem as if the familiars summoned by flock of familiars are much, much stronger than those summoned by the regular find familiar because (1) their range is increased from 100 foot to 1 mile and (2) the flock of familiars does not state that one would be deaf and blind to their own senses. However, possessing a regular familiar does cause the Flock of Familiars spell to summon one familiar less effectively turning three strong familiars into two strong familiars and one weak familiar.
I very strongly doubt that this is the RAI and if this comes up on my table – which it might since I plan to take this spell when my wizard levels to lvl 3 – I, for one, will be arguing to give the regular familiar the same benefits for as long as flock of familiars lasts, but is this correct RAW or is it just wishful thinking of a player planning to use the spell? And is the not deaf and blind part supposed to be a benefit of flock of familiars (allowing you to see through all three’s senses at once) or is it an ommision on Wizard of the Coast’s part?
EDIT: Before anyone makes any wrong assumptions, I am not trying to rules lawyer my DM. If she says I cannot, I will not. However, we are on very good footing and I dare believe that if I ask her for those benefits that she will instantly say yes. I just don’t want to ask for those benefits unless they are actually RAI and if they are even RAW, all the better.