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#1 Oct 29 2008 at 3:05 PM Rating: Decent
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Forgive me if the question has been asked aleady, but I am curious about mercs.

I dont have the exp yet, hopefully once the bday comes rolling thru. Anyway, I noted when we had that free week, that there were several tiers of merc (Tier I-V ) and wether they were passive or aggressive.

Now IM confused on the tiers. IM assuming that the higher tier, the better the merc. But if you have a tier 1 merc, will it evolve into a tier v the more you use them?

Also, lets say if u get a passive tank, will they behave like an enchanter pet and attack when i am attacked? Would an aggressive merc attack anything it sees?

Im confused. I want to be prepared for when I do manage to get the exp.

Thankyou
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#2 Oct 29 2008 at 3:46 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Now IM confused on the tiers. IM assuming that the higher tier, the better the merc. But if you have a tier 1 merc, will it evolve into a tier v the more you use them?


No, mercs do not evolve nor do you get access to higher tiers the more you use them.

Higher tiers must be unlocked by doing Seeds of Destruction progression (solo, group and raid)

Quote:
Also, lets say if u get a passive tank, will they behave like an enchanter pet and attack when i am attacked? Would an aggressive merc attack anything it sees?


The descriptions of passive/agressive/balanced and reactive you see in the merc hiring window are just the stances that are available with that particular merc. The apprentice mercs can only be set to passive and balanced. The journeyman can be set to all the stances.

A passive merc, tank or healer, will do absolutely nothing except follow you. Yes, it will just stand there and let you die if set to passive.

It is hard to explain mercs in words. Once you hire one and test it out in different stances and situations, it becomes clear how they operate.
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#3 Oct 29 2008 at 5:35 PM Rating: Excellent
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As I understand it, the Tiers pretty much just affect the Merc's morale. So higher tier ones stick around when things get rough and lower tier ones are more prone to flee. At Tier III, I had no morale problems for simple soloing content and my merc was okay with fighting single yellows or reds although she did flee once when I faced a yellow and a blue con and, another time, she ran when I pulled a red and a yellow although she returned after I rooted the yellow and pulled the red away from it.

But, skillwise, they're the same. A Tier V healer merc won't use spells that a Tier II doesn't get or anything.

As Reyla mentions, a passive merc just follows you. It's useful if you're pulling mobs or making a panicked run through a zone or some other time when you wouldn't want your merc (or pet) to take it upon themselves to fight for you. Since mercs don't gain aggro until they actually join the fight (again, like pets) you can safely keep your merc in tow without worrying about them making a scene.

Once you're fighting, of course, you'll want to change their stance. You can change it on the fly as often as you'd like via the Mercenary Window (much like the pet window) so it's easy to Passive, Feign split some mobs, Balanced, fight the mobs, Passive, FD split.. etc etc.
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#4 Oct 30 2008 at 5:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Here is what I have noticed through playing and a lot of reading on various sites regrading mercs.

Level: When you purchase/hire a merc, it will be your level. As you level up (or level down), your merc will level up and down with you. When the merc levels up, it magically gets the spells/abilites for the next level without oever visiting a merchant. So the merc you buy at level 1 will stay with you until you are level 85 as long as you keep paying it.

Apprentice vs Journeyman: This designation affects a few things. Just consider an apprentice merc to be a casual group geared/spell/ability NPC. Consider a journeyman merc to be a serious group geared NPC. If "master mercs" are ever released, it is rumored that they be top end group/raid geared.

Apprentice mercs use rank I of spells. Journeyman are supposed to use rank II versions of the spells.

Confidence: This is a nice way of saying, "How bad does the situation need to be before my merc runs away?". First, whether you have an apprentice or journeyman merc will set the conditions to make the fleeing check. The check is based on the number of people in your group, level of people in the group, con of the mobs in the camp, number of mobs in the camp, how are you doing at getting the mobs under control, etc. So a journeyman merc will tolerate a more dire situation before the flee check is even made.

Ok, at this point, a flee check needs to be made. This is where the tier of the merc comes into play. Tier I merc flees 25% of the time when a check is made. Tier V merc flees 5% of the time when a check is made. So you might have the most cowardly merc (App T1), and as long as you don't overpull or have good CC, your merc will not make a flee check.

So your merc is fleeing. First, the merc steps out of aggro range and does nothing. The merc is actually giving you a chance to get things under control. If you get things under control the merc will actually come back and start doing it's role again. If you can't get things under control the merc runs away.

Accessing more Mercs: As you progress through SoD, more mercs will be made available. At first, App T1 to T5 and Jour T1 is available. I have read that gaining access to the Void B make Jour T2 available to that player.

DPS: I haven't done any parsing, but the I have read various items that says the more expensive the tank merc, the better their DPS is. A journeyman merc will do more dps than the apprentice (but this also follow the more expensive comment).

Gearing your Merc: You merc comes with gear. You cannot improve this. As you level and the merc levels, the merc's gear (through DPS, HP, AC) will magically improve.

Paying for your Merc: There are two costs related to the merc. I call them the the "signing bonus" and "salary". The signing bonus is a one time cost that you pay the merc merchant to get your merc. The salary is taken from your inventory cash every 15 minutes that the merc is active. No, you cannot suspend the merc right before the salary payment and re-activate after 15 minutes pass. The merc keeps an internal clock to make sure it gets paid.

If you don't have the cash in your inventory, the merc will acutally leave you. This means you'll need to pay the signing bonus again to get the merc back. If you are running low on cash, just suspend the merc until you get more cash.

Stances: Depending on the merc that you have, you may have more or less options available. All mercs have the passive stance which as mentioned above the merc does nothing. This can sort of be used like the "pet hold" or "pet back off" commands. Tank mercs also have an aggressive stance which means they will attack the mob when it gets close. Healer mercs have a few other stances. Efficient stance means to manage the mana better, but at the sacrifice that a damage spike might not be handled properly. Reactive stance uses more mana, but it keeps everyone healed. Balanced stance is just that.

Roles: In a group, the leader can now assign roles to people. These roles are very important to how/when the merc deals with mobs.

Puller - the merc will not follow the puller around. If there are other group members, the merc will stay with the group. If it is just you and the merc, the merc will be parked where you turned on the puller role. A merc cannot be assigned as puller.

Main Assist - the merc's main target will be the same as the main assist. The merc will not start attacking until the mob is within 50 feet of the group. The merc will try to get the mobs off other characters, but I think this is a function of AE disciplines and not by changing targets.

Main Tank - I personally think this role is broken. Even when my warrior is the main tank, I have to fight the merc for aggro. The downside is that I have to heal two toons (my warrior and merc), but at least my puller and other group members are untouched.

How do I get my merc tank to attack? First, make sure the merc is not set to passive. Second make sure your group roles are assigned. My normal group setup is warrior (MA and MT), ranger (puller), cleric, shaman, and merc tank. Tha ranger will grab the mob and bring it back to the group. The merc will stand there until the following happens:

1. The mob is within 50 feet of the group AND attacks someone in the group.
2. The mob is within 50 feet of the group AND the MA gets aggro on the mob.

I had issues with #2 when my warrior would shoot an arrow at the mob (therefore getting some aggro). The merc would meet the mob at the 50 feet radius from the group. Well, I don't like having the mob that far away. So I learn that I need to wait for the mob to get closer before I start getting aggro on anyone else other than the puller.

How many mercs can you have? Any one character can have one merc at a time. You need to dismiss that merc if you want to upgrade or change merc types. This means you will have to pay the "signing bonus" again.

Edited, Oct 30th 2008 9:39am by Pinzarn
#5 Nov 03 2008 at 7:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Very good write up about mercs. I still have a couple of questions. If I die, does my merc go away like a pet is lost or do I still have it AND if it is a healer merc, will it Rez me?
#6 Nov 07 2008 at 3:15 PM Rating: Decent
If you die, it doesn't dissipate like a pet. If it dies, there is a revive button. Merc comes back Full Mana. Healer merc will rez you, or anyone in group.
#7 Dec 10 2008 at 11:42 PM Rating: Good
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I find that the tiers are available on journeyman mercs depending on theme completion order, not void access order. Tier 1 was available before any progression, then completed the first theme of Oceangreen and got a Tier 2 merc as well as void B access, I skipped the second progression of bloody Kithicor and completed the Field of scale progression, I now have a tier 4 merc available and void C access. So I have merc available in tier I, II, and IV. I can only assume that I do not have tier III available because I didn't complete the 2nd theme progression, Bloody Kithicor. But my void access still upgraded in order.
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#8 Dec 11 2008 at 10:30 AM Rating: Decent
Do mercs need to always be in your group? What if a group of 6 PC players all unsuspend mercs?
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#9 Dec 11 2008 at 10:49 AM Rating: Good
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I don't know about anybody else, but when I unsuspended my merc in a full group the timer countdown started again for when my merc charges his fee, and the suspend button became available, but my merc was nowhere to be seen. Could be a bug issue. I haven't tried since the new patch.
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#10 Dec 12 2008 at 3:12 AM Rating: Good
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You cannot use your merc if you already have 6 in a group. If you have 5 players + 1 merc in a group it will auto-suspend if you add a 6th pc.
#11 Dec 12 2008 at 3:52 AM Rating: Good
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Just to clarify my post, I know you cannot have a merc while in a full group, and the bug issue I'm talking about is that it even let me unsuspend him and the timer starts, not that he was nowhere to be seen. :)
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#12 Dec 12 2008 at 4:33 AM Rating: Decent
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Nice post, was helpful for me too
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#13 Aug 14 2009 at 3:32 AM Rating: Good
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One point not mentioned anywhere is that your merc will only level after being suspended. This is important when starting a new toon as the levels come fast. My new ranger was at level 10 fairly fast but my healer merc stayed level 1 till I suspended him, when I unsuspended him when he was same level as me.

Also, mercs are free until level 10 and even then you are only talking a few coppers maintenance. Mercs only start to cost plat at about level 20.
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#14 Aug 14 2009 at 8:19 AM Rating: Good
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First off, nice thread resurrection. 8 months is not a record, but it is still impressive.

Second, as staed by the devs and confirmed by players, your merc levels WITH you. It is a GRAPHICAL bug that the merc will con lower level until you zone, log, or suspend the merc. If you have a healer merc, you will notice that the merc will start casting spells of the new level even though it cons too low to cast the spell.
#15 Aug 15 2009 at 6:51 AM Rating: Decent
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I didn't notice much if any difference between a J1 and J5 Merc in dps. I am not sure it is even worth the extra plat.

Now if Master Mercs ever get released, that is whole different ballgame.
#16 Aug 15 2009 at 8:47 AM Rating: Default

theres a huge difference between J1 and j5 mercs... ive made some insane grinding with a ranger and when the ranger pulls a train J1 merc becomes invisible leaving me to tank 10 or so mobs... when i got the J4 merc tank AE taunt instantly and uses several discs to help out merc cle (i think its like a rune that mitigates damage--- not familiar with warior disc) skills and confidence is way better at higher tier... am not sure on dps or hp (gear wise) but i see a significant difference on how the merc cle heals the tank and how the merc tank can handle multiple mobs
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