- See also Mercenary equipment
Mercenaries (Mercs) were added with the Seeds of Destruction expansion. They are player-controlled NPCs which act as group members. The Call of the Forsaken expansion introduced Mercenary Equipment your mercenary can wear.
|“||Mercenaries are NPCs for hire that will aid adventurers in their heroic endeavors. Their levels and abilities will scale appropriately and they will think and act for themselves with limited player guidance. They are designed for extra support or extra muscle in PvE encounters.|
Unlike player pets, these NPCs are not directly controllable by players, though the player can give them general orders, but rather function like a normal party member including taking up a group slot and taking a share of the experience.
Mercenary Liaisons can be found in all starting cities and will allow you to hire mercenaries based on their race. The Liaisons within the Plane of Knowledge and Oceangreen Village will allow you to hire mercenaries of any player race. These merchants can be found using the Find ability.
Before purchasing a mercenary be sure to read the descriptions, cost value, and restrictions. There are different levels and tiers available. Some mercenaries may not available until you have completed certain content but there are some apprentice and journeyman ones available to all.
There are three classes of Mercenaries available - Tank, Healer, and DPS (damage dealing).
Healer Mercenary: Healer mercenaries prefer to heal their owner and others in the group rather than engage directly in combat. These mercenaries can also resurrect players upon death.
Tank Mercenary: Tank mercenaries prefer to melee. They will taunt if it is set to the main tank role. Though it will still attack and behave as a secondary tank if it is not set as main tank.
DPS Mercenary: These mercenaries will do damage to mobs.
Mercenaries can be suspended like a pet. There are some zones that will automatically suspend your mercenaries upon entering the zone.
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There are currently four classes of mercenaries: Tank (warrior), Healer (cleric), Melee DPS (rogue), Caster DPS (wizard).
Mercs are to be constantly tweaked to be sure they are viable as an alternative to grouping (as opposed to being preferred over grouping). In other words, they should only be desired as a last option.
There is a platinum cost associated with purchasing a mercenary. There is also a smaller recurring charge associated with upkeep (charged every 15 minutes). You can see the costs before hiring them. The amount you'll pay should be recoverable through normal experiencing and vendor-loot drops.
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Mercenaries level up as you do. As you both increase in levels your recurring cost will adjust to the new levels.
The race of your merc has no effect upon anything other than appearance.
The model differences are purely aesthetic.
— Maddoc the Wayfarer, Assistant Lead Designer
The name of your mercenary is determined by SOE. If you wish to choose the name of your mercenary, you may do so by using a Potion of Mercenary Amnesia purchased from the Marketplace with Station Cash. The normal SOE naming regulations that characters must follow apply to your mercenary's name. The potion names the mercenary slot, so if you have multiple mercenaries, you need a potion for each one you wish to rename. If you dismiss the mercenary and get another one, that one will retain the name you have given the previous one, as long as it uses the same 'slot'.
Characters start with one slot. The maximum number of mercenaries you can have is eleven. You can only use one at a time.
Completing the achievementMaster of Alaris will grant you a slot. The slot gained from this achievement will only be available for the character who has completed the achievement.
You can purchase more slots in the Marketplace. The maximum number of slots you can buy through the Marketplace is five. Slots purchased in the Marketplace will work for all characters on the account.
You can also gain more by completing the quest Mercenary Recruitment (Allakhazam, EQ Resource). Mercenary Recruitment can be done four times. The slots gained from this quest will only be available for the character who has completed the quest.
Purchasing a Mercenary
Mercenaries can be hired from various Guardians in the Plane of Knowledge as well as from NPCs in starting cities. You can use the find command (CTRL + F) to locate such vendors.
Ranks and Tiers
Your Mercenary can come in two skill levels, and of those two levels, they are further subdivided into 5 tiers.
- Skill Levels
- Apprentice - on par with single group geared players, on spells and abilities that have a rank, it will have rank 1. It will have HP, Mana, and Endurance on par with characters that do not have the gear to acquire rank 2 spells and abilities.
- Journeyman - On par with single group geared players, however, have rank 2 spells and abilities, slightly better damage mitigation, etc. Also Journeymen are less likely to 'Lose confidence' than an Apprentice(see below)
- Master (not in game) - On par with raid geared players, additionally, have rank 3 spells and abilities. While originally Master mercenaries were planned, they were never implemented.
- Tier 1 - has a ~25% chance to 'Lose confidence' in your group based on the number and /con of the mobs being fought. Adds and Crowd control methods will additionally modify this percentage. Once confidence is lost, the mercenary is effectively worthless in a fight, unless crowd control methods come into play, creating a chance for it to regain its confidence.
- Tier 2 - has a ~20% chance to 'Lose confidence' in your group.
- Tier 3 - has a ~15% chance to 'Lose confidence' in your group.
- Tier 4 - has a ~10% chance to 'Lose confidence' in your group.
- Tier 5 - has a ~5% chance to 'Lose confidence' in your group.
Unlocking higher level mercs
To unlock the higher level mercs, you need to do quests. To get the Tier 2 though 5 Journeyman mercs, you need to do the SoD group progression. Void B grants you Tier 2, C grants you Tier 3, D grants you Tier 4, and E grants you Tier 5.
It has been reported that to get a Tier 5 mercenary it is not necessary to do all of the progression but just the 'Invasion of Earth' tasks.
There is a new quest, originally designed for Heroic Characters. It is given by Investigator Drolmer in Feerrott, the Dream, and while originally only open to Heroic Characters, since the April 29, 2014 patch, it is open to all. The reward grants access to Journeyman Tier 5 Mercenaries.
|“||If you have the puller group role, the healer will not heal you until you are withing [sic] 50 feet of camp (camp is the merc's location in the case where it's just you and the merc). So if you need to split, you'll need to do it outside that 50 foot radius.|
Healer mercs don't pay much attention to the Main Tank group role, except to give them a slight preference as a heal target (which doesn't really make much difference, as the MT is usually the only one taking much damage anyway).
Tank mercs pay attention to the MT role if it is assigned to them. They will taunt everything not mezzed and not attacking them when they are MT.
— Steven S. Klug, EverQuest Assistant Lead Programmer
|“||If your puller is set to the puller role they will not engage until your puller and the mobs chasing him are within 50 feet of camp.|
Even so, there can be some 'creep' if it's just you and the merc in a group. So you may have to toggle off your puller role now and then to move him where you want him.
In a group, it's not a problem, as your merc will hang out with the other group members while you're out pulling.
— Steven S. Klug, EverQuest Assistant Lead Programmer
Healers are very similar to Clerics, in that they cast a lot of the same buffs and spells. they are not as good as a real PC as the AI is not as skillful as a person has the potential of being. That being said, they are better than not having a healer in general.
A healer will buff your group, keep the group healed as needed, primarily focusing on their owner and then the MA. Slot machine games names.
You can set your healer merc to Balanced, Efficient, Passive, or Reactive.
- Balanced: Merc tries to balance mana savings and healing. Since it is rare that healers run out of mana, use this only if you somehow have a mana problem, or you are using two healer mercs for tough mobs; place one on Reactive and one on Balanced so they don't both cast the same spells at the same time, possibly wasting heals.
- Efficient: Merc tries to save mana. This is where they will cast Complete Heal. I recommend never using this.
- Passive: Merc does nothing. If merc is passive for an entire round (15 minutes), they will stop charging you after that until you make them active.
- Reactive: Merc does all they can to keep your party alive, not worrying about mana. Recommended 99% of the time.
On Efficient, and maybe Balanced, they will cast Complete Heal, which 99.99% of the time you do not want.
When will they buff
|“||..they will buff you when they are out of combat, in a non-passive stance, and they have buffs to cast on you that you don't already have. ..They also need to be over 50% mana.||”|
— Steven S. Klug, EverQuest Assistant Lead Programmer
Buffing much lower level characters
If you are grouped with characters that are so much lower in level then you are that the buffs for your level will not work for them, the merc cleric will not use buffs that will work on them. Merc clerics will only cast spells of their level.
|“||They only memorize spells appropriate for their level. Though I suppose if you were desperate you could shroud down to force the merc to mem those level spells. Or temporarily transfer ownership to the lower level player.||”|
— Steven S. Klug, EverQuest Assistant Lead Programmer
Tanks are similar to Warriors, in that they use a lot of the same Disc's. As with the Cleric, they are never as good as a real player, however, they are much better than a silk class tanking.
They will try to keep Aggro if set in Aggressive stance, and they seem to be able to use their discs to the group's advantage.
(Tank mercs can not be designated MA at this time. You get the message that NPCs can't be main assist)
DPS, or damage dealing, mercs have been added. You may choose a rogue or wizard mercenary.
Your DPS mercenary will not engage any target that does not have you (or your group) as the top target. So if you are assisting others, your DPS mercenary will do nothing unless you (or your group) holds the aggro on the mob. Simply being on the aggro list is not enough, you (or your group) need to be on top.
Controlling your merc
As of the November 11, 2009 patch, some changes were made:
- Added a new selectable assist mode for mercenaries.
- There are two new buttons in the mercenary management window: 'Auto Assist' and 'Call Assist'.
- When 'Auto Assist' is engaged, mercenaries should behave exactly as before with respect to what targets they use for attacking/healing.
Type in commands:
- /mercassist on -- Turns on mercenary auto-assist mode.
- /mercassist off -- Turns off mercenary auto-assist mode.
- /mercassist -- Calls for assist when your mercenary is not in auto-assist mode.
Using a tank mercenary with 'Auto Assist' disabled, the merc will wait for the 'Call Assist' button to be pressed before engaging any targets. When the 'Call Assist' button is pressed, all targets currently on the group enemy list (that are in his awareness range) will be added as valid targets and he will begin attacking using the normal AI for determining targets.
Using a healer mercenary with 'Auto Assist' disabled, the merc will behave normally except you can press the 'Call Assist' button to override normal rules for not healing pullers. If a puller is in the awareness range of the healer merc when 'Call Assist' is pressed, it will have a 3 second window where it can drop a heal on them.
Mercenaries are considered group members and take the same portion of xp that group members do. You also get the bonus for filling up your group.
House of Thule changes
Beginning with the release of the House of Thule expansion, you'll get a bonus for each real player in a group. A full group of 6 will get 22% more than a group of 3 people and 3 mercs.
(Image: Sony Online Entertainment)
The Call of the Forsaken expansion introduced Mercenary Alternate Advancements (AAs).
|“||Normally when a mercenary joins your group, it takes a portion of your experience gains from the party. In the past, this experience just went away. In Call of the Forsaken, your mercenaries are finally putting that experience to use. Experience gains taken by a party’s mercenaries will now go towards unlocking Mercenary AA Points. These points and abilities will be stored upon your character, and will be available to all of your mercenaries.||”|
— Call of the Forsaken: Mercenary Alternate Advancement and Equipment
|“||We have noticed a few questions on how your character’s experience affects the Mercenary’s AAs, so we have added more tips inside the game to make sure you know how it works. If you use your Mercenary, you can gain experience to use towards your Mercenary AAs. If you don’t use your Mercenary, you gain nothing towards Mercenary AAs. If you use an experience potion, your Mercenary also benefits from that increase to gain more experience and thus earn AAs faster.||”|
— November 2013 Producer's Letter
The maximum number of mercenary AAs you can bank is 20.
Tips for using mercenaries
Healer mercenaries will have a tendency to use delayed heals and other slow healing spells, which can be problematic, since these can provide insufficient healing, and take time away from the merc to cast good heals. The workaround consists of blocking certain spells on the recipient of the heal spell, be this character or pet. Doing this can significantly increase survivability when relying on mercenary healing. Spell blocking has to be done for spells relevant for current level range; as the hiring character levels up, the mercenary will start to use new spells, and some of these will be of the delayed heal type, or other unwanted heals.
The following command will add some, but not all, spells to be blocked at different levels:
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/blockspell add me 13 18272 18254 25124 25242 2198 2199 8165 1388 2538 1285 1299 43131 18271 43180 55159
/blockspell add pet 13 18272 18254 25124 25242 2198 2199 8165 1388 2538 1285 1299 43131 18271 43180 55159
More than one healer merc
If survivability is an issue, and there is room in the party, two characters can each use a healer mercenary at the same time. In these cases it can be an advantage to have the healers in different modes, since two healers in same mode (say for example Reactionary) will have a tendency to cast the same healing spell on the same character at the same time. This can result in overhealing in some situations, as well as underhealing in others.
DPS mercenaries and alternatives
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While DPS mercenaries is certainly better than nothing, they fall seriously behind at higher levels, and will often not be worth the xp cut. Some boxers will run an extra character for dps instead, leveling the character to the relevant level, having the character subscribed at least a single month to get autogranted AAs, and run it as a secondary character. While any character can be run in this manner, wizards, mages, and druids are often chosen for this role, for reasons of manageability and for added utility.