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Merc Upgrade ?Follow

#1 Aug 05 2011 at 11:41 PM Rating: Good
..........can someone school me on this.....each completed SOD Progression ups the Tier of your merc ???...if so then do you need to dump old merc and buy a new one ????...is change automatic ? So are Tier 5 mercs for those who have the SOD Progressions done or am I missing more ???? ......Thanks !!!! I am trying to get best Mercs cuz I play in small groups and need the fire-power..... also from reading here Rogue Mercs as bad....never knew that...I am ignorant but trying.
#2 Aug 06 2011 at 1:52 AM Rating: Decent
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Each Mission arc, upgrades your Void Progression by one level, but specific mission arcs unlock specific merc Tiers, so doing Oceangreen first will get you Void B and Tier 2 mercs, but doing Warrens first will get you T5 merc and still only be Void B progression.

The Mercs are not automatically upgraded. You have to dismiss them or give them to someone then purchase a new tier one or have someone with the same Tier or higher give you one.

Rogues are ok. I prefer them as a secondary merc for the lower to mid levels, but you need a good aggro tank if you keep them on burn for the same tier. Generally I keep them at App5 for secondary for the lower cost and higher confidence until I need to switch classes or upgrade the Tier of Journeyman I can use above 1. How you operate them is more important on how they work. I generally don't have a problem with them in the normal setting at the same Tier Jmen as a tank or versus a good real tank. My wife generally leaves them on Burn as an App5 and they do just about as well tanking just slightly less aggro than the Jmen 1 set as main tank, so they will become main tank if the Jmen dies.

Of course it depends on how you play and your group setup. Learning to control a merc is probably the most important thing, right after learning to play your real toon's class, and then being able to adjust to the group's needs. Rog mercs only seem troublesome, when the group settings are not used (Main Tank rol, Main Assist role, et cetera). I've heard similar complaints about Caster mercs, but that adjusting their aggression settings during fights help. This tactic helps low confidence clerics as well when doing train pulls as well, again indicating that learning how to play with mercs is the important part in their effective use.

Hope this helps some,

Yther Ore.

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#3 Aug 06 2011 at 8:08 AM Rating: Excellent
.... so I already have Oceangreen and am working on Kithicor. But if I now work and finish Warrens then I get the T-5 merc .....which I must purchase anew. Izzat right then ? Thanks again Yther !! I mentioned Rogues cuz I read where peeps were using Rogue mercs....have never tried em is all but thought I might be missing out.
#4 Aug 06 2011 at 9:40 AM Rating: Decent
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Correct.

Yther Ore.
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#5 Aug 07 2011 at 7:16 PM Rating: Excellent
Again many thanks to you Yther Ore. Did The Earth Progression and sure enough my 2 toons now both have t-5 Mercs. I cannot thank you enough. I just couldn't find the info on mercs on this site and have no real guild to turn to. Even tho I have been playing since year 2000, I hardly know a damn thing. Thant is why I am thankful for learned minds that are willing to share. !!!!!!!!!!!!
#6 Aug 08 2011 at 4:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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Huemanzee wrote:
Again many thanks to you Yther Ore. Did The Earth Progression and sure enough my 2 toons now both have t-5 Mercs. I cannot thank you enough. I just couldn't find the info on mercs on this site and have no real guild to turn to. Even tho I have been playing since year 2000, I hardly know a damn thing. Thant is why I am thankful for learned minds that are willing to share. !!!!!!!!!!!!



You asked a good question, and Yther doesn't disappoint.

Some people prefer wikis or static pages of information, I like the forum having a pulse with fresh answers. If it isn't sitting on the top page of the forums it's pretty much considered an old post now... so keep asking.
#7 Aug 09 2011 at 5:47 AM Rating: Excellent
Thanks for the positive feedback Snailish. You correctly noted the right on nature of what Yther had to say RE Mercs. I also agree that the current post/response nature of an active forum beats a dead, outdated and/or useless static page of info. This phenom is reflected in other parts of Zams, say in zone info. Under the site text there might be a zone topic post from 2003. Kind of amusing to read em actually.
And I will keep asking, thanks !
#8 Aug 09 2011 at 5:52 AM Rating: Good
...also forgot to mention that me and my pal took our 3 level 86 toons and their 3 Tier-5 mercs and tested them out. This just in : THEY'RE AWESOME !!!! Had Tier-2 before. BIG difference. What a buzz EQ can be when it goes right !!!!
#9 Aug 10 2011 at 8:48 AM Rating: Good
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Huemanzee wrote:
Again many thanks to you Yther Ore. Did The Earth Progression and sure enough my 2 toons now both have t-5 Mercs. I cannot thank you enough. I just couldn't find the info on mercs on this site and have no real guild to turn to. Even tho I have been playing since year 2000, I hardly know a damn thing. Thant is why I am thankful for learned minds that are willing to share. !!!!!!!!!!!!


Now it is I getting great info from a question you asked. I've been playing since just before Kunark was released, so sounds like about the same as you started and I know waaaayyyy less than you do. Reading about Jmen and Progressions had my head spinning. (I haven't eaten breakfast though and blood sugar is at "feed me" level...lol. Yeah...that sounds good. I'll blame it on that. *grins*)


snailish wrote:
You asked a good question, and Yther doesn't disappoint.

Some people prefer wikis or static pages of information, I like the forum having a pulse with fresh answers. If it isn't sitting on the top page of the forums it's pretty much considered an old post now... so keep asking.


I'm the same way, snailish. I do research a question first in case it's something obvious and I don't want to bother people asking something that is relatively simple, but in any game or RL situation, I have always found forums without fail to be the best source of relevant information.
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#10 Aug 10 2011 at 8:56 AM Rating: Good
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Yther wrote:
The Mercs are not automatically upgraded. You have to dismiss them or give them to someone then purchase a new tier one or have someone with the same Tier or higher give you one.


Ooooooo...I didn't know Mercs could be given away. Can they be sold back to the Merc merchant where I bought them? Also, I think I know the answer to this but just in case: I know two mercs can't be used at the same time, but can two be "hired" and used separately. I am referring back to your advice on a Paly needing a dps merc and what I have now is a tank. It would be nice if I could purchase a dps merc and try it out without having to give up the tank and repurchase one if I found it worked better for me.[/quote]

Yther wrote:
Learning to control a merc is probably the most important thing, right after learning to play your real toon's class, and then being able to adjust to the group's needs.


Which leads to another question - I've seen the different buttons for my mercs, but other than suspend and setting them to aggressive or passive, would you mind expounding on how to control a merc, please? I had no idea about this. Also, I've seen some mercs sitting. Mine never has but I also keep them in the aggressive mode as I want them as main tank. Is the sitting part of the passive selection or is there a way to make them sit. (Sounds like dog training...lol)

As always, thank you for great info!
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#11 Aug 10 2011 at 2:07 PM Rating: Excellent
Unfortunately, they cannot be sold back. You can dismiss them or give them away. You cannot have two hired and used separately, yet. That ability is coming with the expansion (maybe before hand since it's a quality of life thing.)

Merc control, from what I know is based on the stance you have them in and the settings you have on the people (puller, assist, etc.) If you set yourself as the puller, and me as the main tank/main assist, the merc will stay with me until you get close. That sort of sets a camp area. The mercs are good at respecting this camp until they decide not to (merc temperment is random. Sometimes they will decide to heal my puller, sometimes the puller has to stand on top of the merc to get heals. Sometimes they'll just stand there and let me die. LOL.)
#12 Aug 10 2011 at 2:14 PM Rating: Decent
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Azalysa wrote:
Ooooooo...I didn't know Mercs could be given away. Can they be sold back to the Merc merchant where I bought them? Also, I think I know the answer to this but just in case: I know two mercs can't be used at the same time, but can two be "hired" and used separately. I am referring back to your advice on a Paly needing a dps merc and what I have now is a tank. It would be nice if I could purchase a dps merc and try it out without having to give up the tank and repurchase one if I found it worked better for me.


Can't be sold back. :(

I thought they added in the ability to buy two mercs, but only use one at a time, but I couldn't confirm that in any patch note, so it's probably still in the development stage, if anything. Or is it planned for the next expansion?

Azalysa wrote:
Which leads to another question - I've seen the different buttons for my mercs, but other than suspend and setting them to aggressive or passive, would you mind expounding on how to control a merc, please? I had no idea about this. Also, I've seen some mercs sitting. Mine never has but I also keep them in the aggressive mode as I want them as main tank. Is the sitting part of the passive selection or is there a way to make them sit. (Sounds like dog training...lol)


Tank mercs don't sit. I haven't tested it out, but others have said, it doesn't matter if they're sitting or not for mana / end regen, but anecdotally it doesn't appear that way. Although passive mode at least seems faster than letting them fight.

Changing the mode is one of the main control features. If you put a merc on passive, until the tank has aggro on all of them, or they're mezzed or what ever, then setting to whatever active mode, will by pass the confidence check. This is important for healer mercs with real tanks, pulling lots of easier mobs, or even harder ones, but using special tactics like riposte disc. Puting dps mercs on passive until the tank has good aggro, seems to help alot for keeping the dps mercs aggro down, as does, turning off auto-assist and using the assist button (basically same technique), but also keeps the dps mercs from switching targets as the main assist switches.

Using the group roles for main tank, main assist lets the mercs operate in more predictable ways, but you can use them without, it just takes more clicking (using assist button rather than auto-assist and adjusting aggression mde). Alternating two cleric mercs between passive and efficient or aggressive, allows one to fastly regen mana, so you can pull non-stop for a long period.

Some other normal behaviors: Clr mercs won't buff until they are 50% or higher mana.
  • Clr mercs often buff prior to rezzing, if you summon corpse to the Guild Lobby.
  • If a player is a slow zoner, the Clr merc may try it's 2x limit on rezzing while they are zoning, and will require the player with the merc to camp out and back in to get it to try again.
  • Tank mercs will often burn up alot of endurance trying to keep aggro on all the mobs.
  • If you have an off-tank, or multiple tank mercs, this is where using manual assist may be better than auto-assist, to allow the off-tank to keep aggro on the secondary mobs, instead of fighting over it.
  • If you're doing lots of multiple pulls, or hard hittig mobs, you have to keep an eye on the discs the tank mercs have used, as they often use up the defensive discs vs multiple mobs or hard hitting ones and their refresh timer may not be up.
  • Clr mercs fizzle alot (at least lower Tier ones).


That's about all I can think of at the moment. Playing with the settings will help alot, as well as watching others.

Yther Ore.
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#13 Aug 11 2011 at 9:20 AM Rating: Good
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amastropolo wrote:
Unfortunately, they cannot be sold back. You can dismiss them or give them away. You cannot have two hired and used separately, yet. That ability is coming with the expansion (maybe before hand since it's a quality of life thing.)


That will be nice when that ability is added. Thank you for the heads up to be watching for it. ;)

amastropolo wrote:
Merc control, from what I know is based on the stance you have them in and the settings you have on the people (puller, assist, etc.)


Showing my relative lack of grouping knowledge based on my EQ "lifetime" of soloing - is there a place in the group menu where people can physically be set as puller, assist, healer, etc.? The handful of times I grouped in the past, who would do what task was verbal as in "<name> is main tank, Terrillian will buff and snare and backup heal, etc."

amastropolo wrote:
The mercs are good at respecting this camp until they decide not to (merc temperment is random. Sometimes they will decide to heal my puller, sometimes the puller has to stand on top of the merc to get heals. Sometimes they'll just stand there and let me die. LOL.)


Heh. So far I've been fortunate that the mercs on all my toons haven't wandered off, etc. My main problem is if I get an add and I root it to temporarily get it out of the way, my act of rooting then makes my merc start beating on it while he is getting pounded by the initial pull. This becomes a nightmare with multiple adds...oy! Is there anything I can do to keep my merc focused on the initial pull or is that a merc "thing?"

I have had a couple of instances when I pulled a mob and my tank merc, who usually rushes in before I can pull the mob back where I want it, has just stood there and watched. I've found myself yelling at him aka the PC monitor, "Why are you just standing there????" while I frantically click the "aggressive stance" button as I watch my health plummet before I egress to safety. The merc has the gall to stand there while I heal like, "Oh that was fun." lol
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#14 Aug 11 2011 at 9:34 AM Rating: Good
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Great info as always, Yther...I do have a few other questions based on your response.

Thus far I have only used tank mercs and I have them set on aggressive all the time. Part of your reply likely addresses the questions I had above. Using the scenario where I solo with a merc tank...

Yther wrote:
  • If you have an off-tank, or multiple tank mercs, this is where using manual assist may be better than auto-assist, to allow the off-tank to keep aggro on the secondary mobs, instead of fighting over it.
  • If you're doing lots of multiple pulls, or hard hittig mobs, you have to keep an eye on the discs the tank mercs have used, as they often use up the defensive discs vs multiple mobs or hard hitting ones and their refresh timer may not be up.

  • Playing with the settings will help alot, as well as watching others.


    First...errrr, what are discs? *Blushes* You can tell I've never played a tank.

    I'm still a bit confused about the settings. I understand Aggressive vs Passive mode but never use Passive. Would setting the merc on passive mode, me pulling a mob where I want it, then clicking to aggressive mode help with my issue of the merc running in as soon as I use a pull spell?

    Besides those two settings, iirc from not being in game atm, all I see are multiple buttons that say "Set." Are these set buttons somehow different from each other?

    I see I need to experiment with at least the aggressive/passive mode. I've tried hitting the set buttons a bit, but only get a "This sets the current mode as default" message, or something similar to that.

    I apologize for all this questions and truly appreciate your patience in answering them.


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    #15 Aug 11 2011 at 11:39 AM Rating: Decent
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    As group leader, you change the roles of others by right-clicking on their name in the group window, and selecting role, then whatever role you want them set as. If they are already set to a role, they will have an icon by their name in the group window indicating which role(s) they are set for, and the right-click menu will have 1 or more roles checked.

    To change your own role as group leader, you right click on your personal window (usually your name in that window, but some custom UIs have different hot spots for the right-click menu).

    Group Main Assist role, along with the other roles, are now available without any Leadership AA and any number of people. Group Main Assist, prior to mercs, required 3 people at least rank 1 of the Leadership AA (LAA). As Main Assist, you will see a special target ring on whatever your target is. Solo or molo, it may not be as obvious, since you will also see your normal con colored target ring, but when someone else is set as MA, it will be obvious when they have something targetted that you do not. The MA role also allows using the /assist group command to assist whoever is marked as MA in the group.

    Setting yourself as puller, will make your merc stop where ever they are if no one else is in the group, or follow another person if more than you. Setting them to passive, assuming you're not set as puller, will let them continue to follow you until you get a mob to where you want. You can also turn off auto-assist, and use the Assist button on the merc window to tell them when / who to attack, but if they're set as Main Tank and Aggressive mode, they decide to assist earlier (I can't remember for sure, as I rarely use Manual Assist on a tank merc).

    With Auto Assist on, and MA role set, your mercs will beat primarily on the MA's current target.

    Setting the MT role helps tank mercs alot in that they generate more hate when marked as MT and attempt to get aggro on all the attacking mobs.

    The set active button just sets the merc to the currently selected aggression role. Just selecting it does not set it. Also, holding the left mouse button down on the set hotkey button for a few seconds will create a hotkey on your cursor for setting the selected mode. Set owner button is for giving your merc away to your target.

    Discs are disciplines (Alt+C window). Somewhat like spells for priests, casters and hybrids, but use up endurance. Many of the most useful have long reuse timers. The ones you want to watch out for are the best defensive ones, which start as Defensive Disciple, and includes Stonewall Discipline and Final Stand. Furious Discipline, a riposte line of discs, are also good to keep an eye on, as that may be a time to run. The merc versions of these discs may have a slightly different name, as they're available to mercs earlier than real Warrior's, but the names are similar enough to know what they mean, and the emotes are similar enough as well.

    As a Pal, you get a few disciplines, such as Deflection Discipline, but much fewer than a true (non-casting) melee class.


    Yther Ore.
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    #16 Aug 12 2011 at 7:57 AM Rating: Good
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    I had a great chance to experiment with my merc yesterday, initially solo but then grouped for the first time in a looooong time with a Wizzie/her healing merc/familiar (not sure what familiars do other than follow their toon around) and a SK with his pet. Lots of fun and a chance to watch a cleric merc in action. I also dinged 70 in the process, which 2 months ago I thought I would never do, at least for a long time.


    Yther wrote:
    As group leader, you change the roles of others by right-clicking on their name in the group window, and selecting role, then whatever role you want them set as. If they are already set to a role, they will have an icon by their name in the group window indicating which role(s) they are set for, and the right-click menu will have 1 or more roles checked.

    To change your own role as group leader, you right click on your personal window (usually your name in that window, but some custom UIs have different hot spots for the right-click menu).


    THANK YOU! This is apparently something that was brought into EQ way after I stopped grouping years ago. A very nice system.

    Yther wrote:
    Setting yourself as puller, will make your merc stop where ever they are if no one else is in the group, or follow another person if more than you...


    Before the group I played around with this a bit. When I set myself as puller, my merc didn't follow me and when I engaged the mob, he STILL didn't arrive. I egressed back half dead, set merc back to auto/aggressive and he still didn't do anything. I had to zone out and back in to get him to go back to "normal." I did have success keeping merc on auto/aggressive, then setting to passive when I pulled the mob and clicked merc back to aggressive when I was in the spot I wanted. So far this seems to work the best for me and this particular merc.

    I've learned more about EQ in the last two months, thanks to you and the other wonderful people on this forum, than I did in 7 years of prior play.

    Happy Adventures!!! I'm off to start getting AA's. :)




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    #17 Sep 04 2011 at 10:09 PM Rating: Decent
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    Azalysa wrote:
    Before the group I played around with this a bit. When I set myself as puller, my merc didn't follow me and when I engaged the mob, he STILL didn't arrive. I egressed back half dead, set merc back to auto/aggressive and he still didn't do anything. I had to zone out and back in to get him to go back to "normal." I did have success keeping merc on auto/aggressive, then setting to passive when I pulled the mob and clicked merc back to aggressive when I was in the spot I wanted. So far this seems to work the best for me and this particular merc.


    Mercs are a bit tricky, and sometimes buggy in this. Mostly, they don't move, because of lack of awareness of an enemy in camp (they have a very samll area to notice an enemy on the puller). This isn't as big a problem with multiple people, as the area of awareness is bigger for group members not marked as puller. Healer mercs will sometimes ignore pullers as well. Again this is more of a problem when molo than with a group, but can occur much less frequently in a group. If it happens in a group, camping out the merc toon or suspending and unsuspending them often clears it up.

    The other way to do basically the same thing, is not mark yourself as puller, not mark the merc as main tank, and turn off the merc's auto-assist and use the assist button on the merc window to tell them to attack when you get the mob positioned. However, it will take the merc some time to get aggro if you have been beating on the mob, especially with the merc not set as main tank.

    Hope this helps some more.

    Yther Ore.
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    #18 Sep 08 2011 at 8:04 PM Rating: Good
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    Thank you for this thread. It is probably one of the best I have seen with information regarding the use of mercs. I just wish I had seen the a long time ago when I first started using them, alot of these questions, I couldn't find answers to and eventually figured out using the scientific method of trial and error, rinse and repeat. I would like to contribute a bit to this conversation and add a couple of insights.

    To start, I primarily 4 box and my set up is as follows: Warrior 88 w/ Jman5 Rog, Wizard 81, Cleric 88 w/Jman5 healer and Ranger 88. My warrior toon is the youngest of the group and has just over 750 AAs, so in the realm of high end main tanks, he is still a toddler and needs alot of work. I chose a rog merc to pair with him because the combo really works well and I don't solo him. He's always either grouped with my cleric or my shaman (88 w/ Jman5 healer), depends on the tasks I'm working. Also, playing a warrior is fairly new to me, and as I have found out, not as easy as I used to believe (my main has been a ranger for 10 years). Rog mercs, if you don't pay attention, can and will steal aggro. I've heard alot of complaints about this, but to be honest, it doesn't bother me. It has actually helped me become a better tank and I can gage this by the frequency this happens. So, I use the rogue merc, not just for the dps, but as a training tool to get better. In a pinch, I've also backed off allowing the rog to keep aggro when I've been low health and waiting for the heal spell to hit. I still get amazed at how many HPs you can loose in 3 secs.

    For my cleric, I chose a healer merc. I've often been criticized for this, but for a group setting, this combo is awesome. For the first 75 levels, my cleric was the primary healer for whichever group she was in, although she had offense casting and good defensive abilities, they were seriously under utilized. A good part of playing her was: heal, sit, med, rinse, repeat, gate, run, rezz, rezz, buff, heal... Now tho, since she has her healer merc, I'll set him on balanced, let him heal the main tank, while she spot heals and off-tanks. A true warrior priestess and alot of fun to play.

    As for merc control, there is alot of trial and error involved, but I've really come to enjoy using my mercs and they have become an integral part of my game playing. In a group setting, I use a diamond formation, especially if I designate a puller:

    Warrior

    Wizard Cleric

    Ranger

    Often I pull with my warrior (paci with cleric then hit with Peer2). What took me a while to figure out, when you designate a puller, there's a group radius that the mercs remain in (and generally clining to my cleric). The wizard and cleric determine the outer boundary, the further apart they are, the bigger the group radius. Seems simple enough, but I've seen alot people get upset and not understand why their merc is just standing there not helping even tho they are standing close to the group getting killed. I can't speak for a soloist with a merc, I just don't play the game that way, but by spreading out my group, I don't have any issues with mercs not getting into the fight. Also, I only use passive and balanced settings on them. Mainly, its like fire and forget because I get pretty busy bouncing around my 4 toons, its nice not to really have to worry about them and they do their jobs. These days, I don't have too many issues maintaining aggro, but it does happen, usually when I'm tanking 3-4 targets (ranger pulling, can't help myself sometimes...) and the healer merc will get aggro'd. In that case, I off tank with cleric and the ranger backs her up with his dps (fun fun). I've never had a problem with my wizard stealing aggro. I keep him locked down until the primary target is below 60% and then cut him loose. He often crits for 20-30k, so the target just drops.

    For me, as I think for quite a few people, the main issue I have is being able to pay for the merc. Now, I always keep in mind, Time is money, except when in passive mode. I kicked myself for weeks after I realised that. I would see toons hanging out in the guild lobby for hours with their merc up and think,"how can they afford that," then finally read the message "fee waived" while in passive mode...

    I just have to say, mercs, for me, have truly enhanced my game play. Added dps, routine group healing choir and training tools have allowed me to explore more versatile uses and game play of my toons.

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