The Hireling Handbook - A Guide to Mercenaries

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Heretic
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Semigloss wrote:Full matheal set A2 Merc? Lol

At first I thought that'd be cool, but then I realized that fighter mage has no dual pierce like a real UHM (who can get away with just stacking both spell dmg types) and that set has zero pierce. He also can't take advantage of all the vitality bonuses from the set so it's pretty much a waste on him. Aura looks cool though.
nemmate
Bone Archer
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I always picked up a Bloodmage when I play with my melee chars, but this time I tried a Necrolyte. I'm in nightmare act 2 with my melee necromancer, and I love the miasma skill. I made a good choice with this merc or you suggest an other merc ? (I have a holy melee paladin too, actually with a bloodmage because of firedance, maybe it's better if I change ? ) Yes, I know, the act3 mercs are my favs.

Btw, VERY GOOD GUIDE, I appreciate your efforts !
Semigloss
Core Lord
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I'm actually really interested in trying a "merc-only" playthrough. What would be your top 3 best recommendations for Merc/player combo? For a full and will rounded playthrough, not just good at one specific thing.

I'm thinking:

1. Barb/rogue
Spirit Walk + wolves debuff + screaming eagle debuff + tslam cc. Stances won't share to Merc right? I think wolves/eagle debuffs would pair well with A1 rogue because she hits alot? Or maybe an A2/A5 even.

2. Pally/any iron wolves
Not much explaining, rapture buff + vindicate. Tainted blood can't be cast on Merc can it?

3. Sorc/ele or phys Merc???
Max firedance for damage buff, support with chrono and force field. Plus nice buff from ice elemtnals.

4. Druid/blood mage
Harvesters / vine for poison/fire damage auras. Mythal plus evensong when needed. Buffed motw cast on units. Could go any devotion... Probably seer for heals?



Also, Merc question. If an item grants +skills to a skill that the Merc uses, do they gain the bonus? Like say a bow gives +10 barrage. Would a1 rogue gain this and get more arrows in their barrage volley?
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Semigloss wrote:Also, Merc question. If an item grants +skills to a skill that the Merc uses, do they gain the bonus? Like say a bow gives +10 barrage. Would a1 rogue gain this and get more arrows in their barrage volley?


They do benefit from +skills if there's some sort of meaningful scaling. Barrage in the example doesn't gain more arrows per level anymore. It was changed many seasons ago to a static amount. Soft levels only increase the flat rainbow damage bonus to the skill now.

Regarding a merc-only playthrough, I haven't put much thought to it yet as many of the 120+ ubers have one-shots or near one-shots. Mercs can solo 105-115 ubers (if you don't die ofc) but beyond that I doubt they can solo anything. They do tiny dmg to act bosses so Baal is out of the question. Also the only lv 125 uber I can see a merc solo with good herding skills is Astrogha, but that's it. I'll still give it a try someday thought bc that sounds fun. :)
Semigloss
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I think a KEY aspect to keeping mercs alive is going to be a "teleport anywhere" skill with a low cool down. Blink, divine ap, etc.

Edited: atleast in endgame Ubers. Probably not a huge deal while leveling unless you have a Merc with a primary damage skill with more up close damage like barrage or any melee really.
Edited by Semigloss 3 weeks.
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Awesome. Glad I could help motivate you to finish this. We've needed an English version of the merc guide for a while.
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Cog
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Excellent article, well structured. Upvoted.
FreddyBaby
Prowler
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barb or exemplar merc for physical dmg? I'm running with rising dawn paladin that is magic dmg, so need a merc that do good physical agents magic absorb mobs. :D

great guide! upvoted :D
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FreddyBaby wrote:barb or exemplar merc for physical dmg? I'm running with rising dawn paladin that is magic dmg, so need a merc that do good physical agents magic absorb mobs.

Some common magic absorbs I can think of right now are Blight's Hierachs in Fauzt and the ones in Teganze. So I recommend barb merc over exemplar in those 2 ubers because he needs less work to be effective. Just make sure to give him some pr (doesn't have to be maxed).
Semigloss
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Semigloss wrote:4. Druid/blood mage
Harvesters / vine for poison/fire damage auras. Mythal plus evensong when needed. Buffed motw cast on units. Could go any devotion... Probably seer for heals?

So this combo doesn't really work. Vine no longer gives the fire spell aura, and blood mage no longer has a poison skill to benefit from harvesters or vine debuff lol. I can't tell if the Seer passive boost mercs elemental damage, but even if it does we're only talking like 100% spell damage boost. Plus no innate teleport sucks, you are forced to rely on Pax Mystica. So I say scratch this combo, unless someone can convince me to keep it.


Off to try my Barb and Sorc combos.