Some of the early reviews of Mercenaries have been really critical of the free rewards and the rate the game pays them out, and I think maybe these players haven't figured out all the nuances of the system. I just watched Zeddy's review, and he complained that the cost of buying enough packs to get all the coins to fully upgrade all the mercenaries would be very expensive, but maxing out all the mercenaries is really the endpoint of Mercenaries and collecting the upgrades is the game, much like acquiring better and better gear is the point of the game in World of Warcraft.
Here are some things that are not obvious about how the Mercenaries economy works:
- Some of the most powerful mercenaries are the most accessible – Samuro and Xyrella are both among the free 8 starting mercenaries and their interaction is one of the most busted in the game. Samuro has a 4-speed move where he attacks a target and then buffs his attack stat and attacks the target again if it has already been damaged this turn. He also has an equipment that gives him up to +2/+2 each time he attacks. Xyrella has a 3-speed move that deals some holy damage to a target and then reduces its attack, by a significant amount at the higher levels. So, if Xyrella debuffs the target, then Samuro can blow it up. The third piece of this combination is Thrall who is a legendary Merc that can further buff Samuro as well as command Samuro to attack again. But even without Thrall, the Xyrella/Samuro combination is extremely powerful, and these two on their own can propel you through a lot of the PvE, which brings up the next point.
- The coins for every mercenary can be targeted and farmed by grinding specific bounties. If you mouse over the treasure chest next to the icon for a bounty boss, you can see whose coins they drop. The Barrens bounties only drop coins for rare mercs, but there are bounties that reliably drop coins for specific legendary mercs in later Felwood, Winterspring and Blackrock Mountain. The coin drop at the end of a bounty feels a bit anticlimactic; you're getting fractions of upgrades for several characters each run. But the run only takes a few minutes, and if you farm it, it will add up fairly quickly. You can grind a lot of coins for the rare-tier mercs by repeatedly running the short, easy early Barrens bounties, and then use those powered-up characters to slingshot through the later content so you can farm the harder bounties for coins for the legendaries. I expect free-to-play players who have been focusing on specific bounties for specific characters will have earned enough coins to completely max some of the rare minions by today or tomorrow. Compared to something like traditional Hearthstone's old ten-gold-per three wins, or the new trickle of gold per hour via the tavern pass, the payout of coins and the rate at which they result in new stuff is much higher. Progressing in Mercenaries entails running the same content repeatedly for incremental progression, but that is also true of every MMO and every roguelike. I've played a ton of games that have similar loops — WoW, Destiny, Borderlands.
- There are a ton of rewards in the campfire quests, which can be farmed. You get two mercs visiting your campfire with quests each day, in addition to a daily quest for coins from Toki. But what you may not know is that you can also get a campfire quest for a mercenary in your current party from the Mysterious Stranger who can appear in the mystery nodes on a bounty map. You can farm these very quickly in some of the heroic versions of the early Barrens bounties. Unfortunately, a bug is preventing players from completing the fifth campfire questline for any of the mercenaries, but Blizzard has said this is a high priority, and hopefully it will be fixed very soon. Once it is, Blizzard has said each character's campfire questline will award 1000 coins for the specific mercenary, an additional 500 random coins and 3 packs, so a total of 150 packs are available through this source.
Once Mercenaries has been thoroughly examined by the community and people have figured out the best ways to optimize their farming, you will quickly see free-to-play players running completely maxxed teams in PvP, and even completing fully maxxed collections, probably a lot sooner than you think. The only things in Mercenaries that are really stuck behind a paywall are the cosmetic skins.
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More about HearthStonePost: "A few things people have been missing about Mercenaries" specifically for the game HearthStone. Other useful information about this game:
- Mercenaries PVP meta overview
- Some tips and tricks to efficiently farm Heroic barrens for tasks.
- Top Decks of the Week #129 (11.10 – 17.10) [Mercenaries, Standard, Wild, Duels & Classic]
- Summary of the 10/16/2021 Vicious Syndicate Podcast (fourth one for 21.3 patch)
- Mercenaries needs a lot of tweaking otherwise will get bored fast like other gatches games (long feedback thread)
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