Mercenaries

By on November 18, 2009 3:21:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

joasoze

Join Date 02/2006
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I remember that I wanted this functionality in Heroes V, but it was not to be. So here is my suggestion for Elemental.

I would like the possibility to hire mercenaries to bother my enemies so that I would not have to go to full war every time I wish to punish someone. Mercenaries would act like other roaming monsters only that they would target a set kingdom. This could be a random event (a group of mercenaries offer their services) or a more standard functionality if you build  a special building which would allow hireing.

The size of the army hired would vary a bit by random, but mostly by how much you pay them.

There would ofcourse be some balancing issues here. Things like size of hired army, price of hireing, how often you can hire mercenaries and so on.

As a final thought. If a group of mercenaries kills the last city of a kingdom they would start an empire of their own based on this city.

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November 18, 2009 3:43:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of mercs and your idea is an interesting approach.  I've seen a few other ways to do too...

I remember playing a game that had a similar concept but the name escapes me.  There was a mercenary guild where player could bid on the available Mercs and  the winner would get them for fixed amount of time.  Having these neutral mercs available would make playing a merchant rich kingdom plausible.  These ready made troops would have to be costly, but having a bidding mechanic would make another interesting element to the game.

Another old board game I played, Divine Right, had mercenaries in special locations on the map.  The first person to send a diplomat to those locations and successfully negotiate, would get those troops.  I think this would also be interesting, however it has the issue of the locations being closer to some players than others.

Regardless of approach, it would be interesting and provide another resource for the players to compete over.

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November 18, 2009 4:03:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

hmm.. Its an interesting thought that all players will see the same mercenaries in their "mercenary building". Then if the building suddenly is empty, you that someone will feel some heat soon. And there is competition in who will hire. Some times you would hire them only to make sure that noone else does

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November 18, 2009 8:09:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the idea. Reminds me of the pirates in Sins of a solar empire. Thumbs up!

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November 18, 2009 12:38:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

surely having Taverns, Brothels, and other such things will increase your chance of gaining the attention of mercenaries. Whereas a Tavern or Inn would attract individual adventurers, Large Beer-halls and Brothels would be more likely to attract a whole company of Mercenaries.

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November 18, 2009 12:46:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tasunke,
surely having Taverns, Brothels, and other such things will increase your chance of gaining the attention of mercenaries. Whereas a Tavern or Inn would attract individual adventurers, Large Beer-halls and Brothels would be more likely to attract a whole company of Mercenaries.

Good ideas here. Thanks

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November 18, 2009 4:15:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I could never get enough mercenaries in MoM.  I hope if mercenaries are a "thing" we have a setting where we can make them super common or super rare based on  game setup.    (of course "fame" or whatever can still influence it, perhaps exponentially)

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November 18, 2009 5:11:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, apparantly the game already has the best Mercenary in the world using a Prestige based system of aquirement. Namely, an Elder Dragon!!

although I would like to think the path to aquiring human mercenaries being under "civilization" while Dragon is under "adventure" :3

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November 20, 2009 2:39:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of mercenaries! This was a neat little feature in some fantasy strategy titles. [Including MoM IIRC]

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November 20, 2009 8:50:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think based on your prestige, you have a certain "base" percentage chance of a band of mercenaries to establish contact with you. This is modified by 100% for each "mercenary building" like Brothel, Beer Hall, and Every-man's Unquestioning Outfitter (supply shop for mercs, thieves, and bandits). so with all three buildings your base percentage (20%?) plus an additional 300% of base ... which is 20 x 4, which is 80%.

World starts out with no mercenaries ... and then the bigger nations get and the larger armies get, Rogue companies of mercenaries begin to form. There would probably never be enough mercenaries to be larger than 10 or 20% of the worlds professional State-owned armies, although I think merchant civs could increase this somehow (where its more a value of percentage) and honestly this limitation seems un-needed to me. Anyways, more and more mercenary companies (and mercenary adventurers) come along, and for the Merc Company you hire them for a determined number of turns, hopefully turns and gold are determined via dialouge and influenced by Diplomatic skill. (such NPCs are best dealt with by Diplomatic skill, fellow Sovereigns however, I would prefer a thinking AI, wit vs wit). Perhaps Merc Adventurers are signed on for life, or until they route from combat (and miraculously don't die). Assasins can also be Hired the same way .. only assasins are Persistent (there are say, 10 assasins in the world, and over time they will level up, ect) .. and you only hire an assasin for a Mission. After the mission, they take their gold, their extra level, and go back to the market. Perhaps there is a way to permanently hire an assasin, or several assasins, but It would probably have to be something special, like owning the GrandMaster Assasin Guild House, or something similar. Such a person might be able to use their assasins as spies (although I would prefer Assasins merely exist in the ether when not on the job, as opposed to actively travelling the land, same with mercenaries, but I suppose either way works)

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November 24, 2009 1:31:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the assassins idea Tasunke. 

Considering the lore of Elemental, specifically the Cataclysm and that civilization is basically getting a fresh start, there wouldn't be mercenaries until after there has been some civilization development. This makes sense with the backstory, and prevents the problem of getting hit too hard by mercs early on.

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December 1, 2009 10:26:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like some of the ideas here guys.

Perhaps the amount of mercenaries in the world could be tied to a variable that is different for every game. In most games there would be a decent amount of mercs, but once in a while you would get a world that hardly has any besides a few assasins and the likes, or a world that is filled with merc companies trying to make a buck, making the use of them more interesting this game. This variable could also be changed by events in the game, for instance a ballad that glorifies the life of mercenaries becoming popular among the population causes the number of mercs to rise.

Ratya48, there could be mercenaries early on in the game, these would be some of the 'feral' humans living in the wild that don't want to join a civilization, but don't mind to do some dirty work in excange for gold or goods. But i agree that it wouldn't be fun to be hit by them very early on. 

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December 1, 2009 7:14:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dude these are great ideas!

 

In some other rts/tbs games you can have generals recruit mercs for battle. Well for elemental how about the sov, general, and heros units can recruit mercs.

Heros can recruit small groups of mercs and they have a small chance of getting mercs for free(if this happens the mercs will loot a little more on the battlefield.) Also since Heros units most likely will get around the map more so than any other unit with the exception of Sov, beasts and cavalry, they get more types of Mercs early on in the game than the sov and generals. They have been around doing adventuring and know where to look.

For General units they can recruit whole armies(if ya got the money.) Generals also get the least amount of different mercs to hire in the beginning of games.

The Sov can recruit more different types of mercs than the general in the beginning, but he cannot recruit as may units as a Hero. The Sov can pay money to the mercs, or he could give them magic/essence. If you give them essence theres a chance that you might not need to pay them money.

As games go on more types of mercs open up. Also some times you get only certain types of mercs in different game. Maybe even events also unlock new ones too.

Another thought came up. In some events merc companies might come to you and ask if you could build them a fort or castle. And if you do, you could get a discount from hiring their mercs or hiring certain merc units in general...

 

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December 2, 2009 6:40:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Much to think about here. I like games within games (minigames). Like keeping people happy in CIV IV, improving the dragon in Kings Bounty. So kingdoms "fighting" (hirering among a limited common supply) over mercenaries could be good.

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December 2, 2009 6:41:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Buying structures could make hireing cheaper, make mercenaries come to you first and other effects.

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December 2, 2009 10:21:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So kingdoms "fighting" (hirering among a limited common supply) over mercenaries could be good.

Id definitely like to see this, especially if troops that get disbanded for whatever reason could join the list of possible mercenaries for hire.

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December 3, 2009 5:54:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mercenaries are always an interesting idea, however there are quite a few "question marks" all around. I've just been to a 10h lan-party, and my mind isn't working the way it should, thus I will just post a couple of short ideas:

  • Upkeep of a mercenary should be higher than of a typical (comparable) unit which you could train in barracks. The hiring cost should be similar.
  • Mercenaries would be divided into two groups: elite and normal.
  • Normal units would have a basic 'growth' level. Example: the basic units growth is 5. That means that every day, 5 new units could be hired. There will be a MAX amount of units - i.e., how many units can be cumulated. Let's say that our max. amount would be 50 mercenaries. That meas that if we don't buy any units for 10 days, no new will come.
  • Elite units could only be hired during an event. During the course of game various super mercenaries would offer their skills and every player would have to offer a sum of money. It won't be an auction! You can't see 'bids' of other players. You write down your number & pray that you will hire this unit. In case of very low offers, the elite unit may just decide not to join any faction.
  • Elite units should comparable to heroes, in terms of strength.
  • Normal mercenaries would have a few distinct units. Depending on their strength, some units would be available always (at least very often), and some - only once a month. The system would work similarly to a development system - it would roll the D100 dice X times (X is the number of units available each day - "growth rate"), and depending on the score, a corresponding unit would be available.
  • Unit types will be constant - no unit creation system.
  • There should be a possibility that every mercenary unit will be spawned with higher level of experience (1, 2 or 3, instead of 0 - i.e., untrained unit). Of course, such units would be more expensive.
  • Mercenary system would be 'boostable' - you could improve every aspect of the system building special buildings & developing special techs. Here are a couple of examples:
    • By building 'guilds' (special buildings), you could increase the MAX amount of mercenaries.
    • By developing particular techs, you could gain access to higher level mercenaries (think of changing all lowly burglars into dread knights) - i.e. you could upgrade the basic types of units.
    • Techs would also help you in decreasing the upkeep of your mercenaries.
    • Some ultimate tech (for example available only for the person, who first develops it) would for example allow you to set the mercenaries that you want - for every city. This way you could basically compose your army only of mercenaries.
  • There will be 3 basic unit (mercenary) archetypes:
    • Tank
    • Range
    • Mounted
  • Each archetype will have 3 levels (which will be unlocked by meeting special conditions). Generally each new level of the mercenary unit will be stronger, but apart from just being stronger they will bring a new set of skills/possibilities to the battlefield. Here are the archetypes and their levels:
    • Tank: Fighter ---> Berzeker ---> Martial Artist
    • Range: Sharpshooter ---> Axe Thrower ---> Ballista
    • Mounted: Swift Rider ---> Mounted Archer ---> Fallen Knight

Summary:

In my opinion such (or similar) system would bring completely new types of forces into the game. Mercenary units could not be trained anytime in any amount - their number would slowly (depending on techs, buildings, etc.) increase every day, but they could be hired in 1 day! That means that if your city was to be attacked, and you couldn't defend it with your forces, you could always hire some mercenaries. Upkeep of mercenaries would be higher, in comparison to normal units. Thus, it wouldn't be recommended to keep those units for too long. While mercenaries couldn't be 'designed', they could be of such quality that you couldn't be able to reach in a 40 turns. In other words, you could hire much superior units to your lowly Joes. Due to lack of specialization options, rather limited number of mercenaries and the fact that their highest level units wouldn't be as strong as for example dragons (however elite units would be very powerful), mercenaries wouldn't be the bulk of your force, at least in the late game. However, they are invaluable when you have to muster some forces fast and when your need to have access to some specific units (that you can't train your own). All that said, there is one thing more to add - if a player so strongly desires to have an army composed of mercenary unit, he should have such opportunity; this could be achievable by building tons of special buildings, developing high-end techs and some other things that I don't have time to think about .

Red 1101 out!

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December 4, 2009 1:35:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As a long-time military builder (in games ) I know I would be quite mad if some goody-goody with lots of money was able to hire an entire army under my nose.

Should we really give this much power to the civilization sector of techs? I agree the mercenary idea is cool, but im not sure it should be the end-all be all. Perhaps, however, you could have a significant mercenary strategy, by paying more for your armies and return not having to research military paths directly. Of course, if you leave yourself too weak a mercenary warlord could hold you for ransom (a random event that costs a LOT of gold) or will become a barbarian army with a beeline on your major cities (one of your major cities).

just a thought.

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December 6, 2009 12:21:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tasunke,
As a long-time military builder (in games ) I know I would be quite mad if some goody-goody with lots of money was able to hire an entire army under my nose.

And I'm sure they'd be mad if they spent a long time building a civilization and you just spammed units at them. No one cares if either of you are mad.

What is a problem is if they are unbalanced. The things that make them unbalanced would be low cost and/or being summonable anywhere at any time.

The basic premise is always that they are inefficent, expensive troops, that are usually used only in emergencies. With foresight their army would have been bigger if they just spent that money on building an actual army instead of a mercenary one.

I really liked the way dominions did it. Everyone saw all available mercenaries and then everyone bid for them. This was very fair, but very rich players could easily monopolize them. Total War series has it so anyone in a region can just buy them at will. I would prefer some mix of the two where anyone in a region can bid for certain mercs.

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December 6, 2009 2:23:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That sounds good. And perhaps the structures/buildings in the cities of that region can help to determine how many mercenaries are available in an area.

It would also be cool for you, as a nation, to be "Mercenary" ... in this case you would have less choice of who you fought, but would allow another player to buy "real mercenaries/ good troops" and you would get alot of gold. So you fight their battle for them, you get alot of gold, and suffer any/all losses that are to be had.

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December 6, 2009 8:08:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Instead of having your nation be designated a mercenary faction I would prefer that you can be offered missions by other players to do X, with a reward on completion. Maybe like Sins, but with less suck.

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December 7, 2009 6:32:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of a merchant nation being able to hire mercinaries to battle for them as their probly be more milteristic nations around. Mercs could also act like the pirate unit from civ in that you dont know what nation sent it so you can have some covert ops like harrasing an opposing army while keeping your main armies intact. If you are a merchant for instance you can reserch a tech to help hire and keep mercs but you should have it that the most powerful mercs wont compare to a highly miltant nations most adv unit otherwise no one would really use the milatary tree if mercs are more formible.

Mercs also stick to the storyline as they can be ex bandits or the like as most people know in times of clamity there are people who do things for money

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December 7, 2009 6:48:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I also think nations should be able to merc out, or at least ask for exorbitant amounts of money for joining in a war (or territory, tech, ect ect)

The higher your military rating and reputation, the more cash you should be able to ask for.

 

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December 26, 2009 2:48:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mercs are a good idea.  There should be a good trade-off to make them a significant decision though.  E.g. mercs are quicker to build (instanteous), or mercs come with extra abilities due to being battle-hardened.

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December 26, 2009 5:53:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mercenaries are only loyal to the money they are making, i hope we see a loyalty factor if we have mercenaries. Yes, money can buy you troops, but it doesnt guarentee that they will remain loyal to you throughout the war.

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December 26, 2009 8:24:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I rather like the ideas centered around roaming mercenary bands that can be hired out and will go bother a specified opponent.  It would take some work, but it would be very nice in conjunction with a diplomacy system that enabled civilizations to pimp their own armies for a cause as well.

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