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Establishing Mercenary Guilds?


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So I always wanted to run a mercenary guild in an multiplayer game.  Now there are many types of guilds casual, raid, merchant, pvp but they all are very rigid allegiances to guilds.  However, I have never been able to find a mercenary guild or establish one.  I want to essentially make a guild that is sub divided into minor groups that can be contracted out for pay to anyone, a guild, a rich player, a kingdom. What I am curious about is will there be a system to allow a guild to be hired out in parts for various groups or will the players have to be "unaffiliated" with the mercenary guild (the mercenary guild does not exist in the game, but it is on the web) so the players get hired out by joining and dropping guilds as their employment comes around.  Which seems totally more work than needed.

 

What are your thoughts should we be able to subdivide guilds to allow the establishment of mercenary guilds that can be hired out?

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No... I don't think mercenaries would be expected to drop their alliance affiliation and join the alliance hiring them. If what you're going for is to not have any alliance affiliation for your company, than it won't be a problem, because you can just hop in and out of guilds as you want. 

 

I don't see anything wrong with "The Gilded Knights" hiring "BlackOak Mercenaries" and questing about with them despite their different guild names. Mercenaries also will be hired per event, so it doesn't make sense to invite a merc then have them leave after an hour, day, week, or month (depending on the task.)

 

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well there might be an issue if they are hired out to the inner two most worlds sets.  Since the shadow is guild vs guild having them them in a guild would provide problems with friendly fire in castles or battlefields, while the dregs is no affiliation game play which could run into the same problem.

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I think the idea of Mercenary Guilds is going to have to come from the Eternal Kingdoms.  I would imagine that is where the majority of business will be lined up.  

 

Lets say a guild wants to drop into a new campaign.  But they know they are probably going to be out manned on the opposing side, however the server rules dictate.  They approach a Mercenary Guild in the EK.  The mercenary guild says you must pay us "x" amount for each player we give you.  Negotiations ensue.  Payments can be set-up however.

 

After an agreement is reached, the mercenary members hired will drop into the campaign with the guild and fight until the campaign concludes.  

 

Because how the different server rules are set up, a deal would need to be brokered before dropping into a campaign.  I think only a couple of rule-sets would allow hiring of different factions/guilds/players in the middle of a campaign.

 

There are a ton of other variables, but you get the general idea.

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I think the idea of Mercenary Guilds is going to have to come from the Eternal Kingdoms.  I would imagine that is where the majority of business will be lined up.  

 

Lets say a guild wants to drop into a new campaign.  But they know they are probably going to be out manned on the opposing side, however the server rules dictate.  They approach a Mercenary Guild in the EK.  The mercenary guild says you must pay us "x" amount for each player we give you.  Negotiations ensue.  Payments can be set-up however.

 

After an agreement is reached, the mercenary members hired will drop into the campaign with the guild and fight until the campaign concludes.  

 

Because how the different server rules are set up, a deal would need to be brokered before dropping into a campaign.  I think only a couple of rule-sets would allow hiring of different factions/guilds/players in the middle of a campaign.

 

There are a ton of other variables, but you get the general idea.

 

 

 

More than likely, you are correct in that the negotiations would take place in meta-game.     And if you want to stay "in character" so to speak, the EK's seem the likely candidate.    

 

But as far as how it plays out in the campaign.      Given how their previous games have done these types of things, a guild will be able to become a sub-guild of another.   And it likely will not be difficult for a guild lead of the sub-guild ( aka mercenary guild ) to sub or de-sub, at will, in-game.

 

The ideas of campaigns has been expressed as similar to the various beta-builds of Shadowbane.  As the former head of a guild in shadowbane ( beta and live ).   I have experience with both sides of this coin.  Being a small guild who wants to retain it's identity and who wants to promote itself.   whether the goal is money, fame, an empire of your own.   The principles are the same.    You have to be trustworthy.  

 

Example:    Near the beginning of the final beta builds, we were a very small guild. We had a vision of what we wanted ( for us, we wanted to rule our corner with absolute authority ). We'd been part of a major guild that had fallen apart from within.  We played hard, we played with style, we were having fun, but we were up against some major beta-guilds.   So, we talked and roleplayed a little.  We had some experience and we parlayed that experience into relationships.  

 

   And this is key.    It's why being a merc guild is hard.    Being in battles, using telecoms, voip, mumble, TS, Vent - whatever.     Bonds are formed. When your goal as a guild no longer matches the goals of the guild you've contracted with (whether as allies or subs), your paths will diverge.  This causes interpersonal and interguild conflict. And while that is a good thing because conflict creates stories, it also impacts us as people.    Animosity, to put it lightly, is created.

 

In our case, all bs aside, in the middle of one campaign, we took a better offer.   The game mechanics allowed it.  We made new friends, we made bitter enemies and for a long while, there were quite a few folks who would not trust my guild.   It took a lot of behind the scenes communication ( and in some cases, years of distance ), before the sting of betrayal was gone.  Their vengeance via  the eradication of my guilds powerbase (in SB)  didn't help.  *grins*    Animosity goes both ways.     

 

 

In short, I think that the mechanics will be there to make a merc guild not only possible, but likely.      The difficulty will be maintaining the relationships needed to successfully flip sides ( between or inside campaigns - both ), without creating permanent animosity.

Edited by Kirel
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As I've written elsewhere, the mercenary model doesn't make sense in gaming. A landed power that needs mercenaries probably can't afford them. A mercenary group that's powerful enough to be worth paying can probably do better for itself by becoming a landed power. And in Crowfall, a merc guild needs to join a large faction if they're to have any chance of winning the campaign, so they need a faction to call home more than that faction needs a few more players.

 

Realistically, "we're a merc guild, pay us" will quickly turn into "we're a homeless guild, can we kneel to you" in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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That was well put Jihan.     It can be done, but it's difficult.   And even if you do manage to figure out a way not not need the large guild as much as the large guild needs you, the moment you break faction and take a different contract:  You've made an enemy.

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Up until Darkfall I was of the opinion that merc guilds are simply not feasible... like Jihan put it already... who will hire you?

 

Unless you belong to the best 1% of players in the game, noone will bother with you.

It's easier to just ally with another guild real quick instead of paying some guys who are basically dead meat anyways.

 

 

So, if you lead a small group of extremely skilled players, then yes, expect to get hired by the huge zerg alliances.

If you're a random guild that's a dime a dozen, then no, noone will even think about paying you to fight for them.

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What about a gatherer who just needs some hired muscle for a few hours while they do their thing?  They know of a merc guild who have players in the campaign world, said players aren't doing much when asked, and might do some bodyguard work in exchange for a percentage of the total haul.

 

Or maybe run defense to an embargo zone?  Some extra bodies for a quick revenge killing?

 

While I can't see mercs working too well in the grand scheme of things, I can see a lot of potential for smaller scale things.

 

In all cases, those merc guilds need a perfect reputation for sticking with their contract.  Accepting a better offer might be good in the short term, but long term you're not going to be getting far as a merc if the only thing you're known for is skipping out on contracts.

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The economics don't work. A gatherer paying for muscle needs to be able to pay each guard more than they could make doing something productive on their own. That'll only be possible if the gatherer is extracting incredibly valuable resources, which would almost certainly mean that the source is a strategic asset and will be harvested by guild gatherers under the protection of regular troops.

Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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Mercs will work for resources.  The resources you use to build your EK's structures and land.  Everyone needs a roaming group of thugs patrolling their lands.  Enforcing borders, messing up enemies exp groups, extra muscle for protecting caravans or things.  If you have a decent size of people on all the time, you can work a deal to get "paid".

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Become a well known mercenary makes you important, if guild x and guild y are fighting and you join x and they win and the other way around meaning there guild leaders will fight to have you on your side or if you keep jumping between them they´ll team up and kill you. Kinda like EvE.

Arrogance diminishes wisdom

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Well i think people are underestimating how the games will play out.  The start of a world will probably be very similar to that of an RTS a rush to find ground and resources and defensible positions, stake claims and jumping them, by the time summer roles around the forerunners will start to emerge and fall and stick around.  Fall will be the big wars of the large clans and probably stalemate a lot.  While winter will bring about desperation to maximize profits and lead to chaos before the fall.  Now i see mercenaries being totally profitable in each season.  

 

Spring a mid sized guild could hire mercenaries to prevent being pushed out by large guilds and or be hired to explore so large guilds don't risk loosing their "pioneers" and "settlers" exploring if someone has a fued or is out for revenge.  The mercs don't claim an allegiance so less likely to be randomly attacked or targeted by a rival guilds.

 

Summer mercs could be used to keep small guilds from pushing up, because i doubt most guilds will have the man power to fight off rival guilds of equivalent or larger size and make sure no rat is poking around.  They could also be used as harassing forces if you don't want to loose your guys who are building a town up protected by your clan mates.  Do you really want to go through the trouble of skirmishing your neighbors and harassing them which would separate your forces.  This would allow the contractor to build there power base while seeing a drop in their enemies' power base.

 

Fall will probably be a stalemate much like how most MMO guilds currently are they don't make any huge gambits for power and only move a few spaces relative to another.  To make a huge gambit you need to either best your opponent militarily on the field in large scale open combat or beat them to the punch line.  They released a video about a homeless guild vs landed guild scenario where the homeless guild came out on top.  You could also use mercs to hide your identity in an attack so the enemy forgets to focus on you, allowing your guild to beat them to the punch line.

 

Winter is probably going to turn into a pretty intense season with desperation and resource count driving extreme actions as guilds try to secure a win or get away with the most of their loot as possible.  Merc could do any number of jobs or just turn into straight up marauders that piss people off, but they would be unlikely to win or make a good haul.  So chances are most mercs would not be around except for a few powerful groups that could change the outcome of events.

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FA in SB were a well performing merc guild and gained a lot of respect, even from some that were often on the wrong side of the line.  I was killed countless times by members of FA, but I respected them because they held their contracts with high regard.  To my knowledge, they never backstabbed anyone on their contracts and honored them to the best of their ability.  If they couldn't complete the hired task, they refunded the payment.  They didn't charge ridiculous rates for the services they provided.
Merc guilds can work, but they must establish their charter early on, and have minimal changes over the course of the game.  They must present themselves professionally with no smack-talk in the forums.  They must be able to deliver on their contracts regularly and reliably.  It works, but it takes dedicated individuals.

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So a few points here. 

 

A few of you questioned the ability of a losing/ineffective guild from having the resources necessary to pay a mercenary guild. There is clearly a misconception here. Paying a mercenary guild might be as simple as offering them a paid VIP token (the devs have indicated that the subscription is tradeable). This would allow an unsuccessful guild to "pay to win" in a sense. Now clearly, you were probably referring to the losing guilds inability to harvest in game resources and in that respect you might be right.

 

As I've written elsewhere, the mercenary model doesn't make sense in gaming. A landed power that needs mercenaries probably can't afford them. A mercenary group that's powerful enough to be worth paying can probably do better for itself by becoming a landed power.

 

 

Clearly because you've written it before it must be true. Mercenary models work very easily in games where real life money can purchase an item in this game (VIP membership) that has a real world value. Your ability or inability to "afford" something has nothing to do with your playstyle or skill. It has everything to do with that little icon to the left of your post (I'm referring to the fact you spent $250 on this game like I did). The injection of real world value into this game will mean that Mercenaries will ALWAYS be viable in this game. You'd be surprised how many people are willing to spend cash for convenience. Do you think having a squad of 100 stealthies attacking your enemies could be classified as a convenience? I certainly do.

 

Certain campaigns will encourage this type of mechanic (being a merc) and some clearly will not (tournament campaigns etc). That doesn't mean that Mercenary guilds won't be able to find a niche in Crowfall. Your interpretation of the game thus far is clearly wrong and I don't see how you possibly have any valid data to support either side of your argument. Just because your limited imagination can't think of more then one situation in which mercenaries would work, doesn't mean their aren't any of them.

 

 

 

The second point I'd bring up is one I am approaching from a personal aspect. I might call myself a "mercenary" squad, but my activities won't be something you'll classify as honorable. I intend to sell Obsidian's services to whomever the highest bidder is just like anyone else. You might also find yourself being asked to pay me to STOP an activity; raiding your members, its resources, etc. Extortion works just as well in games like Crowfall as trying to earn an honorable living by being some glorified mercenary company. I could just as easily build an empire of said extortion.

 

I'll be happy to visit your guild/city when the game goes live to see how quickly you'd end up trying to pay me to leave you alone.

Edited by scree
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That's an excellent point, Scree. My argument was based within the context of a closed economy. Once you introduce the possibility of RMT the mercenary model makes perfect sense.

 

"Pay me to go away" is also a quite viable business model but that's not what the word "mercenary" means.

Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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My question here is... how is RMT going to affect the economy in this game?  I was under the impression CF was using RMT for aesthetics and some convenience.  Not a game-changer like how Archeage uses it.  The only difference is how the game will initially start in the EK, thanks to the kickstarter packages.  But how will that translate into dropping into campaigns?  And after the initial start of the game and things settle for a while, how much will the KS packages really affect overall gameplay?

 

This thread is getting slightly off-topic, but I agree with the economics behind mercenary guilds being difficult.  Not impossible, but possibly impractical unless you want a RP stance and don't care about economics.  Also, extortion is always viable in a player-driven PvP world.  But I wouldn't call it a mercenary guild.

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Considering what I know of this game (and what I know from playing EVE) mercenaries have four potential groups of customers:

 

1. Large guilds that want to fight, harass, annoy etc. their enemies without publicly being involved/declaring war. A good mercenary group keeps its clients anonymous, and this can be beneficial for diplomatic reasons (like, oh, I don't know, incriminating a rival group as the contractor and inciting a war between enemies).

 

2. Large guilds who want an edge in conflict, either by sending mercenaries to stomp out growing groups that might grow to be enemies in the future and make their game miserable by constantly camping and harassing them (without incriminating their contractors, of course) which more often than not breaks a group apart, adding additional (elite) troops to the lineup who's deaths are inconsequential to morale (nobody cares if the mercs lose their gear, they got paid for it), or simply doing duties that *might* lead to combat but are otherwise so dull/repetitive that nobody that's an actual member wants to do it (might as well pay pros if you're going to have to pay people anyway) e.g. patrolling resource nodes, escorting caravans, or guarding miners/harvesters.

 

3. Merchants/trader guilds. There's always plenty of non-combatants in a sandbox mmo, and they tend to band together, while not associating too much with combat activities (or be less than stellar at it, for the most part). Bulk shipments (caravans) from such entities will need protection, and they will need a group they can trust to do so (and not try and run off with the goods AND their payment). When one or more people are lumping their lot in with a caravan containing days (or weeks, we don't know the details) of combined materials, hiring even a substantially sized mercenary guild to guard it for the relatively short time (an hour or two, tops) it will take to move it to safety will only cut marginally into the profits.

 

4. Small(er) guilds who have established themself, stockpiled some resources, and are now being looked at with hungry eyes by a larger guild. They cannot win the fight by themselves, and would then lose everything, so even though it might be expensive, hiring mercenaries to help defend will mean maintaining their establishment and source of income. Perhaps even buying time to move their goods to export, recruit more members, or forge alliances. Ofcourse the larger guild could also call in mercenaries to shift the odds back in their favour, but they are looking for profit, and paying the mercenaries might not be worth what they stand to gain (besides crushing start up factions, see point #2).

 

The truth is there are many reasons why being a mercenary can be in high demand, and pay well, depending on your skill and reputation. A merc faction (guild) I believe can potentially be one of the highest grossing type of guilds to have, if you can get a good stream of contracts going.

 

The main problems, should you be considering to start such a guild, would be 1: getting your name out there 2: recruiting the right type of players, you don't just want skilled killers, you want skilled killers that can restrain themselves from marring your reputation by killing out of contract (Only killing for contract is essentially what keeps you from facing constant diplomatic issues) 3: keeping your name clean (honour > all as a merc. nobody will pay a merc that "might" fulfil their contract) which is another reason to make sure of 2.

 

Just to quickly explain #2, if you go around killing any target of opportunity you see, you're essentially just a pvp guild, people won't trust you as a direct result. Of course you're doing it for fun and profit, but the moment that's out of contract, who's to say you won't turn around on a contract if you find that to be more profitable or fun? Not to mention it will draw you plenty of ire.

 

There's a big difference responding to a "Why the fck did you just kill me" with "For the lulz" or "You looked juicy" compared to "We're being paid to keep this area clear, kill on sight. Nothing personal."  One comes across as a generic internet player, the other as a professional you might consider hiring yourself.

 

There's one exception though, and that is when you are getting your name out. You probably want to showcase your skills a bit to potential contractors, and a few pvp videos stomping small (or large) groups of randoms can garner alot of interest. Just be sure to explain this to anyone asking about it when you kill them. As I said, as a merc, reputation is everything.

 

Hope that helps a bit with making a merc guild ;)

 

P.S. There is actually one more point I should make for a succesful mercenary guild, and that is pricing. You have to figure out a reasonable price that people can pay to hire (a part of) your guild. Ofcourse it's easiest to simply contract the whole guild out for an extended period of time for a certain goal, but making that profitable is far harder than being hireable on a "per merc per hour/battle" basis, at it makes you very inflexible, and gives you alot of downtime for your members as well.

You should be quite capable of sending 5 members to escort a caravan of one guild, while that same night having 20 members fight a battle against that very same guild for a different guild (unless you have contracts stipulating otherwise, which would have to be quite expensive to be worthwhile for you).

Edited by Dailato
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  • 2 weeks later...

If you just want the Mercenary concept, we have done incorporated them in different MMOs for years. The way we did it was the mercenary guild is "hired" by an established House or Monarchy. They are in the same guild, but run separately as a mercenary unit.

 

While this solution does not address the desire to work for different guilds and the nightmare logistics of in-game currency, it is a solution for concept only.

BLACKHEART

 A Crowfall Guild Allied with Corvus Citadel

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