In all genres and stories I have enjoyed, I was always most interested in those fulfilling mercenary roles. Outer Heaven and Diamond Dogs in Metal Gear, Wolf’s Dragoons and Grey Death Legion in Battletech, Mandalorians in Star Wars, SeeD in Final Fantasy, Tekkadan in Gundam, and various others have been examples of mercs. These sellswords and guns for hire vary greatly and can at times be saviors or villains. Mercenaries exist in Eve Online as well but the community certainly has more room to grow and opportunities for players to explore which have not been brought to the forefront. Starting with the launch of Merc Net we will be working to promote the game play style. Is Merc Net a corp or alliance? Neither, it’s a discord based community server with the goal of drawing in potential clients, and provide support and guides to help both mercs and clients. It’s not a place to find blues but a place to make green.
Since 2016 Eve has undergone some key changes that have impacted the way players interact. One of most eminent regarded the change in passive moon mechanics. Years ago you would anchor a POS on a moon and it would passively pull the resources by itself. A couple of directors could manage the mechanics and hauling of this endeavor leaving the rest of the group’s pilots to focus on PvP activities. For groups such as Pandemic Legion, Shadow Cartel, Black Legion and other PvP oriented groups, the idea of mining was considered a distraction from what they really wanted to do: fight. That’s not to say it was non-existent, but it was rare. Watching groups like PL develop extensive industrial and mining capabilities was a bit like watching Genghis Khan settle down and opening up a fro-yo stand. In short industry became a necessity. I’m not taking a swipe at PL or other PvP groups that developed their industrial capabilities. It was a necessity. Your moons became worthless unless you were willing to put mining ships on grid and mine. I do not believe this was necessarily a bad change. But it did change the culture of PvP groups. Less time was put into PvP and more was put into industry. That much is undeniable.
We could bemoan this change and hope CCP reverses these mechanics. Perhaps having NPC corps be contracted out to mine moons for a percentage of the revenue as a quasi-passive feature is a solution. But I also believe that in a sandbox game the players also bear some responsibility in making the universe what it is. Players can go beyond game mechanics in order to improve and shape the game. Coalitions in Eve are one such example. There’s no in game mechanic for coalitions like corporations and alliances yet for better or for worse we have them. Players created a beyond the game mechanics feature.
Merc Net as a player built community is going beyond the mechanics focusing on promoting mercenary game play. PvP groups can offer their services in exchange for money making them less reliant on industry and allowing them to focus on the PvP gameplay they enjoy. This may run contrary to what CCP has been promoting for the past few years. And for most groups industry will and should be their foundation. However, we can still have a ways for PvP groups to spend most of their time PvPing. Merc Net will also establish baseline standards so that both contractors and clients can have a degree of trust between each other. The goal is not to gatekeep but to provide standards that encourage groups of different sizes and experience to participate. What’s the catch? There is none. Find contracts, fulfill them honestly, and help those around you if you want.
What’s the appeal of being a mercenary? Aside from getting paid to PvP, it creates a purpose and goal for your gameplay. Sandbox games are great but they often lack purpose and goals unless the players themselves create them. Contracts are the difference between “lol idk guys yeet somewhere I guess” and “We have a contract for our client to ensure X Y and Z objectives are fulfilled.” I’m not saying every roam in Eve needs to have some grand purpose. Laid back chill fleets are great. Having a mix of the two is better. If you’re sitting on comms night after night wishing you could something that’s part of a bigger story, being a mercenary is a great way to do that.
As a client why would you ever want to hire mercs? Mercenaries have been part of human history and employed by various powers for a variety of reasons. Just as in the real world, in Eve, sometimes you just need a certain amount of critical mass for a short period of time looking to accomplish a specific objective. Maybe you are at war with another entity and you want a dedicated group to ensure your enemy doesn’t rest comfortably in between the major battles. Or maybe you need some wet work done covertly without drawing attention to yourself. Mercenaries can come in a variety of sizes and capabilities from dread dropping 120 man fleets, to small highly specialized black ops squads and everything in between.
“But what if I get scammed?” Merc Net will address such actions taken by dishonest contractors. We’ll work to black list these dishonest groups that give honest mercs a bad name. Just as Merc Net hopes to protect clients, we will also protect Merc groups from cheating clients. If a client cheats an honest Merc broker, they’ll be listed and the consequences to follow will be theirs to deal with.
In the coming weeks following the launch Merc Net will partner with a variety of other Eve community servers and will work to develop resources in the form of guides, promotions for groups, and finding clients for everyone. Friends, enemies, supporters, skeptics, I welcome and invite all of you. Give war a chance.