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Merc Swarming

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:00 pm
by Mallorn
I haven't seen this technique before and developed what is described below. I will refer to it as merc swarming.

Key points:
-pull a swarm of multiple weak (old-zone) cons, preferably light blue
-use merc tank, must have high level MGB mage DS at minimum
-reduce getting attacked by using vineleash as necessary, leaving all mobs in attack range of merc tank
-focus solely on healing merc. If you could be healing faster, add the number of mobs to the swarm.

You can, and should, build a lot from there. With mage DS plus ranger DS enemies get hit for 427 damage per swing for no mana cost. Any guild lobby buffs that increase survival rate are very helpful(there are several, I just leave merc afk for a while to pick up buffs, lots of AC and hp that way. Put on passive for no charges!). Besides merc tank survivability and DS you should focus on your healing ability. These translate as faster casting, bigger heals, or faster regenerating mana pool. High level “KEI” or equivalent is the greatest single boost of note. Other things to boost this ability:
-better gear (mana pool and healing focus)
-tribute (focus on faster casting and better heals)
-intensity of the resolute (when you are behind on healing and/or a lot of incoming)
-whatever that veteran reward is for giving you back full health and mana, use in a pinch :)
-I would ride a mount outdoors to boost mana regen rate

AA List as follows (highest you can get for tiered skills):
-increase number of buff slots
-AA snare (this is how I pull when stormstrike isn't up, makes merc drop everything and grab aggro on that snared mob)
- healing adept
- healing gift
-spirit of the wood
-convergence of the spirits
-white wolf form
-evac (awesome way to not lose your life and all of those nice buffs on you and your merc)


The two greatest payoffs are (duh):
-great experience
-more drops; platinum, vendor trash, tradeskill supplies, etc.

Now, how much exp? I have only done this extensively in:

Infected Paw.
I started hunting there at lvl 73 using a combo of our anti-summoned DD and merc tanking. Slowly over time I went from one pull to multiple pulls. I know by lvl 75 I was pulling 2-8 at a time, and by lvl 77 I was pulling over 10. At lvl 77, with the new healing spell doing roughly 30-40% more healing, there isn’t much of a limit, other than what the merc can handle before being "scared." I think when I pull over 12 my merc starts to freak with the adds, so I try to manage to have at least 8 mobs going on the screen at once. At lvl 75 I squeezed out 22 AA’s in 30 minutes with lessons and all the perks above, average is probably 16-20AA’s in 30 minutes. At lvl 77, I seem to be able to squeeze about 30 AA’s in a 30 minute AA session, again when optimized, going so far as clicking on lessons near the end of the first wave of deaths, etc. For this zone I have a bind at the entrance, either scoop the entrance or drop to the bottom after the first pair of doors and sweep the bottom. If I am low on mana after 10, 15 or 20 minutes I’ll often finish the wipe and instantly port to second bind in guild lobby to med, pause lessons, and let all the spawns return before finishing up.

UPDATE: reading on the lower levels, which I typically work through, are all light blue at lvl 82. Also, I did one lessons run for 31 AA's, the second I ran into a problem and had to bail with 25 AA's in 28 minutes with lessons. To try to optimize it more last night I was single snaring adds when possible to keep all aggro on merc without using vines, which kind of halts the flow of the swarm train.

A little more tweaking and keeping 8-11 mobs up at a time is very managable for me to heal. At that point, adding DPS can speed it up. I have the loyalty rabbit and nature's guardian which I use. Hitting spirit of the wood or convervence adds DS. I have gotten to where when I have pulled and have 10 or so going strong, merc is healed and I could pull more but don't want to freak the merc out, I'll just anti-summoned DD the weak ones so I can keep pulling more.

At lvl 79 this still works great. I often DD as often as I can, and then when low on mana I wrap up the swarm and secondary recall back to the GL as soon as I can after the fighting drops. Keeping up lessons and all of my buffs I can get 2-3 runs. As for leveling, in levels 78-79 I was getting about 25% of a levels in one 30-minute lessons burned if optimized.

At lvl 80 a few of the entrance spawns are green, but if you go deep or back they are all light blue except for a few uncommon named spawns (which have been green since lvl 78 or so). AA rate, with the 1000% boost at lower levels, is still around 25+ during a lessons burn. So far I haven't been able to speed up kills in this zone simply due to the number my merc can handle. I now pull with the anti-summoned DD often and cast it often to try to help out DPS, but it doesn't seem to be a significant help.

At lvl 81 a few more are green at the entrance, but the bulk of the lowest levels are light blue. AA rate/leveling is about the same, roughly 25-30 AA or 20% of a level per lesson burn at max efficiency. Now that the merc can handle max attacking mobs more often I often am DDing throughout the fight.

At lvl 78 I tried swarming gnolls on the NE corner of their camp (highest level). These were the only ones that were light blue. I could easily enough get 4-7 gnolls and burn them down. Trick is they hit a lot harder and have more hps, so it is a little less fast paced on kills. Their high platinum drops and vendor junk is nice though; good place to come for great cash when I have all of my merc swarming buffs up and lessons was already used.

Update: I went back here at lvl 80, pulling with hands of ro (sp? low level Atk and AC debuff) so they hit for less (hopefully), and I tinkered with lowering resists and DDing between healing merc. I also tried our targeted AE DD, lvl 78 I believe, but had my doubts since I didn't see the additional waves register damage and didn't have the patience to troubleshoot it.

Plane of Fire:
C2 is a hot spot for taking on weaker mobs for kills. This might have been perfect if the bulk of the DS damage is fire based and the zone is filled with mobs that seem to be fire immune. A high level druid DS plus ranger DS might make this a viable option.

Direwind Cliffs: lvl 80 I visited here, it is a hot zone and there are groups of mobs to the east of the druid ring that were screaming for such a strategy. The perk is you can complete the quests to get past the ashengate guardians at the same time. The strategy used for gnolls works here; pull with debuffs or add debuffs while you can between heals, and mix in either DD's on bigger hitters or AE DD's to add up the DPS. Not the fastest, but the drops were okay and it was a refreshing change from grinding through Infected Paw.

The same hunting technique is helpful for tradeskill gathering. Since the mobs are so weak, I would invision pulling agro with a passive merc, camo up, sprinting to gather as many pulls as you want and then vineleash, aggressive merc. I saw a cleric gathering tradeskill resources from the goblins in plane of nightmare, the caverns, and that would be a sweet spot to scoop up groups to grab fine silk, etc.

Re: Technique: Merc Swarming

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:02 pm
by Mallorn
Thanks to Tatankawd for pointing out to me how lucrative this actually is. :) This post was for you, I never could have described this all with tells!

Others out there, share your thoughts, particularly if you have or will try it and figure out more tricks.

Re: Merc Swarming

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:19 am
by Kassadin
Hey, I just recently came back to EQ from a VERY long break.. Omens was the last pack i played in. I started up a druid on the Vox server.. I got myself one of those tank mercenaries and learned very quickly that I can swarm a ton of stuff on top of him and then DS him and just nuke stuff as it gets low. Paludial caverns I was getting a level every 10 minutes from 13-20. I am currently 20 and going back tonight. This tactic works amazing.