Finally, the Mercenary system will be implemented in the HEX. The system has went through many iterations and the final version is different from what we’ve seen in the past.
What’s a mercenary?
Mercenaries are special PvE champions that will be tradable. So what does Mercenary allow us to do that we cannot do with our current PvE Champion?
More than one deck in a dungeon
Each mercenary will have its own exclusive charge power and a few additional passive or active abilities, providing a unique gameplay experience when compared to your other characters. You can assign mercenaries into a number of party slots that will expand as you progress through the campaign.
You can assemble your adventuring party in the updated campaign deck-builder screen.You will be able to build a unique deck for each mercenary in your party (more on that below). At the start of a battle in the campaign you will be able to select which party member to use for that encounter. When you decide to have a mercenary step in for a fight, they will bring along the deck you assigned to them, including any slotted equipment. This creates a great deal of flexibility in the mercenary system and lets you use them as powerful ‘reserves’ tools in dungeons. With careful preparation, you will always be able to swap in the most ideal deck and powers for any situation.
Mercenary is tradable!!
One of the major change since the Kickstarter announcement of the Mercenary system is that this is now a tradable item. Cory Jones were adamant about Mercenary like Sleeve to be account bound i.e. one of few items in HEX that were not tradable.
This design decision carried over until this very recent i.e. last public version of Mercenary system implementation.
Why is this a big deal?
The reason is exactly same as why I prefer digital card games with trading function i.e. dTCG vs. dCCG. In short, tradable item gives real monetary value to the item.
Level Up Returns
But what does it take to upgrade a mercenary? Mercenaries don’t gain XP like your campaign character, so the process of upgrading them is a little different. Whenever you enter a dungeon with a mercenary in your party, a node in that dungeon will be assigned as a ‘Mercenary Challenge’ encounter. Defeating this encounter with a mercenary rather than your created campaign character will provide you with a mercenary gold bonus which effectively doubles the amount earned from that node! When you defeat two Mercenary Challenges with the same mercenary, you will be able to pay gold to upgrade that character. Your upgrade progress for each mercenary will be tracked via the champion select UI in the campaign deck-builder.
When you upgrade a mercenary, the bonus is not applied to your mercenary stash item. Instead, the upgrade is applied to your account, allowing you to use the upgraded version of that mercenary on ALL your campaign characters (including ones created in the future). This means that if you were to upgrade Lobo, trade it away, then buy a new one a week later, you would still have the upgraded version of Lobo available for use.
This seems a great design decision, and out of all the versions/iterations I’ve seen since the Kickstarter, I like the most.
Upgrade system is nice to give a reason for us to play the specific Mercenary. The requirement is rather easy so it is not cumbersome. There are tons of Mercenary so this system alone gives enough chasing content in a game.
Party Buff System
All mercenaries also have a ‘party passive’ power, AKA a Party Buff. While they are in your party, but not active, they will provide your active champion with a small bonus effect (usually at the start of a game). This party buff is only applied to the OTHER party members, not to the mercenary themselves. When building your adventuring party, you may want to think about using certain combinations of party buffs that either work well together or that can mitigate the shortcomings of your other characters.
This is one of the most interesting new feature. This system basically make an interaction between Mercenaries to your champion or other mercenaries. It is a way of giving dTCG a RPG party feel.
Potential of this system is tremendous. You can easily imagine combination of passive party buff to build a crazy combo in a champion. It’s a way of customizing your deck without a randomness. Magic or Hearthstone cannot do this.
Mercenaries have a shard alignment grid that they must follow in deckbuilding, just like your normal campaign character. The difference is that mercenaries will also have unique deckbuilding rules in addition to their alignment. In many cases, a mercenary’s deckbuilding rules and their shard alignment will conflict. In these situations, the deckbuilding rules win out. For example, a deck building restriction might say that you can’t include Necrotic troops in that mercenary’s deck. So even a Necrotic troop that meets the shard alignment required cannot go into that deck.
Other deckbuilding rules might allow you to play cards that the shard alignment restrictions would otherwise prevent. As an example, consider a shard alignment that allows only two copies of non-Sapphire cards with a deckbuilding rule that says, ‘you can include up to four copies of any Quick cards in your deck.’ With this rule, you could still run a playset of four Burns, Repels, or Kills in the deck if you wanted, but your non-Quick, non-Sapphire cards would still be limited two copies.
This is another very interesting system. Grid system itself gives a sense of progression in campaign mode, and distinction among different champions outside of Champion’s charge power, health, passive abilities.
Mercenary expands this with an overriding deckbuilding rule. It can further give unique feel to a choice of champion/mercenary.
Mercenary system is one of the most anticipated feature in HEX ever since the announcement during the Kickstarter. This is for an appropriate reason. This system set HEX apart from other dCCG/dTCG currently on market. It is a system where gives a unique feel to HEX. The final implementation/version supports this by multiple means: party buff system, deckbuilding rule, and upgradable text. HEX is still not an ordinary RPG but addition of Mercenary puts this game one of the closest implementation of its own category dTCG-RPG.