Mercs – How Do They Work? – Part I

September 3, 2014

Meet Dirty Bomb’s Mercenaries (or Mercs for short) – the living, breathing (often bleeding) embodiments of competitive, fun multiplayer gaming. They come from all over the world, from every kind of background, united by an unquenchable thirst for cold hard cash. They’re the very best at what they do, and what they do involves getting gold for shooting lead. They each have a unique trick up their sleeve, a special combat ability that marks them out from the common herd.

Why Mercs?

We’re really excited to be introducing Dirty Bomb’s Mercs. Not only are they colourful cool unique characters in their own right, Mercs allow us to personify a distinct playing style in a contained package that we can continually balance for competitive play. By bundling an ability and combat style into that single package with a distinctive voice and appearance, we also make it easier for players to know what they’re up against in combat. And by choosing the Mercs you take into a match, an additional layer of strategy and min-games is introduced as you judge which Mercs will best fit the composition of your own team, the enemy team, and the layout of the map.

We feel that our Mercs introduce more meaningful choices, a larger variety of play-styles and more character to Dirty Bomb.

What we want Mercs to be:

The first thing we want Mercs to be is unique.

The core of each Merc is a special ability shared by no other Merc. Each of these special abilities should have a different impact on how matches progress and the game is played. As well as specific combat types, movement speeds and health values, each Merc should have their own unique play-style, catering to a wide-range of player preferences.

As well as covering a diverse-range of ethnicities across hardworking men and women, every Merc also comes with their own distinct look & personality that will become more apparent with the recently added voice audio.

Mercs should also fill one or more gameplay roles.

Every Merc should bring something different to the match with their own set of traits that help to fill a hole in the team. Take Proxy as an example – she’s a fast, close-quarters objective specialist with a defensive ability. She’d be a perfect complement to a team that already consists of Mercs with healing, long range, heavy weapons and munitions support. We want a varied mixture of Mercs to always be more than the sum of their parts.

We also aim to cater for a large variety of player skills, including different aiming sub-skills such as tracking, twitch, and projectile. On top of that, support skills like multi-tasking & resource management and also situational awareness, smart deployable placement, subterfuge and disrupting the enemy team play important roles in Dirty Bomb. The goal here is to give every player areas to excel in by choosing a Merc that suits their strengths.

Finally, we want to make sure that all of our Mercs are balanced.

When we say balanced, we don’t mean we want Mercs to be equal when it comes to 1-on-1 combat, although we do always want to give every a Merc a fighting chance against another. What we mean is that they are as equally valuable to the team as every other Merc. Some Mercs will be better at combat, some at supporting, some at soaking up damage etc. The end goal is to have every Merc equally viable when it comes to playing a 5vs5 Stopwatch match. There are many moving parts contributing to this balance, movement speed, health, ability power, combat power, size etc. and these will be adjusted over time to achieve balance.

Until Next Time!

That’s all for the first half of the Dirty Bomb Dev Blog on Mercs. Stayed tuned for the next update in which we’ll discuss what we have been doing with Dirty Bomb’s Mercenaries during the Alpha and Beta; as well as what we plan to do with them in future!

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