Monday, October 10, 2011

That Part About Hirelings

As you may remember from one of the videos I posted earlier, friends don't let friends play solo. However, there are times in an adventurer's life when no one else is willing to join up or he may just want to be left alone.

The problem of course is that DDO was built as an MMO and so classes have certain roles to play in the game. Only rogues and artificers can disable traps, clerics and favored souls are the best at healing, a ranged ranger doesn't do well in melee...and for that matter any wizard caught in a melee should find another, less deadly, vocation.

There is an answer...actually a couple, to this dilemma. Today I want to talk about hirelings, and how they can solve this need for solitary questing. A hireling is a mercenary you can hire in DDO to do your bidding and help you out during an adventure. To purchase one you find a hireling vendor and then purchase a contract for the hireling you want, or alternatively you can purchase gold seal hirelings (we'll get into what that means in a moment) from the DDO Store. A hirelings contract takes up one item space and can be summoned at the start of an adventure, or anywhere within an adventure if you purchased a gold seal hireling.

The other big difference between a regular hireling and a gold seal hireling is that you are only allowed one regular hireling at a time. With a gold seal hireling you could conceivably create your own adventuring party by purchasing more than one in the store (though you are still limited to one of each unique multiple Malorens for those of suicidal inclination for example).

Some of you, the anti-social and the arrogant, may be asking yourself why you should bother playing with others at all if their are hirelings available. I won't bore you with tales of the bond of friendship and how it can conquer even a beholder's eyerays...I leave that to Tea Gardner. What I will do is point out that it is expensive (in platinum for regular hirelings and turbine points for gold seal hirelings, ouch), and also that hirelings just can't do everything regular players can do.

You get a single bar to control that hireling with, the options every hireling comes with are "Attack", "Defend", Do Nothing, Go on the Offensive, Go on the Defensive, Use This, Come Here, and Stay. Hirelings can't swim, and so sink like a rock. Their AI is so bad they get stuck sometimes and it takes awhile to get them to come to your position, and they also only get a few of their class's actions to do. For instance, if you pick up a spellcasting hireling, say a cleric, he will only have about three to four spells which you can use. That isn't to say that he doesn't have those other spells, hell, I've seen hireling clerics cast those others spells, only that he may or may not cast them when he may or may not feel like it.

And those three to four spells? Well, there isn't even a guarantee they'll be the good ones. How does Heal, Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, and Raise Dead sound? Probably pretty good, until you realize that means no blade barrier, and no flame strike. In other wounds no offense, you may say that a cleric isn't that good for offense, but I beg to differ, especially when it comes to blade fact I may have to have a post about blade barrier in the future.

Some other time.

So, hirelings can be used when you can't get someone else to play, or when you want to play by yourself, or when your party needs something shored up which they can't a healer. A hireling can't compete with the versatility of a regular player, and wouldn't even know how to use that versatility if it did. Hell, some hirelings (I'm looking at you Maloren) are complete dicks who heal themselves BEFORE taking care of you. So think long and hard about whether you want to take one with you before you head out alone.

Some things to consider when getting a hireling are what role you need fulfilled. If you're a nice squishy caster who attacks at range you may need an aggro grabbing fighter to stay between you and your foes, likewise if your a 2-handed, light armored barbarian who loves flying into a rage and running through traps with wild abandon you may want to bring along a cleric.

Also, you should take a look at what those hirelings can do. For instance, some hirelings can summon creatures, that's like having a whole other party member (read decoy/bait/meatshield) join your quest. Make sure their abilities suit you, like having lesser restoration to fix the fatigue after a rage for the above barbarian or intimidate on that fighter. Perhaps you do well with criticals and can bring along a hireling who can cast hold person, or you need you tend to run out of spell points so you grab a cleric with divine vitality. Hirelings work well in a pinch to shore up those little weaknesses you may have.

So go out there and give them a shot...just, don't choose Maloren ok, unless you want to watch him laugh at you while you die.


  1. haha good ole Maloren. I swear, whoever coded his AI must have been a hate filled DM.

    I find I can solo most things, cept elite. My arty is a mini party in his own right though :D

  2. Well, artificers and paladins are remarkably good at soloing. In fact, I think the artificer may be the best class for soloing at lower levels.