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blankseplocked Guide to Hiring Mercenaries
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Author Topic

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:40:00 - [1]

Edited by: Alekseyev Karrde on 07/01/2009 09:50:44
I. Introduction
-Purpose and scope of the guide

II. Concepts and Terminology
-What terms you are likely to see

III. Surveying the Market
-How to find which mercenary units are active

IV. The Contract
-Common elements
-Example of an "open" contract

V. Vetting
-Importance of research and the perils of comparison shopping
-Just ask
-Killboards: What they show, what they donít, and what they should
-Contract histories and references
-The question of startups

VI. The Job and the Aftermath
-Tracking their progress: whatís reasonable and what isnít
-Follow up

I. Introduction

In response the frequent posts asking how to research mercenary corporations or otherwise go about using or hiring mercs, Iíve written this as a guide for employers. I have been a mercenary CEO since January 2008, and thus I am writing this from the mercenary-to-employer perspective. This is here to help those looking for mercs or who are thinking about it, to try and make the process easier and more efficient. It should not be considered an all encompassing guide, because there are as many variations on how mercs operate and charge as there are merc corps in the game. However, it should serve as a solid general introduction. and I will continue to update as long as Iím in the biz.

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:41:00 - [2]

Edited by: Alekseyev Karrde on 11/01/2009 22:33:14
II. Concepts and Terminology

Asset Denial: Consists of offensive operations to specifically prevent a target from performing economic activities like ratting and mining.

: The agreement between the merc and the employer under which the merc is bound to operate and the employer is bound to pay for their services. See the contract section for more information.

Contract History: An itemized listing of a mercenary corporationís previous work.

Contract Manager: The person in a mercenary unit who negotiates and schedules contracts. They are the best points of contact for prospective employers and are usually publicly listed. Some groups have this role filled by several people working together.

Damage: Usually measured through the mercs killboard, itís the estimated ISK value of how much they unit destroyed. Griefwatch and EVE Dev killboards measure damage very differently so be sure to check or ask which the merc corp uses. Griefwatch counts the value of ships, modules, and rigs through a master database. EVE Dev tracks ship value only and does it through a database the killboard owner can update.

Infiltration/Sabotage: The act of putting in one or more characters into a target corporation for the express purpose of gathering internal information, acquiring access to corp assets, and either reporting that to the employer, sowing dissention, and disabling/stealing those assets.

References: Past employers of a merc unit who have made themselves public and will vouching for them.

III. Surveying the Market

There are generally three ways to go about finding which mercenaries are active and looking for work.

Checking Crime and Punishment: The Crime and Punishment forum is the home of the lawless of EVE. Itís also the place to go if youíre looking to hire mercs (the two arenít really related by whatcha gonna do). Many merc units that are active will have corporate threads on the top three pages. They will usually have points of contact and offered services. Links to killboards or websites, a contract history, their current status, feedback from employers, posts of support from friends, and smack from current/former targets may also be present. While you wonít find every active corp on the market in there, this is a very time efficient method because you can browse whoís available and what they can offer.

Posting in Crime and Punishment: A variation on the above, this is where a potential employer posts, sometimes using an alt, that they are looking for mercs and then wait for response to the thread or in their mail. The quality of response may depend on your level of description in your OP, which could be as vague as ďIím looking for mercs,Ē to a fully fleshed out ďopen contractĒ which mercs can take or leave. Be aware that some units who already have contracts lined up may not be inclined to go out of their way to approach you.

Asking Around: Check with your friends and contacts and see if they have a unit they would recommend to you. You might be surprised who you know thatís hired a mercenary unit or knows one of repute. The more established merc corps have developed a reputation. If you are a CEO or other corp/alliance director, another good place to ask is the "CEO" channel. Several current and former merc CEO's hang out in there.

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:42:00 - [3]

Edited by: Alekseyev Karrde on 10/04/2009 04:30:41
IV. The Contract

Significance: For a mercenary, the contract is everything. Itís the mechanism that sets us apart from garden variety PVP corps and pirates. From our perspective, it provides us targets, defines our objectives, and guides our tactical decisions. For the employer, itís both the guidelines to get you the results you want and an outline of your obligations for payment. Violating the contract once agreed on, by either party, is a big no-no in the merc world.

Common Elements: Aspects of almost all contracts will include target (provide name when you ask for a quote/price, it saves the contract manager mailing you back with "OK, who is the target?" and then waiting for another mail from you), duration, start date, mission type, and payment terms. Other things that might come up are a focus on a particular area, standings, conditions of target surrender, and potentially anything under the sun. That contracts are default confidential is a pretty universal standard, unless of course the employer volunteers their identity or allows the mercs to explicitly.

Negotiation: Unless you go with an open contract, in which all of the above items are stated and you simply want to know who would take that job on those terms, you will have to negotiate. Always negotiate with the contract manager; if itís an alliance it might not be the first CEO you grab and some corps may delegate that role to a representative. The ďwho,Ē ďwhat,Ē and ďwhereĒ are usually pretty employer oriented, the contract manage youíre talking to might have suggestions on method but itís your job, your goals. The ďhow muchĒ is the most common area of negotiation. Every merc unit has different payment structures, itís best to get a handle of what those are and work in that frame work; upfront flat fee, half up front half after, % based on damage, and whatever you work it the employer is expected to at least pay the war fee.

Example of an "Open Contract":

I would like to hire one mercenary corporation or alliance for the following contract.

Target- Band of Goons (alliance)
Duration- 2 Weeks
Type- War Dec
Fee- War Dec fee + 1.5 billion ISK (half up front, half on completion)
Bonus- 500mil for damages in excess of 1 billion ISK

Interested contract managers should EVE mail this character or post on this thread within 5 days."

The anatomy of a posting like this is first to let mercs/contract managers know they should look at your thread, accomplished by the ATTN MERCS title or a title with other keywords such as CONTRACT (caps optional). Second, give the details. Against who, what kind of contract, how long, what's the reward, any performance expecations/requirements. Third, provide instructions for how contract managers should show their interest. Finally, when you have a selection of units that want to take the contract on those terms, pick your final choice out of that bunch. If you really want to be considerate, and save yourself some spam, edit your OP title when the contract has been taken.

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:43:00 - [4]

Edited by: Alekseyev Karrde on 14/12/2008 04:52:40
V. Vetting

Importance of Research: Buyer beware. In no industry in EVE is this maxim more applicable than in the services industry, and mercenaries are one of the biggest service providers around. The tools you need to do your research are all around. Check Crime and Punishment, look for the thread of the unit impression if they have one, look at their past performance, look at their killboards, talk with people they have worked with if its listed, ask other mercs about them. Avoid trusting one source too highly unless itís someone you know; try to get a holistic picture of who the unit is and what they can deliver. And finally, just because they are cheap does not mean they will be effective and just because they are expensive does not mean they will be worth it. Always do your homework.

Just Ask: When in doubt, just ask. If you want to know why they performed like they did on a given contract, just ask the representative. Same thing about their biggest gangs, what they are good at, references, if they can make a special accommodation for you in some way, etc. The representative will probably have an answer for you, and if you feel like its something you need to check at least you have a baseline to work from.

Killboards: Every merc unit will have a killboard. Almost always this will be publicly viewable and links will be provided if they arenít listed already. Important things to look for are overall efficiency, past contract/campaigns listed, amount of damage done on contracts, and their efficiency doing that damage. These values will be what they will be, itís up to you if they are up to the level of what youíre looking for. A killboard will not show certain contract types, a subjective assessment of effectiveness, or contract goals/instructions.

Contract Histories and References: Contract histories are very important for establishing past performance and experience level. It is not unreasonable to expect them to be publicly listed, and if they arenít I would advise against hiring any unit that wonít give you one when you ask. References are a trickier subject because mercenaries normally operate under client confidentiality. Some past employers may have made their identities known during a units history but do not be surprised if this is not that case.

The Question of Startups: Mercenary corporations that have just started or have only recently begun to do mercenary work are a special case. Some people prefer not to trust them, but I would caution against just brushing off a new unit solely because they just started. After all, even the major names currently in the market were in their shoes once. They will not have a contract history, or it may be very short. They might have a killboard if their corp was PVPing before they got into the merc business but that performance will not necessarily translate. My suggestion would be to look at their general level of professional presentation, check any killboards if they have them, and ask if the CEO can give personal references about his character or ability. It is not unreasonable for startups to get just the war dec fee for their first job or two, and lower rates even some period after that. But after they have the makings of a track record, bear in mind youíre paying for peopleís time so expect for them to work at fair rate or not take the job at all.

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:43:00 - [5]

Edited by: Alekseyev Karrde on 14/12/2008 04:53:25
VI. The Job and the Aftermath

Tracking Progress: From your conversations at the contract phase, you should have the killboard of the unit youíve hired. Thatís the first place to look for how things are going. Keeping an EVE mail conversation going with your contact is also fine, although itís important to give the unit a little breathing room. After all, hopefully youíve hired them because you believe they know what theyíre doing; if you want frequent updates make that desire known before the job starts. Some units may have a tighter relationship with clients during the job while others may only want to talk to you when the job is over.

Payment: Unless you paid a flat fee upfront, when the job is over there will be pay involved. Even if the unit fails horribly, if they didnít breach the contract and the contract did not involve pay based on achieving an objective, you must hold up your end of the contract. By all means donít hire them again or recommend them to anyone, but a deal is a deal. If the contract is by % and you notice the unit is killing beyond your ability to pay, be upfront about this right away and contact one of their representatives. If a unit breaks contract then naturally you would not be expected to pay them. Each unit will have a different deadline of when they need their ISK by, however a day or two after the contract is over is a good standard. If an employer defaults on payment or otherwise breaks advice would be donít. At the least youíd be blackballed, more normally youíll get a hoard of angry professional PVPers after you which can manifest in some very, very unpleasant ways.

Follow Up: Some merc units will give you a summery report along with your invoice. Once youíve paid, feel free to provide the unit with feedback. Itís always very rewarding for a merc unit to know they got the job done or even exceeded expectations. On the other side of things, if you didnít like the experience of working with them let them know in a constructive way. This would also be the time to volunteer yourself as a reference if you wanted to.

BlackStar Industrial
Posted - 2008.12.14 04:46:00 - [6]

Edited by: Rilwar on 14/12/2008 04:47:32

Good read, well organized and informative.

and 1st

Bai ZongTong
Posted - 2008.12.14 05:26:00 - [7]

1. contract
2. kill ****
3. ????
4. profit!
5. payment

Bunnie's Boys
Warped Aggression
Posted - 2008.12.14 06:32:00 - [8]

If you think the boss writes good, you should hear the second in command talk.Laughing

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.14 21:21:00 - [9]

lol, Taram's gonna get you for that

Red Goats
Posted - 2008.12.14 21:41:00 - [10]

Nice write up.

Capital Construction Research
Pioneer Alliance
Posted - 2008.12.15 06:20:00 - [11]

Originally by: PsychoBones
Nice write up.

I agree, very nice write-up alekVery Happy

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.15 07:11:00 - [12]

As seen on


Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2008.12.15 07:22:00 - [13]

nice write-up Mr. Karrde

Element 115.
Posted - 2008.12.15 11:13:00 - [14]

Good write up, but when you have been around for as long as i have......been wrote before and forgotten.

Nice write anyhow.Wink

Posted - 2008.12.15 14:07:00 - [15]

Excellent guide.

Some people think that they will be unable to afford mercs or that most contracts are a flat fee of a hundreds of millions of ISK.

This is not always the case.

It can be very worthwhile calling in mercs so you can carry on as normal, ratting, killing, mining, trading or mission running.

For instance a flat fee with asset denial and pay per kill would enable you to go about your business and enable your mission running to pay for the mercs. You would only pay for kills and if the target corp remained docked up it's win win anyway. Without the mercs you'd lose more ISK in station whilst being smack talked in local IMHO.

Have your own contract formulated in your mind before you approach the merc corp in question.

Maybe devise you own pay scheme and propose it to the mercs.

It's all about getting a good deal.

Mercs are here for your convenience not the other way around (unless you fail to pay up of course).

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.15 21:28:00 - [16]

That's very well put Krij.

Maybe this'll get stickied, less forgettable

Zhang Ramses
Chaos From Order
Manifest Destiny.
Posted - 2008.12.16 17:27:00 - [17]

If you are in the market to hire mercs, know exactly what it is you would like them to do for you. More often than not, I'm contacted by someone who wants to hire us to "fight" an enemy. I then run through the litany of specific services we can provide (infiltration, POS destruction, demoralizing tactics, etc). The more specific you can be in your request, the better your chances of finding the right mercs for the job. I think we've had to turn down 2-3 contracts in 2008 because they were outside our capabilities.

The Khanates
Posted - 2008.12.18 07:48:00 - [18]

can we have an example of an actual contract? A template if you will for future reference. Oh and thanks for writing the article itself, well written =)

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2008.12.21 22:57:00 - [19]

I could whip up something as an example, sure. Will put that in Jan 6/7

Eternal Perseverance
Posted - 2008.12.21 23:07:00 - [20]

sup Alekseyev, not sure if you remember me....but I see things are going well for you. Congrats!

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2009.01.07 10:55:00 - [21]

Updated the Contract section with an example of an open contract, along with a brief explanation of why it's an effective posting.

Nexus Kinnon
Genos Occidere
Posted - 2009.01.07 13:05:00 - [22]

Not really on topic, am just interested. What percentage of the time would you say you are hired?

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2009.01.07 19:20:00 - [23]

It's rare we're not contracted unless we're intentionally taking an R+R or an employer flakes at the last minute (in which case it takes a day or two to line up the next dec/deployment).

State War Academy
Posted - 2009.01.07 23:51:00 - [24]

want to flame...but..

noir are good...

damn you.

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2009.01.11 22:34:00 - [25]


Taram Caldar
Royal Black Watch Highlanders
Warped Aggression
Posted - 2009.01.11 22:44:00 - [26]

Edited by: Taram Caldar on 11/01/2009 22:48:04
Originally by: Nico13
If you think the boss writes good, you should hear the second in command talk.Laughing

LOL! Shuddup Nico :) Personally I think the Macaw is far more memorable than anything I say on vent :)

Seb Balaak
Posted - 2009.01.13 00:41:00 - [27]

Edited by: Seb Balaak on 13/01/2009 00:44:03
sticky (or is it stickie?) please, been looking for a guide like this for nearly 2 years now.

I hate these forums search functions, and the latest change hasn't helped much.Mad

Epegi Givo
Department of Redundancy Dpt.
Posted - 2009.01.13 01:10:00 - [28]

sticky this please.

Gentlemen's Club
Posted - 2009.01.13 01:41:00 - [29]

Originally by: Taram Caldar
Edited by: Taram Caldar on 11/01/2009 22:48:04
LOL! Shuddup Nico :) Personally I think the Macaw is far more memorable than anything I say on vent :)

heheh, Taram sits the bird on his shoulder while he is at the computer getting his yarr on Laughing

Originally by: Nico13
If you think the boss writes good, you should hear the second in command talk.Laughing

Confirming this, Taram has Talking LVL V - the bird has Screeching-Over-Taram-So-Nobody-Can-Hear-Him LVL VI! Shocked

Alekseyev Karrde
Noir. Mercenary Group
Posted - 2009.01.13 11:45:00 - [30]

Is there something I need to do to get a sticky or wait till a mod notices people asking for it in replys?

PS: Macaw is officer fit c/d?

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