In addition to the various Objectives each Battleground offers, you'll also be able to earn the allegiance of the Mercenaries, who populate the world between lanes. Mercenaries, often simply referred as "Mercs", are neutral units that dwell in packs of 1-4 in spots called "camps" in various locations around both teams' jungles. Each Battleground features different kinds of powerful Mercenaries that can be defeated for a sizable Experience reward and to recruit them to fight for you.
To gain their favor, you must first defeat the neutral Mercenaries at their camp site, and then stand on the beacon nearby to capture them for your team. When defeated, they grant Mercenaries that aid your team's Minion waves in attacking enemy Minions and Structures as well as granting other helpful bonuses. Determining the optimal time to capture a Mercenary camp is crucial, and can be of great value when you need to distract the enemy team from capturing an objective.
Mercenaries generally first spawn at their camps at 1 minute mark, except for Bosses that first spawn at the 5 minute mark. After their spawn any player can attack the Mercenaries found there and try to defeat and capture them. Once a camp has been captured, a respawn timer will begin, at the completion of which the Mercenaries will reappear, ready for capture once more. The length of each camp's respawn timer depends on the type of Mercenary units located in the camp.
Capturing & contesting
Mercenaries are not won over by simply defeating the camp. Each camp must be captured in order to recruit the Mercenaries found there. After defeating all Mercenaries in a camp, a capture point will appear. By standing on the capture point uncontested for 1.5 seconds, the player will gain control of the Mercenaries for their team, causing the Mercenaries to spring into action for the team and march down the nearest lane or grant a reward. Upon successfully capturing a Mercenary camp it will also drop a Regeneration Globe in the color of the team that captured it.
Note that either team may try to capture the capture point, even if the other team defeated the Mercenaries. Sometimes a player may wait just out of sight of an enemy player who is attempting to capture a Mercenary camp, and swoop in at the last second to kill the enemy player (who may be weakened from fighting the Mercenaries) and then capture the camp for their own team, or a decision can also be made as a team to invade a camp the enemy is doing in order to fight for it. Big team fights are often centered around trying to capture Mercenary camps, especially Bosses, for your team.
If both teams' Heroes are at the same time present on the capture point it will become "contested", and its capture timer is paused until there are only one team's Heroes in the area. Heroes that are untargetable or removed from the map, usually due to Stasis or Time Stop status effects, cannot capture or contest a camp. One should thus be careful with the use of defensive Abilities, like Auriel's "Crystal Aegis" of Blaze' "Bunker", as allies in them cannot contest a camp, which can in turn lead to it awkwardly falling into enemy hands. Used offensively on the other hand, Abilities, such as Medivh's "Ley Line Seal", are for this reason strong tools for securing a camp.
Captured Mercenary camps do not grant experience to the opponent when killed.
Leashed is a status effect that uncaptured Mercenaries receive if they go far enough outside of their camp area that they are supposed to stay in or lose vision of all hostile units nearby. The effect causes the Mercenaries to ignore the player and return back to its camp and then shortly afterwards start to regenerate Health, this healing effect grows exponentially till the camp gets re-engaged again. If the Mercenary camp gets Leashed 3 times in a short amount of time, the units in it will immediately restore all missing Health, receive a Movement Speed buff to return to their camp much faster and gain damage immunity for a short amount of time.
Disappearance after objective activated
On some maps, after the objective has been activated, Mercenary camps would disappear, only reappearing after the objective has been neutralised. As the camp will not despawn if it is already engaged, teams can consider engaging camps just before the objective is activated.
- Alterac Pass: Once the cavalry begin spawning. Camps reappear only after all cavalry have been killed.
- Battlefield of Eternity: Once an Immortal has been activated.
- Braxis Holdout: Once the Zerg Waves spawn. Camps reappear only after all Zerg in both waves have been killed.
- Dragon Shire: Once the Dragon Knight has been activated.
- Garden of Terror: Once the Garden Terrors have been activated. Camps reappear only after all Garden Terrors have been killed.
- Tomb of the Spider Queen: Once the webweavers begin spawning. Camps reappear only after all webweavers have been killed.
- Volskaya Foundry: Once the Triglav Protector has been spawned.
Do keep in mind that if a camp was leashed from getting far away from it while the objective is active will cause it to disappear immediately, additionally any engaged Mercenary camp during an active objective will keep the camp marker on the map visible, causing your location to be revealed to the enemy.
Stats & scaling
Defending uncaptured Mercenaries have different statistics from the captured laning Mercenaries, with captured Mercenaries usually having more Health and damage than corresponding uncaptured ones. Uncaptured Mercenaries also increase their statistics every minute, in a linear ramping fashion. However, a Mercenary camp that has been aggroed will not update its statistics mid-fight, and only after resetting aggression on a Mercenary camp will it update its statistics to the current minute. Captured Mercenaries have their statistics snapshot when the capture beacon becomes available, so clearing a Mercenary camp then waiting on capturing the beacon will not yield additional statistics.
Mercenary Lord is a Generic Talent that both grants Armor against all Mercenaries and empowers nearby allied captured non-Boss Mercenaries. The damage reduction makes capturing Mercenaries significantly easier, especially hard-hitting Bosses that are also affected by the damage reduction. The damage bonus aura has medium radius, but can provide a huge boost in pushing power and presence. It is shown by the Mercenaries growing slightly larger in size.
When Should I Be Doing Camps?
While Mercenaries can be a great asset, you should never take any camp without having a reason for doing so. One should consider, how safe it is to take a certain camp, if there are demerits in leaving your lane to do Mercenaries and how much value can be gained from those Mercenaries.
Obviously, it’s less risky to take camps on your side of the map (safe camps) than it is on your opponent’s side (not-safe camps). Sneaking enemy camps almost always ends in tragedy, so it’s in your best interest to refrain unless your team is on the same page.
Before level 10 you should not be doing camps, if you do not have a member of the team soaking in every lane. Having a Hero in each lane for every waking moment of the laning phase is very important, as you want to capture as much experience as possible on the battleground as fast as possible to get ahead of the enemy team.
Throughout the game Mercenaries can help sow confusion for the opponent when Objectives become available. Timing a Mercenary assault during an Objective will give pause to enemies, who will then need to choose between clearing the incoming Mercenaries, or contesting the Objective. Additionally, splitting the opponents’ defenses can help in a big push against opposing fortifications, as well as give your team more vision, and more control over the map.
Ask yourself this series of questions every time you consider taking a camp:
- Does my team need me elsewhere?
- Are we going to be able to push with this camp?
- If I start this camp, am I in danger of being invaded by the enemy?
- Do I need help to do this camp quickly?
- Which enemy Hero am I anticipating will come to clear this camp?
- Will this camp be forcing the enemies to miss a portion of an objective?
There are several types of Mercenary camps, some only found on certain themed battlegrounds. Each is displayed with its own difficult rating, indicating the challenge of defeating the Mercenaries found there. Some camps share similarities which give them an over-arching type, such as Siege camp, Bruiser camp, and Boss camp.
Siege Mercenaries are destructive Mercenaries that are weak if attacked by heroes and are the easiest camps to take, but if left alone in a lane they can clear waves and sometimes take structures.
|Splash Damage, Tanky & Armor reduction||The Armored Gnolls spawn as three and can soak up damage from towers and enemy minions. Enemies hit by their basic attacks will have their armor reduced for a few seconds.||Alterac Pass||1:00||1:30|
|Medium damage & Long Range||These camps consist of three men piloting hovering exoskeletons with long-ranged missile attacks that outrange structures.||Volskaya Foundry||1:00||3:00|
|Splash Damage, Tanky & Armor reduction||The Hellbats spawn in duos and can soak up damage from towers and enemy minions. Enemies hit by their basic attacks will have their armor reduced for a few seconds.||Braxis Holdout, Warhead Junction.||1:00||3:00|
|Medium damage & Long Range||Aka Khazra camps, these goatmen spawn in trios and are able to attack structures outside of their attack ranges.||Battlefield of Eternity, Infernal Shrines||1:00||3:00|
|Medium damage, Medium Range Siege Attack & Suicide Bomb Structures||Spawning in groups of 3, these pumpkins have a ranged attack like with splash damage. When it is close enough to a enemy structure it will charge in and suicide to blow up the fortification.||Towers of Doom, Haunted Mines||1:00||2:00 (2:30 on Towers of Doom)|
|Heavy Damage, Tanky & AoE Ability||Sentinels push down lanes and have a strong AoE Ability. Sentinels are Unstoppable and Unbribable.||Hanamura Temple||1:00||2:30|
|Heavy Damage & Long Range Siege Attack||Siege giants are found in groups of 2 and can easily take down enemy forts from outside the structures' attack ranges. However, they are not as threatening up close, which makes them fairly easy for enemy heroes to defeat once in action.||Dragon Shire, Cursed Hollow, Garden of Terror, Haunted Mines, Blackheart's Bay, Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen||1:00||3:00|
Bruiser are tanky units that take longer to capture but are excellent at fortifying creep waves, making them a strong addition to any push or a distraction for enemies to waste time on.
|Tanky, ranged, and Spell Armor aura||Knights are 4 tanky units that are excellent at fortifying minion waves. They are found in groups with 3 frontliners and a single ranged "Wizard", who emits a spell armor aura to buff all nearby allied units, including Heroes.||Dragon Shire, Cursed Hollow, Garden of Terror, Blackheart's Bay, Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen||1:00||4:00|
|High damage ranged attack & Summons dogs periodically||The Fallen Shaman camp is made up of the Shaman himself with ranged attacks, and 2 melee dogs. When captured the Shaman will resummon his dogs when they die to help him, be it with significantly less health.||Battlefield of Eternity, Infernal Shrines||1:00||4:00|
|Tanky, ranged, and Seeker Missiles||This camp consists of 3 Goliaths & 1 Raven. The Goliaths have a fast ranged attack, but do not out range the structures' attacks. The raven however, does out range structures as well as periodically sends Seeker Missiles to its current target dealing AoE damage.||Braxis Holdout, Warhead Junction||1:00||4:00|
These are the biggest, baddest Mercenaries you can capture. They reside in most, but not all Battlegrounds. There is only one Boss per camp, but that one Boss does a lot of damage with each swing while also possessing a huge amount of Health and crowd control and Aoe Abilities. Combined, it makes them tough to defeat and usually requires multiple Heroes to take them down. Even as a group, picking a fight with them takes a lot of resources, making you vulnerable to ambushes. As it can turn out very badly for the team that initiated a Boss, their spawn location has widely become known as "the throw pit", for turning an otherwise advantageous situation on their head. It is thus recommended to only attack them when you have a definite level, Talent or map advantage or some opposing Heroes are dead in order to make sure it will not be stolen from you.
Once captured, Bosses march down the nearest lane as other Mercenaries, auto-attacking Structures, with the addition to often being able to use their Abilities on enemy Minions and Heroes (Archangel besides using Abilities on Minions and Heroes, uses auto-attack on Minions too). If left unchecked, a Boss can literally break down Walls and Towers - even a Keep - almost all by itself. Late game Boss pushes are often game-ending.
|Massive Damage, ranged & very Tanky||The Archangel fires an extremely high-damage stream of bullets at the closest enemy making and can fires a rocket dealing damage. The raw damage it deals is offset by it having less health that other bosses.||Braxis Holdout||5:00||4:10|
|Massive Damage, CC, & extremely Tanky||Grave Golems are large, tanky, high damage bosses that can easily push through enemy creeps and forts. They will alternate between a delayed slam on the ground dealing high damage and stunning, and a delayed root and DoT in a ranged AoE.||Cursed Hollow, Blackheart's Bay||5:00||5:00|
|Cleaving attacks, high-scaling AoE damage and very Tanky||The Headless Horseman is a high-damage boss with attacks that cleave. He also launches his head at enemies leaving a DoT field below them. This is offset by him having slightly lower health that other bosses, but his arena is very out in the open. When defeated, instead of pushing the nearest lane, he unleashes a volley of flaming pumpkins that deals 4 damage to the enemy team's core.||Towers of Doom||5:00||5:00|
|Massive Damage, CC, and extremely Tanky||The Ice Giants at the northern and southernmost points of Alterac Pass tend to mind their own business, but once provoked, they’ve been known to hurl deadly balls of ice and even stomp the ground in an effort to Slow or Stun their foes.||Alterac Pass||5:00||5:00|
|Mega Enforcer||Massive Damage, Gorge, and very Tanky||This Boss gorges a hero for 5 seconds with a 12-second cooldown, preventing them from taking any action. After gorging, the Boss creates a ring of fire that does periodic damage. When defeated, instead of pushing the nearest lane, the Mega Enforcer deals 1 damage to the enemy team's Core.||Hanamura (removed)||5:00||5:00|
|Massive Damage, CC, and extremely Tanky||The Sand Golem is similar to the Grave Golem, with lots of health and high damage and even a delayed stun. It also periodically spawns a whirlwind that moves around randomly damaging and pushing heroes out of the way/prevents them from walking through that area.||Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen||5:00||5:00|
|AOE, DoT, and very Tanky||The Slime Boss fires Slime Pods dealing damage over time.||Warhead Junction||5:00||5:00|
When a Reward Camp is captured, an item is dropped, which can be picked up and used by a hero. In addition, a large amount of experience is awarded to the team.
|Consists of a mechanic and a stationary turret. The mechanic can heal the turret. The turret is Unstoppable.||Creates a Turret on the ground, which fires at enemies.||Hanamura Temple, Volskaya Foundry||1:00||2:30|
|Consists of 3 Henchmen. The Henchmen deal little damage and are easy to kill.||Recon Camps offer the vision that Watchtowers do on the other maps. However, taking the camp means your enemies can re-take it to provide vision for their own team.||Hanamura Temple||1:00||Immediately|
|Skeletal pirates are very easily captured.||Grant 2 Doubloons||Blackheart's Bay||1:30||2:30|
|Consists of 1 mech. The mech occasionally heals itself.||Support Camps give you a healing totem that restores 40% maximum Health and Mana to nearby allied Heroes over 10 seconds. Support Camps cannot be captured by using abilities like "Bribe" and are Unstoppable.||Hanamura (removed), Volskaya Foundry||1:00||3:00|
- Heroes of the Storm Patch Notes – November 13, 2018
- Core Concepts: Battleground Basics - Mercenaries. Battle.net. Retrieved on 2017-05-23.