I’ve rolled Merc quite a few times since most recent changes to the class. Here are my thoughts. I would welcome input from others.
Since the inclusion of Sellsword, and with other protective BD classes, Mercenary seems to be considered largely redundant and unnecessary by BD. Often Merc gets exed as a suspicious claim for SS, NK, (I’ve even been exed as a purported MM), or exed just to eliminate a Neut Counter on the list (“no loss” is heard frequently). They are usually targeted by Unseen/Cult/Killers because of their prohibitive abilities, but BD doesn’t have enough interest in keeping Merc alive when that Neut Counter elimination is such valuable deductive information.
Here are some of the issues I keep bumping into in my playtime as Mercenary:
Why trust a Merc claim when you can trust a confirmed Knight?
Anything claimed by a Merc can be doubled or faked by a different class’s abilities. Occupations are easily falsified by other classes, and Guards can be mistaken for Sellsword abilities.
Also, players want confirmation.
In a choice between a Merc guard and a Knight guard, Prince usually does and frankly should choose Knight because Knight kills back – and the death note confirms them. Not so for Merc.
True too of the player behind our hypothetical Knight: they want that confirmation too - it’s their ticket to survival, even in the event of a conversion.
It also makes Merc an ungratifying class to play. There is no material difference that Merc can make to impact the outcome of the game in early game, and if they survive early game, they better hope NK is dead too! Usually other BD members see them as “getting underfoot,” and they aren’t quite Neutral in their win conditions - so they get no support from their “Let’s see which way the wind blows” Neutral faction-mates.
Give Mercenary a way to confirm themselves. This is a standalone suggestion. As far as potential solutions to restoring their viability in play… random ideas:
Re-combining Merc and SS into one “Mercenary” type class that be contracted to both factions
Making Merc and SS “twinned” classes - somehow, making their win conditions supportive of each other, as a converse to Sorc/Inq
Making Merc more supportive of other Neut classes, (e.g. an Alch-specific empowering guard abiltiy or something, an extra TB for fool if guarded by Merc prior night, etc)
Maybe even allowing Merc to support (“borrow”) the win conditions of a fellow Neut as a form of their own win conditions.
Idc if you think my suggests are poo, but the info on Merc play is good, and I hope to see it restored to a fun class. TY