Moloing is short for mercenary soloing, which consists of forming a group only with one's mercenary companion and going forth to kill mobs or complete quests. For most classes, moloing offers numerous advantages over fighting truly solo, since it effectively allows players to carry either a cleric or a warrior in their pockets without needing to invest in the second account necessary for boxing. The fact that the merc will operate according to AI instead of requiring the player to input all of its commands is also a plus for most situations, although in difficult zones more micromanagement of the merc may be necessary.
Moloing did not exist as a strategy prior to the fifteenth expansion, Seeds of Destruction, which introduced mercenaries to the game.
Choice of Merc and StrategyEdit
As noted above, many moloing strategies resemble common boxing setups and use similar strategies, except one of the roles is being filled by an AI. Healing classes tend to use warrior mercs, and tanking classes tend to use cleric mercs. The formula of having one character tank while the other heals is tried and true, and will get the job done for most areas that are appropriate for the character in question to be attempting to molo. Most melee fighters, similarly, will choose a cleric merc and use it to heal thesmelves, even if their class is not specifically geared for tanking. Most intelligence casters likewise pick cleric mercs for the resurrection and mid-kite healing they can provide.
If a cleric merc is set to any behavior pattern besides Passive and its owner dies abruptly (for instance, due to falling damage or an extremely bad pull) before the cleric can manage to cast a heal, the cleric merc will not have aggro from any mobs who were involved. Since mercenaries do not draw any aggro just by moving around (similarly to pets), this means the cleric will be aggro-free and able to resurrect the fallen player. This is one of the many reasons why cleric mercs are extremely popular in general, but especially for moloing. When adventuring alone, such a death normally means a trip to one's bind point and either a summon or a corpse run.
Some classes can use a form of moloing that involves having a warrior merc chase mobs and deal damage to them while the human-controlled character kites and holds aggro. When moloing in this way, it is best to set the merc to Assist mode and designate the kiting character as both the Main Assist and Main Tank. Since mercs can follow moving mobs with the same precision (and automation) that mobs can follow a player, they do tend to do much better for this type of kiting than human-controlled melee fighters do. Using hotkeys to switch the merc's setting between Assist and Passive can allow the player to micromanage how much hate the merc is making.
The use of Assist mode as just described also works well for characters who want to tank the mobs themselves but still use a warrior merc to increase DPS and provide emergency offtanking.
With that said, different classes tend to do better with different choices of mercs. For moloing purposes, these are some of the most common choices and reasons for making them:
Cleric merc is the most common choice due to its usefulness in general gameplay. However, a properly used warrior merc can also be used to good effect while chant kiting. Since the warrior (when setup as described above) will not work very hard to hold aggro, it is possible for the bard to keep it by using chants, provided that the warrior is not sent in too early in the fight. The usefulness of maintaining a warrior merc wanes at higher levels unless the bard still plans to use chant kiting as his or her main soloing method (as opposed to the mass DS killing methods that become available with a cleric merc).
Cleric merc usually works the best, since the beastlord's ability to heal targets other than its pet is quite limited, and since the pet already does adequate damage and makes an excellent tank. For the early game, a beastlord warder with pet toys and a cleric merc supporting it will generally tear apart appropriately leveled foes with ease. Using a the cleric merc from the start also allows the beastlord character to tank more easily while rising in levels, allowing for faster skill-ups in defense and quicker preparation for later-game moloing techniques. At the higher levels, the beastlord will want to keep mobs slowed while sharing some tanking responsibilities with the warder, depending on how many mobs are in the fight at a time.
Cleric merc, almost without question. The berserker is a fragile fighter unless highly equipped, and kiting by throwing axes is not very practical at the higher levels unless it is assisted by other players. Even with the extra DPS from a pursuing warrior merc in Assist mode, it's unlikely for this method to be either more efficient or less tedious than using a cleric merc and letting the berserker melee the mobs to death. The cleric merc makes conventional tanking more feasible for the berserker against mobs that are not too deadly, typically allowing for a much faster killing speed than throwing axes would.
At the very lowest levels, as for most classes, a warrior merc can also work for tanking purposes, since healing may not be necessary for every battle.
Most clerics take a warrior merc at all levels. The benefits of doing so are huge, adding badly-needed DPS and tanking to the cleric's arsenal. For all but the most ambitious soloing clerics, that is the standard procedure: the cleric treats the warrior merc similarly to a human-controlled or boxed warrior, and provides it with healing while it whittles down foes. When aggro is firmly established, the cleric can help out the damage by supporting the combat effort with melee attacks and the occasional nuke.
It is possible that a diehard battle cleric might choose a cleric merc instead, but the sheer redundancy of the abilities (and the loss of offtanking options) still make warrior mercs preferable even for most modern battle-cleric setups that involve Vows.
Warrior merc generally works best. Druids are the only class who can leverage the warrior merc both for a standard tank-it-to-death strategy or for the aggro kiting strategy sometimes used by Necromancers and others. For tanking and healing, the druid provides potent damage shield effects for the mercenary and applies nukes and DoTs to make the foes die faster, while keeping an eye on the warrior merc's health at all times. For the kiting method, the druid snares the mob and then pelts it aggressively with damaging spells while the warrior chases it and deals damage.
Although they're becoming increasingly rare due to the relative lack of growth in the druid's melee abilities, it is possible that a diehard battle druid might want to use a cleric merc instead of the warrior.
Cleric merc is typical except at low levels. Most enchanter soloing strategies (e.g. charm killing) benefit much more readily from having a cleric on hand than they do from having a warrior, although such clerics must often be micromanaged heavily to keep them from healing a charmed pet that is meant to eventually be killed. In the early levels, warrior mercs can survive fights well enough without healing to be useful as a distraction while the enchanter's magic helps defeat foes and keeps too many from hitting the warrior at once.
Cleric merc is the overwhelmingly better choice in most situations, since it provides much better healing than the magician can at most level ranges and also grants HP buffs for the elemental pet. At the lowest levels, a warrior merc may also be appropriate, if desired, for the extra damage. With the availability of pet toys, however, low level magicians rarely need too much help in that department.
Cleric merc makes the most sense in almost every case, even from the early levels. The monk hits hard, tanks decently, and has numerous survival tricks up its sleeve, and all of these traits mesh well with the buffing and healing the cleric merc provides. One possible exception is a low- to mid-level monk who is twinked with survival-enhancing equipment like a fungi and powerful AC and HP items. Much a monk might consider using a warrior instead and managing it so that it doesn't draw too much aggro, in order to gain extra DPS while any defensive and healing needs are covered by equipment. However, such a monk could (almost) as easily solo without the merc for full experience gain as well. Monks are great!
Cleric merc is once again the most common choice due to its general usefulness in other areas of the game, and its ability to heal the necromancer while kiting if necessary. However, diehard necromancer kiters often use warrior mercs instead, since they effectively function like a second pet to attack the mob from behind while it is being kited. This can greatly increase DPS, but with the downside of reducing the necromancer's experience per kill. It is especially helpful for speeding up the completion of faction quests (such as the Fenden Helter combat series) that require a certain number of kills.
Cleric merc is almost a given at the higher levels. Earlier on, however, or in any content for which the paladin is still capable of self-healing well enough, a warrior merc may be desirable for the added DPS. The usefulness of a warrior is especially high in areas where the paladin must face non-undead foes in order to complete a quest or take advantage of hot zone benefits, since paladin DPS is not very high against the living. With the advent of Caster DPS and Melee DPS mercs, the Paladin with his inate healing ability has many choices at low and mid level. Depending on the zone, It may be more efficient for the Paladin to stun/heal/tank while a dps merc kills the mob.
Cleric merc adds much-needed healing for a class that hits hard but tends toward being fragile. Using a warrior merc early on can work well for those who wish to use a bow to take advantage of the ranger's doubled archery damage versus targets who aren't rooted or moving. Warrior merc strategies tend to falter later on, since the ranger's healing capabilities do not scale well with the increasingly hard-hitting foes they will be facing. A kiting strategy using snares and other spells to hold aggro while the warrior hits the mob from behind is possible for later levels, although its efficiency compared to tanking with a cleric merc is questionable, depending on the equipment and AAs of the ranger.
At higher levels, a cleric merc is basically required. Interestingly, a cleric merc of appropriate tier can often be manipulated into tanking for the rogue, with the healing spells holding aggro and permitting the rogue to backstab for full damage, which helps with the loss of DPS from not using a warrior merc. At lower levels, a warrior merc is often the simplest to use, since it allows the rogue to backstab with impunity.
Cleric merc is an overwhelmingly better choice in most situations. Much like for the paladin above, the main exception is cases in which gaining more DPS is preferable to gaining more healing. If the shadow knight's lifetaps and other life-draining effects are adequate for self-healing, this may be desirable. This is even more situational thank for the paladin, however, since the shadow knight cannot heal the warrior merc (in a pinch) as well as the paladin can. It can be amusing, however, to think of the warrior as another expendable skeleton pet, albeit one who takes a cut of the experience.
Warrior mercs make the most sense in virtually every case. The warrior provides tanking for the shaman, something which the class desperately needs unless it plans to root rot. Since shaman pets do not tank well at higher levels, even with vigorous healing support, the warrior merc provides a welcome addition to both the shaman's defenses and DPS. Combined with the shaman's best-in-the-game slowing abilities and potent buffs and healing, the warrior merc can survive impressively well while meting out good damage.
Cleric merc is pretty much always the best choice, given that the warrior is already the sturdiest tank around. The one exception would be at the lowest levels when healing is not really needed, particularly if the warrior character is twinked with a fungi or a massive amount of high-powered armor that results in very little damage taken. In such a case, using a warrior merc to improve killing speed remains quite respectable, although replacing that merc with a cleric by the middle levels (if not sooner) is the norm.
Much like for necromancers, clerics are the most common choice, but warriors can also be used while kiting due to the wizard's extremely high hate-making potential. For many areas, the wizard is able to defeat foes in quick enough spikes of damage that neither type of merc is particularly helpful when soloing, and the benefits of using one may be outweighed by the reduction in experience gain.