Merc Groups are a mechanic in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. They consist of dispatching mercenary groups of Blades on timed tasks called Merc Missions. After some in-game time passes, the missions are completed in the background and the Blades return with a certain amount of Gold, EXP, Merc Points and treasure containing useful items. Sending Merc Groups to missions allows a Driver to improve the Affinity Chart of participating Blades and obtain Key Affinity Rewards that unlock new skill levels.
Up to six Blades can join a squad for a mission, and up to three of these can be dispatched at once depending on the current Mercenary Level. Each team dispatched to a mission will have a unique name depending on the Blade that acts as group leader.
Legendary Blades tied to the story cannot normally participate in Merc Missions, however in New Game+ this restriction is lifted. When Poppi is out on a Merc Mission, Tora cannot participate in battles.
Merc Missions generally do not appear for a nation until the player increases its Development Level to at least 1 star. In addition, with the exception of First Mission, they will not appear until the Main Story Quest Vandham's Last Wish is completed.
Merc Missions by Nation
Merc Missions are split into two main types. Regular missions with a blue icon are repeatable and can be performed multiple times. Event missions with a pink icon can only be completed once, usually providing progress related to quests and unique key items such as store contracts.
|Argentum Merc Missions||58||36||22||1||10|
|Gormott Merc Missions||38||22||16||0||1|
|Uraya Merc Missions||55||27||28||11||1|
|Mor Ardain Merc Missions||51||22||29||2||1|
|Leftheria Merc Missions||34||20||14||9||2|
|Indol Merc Missions||7||5||2||0||1|
|Tantal Merc Missions||31||22||9||3||0|
Mission Requirements and Duration
Each Merc Mission has a unique set of mission requirements related to the participating Blades' attributes, requiring them to possess either a specific level of Field Skill, Blade Strength, Race, Gender, Element or Weapon class. Some also need certain Rare Blades to act as the leader of the group. These are mandatory in order to dispatch the squad and complete the mission.
Beyond these requirements, each mission also has a set of suggested Field Skills that are useful to the mission's tasks. They are optional, but dispatching a group with these skills will greatly improve their performance in the mission, lowering its duration.
For each level of a suggested skill in the group, the mission duration will be lowered by 6%, up to a maximum time reduction of 75% (rounded down to the minute). Unlike what the interface might suggest, the number of Blades carrying these skills does not impact the mission, but rather the sum of skill levels across the multiple participating Blades. The lowest possible mission duration can be reached with 12 or 13 combined skill levels, depending on the mission.
Completing Merc Missions will award Merc Points required to increase the rank of Garfont Mercenaries and Development Points for the nation where they are obtained, contributing towards unlocking new missions. Each of these missions will also grant useful rewards to the party like gold, experience points, items such as Accessories and Aux Cores, and increase the Trust points of all the Blades that participate in them. Gold and experience rewards increase with higher Merc Levels.
In the case of repeatable missions, subsequent runs will generally reward half the original amount of gold and experience, and with some rare exceptions they will not yield any additional items. However, they will still grant the same amount of Trust, Dev Points and Merc Points.
Non-repeatable missions usually have unique rewards such as key items. With the exception of the Indoline Praetorium, each nation has five special event missions that unlock at each Development Level and grant store contracts that expand the wares of multiple shops around Alrest.
Benefits to Affinity Charts
Merc Missions can serve as a beneficial training tool for standby Blades, given their unique ability to passively increase the progress of Affinity Charts for multiple Blades concurrently. Besides awarding some Trust points that contribute towards most Blades' Key Affinity conditions, each mission completed by a Blade will fulfill the requirements of three random nodes of their Affinity Chart by half of their requested amount.
All missions provide the same benefits, their type and duration does not affect the process. This allows most available nodes in a Blade's Affinity Chart to be unlocked by simply clearing any two Merc Missions. There are some exceptions though, as a mission fails to contribute to a node whose requirements cannot be partially cleared or halved.
The following types of Affinity Chart conditions are not progressed by Merc Missions:
- "???" conditions.
- Visiting a location.
- Viewing a Heart-to-Heart.
- Completing a Quest or Mission.
- Reaching a certain amount of Trust.
- Special conditions related to a Blade Quest.
- Defeating a single specific Unique Monster.
- Dealing a certain amount of damage in a single attack.
- Using a single special to heal a certain amount of damage.
- Conditions that account for previous instances.
- Conditions with requirements of 1 quantity.