With the new Mercenary Mode in World of Warcraft, players with extended queues for unrated battlegrounds and Ashran can speak with a special NPC that will allow them to queue as a member of the opposite faction if they choose to do so. When the queue pops, the player’s race will be changed from their natural race to one of the opposing faction. While a member of the opposing faction, this mercenary is supposed to act as a normal member of the usually hostile faction. For example, an Alliance Draenei can queue as a mercenary to play for the Horde. While a member of a Horde team, this player will appear as a Tauren working with the Horde.
The feature was designed to get players into PvP quicker than having to wait long periods of time in a queue. According to the blog post on the official World of Warcraft website, a mercenary still earns rewards as if they were with their natural faction, except for faction-specific achievements, and the feature should only speed up the wait time for the faction, usually Alliance, seeing lengthy queues.
However, the new World of Warcraft Mercenary Mode has caused a few problems. Aside from the obvious issue of a mercenary player actually wanting their true faction to win and thus not contributing to the match, many players are reporting a bug with Mercenary Mode that changes their race but leaves them aligned with their natural faction.
Basically, several reports on the official World of Warcraft forums and on related websites like Reddit reveal that a player queued as a mercenary can sometimes lead to rather unfortunate situations. Alliance players acting as mercenaries are sometimes still flagged as Alliance even thought their race is changed, but they remain in the Horde party with the ability to see the Horde chat and Horde characters in stealth. They are friendly to the Alliance, though, and can aid them in objectives.
In one such case, a Reddit user points out that while on the Horde team acting as a Mercenary, their own teammates could attack them but the opposing Alliance team could not. Of course, some World of Warcraftplayers are willing to abuse this by using their bugged mercenary players to take objectives with no opposition. Members of the bugged party member’s team simply will not attack the bugged player while it can freely move through enemy ranks without resistance.
The issue even extends to Arenas where the Mercenary Mode is not available. Players are reporting seeing their teammates as hostile before the gate even opens up to start an arena match. In this instance, the player incorrectly flagged is hostile to everyone including the allied team and the opposing team.
Clearly, the new Mercenary Mode in World of Warcraft is not without its issues. Whether or not a player supports the creative way to attempt to alleviate long unrated battleground and Ashran queues, the current wonky repercussions are definitely worth addressing. It is unclear if this is a widely known issue or if these are just a few isolated cases; however, it would not be surprising to see the Mercenary Mode addressed or hotfixed sometime in the near future.