Mercenaries are individual players or a string of players forming a guild who will fight in a neutral manner for a predetermined payment. They can fight as a separate entity by themselves or they can merge into the hiring guild for the duration of the conflict. Given the nature of AstroEmpires however and the manner in which it is played, individual mercenaries are next to non-existent and most mercenary guilds do not reach a point of large enough strength to accomplish much. As a result mercenaries do not have much of a part in the Astoempires game in any conflict involving guilds ranked anywhere around 20 or higher. They may still play a role in small guild conflicts, but in a somewhat limited and diminished manner. Furthermore the employment of mercenaries in a conflict between 2 warring guilds is often politically frowned upon and the mercenary players or guilds themselves often play the game and live with the criticism or conflicts which go with such a manner of playing the game.
Usual mercenary payments come in only 2 forms, Upgrades for the players involved or a predetermined amount of debris as payment. Given the rules of the game however the later reward sometimes boarders on breaking the rule of transferring credits which is a bannable offense, thus players or guilds need to circumvent this by creating a large debris pile by attacking the warring guild and only allow the mercenary player(s) to clean up the debris.
New players and guilds to the game have a difficult time identifying guilds or players who are classified as mercenaries. Most mercenaries build up a reputation about themselves and are advertised via word of mouth (though potentially not on purpose) During the first 90 or so days of a server opening however mercenaries tend to be limited to the geographical areas in which they can render their services given the levels of jumpgates available.