How To Play Mercenary In Path Of Exile 2?

When thinking about each new class in Path of Exile 2, we really try to think about what can make combat feel different from all the others. For the Mercenary, that difference is the crossbow.

A crossbow is fundamentally different from a regular bow because it fires instantly instead of needing to be drawn back. This means that you need immediate feedback. Clicking the fire button should make the character shoot instantly. Just like in a shooter.

As soon as we experienced that, we realised that there are a lot of design lessons to learn from shooters, and so we fully embraced them. No matter what kind of weapon you want to choose, as long as you have enough POE Currency, you don’t have to worry!

How To Play Mercenary In Path Of Exile 2?

Different Features Of Mercenary’s Crossbow

In Path of Exile 2, we have crossbows that look like sniper rifles, shotguns, and assault rifles.

But in order to really get shooter-like gameplay, we wanted to go further. In Path of Exile 2, we now support WASD movement. You can now walk around in any direction, independent of aiming.

In fact, if this is your preferred method of gameplay, you can use it on any class regardless of what weapon type you are using. You can change between Click to Move or WASD at any time.

You can only hold two crossbows at a time, but Path of Exile 2 is all about interesting combinations of abilities. And this is where Ammo skills come in. This is a Burst Shot crossbow and right now, I have Armour Piercing Ammo equipped, which makes it very effective when facing a group of enemies, since it pierces right through them.

But there are other ammos, too. For a bigger single target, it might be a good idea to switch to Incendiary. The more projectiles hit the target, the stronger the ignite, so you will want to get up nice close and personal with this one.

If you have a bunch of targets running at you, you might want to slow them down. In this case, you could switch to Permafrost Burst Shot. Shooting a bunch of smaller enemies at range will chill them, and potentially even freeze them in place.

Also Read: Gameplay & Walkthrough Guide For Druid In Path Of Exile 2

Once you have some frozen enemies, though, you can switch back to Armour Piercing. Shooting a frozen enemy with Armour Piercing Burst Shot will explode the ice, doing a huge amount of damage to all nearby enemies.

Another feature crossbows have is attachments. This is a grenade launcher. When I equip it, it appears on the underside of the crossbow. These attachments are just like skill gems, so you effectively get extra skill slots, and you can augment these with support gems just like regular skills.

These grenades take a while to explode, so it’s a good idea to pair them with some kind of crowd control, like Permafrost Burst Shot. We have other grenades too, though. This attachment is a Flash Grenade. It does barely any damage, but it does do a huge amount of stun. It can be a great opener before you run into combat.

Oil Grenade is another one of the attachments. Firing one of these grenades coats the ground and nearby enemies in oil. Oil slows enemies down, so it’s another useful crowd control mechanic.

Another useful thing oil can do is to be set on fire. Any burning enemy or explosion will ignite the oil, causing extra burning damage. One of the problems with Burst Shot crossbows is that each pellet doesn’t do much damage individually. This means that if enemies have Armour, then it will be very effective preventing that damage.

But thankfully, you can equip an additional crossbow in your second weapon set to deal with the weaknesses of your primary weapon. This is a Rapid Shot crossbow. Rapid Shot is great for closing on enemies because you can shoot while running.

Path of Exile 2 Mercenary Class

In Path of Exile 2, you now have the ability to use some skills while moving. Being able to create skills like this opens up a lot of new design space and allows you to really increase the pace of combat.

The Armour Piercing version of Rapid Shot slowly erodes a monster’s armour. Once the armour is fully broken, you can easily switch back to Burst shot to deal much more damage.

Being able to run while shooting with Rapid Shot is also great for when you want to perform a fighting retreat.

Using Permafrost ammo with Rapid Shot is also useful if you need to retreat. When you shoot the ground, it creates ice crystals. If you draw monsters back over these crystals, they explode, chilling the monsters. It’s great if you want to set up a safe zone before pulling the next pack.

Slowing enemies down can come in handy if you want to use the Incendiary version of Rapid Shot. Using this skill requires that you charge up a little before it fires, but as it continues to heat up, it will do more and more damage.

It has a really large clip size, so you can just keep firing and firing with it. But the other really useful feature is that when the crossbow is heated up, it adds extra fire damage to any grenade that you launch.

Explosive grenades will work equally as well with Flash or Oil grenades, too. If you use it with Oil grenades, the oil will catch fire immediately.

Another crossbow type that you can find is Power Shot. This one works just like a classic sniper rifle. Use it with Armour Piercing ammo and it will penetrate armour on targets, so it’s a good idea to use when something is really tough.

Now this skill has another interesting interaction with Armour Break. If the enemy has its armour broken then your power shot hits a weak spot and does a huge amount of single target damage, with a bunch of extra stun for good measure.

Path of Exile 2 Mercenary Class 2

Now, the Incendiary version of Power Shot is more like a rocket launcher. It does a big explosive blast at a distance.

One of the really useful features of this version is that you can explode any grenades that happen to be on the ground. This combo also works really well with Incendiary Rapid Shot. I’m going to charge up the heat on my crossbow, shoot out a bunch of grenades, and then start the fireworks with a Power Shot.

The Ice version of Power Shot creates frost walls at a distance. This is great for crowd controlling monsters in tight passages. The wall segments have other uses, too. If they get destroyed by monsters, then they will explode doing a small amount of damage.

Do you remember that Burst Shot combo with frozen enemies we did earlier? That works with ice walls, too. Let’s put Burst Shot back on. Now I can fill up this area with ice walls, then shoot them with Armour Piercing Burst Shot for a huge amount of damage.


And that’s the Mercenary. It feels totally different from anything we’ve seen before and shows you the range of what is possible in Path of Exile 2.

More from author