This guide is for understanding how to play and progress through the World of Mercenaries PvE Campaign, and will go over how to beat the first collection of areas to progress to the second areas.
A few general tactical things first.
Hero Armor (Plates) do not matter that much for WoM, and I managed fine with always stacking attack speed (though running straight damage should be more helpful).
It is important to pay attention to the map. Memorize the enemy spawn points when playing, always learn where and when your opponents are coming, and move to counter them properly. Sometimes it is better to run than engage an enemy in combat, especially in WoM where enemy archers often receive strong damage buffs, allowing them to cleave through your units if you’re unprepared or engage the wrong infantry unit.
There are two zones, Zone 1 (Crusader Maps) and Zone 2 (Han Maps). Each zone has a select roster of characters you may play in those specific zones. For example, Joan is playable on the Crusader Maps but not the Han Maps. Other heroes currently have no zone to be played in. Each zone has 4 areas, with the first area (Eastern Source of War/Cesaro) acting as the starting area for each zone. As you play an area, you earn reputation for the next area in that same zone. Once you have enough reputation, you unlock the next area. To use heroes in that next area, they need to have a certain number of stars (explained later).
Each zone has specific skin set rewards offered as unique rewards. As of the time of writing this guide, Zone 1 provides a set of Joan skins (but used to provide a Zhao Yun set of skins), while Zone 2 provides a set of Arthur skins. To obtain a permanent WoM skin, you must obtain 100 trial cards for a skin and then press the compose button in your inventory to create the permanent skin.
The Bonds Menu
The next portion goes over progressing individual heroes in the WoM system. The Bonds Menu is where most of this happens and is where you level up characters with general PvE exp, tier-up characters, and set the bond partners of characters. The Bonds Menu can be accessed by the top bar in the WoM screen where it says “Bonds”.
PvE Level & Stars/Tier:
Each hero you possess has a PvE level, starting at 1, that can be raised by playing WoM with that hero, or by using general PvE exp to level your character. As the PvE level increases for a hero and that hero’s unit, the combat stats (damage, health) increases for that hero and that hero’s unit.
To earn general PvE exp, you must either use PvE materials (explained later) in your inventory or complete challenge quests specific to each map. I recommend using general PvE exp to first upgrade your Crusader zone heroes.
To get your first star on a hero, you must only reach level 11 with that hero (max level 10 and then tier-up in Bonds menu). After that, every 10 levels (20, 30, 40, etc.) you must use PvE materials to tier-up your hero. You tier-up a hero by going into the bonds menu and selecting a hero, clicking the button that would ordinarily say “Level-up” but should now instead say “Tier-up”.
Bonds are special effects given to a character when they are given specific bond partners (Max of 6 bond partners) in the bond menu. Each hero acts as a bond partner automatically for themselves without taking a slot, gaining a point in the bonds they can give to others by being made a bond partner. Each hero has two bond points that they give to others and themselves. For example, in the above image it shows that Baldwin has a point in the Old Sect bond and a point in the Stalker bond.
Each bond has specific requirements (a number of relevant bond partners & those bond partners possessing a number of stars) to activate their special effects at specific tiers. For example, to activate Baldwin’s stalker bond’s basic effect (+3% hero attack, hero kills restore 0.5% hp to unit), one must add Hua Mulan or Hattori Hanzo (shown at bottom of the hover-tooltip) as a bond partner in one of the empty pluses to the right of the bond effects under “Bond Heroes”. Every bond requires at least 2 bond points (and therefore 2 heroes or 1 hero if the selected hero already has a bond point in that bond) to give any effect.
Certain bonds only work with certain heroes. For example, stalker bond’s “unit exclusive” effect only works if you have a hero that has a point in the stalker bond by default (thus making that hero a ‘stalker hero’).
Bonds can be important and powerful. I recommend the Field Commander bond at basic/primary effect most, as it works for all heroes and can be very helpful when things go sour.
PvE materials are materials gained from material chests that drop at any area (after the first area) in any zone. Area 2 drops common materials. Area 3 drops common and advanced materials. So on and so forth.
Tier 2 (2nd Star) requires 10 of each common material. Tier 3 requires 20 of each common material. Tier 4 requires 30 of each common material and 4 of 2 separate advanced materials (dependent on the hero). So on and so forth.
There are other uses to PvE materials than just tiering-up. You can use PvE materials to gain general PvE exp. This is not recommended, as you shouldn’t stop needing materials for a long time and the exp gained from this method is rather paltry.
If you really do have spare PvE materials, selling them in the YC market is a possibility and almost certainly a better alternative.
You can also compose 100 common PvE materials into a higher tier material.
WoM has bots that can aid you in the first area of any zone. These bots, while helpful, are not great or as potentially helpful as players. They are always level 1, have no bonds, only appear in the first area, do not communicate/respond to pings, and always follow a specific path while attacking anything on the way. Archer bots, such as Xiao Qiao, are especially bad at being helpful, often charging in for melee or standing where they can’t shoot anyone. If you find yourself alone in a WoM match with only bots, don’t panic. You may yet win.
A few important things to know remain, however.
Enemies like to patrol around buildings, cutting your line of sight, and can flank someone just charging straight through. I recommend a solid infantry hero like Ling Tong/Diao Chan, but most heroes work on this map.
To the north of the town is a hill with archers (sometimes Edward, sometimes Philip 2). I recommend taking them out quickly.
Reinforcements come from the north along the dirt path (first cavalry, then infantry and archers behind those infantry). I recommend having someone (maybe yourself, if you’re the only actual player surrounded by bots) hit the enemy from behind to slaughter the archers and then the infantry (hopefully cavalry should be dead before this due to how early they arrive).
It can be hard to do the challenge quest if you’re the only actual player among bots. Enemies will attack points, sometimes multiple at once, though notably the final wave (the one that comes right after the wave of cavalry from the right that attacks C) only attacks A or C, A from the north or from the building-corridor below B, and C from the same position that the prior cavalry spawned at.
Mecelone has the hardest challenge quest of the Cesaro maps. To accomplish it, you must kill the units and officers of the ‘third party’ (also referred to as alliance officers due to lore) on the northern cliffs. One officer is a Leonidas and the other is a Caesar (both with javelin attacks), and both of these officers and their units are significantly stronger than ordinary. Over the course of the match, Caesar and Leonidas will walk between their two spawning positions repeatedly, both of which have damageable flags (similar to Isabella’s flag) that buff the enemy and thus flags that should be destroyed. If you’re good at dodging and weaving, I recommend using your hero to take out the flags while your unit distracts the enemy.
To complete the challenge quest, I recommend Alexander, as he’s one of the best PvE heroes when his phalanx is activated. Additionally, another melee unit (could be another Alexander, even) at Alexander’s side helps as Alexander’s phalanx can’t quite span the cliff’s width. Archers are less useful, as both Caesar and Leonidas largely remain in their defensive, shielded formations.
To complete this mission as smoothly as possible (ignoring the challenge), follow the bots. They take a path around the hill and into the back of the enemy base you’re supposed to take. You have to kill everything in that enemy base (including the guards at the entrances), and units will spawn right inside that base to attack you. It is highly recommended you have someone station their units right on top of the two archer spawns, as the spawning archers are highly damaging. Additionally, archers and infantry will come from the east a single time as reinforcements. Furthermore, horses (some ranged) will move around the back of the building where the bots enter to attack but you don’t have to kill those.
Archer Spawn Points:
I recommend Isabella on this map, as she can deal with horses and has shields to defend against the many spawning archers. Richard is a good alternative, as shields should be prioritized.
To complete the challenge quest, you have to kill four officers (it used to be five). There’s an archer officer on the hill opposite the building you need to attack, a Zhang Bao officer on the hill to the side of the building, and the rest spawn inside the building as you attack it, with a horse officer that flees early, taking several routes towards the right and the last 2 (Hua Mulan and Zhuge Liang) spawning at the very end. There is technically an officer on the opposite side of the map from spawn, where the enemy reinforcements come from, but that officer and his unit are not supposed to be killed. Killing the fleeing horse officer is hard to accomplish, and it is very easy to botch the job or have him flee a different route if you’re alone, as the bots will activate the fleeing officer.
If you want to complete the challenge, I recommend a team of cooperating, communicating players or a high-level hero with a couple stars. Even experienced players well beyond this area can botch this map.
Officer Locations/Spawnpoints (Excluding Horse Officer, who spawns where Hua Mulan and Zhuge Liang do):
I recommend Isabella on this map, as it has a lot of horses and a lot of archers. Additionally, taking archers on this map isn’t bad, but don’t attempt to use the towers already occupied by the NPC archers, as they’ll just block your troops from firing properly.
Yanning Commandery’s challenge quest is awful, and you should not attempt it as a new player (or at all, most times). The lords you have to protect, the five heroes spaced about the building to guard it like the Baldwin 1 at the front, are suicidal. I have literally never seen someone complete this challenge quest in all of my grinding without straight-up abandoning the fort and blocking the enemy spawns to the north, and you’ll need a ridiculous amount of levels to do that combined with a full team of competent players. I’m not saying it’s impossible, there are certain positions you can take to defend the lords while still around the fort, but it’s never happened for me.
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