Mercenaries are almost certainly doomed.
There's a reason that nowadays I play mostly on my Blood Mage. Mercenaries have been nerfed repeatedly over and over again. People have switched classes ever since the initial nerfing (Changing Hybrid Armor from +12 Defense to +6 Defense and +6 Resistance). Everyone steers clear of the doomed class if they want to keep their battle record in the positive zone.
And I forgot to say, this is a rant.
Now, why are Mercenaries underpowered? I believe there are two main reasons.
In December of last year, they preformed the Hybrid Armor nerf. I had just gotten my first taste of Varium (the $20 Varium pack). I had already extinguished it, as it was only 2,500 Varium. I first bought the Baby Yeti (something I now regret) with 1,900 varium. I couldn't see into the future, so I didn't anticipate the arrival of the Rusted Assualt Bot. I then picked another (free) $5 Varium pack, now giving me enough varium to get the Beast Rider E Armor.
I bought the armor just before they announced that Hybrid Armor would be changing. I was screwed.
But that nerf by itself wasn't too bad. It was survivable. And then Adrenaline came.
In my opinion, Adrenaline is probably the worst passive ever. Ranking the passive skills (from greatest to least):
Passive Skills: Blood Lust, Deadly Aim, Plasma Armor, Mineral Armor, Hybrid Armor, Reroute, Shadow Arts, Blood Shield, Adrenaline
1. Plasma Armor (Cyber Hunter)
2. Reroute (Tech Mage, Tactical Mercenary)
3. Deadly Aim (Tech Mage, Blood Mage)
4. Blood Lust (Bounty Hunter, Blood Mage)
5. Mineral Armor (Tactical Mercenary)
6. Hybrid Armor (Mercenary)
7. Shadow Arts (Bounty Hunter, Cyber Hunter)
8. Blood Shield (Tactical Mercenary)
9. Adrenaline (Mercenary)
I think Blood Shield was better than Adrenaline. Back then (I mean back back then), Mercenaries could tolerate Smoke Screens with their (+12) Hybrid Armor. Any malfunctions could be fixed with (+14) Blood Shield. They were balanced back then.
Now? Cyber Hunter tops the list (and the only nerfs they've recieved are these little puny Static Charge ones...), followed by the mages (both equally OPed), then TLM/BH (very balanced), and last of all, Mercenary. When a Mercenary gets a Smoke Screen these days, their only choice is to use their (almost always present) Rusted Assault Bot. Be it Malfunction, Rusted Bot as well. Back then, a Mercenary could use Blood Shield and (assuming that it is a good-leveled Blood Shield), fix all of the Malfunction. However, this is not a rant against the Rusted Assault Bot. I will give it credit, as it actually partly fixes most of the debuff in stats, no defense or resistance. However, the modern Mercenary (actually, the whole nonvarium crowd) has come to depend upon it too much. And the fact that the Assault Bot (which costs a good 1,250 Varium) is more or less exactly the same as the Rusted version...but that's another rant for later.
Blood Shield was way more essential to Mercenaries than Adrenaline is. These days, the only Mercs you see with Adrenaline have support builds. Every other Mercenary is a mix of Tank (successful one if they have the rusted bot) and Technology. I have tried out both for myself, however not having a Rusted Assault Bot probably seriously impacted my judgement.
Now I wonder, is my mercenary weak or is the whole class weak? Either way, they need a buff.