Considering the outright refusal of DBG/Darkpaw/<insert name of the week here> to really even admit the existance of EQ much less advertise in an attempt to bring in new players for, oh I don't know, the last decade at least, mercs are pretty much a necessity. Yes, I agree, it is always better to have a live tank, a live healer, live dps. Even a halfway decent player will beat a merc into the ground. But, sometimes it is just not an option. Most of us are getting older, we don't have the long, uninterrupted game play sessions we did when we were younger. We don't have time to sit around for an hour LFG hoping to fill in our groups.