Mercenaries are paid automatically every hour, so you
have to make sure you have enough gold to pay them during
the hours you will be away from the game. The game server
will deduct your gold and pay the mercs, but if you
run out of gold, mercs will simply abandon you for another
that can pay their wages.
Spies and agents are paid per turn unlike normal mercs
that are paid per hour.
Mercenaries can only be used to attack if your reputation
rating is positive. i.e. over 0. Mercenaries can be
employed and used in defense at any time, regardless
of your reputation score. Attacking using mercs will
lose reputation. The amount lost ranges between 1 to
3 points of reputation. Depends if you attack a province
smaller or larger than yourself and if you win or lose.
The only ways to win a reputation point is to attack
a larger target without the use of mercs, or defend
successfully against the attack of a larger province.
In both these cases the attacker and defender`s IP must
be different or no points will be gained.