Vendors sell contracts for various levels and classes of hireling at key spots around Stormreach.
Hirelings are summoned by double-clicking the contract once you're in a dungeon or wilderness adventure area.
 Update 16 improvements
U16 brought several important changes to hirelings:
- All hirelings received much-needed equipment upgrades. In addition to generally better gear, all hirelings should have the much requested Everbright- and Blueshine-like properties for their weapons and armor. This means your hirelings should no longer break their weapon because of Ooze or Rust Monsters.
- Hirelings' weapons were changed to have a random element damage property on each new summon. Where before the property was fixed, now a hireling's weapon can have one of fire, acid, cold, shock, sonic, or force damage.
- Hirelings who cast spells got much more Concentration.
- Hireling ability scores were upgraded to better match their levels.
 Types and classes of hirelings
There are three types of hirelings.
- Vendor Hirelings are, as the unofficial name suggests, bought from vendors in various locations.
- Vendor hirelings can only be summoned near the zone's entry point.
- You can only summon one vendor hireling at a time.
- You can only summon vendor hirelings of your character level or lower.
- Gold Seal Hirelings can be bought with Turbine Points or with Astral Shards from most hireling vendors. Gold Seal contracts, and the hirelings they summon, differ from normal ones in these ways:
- Gold Seal hirelings can be summoned anywhere in a dungeon or zone, not just near the entrance.
- You can summon as many Gold Seal hirelings as there is room for in the party, including vendor hirelings.
- Starting in Update 11, you can summon Gold Seal Hirelings up to 2 levels higher than your character.
- Permanent Gold Seal Hirelings share most characteristics with other gold seal hirelings. Their contract, however, never expires. The following permanent hirelings exist:
- Onyx Panther pet (fighter 20) - reward for pre-ordering the Collector's edition of the Menace of the Underdark expansion.
- Owlbear Defender pet (lvl 17 and lvl 25) - part of the Legendary Upgrade for the Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion.
- Elieri Thistledown (cleric 3) - part of the DDO Starter Pack available on the DDO Market.
Hirelings vary in race and class. They aren't available in multiclassed versions.
Rogue hirelings from levels 1-20 are only available as Gold Seal hirelings (from DDO Store or from a few hireling vendors for Astral Shards). Epic level (21+) hirelings can be purchased in Eveningstar and in Gianthold. U22 will add an Epic Hireling vendor in the Marketplace
 Summoning restrictions
Hirelings can't be summoned:
- If you're in a public area.
- If the party is full (with player characters or other hirelings), as you can't make a party larger than six players.
- By a character with a lower level than the hireling's level.
- With U12, Gold Seal hirelings can be used by a player two levels lower.
- If you're playing on Solo difficulty.
- If any player in the party already has an active hireling present with the same name (exception: Onyx Panther and Owlbear Defender).
- As part of a raid party.
Hirelings can be summoned while underwater (entrance of Let Sleeping Dust Lie, for example).
Contracts purchased from Vendors are Bound to Account. It may be wise to have a character with a high Haggle to purchase these contracts and drop them in the account shared bank.
Contracts vanish after you return to a public instance once 60 minutes of play time with the hireling has elapsed. As of Update 8, the timers on hirelings pause when in a public area (where they cannot be summoned).
Nothing happens to the hireling if they're still active in a quest when the contract expires; the hireling keeps serving you until you dismiss them or you return to town. Contract expiration timers don't count down while you're logged out or in public areas, and a contract that's never been used lasts indefinitely.
You can summon a hireling any number of times while you still have a contract, though you must wait at least five minutes between uses. Contracts are Bound to Account and cannot be sold or traded to any other player.
You can dismiss a hireling by clicking the name in the party list, then right-clicking and choosing "Dismiss" from the drop-down menu. You need your hireling to be near you for this to work (however, you can always summon your hireling to you and then dismiss). You may dismiss your hireling at any time; however, even if you are a party leader, you cannot dismiss another player's hireling. It may take up to 5 minutes before you can resummon a vendor hireling you've dismissed.
You can buy Hireling Folders in various sizes to hold several unused contracts, saving inventory space. Hireling contract folders are available only from the DDO Store, and are Bound to Character once purchased (even though the contracts themselves are Bound to Account).
 Hireling hotbar
1. Stay/Follow switch. Controls whether your hireling follows you or stays in one spot. Press to switch between modes.
2. Call Hireling. Tells your hireling to come to you. Automatically switches the hireling to "Follow" mode as well. If they're too far away or there is terrain that they can't navigate between you, they'll teleport directly to you after a moment.
3. Aggressive Mode. Your hireling will freely engage enemies and use their abilities as they see fit.
4. Defensive Mode. Your hireling will freely use buffs and healing on both of you, but will only attack enemies that attack either of you first.
5. Passive Mode. Your hireling will take no actions whatsoever unless you explicitly command it.
6. Interact With Your Target. Your hireling's actions and this icon's appearance depend on your target. (Right-click things to target them, or cycle through possible targets with the Tab and Q keys.)
- If your target is an enemy, the hireling attacks it. Icon switches to a blue sword.
- If your target is an object (switch, shrine, etc.), the hireling uses or breaks it. If your target is a trap box, a rogue hireling attempts to disable it. Icon switches to white gears.
- If your target is a teammate, the hireling defends them. Icon switches to a blue shield.
- Hold Control and click the Attack/Use button to make all hirelings attack/use/defend the target.
7-10. Hireling-specific actions. Manually orders your hireling to use one of their skills, spells, or abilities on your current target. The icons and abilities are different for every hireling.
As of Update 8, some hirelings will use standard common spells for that class, even if they aren't shown on the toolbar. A notable example: Cleric hirelings now remove curses, poison, and disease, often without prompting.
 Customizing orders
Since Update 23, you can right-click a hireling's icon to disable some of his / her activities.
 Buffing, death, and personalities
- Hirelings are subject to most of the same game mechanics as player characters, including buffs, debuffs, healing, and saving throws. Spell-casting hirelings even have limited spell points (unlike enemy spell-casters). Hirelings often come with an allotment of healing potions and/or mnemonic (spell-point or "mana") potions they will use on their own to replenish themselves, but they don't have many to use during a quest.
- With Update 8, hirelings "speak" more, making comments during common activities such as opening chests or when low on health.
- To resurrect a dead hireling, lead their ghost to a resurrection shrine. As with player characters, you may need to pick up their soul stone closer to the shrine. Target the shrine and use the Interact command on the hireling's toolbar. You may need to lead the ghost very close to the shrine, click the button multiple times, or both—hirelings often get hung up on the furniture and rubble commonly found around shrines. As with players, you can also use Resurrection and Raise Dead spells on them.
- If you die but your hireling survives, you can tell them to pick up your soul stone. They'll follow your ghost closely enough to let you roam anywhere. They can even open shrine room doors for you.
- Hirelings don't swim or use portals, although they often use ladders. Use the Call Hireling button once you're on the other side to get them across.
- You can give a hireling manual orders no matter what mode they're in. They'll go back to that mode's behavior once he's done.
- Different hirelings don't only have different abilities. They also have different behaviors, even when in the same mode. Some are more aggressive than others, or follow you more closely, or may even go after barrels before attacking enemies.