Fourth edition had no time for henchmen. Not a minute. What does Superman need a sidekick for? In the name of balance, the noble meatshield was kicked to the curb. Taverns throughout infinite campaign worlds were filling up with nondescript proto-adventurers while the real deals were off firing face lasers at dragons and whatnot. Face lasers.
Our second session of D&D Next saw the return of the hireling, because goddammit them there Caves of Chaos are a ball-ache. In this instance, we were missing the player who uses the wizard, who was against hiring help for reasons meta-gamey, so were went ahead and bought out a pub full of the scrag ends. They became numbers.
Like any good, clear-headed players, we decided to sweeten them up with ALL the money. We figured that they're going to die fairly soon anyway, so we could just loot their fresh corpses like vultures with a need for monetary gain. We flung them into marching order and made our way into the goblin caves. Stats for our flesh cushions were made up on the fly, with +1 attacks and 6 hit points. They fared relatively well until the [redacted] slaughtered the majority of them and the others tried to flee until we gave them a good talking to, the defiant bastards.
Put it this way, we would have been in dire straits without them. HP may be relatively beefy, but characters aren't amazeballs in an sense. Sure, combat dragged out a bit more, but they were getting like, what, two seconds per turn? That's small potatoes. Characters still probably need some HP reduction along with monsters, but it's nice to know that the meatshield industry is back open for business.
P.S. Incidentally, this is something that is good.