Ok, so, here's what I've learned over the last few months. I know this is old news to some. But, I feel a lot of people are missing the importance of some key aspects. Some people haven't even tried gaining merits either. Merits are REALLY easy to get, but you need to do some prep work ahead of time. You need a few things to really optimize your hunting. Doing this right can net me about 1500 merits / hr.. Therefore, gaining 10,000 merits and then keeping them is actually pretty easy. Most importantly, it forms a community.
1. Be sure you log into a huge private group - MOBIUS, for example. The more people in a system (supercruise, specifically), the more NPCs, and the faster your merits climb. This is probably the most important step and one you want to focus on the most. It can make the difference between 300 merits / hr. and 1500 merits / hr. Here's why: When players are in super cruise, the NPCs slowly populate space. At first, there is nothing, then, slowly, there are some targets. If no human players are in supercruise, it's a slow climb. But, IF you are in a system that always has a living human scooting around in supercruise, that system will always be FULL of NPC wings. This is how you will be able to always find back-to-back wings of 3+ as fast as you can interdict, kill, and FSD low wake back into supercruise. If you can't find a system already full of random Mobius players, you may want to split your wing up so that at least one of you is always in supercruise to keep space full. Said another way, if you interdict a target and leave supercruise without a human player (any human) left in supercruise, that instance will end. When you go back into supercruise, the instance will start back up from scratch and you'll have to wait for a while before you find more targets to kill.
2. Wing up with a group filled with people wanting to kill the same targets. The more people you can get, the better. However, if all your wing-mates are pledged to a different power, they won't want to blow up the same stuff and you waste a lot of time. Break up wings into similar power pledges if needed. Also, remember, your wing-mates all collect the merits together; when a wing-mate blows up a guy, you ALL get 30 merits. A mixed wing is best - fast ships and heavy hitting big ships working together. This gets you faster kills, obviously, and it keeps the space crazy away.
3. In a mixed wing, give your most maneuverable or skilled pilot the Interdictor tasks. This person will be able to chase down targets with best results. The rest of the wing, if capable enough, can split up and scan all the other targets flying around. While the Interdictor person is lining up or capturing the target, the rest of the wing forms up on him, enables their nav locks and gets ready to drop together.
4. You want to ambush NPC wings of three or higher. I tend to ignore anything less. IF you are doing step one correctly, there will probably be a wing of three hiding in the crowd all the time.
I hope you enjoy your new friends and merits.
BTW, I still do this almost every night. Half the time, I bring a few people with me and then sometimes grab more from the Mobius Team Speak. Come join us! Sorry I haven't checked on this thread in a little while. If you are still interested, PM me or just add me as a friend in-game.