Ever since The Taken King launched for Destiny, I’ve seen quite a bit of confusion surrounding the new 3 of Coins item that Xur sells.
If you aren’t aware, the 3 of Coins is a new item that buffs your chances to get an Exotic Engram to drop, but only when you kill an Ultra (typically a Story Mission or Strike boss) while the buff is active. They can be purchased from Xur in stacks of five for the price of seven Strange Coins.
Using the 3 of Coins, you can literally farm Exotic Engrams now, which is a big change from how Exotics were obtained in Year 1.
The ultimate question however is, are they worth the effort, and the cost in Strange Coins? Let’s take a look at how they work before we decide that.
How 3 of Coins Works
First off, only use one 3 of Coins at a time. This is very important, and you’ll understand why shortly.
Once you activate the 3 of Coins, you’ll see a buff icon showing a Roman Numeral 9 (IX) on your character screen. This buff stays active until you defeat an Ultra. You don’t have to get the killing blow on the Ultra, you just need to participate in killing them.
The way you tell an Ultra from normal Major is that they’ll have a skull next to their name, as well as the typical yellow bar. These will typically be Story Mission and Strike bosses.
When you kill an Ultra with the 3 of Coins buff active, the buff goes away no matter what. If an Exotic Engram drops, then the buff resets completely. If an Exotic Engram doesn’t drop, then there is a counter in the background that will keep increasing your chance the next time you use a 3 of Coins until an Exotic Engram does finally drop, in which you start the process over.
What About the Drop Rate?
There is no hard data that shows the drop rate chance that 3 of Coins provides, but based on my experience so far, and reading a lot of Reddit and forum posts, the overall drop rate seems to somewhere between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10.
Obviously RNG is RNG, and your results may vary. I’ve been averaging somewhere around 1 drop every 6 coins used.
Is There a Cooldown?
Kind of. There is a cooldown now for getting the full effect of 3 of Coins, but it’s hidden.
The general consensus is that it’s an internal cooldown of about five to ten minutes to receive the full effect, but there is no definitive info from Bungie, so it’s currently just speculation.
Personally, I use one per Strike or Story Mission, and I primarily farm the Level 36 Strike Playlist when I feel like farming Exotic Engrams. There is little benefit in my opinion to farming them on the Heroic Strike Playlist, since those generally take longer to complete.
Why Was it Nerfed?
When TTK was originally launched and Xur finally showed up that first week, players quickly learned that you could farm a ton of Ultras extremely quickly. The trick was to load up an easy story mission, get to the boss really fast, weaken him to a sliver with a few headshots, and finally just go rocket him in the feet killing him and yourself. This drops the loot to the ground, and restarts the checkpoint at the same time.
I won’t lie, I used this a few times and ended up getting three Exotic Engrams within the span of five coins, using one coin per kill. It only took a few minutes as well. This was pretty game breaking, and way too easy.
It didn’t take Bungie long to figure this out, and they released a hotfix on 9/24/2015 to address the exploit, however there isn’t much detail as to how the new timer works.
Here is the text they used to explain the nerf:
Three of Coins now provides a smaller increase in Exotic Engram drop chance when rapidly killing Ultras
I’m unsure if this means that there is an internal cooldown upon using the 3 of Coins, or if it applies upon killing Ultras. For example, can you apply a coin at the beginning of the Bond Brothers strike, and another after the first Brother dies, since the coins are technically used 5 to 10 minutes apart? It’s hard to tell based on the above description.
This text has also since been removed from the above update:
When used with more time between kills (for example, on Strike bosses), they remain as effective as before
In my opinion, this means that they likely also made a change to the drop rate that 3 of Coins provides, but that’s just my own personal speculation. It does make you wonder why that text was removed however.
Are 3 of Coins Worth Buying?
Depending on how many Exotic Engrams you can get to drop, this can end up being a pretty good deal, especially considering the cost of Exotics that Xur normally sells. Also, Exotics from engrams default to 290 light, and gain a chance to be 310 light once your character gets to 300 light. Compared to the 280 light items that Xur sells, this is an even better deal already.
Unless you have a really bad string of luck, they are absolutely worth the cost in my opinion. At a cost of seven Strange Coins for a stack of five, if you can maintain an average of one Exotic Engram per stack, then your cost for that Exotic is seven Strange Coins. Even at just an average of one Exotic Engram per ten 3 of Coins, that’s still an Exotic Engram for 14 Strange Coins, not to mention that Xur’s items for sale are slightly lower in light.
My verdict? Buy them.. lots of them, every week. Those feels you get when you see that orange ball on the ground when you kill a boss = priceless!
Buy lots of 3 of Coins from Xur. Use one at the beginning of every Strike or Story Mission. Don’t use more than one at a time, using them too quickly will lose some benefit.