Swords of Chult introduces a significant enhancement for alt play in terms of campaigns. Players that have already progressed within campaigns up to a certain point are able to craft so-called “Patronage Signets” for campaign currency. These signets are bound to the account and when consumed by a character cut most tasks of the campaign in half. So what players are essentially able to do is use their mains to craft signets and pass them to their alts to make progression easier for them. In this article we are going over the costs and debate which campaigns profit from the system the most.
The Patronage System Basics and Costs
As said, mains have to progress up to a certain point to be able to craft the signets. They do not have to actually complete the campaigns. The best example for this is the Cloaked Ascendancy, where you can get access to its signet without completing most of the store and boon quests. All threshold tasks can be seen in the picture below. Going forwards signets will be available for all campaigns but the two most recent. At the start of the system that would technically rule out the Cloaked Ascendancy, but the devs included it anyway (yay!).
The basic idea of the costs is that you’ll gain roughly five times as much campaign currency from the signet as what it costs. It’s really not that hard to amass the necessary currency, it should take you about five days. Each signet however does also require 50,000 Astral Diamonds.
On alts that consume a signet a warning is displayed in case the character has already significantly progressed through a campaign. It’s a nice additional safeguard so you don’t accidentally use the signet on a toon that might not need it.
Which Tasks are Discounted?
Not all costs in the campaigns are cut in half when the signet is consumed by the target character. On the left you see an example of which tasks in Sharandar are discounted. All progression and boon tasks are included, but no store items and also no repeatable tasks that create goods. The devs wanted to avoid situations in which players feel they have to buy the signets to stay competitive. Lesser Dragon’s Hoard Enchantments from the Tyranny of Dragons campaign still cost as much as before, same with all the campaign keys. If some currencies need to be rounded, they are always rounded up by the way.
Overall it’s a pretty fair deal since the system is all about progressing faster. With the relevant tasks halved, you should normally be able to get over with campaigns twice as fast.
Campaign Details and Evaluation
The key word in the last sentence is “normally”, because unfortunately it’s not so straight forward for all campaigns. I’m not sure whether it’s intended or a flaw of the system, but half costs don’t automatically mean twice the progress speed. So let’s look at the campaigns one by one to see what the signets do.
Sharandar fully profits from its Sharandar Signet of Patronage. All boons and progression tasks are cut in half, so your alts can progress with twice the speed. Granted, the campaign is already fairly easy to complete, but the signet certainly helps.
In Dread Ring we already run into a limitation of the system. Although progression quests are technically cut in half, they still require one Thayan Cipher. As said, everything is rounded up, and one divided by two, then rounded up, still equals one. So the campaign, with and without the signet, is taking you at least 16 days. For this one it would have been much better if the signet doubled the currency from the quests.
The rating for Icewind Dale is based on the assumption that reputation is correctly doubled. The dev blog clearly mentions that it should, but it wasn’t on the character I tested the signet on. So make sure to double check this before you begin questing with the signet. Even if working correctly, the daily reputation quests are not as much of an issue. Right now you need 18 days of zerging three HEs and gathering 300 Black Ice, which isn’t that much work. The annoying grind comes from questing in the large Icewind Pass and Dwarven Valley zones to get Auril’s Tears and Dwarf Gold. While the signet absolutely helps there in reducing the required amount, I would probably still buy myself out of the mess with Genie’s Gifts.
Tyranny of Dragons
Oh, yes please! Tyranny is a great example of a campaign in which its signet can help a ton. All relevant tasks are halved and even the Tiamat boons become a piece of cake. Raise your hands if you belong to those that farmed 80 Linu’s Favors back in the day. Make that eight now. Yes, that’s one tenth. Only thing that prevent me from giving full stars here is the fact that the boon books can’t be halved.
It’s pretty much the same story for Underdark, which also fully profits from its Underdark Signet of Patronage. The thing that’s working against this campaign however is the fact that Faerzress is uncapped anyway and the progression task takes 18 hours to run. So in most cases you shouldn’t need the signet to be able to start the task each day.
Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! I personally just don’t like the campaign setup of going out in the world and shoot a random mob. It’s dull. So reducing the grind to 16 days makes it worth it for me.
Storm Kings Thunder
This is again assuming the double reputation works, which was not the case for me on preview.
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The Cloaked Ascendancy
It’s quite complete opposite for CA which is the second campaign to land a five star rating. All tasks in the campaign are reduced and no matter whether you want to go boons or dungeon first, you’ll get there twice as fast. The task cost reduction also makes more store tasks viable as you no longer spend more currency than you are able to safe with them.
The Patronage System is great, but it doesn’t help with all campaigns equally. I personally would definitely recommend Maze Engine, Tyranny of Dragons and Cloaked Ascendancy, but stay away from Sharandar, Dread Ring, Icewind Dale and Underdark as these are either pretty easy to complete already (use Genie’s Gifts for IWD) or the signets simply don’t help too much. Well and Storm Kings Thunder? I’d seriously think about the Storm King’s Thunder Campaign Completion as the campaign is still a pain in the butt even using the Patronage System…
Overall however the speed of alt advancement should noticeably go up, so the system does what it’s supposed to. It would be nice to see some tweaks like doubling Dread Ring Ciphers down the road, but that’s already nitpicking.
What’s your impression of the Patronage System? Does it help or is it not enough to assist alts? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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