RuneScape Player 120King says They started cooking sailfish at 6:40 a.m. on Monday. Four hours and “about” 4,000 cooked sailfish later, they acquired one of eight shards needed to earn a Gold Party Hat, an item of equipment that does not grant its wearer any stat benefits. They have until January 3rd to acquire the other seven shards they need to get a hat that doesn’t do anything but could one day make RuneScape rich.
The last time party hats were available was 20 years ago. These originals, which also do absolutely nothing to their wearers, are now worth over 2.1 billion gold and are therefore the most valuable items from RuneScape.
It’s a classic example of the business logic of video games: the original party hats are valuable because they’re useless. When the “party hat” items were first distributed during the 2001 Christmas party, they were “meant to be worthless and disposable,” says RuneScape developer Jagex. There are no benefits to wearing them other than they look festive – they are similar to the paper crowns found in Christmas cookies– and so many players threw them away after the event.
Jagex hasn’t reissued the hats for the next year or ever. Over time, some of the players who had kept their party hats stopped playing, which further reduced the offer. The hats became a symbol of senior or wealthy player status.
“Hats now play a central role in the RuneScape economy as investments, cash placements, staked items, and collectibles,” says Jagex. According to a RuneScape WikiParty hats actually go for more than 2.1 billion gold. This is the list price only as this is the limit for a single transaction on the RuneScape Grand Exchange.
The new 2021 party hats differ from the 2001 party hats. These are gold party hats, while the originals were only available in white, blue, red, green, yellow and purple. The gold party hat is a symbol of a player’s participation in the RuneScape 20th anniversary event or something to trade, although it is not automatically as valuable as the originals. Each player can only earn one Golden Party Hat during the event, so they will still be rare, but players probably won’t throw their hats away this time around.
To receive a Golden Party Hat, players must collect eight Golden Party Hat Shards and have an active RuneScape membership that is $ 11 a month or less for players signing up for a 12 month membership Premier Club membership. (Membership can also be purchased with bindwhich are tradable in-game items such as Plex by EVE Online.) Some shards are acquired by completing individual tasks, such as completing the anniversary quest “Once Upon a Time in Gielinor” or buying one for 30 million gold. Others are random drops that appear while players are exercising skills or doing other activities.
Jagex says a “bad luck protection” system should prevent anyone actively playing RuneScape from being hatless before the event ends on January 3rd.
“If you continue to practice a skill or complete clue roles, the chances of getting a shard increase exponentially,” says the developer. “Basically, we want players who play actively during this event to be able to create their own hat without having to worry too much.”
That hasn’t stopped some players from grinding up broken glass as quickly as possible, for example by spending a morning cooking thousands of sailfish. Another player on the RuneScape forum said they killed “2,000 Abyssal Demons” without seeing a battle shard fall, while another said they got the battle shard after fighting dark beasts for six hours. We all celebrate in different ways.
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