Runescape has one product that has stood out in all the 20-year-old festivals: the humble party hat, although useless. Party hats can sell billions of OSRS gold among players and eventually become so valuable that they exceed the maximum amount of gold that can be traded in the game. We talked with Mark Ogilvie, Design Director of Runescape, Dave Osborne, Chief Designer, and Matt Casey, Product Director, to understand the stories behind Runescape’s most expensive items.
Ironically, it all started in 2001 about 20 years ago. At the same time, Runescape's designers Andrew and Paul Gower hope to impress players during Christmas, so they log on to different servers around the world and travel to popular areas near Gielinor. And began to put down the Christmas cookies for the player to pick up and open. Of course, Christmas cookies are usually made of beautiful wrapping paper, jokes, and trinkets, as is Runescape. Each cookie will have a colorful party hat that players can wear, but there will also be a relatively valuable item, such as silver bars or gold rings.
In the first year, many players thought that the party hat might return someday, and the main factor driving its value up was the number of new players, leading to gold inflation. Currently, Runescape does not have a Grand Exchange, so all transactions are conducted on a person-by-person basis, so it is difficult to obtain a consistent price.
Soon after the 2002 Christmas event, he did not lose any money, nor did the party hat return. They realized that their supply was now limited, which caused their initial price to rise sharply. It is estimated that they reached a peak of about 15 million gold coins in 2003, and then temporarily fell into trouble after the player discovered a repeated failure of an item. But the second year, the value of the party hat returned to 15 million U.S. dollars, and six months later, it doubled to 30 million U.S. dollars. Two months later? 75 million. By early 2006, a party hat could sell 190 million gold coins.
Prices continued to rise, but after Grand Exchange introduced Runescape, prices rose sharply in 2007. This is a concentrated market with clear economic transparency. You can make any offer, look for opportunities to buy specific items, or just buy things that you can't afford. This also makes it very easy to find the value of an item, which greatly increases the value of the rarest items. As the game continues to expand, new content and millions of new players bring more gold into the economy, party hats are still in short supply.
By 2015, the income of party hats has reached the "maximum accumulation rate", which is the maximum amount of gold you can trade in one transaction. That is 2.1 billion RS gold, and its value has increased by 447% in eight years. This did not stop its value growth, so players only sold some items worth more than 2.1 billion gold coins. Although this may be illegal, these items have real value due to the existence of Runescape gold sellers. According to Runescape YouTuber FlippingOldschool, the most popular color for party hats is blue, which was recently sold for $57 billion in gold, and its value is approximately $6,700, or £5,000.
For obvious reasons, party hats are significant to Runescape players, and Jagex has acknowledged this by mentioning rare items to them routinely. Dave told about an April Fool’s Day prank, “Since players usually simplify party hats to P-shaped hats, we gave them a pea hat that you can wear on their heads. We also made it that everyone can wear for a day Party hats, when you go to wear a party hat, the party hat will tear, and there is a level in a mission to find the color of the colorful party hat hat at all parties, but this is the reverse."
There is a mythical legend about dormant accounts and hundreds of unopened Christmas cookies. It was announced at Runescape's annual fan festival and all content, we reported as early as 2016, but it never appeared in live games. Osborne said: "Party hats are largely responsible for the disappearance of this idea, because players dislike it may affect the number of party hats in the game economy. Rarity is part of the fun."