Party Hats are 'pivotal' to the RuneScape economy, and new hats are being given out for the first time in 20 years

Party Hats are 'pivotal' to the RuneScape economy, and new hats are being given out for the first time in 20 years

If the new Golden Party Hats gain value like the old ones, they'll be worth billions of gold someday.

Party Hats are 'pivotal' to the RuneScape economy, and new hats are being given out for th... - image1
The Grand Exchange has been "transformed into a Golden Party Hat winter wonderland." (Image credit: Jagex)

RuneScape pʟᴀʏer 120Kɪɴg sᴀʏs tʜᴇy stᴀʀᴛed ᴄᴏᴏᴋɪɴg sᴀɪʟꜰɪsʜ ᴀᴛ 6:40 am ᴏɴ Mᴏɴᴅᴀʏ. Fᴏᴜʀ ʜᴏᴜʀs ᴀɴd "roughly" 4,000 ᴄᴏᴏᴋed sᴀɪʟꜰɪsʜ lᴀᴛer, tʜᴇy acquiʀᴇᴅ ᴏɴe ᴏꜰ ᴇɪɢʜᴛ sʜᴀʀᴅs ɴᴇᴇᴅed ᴛᴏ ᴇᴀʀn a Gᴏʟᴅen Pᴀʀᴛy Hᴀᴛ, a ᴘɪᴇᴄᴇ ᴏꜰ gᴇᴀʀ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ grᴀɴts ɪᴛs ᴡᴇᴀʀᴇr zero stᴀᴛ ʙᴇneꜰɪᴛs. Tʜᴇy ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴜɴᴛɪʟ Jᴀɴuary 3 ᴛᴏ acquire tʜᴇ otʜᴇr sᴇᴠᴇɴ sʜᴀʀᴅs tʜᴇy ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢᴇᴛ a hᴀᴛ thᴀᴛ ᴅᴏes ɴᴏthɪɴg, ʙᴜᴛ ᴍᴀʏ sᴏᴍᴇᴅᴀʏ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ tʜᴇm RuneScape ʀɪᴄʜ.

The last time Party Hats were up for grabs was 20 years ago. Those originals, which also grant wearers absolutely nothing, are now worth over 2.1 billion gold, making them RuneScape's most valuable items.

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It's a classic example of videogame economy logic: The original Party Hats are valuable because they're useless. When the "partyhat" items were first given out during 2001's Christmas event, they were "intended to be worthless and disposable," says RuneScape developer Jagex. There are no benefits to wearing them except looking festive—they resemble the paper crowns found in Christmas crackers—and so many players trashed them after the event. 

Jagex didn't reissue the hats the next year, or ever again. As time went on, some of the players who kept their Party Hats stopped playing, further reducing the supply. The hats became a symbol of one's status as an elder player, or as a rich one.

"The hats now play a pivotal role in the RuneScape economy as investments, cash placements, staked items, and collectables," says Jagex. According to a RuneScape wiki, Party Hats actually go for more than 2.1 billion gold. That's only their listed price because it's the limit for a single transaction on RuneScape's Grand Exchange.

Party Hats are 'pivotal' to the RuneScape economy, and new hats are being given out for th... - image2

(Image credit: Jagex)

The new 2021 Party Hats are distinguishable from the 2001 party hats. These are Golden Party Hats, whereas the originals only came in white, blue, red, green, yellow, and purple. The Golden Party Hat will be a symbol of a player's participation in RuneScape's 20th anniversary event, or something to trade, although they won't automatically be 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 aren't likely to toss their hats out this time.

To get a Golden Party Hat, players must collect eight Golden Party Hat Shards and have an active RuneScape membership, which is $11 monthly, or less for players who commit to a 12-month Premier Club membership. (Membership can also be purchased with Bonds, which are tradable in-game items like EVE Online's Plex.) Some shards are acquired by completing discrete tasks, such as finishing the 'Once Upon a Time in Gielinor' anniversary quest or buying one for 30 million gold. Others are random drops that occur while players are training skills or engaging in other activities. 

Jagex says that a "bad luck protection" system should prevent anyone who's actively playing RuneScape from being left hatless before the event ends on January 3.

"As you continue to train a skill or complete clue scrolls, the likelihood of getting a shard grows exponentially," says the developer. "Essentially, it's our intent that players who are actively playing throughout this event will be able to create their own hat without too much worry."

That hasn't stopped some players from trying to grind out Shard drops as soon as they can, such as by spending a morning cooking thousands of sailfish. A different player on the RuneScape forum said they killed "2,000 abyssal demons" without seeing a Combat Shard drop, while another reported that they got the Combat Shard after fighting dark beasts for six hours. We all party in different ways.

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