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Warning: Long. Verdict at the bottom.

Introduction

Hero items is a buzzword invented at Jagex in 2017 to describe an emergent family of items designed with one idea in mind: to create excitement in the game's community. They all have some things in common: each hero item is themed after a different "legendary" RuneScape's character, and each has a different effect previously unseen in the game. The items are exceptionally rare, and a player lucky enough to obtain one is greeted with a global broadcast. With rarity comes high price, for all hero items command prices in the billions.

Additions of new hero items have been few and far between, carefully reserved for the most important updates. To date only four hero items have been released: the Hazelmere's signet ring (with the elaborate Luck rings rework launched in 2017), Orlando Smith's hat (with the very successful clue scroll rework of 2018), Tavia's fishing rod (with the Deep Sea Fishing hub which refreshed Fishing in 2018), and the Guildmaster Tony's mattock (with the 2020's gathering skill, Archaeology).

Over the past three years I was fortunate to own all four hero items and I tested each of them thoroughly. I took them to places where they shine the most... and to places where they don't shine at all. Getting a hold of them was a journey in its own right, from watching and counting the global broadcasts to outbidding the merchants. After months of use I noted down my subjective list of pros and cons as well as other thoughts on each of them. Without further ado...

Hazelmere's signet ring: the Luck of Dwarves for the rich?

The OG of hero items was added to the game silently with the luck rework in March 2017 but due to extreme rarity it wasn't until May that someone actually obtained one. The Hazelmere's signet ring is a very rare drop from the rare drop table, and you can get one from combat drops or skilling via the seren spirit. The special effect of the HSR can double any drop that falls to the ground - this happens rarely, as the chance to double an item is said to be one in a three digit number. Additionally, HSR retains the luck-enhancing effects of the LotD while having increased stats and an additional unique teleport option to the Gnome stronghold. Getting the infamous blurberry special c*cktail signifies you have narrowly missed a chance to obtain this rare ring.

I bought one of the first Hazelmere's signets in the game in 2017 from a merchant for 3b gp and have been using it ever since. The ring most commonly doubles bones and charms (the effect is applied before bonecrusher and charming imp) but it has also doubled some more valuable items such as noted black dragonhide, wines of zamorak, tectonic energies, a piece of subjugation robe bottoms, and even shattered anima in Shattered Worlds and dinosaur hides in Big Game Hunter. The ring's price was stable above max cash, then fell with release of the grace of elves and briefly plummeted to nearly 1b after release of Archaeology. Currently a bargain?

Pros: Cons:
Very universal, works in many combat and non-combat situations, and it can double anything that drops to the ground which makes for a simple yet exciting effect It is a ring, so you cannot see it outside of player examine feature
Direct upgrade from the Luck of the Dwarves in terms of stats and teleports, and can be imbued to further increase its stats Does not double rewards in interfaces, a feature requested by players ever since the ring came out (which, according to Jagex sources, may come eventually)
It is the original hero item so it is also the best-known Unlike other hero items it does not have a fancy mouse-over tooltip explaining its effect

Orlando Smith's hat: yo dawg, we put treasure in your treasure

The reason for the lack of head slot item in the clue scroll's Globetrotter outfit wasn't apparent until the first player obtained a rather ordinary-looking hat from a master clue in February 2018. Unlike other hero items, the Orlando Smith's hat is not an upgrade from any other existing item, but a standalone with a completely unique function. The hat has a special effect which rarely adds a casket of a lower tier inside a clue reward, for example when wearing the hat you will occasionally find an extra elite casket inside your master clue reward. The chance for this to happen ranges from 1 in 100 to 1 in 80, depending on clue tier. The effect is very unpredictable in small samples but somewhat consistent when opening lots of caskets.

I used the Orlando's hat briefly in 2018 while its price was still under max cash but only completed enough clues for a few extra caskets. The hat's price has been steadily rising and is currently in the region of 3b gp, which is surprising since the hat is said to be commonly lent from player to player. Getting an elemental battlestaff from a master clue signifies you have narrowly missed a chance to obtain this rare hat.

Pros: Cons:
"Completes" the globetrotter outfit Despite "completing" the globetrotter outfit it has no synergy with the outfit's effects, it just fills a slot
The effect is predictable when opening large numbers of clue caskets Does not work on easy clues at all
. Extremely bland in appearance, one needs to know exactly how it looks to recognise it in a crowd, and it can be easily mistaken for one of many hat cosmetics
. Its use is limited to one activity only, but the same can be said about the fishing rod and the mattock

Tavia's fishing rod: look at me, I am the fisherman now

Release of a new hero item less than a month after the previous one came as a surprise to many. The surprise was even greater when players found out the Tavia's fishing rod is obtained in an elaborate setup. The player must first be lucky enough to receive an extremely rare red uncharted isle map either from fishing in the Deep Sea hub or from trading the randomly-appearing deep sea merchant. The red map can then be used to travel to a special uncharted island which is home to the yet-unseen character Tavia. It is a hut on that island that the player may "borrow" the legendary fishing rod from. Novelty doesn't end there, for Tavia's rod is also the first hero item which can directly benefit the players around its user. The rod has a special effect which "blasts" all three fishing boosts to its owner and a random boost to players nearby. The boosts are 5% extra fishing experience, 10% increase in catch rate, and a 10% chance for a double catch. As a step up from the second-best crystal rod, the Tavia's rod can be augmented with invention too.

I bought the 4th Tavia's fishing rod in the game (according to the number of broadcasts) for 2.1b gp from the person who got it. This was the first "red map" obtained from fishing rather than from the deep sea merchant's store. I used the rod mostly for sailfish and waterfall fishing but I also took it to fishing frenzy and barbarian fishing. The rod activates a lot more commonly at fishing frenzy than at sailfish, probably due to more frequent xp drops - I even managed to get a few procs before the effects of the previous one ran out. According to the number of broadcasts Tavia's rod may well be the rarest hero item, and the price has been all over the place, even dropping to as low as 600m gp at one point. Currently nearing max cash as the supply depends on players buying uncharted maps.

Pros: Cons:
Direct upgrade from crystal fishing rod (10% increased catch chance, versus crystal's 5%, and siphons as tier 80, versus crystal's 70) You can only use it with fishing activities that require a fishing rod
Unlike crystal rod the Tavia's has no requirements to use Its use is limited, but the same can be said about the hat and the mattock
Has an effect that benefits (and notifies) nearby players which also adds to the flaunting capabilities The effect's activation rate depends on the fishing speed so in some situations it activates rarely, and the effect is not very significant in training
Sleek and beautiful design, in a crowd of crystal rods you will definitely stand out .
When you get the "red map" you can save it for a special occasion .

Guildmaster Tony's mattock: I'm digging it

A "hero mattock" was the first hero item confirmed ahead of its release, with concept art appearing around Runefest 2019, six months before Archaeology's release. It is also the only hero item with a level requirement (99 Archaeology). Finally, it's the only hero item so far which was so powerful that it had to receive a nerf in an update. Indeed, the stats of the Guildmaster Tony's mattock were slightly lowered but fear not - it is still a whole tier above the second-best mattock of time & space. Of course you can augment it too. The Tony's mattock commonly doubles your excavated material (usually a few times a minute). This effect also works on material caches, and provides double experience. Additionally, the mattock rarely completes the progress to your next artefact, allowing you to "discover it instantly" (this effect is significantly less common and happens once every dozen artefacts or so). The mattock is there for you to grab it from the display case in the Archaeology guild... but the only way to open it is to get a Shadowy key from a tetracompass. You can also get a distorted key which will definitely get your hopes up but will probably break in the lock too.

I bought the 34th Tony's mattock in the game (according to the number of broadcasts) for 5b gp from the person who got it using a shadowy key, and I have been using it every day for training. Archaeology is still a very new skill and the mattock is in high demand, valued between 4 and 5b gp. The first one in the game was sold for a record breaking 29b gp, which is more than you would pay for a blue party hat these days.

Pros: Cons:
The stats are a league above the mattock of time & space, and you can tell the difference - arguably the most significant upgrade among hero items (9 versus 7 focus, 85 versus 80 precision) Rather low-key in appearance (which can be a good thing), someone might ask you just why you are using a steel mattock
"Instant artefact" generation speeds up the skill considerably When you get an "instant artefact" the message is white and it is filtered, so you will probably miss it
Extra materials for days Its use is limited to one activity only, but the same can be said about the fishing rod and the hat
When you get a Shadowy key you can save it for a special occasion Requires level 99 Archaeology to use, which makes sense since you need to be a guildmaster yourself to use a guildmaster's personal tool, but it still would be very handy for pre-99 training

Verdict

Make no mistake - all four hero items are extremely expensive toys for those with more money than brains. For the most part, the upgrade you get is minor and what you buy is ultimately more of a status symbol than a gameplay aid. Are they worth the buck for a rich player, though? If you have the money laying around the hero items will certainly do more for you than partyhats and dyes, especially if you give them an opportunity to perform the tasks they were designed for.

Most useful: Hazelmere's signet ring is the most versatile hero item - a universal top-tier luck enhancer with an exciting twist, but don't ever count on a financial return from the doubled drops.

Least useful: Orlando Smith's hat is a niche oddity for clue-minded players, and despite its consistent effect there is no reason to invest in one unless you are in treasure trails for a seriously long haul.

Biggest show-off: Tavia's fishing rod is an exotic tool for bragging and fishing: it serves the former perfectly, but for the latter it is just a symbolic upgrade.

Hottest right now: Guildmaster Tony's mattock is an absolute beast and a number one for all your Archaeology needs - it trumps all other mattocks overall but lacks a single "wow" effect.

Thank you for reading. Looking forward to your comments.

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about 2 years ago - /u/JagexRyan - Direct link

This is a nice write up! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. :D