This post is in response to Mod Jack's spiel on the January 25th Q&A livestream, because it came across feeling like he was more honed in on the "it's an ironman issue", rather than what we players feel like as a whole. I think Sponge hit the nail on the head that we need to find a middle ground where the items are still rare and valuable to keep people engaging in the content, but also cheap enough that it's worth looking at buying, rather than being outlandishly expensive for what they do.
First off, I want to agree that ironmen players do indeed find it annoyingly rare because there is no other way to get them. What I don't agree with is that this is solely a "true trim ironman" issue, or even simply an ironman-only issue at all.
Upon release, these 3 new upgrades with the dark onyx core were not pitched as "hero item" style rarity. They were presented as upgrades that were obtainable through the new wilderness updates that gave you a nice little buff on existing alchemical onyx items. Nothing overpowered, but cool to have. To the players as a whole, that makes us believe that it would still be a rare drop, but nothing too crazy expensive or take too long to get. Timegating it through the wilderness events are absolutely fine, as it prevents an influx of them coming into the game and keeping them rare for a while. As of now, it has been over 3 months since wilderness flash events release, and the core is still worth ~1.6bil (or so I'm told. Too bad I can't afford to buy one just to see)
I can't imagine world hopping was an originally intended mechanic behind wilderness flash events, but there are a LOT of people doing it at every star and kbd event. Each individual getting 2, 3, 4... sometimes even 5 drops from a single wilderness event. Considering these events are timegated to be capped at 5 per day if you log in every 4-5 hours, and a big chunk of players are getting about 3 from a SINGLE event, and these cores are STILL insanely rare... this is exactly why the playerbase as a whole thinks these drop rates are way too rare.
Jagex even introduced new achievements for the flash events, capping out at 250 events (and still tracked in the background "in case they ever need that info in the future"). Considering you can easily finish these achievements without seeing a single core drop, we're basically assuming if we want to upgrade any of our alchemical onyx jewelry, we have to buy the upgrades. Maybe we'll get one core if we're lucky. Back to the original point - if every player gets 3 cores before finishing achievements, that makes them worthless to sell to others. Of course, these achievements are also skewed because you can get multiple achievements for multi-phase events, or just by doing the regular events as well. However, even doing solely special events does not give you much hope to get a core.
Let's take a look at these upgrades from a standard player perspective that is fairly end game in terms of clues and skilling, and figure out how much this player would be willing to pay for each upgrade.
Passage of the abyss: Obviously, we all know this one is underwhelming and if anyone has a unique idea to give this upgrade more meaning, they want ideas. I personally don't have any superb ideas, so I will assume it is the same as current (and the economy would do the same). This upgrade just makes your PotA teles free. Simple, feels good, not overpowered. That makes it easy to judge it's intended price: you can recharge the PotA 500:1 fortunate comps, which atm are ~1.4m or 2,800gp per tele. A safe lifetime amount of charges is about 10x the PotA max charges (50k charges), which would cost ~140mil. Put a little extra in there for QoL and because it upgrades all your future PotA too, I'd happily pay 150-200m for this upgrade, although it would indeed be one of my last upgrades.
Grace of the Elves: This upgrade provides 2 nice QoL upgrades without either being overpowered, and mostly focused on afk skilling. Increase max porter charges from 500 to 2000, and 0 prayer drain from skilling prayers instead of 50%. As other posts have shown, you could just buy 3 more GotE to swap out with 500 max charges each in order to get the "same value" of max porter charges, although of course the facet upgrade would be more QoL. The prayer drain is not a huge issue with the elven ritual shard and orthen furnace core. The only training method I know of that still drains prayer more than shard can sustain is anything with light form. Super prayer renewals are the first thing that come to mind to sustain prayer, with the scarab or ghast familiar being more afk methods and inventory space savers.
Overall, very useful QoL. The cost would be 3x (82m) GotE (since you should already have one), an elven shard (~7m), and about 500 hours of holy scarab familiars (~8.5m). Again, add major QoL surcharge and I'm looking at 300-350m.
Luck of the dwarves: This upgrade adds a new bis tele for 2 hard clues, occasionally skips 1 step on a clue, and very rarely gives you an extra casket. Overall, pretty useful simply because of the tele, and the extra clue steps feel good when they happen. The extra caskets are pretty much just +0.1% income; You can never depend on them for log slots etc because they're so rare, but they do bring in extra money. Because this is a new bis tele, I would be willing to pay extra just to round out my preset with best possible teles. The price is hard to say because the basis of it is included in 2 other items that have their values judged by alternative methods - but any other tele method is incredibly cheap compared to them. Because of this, I'd probably put it the same as the GotE one as they both seem very nice to have.
The extra casket chance can definitely add up over time. It's fairly common to get 1-2 fortunate comps from hards-masters. If we say ~2mil per clue, for 20k caskets, this upgrade would net us ~40m from a "lifetime" of clues. Again, we are fairly endgame but not insane clue hunters that do 100k hards to fill out the log. Even rounding that up to 50m on top of the GotE upgrade, that puts LotD facet at 350-400m.
What's the point of going in depth into price calculations? To show what these items should settle to. Obviously the economy will do what it wants and no single person can predict or control it. However, the JMods should be looking at this to think how effective buying these upgrades is, and who is buying them. They are able to change drop rates, or obtaining rates of sacks in order to manipulate the economy to a "reasonable" level.
Even adding a 3x cost for new release, none of these pitched prices come close to what the core is currently sitting at over 3 months after release. That's also not including the cost of making each facet upgrade themselves, as they require extra materials. That just shows that with players getting multiple very wild sacks on most events since release, the item is just too damn rare.
In a year or two when there's more that have come into the game, who knows what other updates will have happened? How useful are these niche upgrades actually going to remain going forward?
What I think majority of the playerbase wants is to remove world hopping at wildy events and reduce the rarity of the core. I can guarantee to you that almost nobody actually enjoys hopping worlds, dealing with lag, constant target cycling because they can't see anything, and trying to force out their damage to get multiple worlds of loot. It has gone on long enough, and I'm quite surprised it hasn't been changed yet.
On a personal note, these wildy events have really not been good for my mental health - not because of world hopping at special events - but because of the "hourlies" implication. I have made a new account sometime after these were released and realized that because even the regular events are all such good exp for the time spent, as well as giving good rewards for new players... they are just not worth missing. I spent way too many days thinking about what to do next, only to realize that I only had 20 minutes until the next hunter wildy event. Guess I don't have time to start a c6 floor, or start a giant mole instance. If I start questing, I have to throw things back in my bank just to make space, then come back after the event to find everything I need again and get back into focus. Not to mention that any time a special event rolls around, I want both of my accounts there to make sure I don't miss out on the tiny chance of a core on my main. This also ends up causing a spiraling effect, pushing off real life obligations and even things as simple as getting up to eat dinner or take a stretch because I don't want to miss the next event.
Yes, this is ultimately on me and I can choose to ignore wildy events. I am happy to say I'm personally in a very lucky part of my life where I can have what I would call addictions like this, identify and address them, and do something about it before it gets out of control. However, it's so easy for this sort of attitude to get into any gamer's mind and I'm sure there are many players who have felt this way at least a few times in the last 3 months. Some of those players may have something like this be the tick that breaks them and we would never know. Speaking from personal experience, this is a very hard but serious subject to talk about and something I feel strongly about. I know there are plenty of JMods that feel the same way and are very open to helping anyone who needs it, which I appreciate immensely.
That being said, it's quite saddening to see updates out again that pushes towards the dailies mindset. This is a separate issue from the dark onyx core, but it still involves wildy events and I hope Jagex also try to take this into consideration if they look at reworking them at all. The events give monthtly-style rewards every hour for Guthix' sake. If that's not broken, then I guess I'm playing the wrong game.
Edit: There's a number of people mentioning that the rarity is fine because it's such a minor buff and not required for any logs/achievements. I want to make it clear that I would totally agree with that mindset with one thing. If a Jmod said "Hey guys, we want to move forward with these items staying rare and niche upgrades. We want them to be lottery-style items like the hero items are." then I would 100% support that. The sole reason any of this is brought up is because these items were presented to us as more accessible rare drops, and was never mentioned they were supposed to be extremely rare lottery/hero-style drops.
Communication is key.