A curious ecosystem has evolved within the environment of MMORPGs; one in which the organisms involved sustain themselves purely on envy and greed. Players might spend thousands of hours – and dollars – tracking down the rarest, most valuable, and most powerful items around, simply to say they have them. I thoroughly understand – there’s something about having an artifact no one else does; something about having achieved something no one else has that simply feels good.
Whether that stems from the joy of accomplishment or the knowledge that everyone’s eyeing you enviously is still up for debate.
Obviously, developers are keyed into this trend; even those who aren’t often inadvertently end up creating collector’s items and rarities. As a result, over the years, we’ve seen some downright absurd tales pop up regarding ultra-rare items and the lengths to which players have gone to obtain them, up to and including dishing out enough cash to buy a car or house in the real world.
Map Components (Ultima Online)
Ultima Online is widely regarded by many to be the grandfather of the modern MMO. The developers of the title were treading completely uncharted ground; they had no idea what to expect from their players.This fact will be important in a moment.
During the design phase of the title, a lot of static scenery items were placed around the game by hand. There was one minor problem, though: whoever was responsible for the placement forgot to lock them down…meaning anyone could pick them up. When the players keyed in to this fact…
Well, imagine a swarm of a million magpies descending en-masse onto a jewelry store. These ‘static’ objects quickly became collector’s items, with their proud owners often displaying them in castles or museums.
The Black Qiraj Resonating Crystal
It wouldn’t seem right if I didn’t at least mention World of Warcraft in passing. After all, it’s currently the reigning king of the MMO. Although WoW has its fair share of difficult-to-acquire drops, by far one of the rarest and toughest is the Black Qiraj Resonating Crystal, gained by opening the gates of Ahn-Qiraj and ringing the nearby gong within ten hours of the gates being opened. The process was a server-wide effort which spanned weeks…and which can no longer be completed. Anyone hoping to score this for themselves is thus out of luck.
Party Hats (Runescape)
The next item on the list is…a collection of paper hats. The now-discontinued party hats in Runescape are by far the most valuable items available in that game. Thing is…they don’t actually do anything aside from look somewhat odd. The most valuable of the hats (which is blue) sells for the maximum number of gold coins a player can carry, at a real-world cash value of almost two grand. That’s right, a virtual approximation of a paper hat sells for as much as a high-end TV.
The Nightsister Melee Armguard (Star Wars Galaxies)
The reason the Nightsister Melee Armguard was so rare is that it wasn’t actually intended to be put in Star Wars Galaxies in the first place. A bug allowed players to loot it from a boss mob in Darthomir’s Nightsister Stronghold for a time; this bug was eventually corrected. The item – now considered a piece of clothing rather than armor – made an appearance later as a hyper-rare drop which could be acquired as a quest reward.
The Atrox Queen Egg
In the years since it was discovered, it has yet to hatch.
The Unseen Sword
Last, but certainly not least, there’s Age of Wushu‘s Unseen Sword – a legendary blade of which only one copy exists in the entire game. Sorry, folks – none of you are ever getting your hands on that blade. It was sold before the game even went live, passing into the hands of a fan for the tidy sum of $16,000. Yes, you read that right. Some schmuck payed almost twenty grand for a sword in a game that hadn’t even released yet .One of a kind or not. that purchase seems just a touch excessive, no?
Any loot I happened to miss? Let me know in the comments!