I only have one question - What are Heaven Stones?
Yes, what are
these mysterious items which are in such great demand, and why are they in such great demand that players shell out tons of gold to get them?
You use ordinary smelting stones to get any item to +3, with no risk of breakage or downgrade, but a higher chance of failure. Then you use Lucky Smelting Stones to get the item to +6, guaranteed, no chance of failure, no chance of breakage, and no chance of downgrade. Thereafter, you have a few choices ...
You can use ordinary smelting stones, Heaven Stones, or Chaos Smelting Stones to get to +10. Ordinary smelting stones have the greatest chance of failure, and therefore of breakage, but they're also the least expensive of the options. Heaven Stones have less of a chance of failure (and therefore of breakage), but their price since I've been playing has gone from 500k to 700k-2mil (depending on a few variables, including what server you're on, and whether there's an Upgrade event scheduled in the near future, and how much time remains before the Upgrade event begins, as well as how much a player wants to sell them for); you can also obtain them free as drops, earn them by successfully completing a Quiz event, win them in contests, or buy them with AP. Chaos Smelting Stones guarantee an upgrade all the way to +12, with no chance of failure, but their in-game gold cost is astronomical (they are the most expensive option if purchased with in-game gold); they can, however, be obtained from Chaos Ballz purchased with AP.
Now let's add RoP I into the equation. Starting at +6, if you use RoP I with an HS, there's no chance of breakage, but a failure can still result in downgrading of the item (it can also result in no change to the item). You can do the same with ordinary smelting stones -- with no risk of a downgrade
. Yes, the chance of failure is greater, but that means nothing but no change; RoP I insures against breakage, and there's no chance of downgrading with ordinary smelts before +10.
It seems a no-brainer: use ordinary smelts to get the item to +3, then LSS to get it to +6, then ordinary smelts with RoP I to get it to +10. Then 2 CSS to get it to +12. No HS used at all to this point.
Now you have to resort to RoP II with HS or RoP II with ordinary smelting stones; either one will be prevented from resulting in breakage by the RoP II, and either one will have a chance of downgrading or resulting in no change. Here's where the player has to decide whether the greater probability of success given by an HS is worth the risk and the cost
to get a +12 item to +13. Or you could also use an Extreme Stone to get it to +13, with 100% chance of success, but if you do, you won't be able to use it to get from +13 to +14, and a +13 item is a much greater loss than a +12 weapon. So here you can choose 3 options; most people seem to believe that HS with RoP II is the best choice at this point, since a +12 weapon isn't as much of a loss as a +13 weapon if it breaks or downgrades (using RoP II removes the chance of breakage, so with that involved, you only have to worry about downgrading). Prior to this point, there's really no reason why one has
to use an HS -- of course the Upgrade Probability events do increase the chance of success, but since many players break items during these events, I would still assert that, prior to this point, there's no pressing need
to use an HS on any item, if one can obtain LSS, RoP I with normal smelts, and CSS, by purchasing them yourself from the Item Mall (the ordinary smelts naturally do not have to be purchased from the IM). If you want a decent plus with no risk of real loss (breakage or downgrade), use the ES here, get your +13 item, and then stop
trying to upgrade (which means you never need to use an HS at all
Then, should you choose to proceed further, you get an Extreme Stone to get the +13 item to +14, unless you did so in the previous upgrade, in which case, you're going to have
to resort to HS and RoP II.
Then you have only one choice, and that's HS with RoP II to get a +14 item to +15.
It looks to me as if there are only two points
where HS need to be used to get an item to +15 (at +12 or at +13, and then again at +14). Of course, if the item is downgraded somewhere along the way in this process after having used an ES, then the ES option is gone, and you'll have to start at +10 with 2 more CSS, then use HS and RoP II to get to +13 and again to +14 and again to +15, which means a whopping three points in the process (okay, five, counting the two previous uses, and this may increase depending on the statistics in your particular case) where HS would need
to be used.
After that, with covers and Bonus Books of Melding, it is possible to get an item to +16, for a month. There may be some risk involved here; I'm not certain, as I've never done it myself, and don't know of anyone who has done it to ask them about it.
So in the end, all this frantic rush to blow all your gold on HS seems to me like a great deal of silliness. Sure, they give a somewhat higher chance of success, but there are additional risks involved if they are used at +3 to +11, and even greater risk, which increases with each successful plus, if they're used at +11 or higher.
are HS? Are they really
worth 1-2 million gold to you? Think about it.