Over the weekend I had a rather rare and really powerful item drop for me. Tabula Rasa, a chest with 6 linked white sockets, but no actual stats. In all my time playing Path of Exile I've never had a 6 linked item. 6 links is how you can get some really powerful stuff going... Normally you have to pay a lot of currency to turn something good into something with 6 links. Here you just pay all the stats off your chest. Maybe that's a bad deal. Maybe it isn't. But you get to play with cool spells at the very least.
Then I had a vaal orb drop. Vaal orbs are crazy little things that modify items in bizarre and final ways. Items can't be changed in any way after they've been corrupted. I could remember seeing someone who corrupted their Tabula Rasa and got a mod that added 1 to the level of every gem in the item. That's super powerful! It's also super valuable. Tabula Rasa itself is worth an exalted orb. With +1 to level of gems it's worth 12 exalteds. That's an amount of currency that might make the 'collect a bunch of uniques' challenge doable. Maybe? I haven't actually looked at what items are on that list at this point.
I was thinking I'd start up a summoner with the Tabula Rasa and try out a full 6 linked zombie spell. I never did get a zombie gem up to level 20... Maybe this time would be the time? But it sure would be easier if I had +1 to all gems... Getting it to level 19 is easy!
I knew bad things could happen from a vaal orb, but I decided to take the chance. It would be fun, and the rewards in the best case scenario were really, really good. So I went for it. And the vaal orb turned it into a low level garbage rare item. Goodbye, Tabula Rasa!
I ended up feeling pretty bad about it afterwards. I could have done fun things with the item as it was. Maybe even sold it for the 1 exalted if I didn't like it? Given it to someone else to play with? As a terrible simple robe it wasn't any good to anybody.
So then earlier this morning I was running a map and lo and behold a second Tabula Rasa dropped! Hurray! I'd even found another build that really needs a 6 linked item to work properly. I could start a character up to do that with this Tabula Rasa and be fine. Heck, if I'd had two of them in my inventory I probably would vaal one of them just in case and still be able to fall back on the second one.
And then... In the same map, a vaal orb dropped...
Now I had a choice. I could assert it was the right play to vaal the first one. That means vaaling the second one is probably right too. I still have my current character that doesn't want to use it, after all, so I'm really just risking some future value and the payoff for a lucky result is huge. Or I could decide I made a mistake the first time and just sit on the second one. That I felt bad after the first failure pointed towards sitting on the second one... But I thought it through again and decided even if I was to make a summoner again I really wanted the +1 to all gems. And while I felt bad for a short time afterwards, it is still just a game, and I got over it pretty quickly. If I knew the odds of each vaal orb result I'd be able to make a better decision...
I decided to orb it up again. It turned into a junky yellow again. This time it was actually a decent yellow with a good life roll, 2 resists, and a 4 link. But still much worse than a Tabula Rasa...
And I didn't feel bad about it.
Now I just need to get really lucky and have a 3rd one drop!