oh gosh, Cody is thinking again, this can't be good x)
So I was thinking what if we could place heirloom items in an anvil or a specially made chest so it combines heirloom items to the next tier.
For example. You initially have to get the materials required for h1, but then if you are having trouble getting the h2 requirements, you could simply combine 2-3 of the same tier item to get the next rank.This method may seem a bit more expensive,but the items are in more abundance than lets say a shattered crystal, or even the experience needed.
This is just a quick thought that came to mind and could be expanded on much more I assume, but it's a base for good discussion to say the least.