So, as I understand it, for a suggestion to be seriously considered it would have to still require gems.
When you go to upgrade an item it would no longer be instant, you have to wait to see what the results are. Also during this time you would not be able to use the item.
Of course GEMS could be used to reduce the time like everything else.
Base time could be 120 mins per Pearl spent to upgrade. The blacksmith level would be able to reduce this time.
If the blacksmith fails there would be an option to try again, for 1/2 the Pearl cost, but you’d still have to wait the original time to get the results. Another fail would be half again. Eventually it would end up being free, and just taking time.
Re-roll the Uber perk; When the blacksmith is successful you do not have to pick up the item immediately if you don’t like the 3rd perk. Best would it give you the opion of gold, gems & pearls to re-roll. The re-roll would still require him to spend the same amount of time working on it before you could get the results.
When upgrading an Uber item, you would be able to select re-roll instead of improving the 3rd perk.
The people with money and no patience would be spending lots of gems to upgrade all their items, but the free players would still be able to get it as well.