Epic Upgrades were announced in a Motley Monday episode on 2013-05-20 as prizes for the upcoming epic campaign. Then called the "Legendary Parts", they received their final name by the time the campaign was finalized and only featured select sets. Upgrades for the Classic set were later released as random prizes on July 15th, with the remaining default parts following soon after.
Although contests had been around in the past, an increasing number began popping up shortly after Epic Upgrades were created. This rising amount only continued after upgrades for the remaining parts/hats were made and Jiggmin gave approved members the ability to award them in August, with over 30 contests running at their peak.
These contests stirred minor controversy as many had no relation whatsoever to PR2 itself (such as Big Brother and Photographer of the Fortnight), thus mostly appealing to members of Jiggmin's forum or those talented in specific, irrelevant areas, with some accusing owners of adding them solely to increase their membership turnout.
Suddenly on 2014-06-20, Jiggmin quietly added an option to purchase every Epic Upgrade in the Vault of Magics for 110 Kreds. This received massive backlash from contest owners, who felt it rendered their contests useless and would considerably reduce the amount of participants. Jiggmin himself received criticism for poor communication, as he did not inform or consult owners and staff for their input before releasing it.
Despite the controversy, the option wasn't removed and still remains today. As a result, however, contests gradually faded away over the next few months until ending entirely once jiggmin.com shut down.
This image shows all parts and hats with a red-colored upgrade. Parts/hats with a red default color have been changed to blue.