I hired a paladin using shards and it didn't give me whatever the reward was, do you have to hire with gems to get the reward?
If you click on event rules, it should tell you that only Gems or HB rolls count. Buying things outright would make event too easy.
It is not clear if free roll counts... probably not as it is technically not gems. It might say it in rules, not sure.
Name: Rusty (Rustyx in game)
Guild title: resident wisenheimer.
Line ID: Rustytroll (big shock there, eh?)