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To Paint Or Not to Paint?

by x__sayitaintso__x


RAINBOW POOL - We all know the type, the Neopian constantly bragging about the expensive paint brush they just bought for their pets. We've all run into them on the boards, boasting on multiple threads, or perhaps even creating one of their own. Some of us may even parade our own pets across the boards to be admired and envied by others. And so it would appear that most players only paint their pets to be admired and desired by those around them. But as insightful Neopians know, the loudest opinion is not always the most widely held. Just because that obnoxious player with the expensive pet had such motivations does mean some, or even most, other players do as well. And it is on this very subject, one that seems to be on every player's mind, that I decided to do a bit of research. Why do most players paint their pets? How do they decide which paint brushes to buy? And how do they decide which pets will be painted? In a little experiment of my own, I asked players on the Help Boards three times a day for three days to respond to these questions, with no judgment and no agenda. Just pure investigation. And the results, which I hope you will find as interesting as I did, are compiled below.

The first question posed was simple: Why paint your pets? The most popular response seemed just as simple - it makes the pets look better. Basically, most people felt that the default colors were boring, and that painted pets are unique. Everyone can adopt a boring old blue Blumaroo, for example, but not every Neopian can afford a plushie paint brush for their pet. But some people didn't even care whether their pets were unique or not, they just liked that they looked nicer when painted. This led to a much deeper discussion about the motive behind creating nicer-looking pets. Some people insisted that they painted pets for their own personal enjoyment. They insisted that they just liked the way a particular color looked on a particular pet, and so they painted them just the way they liked them.

Yet other board-goers owned up to painting pets to gain the respect or envy of other players. They confessed that people tend to think that the owners of painted pets are more wealthy and successful, and that alone was worth the price of a rare paint brush. Others mused that it makes the accounts look more trustworthy, an important trait for players who borrow avie items. Some people had less polished answers, merely stating that they enjoy making other players jealous, and that painted pets give important bragging rights. One girl went as far as to admit that she makes screenies of all the people who make envious remarks about her pets on the boards, just to look at later.

A final category of players simply stated that a desired paint brush gave them something to aim for. It makes the game more fun if you have something expensive to work for, and a painted pet will last as long as you keep it - a constant reminder of the way in which all that hard work paid off.

Once the motives for painting pets had been established, the natural follow-up was to inquire about the way in which particular colors were chosen. The question was posed: How do you choose the color of paint brush to purchase? Some Neopians were quick to answer that they chose methodically. They do extensive research at the Rainbow Pool to find which colors they might be interested in, as well as on the Trading Post to find the best prices. For some, the price of a paint brush could be a limiting factor, while for others the choice was purely based on the resulting color. And of course, some wanted only the most impressive colors, to show off to friends and others. This often meant finding a good price on an expensive and rare paint brush, usually resulting in a significant dent in their bank account. But the general sentiment appeared to be: what's a few million Neopoints to gain a little respect?

Other Neopians volunteered that their methods were far less calculated, and that they chose their paint brushes on impulse. Hearing that a paint brush costing millions of Neopoints could be an impulse buy struck some players as odd, but those who preferred this method were adamant, suggesting that they were often happy with the results. Some waited until they had a large sum of neopoints and a spending spree often seemed in order, then they would simply peruse the Trading Post until a particular paint brush caught their eye. Others admitted that they often let their mood dictate their purchases, buying festive colors when they had accomplished something big, or less joyful colors when they felt under the weather.

Although most players fell into the first two categories, some had more unique motivations for deciding on paint brush purchases. Most Neopians remember the excited flurry that was the Altador Cup, and some got so caught up in supporting their favorite team that they decked out their favorite pets in team colors. For example, several Lost Desert supporters painted their pets with the Lost Desert paint brushes, while Darigan Citadel supporters picked up a Darigan paint brush for their pet. Other Neopians were fond of one paint brush in particular, and bought one for every pet. Still others (myself included) are fond of one specific pet species, and pick their favorite colors for each pet of the same species.

Whichever paint brushes are chosen, Neopians still have to decide the order in which their pets get special colors. Some won't ever be painted, and some are still waiting. This begs the question: Which pets get painted, and in what order? Although it might seem unfair, some pets will never be painted. Some owners just feel that the original color looks just fine, and they would rather focus on another aspect of the game or spend their Neopoints elsewhere. Still other pets are lab pets, subject to the endless surprises and devastations of the mad scientist's experiments. There are pets who are only temporarily unpainted, as their owners are saving for more expensive paint brushes for their siblings, and these pets patiently wait their turn. Or maybe their owners just can't decide on a color, or are waiting for that special color to be released.

Neopians with multiple pets in need of painting often decide based on a rather unfair case of favoritism. This often that older pets get to be painted first, and younger pets have to wait their turns. Sometimes players will see a color that they really want for a specific pet, or are influenced by the price and popularity of a certain color. Maybe the impending retirement of a paint brush speeds the process for a certain pet (although certainly no pet minds being bumped to the front of the line).

In the end, the reasons for painting a pet are as numerous as the rainbow of color choices to paint with. Although pets might look alike in color, they and their owners are set apart by the complex motivations and choices. So the next time you see someone parading their pet all over the help boards, it might help to remind yourself that there are other Neopians who are perfectly happy to keep their lovely pets to themselves.

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