The Science of NeoQuest
NeoQuest. Few words can hold as much power as this one word can and does. Speak
it anywhere in Neopia and dozens will flock to you, eager to listen to what you
have to say. For those of you who know, NeoQuest is an enthralling role-playing
game on Neopets. For those of you who don't, you are missing out on much excitement
and many hours of fun.
Many people, like myself, have become fascinated by the game of NeoQuest. Some
people play to waste time, soon to find out they'll play the game even when
they have no time to waste. Some will play the game to see what it's like, only
to find that they like it more than they thought they would. Others, however,
hardly even know the game exists.
As a reporter, it is my duty to understand why. Why do so many people play
NeoQuest? Why do so many people not play NeoQuest? What makes the game
so addictive, so great? And who, who are the people that do play NeoQuest? What
sets them apart from those who don't?
To answer these questions, I have spent the past few months conducting surveys
and polls, committing myself to hours of research, and interviewing Neopians
from around the globe. With the facts that I have obtained, I am finally able
to answer these questions.
NeoQuest I, I have learned, was released on the date of October 15, 2001. When
the game was made live, it became so popular almost instantly that the world
of Neopia was almost brought crumbling down as people raced to play it. The
rush to play became so great, in fact, that TNT had to ban the playing of said
game on multiple occasions until a schedule of playing was finalized, signed
in triplicate, and made law, finally allowing the Neopets servers to withstand
the game's popularity. Thankfully for players today, such limitations have since
On the 29th of January, in the year 2004, the wait was finally over when the
much-anticipated NeoQuest II was made live. Unlike its predecessor, however,
the game's launch was accompanied by no reported cases of chaos. Instead, its
launch was met by "oohs" and "ahs." Not only was NeoQuest II more advanced than
the first NeoQuest, it possessed enhanced gameplay mechanics, a fresh new story,
improved graphics, more monsters to defeat, more lands to explore, and more
characters to play as. Even today, the game is regarded as one of the greatest
in all of Neopia, possibly even surpassing NeoQuest I.
To continue my research, I set up my writing desk in the one place where almost
every NeoQuest addict is sure to find themselves at least once: the NeoQuest
My first mode of operation here was a detailed survey consisting of six simple
questions. From the hundreds of answers I received, I was able to put together
a conclusive list of percents and ratios about who plays NeoQuest.*
To begin, I found that 92.6% of people had played the original NeoQuest at
least once in their time in Neopia; however, only a surprising 42% of players
had actually beaten the game, as compared to the 68% of people who have played
NeoQuest II and also beaten the game. One surprise here was that the same percentage
of people had played both games. I had also learned that of those who had won
NeoQuest I, 38.3% had completed the game more than once. For players of NeoQuest
II, the number of people who had completed the game more than once was substantially
higher at 79%.
Already astounded by the numbers I had thus compiled, I was eager to delve
deeper into the results of my surveys. In doing so, I found that 64.6% of all
participants were female. Of those, only 11.6% had not played either NeoQuest
I or NeoQuest II. Whether this simply means that females are more social than
males, or whether females merely enjoy the game better, is a fact that, unfortunately,
cannot be deduced from my surveys alone.
Another equally surprising fact was that of all those who had played the game,
100% of males had beaten, at least once, both NeoQuest I and NeoQuest II, though
only 34.8% of female players had beaten NeoQuest I and only 56.1% had won NeoQuest
II. Again, however, the exact implications of such a find are beyond my grasp
of my research.
Yet another surprising reversal of statistics was found when analyzing the
tendencies of males and females to complete the game more than once. Of males,
44.4% had beaten NeoQuest I more than once, though only 33.2% of females had.
For NeoQuest II, however, 82.6% of females had beaten it more than once, whereas
only 76.7% of males had.
To obtain a neutral response, one less biased than that of the NeoQuest Board,
I conducted the same survey on the Help Board. The results are as follows:
- 22% of participants male
- 78% of participant female
- 64.3% had played NeoQuest I (100% of males; 54.6% of females)
- 11.1% of players had beaten NeoQuest I (33.3% of males; 0% of females)
- 42.8% had played NeoQuest II (66.6% of males; 27.3% of females)
- 33.4% of players had beaten NeoQuest II (33.3% of both males and females)
My second mode of operation was a poll of various players of NeoQuest I and
NeoQuest II. My first question was why they each played NeoQuest. Most frequently,
the games were played for the sheer enjoyment of playing. Some said they enjoyed
it because "Mr. Insane creates the best games in Neopia," while others enjoyed
the depth of it, both in strategy and in story. The primary motivation to play
NeoQuest II especially was the "evil prizes." Some even said they played only
"to pass time and [earn] a shiny trophy."
The second question I asked was what were my participants' favorite things
about the NeoQuest games. The ability to choose from a wide variety of skills
and not have to buy weapons, both from NeoQuest I, was quite popular, as was
the plot of NeoQuest I. Battle music was also mentioned, and fighting the bosses
also seemed to be a favorite part of the game. The non-playable characters were
also called upon, especially those of NeoQuest I.
Of course, having learned of their favorite parts of the game, I had to learn
of their least favorite aspects, and thus my third question asked just that.
One person who I had talked with extensively mentioned the lack of a clock to
time game progress was one of her least favorite aspects of the games. Others
also mentioned the simplicity of NeoQuest II, some going so far as to say that
the battles were "very boring battles," others simply that it was too easy.
Another common complaint was the long amount of time that it takes to load the
pages of the game, especially for those playing with a dial-up internet connection.
My final mode of operation was sitting down with a few fellow fans of the game
and interviewing them. These interviews, though often short, were quite valuable
in their informational content and perfectly concluded my research.
In my first interview, I met with a person who chose to be identified as "Dan."
Though he was not too familiar with the game of NeoQuest I, he had played it
once before. He was, however, much more fluent with the game of NeoQuest II,
which he had even completed twice. When asked what was his favorite thing about
NeoQuest II, he told me, "I love the creativity of the monsters, and the different
worlds, and the party, as opposed to the single Lupe in NeoQuest [I]." He also
told me, however, that he found "the amount of clicking it takes" unbearable.
In my second interview, I met with a woman who was quite near the end of NeoQuest
I, but had played little NeoQuest II. In reference to NeoQuest I, she had said,
"I like it because it's different every time you play it. However, it takes
a quite a long time to get anywhere, and it's especially frustrating when you
die towards the end and must start again from the beginning."
One excited person I interviewed was "Tamia." She told me that she really liked
being able to collect many strange and varied items in NeoQuest I, but that
she often felt sad because the game made her feel lonely. When playing NeoQuest
II, however, she told me that the multiple-character party made her feel much
One person, who wished to remain anonymous, told me that she liked the Meepit
Shamans from NeoQuest I, but that she stopped playing NeoQuest II because she
really didn't like Blumaroos. Another person who also wished to remain anonymous
told me that his favorite part of NeoQuest I was the ability Shockwave, and
that some of the prizes awarded for beating NeoQuest II had made some decent
Quite a few people I interviewed told me that the length and story of NeoQuest
I were wonderful; "short enough to keep the story interesting, long enough to
have much of an interesting plot." Many here also found the music of the game
to be quite enjoyable. People also commented that the length and the story of
the second game were not as good as the first; and another common complaint
was of the slow pace of the first game and the amount of back-and-forth traveling
that it required, and also of the tremendous amount of clicking that accompanies
One new player of NeoQuest II, whom I shall identify as "Nut," said to me during
our interview, "There are lots of party members. New party members are fun.
Oh, and the monsters! Monsters in games have always fascinated me. There are
all these cool and unusual monsters in NeoQuest II, each with their own history
ready to be made up. [...] Towns. I don't mind clicking when I get into an exciting
battle every few minutes, but towns are so incredibly boring."
"Cyanna," another person that I had interviewed, so eloquently voiced her opinions
about NeoQuest II by saying, "NeoQuest II just kicked the game up so many notches.
Now, there is more of a strategic element. You have four characters, each having
a different role in your party. You have to build their skills and the system
will not allow you to master everything, so you need to think things through.
It isn't enough to sit there and go 'attack... attack... attack'. Eventually,
you find yourself using the seconds each character has before their next move
and planning both your offense and defense. It's hard to say what I like least
about the game because it is such an improvement on the first. But in spite
of all this, I like the setting and storyline of the first more enjoyable. It
has a real 'once upon a time in a strange land' feel while NeoQuest II uses
[a] very familiar environment."
In my final interview, a woman to be called "Dark" said to me, "I'd just like
to mention that I don't think one of the games is better than the other; they're
After spending weeks conducting interviews, polls, and surveys, and then spending
hours at my writing desk analyzing the results, I find that I am sadly no closer
to answering my questions than when I began. However, I surely have a better
understanding of who plays the game and why they play it. And now that I can
put my curiosity to rest, maybe I'll even be able to earn myself another trophy,
or maybe even two.
* Results of surveys subject to 2% inaccuracy. Survey results reflect the
opinions of participants only.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to extend a warm and very grateful thank you
to all of the people who so compassionately partook in my surveys, polls, and
interviews. This article would not have existed without all of you. Thank you.