Neopet Lessons: A Guide to the Fullest Experience Possible
As a Neopets newcomer nearly five years ago, I found myself in a world of endless
possibilities. Friends of mine who I have convinced to join the site back then
and to this day often ask me, "What do I do from here?" This is a question that
is tough to answer without the very broad response of, "Anything you want." My
Newbie self dawdled around playing Korbat's Lab and spitting out four random pets
aimlessly, and there are countless lessons that I learned the hard way or wish
I had understood the outcome of, for my experience would be that much more enriching
now had I done things differently. Here are a few simple lessons that this user
learned the hard way. I utter them in the hopes that Newbies may take them to
heart and make the Neopets experience all that it can be.
Lesson One: The Value of a Pet's Name
When creating your pets, the name can be everything. Think of something that
is unique to you or you find special meaning with, and think hard about whether
the name you choose for your pet will be a lasting one, or a name you chose
on a whim that you will hate as soon as your pet gets to be a few months or
years old. I, for instance, went through intensely obsessive phases where my
eighth grade self would spend countless hours swooning over various movie stars.
Two of my pets, and my username, in fact, reflected these obsessions. Now they
have faded and I find myself laughing at the younger Neopets player that I was,
and while reading these pet names allow me to giggle down memory lane, I must
also face the brutal truth that I am stuck with names that I no longer appreciate.
The problem with naming your pet a whimsical name lies in the time that you
grow up or grow to hate it, for by then your pet is strong, it is painted, it
has won a beauty contest or a gourmet food club membership card or has been
a site spotlight winner or been featured in a story. By then, despite the "ick"
name, you still love your pet and could never think of putting them up for adoption
to start all over just for the sake of the name. While you can change any feature
you dislike about your pet with a morphing potion, paintbrush, or visit to the
lab ray, the name is one attribute that you will be stuck with. If only Neopets
had a "change name" feature like their Petpets, right? The lesson here is to
spend some time thinking about each and every name for your precious
little pets. They have to live with them, too!
Lesson Two: If You Want Something, Get it Now. Period.
For the longest time I yearned for my pet, Mystical_Enchantment (one of the
two names out of four that I still appreciate, speaking of pet name value,)
to be painted with a Faerie Paint Brush. Stories I had written about her for
the Times included her being painted, and I wanted to fulfill them and have
a pet who fit in with my favorite aspect of Neopia: the land of the Faeries.
At the time, the paintbrushes were about 160,000 Neopoints. This was to me a
hefty sum in 2002, but I could have managed it. I decided not to spend the Neopoints
at all, and instead saved them up in my bank account with no purpose in mind.
For one reason or another, the real world took me away from the site for about
two years (but I am ever so glad to be back!) and when I returned, the paintbrush,
to my surprise, had been retired, and the price had skyrocketed. Today the brush
is bartered through the Island Trading Post or sold at auction for 2 to 3 million
Neopoints - that's about fifteen times what it would have cost me if I had just
bought it when it was available to me. And had I stocked up? It makes me sadder
than the Grey Faerie when I think about all of the Neopoints I could have today.
Sometimes a safety deposit box can prove to hold as much precious interest as
the Neopian Bank!
The same holds true for the lab ray map pieces, whose prices just keeps on
increasing. Since the ray has the potential to paint your pets with random paintbrushes,
people are willing to pay this immense sum for the chance that they can get
their pets painted with the magical paintbrushes otherwise found in a Neopian
Retirement Home somewhere. (For those already owning the Lab Ray, I suggest
you do yourselves a favor and buy the Petpet laboratory map pieces as soon as
possible, while you can still get them all for about 10,000.)
My advice is to buy the things you desire today - what is the point of saving
up your Neopoints for nothing, when you can get your hands on what you desire
right now? Saving is a great thing, yes, but not when you sacrifice the things
you want the most while you are playing.
Lesson Three: Get Involved!
This seems to be an obvious lesson, but it is something I didn't quite understand
when I joined and can be invaluable to your experience on the site. Join a guild!
They can supply you with welcome packages (which equal items, which equal Neopoints)
as well as a wonderful web of Neofriends who can be an endless help and comfort
to you, as well as helping you with the sometimes necessary tasks of getting
votes for either the Caption Competition or the Beauty Contest. Some of the
people you meet live around the world and interact in this forum, forming lasting
friendships and bonds that are above all things helpful.
Another fantastic way to get involved is to take part in the various Plots!
After you have significantly worked on, fought in the Battledome as a part of,
or solved a plot, you can receive trophies which will forever relax on your
user info page. (For information on plots, be checking the 'News,' section of
the site, an invaluable resource for not only plot information, but the release
or updates of everything Neopets!) The various trophies earned through plots
throughout the ages of Neopian time make each user unique and give you something
you can be proud of. For instance, if you participate in a plot in your first
months on the site and are still playing years down the line, new players can't
get these trophies, making them priceless definitions of who you are as a user.
Nothing can make you prouder!
The most important part of getting involved relies on asking for help when
you need it - the Neoboards and your many Neofriends (have you joined a guild
yet?) can be a great help when it comes to finding items you need, getting ideas,
or seeking help for quests, games, or plots. There is great joy to be found
working with other users while typing on a topic in the Neoboards - other people
are more than willing to help you if you've gotten stuck in a plot or can't
quite get to a level in a game. It is the users that make the site as grand
as it is and keep TNT (otherwise known as the Neopets Team, for the Newbie who
was confused by this term as I was for several months as I was) busy
- utilize that and work it to your advantage! Just don't forget to reciprocate
by helping out when someone else asks for it.
Lesson Four: Play to your Strengths
As a Newbie or even as a Veteran to the site, you may find yourself drooling
over other people's lookups and wondering, "How did they get all of those
trophies!?" The answer is simple - those people do certain things better than
others and give it their all when contests allow them to use what they are good
Are you skilled at all as a writer, or at all imaginative? There are so many
outlets to your creativity. You are reading the fruits of one, for example,
here in the Neopian Times. Whether your forte is to give advice or write fictional
stories, the Times can be a great way to earn a trophy for your cabinet. The
Storytelling Competition, the Neoadventure Spotlight Competition, Pet and Petpet
Spotlight Competitions, and the Poetry Gallery are all other writing-based trophy
winners. If you like to write, there alone you have six means to get
your voice heard and earn a trophy.
If writing isn't your thing, perhaps you like to draw? Here, again, there are
countless possibilities - the Comic section of the Neopian Times, the Picture
Competition, and the Beauty Contest. Every creative bone in your body has a
home on Neopets.com. For the braniac and the clever individual there are the
Lenny Conundrum and the Caption Contest, those with business sense can earn
riches or trophies playing Plushie Tycoon or working the Stock Market or Food
Club. I strongly urge you, despite what you think your strengths are, to also
look at each new contest as it opens every week, because an idea may spring
to you. You may think of a hilarious caption, happen to know exactly what the
Mystery Pic competition is thumbnailing or what the Lenny Conundrum is asking
for, or have another great idea that can win you a contest and earn you a trophy
and other cool prizes.
The hardest trophies to win are the individual game trophies themselves. But
let me point out that few people have the top scores in every or many games
- they may have one trophy as a "Hasee Bounce Champion!!!" but this is because
this is the one game they have focused on. So find your favorite games
and play them often. You might get lucky! This also comes in handy for the special
day that a Better Than You contest comes along featuring your game of choice,
for you can earn a trophy here without earning the top scores in the high score
There are also so many trophies that you can earn with relative ease if you
just dedicate yourself. You don't have to beat anyone but the computer in games
like Sakhmet Solitaire or Pyramids, where two games won gives you a trophy,
or other games like Go! Go! Go!, Cheat! And Round Table Poker. They take a little
time, but are trophies you are guaranteed to win if you just keep at it. Others
take a little more time, like the trophy won for beating Punchbag Bob in the
Battledome, or the prizes from the epics that are Neoquest I and II, but all
three are attainable.
One of the greatest contests on Neopets is the Random Contest. Every week is
an opportunity to play to a group's strengths and creativity; the contest features
winners who can write poems, make up clever sound bites, sew, draw, and other
countless creative projects. This contest is fun and completely original each
week: You are bound to find something that interests you or that you are capable
of. The idea is to find something you are good at or simply like to do and do
it as much as possible - it will bear you Trophies!
* * * *
Making your Neopets experience is really in your hands from beginning to end.
What you do and the choices you make are all yours alone, and with a little
involvement, some help from friends, and some strong pets that you make your
own, it can be an experience gleaming from your user lookup and in your own
heart. So when asking yourself "What do I do from here?" the answer really is,
after all, "Anything you want!"