Why Plots Are Preferred
We’ve all seen them on the boards. The unfortunate souls whose hearts quake when they hear the words “water plant,”or “mapping your tomb.” When TNT randomizes certain aspects of the current plot, there are some people who are lost for literally hours, searching for the key to unlock the madness.
Then there are the kind souls who painstakingly set up plot guides, who help hundreds of lost little Neopians over the latest hurdle, in search for the elusive finish line. I’d like to take the time to thank each of you for your help. I know you don’t hear “thank you” very often when you answer the same question a dozen times, even though your guide clearly explained it as well. Thanks for your patience, your kindness, and your tolerance of nOObs.
When the current step of a plot is finally completed, all of Neopia holds its breath, and waits impatiently for the next part to appear. Countless waiting games, fake clues, and refreshing of browsers later, the next step is released, and the madness that comes with an update is released once more.
So why on earth do Neopians of all ages clamor for the next plot? Is it just because of the fancy prizes? Or is it simply the thrill of completing a complicated puzzle? Are plots really worth the headaches we receive as we try in vain to multiply the number of bumroot by the square root of baggus pulp? (Ok, it wasn’t that complicated...)
In an attempt to find out the answers to this question, I hit the boards, searching for answers, and my Techo interviewed their pets.
After some research, I’ve concluded that three main reasons exist for plot participation – boredom, rewards, and trophies.
Boredom is a deadly disease in Neopia. After all, doing your daily collections and games, stocking your shop, feeding your pets, and throwing away the junk you get from the Tombola gets very boring after a while. Breaking up the routine is desperately needed in order to keep up an active and healthy life in Neopia. Your pets will tell you the same thing – do something different. Play a new game. Visit somewhere else. Check a different shop for restocks.
Believe it or not, a plot is a great way to relieve this sense of boredom that threatens dedicated Neopians everywhere. You and your pets explore strange new places, unlock puzzles, and generally are all frightened together. It creates a great sense of camaraderie among your little family.
Rewards vary for the simple reason that not everyone does the same amount of work. Some start a plot and never finish. Some battle, and some don’t. The rewards, or prizes, that Neopians receive for plots are almost legendary. Generally, (mostly) everyone winds up happy. Those that worked hard get the best prizes. Period.
Prizes usually include avatars and sidebars, which dedicated (or addicted) users love. This is a prize that is theirs to keep and display at their discretion.
And finally, we arrive at the legendary trophies. Don’t ask me why we humans will stare for hours longingly at a piece of metal in our cabinet, but we do. It gives us a sense of accomplishment. While the prizes bring us more Neopoints, the trophies are there to stay. It is a badge of honor. A reward that is somehow enough to negate the hours lost in our tombs, or where we were trapped in the water plant, endlessly flipping switches and turning knobs. We have finished. And with TNT, this is no small feat.
While I spent time interviewing owners, my Techo interviewed their pets. Below is an interview with Dragon_ALS, whose owner decided to volunteer him for the task. Fortunately, Dragon agreed, and things went rather smoothly.
My_parents_are_rich (Techo): So, what do you think of plots?
Dragon_ALS: (looks around for owner, finds him lost in conversation with other humans) What... what do I think of them? Don’t you want to know what he thinks of them?
Techo: Well, my owner is asking the humans. I wanted to ask the pets. What do you think?
Dragon: (takes another careful look around, and whispers) I like them.
Dragon: Owners come to Neopia more often. We brainstorm our way through the next step together.
Techo: I heard your owner had you in the Battledome for the Tale of Woe. Did you resent that?
Dragon: Well, I wasn’t the only one fighting. There were hundreds of pets in the ring at a time. It was a team effort. Especially against the mayor.
Techo: Weren’t you hurt?
Dragon: I was healed quickly. My owner made sure of that.
Techo: Didn’t you get lost in the Haunted Woods at one point? Wouldn’t you have rather just played a nice, safe game of Kacheekers instead?
Dragon: (laughs) No. I had fun. It was a little scary, but I knew my owner would protect me.
Techo: Did you do the Altador plot?
Dragon: Of course!
Techo: Didn’t you get lost in the library? Almost flood the city of Altador? Stare for hours at stars? Search through every single window at the Colosseum? Wasn’t that frustrating?
Dragon: Did you do the Altador plot?
Techo: Well... that’s beside the point. And my brother and sisters told me about it. Said they spent almost a solid month in Altador, searching for clues.
Dragon: Did they enjoy it? Spending time with your owner? Looking for things together?
Techo: Who’s interviewing who around here?
Dragon: It was loads of fun. The humans gathered on the boards, looking for clues, and the pets gathered in Altador, looking for them as well. We all had our theories. I knew for certain we were supposed to press that button...
Techo: Well, thank you for your time. One more question. Why does your owner do the plots?
Dragon: (searches for owner again, still sees him talking) I keep hearing something about trophies and prizes... but I’m not sure.
Techo: (looking at notes) Oh! Prizes. (Points toward line owners have started to form) Do you suppose that’s what they’re waiting for? Outside that building that says “closed?”
Dragon: I don’t know. They do lots of weird things. I still haven’t figured out those avatars they keep raving about...
Techo: Me either. Guess it’s a human thing...
Thanks to all the users I polled while writing this, as well as dragonlordals2, who let me interview his pet.