The Market: In a Nutshell
Neopia is a vast and spectacular place, where many people interact on a daily basis through their shops and the trading post. In my short time here, I have come to learn how this vast and spectacular market works. Like all aspects in life, it isn’t perfect. It is, however, an incredibly complex system that I will try to explain to you for your benefit.
There are many different intricate things going on at all times within this market. So how does this market start? The first and foremost is where the neopoints come from. One of the most common ways of earning neopoints, as I and many other Neopians would agree, is games. With over 150 games available to play at all times, and tens of thousands of users on daily to play them, this causes a lot of neopoints to enter the market. Some other ways of getting neopoints are the bank and your daily interest, sponsor links, random events, as well as the stock market for you investors out there.
Once the money is in the market, what now? Well, the most common use of the money, which contributes to a good number of the items in Neopia, is the Neopian Marketplace shops. This is where users ‘restock’ items that are usually worth more than what they paid for to make a profit. This can bring tens to hundreds of thousands of items into Neopia daily. Other ways of getting items into the market include special shops, kitchen quests, Taelia's quests, and random events.
So now the items are in Neopia and users own them; what happens next? This is where the market becomes its most complex system yet. Some items have a certain use, like paintbrushes or food, that once they are used, they go *poof* forever. As for all the rest of the items, they usually go into users’ own shops or up onto the Trading Post. This is where all that money from playing games comes in. Everyone comes in from a hard day of playing games and goes over to either the user shop marketplace or the shop wizard to find, say, that Blue Evil Fuzzle they’ve been needing. They enter it into the wizard and up comes all the users that have bought the Fuzzles from the Neopets Toy Shop. They find a decently priced one and decide to go to the user’s shop and buy it. This explains the primary transfer of neopoints from one user to another.
Now that shop owner that sold the ‘restocked’ or RSed item has several options. The first would be to go out and buy an item with that money. This can be either the same item from someone that is selling it cheaper, or a new item he has wanted that was RSed by another user. The connections create the web that connects most users to each other. Their second option would be to save it for another day, and stick it into the bank, where they can collect daily interest on it. Other options include investing it into the stock market or paying to spin one of Neopia’s many illustrious wheels.
The next aspect of the Neopian market is training and faerie supplies. Like Food and Books, these items disappear once used. Respectively, Codestones are used at the Ninja School, and Dubloons at the Swashbuckling Academy. The only way to find these forms of money are by digging deep into the sands at the Shrine of Coltzan, from the Tiki Man’s Tombola game, or from general random events. Some users take this as a sign that their pet wants to get stronger, and bring it to either of the schools to give their pet a nice training course. Others, however, take this as a sign to make some quick cash. They stick it into their shop to sell. Both of these techniques ultimately affect the economy in the same way, but prior to that they affect the economy quite a bit. Depending on how much the one who would sell it sells for, this could variably affect how other people price theirs. If it was much higher, a trickle of sellers might think they could get more out of each Dubloon they sold, while others might see a cheaper one and competitively price theirs to be cheaper. When the prior occurs, this is what is called inflation.
What is inflation, you ask? It is the manipulation of the market in favor of the users selling the items. One of the most well-known examples of inflation recently was the Secret Laboratory Map or Lab Map for short. Others have told me that no more than a year ago the Lab Map was priced at no more than 500k and prior to that year around 470k. So why the sudden jump in overall price to over 900k? Inflators. If you search up each individual piece of the Lab Map, you’ll discover all are under 80,000 NP, except for one or two that have been teetering on the verge of breaking the 300,000 NP mark. Would you want to pay for that one expensive piece when you could possibly buy five for the same price? I don’t think so. So how does it happen? There are two ways. Natural inflation occurs when someone starts a new pricing trend on an item and others follow assuming they could get that much for the item being sold. The other, however, is much more complicated and controllable. One user, or sometimes an entire group of users, save up a lot of neopoints, and begin to buy all of a certain item out of other user’s shops and trades. If it was a common item, by the time they finish an enormous increase in the price of the item is the end result. Sometimes they also target an item that is in limited supply, such as the TCG cards, which for the most part are only available from redeeming your codes on the back of the original neopets trading card set, and from an extremely rare random event that happens once in a blue moon. When they own all the specific item(s) that are known to the Neopian world, which includes those in galleries, shops, auctions, and trades; they then begin to place all of their items on the trading post within a scattered range of prices much higher than the original price they paid for it. So how does it affect you? Well, other users, or the consumers, buy these items out of their supply and demand for them. Ultimately everyone is happy: You get the item you wanted, and the seller gets even more (a lot more) neopoints that they paid for it.
This leads to another aspect of the Neopian economy: control of the flow of neopoints. Remember at the beginning of the article all of the neopoints that come into players’ hands daily? Well, why doesn’t this number grow as much as it should be by now? Because the good old Neopets Staff has found several ways to recycle the neopoints we earn daily. Every sale in a Neopian Market shop helps to recycle the neopoints to be re-earned in games another day. While this is a great way to recycle neopoints, one much more effective way that has helped to stabilize the amazing economy is the Hidden Tower of Faerieland. In the Hidden Tower, some of Neopia’s rarest items have been placed within. Since all of these items are always the same price in unlimited quantities, this is beneficial in two ways. The first is the continuing recycling of neopoints. What better way to recycle 15,000,000 NP than by buying Glittery Faerie Dust? The second way it helps out is mostly beneficial to the few and proud battlers of Neopia. Myself included, the Hidden Tower helps to supply us with a basis of the value of all items. By having a constant price on items like Faerie Queen Dolls, we can be safe to assume that the price of them will never exceed the Hidden Tower price.
So in all, I hope this article has helped you to better understand just how the very complex, yet amazing market of Neopia works. Next time you go to buy a new book for your neopets to read, just imagine how far that book traveled before it fell into your hands.
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