Surviving the Plot Madness
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, then you know that as of right now, there is a plot happening. Now, even mini-plots or normal plots are pretty big, but this is BIG. Not only had it been delayed for lack of time once before (which means that it’ll take quite a bit of time), but it’s also the return of one of the greatest evil masterminds of all time. Not Jhudora (although an Attack of Jhudora plot would be pretty fun... *daydreams about allying with Jhudora in the war against Illusen*). Not the Monoceraptor. This is the Return of Doctor Sloth. That means that this plot is going to be huge. Wars, puzzles, and shiny prizes of doom... the whole shebang.
What does this mean for the average Neopian? Well, be prepared for a lot of chaos. How will you survive the plot? That’s what this article is for.
Plots are composed of three basic elements: puzzles, wars, and prizes. Each of these elements has a profound effect on Neopia, and many changes come as a result of them.
What is a puzzle? At its core, a puzzle is... well, a puzzle. Some require logic, some require luck, and all of them require persistence. But not all puzzles are the same. For some of them, you’ll be able to go to the plot Neoboard, ask how to do a puzzle, and someone will tell you what to do. Obviously, I highly recommend trying to do it on your own first, especially if it was just released and everyone is trying to find out what to do. Puzzles are a large portion of your score (more on that later) so it’s a good idea to try to finish every puzzle.
But it’s not the little puzzles that are difficult. The big puzzles are what you need to worry about. How do you know if a puzzle is big or not? Check the plot Neoboard. If half the page is covered in people asking how to do something, it’s big. Big puzzles are usually unique for everyone, meaning it’s not really possible to just tell someone how to do it. Sure, all the puzzles are composed of the same rules and objectives, but the fact that no two puzzles are the same makes it a lot more difficult.
But even if no one else can tell you what to do, there’s still the problem of actually finishing the puzzles. After all, I called them big puzzles for a reason, and that reason is that they’re BIG. They take a long time—hours usually. Even if you understand what you’re supposed to do, it can still take a long time to do it. Examples of big puzzles include maze, such as the Temple of 1000 Tombs from the Lost Desert plot, the Swamp (where you had to find Ilere) from the Tale of Woe, and the Lost Isle from the Journey to the Lost Isle plot. These big puzzles take a lot of time and effort to finish, meaning that many people that give up on the plot will do it while trying to do a big puzzle.
In addition to big puzzles, there are also team puzzles, which require many Neopians to work together to do a task. These tasks could be anything from moving furniture to digging graves. The next plot step won’t come until whatever task everyone is supposed to do is finished, so you might be stuck working for a while. Fortunately, although these team puzzles usually don’t count towards your score, you can also get prizes for doing them! Obviously, some prizes are more rare than others, so the really common prizes tend to deflate a lot. Therefore, I’d advise against investing in anything related to the current plot until the group puzzles are finished.
Wars are battles between two or more sides. Sometimes, you can only be on one side, and other times you can choose the side you’re on (Woo! Go Doctor Sloth!). The wars take place in the Battledome, so I recommend that you train your pet if there’s going to be a war. One effect of everyone training is that training supplies, such as codestones and dubloons, often have their prices inflate greatly. Weapons and healing potions also inflate in price.
Depending on the way the war is structured, different things will happen. One thing that always happens is that the foes come in waves, starting with the weakest foes and moving towards the more difficult ones. This means that even inexperienced battlers ought to be able to get a few wins before they can’t fight anymore. If there are multiple sides to the war, each side will get its own set of challengers, but the difficulties are usually the same. When all the waves are defeated, there will be a boss.
Bosses are tough to beat. They can have tens of thousands of health, special abilities, and insanely powerful weapons. However, the fact that there’s only one of them means that everyone will fight them, and that damage adds up. Therefore, with every attack, the boss will have its health reduced until someone is able to defeat it.
Obviously, with a war going on, there’s going to be a different atmosphere in the Battledome. For one thing, the normal challengers aren’t available, so you won’t be able to heal by beating up the Inflatable Balthazar. This means you’ll have to heal at the Healing Springs or by buying healing potions. This limits how much people can battle. Additionally, in past wars, stealing items have been prohibited, so it’s not possible to use your foe’s items against them, making it a lot more difficult to defeat a boss. Therefore, most Neopians don’t especially love wars, but they’re fun for people that love the Battledome. Therefore, I recommend trying to battle as much as possible, but also try to realize when it’s not possible for you to continue.
Prizes are the final part of any plot. Sometimes the wait for them can be months, and sometimes it can be days. It can be difficult to predict. While you’re waiting for prizes, you may be able to work on the puzzles more, or you might be able to read the solution to the plot.
Getting back to the prizes, you’re usually able to buy prizes with the points you earn. These points also determine what trophy you’ll get. These points come from how well you did in the puzzle and war portions of the plot. For the puzzles, you get points for both completing them and for completing them quickly. Therefore, it’s to you advantage to try to finish them as fast as possible. With the war points, you get points for defeating your foes, with more points being earned for tougher foes. You can also get points for losing against the war boss, which encourages people to fight the boss even if they know they’ll lose. Those brave but valiant losses are what make it all possible... But remember, Doctor Sloth is your friend, so don’t attack him! Attack that nasty, evil Space Faerie! *Shifty eyes*
Anyway, the prizes available usually include books, stamps, toys, and Battledome equipment, in addition to wearable items, avatars, and sidebar themes. The prizes costing fewer points are usually pretty worthless (Seriously, who wants a commemorative keychain?), while the most expensive prizes can be worth millions of neopoints. Therefore, it’s recommend to try to choose the most expensive prizes available.
How else should you decide what to buy? Well, if you love the Battledome, try going for some Battledome equipment. However, I recommend finding out what it does before you buy. It’s definitely worth looking though, since some of the rare equipment can be pretty useful. If you prefer investing, I recommend buying stamps or books. Wearable items are also a good idea. Avatars, trophies, and sidebars tend to be given to you automatically, but you still want to collect them. Sometimes, paintbrushes are also available from the prize shop, which can cause massive deflation of that color.
Well, that’s all. Hopefully you now better understand plots and how to survive them. Or maybe you want to be caught up in the enthusiasm. Either way, remember to support Doctor Sloth!
Author’s note: No, Doctor Sloth did not promise me world domination for writing this article. *Shifty eyes* Speaking of which, if you live on Mystery Island, I highly recommend not leaving the island in the near future... especially if you make good borovan. *Even shiftier eyes*