Sad Days in the Dome: Battledome Weapon Downgrades
Nothing depresses the average Battledomer like that really elite weapon that they just can’t have. While some weapons are too expensive, others are being kept out of the hands of the general Neopian population by more nefarious methods, or worse yet being altered and downgraded so they are less effective.
Some Neopians may think the Attack Leaf is a figment of our imagination, but it’s actually just the tip of an iceberg of weapons that the Mystery Island Battledome Safety Administration doesn’t want you to have.
We should start by explaining the term: downgrade. We all know that the “Dark Battle Duck does icons” but many Neopians don’t realize that it used to do MORE icons; when first released a Dark Battle Duck was capable of attacking with 10 attack icons. Keep in mind that in Year 4, a 10-icon weapon was very powerful. It would still be two years before the most popular 10-iconers (Scuzzys Comb and Ramtors Spellbook) were released.
The Dark Battle Duck, in addition to being cute, was just too powerful for its time and was modified to only attack with 8 icons. A factory recall was put into effect and all existing and future ducks now have duller beaks and are made with lighter composite materials.
This downgrading trend would continue through much of the early years of Neopia causing an entire generation of Neopets to fear that their hard-earned weapons could be downgraded at any moment. Dark Nimmo Boots, Cobrall in a Can, Iron Lupe Sword, and the regular Battle Duck were all popular weapons that got caught in this early wave of downgrading legislation.
As the Safety Administration gathered more power, they turned their attention to the healers and freezers that Neopets use in the Battledome. The popular multi-freeze items Ice Dice and Slumberberry Potion could be equipped alongside 100% freezers like the Hypno Helm. What, you’ve never heard of the Hypno Helm? Its spikes were deemed too dangerous and it was changed into the modernized H4000 Helmet. It was also deemed too dangerous to bring more than one freezer into a battle, so this was outlawed.
Slumberberry Potion manufacturers took the brunt of this new rule change as they were downgraded from being 100% freeze items to roughly having a 17% chance of freezing.
Around this same time, more restrictions were placed on Healers in the Battledome; ever since your pet can only equip one healing item. A few exceptions exist such as the Bracelet of Kings and Illusens Staff; they can heal, but that is not their primary function, so they are allowed to be equipped alongside a standard healing item. Early on, Velms Potion could be equipped with another healer, but this was changed after Velm campaigned against Grarrg during a Tyrannian Town Hall election.
Additional rule changes were implemented for healing items that were deemed too powerful. Before being downgraded, the Leaded Elemental Vial was a full healer and defended against fire, the Good Snowball could full heal instead of its current 20% heal, and for one glorious day in Year 9, the Golden Sun Chalice had a nearly 25% chance of full healing in the Battledome. Anonymous sources say the chalice was quickly downgraded when the Scorchstone Cartels caught wind of this unwanted Altadorian competition.
While Fyora controls the market on high-end Battledome weapons, she also has to deal with requests from the Battledome Safety Administration. In the past she has been willing to compromise with their rulings; especially in cases involving dark or evil weapons.
The worst downgrading incident on record involved Jhudoras Wand and Jhudoras Battle Claw. While no one is certain about their original abilities it was rumored that the Claw was capable of a fierce 22 attack icons; after a record two downgrades and some ugly name calling, the Claw only does 5 icons and neither item is sold in the Hidden Tower. Even the dreaded Eraser of the Dark Faerie was pulled from shelves after just one day because of this bitter rivalry.
Fyora’s love of pink and glittery items has also had ill effects on weapons marketed by Neopia’s other villainous personalities. Hubrids Puzzle Box originally took 50% of an opponent’s hitpoints after three rounds and only needed to be used once; after downgrading, it takes 33% and needs to be used for each of three rounds. The Sword of Skardsen could originally hit for 30 icons, but after a massive downgrade and a slight upgrade, it averages just over 17 icons per round, and the retired Ghostkersword, while not receiving an icon downgrade, was changed so that pets could not equip more than one.
Just too powerful
While originally concerned solely with protecting the wellbeing of participants in the Battledome, the Battledome Safety Administration has also involved itself in the economics of the Battledome marketplace. Like the aforementioned Eraser of the Dark Faerie, which could permanently destroy one of your opponent’s items, other weapons like the Fire Whip and Volcano Crystal were completely downgraded; even though they only made an opponent’s weapons useless until the end of the battle. The Volcano Crystal was a particularly bitter loss as more than one of these items could be equipped and used each round, making it possible to take all of your opponents weapons away during a fight.
There used to be many full icon blockers available in Neopia, but these were also downgraded because they hurt the usefulness of the most popular (and most profitable) weapons. While now considered junk, the Soul Stone was once a full earth blocker, the Fire Gem protected you from all fire damage, the Cloud Charm blocked all air, the Moon Staff blocked all Dark icons, and the Night Stone blocked all light. While these items were once found in abundance in Neopian shops, any item today that offers a full icon block will set you back millions of NP. The Hand Painted Scarab was also created with an 8 icon attack and a full (or almost full) air block but went through massive and multiple downgrades to become a weak weapon today that only blocks a four icons and does a less than respectable 6 attack.
Even your prizes aren’t safe!
The Mystery Island Battledome Safety Administration also keeps a close eye on any prizes given away in Neopia as it does not like anything that could hurt its affiliated weapons dealers. The Honey Potion and Jhudoras Potion available from completing Illusen's Quests and Jhudora's Quests were more powerful when first released and have since been downgraded; the Mystery Fruit Bowl was dropped from 12 icons to a marginally useful but way overpriced 9 attack icons.
The downgrades to the Trusty Hand Cannon and Runed Maractite Bow could be included in this category, but it can also be argued that they were “fixed” as opposed to “downgraded”. Both of these war prizes could do massive amounts of icons when used in another language setting; this was also seen later with the Essence of Esophagor which had a chance of freezing when used by German speaking Neopians. All of these different language abilities have since been eliminated.
After so many downgrades plagued Battledomers in the early years, Year 7 brought new leadership to the Mystery Island Battledome Safety Administration and a new methodology. Some argue that this new hands-off approach has stopped the constant downgrade fears. Many complain that the Battledome is being neglected, but everyone can agree that Neopia is a better place now that “possible downgrade” can’t be used to justify insultingly low Trading Post offers. But could this hands-off approach just be a cover story for a Battledome policy ruled by the Scorchstone Cartel and potion manufacturers?
There are too many new weapons that have come up missing in recent years; what happened to the Attack Peanut and Peanut Bomb announced on Elephante Day Year 10? Could the Attack Leaf be real? Will that mysterious foil wrapped weapon ever be released or are they all being intercepted and downgraded before we even get chance to test them out?