Zap-and-Pounding - Does It Work?
A quick experiment on the zap-and-pound game.
You’ve seen the Neopian Pound. Guarded by Dr Death, it's a place only a few venture inside to drop off sadly unwanted pets. And then there are those who happily skip in, looking for a new member of the family. It is a sad but true fact that the pets with long, unpronounceable names or common basic colours are the ones that spend the most time there, waiting for owners to recognize their unique attributes and take them away for good.
To attempt to help these poor pets out, it is quite common among people who have all the pets they could desire and a spare lab ray or two to try and save them. They kindly adopt unwanted pets from the pound, zap them until they turn a valuable colour or species and then... what? Some people get attached to the pets in their care and make them a permanent member of the family. But for people with no space there is a conundrum – to drop the poor pet directly into the pound in the hope that the owner will be a good one, or to carefully screen owners and give the pet to one who promises to care for him or her.
Nearly all painted pets dropped into the pound are adopted almost immediately. But who are they going to, and will your pet go to an owner who will appreciate and care for them? I decided to perform a quick study to see what happens to pounded pets.
So, as part of my daily routine over several months I adopted, zapped and pounded pets, ending up abandoning 40 in all. Some I was very sorry to see go, and a couple I still regret pounding! But it’s all in the name of knowledge. Anyway, every single one was different. Their names varied from real names and real words to strings of incomprehensible letters. The colours and species they were zapped were anything between highly sought-after Maraquan and faerie pets and basic LEs or cheaper colours. After all this and a sufficient interval of time had passed, I looked them up again to see where they had gone. By this time (and probably within about five minutes of me pounding them all individually) all had owners, and I had a quick peek to see what the owners had done with the pets – whether they had customized them, given them petpets and written characters or had ignored a weeping pet and abandoned the account. For comparison I had a small group of “assigned” pets. I don’t often give pets to specific people, but there were a few I had given away before and I also looked them up to see if my choosing an owner influenced how well the pets were treated.
I devised a (very) simple point system to compare the way the pets were treated to the price of the colour they were painted and the “value” of the name (based on general trading opinions). I then graphed the results (yes, at this point you may be thinking I have too much spare time. This is true. In my defense, it was quite good statistics practice!) and tried my best to see what the results meant.
At the start of the experiment, I tried to think up predictions. Looking at the pound boards, most people seem to want well-named, expensively-coloured pets. And UCs too, but that would have been taking the experiment a bit too far... But if you’re looking for such a pet and scrolling through the Pound, would you wait to find a pet with a 10-million NP paint, or just grab a nicer named one to keep forever? And would the more expensive pets with better names actually be cared for more, or is the Pound so random that there would be no obvious result? Happily for me (because articles where the conclusion is “Well, no. No difference really. Not much point to all that!” tend to be not very exciting) there was a trend.
So here’s what I found!
As you’d expect, yes, the better named pets did get more attention and care from their owners in general, regardless of colour or species. It wasn’t a major increase in care, but there was a slight change.
But, more significantly, the more expensively painted pets on average got a lot more attention! The effect of colour of the pet on good ownership was over three times higher than the effect of a pronounceable name, with these pets being generally happier and more individualized with customization and petpets.
From this, I thought my final graph would show an even bigger increase – surely well-named pets painted expensive colours would get a lot more attention than badly-named ones with a colour paintable for under 100k. But interestingly, when the results put together, pets with more expensive colours and good names did tend to get more care – but much less than the effect of colour alone. It ended up in the middle of the other results. Meaning? That the name of the pounded pet matters much less than the colour of it overall.
And what of the few pets I gave away? Well, in my scoring table, there were two pets tied for the highest mark – one of which was a very nicely painted LE pet I had carefully sought out an owner for, and the other was a moderately-painted pet I had dropped in the pound. The others ranged in the middle, and I could see no clear correlation between my choosing of an owner and of a completely random one.
And the pet with the lowest score? That honour went to a zombie pet one on a now-frozen account, and was an owner I had painstakingly selected!
So what does all this mean? What have I proven?
Well, a bit but not much.
If you want the pets you are abandoning to have the best chance of a home, don’t worry too much about the names – keep zapping until an expensive colour arises. Don’t worry about adopting a pet with a string of numbers from the pound to zap; there’s not too much of a difference once you pound it back, and it was less likely to find a home unpainted!
And that there’s not much difference in selecting owners carefully or pounding in how the pet ends up. Well, either that or I’m a bad judge of character – which probably shouldn’t be ruled out!