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A 5-Lesson Beginner's Guide to NC Item Trading


by akitera

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So, you’ve probably stumbled upon someone else’s pet lookup and saw a dress or background that you’re pretty sure would look just as great (or even greater) on your own pet. After some quick searching, you find out that it’s a NeoCash (NC) item and since you constitute this as an emergency, you use your PayPal or you quickly run to your nearest Target store which sells NeoCash cards. And voila, you’re now ready and raring to purchase the item.

But wait, what’s this?! The item you want is not in the NC mall so how could this be? You’re pretty sure that it’s an NC item. After asking around, even asking the owner of the pet you’ve seen the item on, you find out that it’s retired from the mall. But there’s still hope yet since you can actually trade for it. So there’s no problem, right? Well, there won’t be if you actually knew where to begin how to go about trading for it.

Now, if you’re one of those Neopians in this kind of situation or you simply just want to know how NC item trading works, then good news, here’s a handy guide divided into five lessons especially made for you. If you’re already a regular or veteran NC trader, then still good news; maybe you can recommend this guide then or refresh your memory how you came to this state of the deepest pit of spendi-, erm, yeah, let’s continue with the article.

But before we start with the lessons, please make sure that what you’re actually trading are NC items. Because it is AGAINST the rules to trade anything other than NC items for NC items. So please do not offer to trade your Neopoints, NP items or even a NeoCash card code for an NC item because that is still against the rules.

If you’ve made sure that what you have are NC items and that you can actually access the NC mall, let’s now start with the lesson:

HOW TO TRADE NC ITEMS: 5-LESSON CRASH COURSE

LESSON #1: NC GIFT BOXES

This is the basic requirement to be able to enter the world of NC trading. There’s a BIG difference between being able to buy items from the mall and being able to trade those items. To be able to trade items, you will need an NC gift box and the usual way to get them is when you redeem a NeoCash card. As of now, the cards are available to purchase in designated stores in some countries. If you’re not from there, don’t lose hope as more ways to make the cards and the gift boxes available are being done (right, TNT? *hint, hint, nudge, nudge*).

Sometimes, free gift boxes are given away in the mall as part of a celebration like Christmas or as part of a promotion like with the Stocking Stufftacular activity. Quite recently, Valentine grams were released in the mall. These grams had Valentine-themed items that could be sent to other users without having to use a gift box. It is reasonable to suppose that there might be other gram-like items which could be released in the mall in the future, items that wouldn’t need to be sent in a gift box and thus, would also make trading easier.

So, have you now planned to stock up on those NC cards or devised a way to get your hands on one? Good, we can now proceed to the next lesson.

LESSON #2: TYPES AND RARITY OF NC ITEMS

Before you get overwhelmed with the variety and types of items that you will surely see being traded on the NC boards, it’d be a good idea to familiarize yourself first on the basic terms which NC items are being labeled. Here are the most basic but no means exhaustive terms you’ll see on the boards:

Buyable or Retired

The simplest way to know if an NC item is retired or still buyable is to go look in the mall and search for the item. If it’s there, it’s buyable; if it’s not there, then it has been retired. Really simple, eh? *angelic smile*

Great, now that you believe that, let’s go on to some of the permutations of buyable or retired items. There, there, I promise you, this will be easier than restocking a Draik egg on half-price day. We go first with the other types of buyables:

Buyables: Retiring

If you’ve seen some items in the mall with stars in front of their names, these are items that are being sold for a limited time in the mall, meaning they’ll be retiring soon. Usually, items like these are those that are seasonally-themed like Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter items, those that are part of a site event like Daily Dare items or Collectors’ Edition items like the Heroes and Villains Collection which just recently concluded. Most of these might be rereleased in capsules in the future or might not be at all, specifically Collectors’ Edition items which clearly state that they won’t ever be available again.

Buyables: Limited Edition (LE)

Limited Edition items are of two kinds, these are the the bonus item(s) you get from 1) a superpack or 2) a mystery capsule. This type of item is more special, however, than a regular buyable, since to get them, you have to spend more to purchase the whole superpack or even more to get it from opening a capsule. With capsules, some people are lucky enough to get the bonus item in their first few capsules, some open up to a dozen, while others just give it up altogether and just trade for the item. Note that some capsules are like retiring buyables while others are non-retiring and are always available in the mall. If you’ve always considered yourself to be lucky, why not try your hand at opening the capsules... Wait, what’s that? You heard me laughing? No, no, how could that guffaw possibly come from me? :)

Buyables: Super Sale (SS)

Once in a while, some of the items in the mall which had been sold for some time are put on sale. A special section in the mall is allotted for this event. For regular shoppers, they’ll be quite glad to see that any item there is being sold for half of its original price. For traders, this is great news for them since Super Sale items in the past have never been rereleased yet and so SS items are usually expected to be valuable in the future. Of course, we have to assume that most of the other traders didn’t actually buy them too...

Oh, what’s ‘rereleased’ and ‘rare’ you ask? That’s covered in this next topic as we go to Retireds. Items that have been retired are of course considered more valuable than those that are still available in the mall for the simple reason that, well, you know, they’re not readily available for purchase in the mall.

Rereleased Retired

Any item that was previously retired from the mall but which is made available again typically through mystery capsules is called a “rereleased item.” Rereleased items are usually those items which were available for purchase for a short time in the mall in the past (e.g. seasonal items). Other rereleased items are LE capsule items like Flower Wings, Gulp... Underwater Reef Background or Autumn Leaf Necklace. The only way that a retired item could be rereleased is through mystery capsules, so if you weren’t able to buy these items the first time they were buyable or got them from their original capsules, hope to be lucky in opening capsules or alternatively, trade for them.

Rare Retired

“Rare” in NC trading terminology doesn’t always necessarily mean that that item is uncommon. For example, many traders consider the Nutcracker Face Paint to be rare. However, if you consider the actual number of Nutcracker FPs in existence, there are actually many of them, more so than some items which are considered “not rare.” The reason is that many people usually don’t put them up for trade when many other people are seeking them. Of course, some items are really rare in terms of numerical quantity but some of them will not be considered rare if they are not “sought-after.” In this case, “rare” in NC trading is more synonymous with “hard to find” rather than uncommon.

Sought-after Retired

As mentioned above, some NC items are highly valued because they are sought-after. You can easily see which items are sought-after just by looking at the seeking boards. These items are usually the ones that are being sought but very rarely being traded. Sought-after retireds can have “seasons” meaning some items are popular during certain times like the Treat or Trick Background during Halloween but some items are always popular all-year round like Gingerbread Wings.

Now that you’ve learned the basic classification of NC items, we now go to the first step of trading preparation. What’s that you ask? Well, first off, there’s no point in trading if you don’t actually have anything you want to trade for, right? If you want to see all NC items that have been released, there are some handy petpages which list them all and what’s more, they also indicate if they are still buyable or have been retired. Pretty nifty, huh?

Lesson #3: Wishlist and Tradelist

Putting up an NC trade is slightly different from an NP trade. First off, there’s no trading post and so the items you want and the items that you can trade for your wishlist items can be posted on your board. However, it can be cumbersome when you have more than 10 items on either wish or trade list, and so it’d be better to put them up on a petpage or the items you have to trade in your gallery. To create a wishlist/tradelist petpage, just take a look around at other people's petpages and you’ll find a handy way to make them. *wink, wink*

And now, do you remember the basic difference of buyable and retired items? This would come in handy when you make your tradelist and in some rare cases, wishlist. I say rare since people will usually only seek retireds in their wishlist. For tradelists, some people divide their items into buyable and retireds so that people can easily see which is which. Others do not list their buyable items since usually, people would only like to trade for retired items since they’re more valuable, plus they can easily buy the buyable items in the mall if they wanted to. However, in some cases, other people might want to trade their retired item for multiple buyables to save up on NC.

However you want to do it, the bottom line is, having a clear wishlist and tradelist is very useful. Trying to trade with something like “I have so and so up for trade, just offer since I’m not sure what I like” or “I’m seeking this item, just tell me what you want for it, I’ll tell you if I have it” is not very helpful, you know, and might discourage potential traders from trading with you.

A wishlist and tradelist will also be very useful for the most stressful part of NC trading. Well, not exactly stressful, since the next lesson is actually optional! Yep, you read it right, but if you’re new to this or unsure of a trade, it would be wise to take the next lesson.

Lesson #4: Worth/value board vs Fair trade board

If you’ve mastered lesson 2 and did lesson 3, then congratulations! You don’t really need to do a worth/value board. What exactly is this? This is when you have NC items and you don’t know what they are “worth.” There is nothing wrong with asking other users to “value” your items, but remember, it can get annoying, especially when you have lots of items to trade and just think, if everyone wanted to have their items valued, imagine board after board asking the same thing: “What is my item worth?”

The basic thing to remember is that retired items are more valuable than buyables and some retireds are more valuable than other retireds as you’ve learned in lesson 2. So please, please do NOT ask the worth of a buyable! If your item is in the mall, then obviously, you can clearly see how much it is, no? *grin*

But let’s assume that you still want to make a board because you are “unsure” about the value of your retired item (Aha! You didn’t study lesson 2!), there are various responses that you can get. Let’s illustrate them clearly with the pros and cons of each response:

Question: What is my *insert NC item here* worth?

Answer 1: It’s worth a lot! (Or it’s valuable!)

Pros: “Hooray! I have a valuable NC item!”

Cons: *sigh* Where do I begin? Seriously, if you get a response like that and you actually think it’s helpful, well congratulations to you! Now just don’t come running to me if your “valuable” item cannot actually get your wishlist item or you get shocked when the one who has it tells you, can you add more to that? And you say, “But, but people said it was valuable!” Or conversely, you are surprised when you’ve been told that your item is not really worth a lot but you were able to get your wishlist item with it.

Answer 2: It’s worth other retireds.

Pros: This is helpful if and only if you are familiar with other retired items.

Cons: This is actually a variation of answer 1. Remember the types of retired items? Not all retired items are valued the same so you still need to know what other retireds you can actually get.

Answer 3: It’s as valuable as Blooming Garden (just an example).

Pros: “Cool! A Blooming Garden!”

Cons: “What is the worth of Blooming Garden?” (or much worse: “What exactly is a Blooming Garden?”) And because of that, you make another board asking just that.

Answer 4: It’s worth 10 capsules!

Pros: “Wow! 10 capsules!”

Cons: So now you know that your item is worth 10 capsules, if you actually just wanted to trade it for capsules, then this is helpful. If not, then that’s a problem. But on the bright side, you know it’s worth 10 capsules, right? *grin* But really, if your wishlist item is say worth 20 capsules and you have 2 items that are said to be worth 10 capsules, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you can actually get the item you want.

You will certainly get one or the other of these responses if you ever decide to make a worth/value board. The bottomline of trading is to get an item you really want with the items you actually have or could get and so there’s no reason to have your items valued first. Just prepare your wishlist and tradelist and do a seeking board or offer your items to someone putting up an item you want for trade. You will know instantly if you can actually get your wishlist item.

Now if a worth/value board is optional, a fair trade board may be obligatory especially for new trader or those who are unsure of their trades. A fair trade board is when you and another user have decided to trade items but are unsure if the trade will be fair. You can make a board asking just that and the good thing is that the people on the NC boards are really helpful. However, a trade will ultimately be up to both traders. There are some people who know that the item they’re offering for another person’s item is more valuable but are still happy to do the trade because it’s an item they want. The best trade is when both traders are happy with the trade and are aware and know the consequence of the trade. Most regular traders do not do fair trade boards anymore except in some cases such as when the trade involves a new item or multiple items for a “big” item such as the Spyder Web Staff.

Before ending this lesson, I need to remind you that the value of NC items is always relative to other NC items and the best way to “know” worth is to look around and see what items get traded for other items. So if you have a wishlist item, look around and see what people usually trade for it and conversely, see what other people trade to get the items on your tradelist. You’ll get the hang of NC trading in no time. :)

Lesson #5: Don’t forget your manners

Probably out of all the forms of trading in Neopia, NC trading is the one built on a lot of trust. Why? Because of the way items are traded. Remember those NC gift boxes you need for trading? Once you and another user have agreed on a trade, the items being traded will be sent to each other with the gift boxes. Trust and honesty is needed on both sides to make sure that the trade goes through as planned.

Deciding who goes first in sending the items can be arranged but most traders just do it simultaneously. If you’re the one offering on an item, it’s best if you send out your item first. If you are trading multiple items, make sure first that you actually have the necessary number of boxes to do that trade. Once items are sent, the event will show up in the other person’s item event log as well as receiving a Neomail about it. You will also be informed if the other user has accepted the item. So please, do not accept an item if you haven’t sent out yours first. Just imagine how impolite it would seem, not to mention stressful, to have the other user get a notification that the item they’ve sent out to you has been accepted but they have yet to get a gift box from you.

And finally, a thank you note is surely not amiss in a situation such as this.

So phew! You finished all five lessons! Congratulations and remember to have fun as you put what you’ve learned into practice and venture into the world of NeoCash trading.

 
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