Filling in the Blanks: What Every Neopian Needs
Imagine that your primary Neopets account is a house. Besides being attractive and appearing affluent from the outside, its inherent qualities are just as important. For example, your house would need food and adequate heating. But for a Neopets account, whether it be relatively new or moderately aged, what are the pertinent concessions you need? What items should always be included in your arsenal? Hopefully this article changes your entire outlook on your account.:)
The Secret Laboratory
A complete lab map set is arguably one of the most *important* qualities of any Neopets account. Once those nine map pieces are collected and consolidated, the lab will never leave your account. Ever. So what is so appealing about the secret laboratory, and how does it work? You are able to visit the secret laboratory once a day to zap one pet only, and the effects are completely arbitrary. This means that your pet can either change colours, change species, gain or lose stats, or nothing at all.
Many Neopians take advantage of the secret laboratory in order to obtain elusive colours such as Maraquan, Jelly, or Chocolate. According to snarkie, a Neopets programmer, the following colours CANNOT be obtained with the lab map: Baby, Pirate, Plushie, Royal*, Quiguki*, and Usuki. But besides colour changes, many avid Battledomers use the lab as a system to train their pet. I do not agree with solely using this method in order to your pet because the effects are completely random and your stats will most likely become balanced.
On the positive side, TNT has stated in several editorials that because you cannot gain Neopoints or items from the lab, it is NOT against the rules to have the secret lab on more than one account. Anyone thinking about stocking up on their side accounts? :)
A Well Stocked Shop
Selling items in your shop for profit is basically just as effective as garnering Neopoints from games. Besides the occasional events thrown out by TNT throughout the year where the maximum amount of times you can submit your score for one game is increased from 3 to 5 or even 10, the verdict is that you are most likely not making as many Neopoints as you would like. So here's where the benefits of having your own shop come in! Many sellable items can be found from random events, restocking, scratch cards, etc.
Worried about being able to efficiently and quickly sell your items? Don't worry; this is a predicament that many Neopians find themselves in at one point or another. The most basic method is to use the Shop Wizard. Unless you are lucky enough to have the Super Shop Wizard on Neopets Premium, you will have to refresh the page with the inputed item result several times until being able to locate the average lowest prices. Another (more costly) method is to join a mall. This is extremely difficult for most Neopians because not only is your shop size expected to be in the hundreds, but also because it takes an extraordinary amount of effort and time to have a very well stocked shop. Better get started on restocking those r99s! ;)
Note: Although it was acceptable in the past to open shops on side accounts, this is no longer acceptable and is against the rules! Please do not do it as TNT will find this as "using multiple accounts to earn NP and/or items".
A Savvy Collection of Trophies
Does this title make me sound as though I am an elitist? If so, I apologize. That was not my intention.
My point is that every Neopian should have at least one unconventional trophy. By unconventional, I mean a trophy that is divergent from the all too common Cheat! CHAMPION!!! or Snow Wars CHAMPION!!! trophies. Fortunately, Neopets is inundated with numerous competitions. :) Let me help clarify them by breaking it down into further sections:
The Art Gallery is a wonderful way to showcase your artistic inclinations. While the Art Gallery is way too competitive for my taste, I would like to suggest that the best times to enter are close to Neopets specific days, such as Shoyru Day, or holidays such as Grey Day or Illusen Day. Anyone has a substantially higher chance of being accepted into the gallery on these days, assuming your art is aesthetically pleasing. :)
Another great art competition is the Beauty Contest. While the BC trophies are not displayed on your lookup, you will however develop bragging rights for the shiny, pristine trophy now situated on your Neopet's lookup. Yay! New rounds of the Beauty Contest begin every Friday. Many Neopians advertise their BC links on their signature and post all over the Neoboards. But beware, voting for your own entries or for others is ~not~ allowed on side accounts.
Also, if you really want to induce envy into nomadics who stumble upon your lookup, try going for a User Lookup Spotlight trophy. This will however, require rigorous HTML and CSS skills on your part.
I seriously love art and harbor an unhealthy appreciation for it. But I have to admit that art is not my forte, and it probably is not the forte of many others either. Which brings me to the next section...
A famous quote goes as follows: "Writing shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about". Everyone is different, and we all harbor different thoughts and thinking processes. Because we are all different, we can all express ourselves in different ways. What is better than exerting our imaginations and thoughts onto Neopets while still being able to earn trophies and/or NP + items? ;)
Although the Neopian Times is technically not a competition that may always yield items as prizes (more on this later), it still has a lot of prestige. Released every Friday, the Neopian Times is an ensemble of articles, fictional stories, and comics. Additionally, the NT is notoriously difficult to be published in at times. :P Consider yourself lucky if you are able to have an entry held over. Being held over usually means waiting between two to four weeks (more or less) before receiving your NT trophy and being able to quell your anxiety. However, there are many exceptions to being held over. For example, the NT has many special themed issues, such as Grey Day or Christmas. If your entry is related to an approaching Neopian holiday, chances of being held over is substantially lessened.
Also, anyone fortunate enough to be published in a specially themed issue of the NT will receive a special item. These items usually range from a Paint Brush to r99 book. But please don't torture yourself trying to be published simply for that purpose; being published is already enough to warrant a sense of respect and envy. =)
If you feel like broadening your horizons, definitely try being published in the Poetry Contest or Story Telling competition. These contests (usually) provide lucrative prizes and trophies that makes those like myself contemplate why I didn't take high school poetry hour in English class more seriously.
Pet Based Trophies
The Neopets Book Award is awarded to bibliophilic pets whose owners thrive on spending millions and millions of NP on books of all rarity. This trophy requires so many Neopoints and tests of sanity that you would be lucky to find more than a handful of Neopets with it.
If books repel you, then why not strive for a Gourmet Club trophy? But good luck with that, considering gourmet foods range from r90-r99 and are arguably even more expensive than books overall.
The Pet Spotlight, Petpet Spotlight, and PPL are also options. The former are obvious, but the PPL award are given to pets who have had their Petpet for an extended amount of time and are rewarded their trophy and NP depending on the length. Unfortunately, the PPL is usually given to obscure Petpets that no one remembers even existed. Oh well.
A Comfortable Amount of Rations
Always make sure you have a sufficient supply of food, weapons, codestones, and various other items that will help your experience on Neopets be pleasant. Before logging off at the end of the day, or right before you realize that your term paper is actually due tomorrow and not Wednesday, replenish on what you're missing! It won't take long at all, and will certainly save you time and frustration the next time you are on Neopets.
Replenishing and stocking up on seemingly common items is also a great idea because in the case of TNT retiring an item or two, you will be able to make an awesome profit due to inflation. This is all boils down to patience. :) Anyway, the point is, always be prepared. Staying one step ahead of the game is what makes a Neopian successful.