Customisation in Moderation
With the rise of thousands of wearables—on both the Neopoint and Neocash fronts—giving your Neopet that special look has become easier than ever. But as new releases flood the shops and the NC Mall, many are falling to customization’s greatest curse: overcrowding.
Anyone who has regularly voted in the Customisation Spotlight should understand this with stunning clarity. Going a few minutes without encountering a pet loaded with eye-popping, vivid, mismatched, bulky wearables is simply an impossible occurrence. But this certainly isn’t the fault of unskilled customisers—the temptation to use so many nice wearables has become irresistible. Currently, there are 25 different zones available to apply items: background, background item, backpack, belt, collar, earrings, foreground, glasses, gloves, hat, higher foreground item, hind cover, jacket, left-hand item, lower foreground item, markings, music, necklace, right-hand item, shirt/dress, shoes, sound effects, thought bubble, trousers, and wings. That’s a lot of zones! Sadly, there are some customisers out there who believe in too much of a good thing: attempting to occupy almost every one of these 25 zones. Overcrowding can quickly turn a cute outfit into a headache-inducing mess, especially if you’re viewing their creation in all of its sparkling, animated glory.
Luckily, you can train your eye to avoid this problem. Simply being aware of the problem can immensely prevent you from becoming carried away. Here are some simple questions to be mindful of as you are customising:
Can you still see the background?
Are your background or foreground pieces distracting from your outfit?
Did you just apply an entire MME or superpack on your pet, in addition to several other items?
How many items are you wearing?
Would your Neopet still able to move in its outfit?
In many cases, removing just a small handful of items can save an outfit. No longer are you looking at their hectic shower and shrubbery covering who-knows-what-wearable-it-is; you are looking directly at their Neopet. The ideal customisation focuses on the Neopet. If it looks like your closet exploded all over your Lenny, then perhaps removing a few items will allow your pet, and its look, to breathe.
But when does more become excessive? Let’s look at some examples:
Here is a Chocolate Usul with Royal Girl Usul clothing. She is accompanied by the adorable Chocolate Dream Background and a Pink Dance ribbon. Now, let’s step it up a notch:
This pet went from wearing 5 items to wearing 17, in only 5 minutes! While I think it’s a delightfully fun customisation, it’s overkill. Pay attention to the mood as well, just as a writer has to take tone into account. While it is obvious I was trying to create a sweet look, the outfit as a whole is not calming in the slightest. You can barely see the Usul’s face, and there’s so many colors and shapes that your eyes cannot keep still. Once you notice your outfit has a problem, the first step is to remove the offenders—distracting items, and items that aren’t contributing to the overall look—then you can explore alternatives that work best for you.
In this case, the solution lies in the middle.
You can not only see the Usul this time, but it actually has a relaxing feel to it. It was a difficult choice to remove items like the belt and the balloon trinket because they matched the theme, but less is more. When in doubt, preview what your customisation would like with or without a particular item, and compare them. One culprit responsible for overcrowding is attachment to items. Sure, “heavier” items like Blooming Garden and Thicket of Flowers are nice on their own, and it’s an accomplishment to acquire any one of these rare wearable, but ask yourself: what are they adding to my overall look? My theme?
Remember, there is also no right or wrong way to customise. If you think your look needs more items, go for it! Even if you think your look is rather busy. Customisation is largely subjective. I can’t tell you how to customise—you must develop your style on your own. But take into account what affects so many customisers so often, which is the urge to overload.
To go more in depth, let’s explore the most common distracters:
Facial items: These include face paints, glasses, and masks. These are key to the effectiveness of your customisation. Your pet’s eyes are automatically noticeable, and they play a huge role in setting up emotion. When you’re wearing oversized glasses or dark face paint, especially in a brighter setting, your pet’s eyes are lost amidst the colors and shapes, which can cause awkward customisation. On the flip side, leaving your pet’s face untouched can give you the feeling that something is missing. Use facial accessories wisely.
Lower Foregrounds: Recently, foregrounds have been rapidly growing in number. There are some pretty spiffy ones available. However, depending on your pet’s height and background, they can block your pet from view. In addition, being in the forefront of your customisation both highlights their beauty, and their flaws with the overall look. For those of you who have unconverted pets, adding a foreground is extremely tempting, and with so few zones as an UC pet has, any foreground has enormous weight. Be very careful.
Wings: Wings can turn a layered outfit upside down, and not always in a good way. Sometimes they are too large and cover other significant items (such as backpacks, higher foregrounds and background items).
Thematic Sets: Sets, like superpacks, species/color-specific outfits, and MMEs, can look amazing on a Neopet, but not every piece can coincide with your customisation. It is very easy to throw on several Valentine’s Day wearables for a Valentine’s Day look, but this is by far the most common reason I’ve noted for overcrowding. Just because a wearable is designed for a holiday doesn’t mean it should be worn. In the past, I’ve added extra items that didn’t necessarily improve upon my customisation because I felt that if I did not use them, they would go to waste, and I’d have to wait a whole year to get another chance to use them. Really, who wouldn’t want to wear roses on Valentine’s Day, or pumpkins during Halloween? The best way to counteract this is to have multiple outfits for a holiday. That way, many of your items will work in some way, and you wouldn’t feel so desperate to force your Darigan Grundo to be covered head-to-toe in all the hearts and candy in your closet.
Irrelevant items: Items that don’t belong with the color scheme and theme could cause a customisation to appear more frenzied than it actually is. They become the center of attention, not your pet. Next time you customise, think before you wear a Squid Hat in a ballroom.
In some cases, overcrowding can actually spice up a look. That sounds contradicting, but with the right amount of experience and creative energy, you can learn to make anything work! Practice and you’ll be on your way of mastering the art of customisation according to your own personal style.
Don’t forget: you are the customiser. You are in control. Don’t let twinkles and extreme layering run the show. There is an ever-growing array of wonderful clothing and nifty trinkets out there, but don’t let them carry you away. Limiting your items does not mean you are limiting creativity, so have fun with it! If you ever feel you’re having trouble perfecting your look, ask your friends or post your thoughts on the Customisation Neoboard. Whether Neopoint or Neocash wearables are your cup of tea, be aware of the rule of thumb: Less is more. Your Neopet will thank you.