A Glimpse Into High-Stakes Gambling
Gambling. Some Neopians swear by it, while others warn against it. Regardless of how they feel about gambling, every Neopian gets the urge to risk some Neopoints for a chance at fortune at least once in their life. I'm not talking about the small stuff. Dice-A-Roo is fun, sure, and Double or Nothing has its thrilling moments I suppose, but I would be quite impressed if anyone had the patience to spend even 1,000 Neopoints on either of those games. One thousand? That's not a risk. Let's make that one hundred thousand. Yes, that will be much more fun.
So let's say you have decided--perhaps on a whim, perhaps after careful consideration--that you want to gamble. You are willing to spend an amount somewhere in the hundred thousands, since that will be enough to make it exciting but not enough to deplete your savings. At this point, you probably know your options: Nerkmids, Scratchcards, Treasure Maps, or the Wheel of Extravagance. Only one questions remains: Which one?
Each risk has its own perks, and they are all worthwhile. So how do you know which one to try? Luckily for you, I love the gamble. Luckily for us both, I happened to have 10 million Neopoints just begging to be thrown away. As a result, I have spent the past month researching each of these gambling methods to the best of my (and my bank account's) ability. The results are below. Even if you don't feel like risking your own Neopoints, I invite you to live vicariously through my gambling adventure.
Oh, Nerkmids. Those ever-so-popular shiny stars. Just seeing them on the Trading Post makes my heart flutter. These guys are easy to obtain and easy to use, which means they're great for a quick gambling fix. A quick gambling fix that is likely to turn into a bank-account-emptying binge, that is. As "research" I purchased ten Nerkmids at 200,000 NP each, which came out to 2 million total. Here is how it went:
Day One: I used a Basic Golden Nerkmid and won 120 NP and a meat cake. Yay.
Day Two: I used a Magical Golden Nerkmid and won 16,571 NP and a Copper Nerkmid. Not so bad!
That is when the trouble started. You might have guessed that this was supposed to continue for ten days. I only ever made it to day two. I could not help it! Nerkmids are like Flaming BBQ Crisps! You can't eat just one! Well, you don't eat Nerkmids, but you get my point. I won a Glowing Petpet Paint Brush, another Nerkmid, and a lot of gross food. Not the best turnout. But gosh, I do love to push all those buttons. Who doesn't love buttons?
Cost: 200,000 NP each
Pros: Shiny! Fast! Easy! You get to push buttons and pull levers!
Cons: Using just one Nerkmid can be very unsatisfying.
Best use: Nerkmids are best for times when you can afford to purchase several of them. That method is the most fun and the most likely to reward you well. After all, the best Nerkmid prizes are paintbrushes. Dedicated Nerkmid players go in with the goal of winning an exceptionally rare paintbrush. The more you buy, the more likely you are to win!
Full Treasure Maps
Now these are fun. If you want to make your gambling experience last longer, you can search for the nine pieces yourself. Or you can be lazy and buy pre-assembled maps, which is totally the way to go. Not only did you exert zero effort, but you also just made some Treasure Map assembler's night. I bought five maps at 350,000 NP each for a total of 1.75 million.
How did it go? Not so great. Each map gives around 10,000 NP, two Collectable Cards, and three other items. With a Treasure Map, you're hoping that at least one item will be unbuyable on the Shop Wizard. I did not win any such items! But hey, that's the risk you take. Treasure Maps are fun because it takes some work to see the value of your prize and then actually obtain it. In the Trading Post, I offered the Collectible Cards on paint brushes slightly below their value with high success. Selling those in my shop earned me back at least some of the Neopoints I had lost.
Treasure Map Summary
Cost: 350,000 NP each
Pros: You win five different prizes of varying values. If you did well, it can be fun to try to sell them and and earn your prize money.
Cons: If you did poorly, you still have to sell the items to earn back part of what you spent. This can be frustrating.
Best use: Treasure Maps are a good one-time gambling device. Because the prizes are not necessarily easy to sell, earning your prize money takes effort. That makes it less tempting to buy several maps at a time. The best Treasure Map prizes, as far as I know, are morphing potions. Hope for those!
Ah, the classic form of gambling! Scratchcards are fun because they take some timing but not too much effort. The anticipation while scratching one is fantastic! Plus, if you really want to draw it out, you can stop in the middle and go back to your Scratchcard at any time. I decided to try three of the many Scratchcards out there: Icetravaganza, Pustravaganza, and Sandtravaganza. I really like Avaganzas.
Cost: 140,000 NP each
I would argue that these are the most commonly used "high roller" Scratchcards. They are the cheapest of the lot, and the most straightforward. Your goal is to win the jackpot--no other prize is worth it. I bought 5 Icetravaganza Scratchcards for a total of 700,000 NP. I waited until the jackpot was over 1,000,000 NP, and I scratched them. It was positively thrilling! Except for the fact that I won a grand total of 10,000 NP. Yep, a measly 10 grand. On the flip side, the first time I scratched one of these (many years ago), I won the jackpot. So at least I know it is possible.
Cost: 500,000 NP each
These definitely felt like a splurge. But the many potential prizes, from a Lost Desert Paint Brush to a Cheops Shield to the jackpot, are very enticing. I scratched five of them. That's 2.5 million just GONE. But guys, I almost won a Cheops Shield. Almost. What I actually won was nothing of value. That was a little sad. But I was so close to a Cheops Shield. I swear.
Cost: 400,000 NP each
This was the last thing I scratched, and I was a bit weary from spending so many Neopoints, so I only bought two of these. That cost me 800,000 NP. The Pustravaganza Scratchcard is not the most expensive one you can purchase for the Deserted Fairground; Rotting Riches is ten times as pricey, and only it can win you the jackpot. But by my logic, the Pustravaganza is a better gamble. The highest prize is one of the following: Nimmo Finger, Melting Mirror, Blood Grub, or Moehog Skull. Half of those are worth a ton, and the other half are at least worth something. I managed to win the top prize on one of my cards (finally, some luck!). Unfortunately, my prize was a Melting Mirror, which is not one of the most expensive. I'm not complaining too much.
Cost: 140,000 - 500,000 NP
Pros: Scratchcards are a straightforward gamble. You know exactly what you might win, and they definitely can pay off well.
Cons: There is some timing involved, which can make them a bad spontaneous choice.
Best use: Scratchcards are a good plan-ahead option. You can decide on a type of card and then spend some time collecting however many you plan to scratch. Watching your card's jackpot rise builds the anticipation!
Wheel of Extravagance
I saved this one for last because it has a special place in my heart. What could be better than dropping 100,000 NP on a Wheel? It's quick and easy, and you have a solid sense of how things might turn out. Spinning the Wheel of Extravagance is a less high-risk venture than any of the other three gambling methods mentioned here. The chances of winning something decent are not too bad, but something decent might only gain you a 50,000 - 100,000 NP profit. On the other hand, if you lose, the Wheel might soften the blow by rewarding you with 50,000 NP, cutting your loss in half.
I spun the Wheel every day for about four weeks. Okay wait, let's be real. I still spin the Wheel every day. I just happened to keep track of my winnings over the course of four weeks. I won Neopoints, stats increases, job coupons, map pieces, Nerkmids, and my favorite prize EVER (not!!!), nothing. I immediately sold any items I won. That is what's so great about the Wheel! The prizes are easy to sell! Here is a summary of my winnings:
Total NP spent: 2.6 million
Total NP won: 825,000
Total NP gained from items sold: 850,000
Stats gained: +5 health, +5 movement
I also won a Wheel of Extravagance background.
So how'd I do? Not amazingly. I essentially paid 900,000 NP for 10 stat points and a background. Of course, given that I risked 2.6 million, that's not too horrible.
Wheel of Extravagance Summary
100,000 NP per spin
Pros: Spinning the Wheel is effortless. There is definitely a good chance you'll walk away with a nice 100,000 NP profit.
Cons: The Wheel is decidedly less exciting than the other gambling methods discussed. This is not the place to turn if you are looking to take a big risk for a huge payout.
Best use: The Wheel works best as a daily visit rather than a one-shot thrill. But if you want that avatar... you better get spinning!
So that's that. You know, I hope we have all learned something from my gambling misadventure. I know I have. Gambling? Totally worth it.
Maybe I haven't learned anything at all.