17 Happenings in Y14
Welcome to Year 15, everyone! *hands out streamers and balloons* And that means that Year 14 is officially over. Can you believe it? It really flew by! And what an exciting year it was! There were many, many things that occurred, from new paint brush colours to a tricky mini-plot puzzle to revamps galore. Here are, in no particular order, brief overviews of 17 happenings this past year.
1. Revamps, revamps, and revamps, oh my!
If there were a word to describe Y14, it would be revamps. A LOT of things were revamped and updated, much to everyone's delight. I'm told Shopkeepers were thrilled with their new looks (and others are hoping that Y15 will bring their makeover). Even magical plushies (like Krawk and Wocky) were given new art (now with 100% more glowing!). A few dailies were revamped with new prizes added, like the Giant Omelette, Underwater Fishing, Tombola, Fruit Machine, Healing Springs, Grumpy Old King (that new King Skarls Snowbunny is adorable), and Coltzan's Shrine. Moreover, the site bar was given a revamp with the introduction of the Community tab and hub.
2. Premium's 5th pet slot
In keeping with the revamp theme, Premium also saw its own updates. The most exciting of which for Premium users was, of course, the introduction of the extra pet slot.
3. New Games Room
With everything else getting a redesign, it was only natural that the Games Room got one as well. Out with the old, and in with a super spiffy new one. The new design is much sleeker, and easy to navigate. It took some getting used to (like clicking the heart to favourite a game, and clicking the gear to change game settings, etc.), but I quite like it. The High Score Tables were also redone, with the Top 17 displayed prominently.
4. Roo Island Makeover
It got off to a, er, rather buggy start. During the Daily Dare, the island was invaded by strange purple bugs, later known as Roo Island Bugs. Not much is known to this day about them, like whether they are a new species of Petpetpets. King Roo discovered that the new Games Room machine was attracting the bugs, but he cleverly turned it off as the bug population peaked at 6.7 million. Other reports suggest that the bugs were called in as part of a redecorating effort, and the supervisor grossly miscalculated how many bugs he would need (something about the decimal being in the wrong place). Still, no lasting harm was done, and Roo Island was bug-free and spiffier than ever!
5. The New Battledome
Perhaps THE most exciting and anticipated revamp of the year was the new Battledome. In October, it was announced that the Battledome would be closing to make way for a brand new one. On October 17, we said farewell to the old BD forever. After a short wait, closed beta was open on October 27, and the first wave of beta testers received neomails. Open beta kicked off November 9, and the rest of us were able to join in the fun. Among the many changes were animated battles, the option to choose challenger difficulty, and, of course, prizes for winning a battle!
6. Fan Sites
This year saw the introduction of the long-awaited and much anticipated Fan Sites! These fan sites were officially recognized by TNT. Two categories were revealed –recommended and certified. Recommended sites can be linked to (Jellyneo, SunnyNeo, The Daily Neopets, and Dr Sloth's Image Emporium), while certified sites can be talked about but not linked to (Dress to Impress, PetTP, S2 Book World, The Lost and Pound, and The Neochat Podcast). All of the above are super useful, so check them out if you haven't already!
7. Assignment 53
The latest game to hit the game room of Neopia was this year's Assignment 53. Harkening back to the game days of yore, this game features 8-bit graphics and platform-style gaming... what's not to love? To maximize points, you need to collect all the gross food (100 points each) and be mindful of your time (finish as fast as possible for your air remaining bonus). And, of course, you can get the A53 – Like a Boss avatar.
8. Games Master Challenge
AAA decided to take a well-deserved break from the Games Master Challenge (I'm sure he's gearing up for next year and trying to get really high scores to beat in games), and instead hosted the GMC. Captain Threelegs and the Techo Master were enlisted to lead teams in an epic battle of pirates versus ninjas. Unfortunately for us pirates, the ninjas prevailed and won the Challenge. Still, we got some super cool wearables out of the event (Neovian Potion, Not Enough Sleep Wig, Island of Buried Treasure Background).
9. That's Rubbish!
There were only a few avatars released in Y14, and perhaps the most exciting was the Rubbish avatar. And of course by exciting I mean EXTREMELY frustrating. You never know if you'll get it after 100 junk discards (probably highly unlikely) or 10,000 junk discards (more likely. It took me about 4500). While everyone's favourite Yurble Janitor was extremely happy with this turn of events (he's been pushing for a Neopia-wide garbage disposal for years), the rest of us were surprised to see junk items rise in price. The lovely Pile of Sludge, for example, went from approximately 1 NP to 200 NP! And I hear the Altador Cup Prize Shop released a HUGE amount of Box of Leftover Muffins, setting a new record for the most of one item redeemed. Amazing!
10. Altador Cup VII
Hurray for the Altador Cup! I hope everyone had as much fun this year as I did (I made All-Star rank for the first time! Woohoo!). Like everything else, the AC had a little update of its own. Yooyuball now featured the option of mouse or keyboard controls. And the tournament structure changed to a bracket system. With a lot of ups and downs for teams, Kreludor pulled off a spectacular first place finish, with the underdog Mystery Island coming in second, and Meridell rounding out the top three.
11. The Mysterious Negg
We didn't have a full-fledged plot this year, but instead we had Zaira, Kari's assistant, give us a mystery to solve. After discovering a journal, Zaira asked us to help figure out who took the Clockwork Negg and where it went. Once that was determined, we had to solve the puzzle on the Negg itself (with three colours and three symbols to work with). But we weren't done there yet! The Neggbreaker tried to destroy the Negg, but with the Ancient Negg Amulet, he was easy to thwart. Like last year's Forgotten Shore, this mini-plot led to the Mysterious Negg as a new daily!
12. Site Spotlight
Y14 also saw the return of the very much missed Site Spotlight on the. Almost two years had gone by since the last spotlight, if you can believe it. But on the 6th Day of Swimming it was announced that the Spotlight would be returning on the 11th Day of Swimming. Hurray!
13. New Paint Brush Colours
What would a year in Neopia be without new and exciting paint brush colours introduced? Like years before, we got even more awesome colours! To start off the year, the beautiful Eventide was revealed. This was followed up months later, on Neopian Elders Day (May 8th), with the Get Off My Lawn Paint Brush to paint your pet Elderlyboy or Elderlygirl (complete with glasses, yarn, and dentures)! A foreshadowing to the Games Master Challenge was the Stealth Paint Brush, perfect for your pet's inner Ninja to be showcased. The last colour of the year was the Dimensional Paint Brush, to really make your pet stand out in a crowd. In terms of Petpet paint brushes, the Water Petpet Paint Brush was released to complement last year's Water Paint Brush, and the Eventide Petpet Paint Brush was also released.
14. NC Mall Fortune Cookies
I think we were all a little unsure when the NC cookies were released earlier this year. Would they be fair to everyone? Would they be worth it to buy? Overall, I think the cookies are great. The Lab Ray cookies give an extra zap or two, making it possible for you to get your dream pet through zapping that much faster. The Wild Card and Games cookies helped those of us who rely on gaming to make NP. (I admit, I used a couple during Scores Galore to make some extra NP.) I think my absolute favourite is the Faerie Quest Fortune Cookies. It was with these cookies that I was FINALLY able to get my very first Fountain Faerie Quest. I have to say, it was a bit disheartening to see people getting one (or several) FFQs within their first or second cookies, while I had to wait for cookie #16 for mine. Still, I was more than happy to cross that avatar off my list.
15. Awesome NP wearables
Let's all take a moment to give a huge shout-out to the designers who outdid themselves this year with wearables. The NC ones were great, but the NP ones were, without a doubt, AWESOME. We got everything this year – backgrounds, wigs, handhelds, garlands, foregrounds, and wings. I could list them all! (I actually compiled a list in my research. There were 66, in case you were wondering, give or take a couple backgrounds I think I missed.) I won't list them all, but the ones that standout are the Long Silver Wig, Fyoras Arm Wraps, Wraith Staff, Magical Sparkling Happiness Flower, Stack of Tax Return Forms, Haunted Wood Foreground, Goparokko Fruit Punch (made into a wearable), and the Super Pea Chia Cape. I'm crossing my fingers for more awesome NP wearables this year!
One aspect of Y14 that we all want to forget is the amount of site glitches that we experienced. The Maintenance Myncis surely had their hands full fixing everything (and I hear the Food Shop almost had a banana shortage with having to feed so many of them). There were minor glitches, like slow page loads and the random login page screen (when you were already logged in). Then there were major glitches, like Habitarium resetting to Level 1 and Key Quest not loading for days. And of course, there was the Glitch of all Glitches – the Neopocalypse. Everything went down, including the boards; chaos almost took over. But thankfully, all was fixed. Blame those dastardly Meep-- I mean, there's no one to blame *shifty eyes*
17. Accomplishing your goals
The highlight of this year – accomplishing your goals! Whether it was getting your first trophy, reaching Level 50 in Habitarium, receiving your first Fountain Faerie Quest, reaching 10,000 wins in the Battledome, completing a World Challenge map, beating Punchbag Sid, earning the Neopian Times Star avatar, saving up for a paint brush/morphing potion for your dream pet, opening the NC Jubjub Power Bounce Suitcases/Mystery Capsules for cool re-released items, turning in the Secret Laboratory Map, restocking unbuyables, feeding your first Kad or your 500th, winning a spotlight, completing a gallery, or getting avatar #300, I think everyone accomplished something – big or small – this year. Pat yourself on the back! Give yourself a cookie! Job well done! I know I had a good year – getting my very first FFQ (after 8 years!), finally receiving a couple elusive random avatars (thank you TDMBGPOP and Forgotten Shore!), and practicing like crazy for Snow Wars II and Extreme Potato Counter avatars (so happy that I never have to count potatoes again!). Now on to this year's goals!
So there you have it, a brief overview of some of the significant events of Year 14 (honorable mention goes to the Neopian Times Writers for their convincing NeoQuest 3 articles for April Fools' Day). Here's hoping to many more in Year 15!
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Every now and then the Moehog would shake his tusks to remove the increasing weight of snow, but again the snow would begin to collect. His warm breath billowed out in a sigh.