Random Events Machine - Surprise Community Challenge
When you go to the old water tower in Moltara there's a slightly goofy looking Lutari asking you to bring him some items to fix the machine. You would love to help, but he needs three plushie Chomby balloons, five ghostkerchief banjos and a Gelert in the box. While you wouldn't like to question Dr Landelbrot's brilliance, you still have no intentions of spending that much to fix some random machine that he refuses to give you any further info. Does this sound familiar to you? If your answer is yes, then you might have a clue of what I'm going to write about.
The random events machine building project caused previously worthless daily junk items to suddenly skyrocket in price, which resulted in some people having to pay 300,000 neopoints or more to complete a single building project. Now that's how things go in Neopia. You'll just have to deal with it, right? Now let's first take a look at why this unexpectedly high inflation happened:
1. Neopians love events and are always eagerly looking forward to a new one - who hasn't seen all those boards full of sad moaning why there hasn't been a plot for ages? When an event occurs, people are prepared to work hard as long as they get the the chance to participate.
2. Neopians love to make neopoints and usually take the opportunity to make more when it appears. Neopoints are the way to get the things you dream of, like giving a disco meepit to your pet.
3. Daily junk is generally worthless and piles up in safety deposit boxes. Usually it isn't even worth throwing into your shop. Especially after the rubbish avatar, the trend has been to discard your daily junk.
4. Many dailies are repetitive and offer no kind of profit or very rare profit which is why people give up doing them after they reach a certain point and find other ways to spend time on the site.
5. When the demand of an item suddenly increases, people start hoarding extras either to use later or sell for a nice profit. If something already went up then, what if it goes up a bit more; how many neopoints would that be?
6. Inflation multiplies when it gets more attention: people seeking an item and noticing it has gone up, mentioning it to their neofriend, any boards talking about the inflation. While fansites didn't mention inflation they provided an easy checklist of items that potentially were inflating.
I might have missed some points, but my main reason to write this article isn't to ponder about the inflation, but about the reactions it caused. While the common solution would have been everyone working on their own sniping, selling and trading for their own items, this time some people took another route.
When I noticed the inflation (a bit late because most of it had already happened), I panicked and tried to snag a couple of pieces of everything that still hadn't inflated. I also went through my safety deposit box to see if I had any worthy items I could sell, but there were few and I decided to keep them for later. Then something happened. I saw a board where people were giving away these inflated items to others. This was a place where people posted the items they needed and others would either trade for other "junk" or gift the asked item. The board worked great, but soon it started to look like not many people would be able to finish this project at all without a little help from The Neopets Team too.
All my first three quests were cheap, so I lucked out there. I still followed the boards where people were seeking items and started to give away things that I had in my safety deposit box. Being a semi greedy person at heart it wasn't an obvious choice for me to put aside the numbers my super shop wizard was showing and send things away instead. On my fourth quest I got some expensive items myself and got to be on the side that received some help too. I realized that if people could trust that they could get the items they need, there would be less need to hoard items that someone else is looking for.
On the other hand I completely understand people buying items to stock up - who wouldn't want to make sure that they'll be able to participate this event step until the end? Aside of the inflators work I believe this preparing contributed to the inflation greatly. If the general attitude is that you need to work for things yourself, then the only rational choice is to be prepared with few extras of each item. Now this is where the quest help boards step in a huge role again. When people know someone there has the item and they're willing to help, they don't need to buy everything "just in case".
I can't really blame those who took the opportunity to make some easy neopoints either. I might be a million neopoints richer now. But when you remember that an event is something that people have anxiously been waiting for, you may understand how much being able to complete and continue with the quests means. There are always other ways to gain neopoints. While I enjoy events having certain amount of difficulty, there's a level to cross and here it was when a couple of things went unbuyable. Thankfully that's when The Neopets Team stepped in to save the day.
I would like to thank the Neopians grouping against he inflation madness for creating an amazing community spirit. I wasn't one to set the example, but I managed to follow it. The feeling that helping others generated on the boards was something beyond all the riches we could have had. We were working together to build the machine and had a strong belief that this spirit would carry us through the event. Now let's get that machine fixed!