The Big Three Oh Oh
Also by kisforkriss
At a mere 50x50 pixels, avatars may be tiny in size, but each one plays an important role in an avatar collector's journey. For a long time now, The Big Three (TB3) have played some of the biggest roles. Consisting of three non-consumable item avatars, TB3 is comprised by Bony Grarrl Club, MSPP, and Super Attack Pea! Since these items are so expensive, it's no wonder that people want their avatars... but if you had the choice of 300 avatars or 3, which would you choose? Any collector worth their salt in pixels would say 300, because more is always better, so why do we continue to get in a tizzy over TB3? I, for one, think it's time for a change in scenery- out with TB3, in with The Big Three Oh Oh!
In the past, the achievement of an avatar collector has been weighted based heavily upon whether or not they have managed to obtain TB3. Keep in mind the high cost of these items- very few Neopians are able to afford them on their own. Because of this, TB3 avatars are almost solely obtained through lends from other users. While there is no problem with this fact itself, there is a problem within the fact that these days on the Avatar Chat, TB3 avatars are fairly easily acquired just by chatting, making connections, and being in the right place at the right time. They no longer serve as a trophy of true avatar accomplishment- just sufficient socialization skills. In some cases, all three of these avatars can be obtained within the same week, or even day. Surely I'm not the only person thinking, "where's the achievement in that?!"
No matter how you put it, achieving 300 total avatars will ALWAYS demonstrate indisputable perseverance, determination, and dedication- you can't just have avatars handed to you, after all (unless we're talking about the Sloth! or Tooth Faerie avatars, but we'll save that for another article)! Let's break down the numbers, shall we? As of the day that this article was published there are just under 360 active and obtainable avatars. Some of these may not be available to accounts that don't meet age requirements, but we've got our fingers crossed that they won't be retired for at least a while longer!
Of the total active and obtainable avatars, according to Avatiers (www.neopets.com/~avatiers), 90 are considered "no-cost, no effort." This means you can obtain them by simply visiting a single link for each- that's it. You don't have to paint your pet, you don't have to spend NP, you just have to click a link, and BAM! Something Has Happened!... 90 times in a row (that is if your browser can handle it). Here we are at 90- that's still 210 avatars away from 300, which leaves a long road ahead. Now what? Ask for a Bony Grarrl Club lend? NO!!!
Up next are what are considered "low-cost, low effort," avatars. In fact, there are currently 132 avatars that belong in this category. Low-cost, low-effort avatars include avatar pets that are often found sitting around in the pound (the percentage of abandoned Mazzews is astonishing, really... I wonder if the Petpet Protection League is aware), consumable items that cost VERY little, lendable items that are so cheap you could probably just buy them on your own anyway, and games that you should be able to master in less than a handful of tries before reaching the avatar score. Sound simple? Yeah- it is, but even when you add those two numbers up you only get a sum of 222. That's still nearly 80 avatars away from 300. 80 avatars that are either costly (I'm looking at you, HT-Richest), or require a lot of time and mastery among other hard-to-come-by traits.
But what about retired avatars, you ask? Yeah, yeah, I hear you- these count toward a users Secret Avatar count, and not all of them required barrels of effort at the time of their release, I know! But look at it like this: If this user were to lose their account for some reason or another, their retired avatars would be gone, most likely forever since retired avatars are very rarely re-released. There are only 37 retired avatars, so overall they don't make a huge dent, and if you ask me, users with a high count of retired avatars should be commended- it's not always easy for some users to keep the same account for, in some cases, 10+ years! (I'm not the only one who has a hard time remembering all of my passwords, right?!) Most retired avatars were awarded for participating in a long-since-past plot or event on the site. The key word here? Participating! We've surely all been around for at least one or two of these coveted avatars, but it takes real perseverance to have been present and active for even half of the retired avatars.
Next time you come across a user with 300 or more avatars, I urge you to take a moment and acknowledge the work they have put into meticulously perfecting their collection, and what it really took for them to make it to- or beyond- 300 avatars. 'Cause as we now know, they certainly didn't come easy!
You officially have all of the information you need to make an educated decision. When you start (or continue!) your avatar collection adventure, what is your goal going to be? The Big Three, or The Big Three Oh Oh? If you chose the latter, congratulations are in order and I applaud you! If you ask me, The Big Three Oh Oh says a LOT more about who you are as an avatar collector than Grarrl Warrior, MSPP, and Super Attack Pea! alone ever could. At the end of your avatar collector journey, perhaps you'll end up with the coveted Avatar Collector avatar, which is only awarded to the top 50 players with the highest avatar counts in Neopia, to show off on the Neoboards!