The Altador Cup: Avoiding Rest Day Boredom
Rest days during the Altador Cup can be a welcome break from the craziness of tournament days. They’re a chance for players to rest tired fingers, have a cup of tea, and relax after several days of working hard to help their teams win the cup. But they can also pose a difficult question: “What do I do with my time now?!” After all, dedicated players spend several hours every day on the Altador Cup games. If you are one of those players, how do you fill those hours you now have to spare? It can be a jarring experience when you’ve been focusing all your efforts on Yooyuball to suddenly not know what to do. So here are some ideas to help you re-focus and achieve something meaningful on practice days:
1. Practice the games: It seems like an obvious point, but practice days can actually be used to practice the AC games. I know what you’re thinking, more Altador Cup but without the points? Hear me out. Let’s say you just can’t get past 200 points on Slushie Slinger, so you’ve been focusing your energy on Shootout Showdown. Or you never score more than 5 goals in Yooyuball and you’d like to be able to get some more in to make your games shorter and easier. Well now is your chance to make that happen without worrying that you’re missing out on scoring points! You’ve got all the time you need to read up on tips for the games you’re not so good at and practice your technique. It might well make all the difference to your team and to your rank.
2. Customise your pets: The Altador Cup provides a unique challenge for fans of customisation: dressing up your pets to match your chosen team! There are two ways to approach this: first, you can use the official team merchandise that’s readily available to you via the NC Mall or the retired ones through NC trading. Examples of such items are team spirit banners, jerseys, face paint, pom-poms, team scarves etc. There are Neopoint alternatives too! Try searching for your team’s Altador Cup Shield and Armour (e.g. Team Darigan Altador Cup Shield), see if there’s a Vintage Altador Cup Jersey for your team and grab the appropriate background and frame (e.g. Altador Cup Haunted Woods Frame). The other way to go is to use your chosen team as a ‘theme’ with which to customise. For example, if you’re playing for Faerieland, dress your pets as faeries and use plenty of pink! If you’re supporting Mystery Island, go for a tropical theme with plenty of palm trees and beach backgrounds. The world of customisation is your oyster!
3. Restock in the Neopian shops: During the AC, it can be tough to find time to earn neopoints. But rest days are a perfect time to make up for that. The Neopian shops tend to be quieter around the AC, with most people either busy playing the cup or (on practice days) having a break doing other things. Now might be a good time to learn the profitable items in a new shop you’ve been waiting to try out, or go for some UB items you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at. There are no guarantees and, shockingly, not everyone plays the AC so you might have some competition, but at least you might make up for the days you’re not earning anything other than the little you get for the first three scores you send.
4. Get to know your team-mates: A rest day is a great time to hang out on the Site Events neoboards and chat to some of your team-mates! Without the distraction of actually playing the games, you could meet some really cool people who share your adoration of the Neopian Land you’re supporting. They could be a great help in the following days when you need some motivation to carry on playing. Who knows, some of them may become your new best Neofriends! At the same time, you can get some tips on playing the games, talk about your favourite team members, share customisations and fonts (see no. 2 and 5 on the list), or get competitive and compare your scores so far!
5. Make an AC themed font: In this writer’s humble opinion, one of the best and most fun ways to show your team pride is by making a super cute font for using on the Neoboards. To start with, find an avatar that goes with your team, and have a look at the colours you want to use. Choose a font face, a couple of symbols, maybe a smiley or two and let your creativity flow. If you’re feeling ambitious you could go for a block font - there are plenty of guides out there, ask for help on the avatars and fonts boards. If you’re completely new to making fonts, you could always edit a pre-made font, just check the rules of the font maker and don’t claim that you made it. Then head to the neoboards to show off your hard work!
6. Try for a game trophy or avatar: As with a lot of Neopian shops, many games are getting less attention in the month of June while a large majority of players are focusing exclusively on the AC. This could be the perfect time to get a shiny new trophy (or trophy upgrade), since the required scores tend to be lower with fewer people competing. Trophy reset day has already passed this month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your name up in one of those top-13 spots. At the very least, you may find yourself in the top 50 HST for those three games (Escape from Meridell Castle, Maths Nightmare, and Korbats Lab) to earn their avatars. Speaking of which, you may also want to consider trying to get a new flash game avatar, since you’ve got so much time on your hands on break day, and have had some extra practice playing games recently to boot. You never know, this could be your lucky month!
7. Draw some art for the AG or BC: Creating new art for one of Neopets’s competitions, the Art Gallery and the Beauty Contest, can be quite time consuming, so what better time to do it than when you have a full 24 hours with no AC distractions? Altador Cup-themed or not, practice day is a great opportunity to start working on new art. Think about how your pets are celebrating this month, or maybe give some attention to a holiday or pet day that gets overlooked because of all the AC excitement. Even if you just use the time brainstorm some new ideas or start a quick sketch to finish later, take this opportunity to get started while you have the time, and you’ll find it that much easier to finish up your image and get it ready for submission later on.
8. Write an entry for the NT, PC, or SC: Maybe drawing isn’t your style? If not, consider a creative writing entry instead! Neopets also has several writing competitions, including the Poetry Contest, Storytelling Contest, and our personal favorite, the Neopian Times! Draw some inspiration from what’s going on around you, whether that be your chosen AC team, your pets, or the beautiful weather outside, and write something down. If you need help finding inspiration or choosing just the right word, go check out the Neopian Writers neoboard and ask around, I’m sure those writing veterans would be happy to lend a hand.
9. Catch up on non-Neo stuff: If you’re one of those players who gets so into the Altador Cup every year (we don’t blame you!) that you can’t help but let other responsibilities fall by the wayside, then maybe these practice days are a blessing in disguise. It might seem painful to spend a whole day unable to rank up or advance your team’s standing, but think of this as a day to let your fingers rest and to get caught up on all of those offline obligations you’ve been ignoring all month. All Neopets players have school, work, or household tasks that need to get done sometime or another, so go finish that assignment, answer those emails, or clean that bathroom! If you’re feeling really ambitious, do all three! That way when it’s time to play again, you can do so guilt-free with the knowledge that you took care of your real-life priorities too.
10. Revisit your AC goals and get ready for next round: The last, and perhaps most obvious, activity to spend your AC practice days on is to take a few minutes (or all day, if you really want to!) to plan out your goals for the remainder of the Cup. Are you trying to reach a certain rank or earn a certain number of prize shop points? Play a certain number of games? Perhaps your guild has a friendly competition going on? Take a look at what you want to achieve over the next few days or weeks, and plan it out in advance. That will definitely make it easier to accomplish if you already have a strategy in place when play resumes.
So there you have it, 10 ways to avoid boredom on rest days during the cup. Whichever you choose, take some time to stretch your legs and enjoy the break if you can. Remember that taking a little time out can make participating in the cup all the more enjoyable when tomorrow comes around. And after all, it’s only 24 hours! Have fun playing everyone!