A Casual's Guide to Neopets
Let’s face it, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. After spending every day playing Neopets for over six years, I figured enough was enough and took a well deserved hiatus.
Of course, Neopets is an ever changing community. New games, pets, and worlds are added monthly and even a few weeks off can leave a player in a spin. Fast-forward four years into the future after my break and you can imagine how I might have felt jumping back into the game! Four plots came and went, items that I donated to the tree before my break went from worthless to priceless, and neopoint inflation skyrocketed. Even the interface received a gorgeous overhaul!
Coming back into the mix, I felt overwhelmed. I found myself trying to finish all the plots that were still left up before the puzzles closed, dusting off any old items in my deposit box to sell for whatever I could get out of them, gathering lab pieces to train a new pet, fighting Battledome enemies and exploring brand new areas. Very quickly you can go from restful to burned out again, with very little effort of trying. With an adult schedule, devoting a lot of time to Neopets, and any game for that matter, becomes less possible and as a mature player, I realized something needed to be done.
That is where a special term comes into the fray: Casual Player. Being a completionist and perfectionist, one could often find me glued to a screen unlocking achievements, completing item lists, or min/maxing characters. So you can see the term “casual player” didn’t come easy to me at first.
Only by accepting the fact that I could not physically do everything did I finally free myself from my mental bonds of “achieving everything” and could formalize ideas on how I could play Neopets and ask myself what I really wanted from the game. It was then I figured out five simple steps that eased me back into the game. Following them, I realized it was okay I wasn’t going to be a Neopian millionaire in less than a week, I was okay with missing out on plots, and I was okay was relearning Neopets.
So with that I’d like to share with you the five steps I came up with to inspire players who have been on break and casual gamers who are afraid of becoming burned out again, or for the first time.
1) Stick to a list
When you condense your playing into a simple list, it makes it very easy for you to casually log into the game and get what you need done. It could be a physical list you pin up and doodle on or a long mental note you keep to yourself.
For example, when I log in every day I visit the lab ray, take a trip to Coltzan’s Shrine, play a few selected games, collect interest and deposit what I have into the bank, check the news, and participate in any special events.
I might vary the list by adding in a few extra trips around Neopia or take a gander at some of the weekly events happening, but for the most part my daily routine is set. By creating a list you can maximize your play time at a comfortable rate you choose.
2) Play your favorite games
This is similar to step one but instead you should make a small list of your favorite games on Neopets. Enjoy Destruct-o-match? Add it. Pretty good at Maths Nightmare? Add it.
Tailor your favorites to your play style. I have a few games like Kass Basher, Zurroball, and Splat-A-Sloth on my list that are “Low Work/High Reward” games that help supplement my neopoints income on top of games like Meerca Chase and Shenkuu Warrior that I think are just neat to play!
If you are looking to build up your income, I suggest adding more LW/HR games such as Kass Basher to your list. If you like games that you can become immersed in or yield great challenge and great reward, I might suggest the Neoquest series or Key Quest. Neoquest offers a great story that you can pick up and leave at your own pace and rewards you with rare weapons and a shiny trophy! Key Quest is a fun hybrid of mini-games with a board game setting that boasts interesting challenges but great item rewards.
3) Try new activities
There is a never ending list of things you can do on Neopets. It all really depends on what you want to spend your time on. If you’ve only logged in to play games for neopoints, then you should definitely try your hand at some of the real life contests the site has.
If you fancy art, the Random Contest is always brimming with fun things, from knitting your favorite pet into a scarf, to making a movie poster of the latest plot, and perhaps baking the Esophagor’s favorite spooky foods in real life.
The Mystery Pic contest will have you going bonkers finding which pixel the staff has chosen from a random page picture while Lenny’s Conundrum will test your mind to its limits with perplexing puzzles and equations.
Some people don’t want to spend time thinking about contests and shouldn’t, as the casual gamer should only spend time on what they want. If you like story, I suggest reading up on story lore on the website. Catch up on the latest plot if you can. Just because you aren’t clicking away in a flash game doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying what Neopets has to offer!
4) Set a goal
This is a very simple step. It can be anything you can think of. If you always wanted to be rich, set a goal for gathering a million neopoints. It’ll take some time but if you stick to a plan, you can reach it. If you find yourself slipping from your goal, you can further motivate yourself by setting a time limit like reaching a million neopoints within a month. Doable, but only with as much conviction as you put into it.
Being a casual player, you might have other goals in mind. Trophies are a great way to show other players how good (or lucky) you have gotten at a game but in your own leisure time. Pick a favorite game and aim to get a high score. With a few minutes of practice on your schedule, getting a trophy is an easy and effective goal. If you don’t see yourself as a pro game player, there are certain games like Ugga Drop and Dungeon Dash that award gold trophies to all players that reach the max score. Once again, takes practice, but it is a guaranteed win if you stick to your guns.
Setting goals helps you from feeling apathetic and trailing off from playing again, giving you something to strive and look forward to without much pressure.
5) Share the experience
Probably one of the main reasons I continued playing this game so many years was because of friends. We all started our accounts together and worked with each other (and sometimes against!) to achieve goals and, simply put, to have fun. If you play Neopets alone, find someone to share it with! Playing Neopets with a family member or best friend is a great way to keep you casually active with the game. It will give you a common topic of interest you both can share in and out of the website.
While a lot of my friends who originally started accounts with me back in May of 2000 stopped playing, I have had the chance to meet a handful of new friends who live all over the world, many of whom I speak to on a very frequent basis.
If you find someone to play with, then you’ll realize it will be harder for you to quit one day and never return.
These are just a few steps I feel that the casual player can follow to help enhance their playtime on Neopets. In the end, it comes down to the player themselves and what they ultimately want from the game. The most important thing the casual gamer and serious gamer alike can take away from this article is that it’s okay to take a break from something. It is better to miss out on something for a while than it is to give up something good forever.