If You Could Talk To Your Newbie Self...
If you could go back in time and talk to your newbie self, what would you say? Would you recommend that she buy the Secret Laboratory Map as soon as possible? Would you tell her to start playing the Stock Market right away? Would you warn her about the perils of mispricing your shop? (For instance, pricing something at 1 Neopoint rather than removing one item.)
If I could go back in time, I'd tell myself to collect as many unconverted pets as possible! My favorites would be my UC Royalgirl Cybunny and my UC MSP. I love those two creatures to death, and I'd give my right arm to own them!
I would also warn myself that the prices of all the Paint Brushes would decline sharply, and that instead of collecting them and hoping to sell them for a profit later on (which didn't happen), I should sell them all right away before their value plummeted.
One more thing I would tell my newbie self is to let go of grudges. I used to have a lot of arguments on the Help Neoboard, until I learned to be kinder and more open-minded. Now I find a lot more satisfaction in helping people and giving them valuable advice, and I've definitely changed for the better!
The one thing I'm most satisfied with is that my favorite lab rat, Esselor, has been zapped by the Secret Laboratory Ray since I first created my account. His stats are quite impressive, thanks to someone's advice that I zap him into a formidable battle pet, and if I could talk to my newbie self, I'd tell her to keep on zapping Esselor and raising his stats!
So if you could talk to your newbie self, what sort of advice would you give him or her? Intrigued by this idea, I stalked the Neoboards and recorded what they'd love to have known as newbies!
The Art Neoboard:
Many of the people on this Neoboard wished that they'd created unconverted Neopets when they had the chance, years ago. They claimed that having an UC pet was more artistic and inspiring than having a converted pet. I thought this was an interesting point of view! I knew that the Neopian Pound Neoboard was full of people who wanted UC pets, but I didn't know that the Art Neoboard was the same way!
Interestingly enough, there were very few art-related things that people wanted to know as newbies. I thought people might have wanted to learn how to draw different styles, compete in more Beauty Contests, and expand their mediums (such as paint, pencil, or tablet), but according to one user, Neopets seems to appreciate every level of art. Drawings made entirely of colored pencil are just as respected as elaborate artwork drawn using a tablet! I thought that was encouraging and inspiring!
One person posted something intriguing. She claimed that if she could go back in time and advise her newbie self, she'd tell herself to stop creating dozens and dozens of pets and making art for them all. She'd tell herself to have ONE wonderful pet, and focus on making art for only that pet. According to her, "your art WILL improve!!" That was helpful to know! I think I'll do the same! I've never entered the Beauty Contest before, but I would like to, and it makes sense to make art for only one pet over and over again. Your familiarity with the pet's looks will probably improve your art skills, just like this user claimed!
The Avatars/NeoSignatures Neoboard:
The avatar collectors wanted to tell their newbie selves to stock up on avatar items, such as Meowclopses. Many also regretted not having gotten rare avatars when they were available, such as the Coco Roller and Plushie Nova avatars. Now that they are avid avatar collectors, it stings to know that they were too lazy to get these older avatars. Several people also regretted their hiatuses, since they lost out on trophies and avatars as well as rare prizes during their break from the site.
One person claimed that he regretted missing out on avatars when he was a newbie because he didn't know what avatars were. I'm the same way! I'm missing a handful of avatars because I didn't know what avatars were when I was first started playing Neopets.
Some users regretted using Paint Brushes instead of selling them. For instance, one person regretted painting her Blumaroo into Fire for the avatar that the pet brings, realizing now that she could have zapped Blumaroos over and over again until one turned into Fire.
On the positive side, the avatar collectors are more happy with their accounts now than they were in the past! They all agreed that it's good to not be newbies anymore. Despite missing a handful of avatars, they love their pets, their bank accounts, their dailies, and their accounts! It's good to be mature!
The Battledome Neoboard:
The Battledomers wanted to go back in time and tell their newbie selves to stock up on rare battle weapons! The weapons that hearken from the early years of Neopets are some of the best and fiercest, such as Thyoras Tear, and most weapons that came afterwards were weak and ineffective. The Battledomers admitted that they would collect mass amounts of Super Attack Peas and Bony Grarrl Clubs, as well as other weapons!
Many of them regretted not taking part in plots and wars when they were available. Other common regrets were wasting time on roleplaying and contests as newbies, when training your battle pet is so much more important to a Battledomer. What I thought was astonishing was that some of their battle pets had 2000 hit points or more, yet they still regret not training them earlier! What a lot of dedication these Battledomers have!
Similarly, many of these users have millions and millions of Neopoints, yet they would still go back in time and tell their newbie selves to play the Stock Market earlier! This makes sense... Battledomers are known not only for their amazing battle pets, but for their enormous wealth as well. Many have battle sets worth 50 million or more. I admire their money-making prowess!
The Customisation Neoboard:
The customizers' only regret is that they never hung onto certain Neocash wearables that are now worth a fortune. I feel the same way! I would give almost anything for a Toy Shelf Background, though it's now worth 10-15 Gift Box Capsules. I'm always kicking myself for not buying it while it was available at the NC Mall!
The Evil Things and Monster Sightings Neoboard:
Haha, this Neoboard was truly random! The most overwhelming opinion of the Monster Sighters was that they'd go back in time and tell their newbie selves to pick better usernames and pet names. One user, who has an extremely old account and a newer account, even hoped that her old account would be purged from the Neopets database! She abhors the username that much!
Another popular choice was the recording of valuable user information, such as fishwords and pin numbers. Many people insisted that it's important to look at the account recovery form every now and then and write down answers to the questions, such as the names of pets you've created, and the contents of your Safety Deposit Box. They'd go back in time and tell their newbie selves to record all of their personal information so that recovering a lost account becomes easier!
The third most popular answer was to save, save, save! Several people claimed that they'd tell their newbie selves to save Neopoints instead of spending them. For instance, some users started reading books for their pets, aiming to win a Booktastic Award, only to lose interest after a few weeks. They wish they could get all of their Neopoints back!
The Fan Clubs Neoboard:
Fan Clubs was an interesting Neoboard, combining a plethora of different people with different goals. The first thing people posted was that if they could talk to their newbie selves, they would teach them about the Stock Market right away. Many users didn't start using the Stock Market until their accounts were 5 or 6 years old! That's a lot of lost income! Many people were fans of the Stock Market, and I don't blame them! The Stock Market is a terrific way to earn extra Neopoints.
The NC Mall also had a lot of fans on this Neoboard. People claimed that they'd tell their newbie selves to stock up on rare Neocash wearables, then hoard them until their worth was sky-high. I had to agree with them! I would have loved to buy 2 Toy Shelf Backgrounds (one to keep, one to trade) when they were available.
The Fan Clubs Neoboard was also host to a large group of people who were obsessed with unconverted Neopets. They wanted to go back in time and tell their newbie selves to acquire as many future-unconverted Neopets as possible!
The Games Neoboard:
The most popular answer on this Neoboard was to nab as many trophies as possible for games that will become retired in the future. I admired their gaming acumen! These users have dozens and dozens of gold trophies on their user lookups, yet they still lament having missed out on trophies for games that later became extinct.
The users also lamented not participating in site events and plots, since they missed out on getting trophies. It seems that to the gamers, earning trophies is all the rage!
The Guilds Neoboard:
This Neoboard was very personality-driven! Most people who replied to my thread claimed that they would love to tell their newbie selves to be nicer, kinder and more considerate. I thought this was sweet! It certainly opened my eyes, since I've never posted on the Guilds Neoboard before. I didn't expect the users there to be so accepting, genuine and lovely!
The Habitarium Neoboard:
Two days of constantly bumping my thread, and not a single person replied! The Habitarium Neoboard was mostly dead when I posted my question, which was interesting. Habitarium is such a popular game on Neopets, with users scrambling to reach Level 50 in the game, that I thought there would be masses of people replying to my thread! Oh well. Maybe for another article?
The Help Neoboard:
The most popular Neoboard, the Help Neoboard, was simply swarming with ideas! My thread got a whopping 54 posts, and each post was so interesting!
The biggest topic on my thread dealt with keeping good records of your fishwords and pin numbers, as well as other information required to fill out the account retrieval form. Several people didn't keep accurate records of all of their login information, which made retrieving their accounts a little more difficult than it ought to have been. Plus, loads of people entered random birthdays instead of their genuine birthdays during their account creation, which also made it difficult to retrieve their accounts. As TNT is constantly warning us to do, please use your genuine and accurate personal information when signing up for an account! You'll be grateful for it later!
Many people on the Help Neoboard were name snobs, so the usernames they made when they were little kids (rife with numbers and underscores) were eyesores to them. They also regret naming their pets with numbers and underscores as well. I can commiserate with them! A very old, ancient and long-frozen account of mine had a lot of underscores in it, and I like my new real-word accounts much better.
The third most popular reply on my thread was to train, train, train your pets. As one user put it, if she'd been training her pet since she signed up for Neopets, she'd have a majorly impressive battle pet by now.
Several people mentioned the Stock Market and how they wish they'd known how easy it is to use, and how plentiful the rewards are. If they'd been using the Stock Market since day one, they'd have so many millions of Neopoints!
One popular idea was, "Don't delete your account! You'll come back, you Neo-addicted nutcase!" Several people regretted deleting their old accounts and trying to quit Neopets because there were rare avatars and rare items as well as unconverted pets on those accounts, and people who try to quit always come back. I felt so sorry for them! I would hate to start from scratch!
Many people wanted to go back in time and tell their newbie selves to make a lot of painted pets that would become unconverted later on.
Other people wanted to go back in time and sign up for Neopets a lot earlier than they actually did. I feel the same way! I would have loved to earn a lot of rare and retired avatars, and it smarts that I didn't sign up for Neopets in 1999 when it was first created.
What's the best advice that the Help Neoboard would give itself? Well, as one user named "fire_angel_2" put it, "Neopets is ultimately an online game designed to pass the time. It shouldn't affect your real life or cause too much emotional stress." I wholeheartedly agree! I have a lot of difficulty getting game avatars, but it no longer stresses me out like it used to! Now I just enjoy other aspects of the site, such as the Poetry Gallery and the Gallery Spotlight. There's so much to enjoy on Neopets that there's no reason to feel stressed or anxious about one small aspect of the site!
The Ideas/Suggestions Neoboard:
This Neoboard was full of cool replies! They varied from hoarding avatar items, to buying the Secret Laboratory Map pieces early on, to playing the Stock Market right away. Sixteen people posted on my thread, and they all had dramatically different ideas about what they'd tell themselves as newbies!
Some interesting suggestions that were unique to this Neoboard were: give away extra pets instead of hoarding them, because you're going to be too lazy to give them petpages and pet lookups anyway; save your Neopoints instead of spending them on random items; and start collecting stamps for your Stamp Album before the prices of each stamp become sky high.
The Key Quest Neoboard:
The Key Quest players would like to go back in time and tell their newbie selves to play more Key Quest! Many users are late bloomers, and didn't start playing Key Quest until recently. They kick themselves for not having started playing earlier, because Key Quest is such a lucrative game. It gives out Codestones, Paint Brushes, and other expensive prizes that are totally worth the time!
The Merchandise Neoboard:
Another Neoboard that was dead for two days, despite my constantly bumping my thread. I'll seek their opinions for another article someday!
The NC Mall Neoboard:
The sole regret of the NC Mall Neoboard is that the users never hoarded rare and limited edition wearables from the Mall! There exist many rare NC wearables that are worth 20 Gift Box Capsules (and sometimes even more) in trade, and it stings that they didn't stock up on rare wearables when they had the chance!
As I said earlier, I totally agree! I would have loved to buy the Toy Shelf Background when it was still available at the NC Mall. I kick myself at least once a month whenever I recall its colorful cuteness, and when I see someone's pet wearing the Background, I'm overcome with so much jealousy!
The NeoQuest + NeoQuest II Neoboard:
No replies after two days of bumping. Maybe some other time!
The Neohomes Neoboard:
One user named "genevalouise" had something interesting to say on my thread: "Not everyone you meet here will like you, and you won't like everyone you meet here, but it's wonderful when you can all like the same thing." I thought this was sweet! It's a testament to the Neohomes Neoboard that though they might have all different decorating styles for their Neohomes (Faerie vs. Darigan vs. Meridell, etc.), they all agree that Neohomes is their favorite aspect of the site!
The Neopian Pound Neoboard:
Hands down, everyone on my thread wanted to tell their newbie selves to create certain pets before the customization conversion happened! I had to agree with them. As I stated earlier, I'd give anything to own an UC Royalgirl Cybunny and UC MSP.
Some people, who I feel desperately sorry for, would go back in time and tell themselves not to convert their unconverted pets! I would do the same!
There were also a lot of elitist name snobs on the Pound Neoboard! They claimed that they would love to go back in time and give their pets "proper" names, using only letters with the first letter capitalized, instead of creating pets with underscores and numbers. They also wish they'd created better usernames! Instead of a nonsensical string of words, they'd have created lovely, single-word usernames such as "love" and "sparkle." It seems that Pound lurkers have very elegant aesthetics!
Many regret not having created real word pets, also similar to "love" and "sparkle." Not only would they look beautiful on their accounts, but they would also have higher trading value later on. I have to admit, though, if I had a pet named "Love," I would never, ever trade it! What a lovely pet to own!
The people on my thread also regretted having traded their unconverted pets away when the conversion first hit, giving away unconverted Royal pets for converted Draiks, for instance. UC pets are so rare nowadays that they kick themselves for having traded their UC pets.
On the converse side, people also regret having never traded their Draiks and Krawks for UC pets! One person got annoyed when she remembered being too cheap to paint her Draik Grey in exchange for someone else's UC Grey Kougra. Poor thing! I wish she'd gotten the UC she wanted!
The Neopian Writers Neoboard:
I consider myself to be a Neopian writer (I write for the Neopian Times as well as the Poetry Gallery), so I guess I'd go back in time to tell myself to start writing poetry and articles and stories as soon as possible. Then I'd have a lot more gold trophies by now!
One user was sorry that she ever agreed to a collaboration story. It was a lot more difficult than writing a story on her own, since the two writers had wildly different writing styles. I know how she feels! I tried collaborating with a close Neofriend, but the result was atrocious, as though a dozen different people had been working on it. From now on, I write stories and articles on my own!
The Newbies Neoboard:
I was unexpectedly assaulted with dozens of replies to my thread on the Newbies Neoboard. I'd expected this Neoboard to be dead, like some of the others I'd already canvassed, but it was lively and kicking!
The people who posted had a plethora of things to say! One said she would tell herself to start saving Neopoints right away. Another said she'd tell herself to not abandon 3 Fountain Faerie quests. And yet another said she'd tell herself all the avatar solutions and invest in avatar items.
Some people said they'd tell themselves to abandon roleplaying, opting instead to restock and earn Neopoints. Similarly, others said they'd tell themselves to stop spending Neopoints, and spend more time earning them.
One girl lamented that she should have participated in all of the plots and wars. I feel for her! I would have loved to join Neopets a lot earlier than I actually did, if only to participate in the plots and wars to get trophies, prizes, avatars, site themes, and more that will never be available again.
Along with correcting various mistakes such as accidentally pricing expensive items for 1 Neopoint in their shops, everyone had something unique to say about how they'd help out their newbie selves. The Newbies Neoboard was very interesting and diverse! I was glad to chat with their friendly selves!
The Other Worlds Neoboard:
This Neoboard was full of random ideas as well. One user named "__converse__" declared: "I would tell my newbie self to enjoy playing as much as possible because there was less homework and stress back then." I feel the exact same way! I wish I'd known about Neopets when I was in college, because I was just a student and not a working adult. It would have been such a fun way to pass the time! Nowadays, however, I work regular hours and have only late evenings available to spend on Neopets.
Another user named "petodiepet" claimed: "Don't worry, one day TNT will release a game called Habitarium and you won't have to worry about getting NP ever again!" I think most of Neopia would agree with her!
There were some repeat answers, such as creating specific unconverted pets before conversion occurred, or learning to use the Stock Market early on. I could tell that certain nuggets of wisdom were common throughout every Neoboard!
The Petpet Park Neoboard:
The first person to post on my thread claimed that she missed the old artwork for Petpet Park. According to her, the first Petpet Park layout was very beautiful, and used different artwork from month to month. She would go back in time and tell herself to take more screenies!
Another user claimed that he'd go back in time and tell himself not to make his closed beta tester pet a girl. Haha, looks like someone is afraid of cooties!
The other users who replied to my thread had the same gripes as everyone else -- wanting to create UC pets, naming their pets better names, participating in more plots, etc. These were such popular answers!
The Quests Neoboard:
Hands down, everyone wanted to tell their newbie selves not to turn down the Fountain Faerie! There were several people on this Neoboard who, not understanding the magnitude of receiving a Fountain Faerie quest, turned it down without caring. I feel so badly for them!
Similarly, there are people who would tell their earlier selves (not necessarily their newbie selves) to bookmark the Faerie Quests page in order to check it regularly and turn down quests from the Crafting Faerie. Receiving Crafting Faerie quests blocks your ability to receive other (and some might argue, more important) Faerie quests. It's hard to detect whether you've received a Crafting Faerie quest because you're still able to use the Shop Wizard while you have one of her quests, so I agree with these users -- bookmark the Faerie Quests page, check it regularly, and turn down the Crafting Faerie's quests if you have any!
The Role Playing Neoboard:
People on this Neoboard claimed that they would tell their newbie selves to be more careful while roleplaying, making sure to omit violence from their posts. I know how they feel! There have been several times where I wanted to submit some truly dark stories to the Neopian Times, but decided against it, knowing that the Neopian Times prefers stories with more positive leanings.
What astonished me the most about this Neoboard was the percentage of newbie accounts. I could hardly ask newbies what they would have done as newbies! Being curious, I checked everyone's accounts, and over half of them were 6 months old or less. I wonder why?
The Shop Ads Neoboard:
Almost everyone on this Neoboard regretted pricing their shops the wrong way! They lamented the Paint Brushes they put in their shop, only to price them at 1 Neopoint each rather than removing them one at a time. I felt their pain! I too used to misprice my shop. Nowadays, I'm super careful, checking my shop stock 3 times before saving my prices!
The Spotlights and Galleries Neoboard:
An interesting opinion on the Spotlights Neoboard was that unless you're planning to win a Spotlight (such as the User Lookup Spotlight or the Gallery Spotlight), don't invest the time and effort it takes to complete your project. For instance, many people regretted having ever started galleries, since they weren't trying to get trophies, and they lament the Neopoints and time it took to perfect their collections.
Others were sad that they didn't acquire certain items while they were still affordable. For instance, an item worth 200 Neopoints when they were newbies is now worth 200,000 Neopoints. Finishing a gallery nowadays is so cost prohibitive!
The Stock Tips Neoboard:
Everyone would go back in time and tell their newbie selves to start using the Stock Market right away! I have to agree with them -- I invested one million Neopoints in the Stock Market in order to get the "Sell! SELL!" avatar, then sold everything for two million without even trying! That's one million Neopoints in profit!
There was the usual smattering of people who would go back in time and tell themselves which stocks would rise and which would fall, and that's to be expected. Kind of like telling your old self what the future winning lottery numbers would be!
The Trading/Auctions Neoboard:
Interestingly enough, the people on this Neoboard would go back in time and tell their newbie selves to hoard Paint Brushes! Their value has only gone up and up over the years, so they would have made an awesome investment. Plus, they're very easy to sell, so it's not like they'd linger for months and months on the Trading Post!
There were also a few people who would go back in time and tell their newbie selves to sell their items more carefully. For instance, some people didn't know what the Trading Post was as newbies, and ended up selling things like Paint Brushes, Transmogrification Potions and Nerkmids (worth millions) in their shops for mere hundreds of Neopoints. I'd kick myself too, if I made such grievous mistakes as that!
The Virtupets Neoboard:
This was another, rather dead Neoboard. I was sorry to be ignored! The Neoboard looked kind of fun, with people setting up threads that featured their favorite teams ranging from the Altador Cup to the Obelisk War. I guess my thread was too humdrum to reply to!
I wanted to give everyone a hug! I was glad that even though they regret some things, this site is still so lively and interesting that they continue to play here. I thought it was fascinating that people with millions and millions in the bank still have things they regret. I guess money doesn't solve everything!
Thanks for reading this (rather long) article! And profuse thanks to everyone on the Neoboards, who took the time to reply to my threads with eagerness and enthusiasm!
Farewell, and stay tuned next time for another Neopian Times article featuring my favorite thing on Neopets -- the Neoboards!