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JessLynnBabblin'

  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

139: Changes I'd Make To Neopets

Updated: Mar 11


Candy Poogle surrounded by jack-o-lanterns, wearing a pumpkin hat in blue fog
Meet Edelweiss_Willamine, my Candy Poogle!

Howdy! Neopets is under new (old?) management. My vague understanding is that whoever was pushing the Metaverse NFTs is out and those who've been running the actual site are in charge now. They are working to bring Neopets.com into the present day by replacing all of the Flash. Some games don't work, still. And regarding customization, there are glitches, but overall, the site seems to be moving in a good direction. I like that TNT (the Neopets team) are active, open communicators with their fan base. It's great that they're regularly adding new wearables to the site, and I appreciate how they're not exclusively leaning into updating the pieces behind a pay wall, because, yes, as with everything else, there are parts of Neopets that have become subscription-based.


I avoid spending real money on in-game elements. I'll make an exception when it's virtual money earned doing surveys, say through the Google Playstore, but Neopets has one feature I could justify paying for—more pet slots. They've upped the default pet max from four to six, and for those willing to pay, players can have up to twenty slots. I don't play enough to justify a subscription, but for slots, that is a reasonable one-time expense.


TNT also implements daily rewards for small tasks which lead to bigger rewards over time. This is a great way to help active players keep up with inflation, and the onslaught of bots buying up everything of value from Neopian shops. The first major change I'd like to see from TNT is more targeted action to reign in bots. Kauvara's Magic Shop is one of the few areas when players can purchase high-value objects at a comparably low-cost. The shop is rarely stocked, and only fully so for seconds, before the high value objects have been purchased, likely by bots for the purpose of reselling. And most players want these items to sell for profit, so that's not the issue. The issue is the hoarding. If TNT were to set a per-day cap on how many items could be purchased by any one user, just regarding those shops most likely to be raided by bots, I think that would work to cut down on the forced scarcity of these items, bringing inflation down.


On that same note, for those stores specializing in low-value items, like food, I'd like them to be better stocked. It's silly to have to wait eight minutes for a food shop to restock.


I also find that haggling slows the shopping process down so I'd rather do away with the haggling option. It's especially frustrating when competing with bots at Kauvara's.


Next up, there are a ton of makeup and clothing products that aren't wearables. I've always been irritated by items that serve no purpose. When I click an item, it should have a use, period. Those that appear to be wearables and aren't, should be. I would also like TNT to fix the glitch that occurs when viewing wearables in the customization menu. Some don't appear at all, and there is minimal consistency regarding which wearables share a space, and thus remove, which other wearables. There appear to be two (or more?) layers to the upper and lower foreground, and sometimes trees take the first, while sometimes they take the second, meaning some can be stacked but not all, and trees should really all share that same space. Vines and garland should share a space. Etc. It should be more obvious what will be replaced when putting on a new wearable.


I've never been gung-ho about decorating my Neohome but I would like to be. If the process was more intuitive, I can see treating it with the same enthusiasm I have for Animal Crossing. Currently, it's a Flash part of the site so fully inaccessible for me. TNT should prioritize overhauling the whole Neohome set-up to be more a more modern process. It's too much to expect the kind of immersive experience gamers get from most contemporary console games, but they need to find a compromise between the tech of 2000 and that of today. I can't imagine the irritation if I'd invested my time, effort, and neopoints in a Neohome that's been inaccessible for over a year.


One game I used to enjoy was the Habitarium. It had to do with Petpetpets. Apparently it went away nine years ago, and in the interim, I basically forgot petpetpets exist. Seems like TNT hasn't done enough with petpets nor petpetpets. We can customize a tiny decorative space for each neopet but not one for each petpet nor petpetpet. That feels like a missed opportunity. I'm not saying TNT needs to bring back the Habitarium, but they need to show returning players that there are reasons to keep logging in. For those with their dream pets, what's left to do? Well, why not customize a space per petpet, and another per petpetpet? For one thing, it encourages users to earn enough neopoints to purchase petpetpets, which I recall being very expensive.


It's a shame that the satellite, moving in the explore map, has never been utilized as a visitable-space. Lutari Island needs to be opened again, which is also the case for any other dead spaces on the site. They should return to giving out Kreludan Mining Corp. codes with any physical merchandise purchased.


There are more quality of life changes I'd make. Shops should be more intuitively organized, so sorted by the type of product, and wearables further sorted by who can wear them. It's annoying, when a shop is very large and there is no order to their stock. There needs to be a means of moving large quantities of items directly from the safety deposit box to places other than the inventory, even if only to discard them, though ideally also to donate or move them to the closet.


TNT keeps collaborating with brands to sell real life merch, banking that they can profit on nostalgia. Which is kind of the site's whole gimmick right now, judging by their social media posts and even the Tshirts they're selling. Remember us? We were fun right? And while nostalgia is a great start, a draw, there needs to be substance to maintain an active player base. I've been through their merch and while the Tarot cards look fun, that's not something I'm in to. I would suggest they reach out about potentially collaborating with Danielle Nicole or Irregular Choice on some novelty bags and accessories. Both brands have already done lines with Pokémon, and as a novelty purse collector, I'd buy one.


If TNT had an unlimited budget, I'd be pushing for them to make a console game in the spirit of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so basically a fun sandbox game full of decorating, with just enough story to give all the side characters some personality. I'd want the game to have multiplayer aspects, namely for showing off how the decorating has been going, and for sharing supplies. But that's a pipe dream. I was hoping that was the route the Metaverse was taking, but the way they were focusing on the minigames, I doubt it. So no loss there.


If I had an open dialogue with TNT, these would be my suggestions. I don't really bother with the Battledome, Guilds, and I've never had a Gallery, so I don't have any thoughts to add there. Nor have I taken part in story events, though I suspect implementing more frequent and fleshed out stories, that invite user participation, would be a wise way to keep players coming back. Anywho, I'm glad TNT is trying and I hope their efforts pay off. I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!


P.S. I'm Artjess18 and you're welcome to add me if you want to be my Neofriend!



Newsletter:


Howdy! I didn't ~just~ play Neopets this past week. I also visited the new indie bookstore in College Station TX, Hyperbole! It's super cute and the staff there are very passionate about reading. While there, I let them know I'm a local author. They order copies of Stem & Stone and Light Step and they will let me know whn they arrive so I can sign them. Meaning that signed copies will be available for sale at Hyperbole soon! While there, I picked up Jennifer Saint's new book, Elektra, so that's now on my TBR. I'm still reading Spare, by Prince Harry, but I hope to finish that by this coming Monday so I can compare it to The Crown and the Princess Diary book, here, then.


As for this past week, I got a bit more written in my horror story, The Hesket House Tower. Ideally, I'll get more written this week. Because it takes place right after the civil war in an actual town that exists, I have to research as I go which is slowing down the process.


I also attempted to make 3 resin paper weights this past week and a mosaic. The mosaic took me two day because I hated how it looked at the end of the first day and spent the second day painting over the transparent glass pieces. It was the wrong palette for the composition I went for, in retrospect. After painting the pieces, I then drew over them with sharpie. No idea how that's going to age, being that the mosaic is outside in medium sunlight.


mosaic of a girl with blue hair and an unsettlingly large mouth
Meet Florence!


For all my trouble, I actually really enjoyed making the mosaic, not counting all the editing that came later. I would do this again with opaque glass or brightly colored rocks, and broken porcelain. I'll keep an eye out for molds.


My first two resin pieces didn't quite work out. Right off the bat, I mixed the solution too aggressively so both paperweights had bubbles. Which I actually didn't mind but I acknowledge is a resin no-no. The first included glitter and plants from my yard. The instructions said to mix the glitter all the way through the resin solution but I wanted more of a gradient so I sprinkled glitter on a tiny bit of solution I had poured into the bottom of the mold. When I added more solution, the glitter split into two groups, collecting at the bottom and the middle. Then I added plants, which despite my best efforts, all floated to the top.


For my second resin paperweight, I wanted to play with broken glass left over from the mosaic. I took red chunks and spread them around the bottom and sides put orange over that, and yellow on top and at the center, wherein I placed a clear marble. I was super excited about this. When it finally hardened too days later, I was a little disappointed. The outer red blocked more of the light from passing through than I intended, and worse, the edges weren't smooth. the glass blocked resin from getting to some spots and I didn't think I could fix that but adding a smidge more resin to the mold and popping the whole thing back inside.


In my very limited experience, I've found that the tiny pieces in the resin continue moving while it hardens, and while it supposedly can set in 8 hrs, my mold wasn't very big and I found that resin still somewhat pliable after two days.


I took a hammer to my two resin paperweight attempts. The glass one broke, eventually, into big chunks of resin and a lot of glass dust. The other would not break, so I stuck it in the garden where it now sits as a yard decoration. The dust, I poured into my third attempt at a resin paperweight. The dust is mostly gold, with specks of red and pale green. I layered some small light green glass around and on top of that, three red pointing pieces over those, and a single marble in the center again. I made sure the resin was evenly distributed between the dust before adding bigger glass chunks and I mixed my resin more slowly this time to avoid bubbles. It's still curing so I don't know how it came out.



I also finally got started on a scrapbook I've been meaning to make for months. It's going to be entirely about my dogs. Unlike the wedding scrapbook from 2022, I don't have a lot of variety in settings with which to inspire my pages so I'm going to get really weird with it.


Thanks for checking in! I drop a new newsletter every Monday! Toodles!




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