The Old Neopian's Guide to the New Neopia
NEO-NEOPIA - Do you ever just sometimes feel completely left in the dust? Say, you’re fifteen minutes late for class and have no idea what in dung’s name your Physics teacher is suddenly babbling on about? Or perhaps you realize you’ve been staring catatonically for the past hour at the book you’ve been reading without absorbing one measly word? Or maybe, just maybe, you spend three and a half years away from your favourite virtual pets site?
Er, confession. I’m kind-of-sort-of guilty on that last one. Just, um, yeah. Only a smidgeon.
Let’s face it, though: the pace of Neopets moves faster than Kasuki Lu at the Golden Dubloon’s all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s those three letters–neo–that explain all the crazy, newfangled features the Neopets Team steadily churns into the mix. Neopia has changed far beyond the world it once was, effectively becoming, for lack of a less totally lame title, Neo-Neopia. For any of the other veterans who’ve been flung kicking and screaming back into the world of Neopets, I intend to summarize all the changes that make Neo-Neopia what it is today. And that ultimate burning question remains: can they really measure up to classic Neopets?
A little-known fact about the age-old city of Shenkuu is that its name actually derives from an ancient word meaning “overpriced tourist trap.” Yes, it’s your one-stop shop for weapons, food, Petpets... they even have medicine... yikes, and Petpets, too. When your time in Shenkuu comes to a close, if the natives haven’t turned you upside-down and shaken the Neopoints from the lining of your jeans, consider yourself ahead of the game. And when you’re all worn out from having had every last piece of lint nicked right out of your pockets, at least they have a useless Cooking Pot and a lunar calendar for amusement. Because Shenkuu knows how to really party.
Apparently, when the evil denizens of the Haunted Woods aren’t touring ghost-ridden houses, they’re eating crumpets and purchasing dress coats. Clearly, the monsters of Neo-Neopia are of an emotionally complex breed. However, the greatest mystery of Neovia is the letter V that sits there smugly in its name. What could it possibly stand for? Perhaps “vendors”, for all the shops this city has to offer, or “vile”, for all the wicked things that must go down in a place named Prigpants & Swolthy, Tailors?
Now, you’re probably thinking, “TK, TK, TK. You silly son of a Mallard. The V stands for absolutely nothing!” Ah, but here’s where you’re wrong, my friend. See, V is actually a Roman numeral for the number five. And what is the fifth letter in the word “Neovia”? Why, that would be I. I, in fact, is the Roman numeral representing the number one. And what, what, what is the first letter in “Neovia”? N. N, as some of you will already know, is the closet thing around to a Roman numeral that could possibly represent the number zero or nothingness. And therein lies the answer. What does the V in Neovia stand for? Absolutely nothing.
Yeah, I sure showed you.
There’s a library. Sometimes they hurl Petpets at each other for sport. That’s about it.
You know that breathless thrill you experience each and every morning as you slide a warm, fuzzy sock over each of your feet? Now your Neopet can experience that same exhilarating rush... unless they happen to be one of the seven sadly neglected species that don’t currently own any sort of footular appendage, but we don’t care to talk about those ones (affectionately referred to by this writer as “the Seven Gimps”). Yes, Neopets can now dress themselves, and it only took them nine years to learn how to do it. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about, though; incidentally, it took me the same length of time to figure it out as well. Pants are tricky.
Lever of Doom
Folks, I think this is one aspect of Neo-Neopia this writer just flat-out can’t explain. I mean, the lever says “DO NOT PULL” in that menacing size-twelve font, so really, how could I not? And bam, next thing I know, the animatronic hand reaches right into my wallet and nabs 100 Neopoints! I mean, it just took the Neopoints right from me! You’d think I was back in Shenkuu or something! Now, if Neopets has taught me anything, it’s that there’s probably more to this than what meets the Eyrie. Thus explains the next two or three hours I spent pulling that nasty lever, successfully depleting my Draik’s Neocollege fund, but I do believe I’m that much closer to solving it. When I’m immortalized with a gold statue sitting plum in the middle of the Space Station for solving the mystery of the Lever of Doom, the triple-mortgage I’ve taken out on my Neohome will totally be worth it.
To explain Neopets Premium to you, I will use an analogy. See, Neopets Premium is rather like premium-blend ice cream. While premium-blend ice cream has a creamier texture, Neopets Premium has the Super Shop Wizard! While premium-blend ice cream has a richer flavour, Neopets Premium has extra Random Events! On the flipside, while premium-blend ice cream has extra calories, Neopets Premium has an operating fee. While premium-blend ice cream costs more than regular ice cream... er, wait, I suppose it would make more sense for the cost of the premium-blend ice cream to reflect the cost of Neopets Premium, right?... wait, now I’m lost... and I have no idea how the Neopets Premium referral program is supposed to factor into this analogy... and, um, Neopets Premium, uh, comes in thirty flavours, and tastes great with hot fudge, and Neopets Premium gives you cavities, and... oh, dung...
Analogies are hard, okay?
The past few years have furnished Neo-Neopia with several new species: namely, the Hissi, Lutari, Xweetok, Ogrin, and the Gnorbu. These new Neopets (Neo-Neopets?) satisfied many wants and desires: for instance, the Xweetok satisfied our need for something so adorable you could vomit Sugarbunnies, while the Gnorbu gave us something whose fur we could shear, a long-time personal goal for myself, I assure you.
Furthermore, these new additions increased the amount of Neopets that begin with a unique letter of the alphabet. For example, the Hissi is the only pet beginning with an H, the Xweetok is the only one beginning with the letter X, while the Ogrin successfully fields the letter O. As of the Ogrin’s introduction to Neo-Neopia, the only letter lacking any sort of Neopet representation is the letter V, which has already once tried to befuddle us once in this article. Never fear, for I’ve already suggested to the Neopets Team the name of the next Neopet: the Vadoobadung. For some reason, they haven’t written me back yet, but I await their excited response any day now.
This exciting addition to Neo-Neopia puts an end to the Scorchio scientist’s monopoly on zapping living creatures with experimental, high-powered, lethal ray guns. Ol’ Zapzap McGee has clearly learned to spread the love around. It’s a maniacal Kookith’s chance to blast your Petpets into oblivion, this time with such exciting side-effects as changing your Petpet’s name to Dirigibles and, um, yeah, that’s mostly what it’s done for me. I’ve got to say, I’m about as impressed as King Skarl’s personal trainer must be during weigh-in. The Petpet Lab’s greatest accomplishment is that it’s a much more expensive method of turning your Petpet into a Pile of Soot–the classic method, of course, would be confusing your Petpet with a Codestone while chucking them into the Mystery Island Volcano.
(I swear, I only did it the one time.)
Okay, okay, okay. I get it. It does look as though it was well worth it to get caught up with Neo-Neopia, because, I must admit, it’s a pretty freaking cool place to be. Still, can it compare with some of the classic Neopets features from the days of yore? Not likely! Let’s check out how they measure up.
Yeah. Click that button. Whoo.
They have no hands. Simply mind-blowing, right?
He gives out fortunes. They’re completely, um, relevant. Why, just the other day the Island Mystic told me, “You will defeat in single combat a flock of four-headed Pant Devils.” Actually, it was a horrible suggestion, ranking way up there on the list of the worst advice I’ve ever received in my life. In fact, it occupies the spot right after the time someone told me, “Hey, you should go visit the Island Mystic.”
So, the verdict? Yeah, it’s a pretty clear-cut victory in favour of Neo-Neopia. It would ultimately appear that “new” trumps “old” when it comes to Neopets. Who can deny the supreme awesomeness that is dressing up your pet, adopting fluffy llama Neopet, or paying actual money to play Neopets when you can do it for free? Er, now that I think about it... who’d be careless enough with their income to do that? Hrm...
Anyway, if you’ll just excuse me, I’m off to spend the next few hours cracking the mystery of the Lever of Doom.
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The reason for my urgent wish to leave the future? Weepits had taken over Neopia!
Weepit Art by musiclives2001
Fearsome image of Dr. Sloth by pacmanite