Not About the Neopoints
There are a few questions that consistently flit about Neopia. One question in particular is ubiquitous: What are your goals?
Every time I see this question, I scratch my head and get a confused look on my face. I click through to see people’s responses. Generally, and I think this is the point of the question, people are listing items in the world for which they are saving neopoints. And I read the lists. And I think, “Well, no, that isn’t the sort of thing I’d care for at all.”
I can see the point in the goals.
Some people are hoping to eventually attain expensive avatar items, and I do understand the peculiar sense of accomplishment one feels upon gaining a particularly elusive and long-sought avatar.
Some are saving to acquire specific types of limited edition or restricted pets. That too, on some level, I can understand. If you like a type of pet, attaining it seems a worthy enough goal.
Many are saving for a paint brush with which to perfect the look of their current pet; a goal which seems quite similar to the last entry on this list.
Others are saving up for items to fill their galleries, and these can be myriad. If one is inclined to collecting, I can understand that compulsion as well. Finally completing an endeavor as grand as a “complete” gallery is likely quite satisfying.
Stamp and trading card collectors are rarer, but I suspect the idea and ideal are much the same as that of gallery collectors.
All of these goals share one common characteristic: The need to earn and save greater or lesser quantities of neopoints, and subsequently spend them on one item; an item that was the aim, the goal, all along. Participating in such a thread of conversation is announcing your commitment, your dedication, to one singular item in Neopia, and all the neopoint-earning-grind it takes to attain it.
Me? I’m a dilettante. I couldn’t focus on one area of the site if I tried. I have a gallery, but it’s relatively sparse. My pets are, for the most part, nothing special. I love them dearly, but they’re hardly status symbols, and that’s exactly how I would like things to remain. (I’ve actually become quite fond of basic coloured pets lately, though I concede that I currently fail to own any.) My avatar count is, in my opinion, satisfactory – and in any case, I find it difficult to persuade myself to spend the millions it would really take to increase my collection at this point. I have some stamps, and a few trading cards, but I have no particular passion for either pastime. I’d take more, certainly, but I’m not often going to put more effort into picking them up. I certainly can’t commit to earning millions purely to indulge those collections.
But I hate earning neopoints, and I absolutely despise spending them. Consequently, focusing on such goals seems like a Bad Idea for someone of my temperament. In any case, I can’t think of what I would spend my neopoints on. Which not-quite-passion should I favour? Which interest should I temporarily indulge? I can’t tell you, that’s certain. And if I can’t answer such a simple question as which general area I’d like to expand upon, I certainly can’t commit to one item required in any of those areas. I can’t pin down the general; I certainly can’t proceed to the specific. As such, I can’t think of a single reason to engage in the daily grind required to earn the millions of neopoints items seem to cost these days. So I don’t.
What do I do, then? After all, why spend time in Neopia if you don’t actually care about earning neopoints? What else is there to the site?
The answer is: Quite a lot, actually!
Once you decide that neopoints don’t matter, you suddenly have scads of time to spend however you like in Neopia. Certainly, games are still worth playing: for fun. (I know, the very idea is shocking.) The great thing about playing games for fun is that you don’t have to send three scores a day, you don’t have to cut yourself off once you reach that magical 1000-np score, and you can keep playing after already having sent three scores without the excuse of practicing for a trophy. You may, as I did, even find yourself picking up a flash game trophy or two without expending any effort on the process, simply because your playing-for-fun got you good enough at a game to win gold. By Fyora, you can even play gambling games and not worry about losing the neopoints (this makes the Deserted Fairground lots and lots of fun – really)!
PHP games become substantially more viable when one doesn’t care about neopoints, too. Yes, you can make a profit with them normally, but everyone knows that Flash games provide a much higher and faster payout, often with less expended effort. But when neopoints aren’t the goal, it becomes a lot of fun to really try to perfect your skills at a game that involves thought, and gives you more than enough time in which to think well on how to best play the game.
Suddenly, you don’t have to restock (which is great for me, since I couldn’t if I wanted to). And suddenly, you can look at a page on Neopets that always seemed like a waste of time back in the neopoint-grind days. It’s here, and it’s called Neopian Contests. Now, what you do there is up to you, but I can assure you that many hours can be wasted, er, I mean joyfully passed, either browsing others’ work (and voting, when applicable!), or producing your own content for the contests. You can use and hone skills you already have, or pick up hobbies you never thought you’d be any good at. In Neopia, effort is rewarded as much as talent, so don’t be afraid to try something new and different, especially if it looks like fun. If nothing else, the Random Contest is always worth a click. You really do never know what the activity-of-the-week will be!
If nothing else, the neoboards are a great place to chat. Unlike the rest of the internet, they are strictly on-topic and quite often very helpful places to be. One can’t even mention off-site locations, a fact that I find refreshing. Neopia is self-contained, and if you spend enough time on the neoboards, it becomes possible to forget anything else exists at all. And that, in my opinion, is a wonderful thing.
Now, everyone gets sick of Neopia from time to time. I’d think doing the same thing day after day, especially when the thing in question is grinding-for-neopoints, would only accelerate that process.
But Neopia is about more than neopoints. It’s about more than the neopets themselves, frankly. It’s a cohesive world with more options within it than I’ve seen anywhere else on the ‘net. I just hope I’ve encouraged a few of you to explore some of them, or at least to give yourselves a break every now and then.
You Neopians work too hard!