Five Avatar Collecting Pitfalls
As an experienced avatar collector, I have run into many roadblocks along my journey, and after reading the stories of other avatar collectors, I have found that they have had similar problems. In this article, I will take you through the five most common problems I have seen collectors face—problems that I have run into multiple times along my journey, and that I continue to face. For each problem, I will offer a solution that I have found to be consistently successful. If you keep these points in mind, you too can achieve the Avatar Collector Avatar!
1) Lack of research
This is the most common problem that I’ve run into. Perhaps you have already encountered this problem, such as when you played an avatar game for hours before finally breaking down and reading a game guide, which offered answers to all of your problems, and you shouted, WHY DIDN’T I TRY THAT SOONER?? Look, we’ve all been there.
Besides leaving players clueless about avatar solutions, lack of research can also cause collectors to pick the wrong avatars to focus on. For instance, if you only have 200 avatars and your goal is to get as many avatars as possible, perhaps you shouldn’t focus on getting the “Lucky Streak” avatar—one of the rarest avatars in the game!
The obvious solution to this problem is to do some research before attempting an avatar. Even if you are very good at an avatar game, it helps to read a guide about it anyway. In fact, as I started to get to the harder avatar games, I would read as many guides as I could find. Also, don’t be afraid to ask others for help—most people are proud of their game avatars!
I also suggest that you find a Neopets fansite that will list avatars by “Rarity,” which will give you an idea of which avatars to focus on. If you go through the avatars and attempt the less-rare avatars first, you will likely find that you accumulate avatars more quickly! Still, you shouldn’t assume that rarer avatars will necessarily be difficult for you; you might find that you are a natural at games like “Volcano Run” or “Extreme Herder.”
2) Lack of consistency
This problem mostly applies for random avatars, but it can also apply to certain game avatars that require practice. Often, avatars collectors can get frustrated with avatars that rely on chance, thinking, “I’ve tried this a hundred times already. What will make this time any different?” I know that I’ve been guilty of skipping the Grumpy Old King daily. Additionally, it can be hard to remember to check on the Snowager, especially if you don’t have the times memorized.
My advice is to keep trying! Think of each random avatar daily as an opportunity to raise your odds. Next time King Hagan scoffs at you, remind yourself that this is part of the journey. Even if an avatar has only a one-in-one-hundred chance of occurring, that just means that, on average, you’ll get it by your one hundredth try. But this will only work if you keep trying!
It might be helpful to bookmark the dailies for the random avatars you need. Additionally, it might be useful to memorize the times when the Snowager is asleep. I have those hours so ingrained in my consciousness that I can’t look at a clock that reads those times without itching to try my luck. I don’t know what will happen to my life once I finally get that avatar.
3) Getting discouraged
It’s easy to get discouraged—especially for avatars that you thought should be easy. Maybe you’ve read everywhere that “Carnival of Doom” is one of the easiest game avatars, and you don’t understand why, after trying for three hours straight, you haven’t even gotten close. Though some people might claim that they’ve always been amazing at every single game, I’ve found that most people have a game avatar that eludes them, no matter how many other people claim it’s “so easy” and “if you can get avatar x, surely you can get avatar y!” (I’ve also found that the opposite is true: a lot of people have a favorite game that they think is very easy, but which most other people find challenging!)
If you find yourself getting discouraged, first realize that this is normal. Then, take a step back, and take it slow. When I try for an avatar game for the first time, I give it an hour’s practice before gauging how much time I’ll think I’ll need. When I was trying for Extreme Herder, I knew that I would need many, many hours of practice.
While some people think that the best strategy is to play games for hours at a time, it is actually more useful to practice a little every day—and to take several breaks. Think about it like any other skill. Nobody becomes a master at an instrument by practicing for two hours at a time, once a week, and usually, the best students aren’t the ones that cram the night before an exam, but the ones that study a little every day. You’ll actually get better at a skill in less time if you space out your practice. (That last one doesn’t sound true, but it is; you can look it up!)
Another thing you can do to ensure that you’re getting better is to keep a spreadsheet of your progress. It will be extremely rewarding to watch your progress. You can even have a contest with yourself: maybe you’re still 100 points away from the Extreme Potato Counter avatar, but you can at least beat your personal high score!
4) Giving up before you’ve started
I actually have a pretty funny story about this. All of my avatar-collecting live, I was deathly afraid of Snow Wars II. I had seen that it was one of the rarest flash game avatars, and I knew that many people absolutely hated the game. Eventually, however, I was down to my last handful of flash game avatars, and I knew that I had to try. Much to my surprise, I achieved the avatar on my very first try! It turns out that I love Snow Wars II, and now it is my favorite flash game.
If you let certain avatars scare you, you’re only limiting yourself. At least give each avatar a try! That’s why I suggest that you devote a little extra time to your first attempt at a new avatar. Who knows, you could get lucky and achieve a new avatar quite quickly. You might even find a new favorite game! This is how several people have fallen in love with Kadding.
With the exception of retired avatars, “broken” avatars, and certain stamp avatars, all avatars are attainable by anybody! That might seem like simple advice, but it’s easy to look at certain avatars and think, “Oh, I’ll never be able to get that.” Maybe you think that you’re bad at flash games, or you’re just starting out and only have a few Neopoints. However, with practice, patience, and persistent, anybody can get achieve these avatars! I consider myself fairly average at flash games, but after over a year of persistence, I was able to get them all. If you shift your thinking from, “This avatar is impossible,” to, “If I keep trying, I will eventually get this avatar,” you might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish! For me, this was the most rewarding thing about avatar collecting: meeting goals that I used to think were impossible.
5) Lack of motivation
Unfortunately, this avatar collecting problem is one that often has no cure. Lack of motivation causes Neopians everywhere to give up on avatar games and to spend all of their savings just before they can get the Hidden Tower books. You can mitigate this problem by keeping a spreadsheet of your progress as I mentioned before, and by keeping a list of your goals in mind. However, if you’re not prepared to drop 10 million NP on “HT - Richest,” or over 100 million NP on a stamp avatar, it is unlikely that you will be able to talk yourself into it. Some people prefer to have NP than avatars, and that’s fine! You might even find that you can get the Avatar Collector Avatar without having to spend tens of millions of Neopoints.
And hey, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re sitting there with your arms crossed, thinking, “Hey, Drew, I’ve done the math. Even if I get every flash game avatar, every random avatar, a stamp avatar and a few contest avatars, I still can’t get the Avatar Collector Avatar. I don’t have enough retired avatars!” Well, guess what? I had that same problem when I first started out! Over the years, however, TNT released more avatars and retired others, and some of the more successful players went on hiatuses, which gave people like me a chance! So, I encourage you to hold on to hope. No matter where you are on your avatar collecting journey, you can accomplish all of your avatar dreams!