It's Been Years
It's been six long years for Carly and Kay. We both left Neopets for different reasons, and somehow stayed away for more than half a decade. But like everyone who's spun the Wheel of Monotony knows, sometimes long waits result in vast rewards. Carly and I returned to a refreshed site and many new opportunities. Here, we've compiled our experiences, along with a few of our friends. If you've recently come back, or you're thinking about coming back, join us. The community here is just as strong as it ever was.
I originally made my account not long after Neopets was founded, however, I didn't start playing actively until 2004. I didn't realize what a wonderful community Neopets had! My sister got started collecting neggs and I found myself drawn to avatar collecting. Her interest slowly waned but mine just continued to increase. Once I fully committed to being a top avatar collector, I started to chat daily on the Avatar board. What a wonderful thing. I found some of my lifelong best friends there! We went on to found Omneo and I thought I'd never look back. In 2010, however, a crisis happened and I felt I had no choice but to quit. I self iced my account and swore that was it for me - I'd achieved everything I'd wanted (including the Top Avatar Collector avvie) and that was that. Fast forward six whole years and I could feel myself being tugged towards the game. It wasn't any one particular thing, just a slow realization that leaving Neopets had meant leaving my friends. I felt gutted by that realization and also curious about what Neo had to offer now. So, I made a new side account, requested access to my main and prepared to wait. Lo and behold, TNT responded quickly and here I am, happier than ever! There are new avatars to find, Trudy's fun wheel to spin, the Battlegrounds to keep my BD pet sharp. It honestly feels like I never left (except for the few retired avatars I missed during my absence, whoops!)
I have been an on and off player since around 2000. I had played Neopets as a kid to mostly pass time when I was off school in the summer. However, I got really into it when I came back in 2008, and became familiar with the Avatar Chat and avatar collecting. Avatars and chatting were what I enjoyed doing the most. I became more established in 2009 when I restarted with a new account. Unfortunately, I left in 2011 mainly because I wanted to put all my focus on real life priorities. In early May of this year I came back because I was feeling nostalgic and I wanted to see if Neopets had changed since I had last been on. What was meant to be a one day "browse" around the site turned into a permanent return and I got hooked again right away. I realized that Neopets has been a great outlet to escape from my crazy life! Although I'm still getting used to lots of changes such as the new Battledome and new Kad Feeding refreshes, I feel like I have never really left! I've met lots of new friends, and I have been happily reacquainted with lots of old ones. Besides enjoying talking to new and old friends, I have found that goals have also become a lot easier to pursue now thanks price drops and new and easy ways to gain Neopoints such as Trudy's Surprise and REs. I had always wanted a Krawk or a Draik and now I have both.
GUIDE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RETURN
No matter if your hiatus is a month, a year, or ten years, it's tough getting back into the swing of things! There's always something new and exciting happening around the site. Here are Carly and my favorite guides to help an old newbie become a knowledgeable veteran once again:
New Battledome Guide (http://www.neopets.com/~SilverCyanide4)
The Hiatus Rescue Kit (http://www.neopets.com/~arentipretty)
Kad Feeding Guide (http://www.neopets.com/ntimes/index.phtml?section=563329&issue=661)
Updated NC Value Guide (http://www.neopets.com/~Clara)
New Restocking System Guide (http://www.neopets.com/~joult)
SURVEY & INTERVIEW RESULTS
Carly and I realized we couldn't possibly be the only ones returning from a long hiatus. We reached out to friends - new and old - and asked them about their experiences returning to the site. Jacki (rebourne_), Savvy (ilikenoodleart18), JR (jrvw30), Jynx (got_milk_adoptions) and Sierra (ily171717) all generously provided their comeback insights!
What was your experience of Neo prior to leaving? Accomplishments, goals, etc?
@got_milk_adoptions : Neopets was essentially my life before I left. I had dedicated this account originally for adoptions. I would adopt pets from the pound, paint and zap them, give them matching petpets, and get them adopted out to a new home. I soon dedicated my time to begin collecting avatars as much as I possibly could. I'll never forget every time TNT released a new one and everyone would spend hours trying to figure out how to achieve it. It was a rush! My other biggest goal was to start/own a well established guild. Making some life-long friends on this site has been my biggest accomplishment, honestly.
@jrvw30 : I used to play neopets every day when I was little, back when we still had dial up internet. I was so young I didn't really dive into everything I should have when I was younger, but I was too naïve and just wanted something fun to do to pass the time. All of my friends also played it as well, so we would always talk about which pets we had, and our high scores. It seemed to be a simpler time back then.
@ilikenoodleart18 : Back in 2007, I was on the hunt for avatars. They were the "IT" thing. I had made it a goal to obtain a few meowclopses and lend them out to fellow avatar collectors. I would make threads daily on the avatar chat board; I was helping out those who were kind and very thankful. I have made several deep friendships with some wonderful people and we talked every day. We escaped the real world into Neopets and we laughed and had a blast. We were on a race to collect those pesky avatars. We were well known on the avatar chat board and we tried to be nice to everyone we chatted with. I, personally, got into restocking to help fund the race for avatars. Restocking then was so much fun. My favorite places were mystical surroundings, shells, and coins. I would chat with my friends and we would post our restocks as we competed against each other for the same items. I was a premium member and had spent more than I wanted to admit on neocash.
Why did you decide to return?
@rebourne_ : My goals were the same as now, I want to write more for NT and enter more beauty contests for my pets.
@got_milk_adoptions : I had recently gotten my internet back and was working as a freelance graphic artist. Neopets is actually where I self taught myself HTML/CSS and graphic design, and I honestly missed being able to create something fun. Once I got back, I went straight back to avatar collecting as well. There were so many new ones and others that finally had an answer that I was hooked instantly.
@jrvw30 : I decided to return to Neopets for nostalgic purposes, and because I would get bored at work sometimes and I was trying to think of what game I could play in between talking to clients and managing my team. Neopets just seemed to work since you do not really have to be stuck to the screen to be playing.
What most surprised you upon your return?
@ily171717 : I think I was mostly surprised by how easy it is to make neopoints now. With Trudy's Surprise, the BD, Ghoul Catchers and Food Club, I can make 200k or more a day. Before I struggled making 100k a day.
@got_milk_adoptions : I think my biggest surprise was seeing the inflation/deflation of certain items. Before I switched to this account as my main, I had saved up for a lab map. I went to check prices and they were over 1.7mil! I got mine back in the day for a small 500k. I was in complete shock!
@jrvw30 : I think I was most surprised at all of the stuff I was missing out on. I noticed when I came back that my pets were not as awesome as I always thought they were! I still love them though. I also did not have that many trophies at all, and I did not have any cool rare items. In retrospect, I totally would have invested in a few items back then that are worth a lot more now.
What's the best new thing?
@ily171717 : The best new thing is Trudy's Surprise! I love the extra boost to daily np making.
@got_milk_adoptions : From first impression of coming back, Trudy's Surprise was my favorite! I had no idea what it was, but after finding out what it had to offer, it became very exciting very quickly. After being here for a little bit, I've come to love how expanded the customization has become. When I left it was just starting. All the new features and options to create endless looks is just amazing. I applaud TNT for their work.
@ilikenoodleart18 : There are a few things I'm happy about. I appreciate the raised max limit of neomails I can have in my inbox. I like the new max limit you can bid in the trading post. I like Trudys surprise. And I really love food club.
Any advice for other returning players?
@ily171717 : My advice would be to give neo a real chance. After the first week I wasn't sure if I would stay, but I kept playing and I'm really glad I did. I've been able to complete some goals, earn some avatars, and I've made some good friends. Another recommendation would be to join a friendly guild that motivates you. My guild has been a big part of my comeback to neo. The friends I've made there help motivate me and complete my goals.
@got_milk_adoptions : Biggest advice would be to definitely check out some guides, ask questions, and explore! I was gone for years, and even though I've been back for a couple months, I still find something new every day that I've missed. Whether it be events, dailies, games, items... There is so much out there to discover!
@ilikenoodleart18 : Don't take it too seriously. If you start to get upset, you aren't having fun and it's not worth your time. Have a good time with the site. Find your niche. If you can't restock, play games. If you can't play games (like me), try restocking and find a guild. Train a battle pet. Write poetry. Draw your pets. Customize your pets. Collect avatars. There are so many different things you can do.
Based on the answers provided by Jacki, Savvy, JR, Jynx and Sierra, we have found a strong correlation with users returning for nostalgic reasons. The participants also found Neopets to be a welcomed distraction in their lives. Our interviewees were most surprised at the ease of acquiring Neopoints, but also the inflation and deflation of item prices. Some users expressed that this made obtaining goals easier, whereas another user expressed the shock of some items' decreases in value. The interview participants found Trudy's Surprise to be one of their favourite features as it allows gaining Neopoints to be easier. Users also found that customization has expanded a lot, and because of the endless possibilities, enjoyed this newer aspect as well.
The five participants finished their interview by providing advice to other users who recently returned to Neopets. The most important piece of advice reiterated is to ask questions and explore. People are out there to help, so don't be afraid to ask them! You might make some new friends on the way. There are so many avenues to explore, activities in which to participate and new friends to discover. Carly and I are both grateful to be back on Neopets. We hope to see you all around!