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My brother and I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably too much time. The site that we spend most time on is Neopets.com, a virtual pet site which my dad has renamed Neopests. I would like to give you a tour of the site so you can understand why it is that we love it, and why I am never on ciao - I'm always busy with neopets!
I apologise in advance for the length of this review but I feel I must include it all in order to do the site justice.
When you first visit arrive at neopets.com it can all seem a bit confusing as there is so much to do and so much going on. The homepage is layed out very much like the rest of the site. There is a banner at the top advertising other parts of the neopets site as well as off site links to sponsors. This is annoying but important as it enables neopets to be free to its users. You do not have to pay a penny for any of the sites features, and this makes the annoying adverts worthwhile. You will also notice the yellow navigation bar down the left had side of the site. This also features on every page on the site. The home page is then filled with news about the site and the all important "sign up" button. This is really the only time you need to use the homepage, so go on, sign up.
The sign up process is easy as pie. It asks you general information about yourself such as your name and email adress as well as your age group. Some features such as chatting to other members are limited for younger users. Note that the name you enter when signing up will be visible to all users so make up a name if you are not comfortable with this. You will get an email containing a code to confirm your sign up and then you can create your first pet.
There are loads of pets to choose from and they are all different made up animals. They include kacheeks, unis, skieths and other such oddly named creatures. There are several options to choose for your pet uncluding where you want them to live and thier temperament, although these don't actually mean anything once your pet is created so don't worry too much about it. Once you have our pet you are ready to enjoy all the features of the site and believe me there are loads of features. I will take you through them in the order they are listed on the navigation bar.
When you are logged in you will see your username, your pets name and the amount of neopoints you have. Neopoints are the currency used on the site. You earn them by playing games, and can spend them in shops.
Clicking your username takes you to your profile. This is viewable by all users and contains information about your account such as your name, how long you have been a member, your pets, prizes you have won, and other information that is useful to other users or just makes you look good.
Clicking your pets name will take you to a page that displays the stats for your pet for all users to see, and allows other people to challenge you to a fight.
CREATE A NEOPET
Well you can have up to four pets at a time so you might want to come back here, although nothing more I can really say about this part.
This section is basically where you find the information about your pets. There are several options at the top of this page.
Quick ref - This shows you your pets and petpets (a pet for your pet) and tells you about their needs and statistics.
Abilites - Here you can see the special powers your pet has gained. There are several types of Faeries that inhabit neopia (the world neopets live in) and you can buy a bottled faerie from a shop and release it. It then blesses you with an Ability. You can select up to seven of your abilities at a time and they are used to help you when fighting other pets.
Description - You may add your own description of your pet. this can be veiwed by other users.
Trophys - You can win trophys if you complete certain games or win competitions on the site. They are also awarded to the highest scoring player for each game at the end of every day.
Pets page - You are given a webpage for each of your pets which you can edit here if you wish. You can use the webspace for anything you like, although the neopets staff will delete your account if you post anything offensive here.
Feed pet - This is just a reference page for "newbies" about how to feed your pet.
Your items - This page shows you any items you are currently in posession of. Clicking on an item brings up a small window with information about that item and a list of options relating to it. Food items can be fed to your pet, toys can be played with, weapons can be given to your pet (called "equipped"), etc. You can also give the item to a friend, put it in your shop or safety deposit box, and a few other things depending on the type of item. You can buy items from shops, win them from games, or randomly find them on the site (a message will appear at the top of a page saying "something has happened........." and then explain what. This is known as a "random event" and can be good or bad).
Neohome - You may buy yourself a neohome here and build rooms and extentions. You can add furniture to it (you have to buy this from shops) and it is shown in your profile page for other users to see. You can't actually visit your neohome though, it is just a status symbol really.
Beauty contest - Users can submit a picture they have drawn and other users can vote for the best one. Not a feature I use, but you can win a trophy for it.
This page shows you the world of Neopia in all its glory. You can chose to view it in Flash (has some cute visual effects) or Html (faster loading). There are several areas refered to as worlds which i will breifly describe. In each world you can play games and visit shops as well as a few other activities.
Kreludor - Neopia's moon. Not much going on here, it is quite new to the site.
Terror Mountain - Here you can visit Happy Valley, The Ice Caves and Terror Mountian itself. It is a winter themed world. Interesting places here include the advent calendar (you get free stuff for visiting it in December), the neggery (Neggs are egg like items which are very collectable) and the Snowager (a snake like monster who sleeps at various points in the day. Visit him while he sleeps for a chance to steal an item from his treasure pile).
Tyrannia - A prehistoric world with a jungle and a volcano. Here you will find a giant omelette which you can steal a chunk from once a day.
Neopia Central - Home to most of the shops, a town centre type world. I will tell you more about it later.
Meridell - An olde worlde Robin Hood type place with a castle, a farm, and neighbouring towns Brightvale and Darigan. You can attempt to impress the king with a joke, pick your own berries, and bet on Turdle races.
Haunted Woods - The haunted woods are also home to the deserted fairground and have a spooky theme. You can go on knowledge quests for the brain tree, and play a host of fairground games (although most of them cost neopoints).
Lost desert - An egyption themed world where you can visit a magical shrine to win items or increase your pets stats, and play the fruit machine for free once a day.
Faerieland - A kingdom in the clouds where Faeries live. There is a City to visit with its own castle. The best bit is the healing springs which you may visit every 15 minutes and the faerie will try to heal your pet for free if it is ill.
Krawk Island - A pirate world where you can visit the gamble and search for treasure. There is a training school where you can pay to increase your pets stats.
Mystery Island - The home of Tiki Tack and coconuts. You should visit the tombola for a chance to win a free prize, and you can visit the mystic and get a haiku each day. There is also a training school here.
Virtipets Space Station - A space world I rarely visit. If you buy neopets merchandise in real life you get a code which you can redeem here for a rare neopian item.
The games are divided into three sections, Action (these require some skill with the mouse or keyboard), Puzzles (you have to think about these) and Luck/Chance (card games and such which require little skill/effort)
Some games are intergrated into the webpage - these generally cost some neopoints to play. Others are free and are played in a pop up type window. These require either shockwave or flash plugins which you may already have on your browser. If not you are given a link to download them. You have to wait up to a minute for these games to load each time you play them, and you are limited to 3 plays per day.
There are hundreds of games to play so I will describe a few of my favourites so you get the idea.
Ultimate bullseye - This is an archery game also found in meridell. You have to use the arrow keys to aim the hold the space bar to power the shot, and release it to fire.
Sahkmet Solitaire - Solitaire but you get neopoints for playing. It takes ages to play as the page reloads everytime you move a card so not good on a dial up connection.
Black Pawkeet Slots - A fruit machine that hurls pirate style insults at you when you win. A great way to waste time and neopoints.
Turmac Roll - A little turmac (one of the petpets) rolls in a ball and you have to make him jump over trees and catch berrys using the arrow keys.
Sutek's Tomb - You have a board filled with coloured shapes. You have to swap two shapes to make 3 of a kind in a row.
The Castle of Elive Thade - Solve anagrams to move around a spooky castle and collect items.
There are loads more games and there is definitely something to suit everyone. Most games pay out up to 1000 neopoints (np's) but it depends on how good you are!
This is basically an email system you can use to message other members. You can build a contacts list (called neofriends) if you feel that way inclined. Mine is full of random people who never speak to me. You can block people if they annoy you. I don't use this much.
Remember Neopia Central I mentioned earlier? Well this is a quick link to it. It is also the main part of the site other than games. There is a mini navigation bar across the top with the main features, starting with:
My Items. This is the same as the My Items covered in Pet Central above. (confusing I know, but you get used to it). There are literally thousands of different items ranging from junk worth 1np to collectables worth millions.
Your Shop - You can sell thing you don't want anymore in your very own shop. You can also use it as a gallery to display things you collect. Things you price above 100,000np cannot be bought so it is a safe way to show people your collection. You can sell anything you have in My Items as long as you price it below this figure.
Guilds - This feature confused me for ages. It is basically a load of mini clubs run by neopets users. You can join any of the guilds you like the sound of. Each guild has its own message board, and many run their own competitions. If you are a serious addict you could try running your own guild but beware all the little american kids who join and nag at you for items and stuff (no offence to american kids but some of them are pains in the bums). There are some guilds were adult neopians get together and whinge about the kids, but this is a kids site essentially and you will see loads of guilds based on kids interests. Not my scene.
Auctions - Another way to sell stuff. Not as sofisticated as eBay but it has a search feature and you can even set your auction so that only your neofriends can bid. You will get a neomail when your auction finishes to tell you if you were successful and how much you got. Your item is automatically swapped for the buyers neopoints, and if you are the winning bidder for an item you will notice your neopoints disappear and the item you won appears in My Items.
Notice Board - you can pay to advertise your shop. I don't ever use this link. It seems quite pointless.
Shop Wizard - aka The Wiz. You can type in the item you are interested and the wiz provides you with a list of user shops selling that item in order of price. You can use this to check prices of any item costing under 100,000np (remember anything priced over this cannot be bought as it is considered a gallery item). You can also use it to buy things at the lowest price (this is why I don't use the notice board, it is full of adverts for expensive shops).
Battledome - Here you can fight other pets in the two player mode or standard oponants in the one player mode. The higher your pets stats, the more chance it has of winning. The battledome can be very confusing but once you have figured it out it can be quite fun. The percentage of 1 player fights you win is displayed on your profile.
Main Shops/Bazaar - This is where you find neopian shops. They are different to the user shops and are not included on the wiz searches. They are often sold out but if you are lucky enough to catch it when it has just restocked (aparently every 8 mins or so) you can often get items cheaper than the wiz prices. I would advise you to have a second window open so you can check the price before you buy. You may haggle in neopian shops and can sometimes get things as little as half price. Beware though, too much haggling and you may get thrown out the shop!
Market Place - This is another way of getting to user shops. I find it pointless when you could just use the wiz.
Merchandise - Information about real life neopets merchandise, mainly american I believe.
Price Changes - A list of price changes in neopian shops, really boring and pointless.
Bank - To protect your money from bad random events you can open a bank account. You get interest on your account but you have to manually collect it by visiting the bank daily. You also get free use of a safety deposit box (see below).
Trading Post - Also found on mystery island, here you can offer items for trade. You can include up to 10 items per lot, and there is space to write what you would like to swap them for. This is where expensive items are sold because you can offer other items as well as neopoints. Unlike the auctions though any bid you place can be rejected by the lot owner. You can browse lots by either most recent or a keyword search.
Money Tree - Users can donate items to the money tree and can visit it to try and grab items there. You grab an item by clicking it, but unless you have a super fast internet conection it is likely that all the items will have been taken by the time the page loads. Also most items are useless and worthless.
Safety Deposit Box (sdb) - Things in My Items are vulnerable to random events, and you can only hold 50 items there at any one time so the sdb is a safe place to store things you want to keep. You get unlimited storage but you have to have a bank account to use this feature.
Your Neohome - Another way to get to your neohome, covered above.
This section of the site is for the forums. There are about 20 forums or message boards for discussing different aspects of neopia eg. guilds, games, the battledome etc. You can also change some of your options in this section, including your avatar. There are a few standard avatars as well as many secret ones which you can unlock by doing certain things around the site. For more information on these you can do a google search and many sites list the avatars and what you have to do to get them. The number you have collected is shown in your profile.
Here you will find all the current and archived news from neopia. Things like new games, avatars and items are posted here, as well as special events, competition winners and other interesting neopian stuff. Regular users will find this section useful although if you just pop in every now and then to play the games you probably won't be interested if a new sandwhich flavour has gone on sale.
I dont think I have even been here before, but it is a collection of screensavers and such for you to download if you want them. So exciting!
Here you can search the help files for keywords, or browse the different sections. There is an HTML guide if you need help making your pet page or editing your shop or user profile. I used it a lot when I first started playing neopets a few years ago. It tells you all sorts of useful things you may not know to begin with and can help you get to grips with the site.
LOGIN AND LOG OUT
Self explanitory really. You stay logged in to your account until you log out so if you use a public computer remember to log out.
There is also a general search box, a clock showing NST (neopian standard time), another advert, language selection and a "link to us" (gives you a link to refer people, you get prizes for doing this)
OTHER STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
Neopets is a childrens site so it is against the rules to swear or discuss inapropriate topics. It is forbidden to even discuss boyfriends/girlfriends on the forums. The Neopets team will close accounts of people found to be breaking these rules. Mostly it seems they do a good job, although you do get the odd few people who think its funny to draw boobs on the forums using brackets and full stops.
There are also a lot of scams around where people send you a fake log in page in order to find out your password and steal your account. Always check the address bar and never log in to a page called anything other than neopets.com/somethingorother.
There are lots of neopets related fan sites on google which have information and help on all aspsects of neopets so if you can't find what you want to know on the site itself then try a google search.
Occasionally the site goes offline for the inevitable maintainance, and you are greeted by the "neopets is down for maintanance" page. It can sometimes take an hour or so to get back to normal but this is rare. You can also get this page if the site is exceptionally busy but simply refreshing normally sorts this out.
If you sign up using this adress I will get points for refering you so go and check it out!
god i live on this site! my fave games suteks too! ive got a quiggle and a chia who live on mystery island! im useless at the tornaments / battledomes though, and i still dont understand loads on there! a great review of a fun site! :) x
motherjoanb 12.05.2005 14:29
Excellent review, you have discribed the site so well. I too have neopets, Joan x
bad_bob00 28.04.2005 00:35
Excellent review, very detailed and very well read. Will have to give it a try one day! Matt