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Introduction ---------------- Neopets has to be one of the best websites I've ever had the pleasure to register with. There is so much to do on this website that it is quite hard to pick the best parts to review it but I will do my best to highlight what I consider are the most interesting parts of Neopets and also to point out some of the problems I've had in the past.
For those who don't know about Neopets it was originally opened in 1999 as a website for kids where they could adopt a pet. These aren't your run of the mill pets like cats, dogs, hamsters etc. The type of pets you look can look after go by the exotic names of 'Shoyru', 'Mynci', Kacheek' and 'Blumaroo' to name but a few. In fact, at the moment there are over 50 different pet species to choose from and more are added all the time. Some of the pets are based on real life animals, such as Mynci (monkey), Jetsam (shark) and Blumaroo (kangaroo) whereas others are totally made up like the Chia and the Kacheek. You can also pick the colour of your pet, red, yellow, green or blue to start with (others are available later).
You start off with just one and you can create upto or adopt upto 4 others. You can also put them up for adoption which means that other players of Neopets, or 'Neopians' can adopt them. There are many things you can do with your pets, such as play with them, dress them & battle with them.
Neopets is free but you will need to earn 'virtual money', known as neopoints, for you to do a lot of the activities. Luckily, it is relatively easy to earn money and there are many ways of doing it. One of the most popular ways is by playing the games. With the money you earn, you can buy items that can be used with your pet.
Site Design & Ease of Use ------------------------------------ The site looked the same for years then all of a sudden it was redesigned a few months ago. Although I think the old layout was better, the new design is relatively easy to navigate; the menu is horizontal across the top of the page. The colour scheme is yellow, but there are various things you can do to 'unlock' different colours and themes.
Profile & Communication ---------------------------------- On Neopets, you get your own profile which can be modified to let people know all about you. Neopets doesn't allow you to give too much away, for example your age is hidden and you can tell people which country you live but not city or even state / county. There is no function to search for people by name, country or sex, in fact the only way to find someone is to search for their username directly. I think this is good because it is a site for kids it helps to keep them safe. It also prevents unwanted attention from the point of a young lady! Your profile displays your pets, any trophies you have won, how many avatars you have collected (more on this later), your game scores, a logo showing how long you've been a member for and a couple of other things.
There is a message board which can be posted on. There are different topic boards you can post on such as a help section and a newbies section. It is not very sophisticated in that you can't search for past posts and can't see messages you have previously posted, the posts scroll off the pages after they have not been replied to for a while and they are never seen again. The message board is monitored at all times, all inappropriate posts are deleted and the authors either cautioned or banned.
There is a new craze going on amongst Neopians to collect as many 'avatars' as possible, which are little 50x50 pixel square pictures which are displayed under your username on the message boards. There are loads of different ways to collect them and some are easier to get than others. There are currently nearly 300 to collect all in all, and more are added all the times.
To talk to Neopians directly you can send them a neomail. This is just a virtual message which arrives in their inbox. You can also add people as your Neofriends.
World ---------- There is a map which you can click on in Neopets which is an illustrated map of the 'Neo world'. Within this world there are many lands which you can explore. Each land has stories revolving around it to do with fictional characters and sometimes the stories allow you to get involved in some way or other, such as in the battledome.
The worlds are:
Terror Mountain - This is a wintery land which has three parts to it, the bottom of the mountain, the inside and the top. A monster called the Snowager lives inside the mountain.
Faerieland - This is the land in which the faeries live in, a great big cloud floating above Neopia!!
Haunted Woods - Everything is spooky in this land. There is a fairground here where you can have a go on the stalls but they are really hard to win prizes.
Tyrannia - A prehistoric land can be found here. It is also rather strangely the home to a large omelette where you can grab some free food.
Mystery Island - This is a tropical island which I think is loosely based on Hawaii. There are many 'tiki' themed things to do here and is also where you can find the lost city of Geraptiku.
Lost Desert - A beautiful Egyptian themed land can be found here. There is a city here known as Sakhmet.
Krawk Island - This is a land which is inhabited by pirates! There is a legendary Neopet called the Krawk which is only available from this island.
Kredulon - Hovering above Neopia is a space station called Kredulon. This is home to the Neopet Grundo.
There are also 3 mini lands, they are:
Roo Island - Small island inhabited by Blumaroos. Is also home to Count Von Roo.
Kiko Lake - A lake inhabited by Kikos, a nautical creature.
Jelly World - This is a 'secret' world in that it is not linked to anywhere on the site, you have to find it. It's easy enough, just go to neopets.com/jelly
Games ---------- There are over 150 games to play on Neopets. These are separated into the following categories: action, adventure, arcade classic, board game, card games, educational, for kids, luck / chance, most challenging, multiplayer, puzzles, quiz games, sports, strategy & word games. As you can see, there is quite a variety! There are games which are on the site all the time, with these you win a trophy if you manage to get one of the highest scores. You also earn neopoints depending on how high your score is. There is a limit though, you can only earn points from the same game three times a day, but you can play as many games as you want of course. There are also sponsored games which are on the site for a few weeks and then disappear.
Scammers & Hacking ------------------------------ There is a bit of a problem with 'scammers' and hackers on Neopets. There are many Neopians who think it is easier to trick other players out of their neopoints using a variety of scams. Although if you use your common sense you should be ok, but if you are not expecting it you may fall for it. Unfortunately hacking is also a problem. I had my first account hacked into after two years of playing, and sadly never got it back as they changed the email address it was registered to. This can be really heart breaking for some of the younger players, even as a teenager I got upset at losing all the money and rewards I had earnt as it took me ages!
Modifying Your Pets ----------------------------- Once you have your pets you are able to change their colour and even their species using a variety of methods. The most common way is to buy a paintbrush or potion for your pet. There are other ways of doing it but I will let you find those out for yourself! You don't have to stick to normal colours either, there are paintbrushes that paint your pet Starry, Egyptian, Halloween and many more!
More recently you can now buy clothes that your pets can actually wear and backgrounds to put behind their picture.
You can also improve their intelligence and battle statistics. To improve the pet's intelligence the most common way to do it is to buy them books to read. Be careful though as books vanish as soon as they are read!
To improve their battle skills, you can take them to one of three training schools (only 2 are available when you first start). Here you can improve their skills of defence, strength, speed and increase their hitpoints and level. I will explain more about what this means below.
Battledome ---------------- You are able to battle your pets against other people's pets and also against other Neopets 'computer' opponents. If you have ever played pokemon on gameboy it works pretty similar to that does. You get a have a certain amount of hit points and you also have points for speed, defense and attack. There is also 'level' which seems a bit pointless to me as nothing really happens when you reach a certain level. If you take your pets to a training school to increase their points you have to raise all their points so they are roughly along the same level, for example you can't increase your pets to have 50 defense points but only 20 attack points. In theory, the higher these points are the more chance you have to win. However, you can also buy weapons / defence items to help you out and the better your weapon is the better chance you will have! You also get the chance to give your pets 'abilities' to use in the battledome. These include 'heal' which can be used to recover lost hit points.
There are two ways to fight in the battledome, you can fight against other Neopian's pets or you can fight against various computer opponents in what's known as '1 player battles'. There are computer opponents ranging from beginners to advanced.
Every now and then there is a 'war' which you can take part in by fighting 1 player battles. You get a prize at the end depending on how much you participate.
Overall Impression -------------------------- As you can see, there is a lot to this website and I have only really scratched the surface! There is much to see and do here and particularly for kids it is really fun. Adults can also enjoy it as there is no age limit.
If anyone would like to join up, please do so with this link: www.neopets.com