Advantages Free, fun, completely engaging and I am being forced to say the meepits
Disadvantages CUSTOMER SERVICE. BAD DECISION MAKING. Neocash, Viacom, freezing and the focus on Americans
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As I mentioned below the Altador Cup is a main attraction of the site, occurring once a year and a highlight for many of us. So TNT in their almighty wisdom decided to mess with it and break that which didn't need fixing. They changed the entire main game of the tournament to a game that is slow, laggy, and completely unsuitable for people with hand disabilities such as arthritis, even originally impossible to play for left handed people. It used to be mouse controlled and easy enough to play; considering to get the all star rank you need to play it 2000 times over a month this makes sense. And they broke it by turning it into a poor substitution which is honestly the worst game I and many others have ever played.Now, anyone can make a mistake. And when you've got well over 3000 people screaming at you to change it back or at least make it less awful you'd think they might just get the message. Within 12 hours 1500 had signed a petition, people were baying for their blood on their Facebook page, sending in multiple complaints through their official complaints page and generally screaming the house down. Any sensible company would accept that something had gone seriously wrong, particularly when people start revoking premium membership and quitting the site.
So, what did they do? The battened down the hatches and tried to weather out the storm. In fact they completely ignored us. After 25 hours when it was obvious we weren't shutting up they sent out a generic, patronising response to all of us basically telling us that 'Mummy knows best dear, and you'll have to deal with it. Needless to say this merely provoked more fury. But, after that nothing. And unfortunately any good Mummy knows when to give in and give their screaming infants ice cream. So, people start sending in complaints to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to Viacom who own them...just about anywhere and still they treat us like ignorant children who don't know any better. And to make things even worse they then started deleting comments and silencing people of the boards to shut us up. I have never seen this amount of people this inflamed and I have never been this furious. A group have even located their fax number and business phone number to keep hammering the complaints in.I have never been more furious with a business in my lifetime. I have never written so many letters of complaint and I have never been so disgusted by the customer services of any group of people or company. I understand that they were somewhat ploughed in by complaints but that alone should say enough. But instead of actually doing anything to fix the problem they just stuck their heels in and demanded that they were right and that we should leave them alone now. I have been disgusted, disappointed and appalled by the behaviour and bad decision making of The Neopets Team. This could have been a small issue, easily solved by compromise but they have allowed it to spiral out of control because they were determined to weather the storm. Instead they have just offended everyone.
For the minute I am sticking around to see if they will see sense. If they don't then they don't deserve my custom and I will be out of there. I refuse to be patronised and I refuse to put up with such appalling lack of common courtesy. They still haven't given us an answer. I'll leave the site with many happy memories, but I will also leave with the bitterness, distaste and anger that this has left me with. There is also a high chance that I am going to log into hotmail shortly and find that my account has been deleted as they don't like people who make their lives difficult and often find it easier to freeze them for some made up reason. And I have been making their lives difficult; I have just had an email from the BBB saying that my complaint has been accepted and forwarded and I have been very vocal about my disgust...including linking them to every review I have written, informing them of every complaint to outside organisations I have made and joining the campaign to ensure they have 8000 faxes on their desk on Tuesday morning.New conclusion: Unless you like a company destroying the most important parts of the site, refusing to respond to complaints, refusing to back down and generally behaving in a patronising manner to its clients then I would stay well away. It is a fantastic place until something goes wrong. Then it is atrocious.
Before I start this review I probably ought to make it very clear that yes, I am just a large child! I started playing neopets nearly eight years ago, and have played it on and off since then, although somehow I managed to keep my original account even after being absent for over two years on one occasion! It is an oddly addictive site and can provide many hours of amusement for players of any age.
From that point onwards it is your mission to collect neopoints (the in-game currency) by playing games, restocking items at shops to sell for higher prices, investing in shares or winning contests. You can then choose to wisely invest your neopoints in the bank and watch as it blooms into credit of a generous amount (sorry, couldn't resist!), or of course you can blow it all on collectables, clothing or anything else you fancy.
My main focus with my pets has been tdub my Kougra, and I have worked very hard to paint him faerie, read him lots of books to raise his intelligence and have trained him for the Battledome. My eventual aim is to have him at the trophy standard of books read (only 3500 to go!) and able to destroy anything in the Battledome which isn't going to happen any time soon. But I also collect trophies, plushies and stamps and have built my gallery around my plushie collection. Neopets has always kept me interested because there is always something more I can do, and it is entirely based around what you want to do or collect.
Whenever a plot or event is released the citizens of Neopia all get very excited and it reaches fever pitch on the boards and other areas of the site. The last plot caused the crash of Faerieland into the ground after a betrayal of the worst kind, leaving the faeries to rebuild their beautiful landscape. Because am very, very sad I devoted a lot of hours to the plot...and did rather well out it if I do say so myself!
Another related issue is with people being frozen, which means that your account is locked until further notice. Now, The Neopets Team does state that nobody is frozen without good reason, but my personal opinion is that they are perhaps a little more trigger happy on the freeze button than they are willing to admit. There are too many people frozen for 'cheating' or for their own 'protection', who either have no idea what they've been frozen for, or have been told why but are certain that they have done nothing wrong. I recognize that people do cheat, but I am well acquainted with many people who have been frozen and like me they value their accounts far too much to put it in jeopardy. And we're back to the customer service issue, as once you've been frozen you are going to have hell's own game getting your account back, even if you have done nothing wrong. And although it sounds ridiculous, I would be devastated if I lost my account having put so many years and so much effort into it.Neocash and premium. I touched on this before. This is the bane of our life for players like myself, who refuse to put real money into a virtual world. The existence of it doesn't bother me at all, although others are put out by the very notion of it. As far as I see it, it you're idiotic enough to spend real money on VIRTUAL clothes for VIRTUAL pets then be my guest, but don't expect me to join in. What I find irritating is the precedence that people paying premium or for neocash get as The Neopets Team puts far more of an effort into making items for that much smaller minority, than for the majority of us who actually own brains. This does however leave many of us feeling a little bit neglected, and a little bit bitter.
The focus on America. Now, this really winds me up. Prepare for the rant. I fully understand that neopets is an American site originally, it was set up there and most of the employees are based there. However, it has been running for over a decade now and surely they must recognise that a large proportion of their players are from places other than the USA. But still they insist on putting up promotional offers and free stuff that is only available to players in the US, who aren't even paying their own money for the privilege of being special. To many of us from outside the US, who have been long term, loyal members of the site this is a complete slap in the face, particularly when it happens again, and again, and again. And for those of us who refuse to pay for neocash and live outside the US, we are even more neglected!There are of course other niggles including the advertisements (get Ad-Blocker Plus and be done with it), the fact that the site has become more child orientated (well, what did we expect really?), and constant glitches (blame the meepits). What amazes me is that people have even set up anti-Neopets websites including stories and rants – although some some did amuse me as they were childish, petty and unfounded!
After eight years on the game I still haven't run out of things to do, which is really quite impressive. I still have many more aims and many more ambitions for my empire on the site, including completing both versions of Neoquest on InSaNe (the hardest, near impossible difficulty), completing my stamp album (some stamps in themselves cost over 50 million neopoints!), completing my book collection read to my pet (same issue as the stamps), building on my plushie collection, gaining more game trophies (which means I actually have to be good at some of the games!) and having a neopoint account balance of over 50 million. As you can see I have quite a few goals, and can see myself quite happily continuing to work at them for many years to come...if I haven't been frozen by then!
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