Return to the Past… Again!

Have I mentioned I’m really bad at keeping promises to myself? I’m sure I have.

Way back in 2013, I talked about rejoining Neopets, a game I played a lot in my childhood, and being “determined” to stick around. As I’m sure you can guess from the first sentence, that didn’t happen. Six years later, I’m on there again! This time, I didn’t lose my passwords because I kept them in a Word document. I confess it’s name to see so much age on my accounts. Of course, with the site being twenty years old, there are much older accounts than mine. Too bad I didn’t discover it when I was five. I started when I was around ten, so my very first account would be 14 or 15 years old by now. Darn it! Then again, ten-year-old me had very bad taste in usernames.

Anyway, as I do with most things, I did a little bit of research on what’s happened with the site lately. It still has a good user base, but I also found some things that were very unsettling, to say the least. Specifically, incidents of fraud and horrible customer service, some incidents dating back to when I was still a child. However, as I said in my last post about reviews, those kind of complaints are to be taken with a grain of salt.

There’s something in one particular review about Neopets on a website called Site Jabber that stuck out to me and prompted me to create this post.

Getting a million Neopoints is a difficult task on its own, and by just playing a few games, it could take well over a year to get that. If that’s the case, can anyone imagine trying to earn 50 million NP or 100 million NP for those Battledome weapons and other useful paintbrushes and potions? No. It was out of reach for probably 90% of players. Basically, anything that can make the game more useful or interesting for you is impossible to achieve so why bother?

That was why cheating was rampage.. because no one could make that many Neopoints legitimately.

This. Is. False!

Unlike our very depressing world, Neopets really is an equal opportunity place. In fact, new users have a much better head start now than new users when I was a kid. It is time-consuming, but that goes for any game you want to make a lot of progress in. Now, I never reached millions, but I did reach one million on Neopets some years with zero cheating done. In an unrelated game, I also made a million in that currency without cheating. It may not be possible to do everything a game has to offer, but it is possible to become “rich” in any virtual setting if you put in the time and effort. And if you don’t want to, no judgment. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun, not a struggle. But that’s not a reason to violate the site’s rules and complain when you’re rightfully banned for it.

This person is correct that getting a million neopoints (the currency of the website’s virtual world) is difficult, and it would take a long time if you relied solely on games. But games are not the only way to make neopoints. There are actually many guides written about this, one of the best by a user I admire named Jenesis. Her guide is old, but it’s still relevant, as it’s very informative and probably my favorite guide on the subject.

Basically, anything that can make the game more useful or interesting for you is impossible to achieve so why bother?

This particular part is the next thing that bothers me so much. First of all, if everything that would make the site better for you involves striking rich in virtual currency, that’s a personal problem, not the staff’s fault. I was “poor” for most of my time on Neopets, yet I never had a problem having fun with the site before other things took more of my interest. Years ago, there was website dedicated to stories of how players became so addicted to the site, it bordered on being akin to a drug to them (video game addiction). Even if everything that improve personal experience does require being rich, it’s not impossible. Again, it takes a lot of time and effort. It irritates me to hell when people insist because they can’t, or won’t, do something, it’s not possible for anybody.

This untrue review continues:

This once “free” game with some advertising became a massive bloat of ads and then started to ask you to pay for Neopets Premium. Then you had to pay for items and then Neopet clothes. Now, you probably have to pay for everything.

This review is from 2016, and the bold word makes it more evident this person is exaggerating. For starters, the game is still ultimately free. Neopets does have a premium subscription and while they do advertise it (like every site ever with a premium service!), it’s not mandatory. You don’t have to pay for items and clothing. Spending any amount of real money for Neopets is purely optional. It’s no different than free games with in-app purchases. Spending real money gives you an advantage, but it’s not necessary to play the game. There is nothing users playing for free can’t achieve that users who pay for the premium subscription can. And while ads are annoying (again, this applies to any site, not just Neopets), you don’t need their premium service to block the ads. An ad blocker will do just fine. I use AdBlock Plus in Firefox.

There is a feature called the NC (NeoCash) Mall, which only uses real currency, but again, it’s optional. There’s no need to spend your real money.

Some other complaints are about being banned for legitimate offenses, like buying NeoCash or Neopoints from outside sources. Their virtual currency is not allowed to be sold! Buying their currency outside of their website is on the user, not the staff, and they state in their rules it isn’t allowed. The only exception is their own merchandise, for obvious reasons.

I don’t doubt there are legitimate complaints because no company is perfect and there are cold people out there. But a lot of ban complaints seem to be about cheating or falling for scams. While I have some sympathy for the latter, most common scams on the site won’t get you banned so much as inconvenience you for a while if you fall for them. To get banned for falling for a scam rather than being the perpetrator of one, my best guess is the scam took place outside of Neopets and involved something along the lines of selling their currency or items, which, again, is not allowed. Perhaps this is where I’m being judgmental, but that seems like an easy scam to avoid falling for. If it’s outside of Neopets, don’t buy it.

I chose to spend some real money for the site (back when I was a regular player) because I liked it that much and I could. Heck, now that I’m returning again, I spent some real money. I paid for one month of their premium service, though I cancelled automatic renewal because I don’t yet know if I’ll want to continue with it. Spending money for Neopets isn’t different than spending money on other games. Look at The Sims! Their current iteration has twenty-six packs. Including the base game, that would total $560, and that’s just the PC version. At least, you don’t have to download Neopets on every computer you want to play it on! I can play Neopets on break at school!

I Kept My Word

I think this will be my last post mentioning anything about The Sims 4, or the series at all.

I once said to myself I’d give TS4 a year before I wrote it off permanently. Now, that got cut short because of some incredible arrogance I got thrown toward me from the fans, but in the end, I simply stayed the heck away from them and kept an eye on the game myself.

Well, the first anniversary is a month away and it’s been…a very dull ride.

There are seven packs for this game: Outdoor Retreat, Get to Work, Luxury Party, Perfect Patio, Spa Day, Cool Kitchen, and Get Together. Out of those seven, only four interest me, though I only have two at the minute. However, even those two feel somewhat lackluster to me.

I played Outdoor Retreat once and never again. It’s a nice pack, but unfortunately, I’m not a frequent vacationer. It’s useful if I want my sims to go play in the woods, but that’s about it.

Get to Work is better, but they could’ve done a ton more with it. The workplaces aren’t even on the map! They’re only accessible by those in the respective career. For a science lab, that makes sense. A hospital and a police station? No. And the tasks got repetitive fast.

I avoided the stuff packs because I’m not a fan of partying themes. Heck, EA even advertised GTW as being about partying. Why that was necessary is not something I can understand, but I’ve stopped trying to figure them out anyway.

I’m glad there are people who are in love with Sims 4, but my personal time with it is up. I’m not following any more news for it, nor will I continue following any accounts of the staff/gurus. Never did I think I’d say this about a Sims game, but I’m done. I’m done with this particular game and any future iterations of it. The Sims is one of my favorite series, but EA/Maxis has killed it for me. Nothing has wowed me about this game and the last thing I was excited for was the GTW expansion, which died when I finally played it. I’m not going to keep getting my hopes up and, frankly, I have no hopes left for the game at all.

So, I guess this is my goodbye to the series. I am not giving up the games I already have, but I will not be a part of the series’ future. I hope everyone else continues having fun with it.

Where I Stand

I didn’t really enjoy 2014 and I don’t think 2015 will be much different. However, it seems I’m on good standing for the time-being. My only concern is finding a job. Really, at this rate, I’m looking for multiple jobs, but I’ve got to start with one.

I have a relationship that seems to be slowly and steadily progressing. Sunny does want to see me, and the silly arguments have become less frequent and replaced by “lovey-dovey” silliness. Hopefully, we’ll meet each other during one of the remaining 360 days. He hasn’t said much more about the illness he has, so I assume he’s alright for the present. That’s my biggest hope for this year. He survives that illness.

I’ve started an art blog (linked under my list of Tumblr ones). I’ve settled on becoming a freelance animator and web designer. I still have no clue how to start, but I figured an art blog is a good first step. Of course, I have to improve my art and that’s what that blog is for. I have a lot of work to do. I’ve started with at least one drawing a week so far. Some by hand and some by computer. I know how to create animation. After I improve my art, I have to learn how to make good animation. And I do plan to attend college for those careers eventually, but not for a few more years. I’m going to work first. It’s a slow start, but it’s still a start.

I’m also keeping myself busy with games and writing. I know it’s not really work, but I can’t just lay around because I’m out of school. I’m writing chapters for my Sims games and OC groups, and playing through the newest Pokémon games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. I also have certain characters and outfits I need to draw for more than one of my series. I’m not really worrying about getting a driver’s license since the only car we have can’t legally be driven (no insurance).

I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew because that’s what usually causes me to fail, but I’ve said I want to learn more languages and I think I may start using DuoLingo to do that. Perhaps not now, but when I get more of this stuff done. And I will finally finish up the Sailor Moon 90s anime. It’s really ridiculous I haven’t finished it yet.

I’m also going to delete the Pokémon Platinum wedlocke I was doing. That’s simply not something I’m going to get done, so there’s no point in leaving it there. I don’t like to be on camera anyway.

Mundane Monday: Pucca

During my junior year of high school, when my 2nd school gave their students iPads, my best friend got me hooked on a game called Pucca’s Restaurant (now called Pucca n’ Friends, it seems). Along with Star Girl, the game became my favorite and I was sad when I couldn’t play it anymore.

Now that I have my own iPad, I’m free to play it as much as I want. Like Star Girl, this game is simple, but a lot of fun. My best friend is at level 81 with this game and her restaurant looks fabulous! I’ve got a long way to go to catch up with her. About 71 levels to be more specific.