Neopets for Absolute Beginners
So, you've just signed up to this colourful, busy-looking website called Neopets.com. Maybe you were introduced by a friend or relative, or maybe you've stumbled across the site by yourself and got curious. Congratulations! You're the newest member of a site enjoyed by millions of users around the world.
You might be finding yourself a little confused at the moment, though, and that's natural. There's so much on Neopets that it can be a bit overwhelming for new players (known as "newbies"). Don't worry! You've managed to find your way to Jellyneo, the shiniest fan-made Neopets help site on the Internet, and we're ready to help you every step of the way, starting right now. So let's get started!
What's This "Neopets" Thing?
At the simplest level, Neopets is an online game where you take care of a fantasy creature called a Neopet. Like the electronic "virtual pets" that were popular a few years ago, your Neopet gets hungry if not fed regularly, and can be made happier with toys and grooming. However, if you can't be on the site every day, don't worry too much -- your Neopet won't run away and you won't be treated as a bad owner for failing to feed him or her. Unlike your household pets in the real world, Neopets can talk, read, fight, learn, play cards, go on adventures, and take care of smaller pets of their own. Some of them can even fly!
As a newbie, it's probably a good idea to stick to owning one or two Neopets until you've figured out how the site works. You can own up to four at a time (and if you choose to have more than one account, you can potentially own as many as twenty, though there are extra rules governing that), but only one (your "active Neopet") will be displayed around the site when you play games and interact with other users. Unlike the characters on some sites, this Neopet isn't intended to be a representation of "you" -- rather, you're the human "caretaker" or "parent" of however many pets you own. People you meet will call you by the username you log into the site with, not the name of your pet.
Neopets invites you to create your first Neopet as part of the signup process, so you've probably already met your new companion. It's worth noting that it isn't strictly necessary to create a brand-new pet when you make an account, though -- once you've verified your email address, you also have the option of adopting a pet who already exists, but doesn't currently have an owner. You'll be able to do the exact same things with your Neopet no matter whether he/she is created or adopted, so don't stress too much about the decision.
You can check on your Neopet at any time by clicking his or her picture on the top left panel of the site.
Take good care of me!
Looking After Your Neopet
You'll probably get the most out of this game if your Neopet is happy and well-fed. How do you manage this? The simplest way is to use items. Items can be bought from other users (more on that in a minute) or found around the site. As a new player, you should have received a few free items to start you off.
To see your items, choose Inventory from the Customise menu. You'll see a screen displaying what you're currently carrying.
Click an item to use it. A pop-up window will appear containing a drop-down menu (if it doesn't, make sure your adblocker is set to allow Neopets.com). Choose "Play with" for a toy, or "Feed to" for an item of food, and press the button to make it happen! Food will disappear when eaten (fairly logically), and makes your pet less hungry. Toys (and grooming items, which work in exactly the same way) make your pet happier, and will remain in your inventory to be used again and again.
Beware: If you own one of the two species of pet pictured below, there will be an option to feed them non-food items in the menu window. Don't do this! If you feed your pet a toy, you will not get it back!
If you're going to be away from the site for a while, or are just too busy to come online regularly, you can send your pets to a hotel instead of feeding them every day. This doesn't make your pets any happier, but it will stop them getting hungry.
An important thing to remember about items is that more expensive or harder-to-get things are not necessarily better. In fact, in most cases, there is no difference in effect between common toys and foods and rarer ones. Your pet will be just as happy playing with a Blue Ixi Plushie (one of the commonest toys on the site) as he or she will with a Faerie Queen Doll (a luxury toy bought only by collectors).
Your pet can occasionally also become sick. There are lots of different illnesses, but they all have the same effect; your pet will look ill and beaten-up wherever you see his or her image, and will not be able to fight in the Neopets Battledome. There are items you can use to cure sicknesses if you're in a hurry, but it's much more economical to get your pet cured for free by visiting the Healing Springs every half-hour. Ill pets can gradually become unhappy, but you can solve this by playing with toys as usual.
Points Mean Purchases!
The Neopets game is set in a fictional world called Neopia. For practical purposes, this world has a single currency: the Neopoint, often abbreviated to "NP". You can see how many Neopoints you're currently carrying in the top right-hand corner of the site, next to your username.
There are many ways to earn Neopoints; we have an article that covers them in more detail. The simplest and most common way, though, is by playing the games that appear on the site. You'll need to install Adobe Flash Player to play most of them--the download shouldn't take too long over a normal connection. There are heaps of different games to try, from word puzzles and tower defence to shooting games and action-packed obstacle courses. There are even a few games you might already know how to play. Whichever you choose, Jellyneo has lots of guides and walkthroughs to help you get started.
Once you have some money, you can go shopping. The Shop Wizard in the Shops menu lets you search through items other players have for sale. There are all kinds of items you can buy:
- Food makes your pet less hungry.
- Toys and grooming items make your pet happier.
- Weapons let your pet play in a special play-fighting arena called the Neopets Battledome.
- Wearables are for dressing up your pet and bringing out his or her individual style.
- Petpets are smaller inhabitants of Neopia that you can give your pet to look after. They don't need feeding and can't talk.
There are other types of item too, including some that don't do anything but just make pretty gifts. You can use our Item Database to make sure you know what an item is for before you buy it.
Should you bother earning Neopoints? On the one hand, there are many things you won't be able to do without them. You need NP to play chance games like Cheat!, to buy items from other players or from the NPC-run shops around the site, and to put your pets in a hotel. On the other hand, don't worry too much if you're having trouble earning them at first. There are plenty of free activities on Neopets, including some that might give you items if you're lucky! If you really have no Neopoints at all, you can even ask the Soup Faerie to feed your pets for free.
It's always sunny in a rich man's world...
Like so many things, Neopets is far more fun if you have good friends to share it with. Even if you can't persuade any of your real-world friends to join you on the site, you can always talk to people and make friends on Neopets itself.
The private messaging system on Neopets is called Neomail. It can't handle any complicated code or very long messages, but it's great when you just want to let friends know how you're doing. You can find it in the My Account menu.
A good place to meet new people is the Neoboards, Neopets' on-site forum section. There are forums for many different topics, from Flash games to writing. You'll want to read over the chatting rules and check out our Neopian Dictionary for common abbreviations and chat lingo before you venture over there. And remember, giving out email addresses, telephone numbers or messenger handles is strictly against the rules!
How Do You Win This Game?
One of the commonest questions from newbies used to other types of computer game is "How do you win at Neopets?" It's understandable that someone trying a new game for the first time would want to know the eventual goal and how to get there. However, the real answer is either "You can't" or "Any way you want to". Confused? Don't worry, it'll all make sense in a minute.
Like real life, the world of Neopets isn't linear, doesn't have a single overarching story, and hasn't got a single "ending" point that everyone is working towards. Instead, there are many different activities to try, and you're free to choose whichever you want, and as many or few as you want. (By extension, you're also free not to participate in the ones that don't interest you. Nobody is going to penalise you for having no interest in building a gallery or designing a web page.) My advice to you as a newbie is to try out as many of them as possible and see which ones suit you. Most players find a few activities that they really enjoy and focus on those things. If you manage to achieve the goals you set yourself in your favourite areas, then you can probably claim to be "winning" at Neopets, even if there's no congratulatory message and ending credits. ;)
Here are some examples of things that Neopets players (known as "Neopians") often choose as goals to work towards.
- Buying a Magical Paint Brush, a special (and mostly expensive) item that permanently changes your pet's fur, feathers or skin to a different colour or pattern.
- Setting a new high-score in one of the site's games and winning a virtual trophy and a place in the high-score tables.
- Collecting one of each item on the site that fits a specific theme. For instance, you might choose to collect all the rainbow-coloured items, or all the items that have "snow" in their name. The site lets you set up a gallery for these items so other people can view your collection.
- Taking part in the big whole-site events known as "plots" that pop up every so often with puzzles, challenges and maybe even prizes.
- Appearing in the weekly fanfiction and article newsletter, the Neopian Times.
- Collecting avatars--these little icons are the equivalent of video game "achievements". They can be unlocked by owning certain pets, completing certain tasks, visiting areas of the site, or getting high scores in games.
- Designing attractive homepages for your pets.
- Training your pet to take part in the Neopets Battledome and beat all your friends' Neopets!
Hopefully you're a little less confused, and ready to start exploring the site for yourself. But don't worry if you're still nervous--Jellyneo has tons of useful articles and game guides to help you along the way, from your first day on the site to your umpteenth year as a Neopets veteran. Here's a few suggestions for things you could look into next:
- Take a tour of the fictional world that Neopets is set in.
- Find out about the many weird and wonderful species of Neopet that exist.
- Learn some basic precautions to keep your account safe and private.
- Find out what you can do with your brand-new account, and what you can't do quite yet.
- Take your first lesson in Neopian economics, and find out how Neopoints and shopping work. Or jump straight to earning those points.
- And never be afraid to ask for help on Neopets' volunteer Help Board! Remember, we were all newbies once too!
What are you waiting for? Let's play!
This article was written by: Dream