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Kata's Rather Conventional Editorial
Published: October 17, 2009

Hi there! In case you didn't get here through the news post, I'm Kata(klysmos), one of the new programmers for JN. I've had plenty of time to go through the questions that were submitted and I picked a variety of topics to answer. I also had the opportunity to perform some lengthy and fun research. So, here you have it, 24 fun-packed questions and answers!

There's an article up on JN titled "Maraquan Pets" written by Dave. Out of curiosity, does anyone know which animal the Maraquan Poogle resembles? Thanks! ~ zackytacky
Well, looking at the way the ears have changed, and the slits on the side of the face, things seem rather based on a hammerhead shark. A pectoral, pelvic, and dorsal fin are all visible, though the tail admittedly (to me, anyway) doesn't look like it really has a properly shaped caudal fin. So that's my guess.

Recently, I played a game of Spacerocked! and scored about 14,448 points. When I sent the score, though, I received 1,448NP. I've sent a bug report and donated the extra 448NP to the Money Tree. Spacerocked! was not the featured game at the time. Any explanations for the glitch? ~ yellowflower7
When Spacerocked! was first released, this happened to a fair number of players. I know that on April 12, 2008, I received 1,087NP for getting a score of 10,873. It hasn't happened to me since, even though I've had scores of 12,000+. This leads me to believe that the glitch has been fixed. As for the initial cause, my guess being a coder myself is that the NP cap was accidentally not enforced so you just got the NP ratio multiplied by your score. Just make sure to send a bug report if it still is happening, since something could be changed by TNT that "breaks" it again!

I just went to the Council Chamber for my daily gift from King Altador and ended up with 5,000 Neopoints, another trophy, and several other gifts. Most interesting, though was this quote at the bottom: "Altador smiles. 'I hope that suffices. I regret that we couldn't provide more choice, but as I said, things are still a bit chaotic around here. And after all, this wasn't on the scale of what happened to the Lost Desert, or what will soon be happening in--' He stops. 'Ahem. Nevermind.'"
Is this just some glitch in the Council Chamber or could that be a hint about a new plot? ~ ahrie

I've had this happen before. What you saw is the result for if the site thinks you just finished the plot. This occasionally pops up because of glitches, or if you actually did just finish the plot and went to the Council Chamber for the first time. It has always ended with that suggestive trail off. Or at least it did when I finished the plot, which must have been at least a year ago now. I was able to redeem my prize today without issue.

If discarding an item deletes it from the Neopets database, doesn't that lower the amount of space used on TNT's servers, thus saving them money? I always discard junk items that are oh-so-plentiful. Is it false thinking that I am doing a two-fold good deed? ~ interpolarity
Well, I can only make some educated guesses at how their infrastructure is set up. Assuming they have their own servers, disk space won't matter at all. Even if they use a shared server, the database size probably isn't a huge issue. Either way, it's not likely to make a lick of financial difference, as they are probably charged by some number of MB or GB (megabytes or gigabytes), and a single item entry is unlikely to use more than 1-2KB (kilobytes).

CPU time/memory-wise, you're probably not really saving them much if anything, as if they've properly set things up then the database should do all the magic for them. Not to mention the deletion of the item may affect one or more tables anyway, which might offset the benefit of not having it in their database.

So, after all that, what it boils down to is, no, you're not really saving them much if anything. If a rather large number (i.e., millions) of users all did what you do, there might be benefit to the Neopets servers' performance. However, even then, if they own the physical server, they won't experience any monetary gain.

There must be millions and millions of items in here!

How do you get an Alien Aisha? I can't seem to find out! ~ natural_sienna
I checked a few sources just in case it's changed, but as far as I understand it, you can get an Alien Aisha if you complete a Fountain Faerie Quest, or randomly through the Lab Ray. I wouldn't hope for an Alien Paint Brush to come out either, as TNT shot down the idea in an editorial:

Is there going to be an alien paintbrush ? -Eemilyhogan132

Most probably not. The Alien Aisha will most likely be the only Neopet that can be turned alien.

Is there a certain type of disease that the Poisonous Jelly and the Poisonous Lollypop give out, or is it random? My Neopet keeps on getting NeoPhobia from the Jelly. Thanks! *Throws Exploding Snowflake* Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark! ~ selenagomez4life
*Ducks to avoid Snowflake* That was... cheap! (75NP according to the Item DB at time of publishing, in fact.)

Neomonia is what the Jelly gives and the Lollipop gives Floppy Tongue. The diseases are fixed for these two items--they don't give just any disease, which is a shame because if they did, it'd make getting Meuka as a challenger a lot easier. Oh well.

Related article: Items That Give Diseases

People claimed that you could get a point in the Tyrannian Army if you did the plot a long time ago. However, my account has one point in the Tyrannian Army when I didn't participate in the plot at all and my account is only one week old. Do you have any idea how I got one point? ~ Janice
Well, there is a Tyrannian random event viewable here that could give you a point. I wasn't aware it was still active, but perhaps it is. It's either that or you had quite the glitch there... but that'd be one crazy glitch!

Fairly recently, I heard that the Altador plot is no longer playable, but everyone that already finished it can still collect their prizes daily. Out of interest, do you think that items like the Yellow Kougra Plushie given from the daily will ever reach prices of over 30NP because of the decrease in supply? How long do you estimate it to take if ever? ~ madtamahatta
I called in a favour, and had a friend test this. They could get through the first constellation with no trouble! So I'm afraid your sources were incorrect, you can still do the Altador plot.

But supposing it was no longer playable, the price change of an item like the Yellow Kougra Plushie would be somewhat unpredictable. On one hand, it's not a consumable item (playing with it doesn't get rid of it) and there's already quite a large supply, so I imagine personally the price wouldn't change much. On the other hand, if enough people aggressively bought cheaper instances of the item because they felt the price should go up due to the lack of new supply, or if many people stockpiled this "retired" item, then the price might go up. Up to thousands of NP? Unlikely. But it could climb up by around 50-100NP.

Well, that's my take, anyway; economic predictions are a sticky business. Don't mind the enthusiastic Quiggle.

By Y20 I project Yellow Kougra Plushies will be priced through the roof! Okay, maybe the roof of a very small house...

How up to date is the coming soon page? ~ tormund302
If you mean the Coming Soon page on Neopets, then it was last updated in 2007 (plenty of things to wear, VirtuVenture, Neopian justice, and flash makeovers appeared in mid-2007, the mysterious voyage appeared in late 2007).

If you mean the page on JN, then at time of writing, September 30, 2009 was the last time it was updated. The Costume Contest isn't at 90% (the first round of voting already begun), though. But in general it's pretty up to date. With big projects, there may be some estimation error, as the responsibilities might involve multiple people and it's sometimes hard to gauge progress. Also, the project list isn't comprehensive--there are others things in the works at any given time. If there weren't, I imagine some of our staff would be very bored as we certainly have more than 6 or 7 staffers!

Hiya! *Chucks a MSPP avatar at you* Oh, sorry about that. Heh heh. I was wondering, if I transferred my pet to my friend, and she zapped it for me then sent it back to me for no payment, would that be illegal? Thanks JN! ~ notthenewkid
Ooh! An avvie I definitely don't have! According to a response in the Neopets editorial, no, you really shouldn't be doing that even though you're not charging or paying NP/items/other services. The exact question and answer are provided below for your convenience:

I was asked today if I could take a friend's Neopet in trade, zap it for her at the Lab Ray, then trade it back to her. I don't mind, but I don't want to do anything that would result in any of my accounts being frozen. Could you, O' Wise TNT, shed some light on how you all would feel about this, since trading is now perfectly fine and some people are most likely already doing this? I would not accept anything in return for doing this for her. I would just zap her Neopet and let the ray have its way until she was happy with the results, then trade the Neopet back to her. ~tears_ofan_angel

We think this is a bit of an abuse of the transfer service and request that people not use it for this purpose, as this has not been allowed in the past, either.

I've been thinking of starting a Pet Adoption Agency for our guild by adopting pets in the pound, then zapping them to nice, painted pets through my Lab Ray. After that, I'd transfer them to my side account to make room for another pet to have their makeover. As we all know, we only have two transfers (one out and one in) available per month so for the past two pets, I used the pound to do that. Unfortunately, my friends and I are just so unlucky that the pets get sniped just before they show up to adopt. Here's the big question:
Could I "hire" several people to help me adopt the pet in the pound (the pet would be kept there until my Adoption Agency finds a new owner for it) in exchange for a hefty amount of Neopoints? I know it is a little bit risky but it would be better than having the pets get sniped. Is this against the rules? ~ [username removed]

Yes, that is most definitely against the rules. You cannot exchange NP/items for services. This means you cannot pay someone to get you an avatar, or to make you a graphic, or to do the adoption/transfer work for your Agency.

You can have an Adoption Agency for your guild, but you also can't charge fees or ask for a tip. If other members of your guild have the Lab Ray as well, perhaps they would be willing to volunteer to help you?

Attack Chomby dispatched!

I have been searching through editorials lately and I couldn't find any answer on this issue:
I have been really good at playing Darigan Dodgeball lately (oh, the things people do to kill the time), scoring over 10,000 points at least once every two days, and I always get this message: "Your score is being reviewed by staff..." but I never get onto the high score table. I honestly don't cheat and I haven't received my NP for playing that game, so it just seems to be a waste of time for me. I see the high score table changing--people in first place have scores lower than 9,000. What's going on? ~ alpollo

For a while, back in my days where I was actually on Neopets a fair amount, I wanted to get a trophy in Attack of the Revenge. Through that and other games, I've found that if your score is above a (potentially sane) threshold, it is marked for review. For example, if TNT thinks the maximum score a person can reasonably get is 5,000 and you get 5,001, your score will be up for review.

The scores on the high score tables are based on when they are approved. So, if I submit a score on the last day of the month, it's marked for review, and then not approved until the second day of the new month, I'll be on the new month's high score table (if my score's still good enough).

Scores are reset at the end of the month, but any scores approved within that month (not just those on the first day) are eligible to be on the scoreboard. Lastly, your NP should arrive when the scores are approved.

There's no definite answer as to when your score will be approved...a couple of days, a week, a couple of weeks maybe... Nobody knows how exactly TNT reviews scores.

When I go to the Shop Wizard and search for whatever I happen to need, I usually like to refresh to find the best deal. But every time I click refresh, a window pops up saying, "Are you sure you want to send a form again?" And then I have to click "Send." It's really getting on my nerves! Is there any way to turn this off? I'm using Safari. ~ Daisyice
The reason this happens is because for things like credit card purchases through a form, it is very much a desirable thing to be warned if you're submitting again, since this could amount to charging a card twice, or something of that nature. It's annoying for something like the Shop Wiz where you might actually want to be resending the same form, but you're probably stuck dealing with the window that pops up. A quick search (since I'm not a Safari user myself) suggests it's not easy (if possible at all) to turn off the warning. Well, modifying Safari's code would work, but you don't want to do that, trust me.

Users of other browsers have to live with this as well, so at least you're not alone!

How many Neopets themed shirts do you have? ~ Penquinsrule1
Let's see, I have two of the Sophie TCG card, a Fire Yooyu, a DC AC Cup, a Water Mote TCG card, an Aisha TCG card, two Darigan Aishas, and a Shadow Usul TCG card, so nine shirts.

I'm one of Kata's favourite characters!

Do you know if Neopets ever released the Secret Of The Codestone? In particular, where they come from and what the engravings mean. I've been playing Neopets since it started, and as far as I remember, codestones have been around, but never really explained. Thanks! ~ plopper_cloud
There's actually a Neopedia article that explains a bit about codestones: The Codestone Secret. It doesn't explain what/where they come from, or what the meaning of the symbols are, but when placed properly, they supposedly stop vibrating (or so the article says). I don't think the symbols have ever been elaborated on, however they were used in a cryptography puzzle during The Return of Doctor Sloth plot.

In the Codestone Quest game, the wizard needed codestones to complete some sort of spell, but development of this game was outsourced by Neopets, so it doesn't give us anything insightful.

There might've been a plan for Secrets Of The Codestone at one point, but looks like it is now another addition to the graveyard of abandoned ideas.

The description of the Seasonal Attack Pea Plushie is: "Throwing this at your opponents isnt nearly as devastating. This was given out by the Advent Calendar in Y8 after a mean prank by TNT." What was the mean prank? ~ Jellymango
The animation on that day was this, but players who visited the Advent Calendar didn't get anything. As I remember it, some time later (the next day if memory serves), the items listed for December 20, 2006 appeared in inventories, though nobody got a Super Attack Pea.

On December 15, 2007, the Advent Calendar text said, "You also find a Rod of Supernova!!! ... and as you to go pick it up, the Pant Devil snatches it and flies away. Boo hiss."

TNT are such pranksters. :P

Hi JN! I have two questions:
Is it okay to use the Healing Springs on a side account if you don't make profit from it?
Also, I completed the Altador plot over a year ago and I clicked on King Altador and the page showed up with the plot prizes and the trophy, but I never actually received them. I got the Finneus avatar afterwards, but not the site theme. I even went to the Altador main page. I've contacted TNT a few times and they haven't done anything about it. What should I do? Thanks! ~ jaylene232

The Healing Springs is an interesting exception to the rule about items/NP. According to Weepit's fantastic Side Account FAQ, it's okay to use the Healing Springs on side accounts. (This is backed up by the NT editorial.)

As for the Altador problem, if TNT isn't forthcoming, there's really not much you can do. You can keep trying every once in a while to contact TNT, though there's no guarantee you'll ever get a response or the site theme. :(

I'm working on the Defender of Neopia Mission 4: Meuka, and the Wheel of Misfortune in the Haunted Woods doesn't spin anymore for me, so I can't get Sneezles from it. Is there another way to get it? ~ silverwaves22
Feeding a Ferocious Negg to your pet might give it Sneezles (the disease it gives out is random). Unfortunately, the current Wheel of Excitement disease is still Chickaroo. If TNT ever get around to changing that to Sneezles, though, then it would be a good alternative. There are also numerous random events that could give your pet a disease, but it's random...and the disease would be a random one, too. :(

Your cough will be worse than my bite.

Is there a way to figure out which accounts are attached to your email? Neopets says I have 5, so some of them must belong to my brother or sister and I want to get rid of them so I can make a side! Thanks! ~ darkdragoon772
Using the "Forgot your Username" box will not work for multiple accounts attached to one e-mail because of the resulting security issues. As such, unless you have e-mails from when the accounts were made or the NeoLodge being used and getting a "Checking Out" e-mail, or birthday messages, or any other sort of account-specific e-mail communication, you're out of luck. If there's a chance that your brother/sister changed their e-mail preferences, their accounts will be listed on the preferences page, but I don't think they did.

You could contact TNT and request that other accounts with your e-mail address be removed, but it's probably quite a hassle and they might not do it anyway for security reasons. I highly doubt you'll be able to obtain a list of usernames from TNT anyway--sorry!

Note: When signing up for accounts, be truthful about your birth date and e-mail address. If you have relatives that also want to create an account, have them use their own personal information instead of "sharing" yours.

Hello! *Hands over a turtle named Toby* I was just wondering, how do you know which weapons are more effective than others? I mean, who knows? A Cherry Jelly Sword could be far better than the Dazzling Ivory Sword. Thanks! ~ PetiteBrise
Aww poor Toby... *sets him free in a pond*

Neopets used to have a battlepedia (an encyclopedia for weapons), but it wasn't updated very often and the information they provided about damage, type of icons a weapon can do, etc. was vague. So, some users chose to create their own battlepedias, and one of the great ones is the In-depth Battlepedia (they're also one of our affiliates :D).

As for how they figure it out, it's all about testing. Restockers, collectors, and Battledome enthusiasts obtain the weapons, equip them to their pets, and fight one-player and two-player challengers many, many times to determine the number and variety of icons (if you're a beginner and don't know what that means, there is an excellent article explaining it all here).

I know I'm going to sound like an impatient jerk, but I have to ask. I have three pets that I have zapped with the Lab Ray, three pets that were very much male. Now they're all very much female, and I hate to continue to zap them, as I'm happy with everything except the gender now. I've tried to obtain the Mad Scientist as a challenger in the hopes that he'll change my dear pets back in battle, but after about a million refreshes, I still don't have him. Is there something wrong? Or have I just been spoiled by an inhumanly lucky refresh reflex, so to speak? Thanks ahead of time! ~ tigerstripe172
Some BD Challengers take quite some time to get. I remember having given up on getting the Cave Chia, but later I went back and refreshed for a while and got him. Patience is probably the key here, though make sure you're on the right page when you're refreshing (the one where you choose the pet to zap).

Have a seat, this could take a while.

If I won a trophy for my pet's lookup, (e.g., a Beauty Contest trophy), what would happen to it if I wanted to trade my pet? Would the trophy go to the new owner who did nothing to deserve it, or would it disappear? Also, if it disappears and the pet is traded back to you, would the trophy reappear again? ~ Chavo_Guerrero
The trophy belongs to the pet, so if the pet is transferred, the trophy stays with the pet. This also means if you enter the BC and then transfer the pet, even though someone else owns the pet now it can still receive the trophy. If by some horrible glitch the trophy disappeared, the owner would have to contact TNT. Pet trophies have no association with a user as far as I can tell, so just transferring it back to you won't magically reconstitute any glitched out trophies. But I don't think you have to worry since the trophy shouldn't disappear in the first place.

Do you have to be 13+ years old to edit your user lookup and your pet's page? ~ Frostcalibur
Yup, you sure do (unless you have parental permission, then you get access)! This was noted in a Neopets editorial.

Hey-yo TNT! Due to the unfair treatment of 10-year-olds like myself, I am writing a comment/question. First, my comment: I think 10-year-olds should have the power to at least get a User Lookup, Petpages, and Pet Lookups. We're not really that immature, and we're really underrated. Now, my question: are "kids" under 13 allowed to write for the NT and Storytelling Contest? And what about regular contests? Can we enter those? ~[removed]

Sorry, but we're bound by COPPA (a federal law here in the US) and can't allow you to post anything, regardless of maturity, without parental permission. :( Players under 13 are more than welcome to enter any site contest, though! We read through those and choose what eventually ends up on the site, so we can make sure no personally identifiable information is included.

Also, +10 points for nice comma and hyphen use. You don't want to know what most of the questions written to the Editorial look like before we edit spelling/grammar. x_X And we're sure a lot of them were written by folks over 10-years-old. You do your age proud.

Kata! Just wondering, do you ever find it difficult to fend off all of those fan girls when you start talking about coding? ~ Ally
Well, I hate to admit it, but the hardest part of the job isn't browsing the PHP function library for that special something or refactoring code because it might be a tad more efficient, it's actually the "public relations" part of the job.

I mean, other staffers have their dedicated packs of stalkers, but fan girls!? I have to have a fully stocked Dr. Pepper machine ready at all times, just to provide a distraction so I can sneak away and lock myself in the code archives.

Alright, it's not that bad. I can just stop watching the shoutbox or my instant messengers if it gets too distracting. Speaking of which, it's time to go code. *Dashes off*