Jump to content

Let's Critique This Week: Neopets


Recommended Posts

So, lets try this out for size, for the next week (until next Friday), lets choose Neopets as a topic of critique. This thread will be open until then. Offer any input about the game, along the lines of:

  • What game mechanics do you like?
  • What game mechanics don't work?
  • Community healthy and well managed? Yes or No?
  • Art Style Critique
  • Website Navigation Critique

Next Friday, I will give any member who participates 5 Power to their Adoptable after the thread closes as a reward for their time. These are designed to be quick initial impression critiques. If you have played the game exclusively for a while, feel free to go into more depth. I am not expecting a full review, but initial impressions about the games, something any player would notice or get after a short period of play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I remembered Neopets was one of the first games I joined, so I just logged back in. My oldest pet is 3818 days old by now, over ten years... 

  • It seems it didn't change much, I could still find the old games I loved to play, played a few rounds, but I must admit... those games aged. They don't feel acceptable to play anymore, terrible hit boxes and bad controls. I've seen many indie-games that I enjoyed way more. But on the other hand, there are so many different games, that probably does not count, especially for newer ones. So I switched to the newest games... just to realize I can't play any of them because you need to buy items first. Okay, no thanks. 
  • A big plus for me (especially 10 years ago) always was that Neopets was translated into German. All the games, ingame texts, items, etc. were in German. This is less important to me now, since I learned English, but back then I was 14-15 years old and had just started learning English. I probably would not have registered on an English-only site. 
  • The art style always bothered me. I liked it when I joined, but soon it felt inconsistent. Too many different styles, now even 3D-rendered images, and all in all I miss details and reworking of old artwork. It's probably a very personal opinion, but I feel I 'grew out' of Neopets
  • Economy-wise I never felt comfortable with money on Neopets. I could never buy the brushes or pets that I wanted, there were way too many items to get a chance to find some rare ones and make money from them. It's simply overwhelming and it feels like I have to put a lot of time into it before I can make decent money. 
  • Even after just 15 Minutes I found two bugs :') It just showed me I had 150NC (premium currency), when I clicked they were back to 0. Also all the Umlauts in the German names of Items are STILL (after 10+ years) just shown as questionmark-icons: 

neopetslol_by_jezeval-db5ev71.png

 

 

All in all, I think one can enjoy neopets for the minigames, which is what I did mostly. Played some local multiplayer games with my friend back in school, and we had a good time. Everything else, exploring the map and especially getting currency, takes just too much time to get into for me personally. 

I just feel neopets aged, and not in a good way. I don't think I'll log in again for another ten years or so :)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/8/2017 at 11:29 AM, Digital said:

So, lets try this out for size, for the next week (until next Friday), lets choose Neopets as a topic of critique. This thread will be open until then. Offer any input about the game, along the lines of:

  • What game mechanics do you like?
  • What game mechanics don't work?
  • Community healthy and well managed? Yes or No?
  • Art Style Critique
  • Website Navigation Critique

Next Friday, I will give any member who participates 5 Power to their Adoptable after the thread closes as a reward for their time. These are designed to be quick initial impression critiques. If you have played the game exclusively for a while, feel free to go into more depth. I am not expecting a full review, but initial impressions about the games, something any player would notice or get after a short period of play.

I have to say Turmac roll was one of my favorite games along with going to Mc Donalds. Those games appeared to have pretty good controls. Draik Dungeon the controls are bit too glitchy plus the dungeon was not designed very well and you will die really quickly. I can't really say to much about the Community as when I was playing Neopets I had a tendancy not to use the forum at that time.

I always thought the art looked pretty cute.

I have to say i prefer the original navigation system as it seemed pretty good however the later one is way too overloaded with ads which drag down the speed as well as the enteratinment value of the site itself. Not to mention there is 404 errors abound when you try to login.

I wanted to get Scorchio armor but it ways always way too expensive and the only good way to make money was the stock market the games just weren't rewarding enough even though they could only pay up to 1000 per play. The economy seems to be unbalanced. I played it for several years until I found some other sites that took more of my time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My oldest account is 11 years old. I think the amount of time I've played on Neopets (excluding hiatus months/years) probably adds up to less than two years. Aside from during the first few months I played (when I had never been part of any other virtual online world), Neopets has always left me wanting more.

Let me tell you about the things I really appreciate about Neopets first.

1. It is one of the few browser games I've played that is successful in having a world that feels believable. Most games just give a few pieces of the world. A species on the site will exist in only its pet pictures; you won't see it anywhere else (except maybe in the encyclopedia). Regions tend to also just be one image on one page of the site. But Neopets links all these pieces together. You see different species as shopkeepers, in games, and in events. Places of the world and the world's history are referenced outside of the map page.

Neopets even has its own sports and food, among other things.

2. Neopets has a wide variety of features, many that were included just for fun instead of being necessary to the game. One of the examples is the Concert Hall that lets you watch a short animation and hear an audio clip of a Neopian band if you purchase a ticket. Another is the Island Mystic that gives out a fortune each day. Both these areas now have hidden avatars attached to them, but they didn't originally.

What I've noticed is that there is a big difference in online games created before around 2005 versus the ones created after. The internet has become a place that people mainly use to create profit for themselves and their businesses. If you consider places like YouTube before people starting flocking to it to make a name for themselves and make money, people would post things of any kind just for the sake of sharing. Some people still do that, but it's hidden by the thousands of "Let's Play" channels, "Top 10" channels, and prank and skit channels. When people create with the intention to make money, things become very formulaic. People look toward other businesses and borrow from them without the thought of making something unique so long as it's been proven to work. Similarly, you see the same features being used over and over on browser games because that is what has worked so far. A feature will either exist to make money directly or indirectly and in today's world the Concert Hall or Island Mystic would not have been given life because the effort to create those features wouldn't be worth what potential dollar they would earn indirectly. Other things: Neopet masks designs, coloring pages, computer backgrounds, a wide variety of shopkeepers to select from for your user shops—none of these things would have been included on the site if the owners had only profit in mind, and it's kind of cool that they have those features at all. It's something different.

3. On Neopets, the sandbox game style actually seems fitting. I usually dislike things like no direction in gameplay and unexplainable things like making currency from playing games, but Neopets has that sense of humor and somewhat childish appeal.

 

Unfortunately, I'm already moving on to the unfavorable parts about Neopets.

1. The world/site is so big that new things seem to be added with no regard to what already existed. Item types have been repeated, for example. Petpets used to be included in games and things like that, but now there are so many that none of the new ones come across as memorable or special (which kind of resembles my thoughts on Pokemon after the first two generations). Ideas for new games or pet colors seem uninspired. There's no rhyme or reason for new additions to the site. Everything is just seen as more content, which seems to mean "good" to them.

2. Neopets' art is all over the place.

There are the pieces of art that have gradients or blending.

head_2.gif

There's the old pixelated art:

t_2006.gif

There's the thick line art:

t_1545.gif

There's the art for the converted pets:

4.png

There's the new color art that's much more detailed:

4.png

When the art conversion happened in 2008, none of the existing art on the site was redrawn. Your pet would still have the old art when you used features on the site like the training academy or Coltzan's Shrine. Since then, there just doesn't seem to be a standard for quality. It seems like the staff gave up after that point on creating a site with a consistent look.

 

There was also the uproar over this low-quality pet release:

 

Initial transparent peophin:

peophin-transparent.jpg

Redraw after complaints:

4.png

And there was the issue of an item being released on Neopets that was copied from someone's Neopets fan art:

http://blog.openneo.net/post/132919517808/a-neopets-artist-stole-fan-art-then-lied-about

 

All this just really makes me question who's in charge of their art department. When art is the main selling point of this game, how can you take Neopets seriously enough to keep devoting time to it? They obviously don't care anymore about putting out a quality product.

 

3. Nothing truly new has been added in a long time. There are new avatars, new regions on the map, new wearables, sure, but nothing has been added that extends the gameplay, Once you've done things once, there's not much of a reason to do it again. The events Neopets has are rehashed and require playing the same games over and over again (for both the Altador Cup and the Game Challenges). When I come across people's goals on their profiles, it's always the same things: get X pet, get Y amount of avatars, buy this or that for a collection. But when none of those things appeal to you (because you have burned out that feature), and the community is dull, and the customer service is a joke, what is the point of still logging in?

 

In the time I played on Neopets, I've had an unconverted Darigan Aisha with a real word name that was fitting for a cat, I've had a two-letter pet that had a consonant and vowel in its name, and some other high-valued UC pets and RW pets as well. And what I learned from that and the random kissing up I experienced back then is that Neopets has gone in the direction of pet "value" being everything. The idea of connecting with your pets has gone to the wayside while dressing up your pets by spending real money (for the best-looking wearables) or collecting pets with unconverted art has taken the lead.

 

Neopets no longer offers anything that I find stimulating or exciting. At best, I can find some nostalgic appreciation for their flash games, but I will never go back to playing the game itself.

 

Edit: I suppose I should also mention that their currency system is quite flawed. You must either be good at restocking and reselling items or spend hours grinding the same flash games every day for months. OR you can come back in a few months or a year and make money from your stocks with no effort at all (aside from the act of buying the shares in the first place). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...