What Is a Pet Worth?
What is a pet worth? The cost of the paint brush? The codestones put into training it? The clothing you put on it? Or is it, perhaps, something more?
The release of the updated pound brought with it a rather handy addition: the transfer option. Now, let me start by saying I think this is, in fact, a nice addition. Users, like me, can now safely move pets between accounts without worrying about losing our beloved pets to a sniper. (I can say from personal experience, it stinks when it happens.) However, it seems that along with good, there must be bad, as is often the case.
With this new ability to move pets safely comes the worst thing to hit Neopia, in my opinion. (And I've been around the block once or twice before.) What is this terrible thing? Pet trading. Now, let me explain before you attack me. I believe that if you genuinely want a specific pet, and someone else genuinely wants one of yours, a trade would make both parties (and pets!) happy and there is nothing wrong with that. However, that is now how it is, or realistically ever will be.
I do not normally venture into the pound boards (see: never), but I do frequent the Help Chat, and constantly see boards titled, "Was this a good find?" or "Look what I just sniped from the pound! I don't really like it, but it's an awesome color!" To the first board, I ask them, "Do you like the pet? Then, yes, it is a good find." To the second, I ask, "Why adopt a pet you don't like?" It just seems silly to me. Why adopt a pet you do not like, or even want for that matter? Is it the "glory" of having a painted pet? Silly me, I thought that was all until one day I saw a comment that made me think. What was this comment? It was this: "Now I can trade for something better!"
"Now I can trade for something better"? What is this nonsense? To adopt a pet purely to trade it for an "upgrade" later down the road is what it was. Curious, I peeked into the pound boards (with a rope tied around my waist and attached to a marble column at my Neohome so I could be pulled back, if necessary) and I was sure, for a second, that I had accidentally wandered into the trading post board by mistake. Ready to head back out and search for the right board, I stopped and realized I was in the right board after all.
The board titles, strikingly similar to those found on the trading board, were not listings of items up for trade - they were pets! Let us compare using some real examples I've pulled from the boards:
Trade board: "Selling Fire Yooyu, Flosset, Yooyu, Erisim +more"
Pound board: "Desert Hissi, Pink Wocky, Halloween Gelert, and more UFT!”
Quite similar, don't you think? The only difference is the first offers petpets (items) while the second offers pets (not items).
Deciding to do a little experiment, I bribed-- I mean, asked... a few of my pets to come with me to the pound boards. Since it seemed like painted pets were all people wanted on these boards, those are the ones who came with me. (Trust me, the others were content to sit at home and drink Neocola while watching YooYu Ball reruns.) So, there I was, timidly walking into the pound board followed by a Darigan Lenny and a Mutant, Skunk, Ghost, Tyrannian, and Pirate Lupe. (I like Lupes, okay? Don't judge me.)
I made a board, making sure to keep my precious pets far behind me, lest anyone try to take them from me, and sat to wait. I asked my fellow Neopians, IF I were to put any of my pets up for trade, or UFT, as they like to say, what would they "offer" me on them? (Please note that none of my pets is ever up for trade, even if you have a super fantabulous awesome-o pet.)
"I'd offer my faerie uni for any of the Lupes." "If I had a krawk/draik custom, I would definitely offer that on your pirate." and "I'd offer my grey usul for Derelinquo. [Tyrannian Lupe]" were some of the responses I got. First of all, what is wrong with my Darigan Lenny? No love for the birds... Anyway. After sitting there for a long while, I noticed a trend growing: people were quick to offer up pets for my Pirate Lupe, Orthorien, yet there were not even half as many offers on all of my other pets combined. Is this because the paint brush costs so much money? Was there something wrong with my other pets? They have nice names, most have been trained at least a little, and I thought they were all beautiful the way they were... yet, Orthorien seemed to be the favorite. I suspect that it was indeed the fact that his color cost the most on the trading post to obtain out of all the pets I had, therefore giving him the most "worth" on this pet trading post.
After I came to this realization, I went and did the opposite of what I had been doing: I went and "offered" on pets. I went to many boards, asking owners who were looking to trade off their pets if they would accept any of mine if I were to offer them. I found that, when Orthorien was a part of the mix of offered pets, I could "trade" for many more pets than when I did not have him in the group. A few of the pets up for trade that the owners would have taken Orthorien for included Unconverted (UC) Grey Lupe (two of them said "yes"), UC Darigan Lupe, Carrot Chia (poor thing wouldn't last a day!), a Royal pet, a Usuki pet, and several Krawks and Draiks. I also got a "yes" from people offering 800k and 7 million "custom" pets (they create a pet with a specific name, species, color, etc. that you choose and trade it for your already created pet).
It seemed Orthorien was my ticket to getting many hard to obtain pets, had I wanted them. (After he realized I was not actually trading him, his ego started to grow a little bit... We are currently adding a new addition to our Neohome to accommodate it. ;)) Moving on from that track, I went and lurked in some of the boards other people created who were looking for pets. One board I found was particularly shocking.
The board creator was "seeking a draik or a krawk." They were offering a painted Poogle, a Grey pet, a painted Kiko, or a painted Kougra. It seemed reasonable enough to me. After all, there could be someone out there with a Draik or Krawk he did not want who was looking for that perfect painted Poogle to add to his family or maybe a Kougra to go on adventures with him! The responses to that board reminded me why I prefer the solitude of my Neohome:
"Rofl. You'll never get a Draik or Krawk for those offers!"
"HAHA! Good luck with that."
"She's been looking for a Draik for ages. And she's offering a /Krawk/. "
"They're all converted and badly named. You're lucky if you get offered a Cybunny."
These responses seemed uncalled for at the least, rude and insulting at the most. A simple "good luck" would have been ten times more appropriate in my opinion, but there I go again, letting my manners seep through! These comments show the (unfortunate) case of putting a "worth" on a pet. If your pet is not deemed "worthy enough", you are shunned and laughed at for making an "n00b offer." (Again, similar to the trading boards.)
What I’m trying to say is, even if you offered me a super fantabulous awesome-o pet, I would not trade you my pets for it. "But, my pet is worth more. You'd be an idiot not to take it." Maybe in your book, but not in mine. In my book, my pets mean more to me than that - I created them myself, customized them and made them unique, and most of all, I cared for them. That is what makes them invaluable. I hope you all can say that about one of your pets one day.
Do you think pets have a worth? I would love to hear your opinions on the subject, so feel free to send me a neomail!