A Guide to Affordable Healthcare
Every now and then your Neopet may become sick – be it from the unfortunate incident where you thought that Poisonous Lollipop was edible or because you thought it would be a good idea to spin the Wheel of Misfortune. A sick Neopet loses hit points, becomes miserable and cannot fight in the Battledome, therefore sicknesses must be cured promptly. However, sometimes you find out that you need a medicine called ‘Magic Goop’ or ‘Sporkle Syrup’, and to your horror the item is obtainable only via the Trading Post, costing more than you could possibly earn playing games three times a day. What do you do?
This guide was created to help Neopians who are unable to afford expensive treatments and medicines to help their poor Neopets. You may or may not disagree with some of the techniques and/or methods I have stated in this guide, but I appreciate that you have taken the time to read my article. If this guide helps to prevent just one Neopian from breaking the bank to purchase a tin of Cactopus Cream, then it has served its purpose. It is by no means a complete or definite guide, but I hope you find it useful.
So, I suppose the first question would be
How can your Neopet catch a bug?
There are several ways in which your pet can suddenly acquire a strange and unfamiliar illness. The most common of them is the accidental feeding of food items toxic to your Neopets. Some of these foods include Ferocious Neggs, Glowing Jellies, Poisonous Lollipops and Rotten Omelettes. There are also cases where your species of Neopet will have adverse reactions to the type of foods you feed it. Cream foods can give you Quiggle Neezles while apple-based foods can give Kyrii Itchy Scratchies. Another common cause is due to poor luck when trying the Wheel of Excitement in Faerieland or the Wheel of Misfortune at the Deserted Fairgrounds. Landing on the skulls sign on the Wheel of Excitement gives your Neopet Chickaroo while landing on the ‘pox’ sign on the Wheel of Misfortune gives your Neopet a random disease.
Battledome fights can also turn nasty if your opponent plays dirty or your weapon backfires. Weapons such as a Mysterious Hemlock Dart can give Bloaty Belly if used by the other party on your pet while the Malice Potion may give its user Blurry Eyes. There are several other disease-causing weapons that will not be discussed in this guide. This, however, is quite uncommon.
Even if you do avoid all the ways stated above meticulously, your Neopet can still become ill from random events! A sudden visit from Hubrid Nox will give all your Neopets a random disease while the Darkest Faerie may decide to be mean to one of your pets and magically infect him/her without warning. During an epidemic, random events where your Neopet falls ill with that disease become more common. However, your pet may just come down with a disease for no rhyme or reason at all!
The mechanics behind the pricing of medicine
The pricing of a certain type of medicine is usually dependent on the simple supply versus demand curve. If the Pharmacy stocks thirty syringes of Neggitus medication daily but there are few Neopets who can afford to eat enough Neggs to come down with Neggitus, the price of Neggitus Injections falls. Conversely, if there is an epidemic of Bubbles going around, the Bubbles Herbal Drink grows in value.
Let’s look at a real life example. When I first started playing Neopets in 2005, you could get Herbal Scrambled Eggs from the Pharmacy at any time. If not, the average Neopian Shopkeeper could sell it to you for a couple hundred Neopoints on the Shop Wizard. That was four years ago when Chickaroo was a slightly lesser-known illness. Fast forward four years to the current day when it is a regular (unwanted) prize on the Wheel of Excitement and you now have to shell out close to fifteen thousand Neopoints to cure your poor pet! Similarly, the price of Cactopus Cream has super inflated over the years since Qasalan Expellibox was introduced from a few thousand to well over a hundred thousand!
The rarity of the medication also plays a big part in its price. The Pharmacy seldom stocks any Spyder Juice Elixir or Potion of Containment, leading to an increased difficulty in procuring these items. While not many Neopets may suffer from Spyder Bite or Jitters, the medicines are usually very pricy on the Shop Wizard since few people are able to buy them directly from the Pharmacy.
How to deflate that large medical bill
Cutting down your medical expenses can be difficult if your pet catches a disease such as Achy Head; its original cure can leave you in the red for months! However, I have condensed the many possibilities into eight steps.
1. Visit the Healing Springs immediately
The Water Faerie will be your best friend whenever your Neopet is ill. If you are fortunate, she will be able to restore your pet to optimum health, removing any illnesses s/he may be suffering from. It isn’t done immediately, however. Her magic may not be as strong at times and she might only give your Neopet a couple of hit points or a free healing potion, but keep trying every half hour and she will eventually rid your Neopet of that horrible disease for free! You must remember that your sick pet has to be your active pet, or the healing will be wasted. While waiting, you could
2. Check your Neopet’s species
If your pet is a Kau, then you’ll never have to buy medicine since feeding your Kau milk from the general store will fully cure him/her! Pteris are rejuvenated with any food that has worms in it and ghost-painted Neopets will recover when fed Magic Ghost Marshmallows. All these cost significantly less than most medicines, and can eliminate your need to spend money on medicine. If your Neopet does not fit into any of the categories stated above, your next step should be to
3. Go to the Neopian Hospital
When you do a quickref to your sick Neopet, you will see a green cross and a message telling you what disease your pet has. The Neopian Hospital, located in the Plaza at Neopia Central, has a list of diseases and their cures with pictures. Once you find out what you need to get in order to cure your Neopet, you should
4. Head to the Pharmacy
This is where medicines are sold, but bear in mind that you will usually only be able to buy medicines for less common diseases like Bloaty Feet and Pollenitus. Any medication that is relatively rare and/or priced above fifteen hundred Neopoints is rarely in stock at the Pharmacy. Waiting for it to come into stock will usually not pay off as the medicine usually sells out the instant it is stocked, so for once perseverance will probably not be rewarded. If you can’t find the medicine you need, try
5. ‘Shop-wizarding it’
For more frequently encountered illnesses like Chickaroo and Neomonia, most users turn to the Shop Wizard. Just type in the name of the medicine and begin searching for the best offer. You should be persistent here. Don’t search just once; the medicine you need may be sold cheaper in another user’s shop. Repetitive searching can help you save a considerable amount of Neopoints.
Mid-ranged medicines like Honey Blossom Extract and Medicinal Soap usually cost around fifteen thousand Neopoints while uncommon medicines like the Neck Brace and Grumble Be Gone Tablets can be priced above forty thousand. Unless you have a healthy supply of Neopoints, you may want to skip this step since this guide is supposed to be helping you to spend less!
6. Find cheaper alternatives
With the introduction of two new medicine shops, Remarkable Restoratives in Shenkuu and Emergency Supplies in Sakhmet, there are now more ways to cure your sick pet. More and more cures have been added to these shops since they first opened, giving you more choices in treating your sick Neopet at reasonable costs. For the most part, the use of alternatives can really help you save your Neopoints. Contemplate this: Curing Achy Head by using Magic Goop could cost you more than a hundred thousand Neopoints. However, by using either one of its two alternatives, Aching Lotion or Black Cherry Tea, you are still able to cure this disease easily. While the payoff is a reduced chance of success, it is certainly worth saving money!
Let’s take another example: Ugga-Ugga would require you to spend approximately two hundred thousand Neopets to cure normally. However, if you use either Gwontek Syrup or Peppermint Stomach Medicine to cure it, you end up spending just a small fraction of the original cost! Ah, the power of alternatives.
Despite all these cheaper ways to cure your pet, there are still diseases like Fuzzy Fungus and Reptillioritus that have no substitute cures. In this scenario, you could purchase items that can heal your Neopet of any disease. The Brightvale Royal Potionery sells two potions, Warm Amber Ointment and Cooling Ointment, which are supposedly able to fully cure your pet. Also, a Yellow Healthshroom will make your Neopet completely healthy and restore up to fifteen hit points! These items can cost a bundle, however, and I do not recommend their use as your Neopoints are better spent elsewhere. While unconfirmed, the cheaper Kayla’s Home Remedy can reportedly cure your Neopet. I must stress that at the time this article was written, stats on this item are still unclear and use of this ‘cure’ is done at your own risk.
A word of caution when using alternatives: Always check the price of the original medicine before you turn to alternative medicines since they do not always work. You could inadvertently end up spending more than you need to. If you spend a few thousand Neopoints on that Neomites Wrap which did not work and later discover you could have bought a syringe of Neomites Injection, a guaranteed cure, for just two hundred Neopoints, you probably won’t be too pleased.
7. Spin the Wheel of Knowledge
Yes, it has been confirmed that if you land on the picture of the Water Faerie (the blue lady cupping her hands), your Neopet will also be healed (she sure never lets us down!). Just a few days ago, my Neopet had gotten Chickaroo from the Wheel of Excitement. I was already thinking about how much I would have to spend to cure it when by pure dumb luck I landed on her when I had a go at the Wheel of Knowledge, saving me quite a bit. This method cannot be relied upon to heal your Neopet quickly, though, since it is the luck of the draw. Landing on her might take a few to several spins to do, and the once-a-day restriction lowers its probability of actually curing your pet.
8. Give your pet another disease
Yes, it may sound absurd, but it is a technique to reduce your spending on medicine. Let me explain. Your Neopet can only have one disease at a time; it is possible that giving it another may just ‘overwrite’ the current one. For example, if your pet has Doldrums and you don’t have the sixty thousand Neopoints needed to buy the Mushroom Ointment to cure it, you could continuously feed it Poisonous Jellies or Rotten Omelettes. The disease would eventually change to Neomonia for the jellies or Ugga-Ugga if you fed it omelettes, both of which have cures that cost considerably less than the price Mushroom Ointment is sold at. I would like to clarify here that I do not encourage the use of this method as first, it may still not be viable for low-budget users and secondly, it just seems too cruel. No good Neopet owner would willingly and knowingly give their pet a disease unless they really had no choice. You should only do this as a last resort if you feel the benefits outweigh the risks and moral implications (cost versus efficiency).
That’s it! By now your Neopet should be rid of its illness and your pockets only slightly lighter. If not, lather, rinse and repeat. Don’t spend too much time trying to cure your pet, though – you could be doing something else.
The high cost of medicine
One question most people ask is ‘Since there are cheaper alternatives, why hasn’t the price of the original medicine come down? I really want to buy it!’ Sadly, most of these rarer medicines are now only good for their collectors’ value and are almost never used to cure diseases. Most people won’t be buying a Tasty Pie to cheer up their pet since a cup of Steaming Green Tea can do the job. A few original cures are now only useful as part of a gallery collecting medicines due to their scarcity and expensiveness. For most Neopians, they will never come across these cures in their entire life.
It is never a pleasant experience when your Neopet falls ill. It is even more unpleasant when you have to give up half your life’s savings just for that one illness. I sincerely hope that after reading this, you have better knowledge of what to do with a sick Neopet as well as how to minimize your expenses whenever you have this misfortune.