How to Survive a Return from Hiatus
It has been a couple months – a year or two, maybe – and you find yourself typing that familiar URL in the address bar, awaiting the welcome page you have long since come to know and love, hoping your pets are not too starved and unhappy, wondering what has become of all of your old neofriends, and...
That user has five neopets? I can hatch a Draik for a fractionally less exorbitant amount of neopoints? What in the world is Eventide? Is Wraith a weapon? It sounds like one! Pets made of... wood? I have never seen that avatar before! So... many... NC Mall items... What happened to the Battledome? What is a Habitarium? I think I might have missed a plot! WHAT DO ALL THESE NEOBOARD SMILIES MEAN?!
Step 1: Acceptance. It is going to be important to realize that while you were on hiatus, the site was not! The Neopets website that you might have been used to has definitely changed. How much the site has developed will be fairly dependent on how long you have been gone, but the trick is to not overwhelm yourself with everything shiny and new. Do not dive in and try to pick up on things without any guidance – it can (and will) lead to unnecessary confusion. Do not fret, there will be plenty of resources at your disposal to help you regain your bearings! Though following a system might seem like a lot of added effort, using the tips and tricks herein described truly act in your best interests!
Step 2: Use the information you are given. After you have taken a breath and come to terms with all of the new features, your next step should be to click towards the "News" page. Who could be better to inform you of updates than, well, the updaters themselves? The Neopets team publishes a news bulletin nearly every day, queuing users into the newest games, contests, Avatars, special events, etc. that the site is offering. Have a look through the old news bulletins – while it might be a lot of skimming, it will certainly give you a better idea of what has been going on in the time that you've been gone.
You can also access News bulletins on fansites such as Jellyneo.net, Sunnyneo.com, or TheDailyNeopets.com – all three of which are recommended fansites by Neopets themselves! These websites, too, put out news bulletins and updates, though they are often truncated and geared towards more popular aspects of Neopets (i.e. avatar collecting, game guides, fancy item releases, etc.) This could prove helpful or not, depending on what your site interests on Neopets are, but taking a look cannot hurt if your aim is to better understand what you have been missing out on!
Step 3: Utilize the Neoboards. While the prospect of revealing your Newbie-but-not-really nature might seem daunting, the users of Neopets can be one, giant mob of teachers! The neoboards are not only a great place to get your questions answered, but you can narrow down the topics you are curious about by posting on the corresponding board. Really confused on why Krawks are suddenly quite attainable? Pound Chat is the place for you. Whether you lurk about to gain insight, ask a question on a random board or post your own thread where you go full-on, 20-questions, interrogating-the-masses style, there will always be someone willing to help you out.
(Cheesy Alert:) Chatting also promotes the fostering of friendships – yay! Have some good conversations, meet some nice people and gain a few neofriends along the way! Not only can friendly faces – uh, usernames – make a dauntingly unfamiliar site a more welcome and comfortable place, but they could very well become your go-to helpers as you navigate your return to Neopets.
Step 4: Read the Newspaper: Look at you! Skipping all the way to Step 4, you go-getter, you? Gold star!
But in all seriousness, reading the newspaper is a universal method of current event learning, and Neopets is no exception! With each publication of another issue, the Neopian Times provides a plethora of helpful articles and editorial questions that blatantly serve to help the Neopian public! Whether you want to learn how to use the stock market or need customization help, the writers and editors of the Times will be there – every Friday, to be exact. So, go ahead, and ask a burning question that you simply must know the answer to! Read up on what the users of Neopets think is important to talk about!
Step 5: Be Proactive: Assimilating back into the new culture of Neopets may not be easy. You can get overwhelmed by the newness of it, think it is too far gone from the site you knew before you left, perhaps think that you are so out of the loop at this point that returning and rebuilding is not worth it. But, in the end, you are your own catalyst for getting back into the swing of things. Familiarizing yourself will not happen in an instant. It is going to take effort! Make lists and set goals. Try something you had never done pre-hiatus. Splurge on something that gives you inspiration. Talk to people. Adopt a new pet. Learn some games you don't recognize. Take the time to actually learn about what has changed, and embrace it. Most importantly – enjoy reintroducing yourself to something you love!
There you have it – five easy steps to help you in your return to Neopets, regardless of how long you've been away. I hope you have found these ramblings helpful, and know that while present-day Neopets might seem like another dimension to someone who has been gone awhile, many have been there. I have been there – quite recently, in fact, and know first-hand how difficult making a return can be. But as I (and many of my fellow Neopians have discovered), the process is most certainly worth it.
You can do it! Best of luck to all of you post-hiatus users!