2016 Item Trends: Part I
2016 is drawing to a close, which means that it’s time for us to look back on the year that was...and what better way to do that than through the medium of MATERIAL GOODS! So in this two-part series, let’s talk about the Neopoint items that were particularly in vogue this year. (And to those of you left your Christmas shopping until the last minute and are now panicking wondering what to get your neofriends - you’re welcome!)
Battling has always been very popular, so new items that are interesting and useful are met with great enthusiasm. This year has brought some exceptional weapons which are downright game-changing, with previously infrequently-used mechanics being made much more affordable. One example which gets an honourable mention is the combination blocking/draining weapon, Dangerous Maraquan Yo-yo, which was released as a Daily Dare prize. Its requirements for use and relatively low power kept it out of the most popular items, but it indicated TNT’s renewed commitment to making the battledome exciting. In November, we were also teased with a new dome called the Forgotten Graveyard. Although this dome is not yet functional, speculation of a possible plot or event fuelled investors and battle-enthusiasts causing the prices of some items to skyrocket.
The Shuriken is hands-down the weapon of the year. Not only does it deal a whopping 14 icons of damage over all 7 icon types, it also has a 50% chance to freeze your opponent. The real kicker is that you can equip more than one. This means, that although it breaks for the battle once it freezes, you could conceivably just hit your opponent with another one! This is extremely unusual, because you can usually equip only one freezing item at a time. It’s unclear whether or not this exception was a mistake on TNT’s part, but since it’s been around for so long, it looks like it’s going to stay. Naturally, Battledomers were tripping over themselves to snag one of these, especially since it was just rarity 87 when it was released. At one point it was down to the very affordable price of 250k! However, many people felt that a weapon so powerful should be given a rarity worthy of its status, and TNT must have agreed, because a few weeks later, its rarity changed to 99 - and the price shot up with it; it’s currently around 5-10M.
Yooyu Knuckle Duster
The Yooyu Knuckle Duster, released in the Altador Cup prize shop, sets a new standard for affordable battling, especially for 1-player fights. Although it deals an impressive 14 icons, it was available for relatively few points in the prize shop, and is therefore very common. At just 100K, the knuckle duster has quickly become a frequently-recommended item, and considered a basic essential in many battlers’ sets.
Turned Tooth deals between 13 and 22 icons of damage, averaging around 16 icons. Its power along with its rarity of 83 make it the most recent subject of “Will the rarity be changed?” speculation (see also: Shuriken). It’s been over four months though, so it seems increasingly likely that the rarity status is here to stay. A combination of price speculation and firepower kept the price in the millions for months. This makes sense since the most comparable item in terms of likely damage output, Stone Foam Finger, costs around 3M. The price has been dropping steadily though; you can now pick them up for around 600K.
It has been an exciting year for stamp collecting, with the release of not one but two new stamp avatars, bringing with them a whole lot of renewed interest in collectibles. Speculation of further avatars caused a buzz, and stamp collecting is more popular than ever. We were treated to so many new album items this year too, some in shops, and some as highly-coveted event prizes. Honourable mentions include: Preoccupied AAA Stamp, Mellow Marauders Plushie Stamp, Mystical Surroundings Stamp, Mika Stamp, Mumbo Pango Stamp, and Fiery Golden Collectable Scarab.
Other II Stamps
The release of the Hannah Stamp in October also marked the release of the ‘Brucey B’ Stamp Collector avatar, awarded for completing the Other II album page. The ensuing frenzy was particularly intense, even for a stamp avatar, due to the fact that most of the avatars on this page were rarity 101 event prizes (mostly Altador Cup Commemorative Stamps), which would never be released again. The avatars were so hyped and speculated about that the prices began to rise even before the avatar was formally released! The announcement of the avatar in the news several days prior to its release caused the rarest Other II stamp, the 3D Camp AAA Stamp, to jump from 8M to 20M - and that was even before we were sure of how to get the avatar! Even that is small fry compared to its 50M price tag now, and the whole page of stamps will set you back somewhere in the realm of 100-120M neopoints...but serious collectors know that no amount is too much for a precious new avatar!
Just a few short weeks after the release of the Brucey B avatar, came another new stamp avatar. The King Kelpbeard Stamp Collector avatar, awarded for completing the Maraqua album page, was very surprising because it was given for an album page whose stamps had all long since been released. Luckily, all the stamps on this page still restock in the Post Office…but that still means you have to obtain five rarity 97 or higher stamps: Jacques Stamp, Garin Stamp, Isca Stamp, Captain Scarblade Stamp, and King Kelpbeard Stamp.
Game Controller Collectable Charm
This was awarded for completing all of AAA’s challenge’s in this year’s Daily Dare. This was no easy feat - in fact, it was probably the most difficult-to-obtain event prize awarded this year - I’m still haunted by the hours I spent struggling with Mynci Beach Volleyball trying to get the necessary score! This charm was therefore highly sought after by game enthusiasts, stamp collectors, and investors alike. It currently costs about 2.5M.
What better way to spoil your Neopet than to give it a petpet? New petpets and colours are released all the time, far too many to list them all here! One honourable mention goes to the Water Yooyu, which was released as a high-end Altador Cup prize this year.
Spring Petpet Paint Brush
This beautiful paint brush, released in April, can be used at the petpet puddle to paint your petpet Spring. So far, there are only 5 Spring petpets, and only 3 which can be made using this paint brush: the Spring Snowbunny, Pawkeet, and Triffin. Hopefully these adorable critters will get more floral petpet friends released soon! You need to be very lucky to stumble across one of these - you can only get them through random events or the Alien Aisha Vending Machine. If you want to buy one from another user, it’ll cost around 1-1.2M.
Lutari Knight Tunic
The Lutari Knight Tunic, while a fine piece of clothing, is a species specific wearable for a hard-to-obtain species, and is therefore has quite a narrow market as a wearable. However, when it was first released, there was a glitch which allowed players to attach it to their pet just as they would a petpet! So many people found this amusing that the Tunic-as-petpets became quite popular! Although the glitch has long-since been fixed, you might still occasionally come across pets with the Tunic as its petpet, if it had been attached it while it was possible.
Birthday petpets are available exclusively through the birthday goodie bags. New petpets are released each year with each new goodie bag, and are always a hit with anyone who appreciates cute things! This year we enjoyed the Y16 birthday petpets - the Birthday Hasee, Nuranna, Quadrapus, and Turdle - and more recently, the new Y17 petpets - the Birthday Angelpuss, Melvie, Polarchuck, and Snorkle.
TOYS & OTHER FUN STUFF
Among the most popular toys on Neopets are ones that you can open up to reveal yet more items, and this year was no exception. The 17th Birthday Goodie Bag and the Usukicon Y18 Goodie Bag receive honourable mentions.
Trick-or-Treat Bags released annually for Halloween are one of my favourite Neopets traditions - there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of fun freebies, not knowing what items you’ll get, and the thrill if you get lucky with a big prize. This year, we got five ToT bags: the Jhudoras Bluff, Igloo Garage Sale : The Game, Coltzans Shrine, Mystery Island Kitchen, and Kou-Jong Trick-or-Treat Bags. Potential prizes range from spooky food to wearables to exclusive books, and most lucratively to the lucky folks who found them in the Mystery Island Kitchen and Igloo Garage Sale bags, exclusive stamps.
Moehawk Xmas Special Ticket
This item was released very recently through the Advent Calendar. Usually, tickets are used to see bands at the Tyrannian Concert Hall, complete with a special souvenir to keep afterwards. Speculation abounds that there may be an exclusive Moehawk Christmas Concert along with exclusive merchandise - the last Xmas Special was a Jazzmosis concert all the way back in 2002 and one of the items from that event is now incredibly rare and worth millions of neopoints! This speculation has been reflected in its cost: at one point the ticket was selling for almost 100K! Right now, it’s a reasonable 5000NP, but even that is quite impressive for an Advent Calendar item. Will we be treated to another special concert this year? Only time will tell!
Elderly Hot Dog
I suppose this is what happens when you leave a Well-Aged Hotdog to age even further. What more is there to say? In my opinion, this item is an instant Neopets classic :P
That concludes Part I of the year’s most popular items! Join me next week for Part II where we discuss the most popular wearables of 2016.