What To Do When You Come Off Hiatus
By now, most Neopians are folks who have been on this site for years—some even a decade or more—and with that kind of longevity comes necessary breaks when real life gets in the way: hiatuses. I’ve taken hiatuses many times over my nearly fourteen years on Neopets—some just for a few weeks during important life events, others for even years at a time.
Anyone who’s taken a hiatus for more than a month or two knows how disorienting it can be to return to the site and find that so much has changed while your account has stayed the same (and gathered a layer of dust while it’s at it). Questions will rise up immediately, like, “What do you mean, it no longer costs 2 million Neopoints to make a Draik?!” and, “Where did all these new stamp avatars come from?!” It can be incredibly overwhelming.
So, I’ve put together this article to help those coming off hiatus feel less frazzled, and get some ideas for how to fit back into the site and create a new space for themselves without taking on too much at once. After all, you came back to Neopets to have fun, right? Coming back shouldn’t be stressful. Let me help. Try this list of possible routes to re-begin your Neo journey, and pave the path that works best for you.
1. Get caught up.
While so much of Neopets’ charm is about its nostalgia—such as the pets, events, and features you know will be around as long as the site is—there’s no doubt that if you’ve been on hiatus a while, you’ll come back to find things aren’t exactly as you left them. If you don’t stop to take a look, you might not see them. You can always count on the Altador Cup and the ability to paint your pets dozens of funky colors, but what if there are new species available? New avatars to collect? New games to play or plots unfolding? You wouldn’t want to miss out on new features just because you weren’t aware of them.
So, my suggestion for your first day or two back on Neopets is to poke around and see what you’ve been missing. A great place to start is the Neoboards, where you can ask direct questions about features that might have changed. For example, if you’re an avatar collector, it’d be easy to make a board on the Avatar Chat asking, “Hey, I’ve been gone since 2017, what new avatars have I missed?” Likewise, you can ask on the Battledome Chat about new Battledome features, the Pound Chat for new pet colors or trading protocol, or check out the Site Events chat to learn about the latest Neopian happenings. Getting a handle on what Neopets is like these days should make you feel a little less like you’re standing at the foot of the Mystery Island Volcano and more like you’re at the end of a very relaxing and informative Tiki Tour—and hopefully it’ll get you ready to dive back in (to the site, not the volcano)!
2. Give your account a makeover.
Once you’ve got your bearings, consider adding some new content to your own pages. There’s no quicker way to feel like a whole new player than by changing things up! Take some time to update your user lookup, your pets’ lookups, and even your pets’ colors or species if you have the Neopoints and motivation. If you’ve never had a premade user lookup before, try asking around on the boards for some popular places to get one. It’ll add some new color and life to your old profile, and make you feel like you’re getting a fresh start without making any huge changes. It’s an easy first bit of effort to make (usually it’s just a matter of copying and pasting a code), and thus a simple first step on a new journey for your account.
Redoing your lookup might also inspire you to update its description. Some of your old Neofriends might see that you’ve come back online, and pop over to see what you’ve been up to and where you are now. It feels good to share your accomplishments, so consider writing a new profile summarizing what you’ve done during your hiatus and how excited you are to be back in town, whether your city of choice is Faerieland or the Darigan Citadel. No doubt people will be excited to see you back, and eager to hear about your adventures!
3. See what your old Neofriends are up to.
Like I said, with any luck, your old pals will still be around, see your new profile, and decide to say hi. You meet a lot of really wonderful people on Neopets, and there’s nothing that can get you back in the mindset of the site quite like laughing and reminiscing with Neofriends you were once in a guild with, or on the boards with, or racing to the next game avatar with. Don’t be afraid to reach out and Neomail someone you see online—I’m sure they’ll remember you and be happy to reconnect! Neofriends are another great resource for asking questions about what you’ve missed, and getting suggestions for what to do now that you’re back.
But what if none of your old NeoFriends are active anymore, or you never really made any connections in the past? It’s not too late to meet some new people! Again, the boards are a great place to find friendly users in your favorite area of the site, and if you meet someone you click with, they might be able to introduce you to a great group of people to support you on your post-hiatus journey. It’s hard finding encouragement and motivation alone, so I really recommend surrounding yourself with friends who can give you the boost you need to reach greater Neopian heights than ever before.
4. Set new goals.
Speaking of greater heights—seeing what those around you are working on might get you inspired to go after an accomplishment of your own. Having something concrete to work on will really bring a spark to your Neopets journey again, and give you new shiny achievements to be proud of.
To get started, ask yourself: before your hiatus, did you have a dream that seemed unachievable? Maybe the Meepit Juice Break avatar, or a Chocolate Xweetok? Maybe you’ll find that your old goals aren’t so out of reach after all. I’ve come back from hiatus to paint my dream pets, write my first Neopian Times article, and get my first row of game trophies—all things I never thought would happen. If you still have a list of your old Neopets goals on your lookup or tucked away on a petpage, pull them out and see what you can do!
You also might consider setting a goal to try something on Neopets you’ve never done before. What about restocking, or making Food Club bets, or working towards getting to the All-Star rank in the Altador Cup? How about entering the Beauty Contest? Stamp collecting? You might find something you never expected to be passionate about, and give yourself a new favorite hobby. For example, after my most recent hiatus, I decided to try feeding Kadoaties, and ended up shelling out Neocola and Sand Shakes to those adorable little guys long after I got the avatar because of how much fun I was having. Don’t ever be afraid to take a new road just because it’s not the one you’re used to being comfortable on—there are endless corners of Neopia, and you might miss out if you don’t try them all out!
With that being said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to remember what you loved about Neopets in the first place, and why you decided to come back. While you’re off making new friends and goals, don’t forget to take the time to replay your old favorite games, bring back your once-loved list of dailies, and revisit your old Neopets hobby, whether that’s font-making, lurking in a specific shop, or spending hours staring at the Wheel of Mediocrity. One of the best feelings is returning to something you love and finding even more things to love about it, and new ways to enjoy it. Even if you aren’t up for any of the other items on this list, take this one to heart. Do what you enjoy on Neopets, and don’t let anyone tell you how you should spend your time here.
Above all else, take the journey you want to take on your new Neopets visit, at a sprint or a leisurely stroll. If you’d like to achieve new goals but mostly just want an escape from your real-life craziness, there’s no shame in spending your first month back doing nothing but lurking on the boards and playing Turmac Roll to de-stress. If you only came back to add to your gallery or customize your Neopets, then do that, and let it be your happy place. And if you need to take another break, take it—your pets will be waiting for you when you return, ready for wherever you’ll go next together!
I hope this helps give you some ideas for what you might like to do coming off a hiatus, or at least where to get started. Welcome back to this fantastic, warm-hearted community, and enjoy all your new adventures! Bon voyage!