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Neopets//JumpStart – Survey

//After the announcement of Viacom selling Neopets to JumpStart, we are finally allowed the opportunity to express the kinds of things we would like to see for the future of Neopets in a survey. Hopefully in new hands, the changes to come will be an improvement to the many issues plaguing the Neopian community. I hope everyone is taking ample time to really come up with constructive thoughts and ideas to offer our new parent company. And we all hope that JumpStart will embrace our concerns, and begin this venture with us.

//I realized most of the main concerns people have for the game, most are basic site features that people want, need to be fixed, updated, etc. I wanted to focus more on the fundamental needs of the site. What will really drive the site forward in the future, instead of just a few site features.

//These of course are my opinions, and may differ from your own.

So many things, where does one begin?!

1. Plots is probably the biggest request any Neopian could make. The wonderful thing about RPG’s is being able to immerse yourself into the lore of the world. The complex stories that not only let us participate in this history of the world, but work on new ideas, and puzzles and community projects. I feel it’s the most important building block of the site. The short term events we see so commonly now don’t really allow us to be fully immersed into the world. How are we suppose to love these characters that shape the world, how are we suppose to be a part of that world? Ask any Neopian when they felt the most engaged in the site, when they connected with the most people for a cause, when they were challenged, they will tell you it was during one of the major plots. The puzzles, the battles, the story… they offered something for everyone.

2. Would love to see areas around the site that are falling to decay (ie. games that no longer work due to tech advancement) get revamps. Leaving these things to rot gives users the impression that the site is not cared for. I’m aware of the layoffs, and the content demand, and how people get moved from one project to another and priority takes over. But there is that saying “you are only as strong as your weakest link” – With Viacom refusing to invest in it’s employees, a chain reaction of decay has emerged.
The site needs a facelift to restore these areas. Fixing these things would also restore peoples faith in the site, they wouldn’t feel the need to fear it closing down all the time. They wouldn’t feel the need to ‘rage quit’ because something wasn’t working (ie, the Battledome, hp increase, Neohome glitches, Habitarium, old Shockwave games etc).

3. No more outsourcing! Invest in your employees! I hope the one thing JumpStart can learn from Viacom’s mistake, is that. Employees will invest their work into the product if you invest in them. Job security and advancement. Allow them to learn new tech, design new products for the brand. If you employ them to do the work, they can also maintain it. We have seen the fall of many new projects due to outsourcing. Be willing to hire people who will grow the company. You can’t just lay off people because you don’t understand the gaming industry! There is money in the industry, so many companies are practically vomiting out new games at a rapid rate and making profit.
Why do we have to constantly see failed projects like Habitarium, KeyQuest, Support Center, old premium service etc. fail because ‘someone else’ built it? Why isn’t this in-house? A plea to the senior management would be to invest in your employees. They are a huge asset to the growth of the company. From our humble user perspectives, we are able to see that the Viacom senior management really lacked in knowing where they wanted the site to go.

4. Since we are on the subject of the gaming industry, lets expand the Neopets brand. The plushies and merch were great back in the day. With mobile gaming apps, you can broaden the Neopets audience, you can bring back merch, you can open new mediums and platforms for the brand. I would love to see app games that are not only stand alone games, but tie back in to the neopets.com site. Have unlockable codes, earn pts, etc.

5. I’ve had a wild dream for the growth of Neopets for nearly a year now. If it came true I would be amazed, and it would become my new obsession. I would love to see a type of console game like Skylanders Giants made for the Neopets brand. I’m aware that Skylanders is owned by Activision, but it’s game concept is a perfect design for Neopets. It would be like taking KeyQuest and console gaming and smashing it together. KeyQuest was a great opportunity for people to Collect exclusive merch. Neopets characters offer many ‘Limited Edition’ type characters. People love to collect exclusive merch, Kids love to collect figures, console gaming is big, they even offer DLC (downloadable content) that can be added to the games after purchase. It could continue to be expanded and more figures could be sold.

6. Better feedback. There is no shortage of negative opinion on customer support. If it’s not the ticket system not working, it’s the long response time, lack of response, or the dreaded lack of actual help response. I’m sure you are well aware of the complaints, and there has probably been changes to policies to remedy them, but it hasn’t been enough. It is unclear on our end what the procedures are for answering tickets. Is it lack of site knowledge? understaffed? strange, and unclear policies? We really don’t know, we just hope it improves.

7. As far as Neopets joining the educational JumpStart, I’m hoping this will be a good match. Neopets has always been an educational tool, without heavily pushing education as the focus. Users learn economics, creative writing, basic internet navigation and use, programming, graphic arts and more. There are many testimonials from users who state that Neopets was their learning foundation for their future careers. There are many social experiments that focus on working with the community for a common goal, the games offer educational puzzles as well as fun and entertainment. You are allowed to be creative with the many contests and spotlights. There are already many ways that Neopets can be brought to kids in the classroom and used as a learning tool, without forcing it into an educational product.

8. One of my most controversial topics that I want to bring up. I strongly feel that Petpetpark.com is going to hold back Neopets. Petpetpark started as a Neopets brand that could be marketed in a different medium. Unfortunately, being one of Nickelodeon Games Group’s first games to branch off, they lacked in direction. The game aspects failed to deliver, and the marketing was misdirected. If Petpetpark continues, it will only drain resources that could be better served elsewhere. I’m sorry to the Petpetpark development team, but I’ve been watching it’s progress since it’s release, and it only continued to degrade.

9. Many smaller things i’m sure will be addressed. Site perks, Premium perks, collections, achievements, avatars, item retirement, fix retired items given away in dailies, find solutions to RSing, hp increase in the Battledome, fix Battledome and get DoN back up and running, fix Habitarium, fix Neohomes, fix…fix…fix…

10. Destroy the UC. Unconverted pets were a mistake left behind in the customization changeover. They are a target to hackers/scammers, they cause chaos on the PC board. The value of having these pets is ridiculous. They cause more problems than solutions. This one will probably never happen, as there are those who would quit if their pet was converted after all this time. They have invested in obtaining one of these rare archaic models of the past. But in reality, no new species/color combo creation will be drawn in that old style again, so the hopes and dreams of those that want an item that will “unconvert” your pet will never happen. Those people need to move forward.

11. NC trading post. I have stayed away from the NC trading debacle since NC was introduced. There should have been a stable and safe place to trade off our cash items years ago. This GB currency is first off, too confusing to even explain to newcomers to the site. It’s risky to allow users to set value to cash items this way. You are also at risk each time you do a trade of getting scammed. NC value should be 1:1 not based on caps. People shouldn’t have to pay on top of what they already paid to obtain the item to move it to another account.

12. Elite Boutique shop hasn’t seen anything new. Come on Content Team, you can come up with some good item ideas to add to that shop!

13. End the Altador Cup! This has been a driving nail for me for years. The only good thing about the Altador Cup event to date is the camaraderie the teams provide. People pulling together to achieve a goal is a great idea. Unfortunately everything else about the Altador Cup is a mess. The mind numbing gaming technique. Those who do excel at this game (myself not included), spend their entire day for a month long event playing the same sequence of moves over and over and over. I don’t feel that this is healthy for anyone. To achieve the rank of All Star, you have to play in this method. Even then, you will not reap the full rewards at the end of the tournament. The prizes awarded are too expensive for even an All Star player to obtain. This forces people to continue the unhealthy playing technique even further in hopes they will earn enough points for the prizes. Good gaming techniques prove that a proper reward system keeps people engaged in the game. The Altador Cup reward system is forcing players to resort to cheating.
Cheating is another huge issue regarding the Altador Cup. The mass amount of cheating, and the lack of ways to curb this problem causes the entire event to crumble.

14. New games. In addition to older games that are not functioning getting revamps, hopefully we will be seeing an increase in new games. Both for mobile and on the site. The Daily Dare and GMC’s have become stale with no new game additions added into the mix. Hopefully Shockwave games will be redone, and maybe the Unity game engine implemented in new games.

 

//In conclusion, my final thoughts to send them:

 

I would like to welcome the JumpStart group to the Neopets community. Neopets has been a part of my life for over 12 years, and hope it will continue to be for years to come. It’s more than a game or hobby to me, it has become part of my everyday routine. Just as I have loved being a part of the Neopets community, I have also loved sharing my time and helping others within the community. Neopets has a very dedicated fanbase who want to see it grow. After working at Jellyneo.net for many years I have seen many changes to Neopets (good and bad), and have learned many things about the site. Visiting the Neopets HQ gave me a whole new perspective of how the site works, and also deepened my adoration of the site as a whole. The staff have a love for the site and community, and they work hard to come up with new ways to excite us.

I’m sure the JumpStart support staff were not prepared for the onslaught of Neopets related tickets that came in after the announcement, but I appreciate the time they took to answer. Just wanted to give them a heads up, that it’s Neopets, not NeoPets. It’s a branding thing ;)

Thanks for the opportunity to submit our concerns in this survey. I hope you get a lot of good ideas on how to move forward.

 

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