April Fools' Day
Annually on the 1 April, Neopets takes part in April Fools' day, a traditional date to play practical jokes or hoaxes. In the UK where the site was founded, April Fools' pranks last only until midday, this was the case on Neopets until 2010.
The Neopets Team announced that the Pant Devil had stolen all the items in the inventory and safety deposit box of a "select few" users. In reality, this affected everyone for the duration of the prank. The items were returned at midday NST.
The website's front page was rebranded "Neopetz", an "eXtreme" and "radical" redesign. It included announcing Neopoints would be abolished and all items would be free, and introduced Nick Neopia, a new guide to the Neopets world.
A "Quiguki Armageddon" Trading Card Game expansion set was announced, to be set on a new world called "Quigara". The Quiguki's were Quiggle versions of Usukis. After midday, anyone visiting the New Features page received a Quiguki April Fools avatar - which has been made available after midday on every 1 April since.
The website was updated with previews of some of the cards, Quiguki-themed buddy icons, a how-to-draw page, and a Neopedia entry. However, unlike in previous years, this content was removed when the prank was over.
Fifty new pets were drawn, and the Neopets staff claimed they were releasing all of them. They removed the designs later that day, but then replaced them to allow them to be seen on 18 April. Following favourable response to several of the designs, TNT started a poll on 26 April to determine which April Fools Neopet to release as a real Neopet. The winner was the Llamameeah, which would be released under the name Gnorbu.
Nine other designs were released as Petpets:
In 2006, The Neopets Team implemented a system called "NeoCharge", a taxation system meant to combat increasing server load and Neopoint inflation. For every page a player visited, they were charged between three and 75 NP, recorded in a floating NeoCharge bill window: the idea being, this would ensure players only loaded the pages they had to. The accompanying help pages to this feature explained that this sum was required to be paid off once a week, or when it reached 50,000 NP, whichever came first. Failure to meet these debts would lead to a member of support staff covering the value of the debt by seizing items, removing or unpainting Neopets, restricting site access or increasing the number of adverts the player sees.
The Battledome and related areas - the Battledome Neoboard and weaponry shops - were closed down. Those who visited the closed locations received a message explaining that they were compelled to close down the Battledome "due to circumstances beyond [their] control". The message promised replacement activities by October.
The Battledome Is Closed
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we've had to permanently shut down the Battledome and its associated activities. Obviously, this is not something we wanted to do, and as much as we'd like to fully explain, we aren't allowed to comment at this time. We'll just leave it at that for now.
We know there are many, many Neopians who have worked very, very hard and spent countless Neopoints to train their Neopets for the Battledome. We would like to thank you for participating in past wars and events, and for keeping Neopia safe via Defenders of Neopia. Please know that we haven't forgotten you. We are currently working on new activities that will put these stats to use. Your efforts will NOT be wasted.
We have also been ordered to remove certain Battledome weapons from the site. We realise there are many Neopoints invested there, as well, so instead of simply deleting them from everyone's account, we're putting together a Battledome weapon exchange program. We're still working out the details, but we hope to allow everyone to trade in their weapons for another item of equal or lesser rarity. We will have this ready by Wednesday to comply with the agreement.
We're sorry for the short notice, and for not having alternatives ready for you now, but it was unavoidable. We're working as fast as we can and we think the new stuff will be quite cool. We hope to have everything else up by mid October!
- The Neopets Team
April Fools' on 2008 saw the introduction of a beta trial of a "NeoBuddies" system. A select number of users - in reality everyone - were chosen to trail the system, where a Neopian character would be paired with the player to offer advice while playing the site. A pop-up appeared on screen inviting the user to fill in a personality test in order to chose an appropriate buddy - every page would bug the player to fill out this questionnaire until it was done.
Despite the answers they gave, the player would be assigned Bug Eye McGee or Sir Fufon Lui, who would regularly pop up to dispense some unsolicited advice. During the course of the day, the buddy got more and more irate at the player.
2009 saw two April Fools' pranks. TNT announced that it was to get rid of all 54 of the Neopets and replace them with plants.
Plantopia is coming! No more spoiled Neopets to deal with? That's right! Neopets is blossoming in a new direction: Neoplants. They're fun and easy to play with - just add water and sunlight!
Can't get enough of Neoplants? Don't worry, there's more in store. Here are some of the new games that will be coming soon (all parodies of existing games):
As part of the prank, every user was forced to use the green site theme, the Explore page announced the addition of Plantopia, and a Neoplants board was added to the NeoBoards list. There was also a new random event introduced that talked about the benefits of Plantopia: Plantopia is the best! Sun, water, and soil: what more could a Neoplant ask for ?
Meanwhile, there were several other pranks related to a downturn in the Neopian economy.
- The bank manager was seen wearing a barrel rather than his suit and claimed that it had been necessary to reduce the bank interest: The Bank has reduced interest rates as we didn't want to deal with all those pesky big numbers anymore. Don't worry; this has nothing to do with the economic situation in Neopia. Bank with confidence. Each interest level was dropped by one point (but the actual amount of Neopoints awarded used the old percentages);
- Wearable barrels were available from the Second-Hand Shoppe until the afternoon;
- The Tombola claimed it needed only 1 NP to open but when users donated the single Neopoint, it still remained closed;
- No jobs were available in the Faerieland Employment Agency;
- A new random event with a Blue Acara stating: Spare some NP? The faeries won't hire me anymore appeared;
- None of the stocks in the Stock Market changed during the early part of the day and then they all crashed in the afternoon. They all returned to their original prices prior to the crash after the day was over;
- The Hidden Tower was closed due to the establishment of Neoplants: Due to 400 metric tons of madvine engulfing the premises, Queen Fyora has closed the Hidden Tower until further notice.';
- Neopian shops increased their inflation from 2.31% to 23.10%;
Two pranks were played this year as well: a hoax Battledome update - "Battledome in 3D" - was announced, featuring preview videos of people 'battling' with real-life plushies.
Meanwhile, the "Prank Warehouse" was made available for the day. Accessible by a link in a random event, this allowed a player to play a prank on their NeoFriends for the day by transforming their Neopet into a pile of soot, throwing one of a variety of pies at them, covering them in slime, or changing their colour and species. The NeoBoard filters were altered for the day to make it harder for people to spoil the secret.
Shortly after logging on on 1 April, all the user's Neopets became infected with a "Unknown Disease", featuring coral-like growths on their body and complaining of a "a severe headache and a cough". The Neopian Hospital kept track the number of pets infected and the countdown to the end of the day.
From this page, the player could administer cures to other user's Neopets, but not their own - much like the Prank Warehouse interface from the previous year. These 'cures' appeared on that Neopet when it was viewed - temporarily replacing the disease pock marks. These cures were Freezing Cold Ice Pack, Blazingly Hot Soup, Indistinguishable Healing Goop, Haphazardly Placed Splints, Magical Healing Slorgs. The Blazingly Hot Soup Background was awarded to players who cured lots of pets with Blazingly Hot Soup.
The progression of the disease was also recorded at the Neopian Hospital:
BULLETIN [1:03:56 am NST]: Neopets all over Neopia have complained of not feeling well. Crowds are rushing to the Pharmacy for a cure, but the illness has not yet been identified. Scientists across the land are hard at work, trying to find the source of the illness so they can contain it as they search for a treatment.
BULLETIN [3:42:21 am NST]: Symptoms of the unidentified illness include growths on the face and body, a persistent cough, and severe headache. Neopians are encouraged to remain indoors and avoid those showing symptoms of the illness. It is recommended that Neopians cover the gaps in the doors and windows of their Neohomes to keep out germs.
BULLETIN [8:37:06 am NST]: Neopian Hospital over-run with sick Neopets, all suffering from this mysterious illness. Further symptoms include itchiness, dizziness, and muscle aches. If you have any of these symptoms, please avoid contact with healthy Neopets, drink plenty of fluids, and rest in a darkened room.
BULLETIN [10:20:13 am NST]: Neopian health crisis worsens as doctors, chemists, and potion-makers scramble to find a cure. Panic sets in among a worried populace; shelves at the Pharmacy are emptied by Neopets desperate for a cure for this horrible illness. Meanwhile, cases have been reported in every Neopian land, making it a pandemic.
BULLETIN [12:51:59 pm NST]: The mystery disease has been identified as the Scourgies. It is highly contagious. Avoiding contact with other Neopets is critical at this stage so the disease does not spread any further. Doctors are continuing to look for a cure before all hope is lost.
The New Features page updated with a report on the illness, noting that certain parts of Neopia had been quarantined to prevent its spread.
By the following day, the hospital was back to normal and the Neopets were no longer reporting symptoms - although the pock marks continued to appear on certain images of the Neopets until the user had gone into the Neopet customisation screen and saved it again.
The Shop Wizard was feeling very dizzy - when sweeping around the marketplace looking for results for the player's search, he would retrieve listings for lots of different items instead, or retrieve the correct listings but with all the prices wrong or replaced with nonsense - either phrases "\O/ *steve holt*", "E=mc²", "a^2+b^2=c^2", Unicode characters like "(ﾉ °益°)ﾉ 彡 ┻━┻" or "⇔", or the NeoBoard Slorg emoticon. When he could not find an item, instead of asking the user to try again and he would look elsewhere, he claimed he had found it but that the seller had not priced the item.
The listings with lots of different items were in fact the item searched for, but with the name replaced on the results page: visiting the shop in question showed the real item.
The Super Shop Wizard was unaffected.
Later, the news was updated explaining that:
NOTICE - Due to increasing numbers of Neopets causing core dumps on our database servers, we had to make some changes to how the site performs. Unfortunately, this means we will have to purge some Neopets from the system. Starting on Monday, each account will only be allowed three Neopets rather than four. In the next few hours, we will be sending Neopets into the Pound and purging the Pound itself by the end of today (Sunday).
If you would like to help us out, please visit the Pound and send a Neopet of your choice to it! If one is not chosen by the time we start running the Automated Pound Transfer script, a random Neopet will be chosen for you and taken to the Pound to be purged. Please stay tuned for further updates! We apologize for the inconvenience.
Meanwhile, all of the areas of the Pound redirect to the abandon page, and the page itself was locked out (preventing users from abandoning their Neopets). A message read:
Due to the recent overload of abandoned Neopets, the Pound has been closed until capacity issues can be addressed. A modest proposal is currently being considered. We hope to have the Pound up and running again by the end of the countdown. Stay tuned!
with two countdown clocks, one running to the end of the day, and the other, shorter countdown to when the 'Automated Pound Transfer' script would activate. This was to imply that not only would one of a player's four Neopets be removed, but that the player would be unable to chose which before this happened.
Later still, almost all the Auction House listings were replaced with dung-related items, and the Auction Genie would return search results for "dung" for any query. Any attempt to bid on them brought the player to a message from Nigel the Chia, saying he had outbid them on it. Meanwhile, at the Trading Post, the Island Faerie had been replaced by a "helpful" Tyrannian Kacheek called Hoka. When attempting to offer on a trade, an error would appear,
Please offer only dung, as other items will confuse Hoka. Also, he cannot count very high, so offer no more than 1,000 NP.
Offering a dung item and less than 1,000 NP will cause Hoka to offer all the Neopoints you have on hand, all your Neopets, and all the items in your Safety Deposit Box in trade - and not necessarily on the correct lot. Clicking to cancel the trade would cause Hoka to ask the player to confirm it: "Trade wa ugga snarga good! You no want?". Both possible replies, a la Tyranu Evavu, were in Tyrannian, "arvu" and "nablu". No matter which one was chosen, the user would be brought to a page informing them that the offer was accepted - "Hoka is happy."
In actual fact, the offer was not 'real' and could not be seen by the other player. The player's Neopoint counter goes down to 0 on the success page, but everything is returned on the next page load.
The Lab Ray began to change user's Neopets to colours including Maraquan, Faerie, and Darigan, but not necessarily the Neopet the player zapped. This change could only be seen by the Neopet's owner - to all other players, the pet appeared unchanged.
The Lab Ray prank, when it affected an unconverted Neopet, caused other users to see it as converted. When the pranks were reverted at the end of the day, unconverted pets did not revert back to their unconverted form. The Neopets Team acknowledged on the NeoBoards that this was unintentional and that they were working to resolve it.
The notice saying to disown a Neopet remained on the New Features even after the Pound was re-enabled and the countdown clocks removed at the end of the day. The message was finally removed when work began the following day.
Neopets announced a worldwide launch of new merchandise, including real-life versions of Neopets food like Minced Beef Pretzel, and board game versions of the site and the Battledome.
For 2015, the Neopets website was "taken over" by characters from JumpStart's other licensed properties, including School of Dragons, Math Blasters, and NFL Rush GameDay Heroes. During the entire day, the site theme was changed to be JumpStart themed, and the banner announcements on the main page displayed JumpStart games. The explore map was changed to show various locations from JumpStart's other games, and some NC Mall shopkeepers were replaced with JumpStart characters.