Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:56 AM
My first plot was Hannah and the Ice Caves. I followed the comics with bated breath, but as a newbie I was a pretty terrible Battledomer and they didn't include any other kind of step (what the, TNT?) so it didn't have that much to offer me. Nevertheless, I understood the gravity of the situation, and did my level best to help out. I thwacked monsters, and bought medicine for my Battledoming friends whose pets were sick. And got a measly plastic skeleton for my dedicated work. -_- I still found the story exciting, though.
Then came the Curse of Maraqua. Knowing I was still a poor Battledomer, I signed up as a supporter in the hope I'd be able to put in some better effort, only to be faced with having to buy 100k+ items for a single point. I struggled on as best I could. One unintended consequence was that when a labbie I'd been attempting to foster changed gender, I couldn't change her back, since the Lab Scientist had gone into hiding. She had to stick around far longer than intended, being crotchety and gender-confused at visitors. By the time I could actually get her back to officially being a her, I had grown so attached that I decided to keep her as a permie.
However, my lesson had been learnt: "plots" were evidently only for rich people, the lucky ones who could spend a few hundred thousand NP like it was nothing and train their pets to ridiculous extremes. They were clearly not meant for the ordinary likes of me. So the next time something calling itself a plot came up, I decided I was better off just ignoring it (beyond what seemed to be an easy and cheap first step, which tallied with what I'd seen in the CoM -- supporting had been easy for all of four hours or so before the prices spiked) and leaving it to its target audience while I got on with regular Neopian life.
And that, cats and kittens, is how I missed the freakin' Lost Desert Plot. To this day I am furious.
The mini-plots were nothing to write home about; I completed the Altador one, but only with a lot of help, and can't even remember if I participated in the Cyodrake's Gaze. Operation Petpet Park a few years later was far too easy to be interesting. But the Tale of Woe, now, that was a different story entirely. I'm normally the exact opposite of a golden-ager, but when I think of glory days on Neo, this is what I will always come back to. For the first time, I felt genuinely caught up in Neopian history -- not as a bystander/historian reading plot comics, but as a real participant. I got thrown together with owners and pets I'd never met to work on tasks. We weren't always sure what we were meant to be doing but by the heck, we were going to do it. Mundane tasks got transformed into epic teamwork as we became Insane Testers of Impossible Odds -- now there's an imaginary badge I will never discard. It was frustrating, but never not fun. To be honest, I've been chasing that feeling ever since.
I enjoyed Journey to the Lost Isle as far as it went, but frankly, it never went very far. The untimely curtailment of that plot still puzzles me. I worked hard, and developed a bit of a thing for Roxton while I was there, but I never felt connected and epic and one of the Little Things That Make The Big Things Happen in the same way as I had with ToW.
When Dr. Sloth finally declared war on Neopia once again, I was unlucky enough to be in France without fixed Internet. I did my best, but I was always going to be destined to miss most of the plot steps, something I'm a bit sore about. If that telecom company hadn't lost my modem in the post... Missing bits of important history always gets my goat, for whatever reason.
I threw myself wholeheartedly into Atlas of the Ancients, determined not to miss another plot, but on an old computer it was never going to be a lot of fun, and the game-centric nature of the plot made me feel like I was working in isolation a lot of the time. I didn't think much to the new characterisation of Roxy, either. Still, I worked hard, even to the point of taking my laptop to a meetup weekend with some online friends so that I could carry on completing steps (and hopefully not miss ALL of the wretched timezone benefits -- TNT seriously dropped the ball on that one.)
TFR rocked my socks, although still not as much as the Tale of Woe (it'll take something pretty special to dethrone that in my memory). I didn't do that much Battledoming, but I worked hard on all the other steps and got mad/sad/triumphant/shocked with the rest of Neopia's little army. It was also the first plot I had the privilege of blogging as it happened, which means I can look back on my real reactions and feelings from each step instead of remembering the whole thing as a single image or emotion.
I still hope that a plot is going to top ToW for me one of these days. The possibilities are endless!