Well, I've been informed that VPL could use a few more good reviews on pet sites. I figured I might as well give it a go! I'll be reviewing http://www.verpets.com/ which happens to currently be one of my favourite petsites. That is not to say that it doesn't have it's flaws, it has plenty.
This review will focus on a number of things, but it mainly focuses on problems I see in Staff, and Community. There will also be sections on Art, Economy, Navigation, and Updates.
--About Us pageVerpets is a fun and enjoyable virtual pet gaming experience for children and adults alike. Opened since January of 2008, Verpets has become a huge success with about 20,000 members and a large collection of items, pets, flash games, and much more! The Verpets Staff Team are dedicated to maintaining and expanding the Verpets community for your enjoyment and we appreciate your feedback.
Now without further ado, let's get on to my review.
A long time ago, when I first joined Verpets, I was happy to see active staff who did their job well. Rules such as “no caps in the shoutbox” were enforced quickly. That's not a bad thing, no respectable site can post rules and not enforce them. Not to mention the amount of spam you get in the shoutbox once people think they can CAPSLOCK OMG N CHTSPK. It would have been irritating to most the people who actually spent their time in there.
Things have changed since then. Rules are enforced sporadically, and only when the staff is on. Staff members are on very rarely, save for the artist or two. The shoutbox is frequently spammed by meaningless goop, or a multitude of posts from the same user who posts the same thing. There are people talking about bra's, sex, drugs, alcohol... and none of this gets properly punished.
I have noticed things such as:
-User A gets banned for having two accounts
-User B does not even get scolded for talking about how her money was in a stripper's panties
-User D does not get scolded for cussing at and talking down upon the owners and mods
Now does any of that honestly make sense? Yes, having multiple accounts is against the rules... But out of those three offenses, it's the least worrisome.
Now, some of the staff have honest reasons for not being on. Others seem to be on staff specifically because they want the status boost. They don't actually do their jobs.
There was a time when there was a large community of regulars. It was hard to get integrated into their group without either being fabulous at art, or previously knowing one of them. That very group of regulars, many of which I either looked up to or tried to become friends with, has been slowly dying out over the years. Their intelligent, oft hilarious, and many times dramatic conversation has dwindled down to the ramblings of the very young. There is much spam, a lot of users taking advantage, and many (very many) users who act up just to see how long they'll be able to get away with it.
Some of the most popular people are intensely disrespectful towards others. I saw one popular user tell a new one not to talk to her, because the new user was “obnoxious and ignorant” as well as “stupid”.
I see so many new users quit because of the way they are treated.
Obviously their art is well-off. I myself tend to be picky about the art styles I like to see in my pet sites. I cannot stand certain styles, and I adore others. Verpets is one of those sites where I really enjoy most of the pets.
Verpets has a number of artists, and all of them seem to know exactly what they are doing. Many of them are fun to talk to, and get along well with the rest of Ver.
Another thing about Verpets is that you can customize your own pet (for a small fee of five to fifteen USD) and have an appearance totally your own! Some examples of custom pets are:
Pets get revamps sometimes. What's that? You liked the old version better? Have no fear -- you can use that image instead! That's right, for absolutely no cost you can decide to use the old pet art instead of the current one. 8D
There are two seperate currencies on verpets. VerPoints (VP, regular currency) and VerCredits (VC, cash shop currency). There was a time that 1,000 VC would have equaled out to 1 million VP. Times have changed, and often you see the same amount of VC going for double or more than the regular VP price. This seems to have been caused by the introduction of the Sanctuary, and it's keys.
You see, for 1k VC you can now buy a Sanctuary Key. When a user gets banned, their pets will eventually go into what is known as the 'Sanctuary'. You may then use a Sanctuary Key to buy one of their old pets. They will come with any special colour or stats that they once had, along with their name, and (so far) their profile. (There are users suggesting that profiles be erased from Sanctuary finds.)
Due to this set of circumstances, the economy is taking a spin. Pet names used to sell for an average of 300,000 VP. It is now difficult to get 1/3rd of that price. Art is no longer being bought as fast, save for the most popular few. It makes it even more difficult for many users to make any VP.
Games don't make money well at all, save for Solitaire which makes you 15k upon winning.
Quests are difficult unless a user is selling the item for less than 5k (or less than the shopkeeper is offering) , or you have the money to buy the item in the beginning. (Tip: Never buy an item for more than 5k if you're going to put it into a Zerilia's quest. You won't make the money back.)
Overall, the economy is pretty bad lately.
Navigating Verpets is actually easy for the most part. Everything is labeled, neatly, in the side, or is easy to find through those links.
Unfortunately, with the inactive staff, updates have been few and far between. As of right now, the last update that wasn't an automatic...Was May 9th, 2012. That was simply to release some sushi items. There have been multiple hints at new updates for Fortresses, forums, etc... For years, and most of it hasn't happened. Much of this is due to the staff's general inactivity, but it's another down-side to the site.
- Verpets allows the art community to thrive. Commissions are fully available from all sorts of people, and you can buy them for site currency or, rarely, for RL money!
- There is forum roleplaying. The better feature? You can roleplay with just your pets, via a comment module on the pet's profile!
- The art is very nice, often well-done.
- The site allows you to customize the art for your pet. You can actually buy, for real money, a totally unique appearance for your pet. You have to do the art, of course, or hire someone else to do it... but it's a really fun part of the site.
- They allow you to buy VerCredits from other users, using VerPoints, art, pets, etc.
- Profiles are customisable for ALL users, not just the Premium users!