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A History of Maraqua; The City of a Thousand Fish

by kieronstoff


As mentioned in my last article, this one is going to be a little different. Gone are the economics, and in comes the history! With the Cup coming up, and many people already trying to choose a side, I have decided to give my own team a helping hand by giving an in-depth history of the beautiful world of Maraqua. Now, I know many of you will realise this is just a thinly veiled attempt to fit utility fish into yet another article, but I assure you that there is a lot more to Maraqua than just that.

Long ago, before most Neopet worlds had even begun to see the light of day, there was Maraqua. Maraqua was not the oldest world by far, but in terms of achievements it was top of its class. This amazing world was Neopia’s first underwater refuge; its friendly Koi inhabitants were happy to open their doors to all who visited and even offer them wares from their extensive selection. Using the humble utility fish, the Koi were able to create expansive glass domes and an underwater empire the likes of which have never been seen again. These mischievous little fish were some of the smartest in all of Neopia and their world reflected this fact.

When discovered, it was linked to the original discovery of the Battledome and a battle between two GIANT Chias; MechaChiazilla and Maraqua’s defender Chiazilla. This battle not only opened Neopets to the world of battling, it also was a cornerstone in Neopets and provided the first weapons. Chiazilla is said to have come to Maraqua after being cast out of Mystery Island; however, the true source of this beast is anyone’s guess. Eventually, the battle ceased and a new world was in front of Neopia.

According to old articles found on the servers, and other sources of information, the main palace was something else entirely. The impressive ability of the Koi was reflected in their expansive gardens, priceless artworks and statues. When it was opened to the rest of Neopia, one could only marvel in its beauty. Upon this throne sat a very large orange Koi, who ruled over Maraqua until the days of its destruction.

There were three major shops, a game and a quest giver. Maraqua boasts the home of the Kitchen Quest, long before it was washed up on Mystery Island. These quests, which later became one of the cornerstones of Battledome training, originated in Maraqua, so if you find yourself doing one too many just to get that extra hp point, remember the only reason you even could was because those Koi had a taste for fine foods in old Maraqua.

Food was also offered directly by the Koi in this underwater metropolis, with its own store dedicated to all things fishy, food which is still purchased today from user shops, and often sought by collectors due to their now retired nature. Chiazilla was also once found to be fed here, being a very large part of the surroundings in his own private area. Neopians were once also able to find their own petpets here, beautiful arrays of fish which made the whole place just that little bit more colourful.

But just how did this utopia of fishiness come to pass? The Koi found a type of fish able to become and be used as tools, the Utility Fish. This fish gave the Koi the ability to drastically improve their level of technology, and it can be theorised that these fish were one of the most major causes of the metropolis, and the grandeur of the Koi vision. The Koi even offered these fish for sale to all those who desired to obtain their own wonder tools. Apparently, these fish were originally planned to be used in neohomes for an unknown purpose, now lost forever with the great city.

So what exactly happened to these poor fish? Well, timeline wise, this whole event actually happened only a few days after I had joined Neopets. But it was still long enough for me to have set up a shop there, and find out all about its fishy goodness. Basically what happened was that Maraqua was being forced to pay “protection money” to pirates led by Captain Dread, when one day they did not have the correct amount and were forced to make a stand. The pirates left, but the next day even Chiazilla could not protect against what was to come. The whole area opened up into a giant storm, and a huge whirlpool engulfed Maraqua.

Eyewitnesses said that it was the strangest thing they had ever seen; the whole area had changed from a soft breeze to a bone chilling gust. When the rest of Neopia finally went to check on Maraqua, everything was in ruins. No visible survivors, broken glass, the whole world just dead. The whirlpool seemed to last forever, and slowly the whole city sank into the seabed. For me, who had only just joined before this happened, I was heartbroken. I had placed my shop there literally the very day before. But just what effect did this have on the items and quests once found there?

The major effect of this cataclysmic event was the near extinction of the Koi species. The once proud and freely adoptable species was now limited edition, never to return from this brink. Even now the Koi species has not recovered, most of the current descendants being either from Koi who had already escaped to land, or one of the few who presumably escaped into deep sea. The utility fish, which once provided the Koi with their entire technological prowess, were driven to total extinction in the wild and retired as items on Neopets. Chiazilla was forced to once more roam the ocean looking for a home, and has been seen fighting Neopets in the Battledome.

Some good news came from this, as the head chef somehow managed to resettle on Mystery Island to once more offer his quests to those who are interested. While the recipes and food would never again be able to be produced in bulk as they were, and were subsequently retired from the Neopian economy, the food was not lost thanks to this one chef. Other lucky creatures were the petpets, most of which managed to clamber their way to Mystery Island, where they washed up at shore to be cared for by locals.

Some years later, Maraqua returned to the scene under the lead of a new king; King Kelpbeard. What happened to Maraqua, though, in this time? Well, for one, the Koi who were once able to create grand cities were now forced to construct homes out of natural shells and coral, without the help of their utility fish friends. These houses, although technically impeding of their original grandeur, allowed the remaining Neopets who survived to live free from the whirlpool’s grasp and survive until they were once more re-discovered by Neopia.

Like before, pirates attempted to bully Maraqua; however, the new king would not sway to demands, with the help of a selected array of individuals, and anyone from Neopia who offered to fight under their banner. The lucky thing for Maraqua was Captain Dread was long gone, replaced with a much more hands on pirate, Captain Scarblade. This new captain obviously realised that the only way to truly wipe out Maraqua was to go in there and get his hands dirty. Upon learning of their survival, Scarblade assembled an army to storm Maraqua, but came across an unexpected surprise. Maraqua was ready for them; the once helpless group of Koi was now an army of multi-species Maraquan people, ready to fight for their home. After a long struggle, eventually the outcome was evident.

Maraqua was saved. This plot also bore another advantage besides the simple rescue of Maraqua as a world; it also marked the first time a plot had ever received a plot prize point store, and boasted the very first custom sidebar from a Neopets plot. Both the sidebar and points shop originated from the Curse of Maraqua plot, giving more reasons for people to join Maraqua in this Altador Cup. Everyone who likes plot prize points, this is the original source, the reason we have had so many good prizes over the years in plots. The curse of Maraqua plot was one of the more influential, and without this original test on plot points, the Lost Desert plot may not have been the same grand success all around.

Though Maraqua was not in the same fashion it was when destroyed the first time. Most of the inhabitants are no longer Koi; this ragtag group of Neopets were survivors of the original whirlpool when visiting Maraqua. The Maraquan Paint Brush was born, most likely invented by the Koi based on the pit found after Maraqua’s destruction to help the original survivors from other species survive underwater until the whirlpool died out. This concept is further supported by the underwater pit in Maraqua, which shows all the pets that were transformed into Maraqua versions. This is the most likely reason they survived.

So what had changed in Maraqua? Well for one, in the new area they settled brand new petpets were found and caught to be sold, along with a variety of new shells and more. Their previous lay-down tactics against pirates, and dependence on defence and Chiazilla forced Maraquan inhabitants to start to have a more aggressive stance. With the discovery and development of Maractite, this goal was able to be reached. This new, unique material allowed the Maraquan people to once again feel safe, as they finally had a proper means to defend themselves. Much like the petpets and shells, these items are now sold freely to all who visit Maraqua.

What didn’t change? Well, Maraqua has always been one for great food and this change of scenery did not change that. Kelp was opened, and with it a plethora of new foods and even an avatar. While bookings were rather hard to obtain when the restaurant first opened, soon this became Neopia’s premier NP gourmet food outlet. While the Kitchen Quest did not move back to Maraqua, over the next few years many new games would find a home either in Maraqua, or in the ruins.

The ruins, while offering a refuge for certain games, were also the last remains of what Maraqua once was. The grand structure, now inhabited by a sea slug, also had a multitude of other attractions including colouring pages, and the highly popular fishing daily. Any place which allows me to catch my breadfish AND my butterfish is good news for me. This new vortex fishing brought forth a whole new range of items.

These items ranged from worthless junk items, perfect for making the SDB avatar more obtainable for new members, all the way to priceless and unique effect items. Some of the more valuable items obtainable from this vortex include an item which allows for a random colour change, one that levels up your pet 1-3 levels, and, most interesting of all, an amazingly unique potion that allows random transformation into a limited edition pet!

Years passed still, and as Maraqua slowly became a more stable part of Neopian society many new changes happened. The mysterious statue that once plagued users’ minds when it appeared in Maraqua was seen to be part of the Darkest Faerie game, while other new Neopets games were soon released. Over time, graphically Maraqua was re-imagined. Time had further sunk the ruins of Maraqua into the seabed, new games were now possible on the map, and its history was all but forgotten.

Maraquan people now finally are able to explore the lands of Neopia once more, even having their own Altador Cup team. This team is led by the skilled, but egotistical, Elon, and has consistently been a midrange team in the Cup. The players in WAM, the user based group, have been considered some of the kindest among groups. While every team has its bad people, on a whole the team is very enjoyable and fun to play with. Our Skeith Oten is a constant thorn in the side to anyone attempting to score a goal on us, and our selfless and kind Dorina offers just another player worth playing for. Even if this team layout changes, chances are the replacement will still be just as kind-spirited and strong. Considering Maraqua’s vast history, strong team, links to the Battledome, plot prizes, and any number of important factors in Neopia, shouldn’t it be on top?

I love Maraqua; it is my favourite world and I hope you have all begun to see why. During the upcoming Altador Cup, join Maraqua. Be part of this long history, and help make sure it is never forgotten. Members who join should feel free to also come onto WAM on the Neoboards, once the Cup has begun, where friendly Maraquan fish like to swim. Even if for some reason Maraqua is excluded from this year’s Cup, I hope you remember us for next year. I truly feel that I have given you all a much higher grasp of just what Maraqua is about, and showing you all that this little world, while relatively unnoticeable, is highly important. Next article, hrm, I’m not really sure yet. I have many ideas to explore and I will most likely be back once again.

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