How to Play NQI and NQII Without Losing Your Mind
We all know that NQI and NQII can be mind-numbingly tedious and unbelievably frustrating. After all, pacing back and forth on the same four squares in order to level up is fairly time-consuming. Therefore, I have provided you with a list of tips to prevent you from becoming as crazy as Mr. Insane while adventuring in the Neoquest world. (No offense to Mr. Insane, I'm sure he's a lovely person and I fully acknowledge his brilliance.)
First of all, take breaks. Frequently. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine, or have a snack or something. Your strained eyes will thank you. Your hand will too. Unless you're playing for an NQII race trophy, you really do not need to rush. Besides, if you're aiming for a race trophy, this article can't help you. You might as well stop reading now; you're too far gone. Sorry.
Chat with people in between levels or right before bosses! (Don't take a break to chat in between each battle; you'll never finish at that rate.) There's a Neoquest chat group on the Avatar Chat that is full of lovely, welcoming people who may or may not be Neoquesting, but will definitely answer any questions you may have. (Sorry, shameless plug!) In addition, there is a whole Neoquest Board, in case you haven't noticed. It might be a bit slow, but that makes it easier to keep up with the conversation while you play. Additionally, there are probably great Neoquest guilds out there as well. If you ever need help finding a guide of any sort, I'm sure any of these people would be happy to be of assistance. In fact, you can go ahead and neomail me if you feel so inclined. (Wow, I hope I don't regret putting that out there.)
So we have established that short breaks are beneficial, but you should try to avoid taking breaks that are too long. If you abandon your game for several months, it might be difficult to jump back in when you decide you're finally ready. In other words, after an extended period of time, it might be mildly annoying to figure out where you are on the map. You might find yourself trekking through the Tower of Nox, only to discover that you've already defeated Nox. Not that that's happened to anyone I know. ;) What's worse, if you leave your NQI game untouched for over a year, your game will be deleted and you have to start from the beginning.
Similarly, if you intend to complete NQI on InSaNe, make sure that your active pet is a pet that you plan on keeping for a while. If, for whatever reason, you abandon your active pet after finishing Evil, you won't be able to continue onto InSaNe. Don't do that to yourself!
Feel free to skip the optional bosses if you want. This especially applies to Nox, considering the difficulty of the Hands of Nox that attack in his tower. If you're not careful, they could easily defeat you. However, I want to make it clear that this only applies to NQII players. Technically, the vast majority of the bosses in NQI are optional, but I definitely would not recommend that you skip those battles. Take into account the fact that these bosses give you higher amounts of experience and drop precious materials for weapon and armor upgrades.
Avoid playing when you know you won't be able to focus your attention on the game completely. Especially when you are on InSaNe. In fact, I know someone whose cardinal rule is to avoid playing when she is even remotely tired. This bit of advice also applies when you play on other difficulties, but it is essential for InSaNe. It might be mildly inconveniencing to die on Normal or Evil, but it is somewhat heart wrenching to die on InSaNe. There's no coming back from that; you'll have to start the game all over again. So if you start to find yourself falling asleep at your keyboard, do yourself a favor and take a nap. Come back when you can concentrate. Trust me, I've learned from experience. It was horrible. Each time.
Along those lines, be liberal with healing and healing potion usage in InSaNe. Although farming for healing potions might be slightly tedious, it is nothing compared to playing the game from the beginning. I seriously cannot emphasize this enough.
Listen to music while you play; it will keep you awake. While you're at it, check out the NQI music! It might not be to your taste (I personally couldn't handle it for more than 10 minutes at a time), but you might appreciate it. Regardless, you're not getting the full experience if you never listen to it.
Use Neoquest guides. There are loads of them out there, ranging from walkthroughs to skill guides.
Try to actually enjoy the game. One of my favorite pastimes is pointing out how silly the enemies look. Not to mention what they have been named. I especially enjoy the little Chias in the Two Rings Castle of NQI; personally, they remind me of little thumbs.
Furthermore, your NQII characters will often say silly little things after a battle; I find it endearing. For example, you may notice that Mipsy frequently complains about her shoes. If you look closely, however, you will notice that she is actually barefoot.
Concentrate on your reason for playing. Maybe you want to up your avatar count by attaining those rather hideous avatars. Maybe you want to add to your trophy collection or even upgrade an existing Neoquest trophy. Perhaps you're hoping to win a lovely Bow of Destiny or Wand of Reality from InSaNe. Regardless of your reasoning, if you don't innately enjoy Neoquesting, it may help to focus on why you are putting yourself through this.
If you're bothered by how slow it is, try to think of the lovely random events you might get as you play. If you're lucky, Jacko the Phantom Painter might visit you and give you a little gift!
Try to avoid dwelling on how long it is taking you to level up. You'll get wrinkles. And you won't get to the next level any faster either.
Alternatively, you can go ahead and calculate how many battles you'll need to win before you can level up, based on the average amount of experience you're receiving now and the amount you'll need for the next level. One of those aforementioned guides should tell you how much experience you'll need to level up. This seems to be slightly less discouraging than watching the experience bar(s) rise marginally after each battle. After all, as you progress through the game, you'll notice that you only seem to gain a measly bit of experience every time you defeat an enemy.
I hope these tips will help you retain your sanity as you trudge through the Neoquest world. Never give up. Never surrender!