User Lookup Shield Tribute
The user lookup shield is an image of a shield featuring various species of Neopets and assorted characters and items from Neopia. The shield shows your account age and comes in various forms, from the basic copper, (Newbie to three months) silver, (1 to 11 months) and gold, (1 year to 71 months) to the silver with golden edges (6 years to 9 1/2 years) and finally from the 10 years shield onwards to the 15 1/2 years shield, which is currently the oldest shield available, they change shape and become more richly decorated. From the point that your account is 6 years old, you'll only get a new shield every six months, allowing you all the more time to enjoy the proof of your account age each time you view your own lookup.
For a long time, many users were stuck with the 6 year shield on their lookups, even when their accounts aged a year or two beyond this point. TNT had not created more shields past 6 years, and it took them some time to get around to this as it kept being pushed back. Some users went as long as three years without seeing a new shield, and when the new ones were released at last, their shield was updated to the 9 1/2 years one, featuring (quite fittingly) a Zombie Usul.
You may have seen users with custom made shields, and there has been some confusion if this is allowed. This has been answered by TNT in the editorial, and the fact is that covering up the user lookup shield with your own art is perfectly fine. You are not allowed, however, to display a shield your account is too young for (such as the 3 year shield if your account is only 10 months) or to write an account age that is untrue. You can write things underneath your shield like "forever," or even "Usuki collector," but not 64 months if your account is only 51 months.
In this article I have chosen a list of shields that are my own personal favourites. There is a nice variety of images displayed on the user lookup shields, and if you were to ask around on the boards, I'm sure you'd get equally varied replies when asking which ones people liked best.
Now let's get on with the list! I have chosen to list them in chronological order, that is to say by account age rather than how much I like each individual shield. They're all so pretty, anyway!
The Newbie shield
Doesn't this bring back memories? Remember when you were new to the world of Neopia, just starting to explore? This cheery little blue Moehog will naturally be displayed each time you create a new sideaccount, too, but of all the shields, this is the one that is on display for the shortest amount of time. You only get this for a couple of days before it changes, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Back when I was new on Neo, I looked up a spoiler list of the different shields and couldn't wait for my account to hit 11 months so I could get this cute shield. I've always liked Kaus, they were the second species of Neopet I ever created, so this shield holds some sentimental memories for me. How can this sweet green Kau not bring a smile to your face? Mooo!
This is the first major milestone your account reaches, agewise. I remember feeling so proud the day I could go to my lookup and see the golden shield with the happy yellow Lupe on it. One whole year on Neopets! *throws confetti *
We now jump a full year ahead and look at the next shield on the list. The majestic purple Eyrie! With this shield you've spent two whole years in Neopia... not quite a veteran yet, but you're slowly getting there. Eyries are another of my favourite species, and the purple Eyrie is just gorgeous!
Those who know me will hardly be surprised to see this shield on the list. Illusen has been my all-time favourite Neopian character, I've built a huge gallery in her honour and completed her quests for the sake of getting the two avatars with her name on them. If I could keep one shield on my lookup for all time, this would be it. However, I can't deny it's fun to see the shields change, so with that in mind, let's move on..
I often find the shields marking a full year (3 years in this case) to be the prettiest. This shield is graced by the image of the fair faerie Queen Fyora herself. Any user with an account below this age probably yearns for the day their own lookup with display this image! Patience, grasshopper.. Your time will come.
This shield shows a flower known as a Silly Daisy. It's the first shield featuring an item other than a Neopets plushie. At any time during the month this shield is displayed on your lookie, when you're having a rough day on Neo, you can go to your lookup and be cheered up by this silly flower.
Taking second place to the Illusen shield on my personal favourites list, this shield with the picture of a Curious Blumaroo Gnome is just adorable. I was so happy when my account hit 4 years and I could see this cute, curious little guy every day for a month.
King Hagan, the ruler of Brightvale and none other is the character featured on this shield. The wise (old) king is known by most in Neopia as users visit Brightvale Castle every day, proclaiming their words of wisdom to him hoping he'll reward them with his majestic avatar. Keep trying, guys. You'll tell him something he doesn't already know one of these days!
Who doesn't love Baby Neopets? This sweet Baby Bori is one of the few Neopets painted a special colour to grace a user lookup shield. At this point your account is fast approaching the 6 year mark! You're almost a veteran!
A big jump ahead now, to the 7 years shield. I could honestly give a Mutant Xweetok's tail about the Altador Cup, but I am quite amused by this guy. I play Make Some Noise every AC (so I can get the participant medal) and having a shield with this blue Techo Fanatic silenty cheering on his favourite team is just priceless. Also this is the third shield of a total eight to feature the design of silver with golden edges.
Another leap ahead in time brings us to the impressive 10 years shield, the second one to feature the late King Coltzan. (You know, the guy whose shrine you visit once daily). 10 years is quite an accomplishment, and it was only fitting TNT revamped the shields to fit the aged accounts. Starting here, the shields designs are in pairs, with the second of the two having an even more eleborate and fancy look. Shiny!
Jumping ahead by another three years, this shield should be the one all writers and artists of the Neopian Times covet. Just wait long enough, and you'll get it in due course. The image of a White Weewoo on top of a stack of newspapers is both cute and a nice tribute to the NT.
Before I list the last shield on the list, here is an honourable mention to the 50 month shield.
This shield is the only one currently to feature a petpetpet. And it's none other than the cutest in the bunch: The Mootix! This little critter is the subject of an avatar as well, but that's not why I wanted to put this shield on the list. Now that Professor Clodbottle's Habitarium is gone from the site forever, I know many look back fondly on happy hours spent taking care of Mootix, Pinchits and Larnikins in their Habitariums. *moment of silcence*
With six other faeries already having their pretty faces on various shields, it was about time the kind and hardworking Soup Faerie got a shield of her own. This faerie runs the soup kitchen just outside the Neopian Central marketplace, where she every single day hands out free bowls of soup to poor, hungry Neopets. Along with Illusen, Ilere and the Library Faerie, the Soup Faerie is one of my favourite faeries.
Oh, just in case you were wondering, this is how the currently oldest shield on Neopets looks like:
15 1/2 years
This spiffy shield features a Vacana, a petpet which hails from Geraptiku. If you see anyone with this shield, you know they've been around Neopia since the dawn of... well, Neopia.
That's all for now, folks! I hope you have enjoyed this article and that for the more experienced users it has been a nice stroll down memory lane, while for the younger ones it's been fun to see the pretty shields you can look forward to displaying as your account ages.
Hopefully we won't have to wait too long before TNT releases more new shields, are there any particular characters or items you'd like to see featured? Shields with images of the newer pet species, such as Xweetok and Lutari, for example, or a specific character, petpet or item? Send me a NeoMail, I'd love to hear your ideas, or better yet, send them to the editorial. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*
Thanks for reading, enjoy your day in Neopia!