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Get a life on Gaia

December 26, 2006|by SALLY NEWLIN

Gaia is one of the biggest anime communities on the Web. Not all Gaians are anime lovers. You can hate anime and join Gaia, too. But most members love anime.

Now before you start judging, there's one thing I want to say: Gaia. Isn't. Neopets. They may almost work the same, but they're not the same.

Neopets is a giant children's community where you get a small animal and you take care of it and buy things for it by playing games, shopping and more. You can also talk in forums.

At Gaiaonline.com, you get to be someone. Gaiaonline gives you a small avatar that you can dress up with cool items such as a staff of angels, a devil tail, mini wings and tons of other items.

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There are cities and shops. That's called the world map. Neopets has a big world and you visit different countries. On Gaia, the world is made of little islands. Gaia members go to islands and towns on the islands to buy from shops.

Becoming a member of Gaia is totally free, but if you want to spend money, you can. Members can use their money to buy donation letters or key chains or something in the big online store where you can buy things for real-life use.

Gaia members can't build houses, but they can buy one in a town to live in and set up. Mostly, everything is done for you except buying things for your house. Also, members have an online profile page, almost like MySpace.

Members get gold (currency on Gaia) by posting in forums, playing games, commenting in people's profiles, sending private messages, taking polls, strolling around town or just surfing Gaia. Members can send items and gold through the bank, thus trading your items or gold to another person.

There are events for almost every holiday, especially for the big ones like Christmas and Halloween. Avatars get together to go Christmas caroling or trick-or-treating, by going from shop to shop. At some events - such as the new ones about aliens - members give and receive gifts.

I've been on Gaia for three years. It's really fun, and I've met many people.

I spend a few hours on Gaia every day. I usually conduct polls or post in my guilds. Guilds are like one giant forum - an on-site chat room that is intended to focus on a certain topic. Some guilds have different requirements to join, but there's a guild out there for everyone.

The two guilds I'm in are Animanium Polls Guild and Magical Poll Land. MPL is one of the biggest guilds on Gaia and it has more than 50,000 users, about 6 million posts and at least 100 polls. Sometimes it gets crazy there, and people there are not so friendly, so watch out.

APG is a small guild, but it's my second family. It's very friendly and all anime members are welcome. My favorite time was the day I joined APG. Without that guild, I seriously wouldn't be on Gaia.

One day, I was in a down mood and decided to quit Gaia. All my friends were telling me not to go. As I was about to leave, my friend sent me a trade through the bank. He got me a demonic pitchfork that I had wanted for a long time. The pitchfork was very expensive, but he got it for me with all the gold he had. I just hugged his avatar and said thank you. He never knew I cried in real life. To this day I treasure that item.

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