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Otaku Glossary


Getting Started on Gaia

This page is all about Gaia basics. It's designed for people who have never been on Gaia but would like to have some idea of what it's about. This should not be construed as a walkthrough. Consequently, it does not lend itself very well to the Questions and Answers forum. So stop e-mailing me to nitpick about things. Wait until your frontal lobes are fully developed.

This guide was last updated on 01/07/06. Any updates to Gaia after this date is not included in this guide.

What are forums?
What is GaiaOnline?
What are these customizable avatars?
How do I earn gold on Gaia?
Where do I buy clothes and items?
What kinds of clothes and items are there?
What else does Gaia have to offer?

What are forums?
This is Wikipedia's definition for forums:
"An Internet forum, also known as a message board or discussion board, is a web application that provides for online discussions, and is the modern descendant of the bulletin board systems and existing Usenet news systems that were widespread in the 1980s and 1990s. An Internet forum typically exists as part of a website and invites users to start topics and discuss issues with one another. Sometimes, a forum even comprises most, if not all, of the content of a site. Internet forums don't allow users to edit the forum posts of other users; however, administrators and moderators generally have the capability of doing this."

Forums typically focus on a particular area of interest, such as anime. It can have subforums and subsubforums and subsubsubforums. Of course, I can keep on going with more "subs" preceeding "forums," but you probably already get what I mean. Let's say there's this forum whose general theme is anime. This anime forum can then have a shoujo subforum and a shounen subforum. The shoujo subforum can then have a mahou shoujo subsubforum, a male harem subsubforum, a drama subsubforum, and so on. Note that I'm just describing my fantasy forum here XP

Typically, you have to register as a user in a forum before you can post in it. Registering involves choosing a handle, otherwise known as the name that you will go by while you are on that forum. Also, other forums allow you to have avatars. These pertain to a picture that will appear with your handle when you post in the forum. Essentially, think of the handle as your name and the avatar as your face when you post in the forum XP

What is GaiaOnline?
GaiaOnline is an online anime roleplaying community. This is a fancy term for an anime forum. Once you strip it all down to the basics, Gaia is a forum with lots of neat add-ons.

Gaia stands out from other anime forums because of its customizable avatars and gold economy. What, you ask? Read on.

What are these customizable avatars?
Sure, you can customize your avatar on some forums. You can choose a picture from the forum's image gallery. You can also upload a picture to an online image hosting service and edit your forum profile so that picture of yours will become your avatar. On Gaia, however, you get a little stack of pixels in form of a chibi human as your avatar. When you sign up, you get to choose its gender, hairstyle, hair color, eye style, eye color, and mouth configuration. When you're a new member on Gaia, your avvy has nothing except its white undies and peasant clothes that are incredibly ugly. With gold, you can purchase better clothes and items for your avvy.

Oh yeah, and your avvy is usually positioned at the upper right-hand corner of your screen as you navigate through Gaia. So you can admire how good your avvy looks. Or bemoan. Whatever floats your boat.

How do I earn gold on Gaia?
Gold is what makes Gaia go 'round. Before you get excited, let me clarify that this is Gaia gold. It's good only for buying items for your avatar, or to access particular site features. This is no different from the paper money you get when you play Monopoly. In other words, Gaia gold is useless outside Gaia.

Anything you do on Gaia earns you gold. When you refresh the page or click another link on the site, you get 1g. When you post, you earn gold. When you answer polls (yeah, a topic can have a poll), you earn gold. There are more ways that you can earn gold, but these three are the most common.

Other users can also donate gold to you. Some users take advantage of this and go begging for gold through posts. They also send private messages to users whose avvies look rich (with lots of nice clothes and items). There's a charity subforum where altruistic users raise funds for those who just joined Gaia and have no good clothes and shoes.

With the gold, you can buy clothes and items, which goes into your inventory and can be equipped on your avvy. Gaia has a wide range of clothes and items that you can get your grimy paws on, and it'll probably be safe to say that you can create an avvy that is unique.

Where do I buy clothes and items?
You can buy clothes and items for your avvy in Gaia shops. There's a bunch of them scattered all over the place. To find shops, you have to go to the map (don't worry, when you actually get on Gaia, you'll find that the map button is in plain view, no matter what part of the site you're in). The map will then show one city with a bunch of buildings. Hover your mouse over the buildings, and you will see their names. Just click on buildings that say "Shopping." You will be taken inside that particular shop. Once inside the shop, you can then click on particular articles of clothing or items and view their descriptions and their price. You can also preview how they would look on your avvy. Naturally, you can purchase an article of clothing or item if you have enough gold for it. You will then be able to equip it to your avvy.

You can also buy clothes and items from other users. There is a forum called the Exchange (okay, technically, it's considered a subforum, but okay...), where users sell clothes and items through postings. Some of them ask for a particular asking price, some hold auctions, and some do a combination of both (auction with a reserve price or a buy-it-now price). Users usually go this route if they want a particular item (or items or combination of items and gold) in exchange for the item that they have. If you and the seller agree to a trade, the two of you do the trade through the bank.

There's also the marketplace. This is sort of like eBay, where you can bid on and/or buy particular clothes and items from other users just by clicking a button. I personally prefer this over the Exchange, because it's faster. Once you click on the buy button and type in your password, you will get the item (of course, assuming you have enough gold to pay for it). Or once you click on the bid button and type in your password, you are in the auction. And when the auction ends with you as the highest bidder, you automatically pay for the item and then it becomes equippable for you.

And of course, you can also use these methods to sell items that you have :P

What kinds of clothes and items are there?
Ah, therein lies the rub. There are six general types of clothes/items on Gaia.

The first is commons. These are the stuff sold in stores. Basically, if you have enough money, you can get them. Their prices stay the same, and Gaia never runs out of these items.

The second is rares and uncommons. These are clothes and items that you get during the treasure chest or the gift box random event. Random event, you ask? Yeah. At random times (note the term "random"), you will get a beside your avvy. Yeah, it looks just like that. It's accompanied by a flying treasure chest or a flying gift or a glowing pink link. You need to click on these things. If you click on the flying chest or gift, you will get it in your inventory. Then you can open them to get clothes or items that are not found in stores. If you click on a pink link, your gold will go up by 1000. You can buy and sell rares and uncommons in the Exchange and in the Marketplace.

The third is donation items. If you donate at least $2.50 to Gaia, you will get a donation letter in your inventory. It's unsealed around the end of the month and contains an item that is not found anywhere else in Gaia. Very old donation items are very expensive. The most expensive item on Gaia is the angelic halo, which was the very first donation item. That means the only people who got the halo were those who donated when Gaia was born. And the admins, of course, because they created everything. And people who were lucky enough to get the halo or buy the halo from the first donators. It costs tens of millions of gold. Seriously. That's a lot of posts and polls XD Donation items are also available through the Marketplace and the Exchange.

The fourth is special occasion items. There are special events in Gaia, such as Christmas caroling, balls, and Olympics. Unique items are released during these events. From experience, most of them are usually not as sought-after as the donation items. They are also available through the Exchange and the Marketplace.

Fifth is game items. Gaia has some mini-games that you could play. Currently, there is fishing, slot machines, and getting bugs/flowers/trash in Gaia Towns. When you have a certain number of particular items from these games, you can have them exchanged for things that you can equip to your avatar. Game items can also be purchased from the Marketplace.

Sixth is prizes. There are particular games that are competitive, in that you and a whole bunch of other Gaians will be jonesin' for the same prizes. This is the case for fishing and the Art Arena. If you win first, second, or third place, you get a trophy (fishing) or a medal (Art Arena). Note that these prizes are more rare than the items you could acquire using the previous methods. As mentioned before, you have to compete against a lot of other users, and only a certain number of prizes are handed out at a time. People who have won these prizes may sell them through the Exchange or through the Marketplace.

What else does Gaia have to offer?
Gaia is continuously expanding, with a lot of features for its users. It has a wide variety of forums, of which anime is only one (but yes, it still calls itself an anime community. It started out like that). It has an ever-expanding set of minigames. It also has Gaia Towns, where you can have a furnishable house, collect particular game items, and have real-time interactions with other users present.
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