Animal Crossing: New Horizons Online Play Best Practices

Safe travels!

Let’s face it — Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fun all on its own, but where it really shines is the endless options for interactive play with other islanders. Whether it’s with family members sitting on the couch together to new friends met online travelling from faraway places, Animal Crossing: New Horizons island hopping feature allows players to get the best bang for their bells — so long as everyone plays together nicely.

With Animal Crossing: New Horizons being the hottest game of quarantine (no, really), it’s inevitable that dozens of communities have popped up focusing on the game and all that it entails. I’ve joined several groups on Facebook dedicated to all things Animal Crossing: New Horizons and have discovered a surprisingly organized and highly efficient community that self-moderates in a fair and straight-forward manner. Participating in these groups has helped tremendously; for example, when Bunny Day reigned supreme, I missed out on most cherry-blossom DIYs. Lucky for me, others were able to craft the items I was missing — depending on the island, all I had to do was bring materials, donate bells, or offer up items for cataloging. Fantastic!

Of course, there are best practices that have popped up due to the nature of the game and its limitations, and not following those can land you on a veritable blacklist, ousted from the virtual community. Reports of item theft, villager removal, and even cutting down precious fruit trees have all been brought to the forefront, and it can definitely make people nervous about opening up their islands to visitors. Don’t worry, though — there are ways to protect yourself, your good name, and your lovely island home while still being able to participate with cataloging events, giveaways, and crafting requests. Here are a few tips to keep you and others safe while you travel!

1. Dodo Codes

When you open up your gates to allow villagers in, there are several different options, but the one I really want to focus on is the Dodo Code. A five-digit temporary number given each time you open the gates, Dodo Codes are the safest way to allow visitors to come to your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons because it enables you to keep your friends list clean of random people you don’t necessarily know or trust. If you’re having someone come over to drop off fruit, for example, do you really want them to be able to come over whenever they want weeks down the road? Having a Dodo Code enables you to control the flow of visitors, and when you shut your gates, the code disappears, meaning they can’t get back in again unless you issue a new one.

To get a Dodo Code, speak to Orville at your island’s airport and discuss online play. You can set the code to allow friends only or “the more the merrier,” meaning anyone who has the code will be allowed to join you on your island. I’ll discuss more on Dodo Code management later, but the main takeaway here is that Dodo Codes are preferable in Animal Crossing: New Horizons instead of adding people as friends if you don’t know them.

2. Fencing

Remember the fences you’re given by Resident Services? You’re encouraged to use those to get your island rating up to 3 stars and have K.K. Slider come visit. Instead of just making flower gardens in every backyard, hold onto those if you’re expecting visitors — by fencing off only a small area right off the airport, you can control exactly where your visitors go during their stay. For example, if you’re only trading items, you won’t need much room; however, if you’re allowing someone to come shop at your Able Sisters store, you’ll want to make sure you have fencing that leads all the way to the tailor’s front door.

It seems like a lot of work, but this ensures that visitors aren’t wandering around your island, trampling through your flowers, talking to your villagers, or stealing some of your decorations. It’s definitely more for your protection, and those who play Animal Crossing: New Horizons and visit other islands on the regular will be already accustomed to this.

3. Nook Link

If you haven’t downloaded the Nintendo Switch Online App yet, I strongly recommend you do if you’re going to be island hopping. If you have an account with Nintendo, it will link all your games that use the app to your smart phone for various purposes depending on the title. For Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this means gaining access to Nook Link, a feature that shows your best friends list, your villagers, and allows you to scan QR codes for designs all on your phone.

For online play in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the most important feature to utilize is the keyboard option, which allows you to use your phone’s keyboard to chat with other players. Whatever you type on your phone will show up as a speech bubble above your character’s head, which can then be easily read by the other players. This option is often much, much faster than using the in-game keyboard, so if you’re thinking of hitting up other islands for trading and cataloging events, this app is a must-have!

4. Terraforming Tips

If you’d rather stay home instead of travelling to different islands in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’re going to possibly need to consider (and reconsider) the layout of your island. Monetizing your island is definitely a possibility, but safety should be a priority. Therefore, terraforming and layout changes should be on your radar the minute you think you’re going to be opening up your island for tourism.

For example — is your Nook’s Cranny fully upgraded? Your Able Sisters store bursting at the seams with cute clothing? Then consider moving both stores as close as possible to your airport. Paving roads and making signs can also assist visitors, who will be more mindful to stay off the grass if they’re given no other options. You can then fence off the areas when you have visitors, ensuring they only shop at your stores and take part in other monitored events. By making clearly defined areas where visitors are allowed and barring off areas that are off-limits via terraforming and layout changes, you can more easily monetize your island while keeping your villagers, trees, and decorations safe.

Check out the next page of this Animal Crossing: New Horizons Online Play Guide for common terms, courtesies, and more!

Heather Johnson Yu
Born at a very young age; self-made thousandaire. Recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Covered in cat hair. Probably the best sleeper in the world. Still haven't completed the civil war quest in Skyrim but I'm kind of okay with that. Too rad to be sad.

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