Animal Crossing: Unspoken Rules For Visiting Islands & Co-Op

Part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ long-lasting appeal is visiting other players’ islands, but there are some unspoken rules that should be followed when doing so to keep the experience fun for everyone involved. Since its release, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has offered online co-op in which players can visit other islands and play together with the island’s owner. With each new game update, the most recent being the massive 2.0, players are given more ways to customize their island and, as a result, more things to do when visiting other islands.

Multiplayer in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is unlocked as early as the second day of playing. Although Animal Crossing: New Horizons progresses in real-time, it doesn’t take long at all for players to be able to visit other islands or welcome visitors to their own. In addition to just spending time with friends, visitors can help newer players by giving them resources, and players of any amount of time can benefit from visiting other islands when special NPCs are visiting or when turnip selling prices are high.

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In controlled cases such as these, it’s usually a simple matter for players to discuss ahead of time what is or isn’t allowed on their islands. This may not always be possible, however, or some things may slip players’ minds – hence, the “unspoken rules” of Animal Crossing co-op. Because New Horizons isn’t competitive – although some players have made their own games to play in New Horizons online – the unspoken rules of visiting other islands are less about fairness and more about consideration for the island’s owner. The following “rules” are good to keep in mind when visiting another island to make sure the owner’s hard work isn’t accidentally ruined in some way.

The first unspoken rule of playing Animal Crossing online is one that most players likely already abide by on their own islands: no running on flowers. Walking on flowers is fine, but there is a chance flowers may be crushed if players run over them. When a flower is crushed, it can’t be picked and will require two days to grow back, leaving the spot where it once was noticeably changed in the meantime. Some flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons can be difficult to get in the first place, especially hybrid flowers, so it’s best to be considerate and simply walk over flowers if there’s no way to go around them.

Another important point to remember is that flowers planted on sand won’t grow past their current stage. Some players can use this to create unique design effects, such as leaving flowers in their newly-planted stage to make it appear as if grass or weeds are growing along the shore, or keeping partially-grown mums to look more like dandelions. But this also means if a fully-grown flower on the sand is plucked or crushed, the island’s owner will have to dig it up and plant it on grass elsewhere for its flower to grow back at all. To avoid giving extra work to their fellow players, it’s important to walk, not run, on flowers when playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons co-op; or, if possible, avoid walking on flowers altogether.

Although plucked flowers will grow back on their own if they’re in the grass and not in sand, it’s still important to be considerate and ask the island’s owner before picking flowers. The same applies to picking fruit from their fruit trees and any vegetables they’ve planted. They’ll grow back over the course of three days, so players will usually be fine with sharing. Doing so is especially helpful for newer players who may not have all the different fruits and vegetables on their own island yet. But as a sign of appreciation, players who take vegetables from another island should water the stalk afterward. Vegetables in Animal Crossing will grow one to three units of produce based on how much or how little it’s watered, so it’s a very kind gesture to help out the island’s owner by watering the vegetable stalks after harvesting them.

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Money on money trees is a resource that doesn’t grow back, however. Players may have any number of reasons for keeping money on trees rather than shaking them, so it’s important to leave money trees alone unless the island’s owner says it’s all right to shake them. In the same vein, players should always check with the host before buying limited items from Nook’s Cranny or Jolly Redd’s paintings in New Horizons. It’s best for players to be courteous and let the island host know if there’s anything from the shop’s limited selection that they want to buy.

It’s a good idea to discuss allowed tool usage with the host before or during an island visit. After a player visits a friend’s island for the first time, they’ll unlock the Best Friends App. Using this app, they can mark certain friends as “Best Friends,” who will be allowed to use certain tools while visiting their island, including shovels and axes.

This has its merits when friends want to help each other with designing their Animal Crossing: New Horizons islands, or for taking entire flowers back to their own island with them. Of course, it’s important for players to check with the island’s owner before digging up flowers and fossils, hitting rocks, or chopping down trees even if they’re already listed as a Best Friend. If such activities weren’t discussed beforehand, it’s an unspoken rule to simply not do them.

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An especially important unspoken rule in Animal Crossing co-op is for players to announce their departure before speaking to Orville in the airport. The notification that appears to let players know that someone is leaving the island interrupts fishing, causing players to lose their catch. Letting everyone know through chat when someone is planning to leave ensures that anyone remaining on the island won’t start fishing until the visitor has left.

It’s important to not pick up weeds in Animal Crossing: New Horizons unless the island host says it’s okay to do so. Players may sometimes use weeds to decorate their island due to their unique, flower-like appearance that changes with the seasons. It might seem helpful to pick up weeds, but players should always double-check just in case their placement is intentional.

Similarly, just because an item can be picked up doesn’t mean players should pick it up. Items and tools in Animal Crossing can be “placed” to appear as movable furniture on the island or inside a home, but they can also be “dropped.” When they’re dropped, items appear as a leaf while tools have their own icons. Visitors can pick up items that are dropped and take them back to their own island. This makes it easy to give gifts or share duplicate Animal Crossing: New Horizons DIY recipes, but it’s important to check with the host before picking up any dropped items. Some items, like feathers or Bells, can’t be placed at all, so players who want to decorate with them have no choice but to drop them and likely don’t want them to be taken by visitors.

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Author: Niki Fakhoori