The Next Animal Crossing Needs a Way to Stop Players From Breaking This Unwritten Rule

Highlights Players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have experienced instances of stealing when engaging with the game’s multiplayer feature, which can be costly and frustrating for the host player. The current mechanics in New Horizons make it challenging for players to prevent stealing and maintain the presentation of their islands. Implementing a designated trading system, such as a market stall, in the next Animal Crossing game could streamline the trading process and prevent theft, allowing players to focus on creativity and maintaining their spaces. Settings that limit picking up items to close friends only could also help.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has built up a wonderful community over the years, though that hasn’t stopped some players acting in bad faith. One of New Horizons’ unwritten rules can be broken in the form of its multiplayer feature; websites like Nookazon that encourage item trading as well as features like Daisy Mae’s stalk market encourage the use of island visitors, though this has resulted in some instances of stealing. Over the years, players have tried to rectify this in creative ways, though New Horizons’ successor could stand to make more mechanical changes to inhibit this behavior.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons implements a system where visitors can pick up items lying on a player’s island, working to accentuate its trading mechanic. Unfortunately, some visitors have used this to their advantage through the act of stealing, which can be quite costly for the host player, both in bells and time. Some, for example, have reported their stock of Nook Miles tickets stolen, while others have had furniture and turnips nabbed from under their noses. Though players can take cautionary measures like fencing off areas or specifying which items are off-limits, this hasn’t always resulted in success.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Successor Could Restrict Stealing From Players’ Environments

Past New Horizons updates like the ability to swim have inadvertently made it more difficult for players to limit where their visitors can traverse. Because of this, fencing off items can be more challenging than anticipated, leaving room for loopholes. In addition, visitors can freely interact with trees and flowers without being granted permission, which can disrupt an island’s presentation. While it is encouraged that players don’t leave any items of importance out when opening up their islands, this hassle begs the question of whether New Horizons’ successor could implement settings to streamline the trading process.

New Horizons players have noted that leaving items in their houses prohibits visitors from taking them, though this continues to create work for the player in having to safeguard their space. Given that the environments in the next Animal Crossing could very well eclipse the scale of New Horizons’ islands, the ability to have a designated trading station could make the process more quick and fair. Perhaps a small market stall could be used to indicate items to trade or offer to visitors, where a player can dispense the corresponding items ahead of time and remove/add as needed.

For example, interacting with the stall could open up a catalogue that shows each item the player has inputted and its price (free, tradable, or otherwise), having visitors select what they want while providing the necessary bells or items in return. Such a method would be a more traditional lens of an in-game store that encourages the use of trading without having to worry about the player being stolen from. Additionally, the ability to toggle between environmental interaction, like limiting fruit and flower-picking to those on a player’s Animal Crossing friend list, could help to restrict any resources being taken in the overworld.

The opportunity for new quality-of-life features to be added in the next Animal Crossing could make its visitor mechanics more streamlined without leaving players to worry about being stolen from or having their environment tampered with. A designated trading method would also keep them from having to disrupt the design of their spaces by creating obstacles to block off certain items and areas. Through this, future entries in the series can better maintain the spirit of this multiplayer feature while keeping in tune with the creativity it has to offer.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now for the Nintendo Switch.

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