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How you've been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons all wrong

So, you've had enough of city life and have decided to invest in the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway package. Now, you can escape to a tropical island and craft your own version of paradise. But no one ever said starting a new life on a previously uninhabited island was going to be easy; far from it. Though you may be able to get by on your lonesome, why rough it when you could stock up on some tips and tricks for the newest installment of the Animal Crossing series?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons hits all of the familiar series notes, keeping the same relaxed tone of previous games but with plenty of new additions to keep the concept feeling fresh. Instead of living in a pre-built town where your primary worry is customizing your home, New Horizons, thrusts you into the role of your island's Resident Representative. In this position, you get to work with Tom Nook to grow your island into a thriving community. 

With so many important decisions about island development resting on your shoulders, it's easy to make a few missteps along the way. With that in mind, here are the most common mistakes players make in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, along with tips on how to turn it all around.

Running from aggressive bugs

Sometimes shaking trees can yield unexpected consequences: a swarm of angry wasps that will sting your villager in the face. A successful attack will leave your villager with an eye swollen shut, an unpleasant aesthetic that will be remarked upon by other villagers until the negative effects wear off or you craft some medicine. 

Though the angry wasps are a heart-attack-inducing occurrence when they first appear, instead of panicking, a safer and more lucrative approach is to catch them with your net. A good way to avoid being taken by surprise is to come prepared when shaking trees. Have your net equipped so you're ready to catch the wasps as soon as you see the wasp's nest drop. When the nest hits the ground, simply use your net to capture the wasps.

Surprisingly, wasps aren't the only insects in New Horizons that pose a threat. At night, arachnids like tarantulas and scorpions can spawn on the island. Unlike the usual bugs, they need to be handled carefully, or else they will rush you and potentially knock you out. 

If you stumble upon one of the dangerous creatures, you should slowly approach it, but completely stop moving when it rears up and begins to shake aggressively. When it calms down, you can start creeping again. Repeat the process until you are close enough to capture it, and let your trusty net do its thing. Just make sure you don't miss.

Not racking up Nook Miles

In New Horizons, the Nook Miles system serves as a rewards program where you can accumulate points by completing challenges such as catching fish, finishing DIY projects, and so forth. The importance of Nook Miles is evident from the beginning of the game when Tom Nook informs you that you can pay off your initial move-in fees with Nook Miles instead of bells. Nook Miles can also be redeemed at the Nook Stop at Member Services for increasingly valuable rewards, so every possible Nook Mile is important for players who want to get ahead. 

After upgrading to a house, you will be enrolled in the Nook Miles+ program. The Miles+ program allows you to complete an infinite amount of tasks to earn Nook Miles. Each day, a set of five tasks will feature double the Nook Miles as a reward, so you want to be sure to take advantage of these bonuses. But that's not the only way to get extra Nook Miles on a daily basis.

Once per day, visiting the Nook Stop will yield a small amount of free Nook Miles. While the first day's reward of 50 miles may not seem like much, visiting the Nook Stop for seven days in a row will net you 1,130 Nook Miles total. After reaching the seventh day, the reward hits its upper limit, giving you 300 miles each day afterward.

Not talking to your villagers every day

When you first move to your deserted island, only you and a pair of villagers will be taking up residence in the previously uninhabited area. Though you could have a great time living out life as a lone wolf fishing, planting flowers, and capturing native bugs, if you neglect your island's other inhabitants then you are missing out on the benefits that come along with being a good neighbor. 

Talking with neighbors is one of the best ways to get new DIY recipes and can even result in receiving items like furniture or clothing. After consistently talking to the other inhabitants on your home island, you will become friends. This allows you to give a gift to another villager, and they may give you a gift in return. By avoiding the other residents, you miss out on a ton of DIY recipes, valuable resources, and cool decorations and clothing items. So, if you want to complete your collection with less of a hassle, be sure to spend some time making friends with your fellow island dwellers.

Pocketing the money you dig up instead of planting it

When walking around your island, you may have noticed a strange glowing spot on the ground. If you use your shovel and dig up this spot, you'll be rewarded with 1,000 bells. While players may be tempted to pocket the prize and move on, if you're looking for a smart investment, you'll want to put some money back in the ground.

These bright, glowing spots indicate a space where a money tree can sprout. Essentially, the bells you plant in the glowing hole will triple in value once the tree matures. So, if you plant 10,000 bells here, you will get a return of 30,000 bells. Before filling in the hole, bring up your inventory and select up to 10,000 bells. An option asking how many bells you want to withdraw will pop up on the screen. Select your desired amount and the bells will be moved into your inventory. Now, bury your bells the hole and fill it with your shovel. A little sprout will appear, confirming that everything was done correctly, and soon your villager will be rolling in bells!

Don't just stay on your island

Home is where the heart is, but if you want to find new fruit, exotic flowers, and even recruit some new villagers, you're going to want to get your hands on a Nook Miles Ticket so you can fly to a randomly generated island. 

Visiting islands allows you to gather an abundance of resources you can bring back to your own island. In many cases, this is a good way to stock up on materials to help you progress in developing your island, especially if you've tapped out your island's resources for the day. If you're lucky, you may even come across rarer spawns like foreign fruit trees or hybrid flowers.

Another benefit of visiting these randomly-generated islands is running into a new villager. You're guaranteed to have one villager on each island you visit, and if you talk to them twice, you'll have the option to invite them to live on your island as a permanent resident.

Not taking advantage of foreign fruit

Right off the bat, collecting fruit is a surefire way to make island living just a little bit easier. Each island starts with its own native fruit you can either eat, plant for more fruit trees, or sell for 100 bells. However, before you sell your island's collection of native fruit, see if you can visit a friend's island with your fruit harvest in tow using the game's multiplayer modes. Selling your native fruit on another player's island will bump up the value to 500 bells so long as their island started out with a different fruit. 

While you can certainly decide to run an island of just cherries or peaches, you'll probably want to introduce foreign fruit into your island's ecosystem so you can rake in more bells. To accomplish this, you'll want to find many friends with a variety of fruit types so you can plant new fruit trees on your island. Another option is to buy a Nook Miles Ticket and explore one of the randomly generated islands for a chance at finding one of the varieties of fruit trees you don't have already.

Not doing this set of daily tasks

If New Horizons is your first foray into the Animal Crossing series, you may find yourself wondering what exactly you should be doing. In general, Animal Crossing is about doing whatever you want at whatever pace you want, but if you find yourself in a position where you don't know what to do next, you can always find Tom Nook and ask for some advice on how to best use your time. 

However, there are some daily tasks that you can perform that will help you build the most productive routine. Notably, talking to villagers, looking for message bottles on the beaches, hitting rocks for ore, claiming your daily Nook Miles at the Resident Services terminal, completing your daily Nook+ Miles tasks, checking the stores for exciting new items, and checking for glowing spots on the ground. Finding the time to do these tasks may seem daunting, but these are some of the best ways to get the most out of every day on your new island home.

Keeping your flimsy tools and never upgrading them

While developing and improving your lovely new home, you're going to need a wide variety of tools. From chopping wood to catching insects for the museum, your tools are going to see a lot of use. Unfortunately, the first tools you're able to build are inevitably going to break after a few uses. Though you can keep rebuilding your flimsy tools, you're going to want to get your hands on the Pretty Good Tools Recipes sooner than later to avoid repeated trips to the DIY Station. 

After saving up enough Nook Miles, the Pretty Good Tools Recipes can be bought from the Automatic Bell Dispenser for 3,000 Nook Miles. With this recipe, you will now be able to upgrade to some of the most useful tools, including the shovel, fishing rod, axe, watering can, and shovel. While these upgraded tools require more materials to craft and will eventually break after extended use, it's ultimately worth it to avoid running back to the DIY Station every few minutes to rebuild yet another broken tool.

Not taking advantage of fish bait

Fishing is a pretty straightforward task: Simply find a silhouette in a body of water, toss your line, and wait for a bite. However, sometimes you might find yourself wanting to fish where there isn't a fish visibly swimming around. That's where fish bait comes in.

To make fish bait, you're going to need to dig up some Manila Clams. These happy little mollusks can be found along the shores of your island by digging in the spots where water seems to squirt out of the sand. Take your freshly excavated clams to a crafting table, and you'll be able to make some bait. 

You can scatter the bait in any body of water to make a fish appear instantly. This is particularly useful if you're hunting for a specific type of fish that only spawns in a certain location, so you can continue to trigger new fish in one spot without having to wait for a shadow to generate in the water.

Don't walk around with a small pocket size

A key part of any Animal Crossing game is collecting items so you can upgrade tools or craft furniture, and New Horizons is no different. With this in mind, your inventory space is going to be very limited and highly valuable. When you first start out, you might find that all of the weed pulling, tree shaking, and bug catching is taking up quite a bit of pocket space. 

Having to continually juggle inventory and make trips back and forth to sell excess items or drop off donations can quickly become a chore. Instead of making a million unnecessary trips and packing your house with tons of unsightly raw materials, make sure you save up for the pocket upgrade. For the low cost of only 5,000 Nook Miles, you can upgrade your bag space to hold 30 slots of inventory. With that much pocket space, you should be able to complete daily tasks with ease. 

One of the other notable benefits can be seen when going to a new island with your Nook Miles Ticket. Suddenly, plundering each island for all of its natural beauty is a lot more feasible. Yet another upgrade is available later on in the game, which will end up giving you a total of 40 inventory slots. This ultimate pocket upgrade will set you back 8,000 miles though, so you may need to start saving up after you get the first upgrade.