[Nintendad Coffeehouse] I Sold an Animal Crossing Villager for a Million Bells

A Look at Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s Nookazon Market

Despite playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I never really engaged with the community of the game. I never had much of an interest in trying to play the turnip stalk market, and having my gates open to people always seemed like more of a risk than anything else. The most that I would do was swap items with my little sisters, even using time travel to turn a second home in my town into a shop where my sisters could buy things from me. This time around they’re the ones forging ahead thanks to having more time as their schools are closed, while I plod along quietly behind, no longer time traveling like I did before. (You can read my prior piece on why I changed my playing style here on Nintendad!) Still, the siren call of being able to get some of the things I wanted without having to spend hours per day hoping that luck would be on my side called to me, so I sought out another way.

Nookazon is an interesting website that allows users to make posts stating that they have a certain item that they are looking to swap away, what they are looking for in return, and what way they can be reached. The vast majority use Discord for contact, but there are a small handful that have multiple avenues or another way listed. Other users can also say that they are searching for a specific item and swappers can come to them if they don’t want to wait around for someone to take an interest in a listing. Honestly, they best way that I can describe it is that Nookazon is the Craigslist of Animal Crossing. There’s not really anyone overseeing the swap, so there is some risk that you might get taken advantage of. But given the nature of the Animal Crossing community, if feels a little a little more safe than meeting Alex from two towns over in the parking lot of a McDonald’s to get a toaster.

Getting Started

I’ve been a user of Nookazon for a while now and I have to say that I’ve found it be a very interesting experience in both my interaction with the community and in seeing how this Animal Crossing subculture has developed its own economy, lingo, and community. I’d like to take you through some of the things that have caught my interest the most, and yes, we will eventually talk about how I sold a villager.

So when you sign up for Nookazon, you will be very strongly encouraged to become part of the Discord and you can even use your Discord login to sign up for the website. From there, you will find that there are a lot of different channels in this Discord group where you can gravitate towards whatever most appeals to what you are looking to get out of the Nookazon experience. There are specific channels for feedback for the website itself and then channels for different things that people are either looking to get rid of or gain. There are even channels that allow you to post showcases of what you’ve created. There isn’t a channel for matching up with others for good Stalk Market prices, but there is a demand on the server so it’s likely only a matter of time before one is added. 

One thing you will see a lot of in the Discord server are people posting images of what they have in their town stores. In a case like this, you’re free to come to the town and simply buy what you want for yourself instead of arranging a swap, but in return, the owner of the town will ask for some sort of an entrance fee in order to do so. This makes sense since having visitors does disable certain features of your town. You’ll also see these same types of entrance fees for  “catalog pickups” or “catalog parties.” What these are is that within an area, the owner of a town will have items dropped on the ground in leaf form. When you pick the items up, it makes them available for you to buy in the catalog of the Nook Terminal because you have “owned” the item before. This is actually a pretty slick practice and I expect for those who have participated, this could end up being more cost effective than doing the same number of swaps. 

Will that be in Bells, or Tickets?

There’s also a really fascinating second economy that has developed out of Nookazon. Bells are not the only currency here. While Bells are a prevalent currency and it’s just as common to see people ask for items on their wishlist or items in specific as part of the swap, it’s really really common to see people ask for Nook Miles Tickets (or NMT to the community) as a currency for their wares. This is so commonplace now, that a specific field when making a listing to request a number of nook miles tickets as a price was recently added. While this might surprise some people, it’s actually a pretty logical as far as I can see.

Nook Miles Tickets aren’t rare or locked behind a specific character or time. You can get them any time of day, so long as you have the Nook Miles to trade for them. This is in contrast to how the shop can close for the night and leave you unable to sell some of what you have until the morning (unless you time travel).  The time it takes to get the Nook Miles, though, means that they are still a more rare and valuable resource than Bells are, especially since it was possible to duplicate Bells early on the game’s lifespan thanks to a now-patched exploit.

The ability to go to Nook Miles Islands is also valued among the game’s playerbase as it’s not only a way to get more resources for your island, but also the primary way to meet villagers who you might want to add to your village. There are amiibo cards in order to do this, but given that packs of those can be harder to find these days and single cards of specific villagers often sell for very high prices in real world money, Nook Miles Islands are often the easiest and most cost effective way to find who you want. This is especially true of the villagers who were newly added this game. Villagers such as Raymond, Dom, Judy, and Audie were not around when amiibo cards were being created and thus there isn’t an amiibo card for them. The only way to get them is to pray that they turn up at your campsite or go hunting for them on Nook Miles Islands, which might take a lot of tickets.

The Villager Market

That brings us to one of the most popular marketplaces on Nookazon, the villager market. Here, I sold one of my villagers for a million bells. Once a villager tells you that they intend to move away, they will spend the entire next day “in boxes,” the Nookazon term for when a villager is intending to leave and the interior of their home is replaced with cardboard boxes. When a villager is in this state, they’re at a critical moment where if you bring another player to your island, they can talk to the villager and invite them to move to their town.  As you can imagine, this has become one of the easiest ways to get the specific villagers that you want and for those who have a villager leaving, it’s a way to get a little something out of it.

My personal experience with this came from when I had the villager Katt leaving my town. I had just started Nookazon the day prior so I put her up on the website as possible for someone to get. Since I wasn’t really aware of how much the standard cost for this was and didn’t know if Katt was a very popular character or not, I didn’t set a price and simply said, make an offer. From there I got someone very excited about Katt messaging me on discord, who easily offered me up one million bells. It wasn’t exactly a sum that was easy to say no to, so I happily accepted and they came to invite Katt that same evening. We both ended up with something we were happy with and it was one of my first big swaps.

A Few Bad Apples

Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with Nookazon. Considering that this is a player-controlled marketplace, you’re going to have a few bad apples. There are some spots where the greed of players is running a little rampant. I contacted someone about possibly getting Raymond for my town, and was told that the current highest bid was 600 Nook Tickets, which is far outside the price range of the average player. There are people who are charging 20,000 Bells for an item, despite the fact that you can see at the top of the page that it’s sold in island shops for around 1,500 bells. These are outliers, fortunately, but you are going to have to weed through them for particular items or villagers. I have seen some complaints about people charging incredibly high for the entry fee practice as well, though I have never personally encountered this as I favor direct player trades.

Thankfully, there is a ratings system on the website where people can leave reviews of those who they buy from or trade with. I’m proud to say that I have a five-star rating and an excellent track record, but it’s important that you always look at the ratings, because they are the way that the community is trying to keep the bad apples in check. There was a case where I was about to contact someone about purchasing some fish bait in bulk, only to see that they had a one-star rating. Checking their reviews, I found out that they were a repeat offender of asking for real money instead of in-game currencies. I bought my bait elsewhere.

A Positive, Evolving Community

Perhaps one of the best things about Nookazon, though, is that the staff is active and listening to the community about how they respond to the service. Updates to the website are regular and over time many features have been added. Even if you don’t intend to do any buying or selling, the site acts as an excellent catalog of everything that is available in New Horizons. As soon as there was an update that added new items to the game, the website was updated and ready with everything there. There’s even the ability to look at the variations of items, so you can even use Nookazon to find out if Redd is scamming you!┬áIf you happen to run across a member of the staff on Reddit, you’ll sometimes hear about some of the new features that are intended for the website, such as an on-site messaging system. All of this is of course funded with the help of their Patreon page and the supportive community.

So far, I’ve enjoyed my time spent with Nookazon and I’m looking forward to doing ore trades on there. While some of the problems are pretty prevalent, it’s still worth giving a shot. I have faith in the community to push down the trouble-making or greedy sellers and moderate itself. Plus, it’s good to know that I was able to give someone that blue kitchen mat that I don’t care about and only bought because I needed one more ticket to get a special floor from Sahara.

If you’re looking for more information direct from the source, you’re in luck! On May 2nd, the Nookazon staff held a meet and greet Q&A session, which you can find here!