How the 2.0 Update Affected My Islands

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The 2.0 update ended up affecting my islands quite a bit, so since I have -er- several, I thought I’d dedicate a post to explaining the path forward for each of them. And also quite a few photos of some of the new decorating work I’ve gotten up to with the update!

Oh man, where to start?? I guess I’ll start on the night the update dropped, because that was wild. I had actively requested off for what my community and I affectionately called “Nook 5th” (and also the 6th, at that) so I thought I was prepared, you know

The birth of the Nook 5th term

On November 3rd at around 9pm I was chillin’ on the couch watching a Survivor tribal council in my pajamas, but I had my phone in hand and would casually look down at Discord every now and then. There started to be some interesting messages popping up about server maintenance, a software update, etc., and then those casually-confused rumblings turned to outright panic, hype, and confusion, as it became clear that the update had dropped earlier than expected. I wasn’t really sure how to feel, because I had assumed I would experience the update live on Twitch with my community at the same time as everyone else. But this caught me off guard and I was in no state to stream, having to work the next day at 5AM.

So it was kind of a weird mixture of feelings: FOMO, excitement, a little bit of regret that I couldn’t stream it in that moment, etc. I was watching the news pouring out about the new items that night and couldn’t resist learning everything I could, because my favorite thing to do in Animal Crossing is absolutely the designing and building (and I think that’s valid, I do enjoy the cozy charm of AC in between the decorating!), and I wanted to know all I could about all the new building blocks that would be available for my current islands and for future islands.

As the news was pouring out, someone kindly messaged me, bringing to my attention a tweet informing that all fourth tier items — items that had been placed with a glitch allowing you to climb up to the usually-forbidden tier — had been removed with the update. I was immediately thrown into a tailspin wondering what that meant for myself and my islands, all of which I had used the glitch extensively in. I was pretty bummed out. As time has gone on, I’ve accepted the situation and moved on from the emotions I was feeling when I first learned about the glitch-patch. Honestly, the update is still so incredible and far more than I expected: the DLC, the hundreds of new items and customizations, the farming and cooking, the NPCs coming back in roles that both make sense and add value to the game, the little touches here and there that add charm like villager visits… The 2.0 update has really extended the life of the game. I already deeply enjoyed New Horizons and didn’t have as much criticism for the game as many around me, so the update was all icing on the cake — more than that honestly, more like a whole new cake. My mind was and is whirring with all the new possibilities.

BUT if I’m able to make a plea: The way the fourth tier should have worked is that you can climb up there, place items, but then just not be able to build further. Make it so the the too-dangerous message refers to further building on the fourth tier, not in response to simply trying to climb up there. Or heck, maybe even don’t tempt us by having the fourth tier at all, because it feels so weird to be able to build a cliff and then not be able to put anything on it. I wasn’t trying to be some evil sketchy person using this glitch, it genuinely sparked joy for me to create builds with that extra height. It also helped make the 3rd tier more useful, because I could still have decorative cliffs even while on the 3rd tier. But, oh well. I have accepted that this capability I used to have through the glitch is gone, and I’ve adapted the way I build.

The update has changed the status quo of my islands quite a bit so I thought I would go over each one in regards to the update!


Bywater is my favorite island of all time — no island gives me as much joy to walk around, and I love the villagers too, and all the memories attached to it from building it on stream. It’s my happy place. I used the fourth tier glitch in this island *a lot* in very essential ways and special places. I decided that keeping the way I’ve decorated this island is more important to me than updating this island to 2.0, which would then put all my fourth-tier work in jeopardy. My first action was to immediately put this Switch offline and prepare for Bywater to be self-sufficient, without having access to other islands for trade & supplies anymore. I gave it a bunch of flowers and materials, and now it’s offline for good. It saddens me a bit that it turned out this way, because I enjoyed being able to have others over, and I was even looking forward to having a Bilbo-style party at the Party Tree when the island was finished. A dream address to share would have been great too, and I really regret now that I was being stingy about waiting ’til it was fully done to upload a dream address. But at the end of the day, it’s more important to me to still be able to enjoy the island myself, left in the state that I worked so hard to design, even if others can’t enjoy or visit it anymore. Bywater still has a lot of value to me and gives me a lot of cozy happiness wandering around and enjoying the vibes, and that’s not gonna change.

I also still want to fully finish the island, and have others be able to enjoy it through visiting it in stream, watching a tour on YouTube, and looking at little photo tours here! Though I’m very self-aware that with my limited time, it may be tempting to dedicate more of my time to my islands that are updated to 2.0, since that’s what I’ll be playing more on stream and therefore more of my focus. But I don’t wanna lose hope that I can finish the last few designs I need for Bywater, and I think it’ll be easy enough to do the last bits of flower-arranging once I buckle down to it!

Here are a few of the patterns I’d like to finish for Bywater:

I’m itching to make a pattern for face cut-out standees that blends in with the cliff, with a hobbit hole door drawn on! I’m using these ones in the meantime (MA-7512-1274-9048), and they’re great, but I’d just like to make my own! I have some colors in mind too, like yellow and red. I don’t think it’ll be as hard as making a 46-slot path, I think I got this. Maybe.
I need to make some yellow wildflower patterns pretty bad! That’s actually one of the things that keeps me from posting more scenic photos of Bywater everywhere, I can’t stand to share these areas in this state: unfinished flower arrangements + unfinished flower custom designs.
I might end up making a custom design for the land bridge as well! I just feel like with it being such an important area in Bywater, I could have a more fitting pattern than this brick path. But who knows, this definitely doesn’t look bad to me and it makes the clicky-clacky
I also need to finish this Green Dragon Inn Build made out of face cut-out standees, which hopefully shouldn’t be too bad, I got the basic outline going!

Bywater Multiplayer Memories

Since Bywater won’t be able to host multiplayer for the forseeable future, I thought I’d share a few fond multiplayer memories I did have in this island! One occasion arose spontaneously after a stream. During stream I’d noticed that I had Celeste on my island, and that there was a meteor shower, so I said I would open my gates after stream. It ended up being quite the little party at the party tree! This is a younger, less finished of the party tree:

The second occasion I’ll share ended up being a sort of grand finale for having friends over to Bywater! For my 2-year anniversary stream in late October, I had a few multiplayer groups over for a Halloween Fashion Show & a fishing minigame. It was a lot of fun and had some great moments!

The first fashion show group! Pardon that the audio is a little out of sync, it downloaded that way for some reason. Recommend not looking at my face but it’s worth watching!

Karen was on FIRE in campaigning for votes

The results of the Fishing Jamboree were hilarious:

And the second Halloween Fashion Show group! This round had some great moments and costumes as well:

Bernie also had some compelling arguments for his campaign, which paid off

At least Bywater got to have a great last hurrah with pals with this Streamiversary, it was an amazing time 🎉


Ithaelia was my first island, started in March 2020. It’s a fantasy worldbuilding themed island, and while I don’t love it quite as much as Bywater, I still think it’s aged well. The issue I have with it now is, I designed the *whole island* with a completely different toolset than what’s available now: fewer inclines and far fewer furniture. So much of the new furniture is exactly what I could have used back then as well, so it just feels weird, like all the work I did before is kind of moot now. Not to mention I used the fourth tier a lot in this island as well, in pretty essential ways.

My goals for Ithaelia are to at least finish some custom designs, and it miiight also be nice to kind of … finish the town more in general? Like go through and clean it all up, and do one final tour. Then after that, it’s a bit of a question mark. I feel like it would be excessive to have two offline islands with both Bywater and Ithaelia, so what I might do is: finish the last few custom designs for Ithaelia, take lots of pics & vids of current Ithaelia for closure, update to 2.0, upload the finished codes, and then maybe even delete the island. I’m not normally one to delete towns, it’s a rule that I’ve generally held myself to ever since starting this blog. But Switches are a lot of money, it’s one town per Switch, and I just feel like I could probably have more fun designing a new town with all the new tools available to me, rather than holding onto Ithaelia forever. I also don’t really find the map good enough to bulldoze, because I think the town hall is kind of in a funky spot now. But I’m already busy working on existing projects, so maybe Ithaelia can live quite a while longer before I need to reset it and free up another island to work on!

Here are a few of the areas / patterns I have in mind to fix up before I consider Ithaelia a finished project:

I did the brickwork for this path a long time ago, but never shaded or colored it in a finished way. I would also like to make a flower pattern to replace all the clover placeholders.
For the fairy shee here to be finished, I badly need to make a mushroom ring to go on the fairy mound in the middle, since it’s basically the centerpiece of the whole build! This area in Ithaelia has a fair amount of sentimentality for me, so I definitely want to see that mushroom ring design done. I’m sure it won’t be too difficult as there’s a fair amount of mushroom-ring art online to reference.
For this secret garden build, the one custom design mural I always daydreamed about was a fallen column design. There are reasons for this (it’s based off a place from a book, where there were Roman ruins), but I’ll be honest that if there’s one pattern that falls by the wayside it may be this fallen column idea! Because it might end up being too difficult, and I feel like those 2.0 column items would be a lot more satisfying than a flat pattern. (But I don’t have access to those right now since the island is offline and pre-update.)


Citalune ended up being the first island I updated, and I updated it live on stream like I had wanted to do in the first place. :’) Sure, I had fourth-tier areas that I was bummed about losing that extra height on (I pretty much used the fourth tier in every build I ever did y’all, I was hardcore). But overall I haven’t really filled up most of the map in Citalune yet, so it didn’t feel like as much of a loss. Plus, we got so many items that would be perfect for adorning Citalune: COLUMNS, CASTLE WALLS, GAZEBOS, yes these deserve all caps.

I’ve already pretty much adapted all my previous/existing builds, so I’ll share some of those updates below! And what’s funny is I still had a few furniture items left over on the fourth-tier after the update, so some of those are still lingering. 👀 But all the fourth-tier foliage (like trees and bushes) were removed upon updating. My theory is that if your recycling bin is full, there isn’t any room for the furniture to go!


Here’s the entrance in its “before” state, during one of my favorite sunsets. Citalune 2.0 is similar to the Citalune from my New Leaf days in that I think it looks best at sunset and nighttime :’)

BUT, I’m actually pretty happy with how I was able to make my entrance look under 2.0!

I lost the trees on the fourth tier, which I think is a shame, I really liked those and thought they added something. But the new decorative pillars in plain white are a godsend for this island, and I think the plaza clocks look cool incorporated into the entrance as well! Also, some sneaky wedding organs remain on the fourth tier. 👀

Still one of my favorite areas to pan up and run through
Using the in-game filters to my advantage
Here’s a garden bench by the entrance in its “before” state. It’s so weird seeing the upright lockers in any picture now.
Me, basically
And the “AFTER” of that same garden bench! One of the appealing aspects about Citalune’s structure for me is the way there are so many pan-up views along the path at the entrance. It’s supposed to look like castle walls, except I didn’t actually use castle walls here since they end up being too tall and hiding the furniture on higher tiers.
What a lovely shot with Diana as she eats a donut :’) I can’t unsee the upright lockers though UGH
This is how the church looks now, from the bridge looking up! *All* the items left on the fourth tier remained for the church, so I’m gonna use that to my advantage. Although you could probably make an even better church using the new castle items.

Last few entrance shots, which lead us to the next build affected by 2.0…

Inclines Leading to the City

Here’s another “BEFORE” image for you! I had used the fourth tier to create buildings rising above the inclines.
And the “AFTER”! I actually don’t feel like I lost a lot at all, by losing the fourth tier in this area. I have the castle items to thank for that!

Some more times of day for this area:

Crescent Courtyard

The new castle items also gave me an idea for what to create after the double inclines spot! I decided to do two more double inclines (thanks, increased inclines-limit) descending into a castle courtyard! These courtyards have been so much fun to see in the community, how you can do castle courtyards in so many different styles, and they always look sooo satisfying. Highly encourage having fun with one if you can get your hands on some castle items, because they aren’t difficult to make look good.

I tried to make my courtyard a little unique to Citalune’s theme by making it crescent shaped, with a crescent patio in the middle. I think I want to make my own custom codes for this crescent patio, but it’s gonna take some serious planning and probably some serious slots, so I’m putting that off for now. I’m using the in-game paths with a marble design overlaid on top (MA-1142-2297-9736, by sakurarako4 on Twitter).

making a wish in the crescent courtyard
in the courtyard at sunset
highlighting the crescent shape
I like how this area looks in the daytime too! The daytime view just really highlights all the white items together and provides the best visibility. As much as I love sunset and night shots, the visibility from a distance suffers as details become silhouettes.
It would be remiss if I failed to show a nighttime shot :’)
Just call me Princess Usagi
I LOVE the skyline of the courtyard when you’re standing on the path above. I think this path is gonna be a boulevard that takes you to both sides of the island.
The final thing that just confirms what a special build this crescent courtyard is for me: it leads to the secret beach! I think it’s the dreamiest that you can walk out of the courtyard and see this little strip of beach ahead, I just gotta figure out how to decorate it.

Bridge of Starlight

This area has only “BEFORE” shots, I’m still in the process of reworking this spot with the 2.0 update! To explain the goal, I’ve always really liked the idea of having Estel’s home be a sort of castle/palace build that you have to walk across a grand celestial bridge to arrive at, and that the bridge uniquely goes over a French garden instead of water. It was really hard to get right before, and it’s still really hard to get right now. I think it’s been the most difficult part of this island to get right, so far. But I hope you enjoy some of these “before” pictures, since it probably won’t look exactly like this anymore in the future!

A wide angle of the overall view I was trying to achieve with the French garden on either side. On the other side of the bridge I was going to have a house on either side (since I can’t center a door with this even-numbered bridge, RIP), and then I was going to have a fake double simple-panel in the middle to be centered with the path.

Some close-ups that really highlight the ambiance this area could achieve even in its unfinished state:

It’s hard to believe my old mosaic QR codes translate this well to New Horizons! These are the exact same ones I had made back in New Leaf, I used the Nintendo App app to scan in the QRs.

In my next post I’m gonna share more about my first actual gameplay experiences with the update! I thought I was going to include that in this post, but I felt like that would make it too long. So read on for more 🙂

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