Massively on the Go: Getting the most out of your Animal Crossing Warp Pipes


As I mentioned in our Nintendo Direct February recap, the Mario-item crossover in Animal Crossing: New Horizons included functional warp-pipes, bringing fast travel to the series for the first time. Since I’m an Asheron’s Call fan with an AC themed island, being given the tools to recreate the fast-travel Arwic Hub (or the Town Network) seemed like a super fun idea to me. However, the warp pipes are quite different from how I imagined. While there is some good information out there about how they work, I thought I might break it down a bit for readers who also had some pie-in-the-sky ideas.

Basics and limitations

Warp-pipes are a new item that can be bought from the Nook Shopping Kiosk/app. They are singular items, not pairs, so you will need to buy one for each area where you wish to place one. If can’t wait a day to receive your pipes, you can ask a friends to send you two as a gift, then offer to do the same for them.

For anyone familiar with the Mario games, know that warp-pipes take you from Area 1 to Area 2 and – in some games – back again. Simple, right? But there are a few rules for their function in Animal Crossing:

  1. Warp pipe exits are random. Unless you have only one, you will never come back out the way you came. If there are only two pipes, they function just as in Mario games. But if you have three or more, the exit is completely random.
  2. Warp pipes do not connect with pipes inside NPC villagers’ houses. Those will not take you out of that villagers’ home.
  3. There must be a place for people to land when they exit. As you can see from the above tweet, you can surround a pipe with land to essentially put it in a hole, but you cannot do this to help people up to the glitched fourth tier.

Functional ideas

I’m sure you’ve already got a few ideas on how you might want to use your pipes now, but let me drop a few that you may not have considered.

  1. Put one in your home or by Nook’s and carry one on you. This way, wherever you are, you can drop a pipe and either go sell or put items away. It’s great for fishing, massive decoration projects, or escaping bees/spiders/scorpions if you’re fast enough.
  2. Use them in place of slopes. This is especially useful for newer players who cannot have slopes built yet (or afford them), but it’ll also be ideal for more adventure-style islands you want to upload as Dream Islands but don’t wish to place tools for getting around with.
  3. Combine pipes with the new Coins to lead players around town or to certain objects. I had a friend who used Coins to move people to a pipe, and the exit put them in a villager’s yard near presents and a birthday sign indicating it was a villagers’ birthday.
  4. Warp to a friend’s house on the island. Heck, you could even build a kind of maze by blocking off areas in two different houses and requiring warp pipes to move between the blocked-off areas.
  5. Use them for setting up trades or limiting where visitors can go. Simply place a warp pipe by your airport, another in the area you want visitors to access, then fence those areas off. It’s best to do things in that order so you don’t accidentally trap yourself with no exit!

Keep it simple

The biggest thing to remember, however, is to keep it simple. For example, if you try to make a maze but also want fast travel to and from your house, the random-exit rule will make it so that trying to do either task may end up taking even longer. This is also why a maze should be limited to two houses and not three or more, unless you really think you can make a satisfying maze that works with the random-exit element. Worse though, is if you try to limit visitor access with idea #5, but have a pipe that leads outside the fenced-in area, completely defeating the purpose of restricting visitors’ island access. Be careful!

While it would have been nice if Nintendo had sold the items in pairs or created a way to set entrance/exit locations for more fine-tuned use, the warp pipes still give players more freedom and function than we’ve had in previous games. With any luck, Nintendo still has updates that will wow players and introduce new elements to the series, hopefully without removing any. I’m still waiting to hear about gyroids and Brewster, Nintendo!

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!

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