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Time Traveling and the 16 Villager Cycle: My Guide-ish Post

#1ruby_diamondPosted 8/8/2013 12:35:26 PMmessage detail
Hey folks! So I'm close to finishing the 16 villager cycle, and I thought I'd post my method and some tips. I know a lot of people have done the cycle, but I also know folks post asking about cycling and safe ways to do so with some frequency. So I figure if I can help out with my experience in any way, I might as well.

Still, I don't think I'm any expert at this by any means, so I'm not going to call this a guide. It's just a like of the steps I took and tips I would give, but I just don't think I have the authority to call this a guide. I'm sure others know much better ways to cycle. So for now, it's just "guide-ish."

I'd like to get some things out of the way before I start, though. There seemed to be no proof for the 16 villager cycle when I lost my villager, so I thought I could get him back by talking to him while boxed in another village. I tried twice: once without moving out any villagers and once after moving about 3 or 4. Drake would not offer to move either time.

Furthermore, this was written on the basis of two assumptions: a) the cycling is being done for the purpose of getting back a villager who was lost, and b) the person cycling has a number of villagers they don't want to lose. If you just want to cycle villagers until you find your favorites while keeping some in your town, this method should work too, just keep in mind that was not my objective.

There may other ways to bypass the 16 villager cycle, but if there are I don't know.

To clarify for those that haven't heard of the 16 villager cycle: the game stores 16 villagers in its memory even after they leave. If a villager leaves by accident, the only way (that I know of) to get that villager back is to have 16 villagers move out, thus erasing the villager you want back from memory and allowing said villager to return. Another way you can tell is by Main Street. Villagers who have left will sometimes appear on Main Street, because their data is still stored on the cart. Once you've cycled through 16, they should stop appearing.

Furthermore: villagers move randomly. Being mean to them--hitting them with a net, etc.--does nothing to increase their chances of moving. Ignoring if helpful is you don't TT because, if they ping you and you allow them to move, they may refuse to move, saying it's out of spite or, as happened to me, because they want to be better friends :/


Without further ado, then, here is my guide-ish post to TT'ing 16 villagers out safely so that you can re-acquire a villager you lost:

1. Have the Beautiful Town ordinance.
By the end of this, your town will likely be filled with flowers, but that's a whole lot preferable to having it filled with weeds. I believe this also helps maintain perfect town status. I had perfect town when I started, and by the time I ended I had about seven Jacob's ladders, so I assume I maintained perfect town status throughout.

Another thing that may be helpful to have is the campsite. Recruiting villagers from the campsite is a great way to cycle out even more villagers, and that's very useful with how long the 16 villager cycle takes.

However, villagers moving in sometimes affects whether others will move out. Be aware of that when you check your villagers.

2. Carry less than 100 bells and no items besides tools at all times.
We're still on the preliminary stuff. This is important because if you carry items like clothing or furniture, you'll get pinged or trigger dialogue to buy or trade it. Likewise, if you have money, they'll ask you buy stuff. I've also found that villagers don't ask for unasssessed fossils or gyroids, for whatever it's worth.

(to be continued)
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Looking for: Drake!
#2ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 12:36:08 PMmessage detail
3. TT two days forward, then save and quit.
Pretty basic, everyone seems to know this. If you haven't TT'ed prior to starting this, no villagers should move out due to step 3 or 4. Additionally, I believe that no matter how many days you TT forward or back, it will count only as one day. If a villager has not pinged you to move, and sometimes they don't while fully intending to move, then TT'ing too far can put them in boxes. Two days is safe, however, since it shouldn't force a villager into boxes if no one has recently pinged you.

4. TT back to the present.

5. Check ALL your villagers. Find the mover.
This is the the most important part. You have to check all villagers. What I mean is find every single villager in your town, stand within their line of sight for 2-3 seconds, and see if they ping. If they don't ping you, talk to them twice. The point of talking to them is to find the mover. Usually it's typical villager stuff, but often enough they'll tell you if someone else is moving.

But be prepared to be really, really bored. Villagers will also ping you to ask for fruit, to ask visit your house or for you to visit theirs, to ask about your favorite foods and books, and all other bits of dialogue. Villagers who you don't want to move will ping you to move while those you want to leave just seem to hang around endlessly. Sometimes villagers will randomly give you gifts: I suggest you sell these immediately or put them in your letters. Having items can prevent dialogue about moving from triggering or otherwise just be inefficient as villagers ask you to buy or trade.

You should NOT ignore villagers you want to move. That is only helpful when you are not TT'ing. In this process, you should talk to them twice, too, because they could be the ones to tell you that a villager you like is moving.

If you have a full roster of 10 villagers, chances are you'll need to save and quit anywhere between 5 and 10 times before you find everyone outside, or more if you're unlucky. Main Street and Re-Tail don't count, no one will ping you there. I recommend you keep the megaphone on you to speed things up.

I should add that the more villagers you have that you want to keep, the longer the process will take, as it will be more likely for the ones you want to stay to ping you. For example, at one time I had 8 dream villagers and 2 I wanted to leave. Nine hours of this process later, and neither of the 2 had offered to leave -_-U If you want to trade a villager you didn't especially like for one you do on the online board, I do suggest you wait until you finish the cycle, but it's ultimately your call.

(to be continued)
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Looking for: Drake!
#3ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 12:36:46 PMmessage detail
6. Do NOT assume that because a villager didn't ping you, that they aren't moving.
This is why you need to talk to all your villagers. Movers do not always ping you. I've had villagers tell me someone was moving when the mover never pinged me.

Also, keep in mind that fishing villagers will not ping you. I found this out the hard way. I had Fauna fishing, and went to stand next to her. Like all villagers when they're fishing, she turned her head to look at me, but no ping and talking would only result in dialogue about fishing. When I saved and quit, Fauna was no longer fishing, and she pinged me almost immediately to tell me she was moving. If you see a villager fishing, just treat it as though you couldn't find them.

If you see a villager about to plant a flower--they'll have that thinking expression your character does when you go into your inventory--they will also not ping until after they planted the flower. Same with while they have their watering-flowers animation.

Sometimes you will know someone is moving--someone who you want to keep--and they will just refuse to ping you. In this case, you have two options: save and quit, or the diving trick. I usually save and quit, find the mover, and they tend to ping me so I can tell them to stay. I've heard that the diving trick--dive for five minutes and return to shore--will also trigger the ping, but I tried it and it didn't work for me.

7. Repeat.

Here's the trickiest part. Sometimes, after checking all villagers, you'll have found your mover. If you like them, tell them to stay and repeat the process in the hopes that someone you don't like wants to leave next time.

If you don't like them, huzzah! You can TT to their moving day to get them out, then return to the present. Be sure to check all your villagers once you get back to the present to make sure no one you like is moving, and repeat the process. You have 16 villagers to cycle through, after all.

However, it happens with unnerving frequency that you will finish checking all your villagers and no one will have pinged you to move or told you someone else is moving. In this case, you're safe to repeat the process.

Remember, though, that repeating the process should count for about four days of game time. When you return to the present the second time, check all your villagers. Most times you'll find a mover and you can decide whether you want to leave or not, then repeat until you've cycled 16.

However, sometimes you still won't find that mover. In this case, you have three options:

a. Keep checking your villagers in case they do ping or tell you someone is moving. (This is the safest but most tedious choice. It will involve a lot of saving and quiting.)
b. Go one day forward and check everyone again. (This is slightly riskier. There should be a mover and going forward might be their moving day, but one day shouldn't be enough to get them in boxes.)
c. Repeat the process a third time. (This is the riskiest option.)

In cycling, I tried all three above and I prefer option b. One of the times I tried option c, I had Lobo of all people tell me he was moving on August 3rd (keep in mind that, at the time, the present day was August 1st). This meant, I'm assuming, that he had been set to move and for whatever reason he did not ping me nor did anyone tell me. If I had gone forward two days to repeat the process, I would have landed on August 3rd and found him in boxes and completely unsalvageable. I say this as a warning: be very careful! It's better to be bored than regretful.

(to be continued)
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Looking for: Drake!
#4ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 12:37:25 PMmessage detail
Final Tips

- Have something you can listen to but don't necessarily need to watch.

This process is very long, and very boring. It took more than a real-time week of constant TT'ing to finish. (Though, again, I had a lot of villagers I wanted to keep, so this slowed down the process for me. If you have less, it could very well take you less time.) I didn't want to get bored of or annoyed with the AC music, so I would lower all the volume and listen to something else. You do need to watch the screen, though, so it's best not to put on a movie or anything. I liked listening to video game let's plays.

- Keep a list.

I personally had problems remembering who I had spoken to and who I hadn't after two or three save-and-quits, so I keep a Word document open on my computer to keep a continuous list of who I had spoken to and who I hadn't, what response I had gotten, etc. It might also be helpful to keep a second list of all villagers who had moved out up to any one point.

- There will always be that one villager who just doesn't show up.

It never fails. There will always be one villager, after you've checked everyone else, who is either in their home or in a shop or whatever. Save and quit, a lot.

It's also been my experience that no more than 6-7 villagers will ever be outside at the same time, and if you're really unlucky at times as low as four in a town of nine.

- Try the Campsite.

If you have nine villagers, try checking the campsite. If you can invite a camper from there who you wouldn't mind seeing leave, the cycle will go all the quicker. They don't always show up, but sometimes they do.

- Sick villagers

From experience, I can say that a sick villager won't move out. The time this happened to me when during a return trip to the present, when I kept saving and quiting to get a villager in and finally realized they were sick. Bought them medicine, TT two days forward and bought them medicine again before saving and quiting, TT'ed to the present and brought them medicine for the last time.

- Villagers never bring up moving from conversation.

It has to be from a "ping!" prompt. If they don't ping you at first, save and quit, then find them again. They'll eventually ping you if you save and quit enough.

- If you don't save and quit instantly while in the future, a villager may ping you to move in the future.

This happened to me a couple times, as I would check the campsite for villagers while in the future. In this situation, what I did was deny or accept their request based on whether I wanted to keep them or not. In the case that I denied their request, I would then TT two more days to the future, then return to the past. This should trigger another mover, but not necessarily.

- Keep your letter space full of letters.

As you check villagers, they'll start to randomly give you gifts. It takes too long to sell or store them individually, so it's faster to store them in your letter space. That way no villagers will waste time asking to trade for those items.

(to be continued)
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Looking for: Drake!
#5ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 12:37:51 PMmessage detail
- Other factors

I still believe who moves out is random--to a degree. I don't have enough proof nor have I run enough tests to know for certain, but I do believe there are other factors that influence who pings you. Villagers with higher friendship tend to ping you more often. If a villager was the last to move in, it is much harder to get them out. I had Moose move in Saturday and it took me five days to get him out--and that was only because Lucky moved in and took his place as most recent resident. Compare that to the week before, where I cycled 15 villagers in a six day period: they were all willing to day, I am guessing, because there had always been a resident more recent than them. Moose surely would have pinged me eventually: but that's just it. Eventually. It's very hard to know how long it would have taken.

- The more dream or permanent villagers you have, the more careful you have to be.

As you get more villagers you like, be sure to be even more careful. If no one pings you or you hear no rumors in one day, and you have say 9 of your dream villagers, try not to repeat the process. Just TT one day ahead.

(Finished! ^_^)
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Looking for: Drake!
#6Caleb_WPosted 8/8/2013 12:43:49 PMmessage detail
Nice guide. I requested a sticky for you. =)
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My AC:NL Dream Address is 5600-2311-1624.
#7ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 12:51:22 PMmessage detail
Caleb_W posted...
Nice guide. I requested a sticky for you. =)


Aw, thanks! I just hope it's helpful; I hate seeing how many folks lose their favorite villager.
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Looking for: Drake!
#8koolkid7111Posted 8/8/2013 12:53:03 PMmessage detail
Caleb_W posted...
Nice guide. I requested a sticky for you. =)

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3DS FC: 4725-8991-9337
Name: Thad Town: Lumonia
#9J_LexingtonPosted 8/8/2013 5:59:11 PMmessage detail
Awesome guide. I just Time Traveled for the first time after reading this guide in order to force villagers out and make space and it was a success. The valuable tips here will help save a lot of players and people in the villager trading business from painful trial-and-error
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3DS FC (Carlos): 5455-9562-7515
#10ruby_diamond(Topic Creator)Posted 8/8/2013 6:12:52 PMmessage detail
I'm happy folks like this! Still, looking it over now, I'm feeling so stupid for not proofreading it better. :P Gah, when GameFAQs lets me edit I'm returning right to this.
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Looking for: Drake!