Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans are probably pretty used to hearing about the game's Stalk Market by now - where dedicated players will hunt down others' islands with high turnip-buying prices to make a killer profit each week - but some are taking online trading deals to whole new levels.
There are a fair few things in the game which are highly sought after - things like hard-to-find recipes, rare furniture, and even the villagers themselves. Desperation to snag the very best of the latter has kickstarted a new, underground scene (well, it's just on the internet but we like to imagine it's all a little darker than that), where players are trading Nook Miles Tickets to get their favourite animal on their island.
Nook Miles Tickets, which can be purchased for 2,000 Nook Miles a pop, allow you to visit a random, mystery island which can potentially bring with it a brand new villager. The villager that appears is also random, but some players are willing to keep trying their luck until they eventually stumble across their desired furry friend.
Churning through tens or hundreds of these tickets for one particular villager can be hard-going so, as spotted by Eurogamer, some people have resorted to spending real-life money for stacks of Nook Miles Tickets to speed up the process. It gets even more crazy, though, because there's also a way to definitely secure a particular villager and prices here go through the roof.
If a desired villager is leaving a player's island, they'll go into a state known as 'in boxes' (when they're just about to leave for good). If you visit the player's island at this time, you can try to convince that villager to come and live on your island instead.
Thanks to this, players with desirable villagers on their islands are charging set amounts of Nook Miles Tickets for others to come and secure their favourites. Eurogamer reports that, in Discord servers, less popular villagers can sell for anything around 20-40 Tickets, while community favourites like Raymond can sell for more than 800. That's 1,600,000 Nook Miles' worth - or who knows how much real-life money if you bought those Tickets that way.
It's a crazy, crazy world out there.