Editorial: Why Gaming the System Has Killed Armies

Corruption and abuse of our current league system runs rampant in this community. The thing is, it’s not a sole army doing it. It is all of them. Rather than trying to fix the system blindly, it’s important for us to realize what got us to this point.   

It is no secret that this community is a shell of its former glory. Days where armies were hitting 80+ on average, sometimes 100+, now seem long gone. Nowadays some armies are struggling to max 20 without allies. How did we get here within the span of two years? By gaming the system. Gaming the system has completely destroyed our once prosperous community.

A Look Back

Well, the anarchic seeds were planted a very long time ago. Back in early 2012, the Light Troops were the first army to become anti-Club Penguin Army Central (the community center-figure at the time) by putting a banner on their website calling for people to join an anti movement. This was the modern version of “pulling out of a league.” Club Penguin Army Central [CPAC] administrator Bluesockwa2 addressed the naysayers:

This is to let you know, that if you continue to defame CPAC, there will be consequences in the treatment you receive on this site. I mean seriously? Your entire site is devoted to anti-Army of Club Penguin [ACP]/CPAC propaganda. That’s pathetic. Just pathetic. You’re an army, not a bully group. Propaganda and such have every place in armies, but certainly not to the extent you are taking it. So maybe we could stop the mudslinging and actually get back to the war. Let’s all try to act our age, shall we? And ACP, you are only furthering the debate by continuing to comment on LT’s site and repost their pictures on your site. So let’s all stop, and get back to what armies are really about. We’ve all had our little argument, and now that’s enough.

As arguments usually go in armies, the Troops would then refuse to remove its anti-banner. Which would lead to Bluesockwa2 to bring the hammer down on the army, setting precedence that this type of slander would not be tolerated under his watch.

As of 5:52am EST, Club Penguin Army Central no longer recognizes the Light Troops as an army.

The next high profile case of anti-CPAC would come in 2013. In 2013, Rebel Penguin Federation Leader Elmikey declared a so-called war on corruption. He called out CPAC for being a corrupt organization led by anti-Rebel heads. Back then, nobody really cared because we all thought Elmikey was insane and because of this, it was all treated like a meme. However, by ignoring him, it caused waves for the future of our community. Elmikey started to game the system to his favor, teaching his ways to those below him so once they succeeded him they too could game the system. A few examples, if you will.

Bracket for the Champions Cup II

Below is an excerpt of a post from the the Rebel Penguin Federation vs. Ice Warriors Champions Cup battle in 2013. Elmikey claimed that CPAC used biased judges in the battle in an attempt to prevent the RPF from winning the battle.

After reviewing the video you will know for a fact that the CPAC is against us and have rigged the tournament.

The Rebel Penguin Federation has been working to win this tournament, we won today’s battle and you will see that in this video. Thus the Rebel Penguin Federation should continue on in the tournament. CPAC, your credibility is diminishing quickly.

Elmikey did not stop there, though. He moved on to libel and wrote malicious statements in an attempt to further his claims that CPAC shouldn’t exist or have any influence whatsoever. One absurd claim was that the website sold IP addresses to “the enemy.” Elmikey went as far as banishing Bluesockwa1, Bluesockwa2, and Cassiusbrutus from his army for just being associated with Club Penguin Army Central.

CPAC has really shown how immature they are at how they handled this situation, I’m going to say right now that their entire post was BS. Also, they literally tried starting a ‘civil war’ in Rebel Penguin Federation [RPF] which didn’t work by the way. Blue[sockwa]1 bullied RPF leaders and him and his staff went into RPF chat and caused complete chaos and destruction breaking RPF rules and not listening to leaders, in-fact even Blue[sockwa]1 himself bullied RPF leaders, and that is not cool bro. I will not stand for this. Blue1 and many others are to remain banished from RPF forever.

In the same post, he even said that CPAC was going for complete control over the entire community.

If you were an army, I’d declare war on you. CPAC started to become better… But obviously not. I no longer support CP Army Central. They are a poor news media website, they also want supreme control of CP Armies because they know if they lose what they have right now they’re not going to be able to profit off of holding us back. We’re not gonna take it.

I don’t want people to walk away from this and say it’s solely the Rebels’ fault, because it’s not. Other people saw this happening as well and started to game the system too. They were able to because the pressure of armies spinning rhetoric like this got to the people running CPAC at the time. Armies started to gain more and more power over the media. I’d even say RPF wasn’t punished for its slander because of how powerful of a position Elmikey was in at the time compared to Ioioluk (Light Troops leader) in early 2012. Additionally, there were no replies to ANY of Elmikey’s accusations towards CPAC. They just allowed it to happen.

This, of course, had unforeseen consequences, gone now were the bastions of the high standards and morals set by the recently retired Bluesockwa brothers. They were replaced by people like Atticus, Mach, Sammie, and Zakster to name a few. All people who now have a question mark next to their tenures as Chief Executive Officers [CEO] because of actions taken during it. All people who allowed the system to be gamed in one way or another. Looking back later in time, Bluesockwa1 wrote a post on how disgusted he was and how corrupt it had become.

After Boomer 20 fully left the community and the Legends Council fell into my hand, I removed the group of historians, and so the Council became a collection of only army legends and CPAC CEOs. This process worked for a long time; however, after I retired, control of the Legends Council was handed over to Zakster, who chose to pack the Council with members of the CPAC administration. The result of this was, quite unsurprisingly, that it became extremely easy for a member of the CPA Central Staff to be inducted to Army Legend. I find the reality that as of two weeks ago, seven of the eleven CEOs of CPA Central had been inducted to Legend Status to be insulting. It is especially insulting to someone like me, who was only the second CEO to be inducted to Legend Status (after this site’s founder, Woton). I was inducted to the Legends Page for doing, real, meaningful work that changed the army community, and to sit on this page while anyone and everyone who ever held the title I cherished is given my status is insulting.

 You might say, “Well, Aaron if CPAC became corrupt, how come it didn’t collapse?” CPAC had something that this community lacks now severely and that is a Bluesockwa-like figure. Someone who could swoop in and save the day at a moment’s notice. The closest people I can think of whom fit that role are Ayan or Eden. They both hate corruption with a passion and both hold a high standard of morals. Both were key figures in media throughout private server army history. However, one is barely active nowadays and you all hate the other because he calls everyone out on their crap. 

Trickle Down Effect and The Perfect Storm

This new mindset had a trickle down effect overtime. It soon moved from the leaders at the time to their successors and so on and so forth. It was passed down generations, and through media since the closing of the original Club Penguin. As armies accustomed to their new homes, people tried to fill the void CPAC left with other various media outlets, all which would collapse for their own reasons. Once the pandemic boom happened, it was game over. The future was set. The perfect storm had arrived. 

I use the term ‘perfect storm’ quite literally. With all these returning veterans from the old times and mixing them with a new generation, the new generation began to learn the old generations way.  Shifting back away from the community’s future, which by the way wasn’t impending doom, armies seemed to be doing alright pre-pandemic. Mix in Club Penguin Online [CPO] with that and you get the literal perfect storm.

Club Penguin Online was plagued with corruption. Coin events were abused and used. A hierarchy of power was established by Epic and Riley. Those who did not follow this were exiled to Club Penguin Rewritten [CPR]. The belief was that armies would quickly collapse and die due to how hostile CPR was to armies, combined with a much smaller recruiting pool. But, those armies that were exiled ended up doing just fine. After the crutch was removed with CPO’s shut down, a downward spiral happened for a lot of CPO armies who hadn’t switched over to CPR. Those former Online armies fell into a coffin and the lid quickly slammed shut.

The first CPO army to go was Pirates, closing in June of 2020 just about a month after CPO shut its doors for good. Dark Warriors, eventually fell too closing in December 2020 seven months after CPO’s closure. Doritos was the next major CPO army to go, they closed after Flash died after one last hurrah during Christmas Chaos. They chose to leave CPA behind moving to gaming centric events. During all this, Club Penguin Army Hub collapsed in brutal fashion. The circumstances behind CPAH’s closure shot the motivation of multiple media higher ups and also drove them out of the community itself. This was nail number 1 in the coffin that CPA now finds itself inside of.

Christmas Chaos 2020, one of the final events for the Dark Warriors

With the creation of Club Penguin Army Headquarters [CPAHQ] the community had a new media site which focused solely on what media should’ve been, media. Nonetheless, the March Madness tournament ended controversial. Mix in Iceyfeet1234’s removal in the position of media advisor and the Black Ice Alliance pulled out and made their own league, Club Penguin Army Network. Nail number two had just been hammered into the coffin.

Their goal was, according to some, create their own system which worked in their favor and nobody else’s. The ultimate act of gaming the system. Do I blame them? Not really, as there was ALOT anti-Black Ice Alliance rhetoric widespread in the community. After a year of domination by their alliance in every single way: tournaments, wars, you name it. Their alliance had won them all. However with such dominance comes with jealously and hatred. It comes with the territory of being that good. Of course they would feel the community is against them in some way. Ultimately, what matters here is that gaming the system was running rampant on both sides of the fence and it was sucking the life out of the community. 

March Madness 2021, the battle that caused the Rebels to end their relationship with CPAHQ

This is not a singular person’s fault, it was just teachings that had been passed on from generation to generation here in our community. They didn’t know any better at the time and couldn’t see the writing on the wall. The Rebels’ maxes had already begun to decline, only being able to max what they used to during times of absolute necessity. Recently, it has been a fight for them to stay above the major status line (as it is for almost every army). Gaming the system finally caught up to them.

Look at what happened to Army of Club Penguin, a mass retirement in Summer 2021 which they are only just starting to recover from. Ice Warriors are currently in a decline, the last standing CPO army. Why not include Help Force, inconsistent max sizes on a weekly basis. The army I myself led, Water Vikings, despite all my efforts, can not seem to crawl out of the 20-25 range. All former major powerhouse armies, all who have had major influence in the direction of the community in one way or another. Now look at us. Templars is the only army maxing above 30. The Rebels had to do nine events a week a couple months ago to stay in the top three.

This is what gaming the system has done to our community. Army leaders putting their armies first rather than the community has absolutely murdered it and now there’s barely anything left. This all dawned on me early in the summer shortly after the recent unified community merger. It’s why I’ve been advocating for doing stuff right for the community, because we are all in this together. We all want this community to thrive, it’s the one thing that truly unites us all. When the community is thriving we are all thriving. 

Who Is Guilty?

All of us. I am guilty of gaming the system. I’ve done it multiple times as the Vikings leader. I’m not afraid to admit it. If I’m guilty then so are all of you. Yes, the system is corrupt and we have all enjoyed it.

A recent example could be Templars post to this very news site, threatening to leave the league over the status of the Rebel’s Legends Cup XII Semifinals review. It’s time for this to stop, it’s time for all of us to adopt a community first approach, instead of our own armies. Without our community we have nothing else besides a name and history of what once was rather than what can be.

A Radical Proposal

This might a radical idea at the current time but the Army League Board needs to go. It needs to be thrown in the trash and never brought out. The biggest mistake of my career as a Water Viking representative was voting in favor of the establishment of the Army League Board, and I am not afraid to admit. I ultimately retired before I could complete what I set out to do but that was removing as much of the Board’s power as I could, starting out with the creation of tournaments.

Army League Board

The reason why it needs to go is because we all focus on being politicians rather than army leaders. You have groups of allies voting in favor of what best suits them rather than the community itself. Again, I am guilty of this and I will admit this. I did it plenty of times when it best suited Water Vikings. The first step in fixing any problem is realizing the cause of it. I am coming clean to what I have done, I only realized the wrongs of my decisions when it was too late. As long as the Army League Board exists, gaming the system will still exist. 

A Side Note

On another note to this media site, there needs to be an uptick in media output. One of the things that made CPAC very successful was the fact it pumped out posts daily. Ranging from editorials, meme posts, even an army at war losing a single battle was categorized as news and pumped out. Hell, even armies holding practice battles was news to them. Anything and everything is newsworthy. CPAC posted on literally everything, it only dropped below 50 posts a month seven times since 2010.

Another thing that needs bringing back is the community forum, which during the CPAC times was the comment section of posts. Posts would often have long conversations in the comment sections. I for one miss this aspect of our community. I am aware that not everyone trusts commenting on websites nowadays and I do not blame you, however with Discord’s new forum feature this should be heavily considered. Yet, these are only my thoughts and what I think we can do to revert the wrong that has occurred.

Are We Done For?

No it is not. There is still time to change course however it needs to be done soon and be done by the right people. Not by the people who have run stuff for the past year and a half because it is clearly not working. Not by people with a questionable moral core or a questionable reason to be in such a powerful position. We genuinely need to get this right, whether it be a teardown and reconstruction of the current system or something entirely new. The community cannot and I mean cannot withstand anymore corruption that currently plagues it. What do you think about the future of the politics we have been playing?

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