Echoes of discontent regarding the server map have amplified recently. These voices rightfully demand change in their own unique ways. However, perfecting the system further will be of no use if armies continue to behave as they have. I think that while the server map does leave some room for improvement, the armies themselves need to step their game up first.
My intention behind writing this post is not to attack any army or alliance. Despite my jokes about being a RPF loyalist, I gave up on being a part of an army a long time ago. I am speaking as someone who extols battles over lonely find-four games. I wish to see the community actively engage each other, rather than form alliances and build stagnant empires.
1A: The History Lesson
1B: Modern Era Maps
2A: The Current Map
2B: Hoarding Servers
2C: Alliances And Wars
The History Lesson
I know this section is boring to a lot of you, but there are some past things I must revisit. Feel free to scroll down to the Current Map section.
Regardless of the war of words flurrying around it, the server map is a boon for this community. I found that the earliest model similar to the current map is Commando717‘s server map from summer 2015. When the map launched on Club Penguin Army Central, excitement grew over the idea of finally organizing the ownership of servers. However, Commando and the other people involved in the ideation went beyond merely organizing territories.
Servers were classified into six strength levels. Armies received “resource” points for invading the various types of servers. These points, along with the number of servers owned and all-time highest resources, made up the Leaderboard of armies. In a way, this model aimed to lessen chances of armies falling stagnant due to the idea of permanent territories.
However, despite the introduction of an engaging model, the map failed before the year even ended. The cause of this failure found its roots not in the map itself, but the lack of feedback from the community. The admins could not carry out the task of updating the map properly. I think the culture of multiple armies claiming the same servers was also at fault here. However, CPAC did revive the map in July 2016. The Rebel Penguin Federation quickly asserted dominance in the server draft of 2016, invading 21 servers in the first week itself.
The map started off as a hopeful initiative to organize the chaos of server invasions. Within a span of three months, it devolved into something that just held armies back. Somehow, the Doritos ended up with a whopping 80 servers, RPF with 52, and the Golds holding a bunch of invisible islands. Most other armies either had a tiny presence of 2-3 servers, or just ignored the map.
Commando’s project did not conclude in the best possible way, but it paved the way for a better state of war. The community now knew that there existed a possibility of wars without both sides declaring victory. The idea of drastically improved wars that did not involve incessant spamming of tactics without results motivated several people. I personally never saw these events unfold, so I cannot speak on the impact of the map on other issues, like multilogging. However, I did realize one thing. As the average age of the community increased from kids obsessed with snowball warfare, game itself started evolving into something teenagers could enjoy.
Modern Era Maps
Skipping forward to the creation of the Club Penguin Army Hub in 2020, the most successful league of the CPPS era. As soon as the freeland invasions period of the map began, the Ice Warriors unleashed a blizzard upon the community. Using their colonies, IW gained 9 servers over the first 3 days. It might not seem like a lot compared to other large scale feats witnessed by the community. However, with the one invasion per day rule, most armies struggled to occupy 3 servers during this time. The number of servers in the map was also less than sufficient in the beginning. More freeland was released later on.
The dominance of IW, as well as their two allies RPF and the Dark Warriors, only increased as time progressed. The alliance of these three top dogs fought several wars against armies like the Doritos, the Army of the Orient Seas and the Water Vikings. By the end of the year, the Black Ice Alliance boasted of a 52 server empire. However, other armies also participated in various wars during this year, resulting in the map turning out to be quite colorful and active. Despite what many people say, I believe this map came the closest to what an active server map could be.
Unfortunate, the CPAH shut down before we could see a challenge arise to the BIA dominance of the server map. Club Penguin Army Headquarters and Club Penguin Army Network both launched their own versions of a world map. While CPAN stuck to the tried and tested method, CPAHQ decided to perform experiments with it. The launch of the Project Conquest, a tournament/seasons based map, ultimately ended in failure due to lack of participation from most armies. CPAHQ did attempt to launch a proper server map later in the future. Meanwhile, CPAN’s map, although initially fairly successful, soon succumbed to a lack of proper judging and inactivity.
The Current Map
History lesson is over.
The server map currently has 150 servers, with a limit of 76 servers per army. Features include the power to rename servers, one invasion per time zone, protection for tournament participants, and much more that can be read about in detail on the Map Rules page. I am not writing this post as an attack on any army. I’m just stating what I think of the map right now, following discussions with several peers who hold relevance in the community.
While I’m not experienced enough in the politics of the community to voice my opinion on it, the Army League system was created to let the armies democratically make decisions regarding the map. Our organization is one that aims to provide full autonomy regarding the map to the people, yet be the one keeping track of everything and interpreting the rules. The conflicting nature of these two goals – one to provide freedom and one to prevent corruption by taking freedom away – is bound to result in some very silly situations.
Despite that, the current map system is a lot better than people give credit to it. The amount of provisions made to ensure that the army leaders get what they want is definitely more than anything done before. Some people did propose a seasonal tournament architecture. However, that would just mimic the aftermath caused by the cycle of map resets. While the number of servers could be decreased based on the number of armies involved in the map, there is little room left for improvement in any other aspect.
As of today, the Army of Club Penguin, the Templars and SWAT hold majority of the land in the map. The servers in the map were introduced with a hope that all armies could have a chance at acquiring land and waging war. Unfortunately, individual armies currently hold enough servers to provide for an alliance. I agree that ACP, Templars and SWAT aren’t the first to overly dominate the map. Armies like DCP, IW, RPF have done the same in the past. At the end of 2022, RPF held a devastating number of 88 servers.
This exact trend has occurred in every single one of the server maps we have seen so far. There’s no rule to prevent that from happening. The server cap itself might end up hindering warfare if reduced lower than 35% of the map, especially in cases of armies with a habit of winning wars. In the end, server map resets and redrafts are an inevitable part of the current map system.
The unification of the leagues came with a lot of effort. “Exiting” a league is not that tough. However, the impact of such underhanded moves continue to haunt the existence of this community even today. Unifying all the armies under one banner is much more tougher than the momentary decision behind leaving a league. It requires much more sacrifice, much more effort. At the end of the day, the tasks of ensuring that the community does not die falls upon the armies themselves. No particular individual can hold the community together all by themselves. Selfishly focusing on only their internal community will only contribute to the destruction of what we have worked hard to build so far.
With that in mind, I can dare to say that it is the task of armies to ensure that they do not contribute to making the map stagnant. “Are you saying armies should give up their land if they have too much?” Yes. Hoarding land incessantly is only going to lead to a stagnant server map, and finally resets. This event has repeated itself way too many times throughout the eras for anyone to say it is not true.
Hoarding land also ends up discouraging other armies from even trying to rebuild lost empires. Returning armies end up deprived of chances to rebuild empires despite the huge amount of servers. Most army leaders are experienced enough to know that a server map with one or two armies holding most of the land is ruined. They anticipate that there will be a reset sometime soon, and thus lose interest in invading servers that will eventually be lost.
As we witnessed in the recent war between ACP and the Dark Vikings, DV refused to even try to fight against the Clovers simply because they had too much land. In the initial stage of the war, ACP troops logged on for a battle, ended up taunting thin air, and logged off. Eventually, a compromise in the form of a landless war had to be reached. Even this did not do much for a war that was already spoiled, and both armies declared victory in the war.
The Elite Guardians recently returned to the community. They were quick to schedule invasions wherever they got a chance. However, the chances of them building a strong enough base to start declaring real wars is mostly dismal. That is, unless they take the land away from smaller armies. Hoarding of servers thus brings about another unnecessary evil – the downfall of small army presence on the map. While I agree that meme armies have no place on an active server map, the small/medium community definitely deserves to establish a presence on the map.
Alliances And Wars
Hoarding isn’t the only issue plaguing the server map. One of the major issues is the reluctance of armies to declare war and invade servers. The reason behind this could be the lack of any rewards for invading servers from another army. Armies prefer gaining servers through free land invasions or transfers. Sure, the current Top Ten rewards battles. But there isn’t much difference between points gained by practice battles and wars.
The presence of alliances on the map is also a deterrent to anyone aiming to invade servers. However, it is worth noting that almost all the World Wars of the community stemmed from similar conditions. Armies back then weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with large scale alliance wars if necessary. I don’t see any reason for armies to hold back now. The community could benefit much more from a World War rather than a seasonal league controlled by the media.
Ever since World War Rewritten, there has been an eerie reluctance to declare war without role playing as community police. It seems everyone is obeying an unsaid rule that you need moral cause to wage war. If that were the case, we would have to basically incriminate the entire community just to play this game. Might as well pack up our bags and call it a day if such foolish beliefs are going to prevail over common sense.
I don’t know how many times people need to hear it, but this is a game built for wars. You do not need proof of cybercrime or immoral behavior just to declare war and invade servers. While it is reasonable to only declare war on armies that disrespect your nation, this shouldn’t end up completely nullifying your contribution to the community. We have armies like SWAT to thank for their consistent efforts to keep the state of warfare alive. Regardless of the outcome of the wars, and the challenges faced, war armies keep the community alive in multiple ways.
We need to stop blaming each other and start to appreciate the advantages we currently enjoy. Anyone who suffered through the absence of playable CPPSes and the chaos caused by division in leagues knows what I’m talking about. These times are not going to smile pleasantly upon those who act in their own interests. We need to display the “unity in our community” not just in the CPA header but in our actions too. Unethical practices like misusing the server renaming system to create nonsensical names should also be minimal.
In the end, it is our task to carry on the legacy of the people who built this community. The main intention of this post was not to provide solutions. I tried my best to highlight the issues that I think exist in the current map. The decisions on how to remedy the problems will eventually rest upon the army leaders. That is in line with the goal that this organization proclaimed during its birth. We can only hope to be able to see the bigger picture, and do what is best for the community.