Over the years, we witnessed a myriad of experiments orchestrated by community leaders. These endeavors, while wielding the power to shape the very essence of our community, carried within them the seeds of both transformative triumph and vehement reproach. Many individuals basked in the glory bestowed upon them thanks to their innovations. Amidst the continuous evolution of the various faces of the game, none can contest the relentless scrutiny that server maps and tournaments commanded over the past few years.
Note that this editorial was written months ago by then Editor in Chief, Scorpion Demon, who has given permission for this to be published.
Server Map Stagnancy
Throughout the rise and fall of leagues, the community embodied a dynamic system, ceaselessly evolving with the tides of time. In this ever-changing community, the server map stands as a testament to perpetual transformation. From armies directly functioning on the server list, to Commando717‘s implementation of an organized map, to the modern era Club Penguin Armies‘ map, we have come a long way. Nevertheless, despite this evolutionary march, one particular issue continues to fester beneath the surface – the inexorable descent into stagnation that befalls the map. But why does a map become stagnant?
Superhero123, an army legend who is also the developer of Club Penguin Army Battleground, penned this issue down quite precisely in his proposal for a seasonal tournament. Throughout history, the community placed its trust in different leagues. Yet, a map reset remains the sole antidote that any league could offer to counteract the perils of stagnation. In the wake of a reset, armies fall into a frenzy of expansion, spending copious amounts of time on free land. Once the majority of free land is depleted, the larger armies set their sights upon acquiring more servers to reinforce their strengths for future wars. Soon, they sweep the smaller armies aside, and begin waging war against other armies. Eventually, a single army and its allies control most of the map. Either the sheer number of servers they occupy or the intimidating collective size of their allies discourages anyone to challenge them. Within this unassailable realm, activity dwindles down, and soon the call for a reset erupts. This cycle repeats itself, until the league eventually shuts down.
Club Penguin Army Headquarters (CPAHQ) attempted to implement a seasonal format two years ago. In 2021, they launched the Project: Conquest tournament as an experiment to implement a month-long competition. Unfortunately, the timing of this experiment left a lot to be desired. Help Force, Ice Warriors and Rebel Penguin Federation refused to participate in the project thanks to the mismanagement in March Madness in 2021. Throughout the month, several important armies dropped out for various reasons. In the end, the Army of Club Penguin (ACP) and the Silver Empire were main contenders for the title.
As DMT highlights in his post, many armies experienced a decline in sizes after the tournament. Despite being the winners of Project: Conquest, ACP withdrew from Legends Cup XI. In a typical football season, the players face off in an average of five matches per month. Despite being professionals in the field with years of experience and effort spent into perfecting their physique, they still need breaks to recover from matches and stay in shape for the season and after it. Therefore, it is hardly fair to expect an army to be able to constantly engage in important battles over extended periods of time and still maintain it’s longevity. Most of the members partake in this community as a pastime activity.
Despite the death of Project: Conquest, CPAHQ decided to make another attempt at bringing a seasonal format to life with their map project. The CPAHQ map incorporated the concept of ‘seasons’, as seen in several popular sports. Moreover, the league maintained a table where armies competed for the top spot by invading servers. The army at the top of the table received bonus top ten points. Instead of resetting the map, the league reset the table every season.
However, the lack of participation continued to diminish the impact of this map. Moreover, leaders who did get involved in the map still found it unrewarding to invade servers. This was largely due to the competition presented by Club Penguin Army Network (CPAN) that maintained its own Top Ten list. Obviously, CPAN did not consider the bonus points in their version of the rankings.
Superhero123 presented his proposal for a Seasonal Tournament in November 2022. Based off an idea from DMT, he attempted to formulate an unique tournament format that intended to guarantee battles. However, the main goal remained to ensure that both major and small armies had fun. The detailed working of the tournament is explained by him in the proposal linked above. Unfortunately, the tournament concept was never truly implemented. The closest thing to the proposal could possibly be the Project: Conquest implemented earlier in 2021.
Burnout caused by excessive battles is the biggest issue of a long term tournament. Superhero’s format provides alternatives to inserting break weeks in the middle of battle seasons. In this, armies can have one battle every two weeks. This could definitely reduce the burnout caused by weekly battles. Moreover, Superhero suggests implementing two separate divisions for major and small armies. The divisions also use the concept of relegation and promotion, through which armies can move between the two divisions at the end of every season.
This format might just finally create an environment for small/medium armies to truly participate in tournaments, rather than serving as cannon fodder for major armies to make their way to the final rounds. Some may take offense at that statement, but regardless of how proud you are of your army, attempting to win is the main goal of a tournament. Fighting just one battle before dropping out doesn’t equal truly participating in the tournament. The proposal document explains the tournament in intricate detail, it is a must read.
Over the past year, many members questioned why we still continue the same old repetitive maps and tournament formats. At the same time, others ridiculed the idea of an extended tournament, using the previously failed attempts as an example.
To find out what the community thinks about the seasonal format, Club Penguin Armies reached out to an administrator, then Executive Producer, Mchappy.
What do you think about seasonal sports league style maps?
I do not think that seasonal sports league style maps are worth investing in as I believe they add further complications and rules to a community that is still struggling with its identity in post-Disney Club Penguin. I advocate for returning to simplicity rather than– albeit, more interesting– intricate map designs.
Do you think it’s a good idea to reset the map every once in a while in order to avoid stagnancy? Do you think there could be a possible solution to avoiding a stagnant map that doesn’t involve resets?
The only time I think it’s a good idea to reset the map is if there is truly dead activity. Even then, I would only approve of it if the Army Board did as well. In terms of your second question, this may be a controversial thought, but one possible solution to avoiding map stagnation is simplifying back to a server list rather than a map. We already know that Battleground has the capacity to add more servers to its server list outside of Klondike, Warzone, etc. Allowing for multiple armies to lay claim to a land, fight over it and invade servers on a list that is far smaller than the map may result in there may be more battles. However, I recognize this may not be universally wanted by army leaders.
What changes would you make to the seasonal style maps, if it ever gets implemented?
Remove the notion that those holding the most land get more Top Ten points as it is usually the major armies that are already topping the list that end up with the most land. I’d love to see a server map that is somewhere in the sweet spot of 25 – 75 servers but I already know that most on the Army Board prefer quantity over quality.
What would you prefer? A pure tournament, seasonal table, without any servers involved; or a server map that incorporates the concepts of the sports seasonal tournaments?
If I had to choose, I would go for the pure tournament.
What do you think would be best for armies right now? A pure tournament, seasonal table, without any servers involved; or a server map that incorporates the concepts of the sports seasonal tournaments?
I don’t think that either of those things are something that would be “best” for armies right now. I think what armies need right now is a return to basics that highlights the best aspects of armies. I could be wrong, but based on even recent war conflicts (at the time– June 2023), I don’t believe the community is interested in long “seasonal” sprints that require a lot of attention and resources. We should let armies be armies, respectfully.
While many others were asked for their opinion, those interviews are, unfortunately, lost due to the post not being completed in its original edit. What are your thoughts on seasonal leagues?