My Controversial Opinion: CPA Must Overcome Its Cultural Decay

Culture covers a vast range of categories. I can confidently affirm that the majority of individuals, if not all, may have been taught that culture is what bears witness to the way of being of a specific population. In other words, according to this definition, culture refers to the shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and practices that characterize a particular group of people, whether that group is defined by nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, or other defining factors. And that definition could not be more wrong.

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What is culture, one might inquire once again? What relevance does this debate hold in relation to Club Penguin Armies, and why is it imperative to address the silent cultural decay promptly?

People frequently encounter confusion when attempting to differentiate between two seemingly comparable notions: customs and culture. The aforementioned definition accurately corresponds to the concept of ‘customs’, denoting customary practices, behaviour, and overall characteristics displayed by a group of individuals. On the contrary, culture, in its true essence, denotes a collection of practices that elevate a particular state of affairs to a higher level. In other words, it is what enhances an existing condition of things. For instance, in the case where a country is widely recognized for its elevated levels of theft, which regrettably has become deeply rooted in the country’s customs, it is the influence of culture that enables it to transcend its status quo.

Enough of philosophical matters, I say! Let us now explore the connection between this entire discussion and the community we are in: Club Penguin Armies (hereafter CPA). Many armies existed in the CPA community, since its early creation. Each one bearing its own characteristics and traits that contributed to their unique identities. These are ‘army customs. Now, then, what is CPA culture? To arrive at a proper conclusion, the account of key individuals who were (and are) actively involved in the CPA community was taken.


What would you consider to be the customs of the army you are/were in?

Dino, Top Ten Committee Head, WV leader: If I were to describe the customs of my army, I’d say we are a very chill army. Since 2021, WV has definitely became a more calmed and fun place in my opinion. Myself and Aaron both hail from the UMA as former leaders and legends and felt carrying over UMA culture (albeit as a new branch of culture itself) would help. WV is pretty laid-back on its conversations and we just have fun trolling, including in late US hours where we tend to mess with the server icon and do other stuff.

People nowadays take armies too serious tbh. I value the community/entertainment aspect more than some TT or max success. WV doesn’t really have that much of a clique problem anymore because we broke up all staff cliques in order to maintain army unity. Anyone can be WV even if they’re not the brightest bulb because like UMA, I consider this a brotherhood and welcome everyone to prove themselves for a second chance.

Otherwise, WV is a very Nordic-themed army due to us being Vikings (specifically Norwegian-themed). We do not consider ourselves imperialistic but I wouldn’t consider WV a pacifist army either like our allied. We’re a pretty reactive army. We just value asserting our dominance other ways than through a pretty dire map. WV prides itself as a guarantor of the S/M community since for the longest time in WV’s history we were a medium army. Yes, we’ve been considered “major” since 2013 but always seen as a lite-major. I’d say that’s why a lot of us were motivated for WW9 at first since we felt the need to stick up for a then-S/M EGCP.

Silverburg, Army Legend, RPF Veteran: RPF has many customs that make it unique from other armies. The most blaring one would be the stress put on loyalty. RPF has had a strict one army policy ever since Elmikey and I started strictly enforcing it in 2015. Another thing would be a stress on making RPF an inclusive and safe environment for all. RPF continues to show that it doesn’t really matter what your age, race, sexual orientation, etc. that you’ll have a place that you can have fun without stigma.

Mustapha10, Army Legend, DCP Veteran: Camaraderie above all else with the known DCP phrase “family forever” this can be displayed in “Doritos VS Everybody” seeing as most of us grew up together and were virtually childhood friends; [We would] have a good laugh and make memories. For many years prior to discord we would find platforms similar to it like Tinychat or Skype to just make each other laugh all night. We did this everywhere Minecraft etc. One time we went to war with UMA and DCP completed defeated them. When UMA surrendered, their leader Wgfv wrote up the treaty afterwards to which Wwebestfan signed without reading it. This treaty resulted in DCP becoming a “colony” of UMA. We were way bigger too, it was tragically hilarious.

Gutavuh, EGCP Advisor: Our sheer will to always innovate and to masterfully craft our plans and goals, to ensure it all goes smoothly. When it comes to overall planning and strategy i think there is no army that currently beats us. EGCP troops have traditionally took part in many different games after events which helps to create a community bond, historically we have played games such as Haxball, Brawlhalla, Gartic and now more recently Minecraft. Besides regular gaming, our troops have come up with various means to socialize, ranging from roleplaying to making war or recruitment propaganda.

Krosive, DV leader: The main characteristic of a DV troop is having fun, not afraid to make some edgy jokes (not going over the line) and having a good time in VC. The main trait of DV is going against the system and fighting for religion in armies.

Rowan Alden, former CPA Admin: I was in RFCP. That answers your question.

What about the CPA community, in general? What were its customs? Is it different in what aspects when compared to nowadays CPA?

Dino, Top Ten Committee Head, WV leader: I was in OG armies as a part of RPF. OG was definitely a lot more unfiltered and wild than nowadays. The community is not that edgy anymore. Not saying that is a bad thing; I am glad toxicity has gone down in recent years, but there is definitely shift in the community—for better or for worse. It feels like it has caused a bit of stigma against regular laid-back culture and super-edgy culture with the line nowadays being sadly a bit blurred. OG also was more war-accepting whereas nowadays war is too political and thus has neutered warfare a bit.

Silverburg, Army Legend, RPF Veteran: For sure. The biggest factor for the shift in this community is the median age. In the early 2010’s when I joined armies, the average age was around 10-12. If you were 17 and leading an army like Elmikey was in 2013, you’d have a whole host of people telling you to get a life. Now it’s common for leaders and troops to be in their mid 20’s.

Since the age of the community has gone up, the change in customs revolve around the maturity of conversation and also the overall intelligence of the community. This should’ve helped the community, but I think it actually hurts it since many adults aren’t able to dedicate as much time as we did when we were kids. What you get as a result is an inferior product, since even though the community is more mature now, back in the day we simply put more effort in.

Mustapha10, Army Legend, DCP Veteran: Armies were very different. It was generally a lot more fun. It was a community unlike any other. Listing all of the reasons would take too long so I can give an example of a way that armies were. There were spy missions, infiltration operations, like ACP sending Snaily5 to move up the ranks of ACP to coup Elmikey. Her family was in a multitude of armies too. Or the competitive nature of armies. There was rivalries that lasted 10 years. Everyone knew everyone. It was generally a different community.

Gutavuh, EGCP Advisor: It’s very different, toxicity and edginess was a lot more commonplace back then and the leagues had nowhere the same level of complexity and protocol as today. While I do feel many things have been lost and are declining, I think the community has overall improved from the unbalanced chaos of the early CPPS era.

Krosive, DV Leader: I don’t know much about OG customs besides it was more war and probably more fun because people weren’t afraid of their hands getting dirty.

Rowan Alden, former CPA Admin: CPA was a starkly divided community back in 2019, and not just in the petty CPAN-CPAHQ kinda way. A clear, defined barrier existed between Club Penguin Armies (2019) and Club Penguin Online Army League. If you were in one, you knew nothing of the people in the other. Take me and Spotty: We’d never even spoken to each other before the summer of 2022 but we’ve both been around since 2020, if not earlier. If that doesn’t encapsulate how terribly divided this community was then, I don’t know what does. I think people lose sight of how far we’ve come since those days. Sure, a lot of things aren’t perfect but a lot of things used to be much worse.

Regarding league aspects, such as battles, armies performance, etc. Could you elaborate further on the differences when compared to the current league model we have?

Dino, WV Leader: In OG there wasn’t really a “league”. In fact, the concept of army registration with an organization is fairly new. CPAC was never depended on armies “in it” since it acted independent from armies itself (if that makes any sense). That didn’t mean CPAC couldn’t punish armies since there were cases armies would not be invited to tournaments, TT bans (like with LT in early 2012), and other methods (such as the Klondike Wall against DW’s tournament raiding). I think that’s the key difference; nowadays organizations—or “leagues”—need the support of the armies to continue going. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not since that is always something I ponder but if it’s any solace, organizations now wield more than ever before to address crises.

In terms of just general army performances, I don’t know if I can say armies are doing BAD because size is comparable to 2015-16 and there’s still hype. I guess you could say army performance is down from OG but that’s still debatable since that depends on what you view as truly OG. Battles aren’t as common as a byproduct of less wars. I think things changed when Commando released his “Club Penguin Armies” project in 2015 for the future of general warfare and “league” management of the community

Silverburg, Army Legend: From 2013-2017 (what I consider old armies since it was the time I was around before the shutdown of Club Penguin), there was no real organized warfare. Commando717 toyed with the idea of a server map and even had it up and running for many months in 2016 but the community didn’t really catch on. Organized warfare wasn’t done through wars with judge panels, rather exclusively through tournaments done by CPAC. When it came to wars, the winner was up to the eye of the beholder which made it so almost 90% of battles had no confirmed winner since both sides would claim victory. As much as I prefer old armies, I will admit I prefer an organized format of unbiased judges to administrate battles between armies in order to declare a true winner

Gutavuh, EGCP Advisor: It is factual that there are a lot more rules on how to wage warfare compared to back then, while I think it has made the process more organized, i do feel there is a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy and one-sided criteria being used to judge battles, which is causing the current strategy to be based on speed and big text bubbles instead of creativity and fun.

Krosive, DV Leader: The current main league has banned Dark Vikings unfairly off the tournaments. The CP Army Community is dying and it seems CPA doesn’t really care about it.

Rowan Alden, former CPA Admin: CPA 2019 and CPA 2022/3 are very different entities during very different time periods. Battles back in 2019 were much more influenced by size differences than now. Of course, RPF were primarily viewed as THE army to beat, but today this is not the case. The leagues themselves have a totally different power distribution: Admins still hold the power to ban people/armies but the army leaders nowadays are the ones who decide what happens to the map. Judging is now an independently-organized system [which wasn’t possible in 2019 because of CPOAL] which is a pretty surefire way of reducing chances of bias.

In some ways, how things are running now works a lot better. I was never a fan of the heavy emphasis on size difference back in the day. Judging in general is the sort of thing that shouldn’t be controlled by one media org/league either. But, I still question the wisdom of the army board. I’m all for freedom of speech and always have been, but the system’s open to abuse should the community decide to unfairly dogpile on one or two armies [in which case a tyrannical majority controls a powerless minority] or when it comes to an alliance war [in which case the admins have to step in, making the whole system a little redundant].

The map hasn’t changed one iota in how it operates, which is a shame. We’ve been talking about finding some way of spicing up or making it more interesting for years, but no one’s gotten anywhere with it beyond CPAHQ’s Project: Conquest tournament, which itself had flaws that never got ironed out. At this point, the map’s just how armies lash out against each other and in of itself doesn’t have much intrinsic value. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but I always felt the map had the potential to be more than that. It’s just a shame no one’s cracked how yet.

Would you consider the former community to be more fun than the latter? If so, why?

Dino, WV Leader: The OG community was more fun, definitely. CPRA (2017-2018) despite its horrible sizes (compared to the general history of armies) felt culturally great. If the sizes were much better, it’d probably be the ideal iteration of CPA since, in my opinion, it was very fun in spite of all of the anarchy. There was no pressure to “succeed” in CPRA, just more so having great vibes. The community nowadays lacks an identity? That doesn’t mean everyone MUST war and everyone must do THIS. That’s where me and most people who find the most community not fun differ. Wars would definitely more reminiscent of the past and a bit more fun sure but we really need to go back to being tightly-knitted communities than worrying about the top ten and not maxing 20.

Armies feel so lifeless because we take it TOO serious. Dude who cares about a bad event, just focus on the community. In OG I knew we didn’t worry that much if we had bad maxes all the time. Armies is about the people who are there through thick and thin; through the darkest time. Because at the end of the day this isn’t meant to be a Goddamn numbers game. It’s about being a community and enjoying ourselves. Crack some jokes, build up your own niche communities. You don’t need max sizes to be dominant. I’d prefer an army that is extremely fun and great culturally than an army that’s #1 on the TT every week and winning every war but doesn’t have a true identity/community.

Silverburg, Army Legend: It was objectively more fun. I don’t agree with the idea that the new troops are having as much fun as we did back in the day. Not only were we in the age bracket for Club Penguin to be played, but this was back when the game itself was still thriving and one of the most popular games on the internet. That, in and of itself, made it so the community had infinitely more life before than it does now. It was reflected in how much people cared, how many views websites would get and how many comments posts would get. Discord, private servers, all of that stuff makes armies a bit easier. Nostalgia aside, the community had more quantity back then. The new armies would probably win in wars considering how quick tactics are performed now with VC leading, but the quality of leaders, HCOM back then were superior to what we have now as well in terms of quality.

Mustapha10, Army Legend: [The answer is the same as the second]

Gutavuh, EGCP Advisor: I think both eras had their own pros and cons, but in general i think the current community is a lot more fun and welcoming especially in the geopolitical sense. There is no longer a single army maxing 60+ per event while everyone else has to make do with 25+, there are no more armies constantly causing chaos within their community with their toxic behavior and more importantly, we don’t have to constantly worry about getting doxxed or having our servers defaced by a certain someone.

Krosive, DV Leader: [The former community] seems more relaxed, not cancel culture rampant.

Rowan Alden, former CPA Admin:  That’s tricky, because I think the answer’s changed a few times over the years. CPAM was much worse, because whilst it was an AMAZING media organization it failed to recognize that it also needed to be a league for the non-CPOAL armies. CPAH started out as an improvement largely thanks to the entire community finally being back under one org, but with time I’m not sure it held onto that. CPAHQ was a substantial improvement, in many ways it was basically CPA 2019 2.0 [go figure, DMT ran both]. HQ wasn’t afraid to experiment and change the formula, but without doing it in such a way that destabilized the whole org in the process.

As for CPA today? It’s difficult to really judge. Things are very fun today because things are so in flux. For the first time in CPPS army history there ISN’T one sole dominant army. There are 5 or 6 different major armies constantly vying for that top spot. Needless to say, that massively spices things up. But, it also serves as a massive distraction from any problems that might exist in today’s system. It’s hard to argue with a lively community. Things are definitely more fun today, but I think that has more to do with the current army climate than anything else.

If there is something you’d like to change in the current state of CPA, what would you change, and why?

Dino, WV Leader: Elimination of the arbitrary size requirement to be major officially. Sure 20 should be seen as the benchmark but like…you can still be major influence wise but max low (i.e. PIC and SWAT). Like I said, everyone stressing about maxing 20 every single event and cancelling if they don’t is so toxic and is why this community is “degrading”. Just focus more on building a community at all proper costs. Major should be more like a sign of respect for armies that do well on the bigger stage than some training maxes. When WV came back from lockdown, we were officially S/M but everyone saw us as major; similarly EGCP was formally S/M when it came back but a lot of folk saw it as major and SWAT whom—despite being formally a S/M right now—is a major army in my eyes. If we can stop worrying about some dumb requirement that an organization set, we’d be better off. Why should we depend on some organization to tell us whether we’re major or not. It feels depreciating and dumb.

Silverburg, Army Legend: I wouldn’t change a thing. Armies are going through the natural cycle it always goes through, and as long as the Club Penguin community stays alive armies will always exist. That being said, I do wish some of my old friends would come back again cuz the chats get boring sometimes!

Mustapha10, Army Legend: One of the main issues I see today is “duck takeover event” type of events. This is pretty idiotic to me and doesn’t appeal to the sense of comradarie. These don’t sound like “armies” to me. It seems to be a common trend in armies today where people prefer to take the easy route of just chatting around all day and I personally think that this is what results in weird things taking place among leaders and their soldiers. It was never a common theme in armies before. Everyone getting together and dressing up as a frog cant be fun to most people? It seems pointless. You need a sense of purpose as a group of people.

Gutavuh, EGCP Advisor: How battles are judged, like i’ve said, the priotizing of speed and big bubbles over creativity and cleverness is detrimental to warfare and leaves little room for innovation. This is something i believe a lot of people can agree with.

Krosive, DV Leader: The league.

Rowan Alden, former CPA Admin:  If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing tomorrow, it’d be to increase interest in the Wiki. A lot of army history is missing from it [e.g. Help Force’s entire history is missing, RPF’s history past like 2020 is missing, most of CPOAL history in general is missing, you should see my spreadsheet it’s not a pretty sight] and I wish people would recognize that more and make more of an effort to do something about it.


From the answers above, we can extract intriguing insights relevant to our current subject at hand. Each leader and veteran outlined some of the customs of their respective armies. Their traditions are what distinguish them as unique. Each army possesses distinct characteristics that stem from the intricate social dynamics among its various components, including troops, leaders, and staff. All united for the sake of creating the essence of the group, which is a direct outcome of their collective collaboration. Similarly, every army serves as a constituent entity within a broader universe, which is the so-called ‘CPA community’. In this manner, the customs of the army community can be characterized as a reflection of the customs of the armies that compose it at a specific point in time. In this context, it is evident that the majority of interviewees corroborated this fact in their answers, highlighting the difference between previous stages of CPA and its current phase.

Philosopher Penguin (@PhilosoPenguins) / Twitter

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle

When considering a universe that encompasses the entire community, the renowned ‘army leagues’ come to mind. Throughout history, numerous entities have been established, each possessing its own distinct features. It has been observed that leagues undergo modifications in their rules and overall operations over time, in response to the requirements of the armies currently in action. Consequently, it can be inferred that leagues possess a fluid, adaptable, and malleable nature, which is evident in their decision-making processes and structural configurations that align with the interests of the most influential armies. This, in turn, is the result of the customs of such armies. I would like to clarify that the intentional use of redundancy in this context serves the purpose of emphasizing the subordination of leagues and the community to the specific customs of each army. In this particular perspective, the direction of CPA has always been and continues to be dictated by the customs of these influential armies.

What is CPA culture, then? CPA culture is precisely the set of values, practices, and elements that guide the community as a cohesive entity towards its ideal state of existence. Nevertheless, discussing an absolute and objective standard has become a capital crime these days, has it not? The presence of this ideal can be observed by members of the CPA community through the enjoyment brought by this compact virtual universe. One could potentially argue that the concept of fun is subjective and dependent on individual perspectives. What may be enjoyable for certain individuals may not be fun for others, which is perfectly plausible. However, it is undeniable that there exists an ideal that reflects fun for ALL. And if this ideal does not please a certain individual, the issue lies not in the aforementioned standard – given the very meaning of the term ‘ideal’ – but in the individual’s failure to comprehend it accurately. Our primary objective is to pursue, in all sincerity, the elements that make our community fun, some of them generously disclosed by our interviewees. It is true that there are ‘fun’ factors in the current community that were not present in the old one, but there are many more fun factors in the old community that conversely are not part of the current one. This disparity poses a pressing issue that requires immediate attention.

2006 armies engaging in warfare

The cultural decline reaches its pinnacle when individuals become disconnected from the essence of what actually is the true ideal. That is, the very essence of the community is naturally being lost over the years, but it seems like there is no effort against the relentless passage of time. Perhaps, we have grown accustomed to the community as it is. Perhaps, we are deceiving ourselves or, who knows, purposely blinding ourselves to the reality that our armies’ customs are succumbing to the ruins of the modern times of CPA. If the culture falls, it is a sign that we, the members of the community, are lowering it to our own degraded customs, while it was supposed to happen the other way around. As mentioned by Rowan in his final response, there is a potential for us as a community to overlook our history (available in the Wiki, fellas!). Let us rekindle the desire to investigate it and restore the community! The authentic culture of armies is the one that restores it to its ideal state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

Judging parameters, battles, performance, fun… these factors, among others, have the potential to contribute to the revitalization of the community’s authentic army culture. We shall not forget, however, the positive aspects that the present community offers us. Let us preserve that which is virtuous and discard that which is harmful. Therefore, I propose an extension of the debate: in your perspective, what changes should be implemented? What elements need to be conserved? Do you concur with the viewpoints expressed by the individuals interviewed? 

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Mchappy is interning at Club Penguin Armies as the Chief Executive Producer. Max held him at gunpoint to finish his biography.

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