A Mapless Community Can Be Successful

At first, armies would claim servers through unofficial sieges. Then, the creation of “Nation” pages introduced the concept of “owning” land, transferring the roleplaying element of armies to another level. Now, in the modern age, army interactions are solely limited to server maps and tournaments.

Designed by Wynn

Even then, getting armies to partake in the server map can sometimes be too much to ask for. The server map has never been meant to impose on armies, nor force participation. However, this has led to multiple server map resets needed in order to bring back a healthy dose of competition. Over time, the server map has become a cat and mouse game: land grabbing eventually ends in stagnation, with army leaders doing their best to think of new, innovating rules to bring back activity.

This is not another post on “why server map bad” though. Rather, I am looking forward to the next season of the server map with a rule passed from an October 7 Army Board meeting. The purpose of this post is to reflect on the past few months, and determining if having no map was a detriment to the league.

the map sleeps

As mentioned earlier, an Army Board meeting on October 7 was called to discuss on map ideas that were circulating around the community. While many different ideas were presented, some more revolutionary than others, the server map was largely unchanged aside from expanding. It was decided that the map would be reset under new rules and more servers available.

The server map has still yet to be released, but it’s not exactly being missed. In fact, prior to the meeting on October 7, the server map had not seen any map activity since August 29 when Special Weapons and Tactics transferred their land to the Templars. Before that, the last map invasion update was on August 28, again involving Templars. Only a few days earlier, the Water Vikings (WV) completely left the server map. This is what their leader, Dino, had to say about the decision:

[…]There is a hard chance WV will take part in the map again. The map actually is more of a deterrent to our success than anything since it makes us have to worry about unnecessary wars (which is another can of worms too). I’d like to pose an question to readers and army leaders especially: what is interesting about this current map? Servers hold no value anymore, map gets clogged up within weeks and stays stagnant for months, and no one is incentivized to long-term war. There is nothing exciting about the map (and really wars atm) that is actually is more of a negative to be on it than not.

For the entire month of September, the map remained painted with blue, green, and yellow: only Army of Club Penguin, Help Force, and Templars’ nations remained.

The last map update

Most likely, the map was doomed to stagnation following two intense summer wars. These being World War IX and the Army of Club Penguin versus Elite Guardian war. After a successful summer of war, it was natural to expect for armies to enjoy a long rest.

more active than ever 

Those that have been critical of the lack of a map in recent months are quick to point out that, without one, the community remains in a limbo state of activity. I argue that the community has not dipped in activity. In fact, it has remained as active as ever with jam packed events. First, taking a look at the number of wars:

Battle in the Pet Shop

Three wars with a total number of eight different armies participating. Next, looking at community events:

October 28, 2023: Trick or Treat Trials

It’s only been 12 weeks since the map was formally declared stalled. Thanks to these activities, the community hasn’t gone longer than a few weeks with some action to look forward to. Things still feel productive and stable. While there have been many on the Army Board vocalizing the necessity to return to the server map, this “break” from said map has felt rather satisfying.

Pros & Cons

Again, I want to reiterate that I am not attempting to sit on my soap box and say that the community is better without a server map, or that the server map is in need of some radical changes. Normally at Army Board meetings, I am the one trying to remind everyone that simplicity is the best policy.

Nonetheless, there is a large flaw in the philosophy of doing without the server map: mindset. No map means there are no true incentives for armies. Some armies rely on the incentive of empire building (whether for building a defense that intimidates enemies from attacking or just simply ego), and without that tangible incentive where progress can be visually tracked then armies start to lose the plot.

And the lack of a visual empire brings on one of the biggest obstacles armies have been witnessing when involving themselves in mapless wars. No showing battles becomes a method of strategy, and a lot more prevalent. Thanks in major part to organizations like Club Penguin Army Judges, the community has not descended into chaos similarly seen in 2012. We have the ability to record war scores still.

Chaos breeds more chaos

As long as there is authority, a community with no map is possible. It may even thrive. Nevertheless, consistently no showing to war battles- especially with no server map to refer to- can diminish the value of these wars, and result in stagnation.

A feature of mapless wars that may be appealing to armies is the absence of force treaties. The administration has gone on record stating to army leaders that there has never been an intention to inflict force treaties during this time. Why? Well, considering this is the largest gap in Club Penguin Armies‘ history with a server map, it did not feel fair to implement a force treaty. Doing so would bring about discourse of allowing old force treaties to integrate with the new map or not, and I would much rather armies work on their autonomy by flexing diplomacy skills rathe than relying on a force treaty. Additionally, the definition of a force treaty is tied to the map as occurring “once an army loses their capital.” Yet this does not negate the duty of the administration to uphold the agreed upon rules of warfare.

what’s next?

I asked my fellow administrator, Executive Producer Disha, to address whether she views the recent activity as a success or not.

I agree that the community has still been active despite not having a map for this long. I understand and recognize the importance of a map for armies, as it not only provides an army with incentives to look forward to but also promotes healthy competition and activity between armies. Not having a map for so long can be detrimental to a league’s existence and armies’ participation, however, this has not been the case here, as we have witnessed several mapless wars and have been able to organize multiple tournaments without a map being in place. All of these community events and wars stand testimony to the fact that the army community can still survive, and in my opinion, is thriving, despite the absence of a map. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the armies for the patience, support, and cooperation that they have shown toward this league, we are extremely grateful and appreciate all of you. I would also like to assure everyone that we hear you and are doing the best we can in our abilities, to make things work.

Disha puts it perfectly. While it was not the organization’s intention to go this long without a centralized map, we are pleased to see there still remains some form of healthy competition. The league is thankful for the amount of patience the Army Board and community have shown during this time. Understandably, not all army leaders are content with how long it has taken for the release of the new map; however, those that have chosen to capitalize on this time will surely be remembered as contributing to keeping an 18 year old community feeling fresh. Are mapless wars far more interesting than standard wars?

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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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