#WaddleOn,  Club Penguin Rewritten,  Discussions,  Memory from the Past

Assessing Club Penguin’s Legacy 3 Years On

Three years ago today, the classic version of Club Penguin came to a close. It’s a day documented well here, but this post does not intend to attempt to resurrect previous feelings, no matter how temping it may be; nostalgia is a powerful weapon, after all.

Instead, I want to contemplate the present. Nothing that has happened, nor anything which I reference now, can undermine the benefits (many even tangible) that Club Penguin brought to the world.

One of the coolest stats that I love is the fact there are over 100K kids attending schools today that were built by Club Penguin

-Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin (July 2017)

But there’s something that needs to be addressed.


The takeover of Club Penguin’s legacy by current private servers has turned a once delightful virtual world managed by decent people into an industry-like corrupt atmosphere intended to gain personal profits, stoke division, and oust those who question either the negligent ineptitude displayed over recent events, or the morality of them.

The admirable sentiment behind the initial months of these servers was consistent with the genuine desire from the community for an alternative platform for players to continue enjoying Club Penguin. No mandate was given to replace Club Penguin’s values, and certainly no mandate was given for the deception and polarisation that has been perpetuated or performed by the highest authority of several individual servers.

Of course, the deep irony is that Club Penguin was a business; everything about it revolved around profits, including the harsh decisions of lay-offs and the closure of Club Penguin Island. Yet the transparency, accountability and honesty attributed to the classic game is not attributable to those who claim to continue its legacy; the offices around the world and the “army” once cited by Polo Field needed to manage a community has been replaced by a dozen or so individuals.

This is not part of an endeavour to omit or disregard the benevolent actions or intentions of those individuals, nor is it provoked by a specific event attributable to a specific server: it is prevalent throughout. Instead, it is an increasing concern which all of us in the community ought to expel. As for those with that cited authority, all involved should proceed with deep caution with the trust – arguably undeservingly – placed into them by the community, particularly when it comes to their responsibility in minimising corruption.

Part of that involves, regrettably, recovering our skepticism; there is plenty to justify it, and plenty examples of those whose skepticism has been dismissed, including by those who hold a desirable but unrealistic utopian view of that authority, and those who don’t but claim to anyway.

Contrary to what you may imagine, this is not an expression of frustration with profits. Although external complications may arise directly as a result of those, this is about disdain invoked by deception.

Resolution would involve requiring:

  • admission (and apology where appropriate) of whether or not individual servers have been involved in deceit, or at least been conservative with the truth – primarily with finances, revenue and profit, but not solely so; the evidence exists, albeit with most of it currently unpublished
  • reflection that private servers are unofficial, and advertising them as such

I promised that this was not an attempt to omit benevolence: overt criticism, particularly a post dedicated to it, can invoke an impression of desperation and despair. It is a rarity that a community fan-blog can last years after the franchise it revolved around has closed. We ought to be deeply grateful for those who maintain an opportunity to continue that enjoyment.

It is why I have not delved upon dozens of previous cases from varying servers, including those which I no longer post about. This is an issue more systemic than a few individual cases, irrespective of their severity.

We should just be more objective, and more demanding for Club Penguin’s values: transparency and honesty, because we’re not being given them now.

-Torres 126

Advertisements

12 Comments

  • Trevchris007

    Hey, Bro,

    Granted, you are privy to information I don’t have. I do not know to what “recent events” the tweet is referring. “Stoking division,” attempting to remove those who speak out against authority, etc. is news to me.

    That said, I maintain that if discord had been around during the days of Club Penguin, there would be just as much toxicity as there is now. Maybe more considering the sheer number of users. The difference? Disney, being a multi-billion dollar organization, would have the means to put the kibosh on it more quickly. I would also argue that the average age of users on private servers has increased, complicating matters. CP is unique in that it appeals to young and old alike; still, it was intended for those aged 5-14 (or something akin).

    If we are talking about CPPS owners, I can speak only for the private servers I’ve played. I know less than a handful, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I have not witnessed corruption/fraud nor have I been asked to send money blindly. Moreover, said servers make it clear that “membership” is free and that they are not affiliated with Disney whatsoever. These owners–with limited staff–do an amazing job delivering a vast amount of content in a timely fashion.

    Perhaps players who got banned feel they’ve been slighted or treated unfairly; consequently, they start rumors in an attempt to get back at the perceived injustice. This, of course, serves only to perpetuate the problem. I have heard many baseless rants, and things become tainted when they pass off as fact. To say that owners have made deliberate attempts to deceive or misappropriate funds without concrete evidence is borderline slander. Include people’s names and that border disappears.

    As for profit-making, I see nothing wrong with owners trying to earn money as long as their intentions are made clear. Scraping out a living is especially tough these days. It is far easier to spend money than make it. There are a number of expenses linked to a successful private server, and the funds to keep it running have to come from somewhere. Unless you are Elon Musk (i.e., well off), money might be sparse. Truth be told, certain CPPS’ are getting/have gotten me through brutal times. I don’t know where I’d be without them. If I had to pay a little to keep them around, I would. Why? Because I have witnessed firsthand the Herculean effort put forth to keep CP alive. It beats giving money to a charity that promises one thing but in reality does nothing more than make its CEO richer.

    Finally, I am not sure one can have it both ways. I won’t go into detail, but one runs a slippery slope mixing praise with condemnation, especially when the problem in question receives both. It is done to ameliorate the ill effects of an all-out thrashing but it becomes paradoxical in nature, muddying the waters even further.

    • Torres 126

      Hi!

      I understand your perspective; it is one I would probably share too, as I know there is an active attempt to try and disguise information. I think it’s better if I address it paragraph by paragraph.

      Granted, you are privy to information I don’t have. I do not know to what “recent events” the tweet is referring. “Stoking division,” attempting to remove those who speak out against authority, etc. is news to me.

      There’s several recent events, and I admit that it makes it difficult to understand when I haven’t provided specifics. I still want to refrain from doing so because then I fear that it emerges as a condemnation as a specific server, when it genuinely isn’t intended to be. However, to provide one example, the majority of people who inquired about the latest database breach on Club Penguin Rewritten were banned for doing so, and no information was provided by the team until an external source (a guy called Troy Hunt, the Microsoft Regional Director) reported on the breach. I raised my frustration with this at the time directly, and the issue was dismissed by the announcement – there is another concern in here which ties into the “negligent ineptitude” I mentioned in the sense that an email was never sent, but that’s another story.

      That said, I maintain that if discord had been around during the days of Club Penguin, there would be just as much toxicity as there is now.

      You’re probably right. Again though, and this is my fault for being vague, I’m not really referring to any specific Discord servers here.

      If we are talking about CPPS owners, I can speak only for the private servers I’ve played. I know less than a handful, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I have not witnessed corruption/fraud nor have I been asked to send money blindly. Moreover, said servers make it clear that “membership” is free and that they are not affiliated with Disney whatsoever. These owners–with limited staff–do an amazing job delivering a vast amount of content in a timely fashion.

      There’s two things in this. The affiliation with Disney, you’re correct about. This is less of an issue with Club Penguin Rewritten (again, this wasn’t a post on a specific server!), however other private servers use their SEO (search engine optimisation – think of tags used to boost themselves on Google) to give the impression that they are the “official” replacement of Club Penguin.

      In regards to being asked to “send money blindly”, that is true; they never claim it is “blindly”, but rather for server “maintenance”. That was the reason for the donations on Club Penguin Rewritten that was announced on 11th March 2019. However, it was not true. Another administrator referred to the scheme as an attempt for “dirty scamming money”. I think that highlights deception fairly clearly, especially when it’s from another administrator.

      I agree on the content side of things and make no attempt to critique it; people put a lot of time and effort into their content, and a lot of it is wonderful to play.

      Perhaps players who got banned feel they’ve been slighted or treated unfairly; consequently, they start rumors in an attempt to get back at the perceived injustice. This, of course, serves only to perpetuate the problem. I have heard many baseless rants, and things become tainted when they pass off as fact. To say that owners have made deliberate attempts to deceive or misappropriate funds without concrete evidence is borderline slander. Include people’s names and that border disappears.

      I accept that there are a lot of rumours, and I can assure you that I don’t share those feelings of being treated unfairly. I am confident that I am delving in fact, and that I refute any accusation of slander – if the team wish to deny the specific accusation that they have ever been accommodated in a house funded by Club Penguin Rewritten money and ONLY used the game’s revenue for its servers and charity, I would welcome that. But it wouldn’t be true. Whilst there is concrete evidence about the main accusation (ie. they are accommodated in a house funded by CPR money) when it comes to finances and Club Penguin Rewritten, I think it’d be deeply unwise to publish it for various reasons that I probably shouldn’t go into – realistically, it being known as fact won’t change much.

      As for profit-making, I see nothing wrong with owners trying to earn money as long as their intentions are made clear. Scraping out a living is especially tough these days. It is far easier to spend money than make it.

      I agree with this. If the Club Penguin Rewritten team said that they were making profit, they may encounter other external challenges, but I wouldn’t be bothered. My issue is that they claim they don’t profit, which isn’t true. It is why I was especially outraged when they started asking for donations, and I think that I best expressed this here: https://twitter.com/CPMountains/status/1191062955535818752

      “To clarify, I have absolutely no issues with the actual act that has occurred of opening these [donations] up; I do, however, take severe issue with the justification. The community should not be misled and it is wrong for the team to do so, and it seems quite clear that is their intention.”

      I must stress that although I’m talking about Club Penguin Rewritten in this circumstance as it’s the one I am most familiar with, I would not be surprised if there are similar incidents with other servers – I do not know that for certain, so it’d be unwise for me to say so.

      Finally, I am not sure one can have it both ways. I won’t go into detail, but one runs a slippery slope mixing praise with condemnation, especially when the problem in question receives both. It is done to ameliorate the ill effects of an all-out thrashing but it becomes paradoxical in nature, muddying the waters even further.

      I’ve been a vocal critic of Club Penguin Rewritten’s attitude to profit for a while, but I’m fairly sure that this is the first time it has ended up in a blog post. I accept that it is a slippery slope, but there aren’t many options; I can assure you that I deeply contemplated quitting after the night of the donations. But it is either you quit, in which you probably won’t influence much, or you actively campaign for that transparency which I have requested in this blog post. All I can say is that I’m doing what I think is right.

      I’m genuinely grateful to hear your view on this, because it is tricky to convey the scale of this without writing in the language of specifics. However, this was a post regarding Club Penguin’s legacy, and I fear that taking a handful of historical examples from the only server which I’m deeply familiar with would damage the point of a systemic issue rather than help form it. That being said, I hope that highlighting some of them here helps!

  • d3spi

    I just want to point out that a lot of people do not know that private servers have been around since *2009*! Most people think it’s a brand new concept and that CPR was the first etc which is not true. I don’t agree with everything they do but they’re doing a better job then the other servers out there with keeping the club penguin legacy alive.

  • Trevchris007

    Thanks for the detailed response. I didn’t know the post was about CPR. I thought it was about several private servers exploiting the Club Penguin name. When you bring specifics to address my response, it changes the playing field. I was right when I said you were privy to information I didn’t have. I know nothing about people getting banned for inquiring about the security breach, so I will take your word for it. My guess is they weren’t banned simply for inquiring; they probably took it a step too far. The community can be downright vicious at times. I have heard countless people say they got banned in-game for saying one thing or the other. I have said the same thing without consequence, so clearly there’s more than meets the eye. I don’t think I would have gotten the ax for kindly asking an administrator to elaborate.

    Re: Donations. While I agree that the one administrator should have consulted the others first, I do not agree that it was “dirty scamming money” (I am pretty sure I know who asked for donations and who chastised it). I don’t know how much profit CPR makes (apparently you do) nor do I care. They have to live. Believe me, worse people make far more than a small team who, overall, does an exceptional job keeping the game loved by thousands alive. It’s not like the administrator opened up donations under the guise of giving the money to Make-A-Wish nor was anyone forced to donate. He promised a code to those who gave a certain amount and delivered on that promise. (I think everyone got refunded ultimately, even those who received a code.)

    I don’t want to turn this into a bloodbath. This happened a while ago (as did the security breach) and I have no desire to reopen old wounds. Frankly, I had forgotten about these events. Suffice it to say, I am glad you did not quit over it. People make mistakes; there was no malicious intent here.

    • Torres 126

      I must stress that it genuinely is about several private servers! However, naturally, that includes Club Penguin Rewritten too, since it is the game I am most familiar with. I definitely don’t wish to get bogged down in the justification for those bans (when I asked the team, they were supposedly “planning a raid”, but later evidence casts severe doubt on this), but they weren’t really justified. At that time, it probably would’ve impacted you (really, anyone) as well.

      It is true that when the Club Penguin Rewritten team claim that money specifically goes to charity (ie. the stream tomorrow), it genuinely does, and I have ensured that a misconception suggesting otherwise isn’t spread. However, it is important to note that the official line currently is that money is being given to charity when it is not being given to the servers – that isn’t true. Whilst I agree that it is a lot better not to lie about giving money to charity, there was still deception in what the money was being put to. In other words, people donated thinking one thing would happen with the money, when in reality, something else did. It is true that people were refunded after, but again, my dispute is not with the fact that money is raised, but the claim that it is not raised. I’m not certain of the specifics when it comes to revenue, other than some examples on what has been purchased with the money, but it certainly goes beyond necessity – yet even recently, the presence of adverts was increased. Again, I wouldn’t have issues with this if they were frank with people that this has nothing to do with servers or charity.

      It is absolutely true that the breach and the donation issue happened a while ago! I admit that I wrote this post a bit ago around the start of March, but sadly, the general issues that were in this post have not passed. When you say “no malicious intent here”, if you’re referring to yourself – no worries, I genuinely am glad to hear another view on this issue! If you’re referring to the team, I’m afraid that I’ll need to respectfully disagree. 🙂

      • Flopdie

        This must be a lot of money if they are able to afford a house but there is no evidence of that is there? I don’t know if you have it and just don’t want to share but I think it’s irresponsible to make such statements without proof especially considering you claim you’re stating facts and aren’t slandering, whether you think it would change things or not.

        If anything, I think your comments have discredited your post somewhat because they make multiple claims that aren’t backed up behind a post that was well written and relevant/accurate making you look like the rambling madmen that CPR branded the people that were banned during the breach.

        I never heard about CPR donating the money to charity other than the December party either, isit mentioned on the website or discord?

        • Torres 126

          I’m afraid that I’m not going to back down from this one. 🙂

          Regarding the house, it should be noted there is a difference between published evidence and evidence. The reason I’m not publishing it is because you then get into a very slippery slope, particularly regarding houses. However, let me put this another way: the reason why there’s never been a specific denial about the team ever having being accommodated in property funded by the game’s money is because they know it would be untrue, and that’d likely be unwise in the future.

          In regards to CPR “branding people banned during the breach”, this is a bit misleading as they were never publicly branded; they were just silently banned. Again, I’d be interested to hear a specific denial to this as well. I must clarify though because I think this is emerging as a misconception: the bans were from the Discord server, not the game itself.

          It is true that I have battled how far this blog should contain overt criticism highlighting specific situations. Usually, whenever I’ve done that before, it tends to be confined to the CPMountains Twitter, as I generally hesitate when making these kind of posts. However, as it’s been three years since Club Penguin closed, and I do believe that there is a genuine concern of how things have been unfolding, I felt like it was proportional and reasonable to write this post.

          Club Penguin Rewritten does quite a few charity streams – all of which are genuine, by the way. It is indeed admirable, and there’s another tonight with Screenhog. A link isn’t currently available to the stream, but I will of course share it when it is.

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • grandshifu

    I am not sure if this is true, but weren’t their mascots in Club penguin that aren’t available in the original Club Penguin. If there are which mascot would you bring into Club Penguin Rewritten? Also which is your favourite mascot?

    • Torres 126

      All of the mascots on Club Penguin Rewritten have been characters on the classic game, but some (such as Rory) weren’t mascots you could meet in-game. It’d be great to see other mascots too; I’ve heard ideas suggesting Bambadee, Shadow Guy and Gamma Gal, all of which would be cool. I don’t really have a favourite mascot much anymore (when I was younger, it used to be Cadence). How about you? 🙂

Leave a Reply