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2016 in CP: 5 Things I’d Like To See

Greetings Penguins!

This is the third post from me within a week – such a rarity nowadays! As the title is so self-explanatory I’m sure you can guess what this post will be about. If not, it’s a top 5 list of features and various other things I’d like to see from CP in 2016. Let’s begin!

1) Project Super Secret

This needs no introduction. We’ve been promised Project Super Secret for a long time now and, despite not having an official release date, we have been told this will be released this year. Whilst we’re still not fully sure what it entails, it will be the biggest update to the game in CP’s history and will hopefully give us veteran players something to keep us playing for many more years.

Simply put, CP is extremely out of date. Being the same old browser-based Flash game since 2005; we’ve had parties, Puffles and items galore. Unfortunately, the quality of such has declined dramatically within recent years. PSS should revitalise the game and bring it up to speed with modern technology. Personally, I can’t wait!

2) Improved Parties

Currently it feels like we’ve experienced each party several times before. Whilst some – albeit a small selection that aren’t takeovers – are new, they simply don’t possess the same quality of entertainment in which those from 2005-2010 did. I’d personally like to see more of the EPF and Herbert; something like Operation: Blackout or something on an equally-grand scale.

Also, anyone remember the classic Music Jam and Summer Kickoff Parties? These classic parties offered little in the ways of challenging tasks or a heavy narrative influence, though were enjoyed purely for their roleplaying opportunities and outstanding attention to detail in terms of decoration. More of this, please!

3) Improved Chat Filter

Ever since CP switched from a black list to a white list approach, the filter has become far too strict for the average user. The once occasional “Did that show?” has now become so frequent that many user’s have flocked to the likes of social media instead.

Whilst the occasional sentence does manage to bypass the filter, the damage done to roleplaying and social interactivity is one that – in my opinion – is a major factor as to why so many of the game’s fanbase has decided to leave. A game in which was created to provide children with a safe environment to interact with others around the world has now failed in letting them interact sufficiently – 10 years after its’ release.

4) Merchandise

2008 was a huge year for CP as it saw the introduction of merchandise. Whilst plush Puffles, keychains and T-shirts were available from 2006, 2008’s merchandising efforts were helped tremendously by Disney. Playsets, plush penguins and Puffles, mix and match figures, Card Jitsu cards and many more; 2008 was arguably CP’s biggest year online.

Since then, we’ve seen various Nintendo DS games, apps and even an official Club Penguin magazine (which has now been discontinued). Nowadays, if fans of the game wish to purchase their own CP-merch they must resort to third-party websites such as eBay or Amazon. Whilst the merchandise was likely stopped due to declining sales, I feel it seriously harms a game of this size. Minecraft has a plethora of toys available, as does Bin Weevils and various other online games..

Not that I expect 2016 to be any different but I’d love to see at least some physical CP memorabilia in the offline world. Maybe the release of Project Super Secret will boost interest within the game once more?

5) No more excuses!

This is a controversial one that I imagine very few will understand what I mean (at least instantly anyway). For several years, we’ve been told that parties have gotten smaller due to the team being busy creating other things – aka Project Super Secret. It makes little sense for a game owned by a giant corporation such as Disney creating content in which is lacking when compared to the game in 2006 – just a year after its’ release.

Whilst it’s true virtual worlds aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, we can’t expect such a dramatic decline in quality from a game in which dominated the Internet throughout 2006-2008. Project Super Secret’s release is sometime this year – after that I expect the quality of content to raise dramatically. If not, how else can they expect to maintain their fanbase?

Regardless, here’s to the rest of 2016 and whatever it brings. One thing is for certain, it’s bound to be the biggest year since 2008.

Random CP Fact #55: Club Penguin’s laughing emote once looked quite different than what we see today. It was changed way back in 2007 due to the blatant similarities between that and Yahoo! Messenger’s logo. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 20.05.49

Until next time, Waddle on!

-Jimbobson

10th Anniversary Party Critical Review!

Today marks the end of the much anticipated 10th Anniversary party. A huge milestone in CP’s history deserves a huge party – a big statement when considering the Anniversary parties of previous years have fallen in the Halloween parties’ shadows. So, how did CP celebrate turning a decade old? Let’s begin this review!

Content

Most Anniversary parties simply have one or two decorated rooms (the Coffee Shop and Book Room / CP Times office). The only exception to this was the 3rd Anniversary, which also saw the Town decorated. Since then, the birthday events have grown smaller and smaller each year which is ironic considering its’ aim was to celebrate the game growing older and thus bigger, though this wasn’t exactly the case as we all know. This anniversary was the first to actually sport an actual plot – other than to simply celebrate the game’s birthday. Gary created MascBots – robot versions of CP’s beloved mascots. However, the second week of the island-wide event saw the MascBots go haywire. What did we honestly expect from a Gary invention that was only version 2999?!

Activities/Quests 

Like with all Anniversaries prior, we didn’t actually have to do much other than to collect a party hat and pretend to eat cake. However, there was a new Item Calendar which saw the return of 21 items from previous parties, and even a few extra bonus items for completing a few tasks that had returned too. The prime example here being that of Santa’s Sled (accessible from the Book Room during several Christmas parties).

Coming back every day to collect a new – or rather old – item may seem a tedious process but this time I found that it built up excitement rather than boredom. We could see every item on the calendar, but couldn’t collect them until they were unlocked. This meant that, upon logging in and clicking the calendar, player’s were greeted with the sight of extremely rare and sought after items – but more on those later. All in all, a fun and very simplistic party. Activities / quests were simply not necessary.

Items

Ah, where to begin. As mentioned previously, there was a brilliant 21 item calendar full of returning items. The best part? There were two very, very rare items that haven’t returned since 2006 and 2007 respectively. These items of course are the Ice Skates and Blue Lei. No, not quite the Hawaiian (or Red) Lei, but still a very rare item. Other items of interest are the Yellow Inflatable Duck (from 2006 and 2008), the Brown Pirate Boots (2008) and Marshmallow Stick (2007). Add to this several other items from 2008 – 2014 and you have a plethora of items to collect. There was also two items that were previously Members-only items. These were the Cream Pie (Muppet’s World Tour 2014) and the Lantern (Halloween Party 2008). These means that if your penguin has always been a non-member, you received at least two free items – even if you’ve played since 2005. It also of course means that if you signed up after August 2006, you received at least one item. Awesome!

These items were not randomly selected however, they were instead chosen due to the party the rooms were decorated from. For example, the Blue Lei returned as the Beacon’s decorations were from the Summer Kick off Party 2007. Likewise with the Ice Skates returning due to the Ski Hill’s Sports Party 2006 decorations.

But, that’s not it! 21 items is a huge amount for any party – but let’s not forget the main item from this event – the party hat! The 10th Anniversary Party Hat is undoubtedly the most complex thus far, sporting a more interesting and ‘busy’ design (complete with animated sparklers!). Whilst this item was great for a Anniversary of this significance, I hope they return to the simplistic design next year.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Yellow, Pink and Blue Lightbulb head item’s that were available for everyone after delivering presents on Santa’s Sled (returning from the Holiday Party 2012). Let’s also not forget about the 8 autographed mascot backgrounds that were also available if you managed to meet said mascots (all backgrounds returned from various years). Overall, this party offered the richest selection of free items from any party – ever. Best of all, everything was available for everyone!

Mascots

Not only did this party feature MascBots as tour guides for respective rooms, but the actual mascots themselves returned to celebrate the landmark event. Unfortunately, not every mascot made a appearance however. The Penguin Band saw themselves without an invite and Herbert was busy creating the Herbot. Sasquatch didn’t make an appearance either, which would’ve been nice since he seems to have been forgotten about since the Puffle Party 2015.

Decorations

This is another area in which the 10th Anniversary truly shone – in a way which no other party in history has shone before. Whilst only two brand new decorated rooms sounds lacklustre at best, this party’s focus was of course about the history of the game. Most rooms on the island were decorated the exact same way they had been during a respective party. For example, the Book Room was decorated how it was during the Halloween Party 2008, complete with the Secret Chamber special party room of the same year. Pretty much every major room had been decorated, complete with either a Tour bot or a MascBot, which was contextually placed in rooms that were decorated from a party focusing a certain mascot. For example, the Rockhopper MascBot could be found at the Forest, which featured the 2010 Island Adventure Party decorations.

This ensured the party had a lot of variety and randomness – something in which in this context is completely welcome. Some examples included the Christmas Party of 2006 at the Ice Rink, the Puffle Party 2010 at the Snow Forts, the April Fools Party 2008 at the Iceberg and even Camp Penguin of 2007 at the Dock. All in all, an incredibly richly decorated party, with a unique blend of classic and modern artwork. A perfect way to celebrate 10 years!

If I WAS to be critical however, I could’ve complained at the lack of room rotation. Imagine if each room changed on the second week to that of a completely different party. Whilst that would’ve certainly been interesting, it could’ve been confusing. Especially for the Tour and MascBots. Regardless, I’m happy with what we got.

Foreshadowing

Here’s an extra section I figured I would add exclusively for this party (or indeed any other parties in which show elements of this in the future). You may wonder what I mean by ‘foreshadowing’. Well, put simply, I mean in the plot sense. For example, something happens in a party that then leads the way for the next party. For example, a blizzard occurred during the Christmas Party 2006. The snow was then stored (and kept cool thanks to Gary’s AC 3000) in the Lodge Attic, only to be used two months later for the Festival of Snow in February 2007. Another example was when a crab broke a window in the Underground Pool / Cave way back in July 2007 – leading to the Water Party.

In this case, Gary’s MascBots began to malfunction during the second week of the event. This means that the malfunctioned bots will begin to cause havoc at the Halloween Party (2015 obviously!), turning them into almost zombified versions of themselves. A really nice plot device that I found worked especially well here. Kudos CP! Let’s have more of this in the future, please..

Verdict

Ultimately, this party was everything we expected / wanted and more. Celebrating CP turning a decade old by looking back at the previous ten years and providing entertainment accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing rooms I haven’t seen in a very long time and even experiencing some for the first time (the Ice Rink in particular). Combine this with the interesting narrative focusing upon Gary’s MascBots and we had a pretty great party – my favourite since Operation Blackout.

Will the Halloween Party 2015 top this? Well, at the time of writing it’s already begun and I’ve already completed all the tasks (via the app – no waiting necessary!). All I can say at this point is..No, nO…NO…ZZT *BZORT error 420 reSTART in PROGRESS…C0NTACT ManuFACTUR3R 

Random CP Fact #50: The current pin – the Anniversary Balloons – is the first pin to ever be hidden in the Town. The team had often stated they would never do this in the past due to the sheer popularity of the room. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

Jimbobson   JimBOTSon

Hacker or No Hacker?

Greetings Penguins!

Don’t worry about the critical review for the School & Skate Party – that’s coming soon! For now though, the focus will be on the recent rise in hacking that’s plagued the game with Beta Hats and Red Leis. Hacking is no alien to CP; it has been around even since the beginning (though on a much lesser scale).

In the old days (2007 in particular), there were numerous CP Trainers (which are third-party software developed to edit the game in certain ways, they are against CP’s rules) that would allow you to become Rockhopper, have Member-only Puffles as a non-member and add as much coins to your account as possible. However, all these trainers were soon fixed by the CP Team. Some promised the ability to add free membership, others tried to convince that they possessed the ability to add rare items like the Beta Hat. There were other perks too, like the ability to walk on walls so they appeared to be Ninjas (which were heavily rumoured on the island up until their official release in November 2008). Any penguins spotted hacking were (almost) instantly banned.

Throughout this year, hacking has seen arguably its’ biggest rise ever. Yes there were many, many trainers back during CP’s youth, but the programs of today seem to contain a bigger threat. Why? Well, most of these hacking programs seen currently are Item Adders. As the name suggests, these programs can add items to your account. Some can add just the non-patched items (Code Items in particular are very popular) whereas some can add absolutely any item in the game. All you need to do is enter your account information (which is never recommended) and the ID of the item you want. Simple.

This means that a ridiculous amount of penguins can be seen wearing Beta Hats and other rare items, even in hugely populated servers like Blizzard. How can people get away with blatantly flaunting that they are a hacker on the busiest server in the game? Shouldn’t there be moderators keeping an eye on this server in particular? Regardless of this, very few penguins have been banned due to hacking. Admittedly, rarity is not what it used to be. A legit Beta can barely get a crowd of 3 penguins never mind the potential to create huge crowds rivalling today’s mascots.

How to spot a Hacker 

So, you go onto a server. Whether it be the energetic Blizzard or the calm rare-show-off-fest known as Sleet, chances are you will see a rare Beta Hat (or not) wearing penguin at some point. But, is it the real deal or a rule-breaker? In some cases, it’s impossible to tell. However, there are a few simple ways to check that are usually very effective for catching out the amateur hackers.

1) Pins

With the introduction of the Stamp Book, seeing if a penguin is genuine or not never became easier. Simply go on the penguin in question’s Stamp Book and check their pins. Do they have a lot of pins? Are they all from 2006+ or is their first pin one that was released last week? In many cases, their first pin will be Rockhopper’s Key. Originally released in 2008 but still available today, it is often the first pin in many penguin’s collections. If their first pin is Rockhopper’s Key, you can bet your Puffle that you have discovered a hacker.

Unfortunately, this step has a significant flaw. Since penguins can add any item using particular programs nowadays, they can also hack pins. This means that, more than likely, if a penguin is willing to hack a Beta Hat he/she is just as likely to hack the first few pins such as the Shamrock, Music Note and Pizza Slice. Beware of this, as it is very misleading. However, if said penguin has the first few pins then their collection misses a bunch of pins and skips to Rockhopper’s Key (or a more recent pin), it is also likely he/she is a hacker.

2) Stamps

Again with the Stamp Book, it has become one of the most defining elements for discovering hackers. This method catches out most amateur hackers and is one that few think of, but in fact is extremely simple and logical. As you may know, there are certain stamps to look out for. These are both located under the Activities section and will fully determine if a penguin really is as old as they say they are. The stamps to look out for are called ‘183 Days!’ and ‘365 Days! respectively. Both are obtained when you log in with a penguin of that age or older.

Since Beta Testing was way back in 2005, the age of a penguin with a Beta Hat would dramatically exceed these numbers and thus, they will easily have both of these stamps. If they don’t have these stamps but instead have a Beta Hat or other rare item that is unavailable by any other means, you can bet 1 million coins you’ve found a hacker. Congratulations!

3) Penguin ID 

Did you know that your penguin has a penguin ID? This is the ID given to each and every penguin to ever sign up to the game. This ID is representative of when you signed up. For example, if you were the 1000th person to sign up to Club Penguin, your Penguin’s ID will be 1000. Simple stuff, right? Well, since Beta Testers were amongst the first few to play the game, their penguin’s ID must be under 15,000 to be legitimate Beta Tester. If they have a ridiculously large ID such as one that exceeds one million, well, it’s obvious what they are.

The only issue with this method is that you cannot check a penguin’s ID in-game (unless they have the name P, followed by a bunch of numbers – which is their ID, e.g P1000000). Whilst it is true that some programs show a penguin’s ID, please remember programs are against the CP rules. Though I guess if it’s for catching out hackers – it’s more like a good deed. You can always try contacting CP with the suspected penguin’s Username and perhaps they could check. If you’ve been given this penguin by a friend, it makes checking that much easier. However, the method listed below is the ultimate way of checking – though the most difficult to do.

4) Checking a Penguin’s Age

This is the final method of checking if someone is legit or not. However, it is impossible to do without actually having the penguin’s account information. With this in mind, it’s only effective for those who have been given a penguin or have somehow acquired the username and password. As this step possesses such a huge flaw, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s probably not even worth your time to go this far into the case in all honesty.

So, You’ve discovered a Hacker!

It’s very likely at some point, using one or several of these steps that you will discover a hacked penguin. But what exactly do you do at this stage? You can always report said player and cross your flippers that they will get banned (though this seems unlikely due to how relaxed CP seems to be with all the hacking going on lately). If hackers disgust you in ways you cannot possibly describe in words, simply ignore them for a hacker-free experience. Or, if you feel like been extra evil, you can always crush their dreams by announcing that they are a hacker in front of everyone. That will surely catch ’em out!

Next Time: School & Skate Party Critical Review!

Random CP Fact #26: Next month’s annual Halloween Party will be the 10th to occur on the island. The very first began on October 27th 2005. 

Until next time, Waddle on!

– Jimbobson