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Over the years, there have been a small number of court cases brought against offending sites and many have resulted in sites being shut down. Some Retros have sometimes 1,000+ users online, a clear indication of the fact that they impact Sulake's level of business at a high level. However, due to the high number of these sites, there are still a high number active despite attempts at making the core of the Habbo server software more secure and more sophisticated in its methods - less easy to emulate.
Types of Habbo Retros
Old School retros are hotels that mimic the older versions of Habbo, usually from v1 - v17, hence the term Old School. These retros are simple and have many features of the older versions of Habbo, such as logging in through the client, changing clothes on hotel view, and the notable Habbo Console. These types of Retro do not depend on a website and as they are based on an older version of Habbo do not benefit from any currently development by Sulake and are therefore vulnerable to older problems such as scripting.
HoloCMS retros are hotels that run like the current versions of Habbo. These retros are more complex and have more features than Old School, such as more furni, a CMS styled in the never format and a more sophisticated Housekeeping tool, and the Effects.
Another variation of HoloCMS is PHPRetro.
"RP" (short for Roleplay) hotels are a different type of HoloCMS and run on a different server version. In RP hotels, players take part in various roleplay acts, which mimic real life situations. Users can take part in alternative activities such as going to a job or going to jail.
Operation of a Habbo Retro
- Note: The creation of Habbo Retros is illegal as it goes against Sulake and Habbo's copyrights, and may result in a permanent ban from Habbo and possible legal action from Sulake, the copyright holder.
Most Habbo Retros operate as follows:
- An emulator, which runs the actual base code of the Retro. This handles any events which take place on the Flash client of the site. The emulator is typically written in the language C# and is reliant on a mySQL database which holds data such as user account information.
- A CMS (Content Management System), which handles the dynamics of the website. Tasks such as the creation of news articles are controlled by this piece of web software which operates in a similar way to blogging software such as WordPress.
Because of their simplicity, old school retros consist of three main things: a server, a third-party application which is an emulator, basically powering the entire retro when it's run; a loader, a piece of HTML code which acts as the client; and a website made from a website-hosting service (such as Webs.com), which acts as the main vehicle and provides a place to insert the HTML loader.
- Retros often distribute large amounts of Habbo coins to players which is an immediately obvious benefit of playing a Retro Hotel. Often, players can buy items which are super rares on Habbo for a fraction of the price due to the separated economy.
- Staff permissions can also be given out freely to players which wouldn't happen on an official Habbo Hotel due to the fact that any moderation role on a Habbo Hotel requires the same application procedure as any other formal job and thus due to the fact that may players of Habbo are aged under 18, they obviously cannot apply to become a Habbo moderator. So, Retros offer a good opportunity for regular players to experience the use of usually restricted access roles.
- Players often also have access to Habbo usernames seen as being especially rare or desirable due to the low user account level on individual retro communities.
- Most Retros are not censored so obscene language is not an issue, something which may be seen as an advantage to some players, especially if aged over 18.
Some Habbo Retros can carry a malicious software on their website, such as a keylogger, virus, or any other malware. The sites can contain any variation of malware, such as a keylogger, which records all keystrokes on a target user's PC. Often, this type of virus would be used in order to gain the login details of someone's Habbo Hotel account which could be used to make real world money.
Many Retros can be offline for a large amount of time, which can be an inconvenience to players. Whilst these sites aren't obliged to maintain 100% uptime, most do not. Downtime and stability issues can also pose a problem with things such as database corruption which could mean that all user accounts are lost or records severely damaged.
Because the creators of Habbo Retros have access to the database, and therefore, details for all accounts, it is possible to get someone's Habbo account stolen as often passwords are only stored behind an MD5 hash, which is now seen as a very primitive form of database security. Retro owners are not obliged to secure databases correctly, although it being a legal requirement in many states.
Due to the nature of the Retro community, different sites will often attack each other's sites via. the use of a packet spammer resulting in a DDoS (Direct Denial of Service) attack. Other parties may also use Brute forcing software in order to gain access to restricted or sensitive areas of the website such as the housekeeping panel or specific user accounts.
The topic of Habbo retros continues to be a significant controversy and has evolved into numerous debates between players. One of the most common debate is whether or not players get involved in legal actions with Sulake for playing or owning a retro. One side of argument is often the fact that using retros violates Habbo's terms and conditions and is generally frowned upon, while others say players can avoid getting caught if their site has a disclaimer or if they aren't making money off it.
As an attempt to educate users about the dangers of using retros, Habbo hosted a campaign in 2007 called Keep It Real. It provided tips on how to identify retros and hosted competitions–those who've won were awarded a badge.
Despite the campaigning by Sulake the amount of Habbo Retro's has tripled following The Great Mute due to more freedom when chatting.