We’re back again, to inform you on more facts about the history of Habbo. Our main topic for this week will be ‘Safety/Guiding Staff’ – you will come across the names; Hobba, eXpert, Guide and Moderator. The name “Scam Busters” will also make a vague appearance, so there is lots for you to get excited about! For example – did you know that only 4 people have the level X (wolf) guide badge? You better read on for more intriguing facts…
Well, it’s time to start way back at the year 2000 so you’ll need to get in the time machine. *Presses button* off we go…
Hobbas were first introduced in early 2001. Sulake realised that Habbo was growing rapidly and extra protection would be needed to ensure the community was safe, a low-cost solution was also needed due to Sulake only being a small business at the time. So Habbo decided to introduce Hobbas! These were members of the community (identified by either a silver or gold badge) who had special powers in order to aid the Moderators hard work and protect the hotel.
Their main responsibilities were to use appropriate actions against rule-breakers, answer questions from both new and experienced players, answering CFH’s (Call For Help’s) and reporting activity to the ‘Head Hobba’. Super Hobbas also had the job of teaming up with Moderators when training Silver/Newbie Hobbas. Hobbas also had access to ‘Hobbanet Housekeeping’, enabling them to protect the moderate the hotel when not logged into the hotel – there was also a forum inside Hobbanet, where fellow Hobbas could interact with each other. You’ve probably heard ‘Silver/Newbie and Super Hobba’ mentioned and are probably slightly confused – so let’s explain the Hobba ranks.
Silver/Newbie Hobba – After a user had been successful at becoming a Hobba, they would start off on the ‘Silver/Newbie’ rank (the lowest rank possible for Hobbas) and were part of training called ‘SIMS’ training. They were guided by a high-ranked Hobba throughout their training but they also had access to the ‘Hobba Handbook’ for extra advice. Silver/Newbie Hobbas only had very limited powers because they still had to practice their commands, they were not even allowed to pick up a CFH without permission from their guardian Hobba. However, Silver/Newbie Hobbas were immune to kicks, could enter full rooms and could send alerts using the (: alert) command.
Gold Hobba – After a Silver/Newbie Hobba had passed their SIMS training, they would become a Gold Hobba and earn their Gold Hobba badge! Gold Hobbas maintained the same powers as Silver/Newbie Hobbas but they also gained lots of additional powers in order to begin their moderation alone. Here are the additional powers they gained;
. Could kick without sending an alert (: softkick)
. Could kick with an alert (: kick)
. Could kick an entire room, without kicking theirselves (: roomkick)
. Could ban players for a specific amount of time (: ban ___)
. Could give a ‘superban’ or a permanent ban (: superban)
. Could Open/Close guest rooms (: open/close room)
. They could record all conversations in a room and have it sent to their e-mail after logging off (: startlog)
. Could mute (: shutup) and un-mute players (: unmute)
. Could mute all players in a room (: roomshutup) and unmute the room (: roomunmute)
Super Hobba – Super Hobbas were experienced members of the Hobba team and had been dedicated to the Hobba programme for more than 12 months, they were offered a Super Hobba rank as a promotion. Super Hobbas were seen as leaders with more powers and worked closely with the Moderators when training Silver/Newbie Hobbas. Along with their Gold Hobba and Silver Hobba powers, they also received;
. The ability to edit private rooms
. The ability to reset room rights
. Access to the database and individual player records
. Access to the Hobba activity log, which showed activity from all Hobbas
Age Issues – When the Hobba programme was first available for the community, there was no age limit to follow, anyone could apply and potentially become a Hobba. However, this caused a huge problem due to the fact many kids were taking control of the hotel and abusing their Hobba powers. Habbo took this problem seriously and quickly made the age limit for Hobbas 16 due to 16 year olds having more knowledge and a higher level of maturity than the younger generation. Then, in 2003 the age limit was increased again to 18 – this was not an issue due to the law, but it was because Habbo thought they would get bad reports if they couldn’t confirm all their Hobbas were adults.
Confusion – Hobbas had to report to an account called ‘HobbaContact’ (currently known as Moderators) leading to much confusion when the word was shortened down to ‘HC’. The confusion was between HC (Habbo Club) and HC (Hobba Contact) – it was later changed to ‘Moderator’ to end the confusion. However, they then felt the need to make more accounts called ‘Moderator-1’ and ‘Moderator-2’ and so on, equaling the same problem. So the solution was simply to place ‘MOD-‘ before the staff members name e.g. ‘MOD-Reachkid’.
Retirement – The Hobba programme officially ended on the 31st of December 2005 due to a rapid rise of security issues. Hobbas were replaced by paid Moderators who worked for Sulake instead of volunteering. Ex-Hobbas were given a badge for the dedication in the hotel, and there are still many Hobbas active in the hotel today!
* The 18 year old age limit for the Hobba programme did not apply to America. It applied to Habbo.Ca, Habbo.Co.Uk and Habbo.Au (Habbo.Sg never had the Hobba programme)
This was an incredibly old feature on Habbo, not known by many. Scam Busters involved a group of people who would investigate reports of scamming – they would search through the Habbo records to find out what had actually happened and if the case was true, the ‘victim’ would receive the furniture and the ‘offender’ would receive a permanent ban. This feature only lasted a short while and was eventually removed, no-one is sure why it was removed but it is probably because it was very time-consuming and posed a security threat due to more users accessing Habbo records.
In early 2006, Habbo came up with a replacement for the Hobba team – this was called ‘Habbo eXperts or Habbo X’s’. These were a small team of experienced players (68 were chosen out of 1000’s, we’re not entirely sure) who guided and helped users around the hotel, they were often in the welcome lounge to greet other players. Unlike the Hobbas, eXperts did not gain any special powers e.g. editing room settings, the only advantage they gained over other users was the ability to enter full rooms. This power was meant to be used to enter public rooms such as the welcome lounge in order to help new players. Habbo eXperts were split into sub-teams with a leader of each sub-team, here are the teams;
. Host HabboX – Their aim was to welcome and guide new players.
. Safety HabboX – Their aim was to ensure the community was safe and protected.
. Tech HabboX – Their aim was to give users advice on technical issues, and they also assisted with fansites.
. Game HabboX – These eXperts were involved with hosting games and events on the hotel.
All eXperts received the normal eXpert badge (a yellow cross inside a blue circle) and they received a specific badge for which team they were in e.g. Game HabboX’s would receive another badge – a yellow cross inside a blue circle but also with a joystick at the side of the badge. Each sub-team leader also received the normal eXpert badge and a specific badge for which team they were in charge of. The only difference was that sub-team leaders received a gold eXpert badge for their specific team.
* Habbo eXperts were known as Habbo Guides in Habbo Japan (not to be confused with the guide system in 2009-2010) and Habbo L’s in Habbo Spain.
Retirement: The eXpert programme was ended in late 2008 (the reason for it ending is unknown) but many users foresaw the end of eXperts, when the ex-eXpert (tricky word…) badge appeared online before being given out. This caused a huge stir and many people assumed it was the end of eXperts, it was. All former eXperts can now be identified by an ex-eXpert badge (tricky word again!) However, if you would like to view 68 members who were eXperts (we don’t know the names of all of them!) then go to: http://habbox.com/#!/habbostaff. The 68 eXperts (we know of) can be found at the bottom – all you have to do is scroll down and click the button!
* Please do not confuse ‘Habbo X’s’ with ‘Habbox’, they are different!
Guides were a replacement to the eXpert system. Anyone could become a Guide (as long as their account was 1 month old) and all that was involved was joining the group (which currently has over 142,000 members) which gave them a special console which would alert them when a new user had entered the hotel. Guides would receive a different level achievement badge after they had helped a certain amount of users and had befriended them, there were 10 badges available for all Guides to get and here are the names and levels;
. Level 1 = Bunny, The fast one – catch one if you can.
. Level 2 = Bambi, The loving one.
. Level 3 = Otter, The one who will not let you sink under pressure.
. Level 4 = Badger (description unknown.)
. Level 5 = Fox, The clever one – is swift on thought and foot.
. Level 6 = Lynx, The hunter one – stalks down answers.
. Level 7 = Buffalo, The strong one – the one you can depend on.
. Level 8 = Bear, The friendly one – kind and soft.
. Level 9 = Eagle (description unknown.)
. Level 10 = Owl (description unknown.)
In addition to these 10 badges, there was a badge called ‘Level X = Wolf, The eXperienced one with the knowledge. This was the rarest badge of them all, with only a small minority of users who actually received this badge – you had to be hand-picked by staff to receive this badge! You had to be an ex-eXpert (tricky word yet again) in order to stand a chance at receiving the badge. There were no more powers given with the level X badge except having admin rights on the Guide’s group page – people who received level X were seen as leaders of Guides more than anything else.
Here are the 4 people on Habbo.COM who have the ‘Level X’ badge;
. Brian (originated from the Canadian hotel)
There are 10 other badges which were intended to be for Habbo Guides, they are simply a grey roman numeral for each level e.g. III would be 3 on a grey background – they don’t look incredibly interesting. I’ve also never understood why there was a ‘Level 10’ and a ‘Level X’ badge.. X = 10 in roman numerals.
The Habbo Guides system was ended when Habbo transferred over to Habbo Beta – in the Australian newsletter, staff mentioned that they didn’t expect the Guide system to ever return but if you look on the Guides homepage (which still exists), this message is on there: “Unfortunately we had to suspend the Guide program, but we hope to bring it back in a new form in the future. In the meantime all Habbo Guides keep their current badges, but won’t be able to earn new ones. The Guide Group will remain open for you to enjoy!”
The GuideBots are the current solution to guiding the new and inexperienced players of Habbo. A GuideBot is programmed to respond to certain words such as ‘friends’. If you said the word ‘friends’ the response you would receive is this; “Looking for people to hang out with? Open the navigator and see where everyone else is.” There are currently over 15 words which the GuideBot will respond to, and each GuideBot wears a different look on each hotel.
The only down-side to GuideBots is that they can irritate users quite often. Saying the word ‘ff’ will often result in 4 or 5 lines of chat from the GuideBot which can block all the other chat in a room. Still, some people enjoy the GuideBot and even name them! My friend has a GuideBot called Sally (don’t ask)…
Mythbunnies were part of a competition which only briefly arrived at the hotel. The aim was to create a competition/event that surrounded e-safety (staying safe online) and one of the competitions was to make a Mythbunnies helpdesk which would provide guidance for all. This event was quite popular for a few weeks, but there seems to be very little people who seek MythBunnies about advice now.
We’re unsure whether Moderators belong at the start or the end, they have only recently become the main form of supporting users but they have been around for a while. In fact, contrary to popular belief, paid Moderators have worked for Sulake since 2000 and did exist whilst Hobbas were around. Moderators are employees of Sulake who have to be interviewed, send in an application etc. and you have to be 18 (legal requirement for a job at Sulake), so simply asking a Hotel Manager for a job won’t work.
There are currently 24 Moderators working for Sulake (8 Moderators have left since the merge), and here is the list (try and see if you’ve spotted any);
Moderators are not seen as being popular in the hotel community. Many users criticise Moderators because they often make many mistakes, such as banning the wrong person or warning people for no reasons – but they are also criticised because all Moderators from Canada, Australia, UK and America after the merge – leaving only Singaporean Moderators who speak limited English.
Moderators are also not allowed to do anything about scamming or blocking issues anymore, annoying even more people. Not giving punishments to scammers inhibits more people to scam, and the same situation applies to blockers.
Moderators have all the same powers that Hobbas had, but they have 2 additional commands which are the ability to alert a room (:roomalert) and the ability to IP ban a user (refuse the user onto the hotel completely-even creating a new account wouldn’t work). However, Moderators do NOT have the ability to unban a user – customer support deal with unbanning users. Here’s another fact! Did you know, that although Hotel Managers may seem like the most powerful staff members on Habbo, they do not have any Moderator tools – the only powers they have is the ability to hotel alert and access rooms when full!
*BOOM*. Oh look, we’re back at present day! As you can see, it’s been a very exciting ride for the volunteers and staff members of Habbo and who knows where it will go next! Maybe Guides will return? Or maybe an even better ‘welcoming’ system will arrive…we’ll just have to wait and see!
Have you ever been a Hobba, an eXpert, a Scam Buster or a Guide? What topic would you like to see the next special report on? Do you think Guides will ever return? Share your view now by commenting below!
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