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So I found myself answering questions in a blitz and then did a search for some of the older retired MMO's (City of Heroes, etc.)

As long as the content of the answer was at its last time of being active correct, is it okay to answer such questions?

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    What good are you doing by answering them? They can no longer be played, so I'm questioning the utility of answering them. – Frank Nov 5 '15 at 17:43
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    @Frank Maybe in a near or not so near future these games might be available. We don't know even if the probabilities might be quite low. It might seem useless now but it might be useful later. – Jonathan Drapeau Nov 5 '15 at 20:09
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    Fun fact: In the US, there is now a copyright exemption in place for reverse engineering authentication servers for games that were online only whose game servers are permanently down. – Powerlord Nov 5 '15 at 21:54
  • @JonathanDrapeau That's a good argument for keeping those questions, but not so much one for updating them. If people are going to be playing those games, the answers will be naturally updated as people encounter it in game. – Frank Nov 5 '15 at 22:08
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    @Frank - My question is, what Bad Thing™ is going to happen if these questions get answered? Other than around an hour's bump to the question (which, if the answer gets one upvote, will stop the Community user bumping forever anyway, so could also be a plus). I see only positives here, if Paul has an answer, why not? – Robotnik Nov 6 '15 at 7:05
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    @Robotnik I don't see it like that. If answering it is a wash, then I don't see it being worth the effort. No harm, but no good. We're not really making the Internet a better place by answering it, so I don't think it's worth doing. – Frank Nov 6 '15 at 13:59
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    @Frank - I didn't say you personally should answer these questions. However what I'm more concerned about is what sounds like you barracking for setting some sort of standard of telling users not to answer questions. There's already a site mechanic that does that - it's called closing. If you disagree that these questions should remain on the site, then that is the point that should be argued, but so long as they remain Open, we should not be telling people not to answer them. – Robotnik Nov 7 '15 at 3:45
  • @Robotnik Its not about entrenching a position at all; that wasn't how I was phrasing that at all. If someone wants to answer old questions that can't help anyone, alright. That's what I'm questioning; there's no value in doing so. But if you think I'm setting out a position, we can certainly revisit closing these, instead of just leaving them alone. – Frank Nov 7 '15 at 4:00
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    I play almost only retired games. So informations can be still usefull (at least for me) – Luc M Nov 15 '15 at 4:47
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Not necessarily.

Answering questions about these retired games has some use. These questions, even if they are not immediately relevant once the games are retired, are still a repository of information - much of it useful. People may want to know how a certain mechanic worked, about a certain item or area, etc.

That being said, I don't think it's worth anyone's time to go out of their way to answer these questions after the game has been retired. Furthermore, there are other instances of "retiring" - e.g. Diablo 3 1.0 to 2.0 (Diablo 3 1.0 is no longer playable in any extent, to my knowledge, and answering questions specifically about 1.0 is likely to confuse newer players).

I don't think we should disallow these things, but I don't think it is a particularly helpful thing either. If we already have the answers and questions - great. If we don't, then there isn't much point.

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  • Diablo 3 1.x is still playable: on PS3 and Xbox 360 with no update. – Olivier Grégoire Nov 10 '15 at 18:43
  • Sorry, I should have referred to 1.0, which is not playable at all. The last-gen version of Diablo 3 has some improvements over 1.0 and is tagged differently. – two bugs Nov 10 '15 at 18:45
  • No worries, that was just a note about 1.x. Your text is absolutely correct as it is in that regards. – Olivier Grégoire Nov 10 '15 at 18:48
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Is it bad form to answer questions regarding “retired” games?

Absolutely... not! The purpose of this site is to get help for anything about gaming, no matter how old. You can talk about arcade machines that came out in 1977, and we'd still try to help with any problems you may have with them (even if the problem is as simple as a quarter being stuck in the slot!). Any games that are retired can be revived, if set up right; however there are some games which would require much work (even years) to bring up-to-date, especially if a required component has become obsolete or missing (i.e. a game server, in regards to City of Heroes), but this does not mean that it can never be done.

As long as the content of the answer was at its last time of being active correct, is it okay to answer such questions?

Seems logical to me, since the game is going to be old, anyway. However, if you're trying to incorporate an old game into new technology, you'll need to know how to get the game to adapt to the more-recent machine. It may even be possible to get games that require some kind of network to work on modern internet servers - take games played over bulletin-board systems (BBS), for example.

In the case of City of Heroes, since all the servers that supported this multi-player online game were shut down in 2012, the likelihood of this game working in its current state is near impossible unless one is willing to tackle the task of redirecting the game's sources to a working server they themselves have maintained. Since the game has been abandoned, it is unlikely the maintainers of the game would reopen it again. However, it has been done to some online games; i.e. the one at this link: mystonline.com

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  • You may have misunderstood the question--he's not asking about old/rare games, but about games that are impossible for anyone to play anymore, because they required a connection to developer-owned servers which have been permanently shut down. – Phasma Felis Nov 8 '15 at 23:55
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    Handwaving away the fact that it's not so easy to get MMO's running again kinda invalidates your entire argument. – Frank Nov 9 '15 at 21:42
  • @Frank Where did I imply that? – user128965 Nov 10 '15 at 15:42
  • This question is specifically about a City of Heroes, a defunct MMO. Your reasoning for allowing questions about it is, and I quote, "It may even be possible to get games that require some kind of network to work on modern internet servers". You're completely disregarding that while this might be possible, the barrier to entry is fantasically high. There's been a team working on this for City of Heroes since it closed. And the most they've gotten working is running around and the costume creator. You're ignoring the fact as it stands, this cannot be played. At all. – Frank Nov 11 '15 at 2:37
  • @Frank Oh, I thought it was about retired games in general. – user128965 Nov 11 '15 at 16:25
  • @Frank Even if "as it stands, this cannot be played. At all" it's still true that "Any games that are retired can be revived, if set up right". It's just rather difficult to set up right... – DCShannon Nov 14 '15 at 4:44
  • @DCShannon So true. It is difficult, but not impossible. Anyone with programming knowledge (and maybe a bit of hardware, too) could be able to make it work, even if they have to reprogram it. Of course, reprogramming is a time-consuming task that could result in something entirely different than the original game, but it's worth it when the bugs are ironed out. – user128965 Nov 14 '15 at 6:47
  • I don't think either of you realize the amount of effort you're handwaving away. At this point, City of Heroes cannot be played. Period. Even after three years of effort to rebuild the server side. It doesn't work, so just saying, "Oh, hey, yeah, just set it up right" is completely ignoring the situation. – Frank Nov 14 '15 at 15:44
  • @Frank Hey, I didn't say it would be a cake-walk! If I implied that at all, feel free to edit my answer to your liking. You can even go so far as to show how difficult it would be, if you like. I don't care. ;-) – user128965 Nov 14 '15 at 16:13
  • I made an edit, myself. Reread it to see if it works. If I'm still hand-waving, go ahead and edit. Besides, my hand is getting tired! :-P – user128965 Nov 14 '15 at 16:34
  • Also, the question is not about city of heroes. City of heroes is used as an example. The question applies to any retired game. – user106385 Nov 14 '15 at 20:53
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Is it bad form to answer questions regarding “retired” games?

I don't see why you cannot answer questions for retired games. I didn't see anything in this site's help centre regarding such answers being subject to deletion.

I really don't think anyone would go through the trouble of casting a close vote or down vote for an answer purely based on the game being retired. However, I would be less likely to read such answers in the first place (assuming I know the game is no longer playable).

I believe for the effort of answering such a question it would be reasonable to say it is very likely you would help no one and will have no rep increase for doing so.

As long as the content of the answer was at its last time of being active correct, is it okay to answer such questions?

I would expect answers post-retirement to be correct at the time they were posted. I guess in most circumstances this would tie in with your statement. However, some technical problems may actually yield a different answer since retirement. Such as with this Age of Empires Online answer I posted a while back. The reason I added a new answer was because now there is a different reason why the game doesn't show in your Steam game library! The other answers are still useful perhaps as they may also apply to other free to play games on Steam that offer paid DLC.

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This site is about game knowledge. That is obviously relevant and useful to playing games, but game knowledge is useful in many other cases too, even if the game can no longer be played. Knowing things about defunct games are important if you are a game designer, a game historian, or just bickering with your friends about some feature of an old defunct MMO.

Why should we limit Arqade only to currently playable games, when game knowledge is so much more?

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