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8-18-2011 @ 2:05PM
I'm actually glad that they decided to do this with in-game currency. What most people don't realize is that bag space, both in inventory and bank, take up huge amounts of space in their databases. Increasing that space every expansion is costing Blizzard real money to keep up with. The short story is: Blizzard is doing more and more with the same $20 bucks per month. I'm just glad this is not going to cost real-world money.I started to write a lot which is becoming its own blog post, which is boring for most people who probably won't read it anyway. If you are interested, please read on.Each item you can store is specialized (made by, enchants, gems, reforging, etc) which means each item you store is a separate row(s) in Blizzard's database and cannot be shared among other characters. Here's the numbers for the theoretical maximum they have to account for:* Please forgive any errors, this is just a rough estimate on a rather small textbox using the latest WarcraftRealms stats which are also a rough estimate and not entirely accurateEquipped items: 19 slotsInventory: 16 slot backpack + 4 bag slots x (current maximum is 26) = 120Bank: base 28 slots + 7 bag slots x 26 = 210Bag slots (Those bag items actually take up space as well!) 4 + 7 = 11Total per character: 360Roughly 84 million characters x 360 bag slots = 30 billion itemsThat's not including the 6.1 million guilds * 98 slots * 7 tabs = 4 billion itemsSo the total is 34 billion items, but then again, this is not counting the AH and all the items in the mail... If we take out the bank/guildbank slots since you don't access it constantly, it's still 143 items per character, or 12 billion items Blizzard has to track constantly. You know that time in Dalaran when you were bored, jumping around on your mammoth, and hitting the 'B' key (my shortcut to open all bags) over and over? Your immediate equipped and inventory items needs to constantly be ready to be served at high priority. Each bag increase results in a direct increase in the requirements for high priority storage access, which means more money spent on server hardware. And those things don't come cheap. Of course there are optimization that can be done, both client and server side, but it doesn't change the fact that scaling this to 11.4 million active accounts is a nightmare. The reason why Void Storage strips all customization from items is that then it only stores generic items, which means all it needs is an item ID and not an entire row of data. I'm guessing what they'll do is simply an 80 column row of numbers that contains item ID numbers, one row per character. The high cost(in in-game gold) will guarantee a smaller number of characters that have this feature. A single point of access (Stormwind or Orgrimmar) will guarantee that only a limited amount of people can access this at any given time. This decreases the amount and priority of the data storage hardware, which decreases real world cost to Blizzard. However, this is still an increase over not having this feature at all. At the end of the day, Blizzard is in the business of making money. Just the fact that they are willing to do more with the same amount of money is definitely fine in my books.
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