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World of Warcraft Timeline

Claiming at least 62 percent of the MMORPG market, World of Warcraft is the most subscribed to massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the world.

System Specifications

  • Bandwidth (Why Low?): Because World of Warcraft is installed on the user’s computer, it is powered by the PC’s own resources. There will be a spike in bandwidth initially as the program connects with the servers, it will only require a low amount of bandwidth throughout the game play. It can also fluctuate depending on what is happening during the game.
  • CPU (Why Low?): The processing power used will mostly come from personal computers, not the Blizzard server network. The game itself requires a fair amount of power for the interactions between players, but only a small amount from us.battle.net.
  • Disk (Why High?): The world inside World of Warcraft is gigantic and is getting bigger. To store all the actions and information for this world requires an enormous amount of disk space.
  • RAM (Why Medium?): The RAM used will mostly come from the gamers own computer, but to update the interactions between other players and special events will use the RAM from the us.batle.net servers.
  • Scalability (Why Low?): Because the game is so intricate and detailed, to adjust the system is complicated and takes a longer time than most other types of websites.

Overview
Claiming at least 62 percent of the MMORPG market, World of Warcraft is the most subscribed to massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the world, boasting more than 12 million players worldwide and holding the Guinness World Record for most popular MMORPG by subscribers. Critics have hailed WoW since its 2004 release and its colossal following has embraced each expansion set as they have arrived: The Burning Crusade in 2007, Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, and Cataclysm in 2010. Blizzard Entertainment, the game’s developer, has announced its intentions to make a fourth expansion, but has not disclosed any other information about it.

Game Play
WoW requires paid subscriptions. Players either buy prepaid game cards that allow them to play for a set amount of time or by making monthly or biannual payments using a credit or debit card. To begin, players select a realm, which can be either player versus player (PvP), pitting online players against each other, or player versus environment (PvE), which is more focused on combat with monsters and completing quests.

Wow’s storyline is faithful to the previously established storyline of the Warcraft series and players must choose characters based on the two opposing factions in the Warcraft world: the Alliance and the Horde. Character race, such as Orc, Troll, Human, or Dwarf, is also dependent on whether or not the player has chosen Horde or Alliance. The player than chooses a class for the character, with certain restrictions. Some of the available classes are mage, warrior, or priest.

Once the player and his or her avatar (another name for their character) is immersed in the realm, the player begins gaining experience through quests, leveling up, honing skills, learning professions, and buying or winning new items. The fantasy world of Warcraft has become so involved that players actually spend real life money for fictional gold.

As the markets in WoW have evolved to mimic the real world, it has also given scientists insight into real-world epidemics following a glitch in the game that spread an in-game disease called “Corrupted Blood,” which succeeded in infecting a high volume of players. The simulation has offered researchers the opportunity to study human behavior during outbreaks and more accurately predict patterns.

Development
WoW was designed to allow users to interact within the same realms regardless of their operating system. In order to maintain this open environment, the game was release on a hybrid CD for general installation on both Mac and Windows platforms. It is also possible to run the game on other platforms through Window API implementations Wine and Cedega, which enables gameplay under Linux and FreeBSD.

System
In the US alone, there are at least 236 Realms, which are divided into 13 Battlegroups, with each Battlegroup hosted on a server cluster. WoW’s complete infrastructure currently includes 13,250 server blades, 75,000 CPU cores, and 112.5 terabytes of blade RAM. The price tag for the upkeep of such an infrastructure is upwards of $200 million, which includes payroll, hardware support, and customer service, according to a report issued by Blizzard in 2008.

Blizzard Entertainment, which operates the Battle.net gaming service for its Starcraft and Diablo titles, in addition to the World of Warcraft, runs 10 data centers around the world, using 20,000 systems and 1.3 petabytes of storage to keep its games running for its users.

Sources

“Games.” Blizzard. http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/games/ (accessed October 16, 2010).

Kasavin, Greg. “World of Warcraft Review.” GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/world-of-warcraft/reviews/world-of-warcraft-review-6114072 (accessed October 16, 2010).

Langshaw, Mark. “Guinness announces gaming world records.” Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/news/a158552/guinness-announces-gaming-world-records.html (accessed October 17, 2010).

UBM TechWeb. “GDC Austin: An Inside Look At The Universe Of Warcraft.” Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=25307 (accessed October 16, 2010).

Woodcock, Bruce. “MMOG Subscriptions Market Share April 2008.” Scribd. http://www.scribd.com/doc/4850427/ION-2008-an-Analysis-of-MMOG-Subscription-Growth (accessed October 16, 2010).

“World of Warcraft.” WineHQ. http://appdb.winehq.org/appview.php?iVersionId=6482 (accessed October 17, 2010).