In a keynote to GDC Austin, two Blizzard developer pulled back the curtains on some aspects of World of Warcraft that players might not consider much, and dropped an interesting tidbit about how the series evolved from RTS to MMO.
Gamasutra, covering the keynote, reports that World of Warcraft grew out of a Blizzard team's frustration with a concept called Nomad, which was to have been a squad-based RTS. Unable to find much purpose in the work, they chucked Nomad and asked “ What would we do if we wanted to start a project today?” The answer was World of Warcraft.
“Operating an online game is about more than just game development,” said Pearce. “World of Warcraft has completely changed the organization”.
As proof, Pearce supplied numbers for the staggering amounts of manpower and computing infrastructure the game needs just to stay up and running, such as:
• 20,000 computer systems
• 13,250 server blades
• 75,000 CPU cores
• 1.3 petabytes of storage
• 4,600 staffers
• A partridge in a pear tree.
Kidding about the last. But they don't stop there. Warcraft's a game with 7,650 quests, 70,000 spells, 40,000 NPCs, 1.5 million game assets, and 5.5 million lines of code. QA's swatted some 180,000 bugs. And the playing community has unlocked 4,449,680,399 rewards.
The keynote, mostly a department-by-department breakdown of those who keep the World of Warcraft running, is reported fully over at Gamasutra. Here's another number: 5. It's World of Warcraft's age as of November. I'm not sure if it seems like it released just yesterday, or a dozen years ago.