MMORPGs and their Data Centers
Companies that run MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and EVE Online do, of course, use data centers like the rest of us, but there are some pretty interesting things that they run into which other types of organizations don’t.
A fascinating article from www.computerworld.com came out earlier this week detailing some of these issues. For one thing, there’s the problem of gold-farming (people using software to rake in money in the game and then sell it for non-virtual currency). Clever, but it’s really damaging to several aspects of an MMORPG when that starts to happen – firstly, the game’s economy is messed up by this kind of behavior. Also, it turns out, the company which runs the game is hit with greatly decreased data center efficiency.
The creators of EVE Online, CCP Games, recently unleashed a sting operation they called Unholy Rage on these gold-farmers, banning about 2% of their users. This tiny ban brought them 30% increased data center efficiency – pretty fantastic.
The lesson to be learned from this for other data center staff is that paying close attention to your demographics is important. Figure out which users are using the most resources and manage them accordingly – not to say banning them is the appropriate option in other fields, but this kind of micromanaging can save a lot of resources.
Another interesting tidbit: game companies are allowed to have downtime. Anyone who plays a game like WoW or Starcraft or Everquest is familiar with the harsh reality of scheduled downtime, but it’s interesting to think about it in the context of data centers, where downtime is usually so forbidden.
Comments are closed