How much does it cost to keep the hardware behind Blizzard's World of Warcraft running every single day?
At its core, World of Warcraft is a game about numbers. Your healer needs to have his or her healing numbers high enough to keep your tank alive, whose hit points and defense skills need to be high enough to survive massive attacks from enemies, and your damage-dealers need to do enough damage to kill the enemies before your healer's magic power runs out. You beat the enemies, and collect items to make your other numbers increase - obviously, it's more complex than that in reality, but that's the core of everything.
The folks at Video Game Design Colleges have compiled a bunch of information into a handy infographic that discusses the numbers behind WoW: How many people play it, where they're located around the world, and how much money changes hands, just to name a few.
For instance, did you know that WoW's servers (presumably for the North American market, though it's vague) are comprised of approximately 20,000 computers running 75,000 CPU cores and possessing a combined 1.3 petabytes of data? These servers run through 5.5 million lines of code almost all day, every day, with a maintenance cost of $136,986 per day - and that's just on the hardware side of things! When you add salaries for technicians and the hundreds of in-house customer support agents, the financial cost of WoW is simply staggering.
It's hardly the first WoW infographic, but there's some interesting stuff there that shows more attention to detail than normal - it breaks down the number of world-first raid boss kills across expansions by the top guilds in the world, as well as world-first acquisitions of rare legendary items.
I remember those guys in Immortality from back on my early WoW days when I played Horde on Skullcrusher. I think they ganked me a lot. What a bunch of jerks!
Catch the full, high-res thing here.