Blizzard Entertainment is currently beta-testing its new live, online role-playing game, Worlds of Warcraft. And yes, that beta test does extend to the Mac.
For whatever reason, I am in the good graces of Blizzard, which is great because its games are awesome. So I was invited to download Worlds of Warcraft -- which is no small invitation, since the Worlds of Warcraft installer is about 2 GB in size.
For such a massive download, Blizzard chose a really smart way of offering the file: BitTorrent. This is one of the first large-scale, commercial uses of BitTorrent technology, and I'm really excited about it.
As we wrote recently, BitTorrent is a system that provides high-speed downloads by having the downloading users share in the burden of distributing the file -- as you're downloading it, other users are connecting to you and downloading the parts of the file you've already downloaded.
BitTorrent only really works for "hot" files that are being downloaded by a lot of people. But it works great for that. More software companies should consider offering a BitTorrent download when they release new versions of their products; it would speed downloads for everyone who wants to download the file immediately, and save the company on bandwidth costs.
In any event, cheers to Blizzard for using BitTorrent to spread the load of that gigantic file. Now if only I could find the time to improve the experience of Regis, a certain Level 2 Human Paladin I know...