We reevaluated average character and account storage space requirements, and found it necessary to ensure we could handle what we anticipate will be a large amount of data very quickly after release.
Diablo III has both the benefit and disadvantage of having completely random items. Pretty much everything can roll up different affixes, if not a range of its benefits. That’s obviously great because the item hunt is what it’s all about, more randomization means you can keep chasing that perfect item, but that means the amount of data needed to describe an item is much, much larger than say, a World of Warcraft item, which is static and only needs a unique number to identify it. For example: http://www.wowhead.com/item=51003 that number there at the end is that item’s unique number. That’s all we need to store to identify that item no matter where it is. A Diablo III item first has to say the base item, then each individual affix that it rolled up, then the ranges of each variable, and if it has any sockets. And we have to think about everywhere an item can be, an item on the ground is still an item, and so is an item on the auction house.
We obviously have room to grow if our projections are incorrect, or we just find that we eventually have the space. World of Warcraft definitely grew over the years, and that storage space didn’t appear out of nowhere (although it does seem rather magical at times). We find three tabs to be plenty for at least the initial release of the game though. Not counting the items you’re wearing (assuming they’re the best you have), and assuming worst case scenario of nothing but 2-slot items, you’d be able to hold 405 swords per region. That’s a lot. We don’t expect people to be storing 405 swords… hopefully ever, because that might indicate you have an obsession with swords, but at the very least there should be enough storage to start and then we can continue to evaluate as we go.