Originally Posted by VonHalford
Yeah totally. Because most of the game isn't completely server side
The only things server side are character data, level data (even then, only the layout, not the actual geometry - that resides client-side, as it consists of several prefabricated sections that get thrown together to form the actual stage), creature spawning positions and makeup (the server doesn't even keep track of positions after they spawn, as you may have noticed from the lack of syncing between players), item data, and account data (including the room stuff).
All in all, that stuff takes up a fraction
of the space relative to textures, models, animation files, sound files, and so on. While the database is likely fairly large due to the sheer number of items, characters, and such, it's still not so large that it'd take "years" to load it all into memory (provided you have enough memory to load it in the first place).
Also, IF that stuff were all server-side, load times would be exponentially
longer as you'd have to wait for the data to come to you from the server, which would dramatically multiply bandwidth requirements on both sides. It'd be a clusterfuck and a massive waste of money on Sega's part, so it's a very good thing it doesn't work like that...