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I couldn't find any info anywhere, even on the official website - what's the online model of this game? Is it a persistent massive world or what?

If it's not, how to you play multiplayer? Everyone starts from scratch or somehow your progress is saved?

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There's no single multiplayer world.

Each server hosts it's own world and when the players connect to that server they play that world. If they connect to a different server then they will play a different world. Your state in that world is saved so when you disconnect and reconnect you are restored to the same location with the same inventory items in your possession.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect that the data is saved on the server.

When you play you connect to the Mojang servers for authentication only.

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So basically every server has it's own world, but all players on that server are on that same world right? And is your progress saved? And isn't it quite a mess or the worlds are huge? –  Nikolay Dyankov Jan 4 '12 at 10:57
    
@NikolayDyankov - I'm not sure how progress is saved. It might well be local. –  ChrisF Jan 4 '12 at 10:59
    
My question is whether it's saved or not, it doesn't matter how :P –  Nikolay Dyankov Jan 4 '12 at 11:03
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@NikolayDyankov Yes, it is, and it's server-side, because, for example, Too Many Items can't place objects inside your inventory without special server-mod. Health/food-bar, XP, location, speed, direction are saved too. –  Olegs Jeremejevs Jan 4 '12 at 11:04
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Player data is saved server side. And there is a single initial spawn point, so if the players of that server don't run away all too far it shouldnt be a mess with the huge world. –  enricog Jan 4 '12 at 11:36
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