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Is serialize worth it?

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I'm designing a web based game. Each player has 3 characters, and each of those characters can have a myriad of skills. I'm currently storing the skill data as a serialized array in the character table, but i'm wondering if this is inefficient. I know I could have a seperate table with character IDs and skill IDs and just use joins, but I would end up with a huge number of rows eventually.

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