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Efficient network communication in ORPG

Chad Cook
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I'm currently in the design stage of a simple online RPG and I'm trying to decide the best set-up/architecture for communication between the client and the server. I plan on creating a basic 2D RPG, similar to 8-bit and 16-bit classic RPGs with a top-down, grid-based view. At a minimum, I need to communicate chatter between players (basic chat program), the current location of any other players and enemies on the screen and possible status updates about the players or enemies.

It seems really inefficient to constantly be firing off db queries from the client to the server to update and retrieve details about the game, so I thought about setting up TCP or similar communication between the server and the client to transfer the data needed and let the server handle any db queries and so-forth.

This is my first foray into anything of this nature, so any performance improvements or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone knows of any resources online which can help and talk to the communication aspect of a project like this would also be very helpful.
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
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