WoW data extraction resource sheet
So you want to start making 3D WoW stuff, have the knowledge how to create good renders but you want to create things with WoW models? Great, thats what we’re here for. This resource sheet will list several applications you can use for model extraction from WoW files Lets start with the basics first and then the tools
Type of files World of Warcraft uses:
CASC is an archiving file format used in several of Blizzard Entertainment’s games, created to replace the outdated format of MPQ
M2 files (also called MDX) contain model objects. This is used for characters, creatures and doodads.
.anim files are low priority sequences (e.g. emotes) are in extra files to allow for lazy loading. Required for M2 decompiling.
WMO files contain world map objects. They have a chunked structure with root WMO and group WMO file.
ADT files contain terrain and object information for map tiles.
BLP files store textures with precalculated mipmaps and contain alpha map with DXT or similar compression.
WoW Model Viewer
The most popular tool for model extraction. Comes bundled with a listfile, allows you to import armory characters with mogs, equip any item, preview all M2 files and preview particles. Allows exporting in OBJ and FBX formats with all model animations. WMV itself is no longer build to properly export doodads and structures
JIRA Tracking: https://wowmodelviewer.net:8443/projects/WMV/summary
Its a simple tool for conversion of a single or a batch of BLP textures. It has a GUI and supports both way conversion.
CASCView is a tool for viewing and extracting data files from WoW and other Blizzard games. You’ll require a CSV based listfile and Bnet launcher to be closed to use it
M2Mod Redux is a tool created primarily for creating model edits for WoW, but it can also be used for extracting a character file with all of its geosets as a different separate mesh, being more suitable for edits or “universal modular model” due of no requirements of having to reskin the whole mesh and can toggle on and off specific geosets like hair
WoW Export Tools
A recent tool created for export of WMO, ADT and non-character/creature M2s. It supports exporting full ADT map tile with the full ground textures, WMOs and even all doodads. You require to use the Blender plugin to stitch the files together into a single map tile with all meshes in their correct positions
Want to deep dive into the internals of how WoW functions, or planning on developing your own WoW tool? This public wiki is a great place about all of the file types the WoW engine uses. Its mostly info from 3.3.5 and 6.0.1 but still useful info either way.
By the creator of WoW export tools. Contains model explorer map viewer, WoW build monitoring, WoW database browser and it contains all WoW files between 6.0.1 and current build of WoW with previous build versions being available for download or preview.