Model Editing in WoW 3.3.5a

Original post by buuren on


Here is a couple of tutorials how to model edit WoW game data. If you are not familiar what is model editing, basically it’s changing the appearance of in-game textures (items, races, mounts, objects, zones etc). You might be asking “Why the hell would I want that?”. The answer depends on what you are looking for. Some players get bored of playing the same character over and over again and want to try something new. For example you have been playing a Human Female character, but want to play Undead Female, while keeping the racial bonuses of human race. The only way to do that is model editing. Another example is your character looks. Over the years, Blizzard game designers have been producing amazing looking armor sets, but those sets are very weak in action. You wouldn’t go in ICC with lvl 60 items, would you? This is where model editing comes to help. You can modify the looks of your armor to anything you want, while still maintaining the stats of your equipped items (this is why transmogrify have been invented in cata). What about a cool-looking mount which is not available in-game? For example ulduar proto drakes or arena frostwyrms. Ever wanted to ride one? Have no fear, model editing comes to the rescue. Also, model editing gives almost infinity resource to show your artistic skills and creativity. Ever wanted to be a game designer? Here is your chance – feel free to modify the game up to your needs.

There are tons of ways to change WoW game data models, I’ve gone through nearly all of them and this guide consist of tutorials which I believe are the most easy to follow, efficient and effective.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before starting model editing. PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE OPENNING SPOILERS:

  1. Model editing is not banable. Despite how suspicious the process looks like, even on retail players have been doing that without any risk of getting their account suspended. Officially, Molten WoW is neither forbidding it.
  2. All the changes you do in your data files are strictly custom and of course do not alter your game characteristics in any way. For example, you model edit your Foam Sword to Shadowmourne, you will not get any stats from Shadowmourne. The difference will be only the appearance of the Foam Sword (which will now look like Shadowmourne.
  3. All the changes you do in your data files are client-side. Only you can see them. For example the Foam Sword to Shadowmourneedit. Only your game client will “see” Foam Sword as Shadowmourne. Other players will still see you wielding a Foam Sword.
  4. There’s a chance you can corrupt your game folder. Before making any kind of model editing changes, it’s advisable to create a full copy of your existing WoW folder, so you can quickly get back in-game once you notice your game does not start/load models/other errors.
  5. Use all of the 3rd-party programs with extra caution. Nobody can guarantee it’s completely virus/malware free. It’s advisable to run them sandboxed. Use your browser search engine in order to find out how to do that. Alternatively, you can scan all the files with your antivirus.
  6. I’ll not post any links to the 3rd-party software. If you are having problems finding the program, you can PM me I’ll give you a download link.
  7. I’ll only cover the most necessary information in those tutorials. Advanced users, who are curious to know how those methods work exactly, are free to ask for any detailed information.
  8. I’m not an expert in this. I’m just a casual user who enjoys tweaking and modifying the in-game models up to my preferences. I figured the majority of ways by myself and with the help of other tutorials. I cannot guarantee that it will 100% work for everyone. Follow the tutorials on your own risk.

Item swapping

We will start from the most easy tutorial, which is item texture swapping. For that, I recommend using a program called “ModelSwapper” (I am using version It’s lightweight, easy and very fast way to change your items look. How to use ModelSwapper:

  1. First of all, exit WoW.
  2. Right click on ModelSwap.exe and “Run as Administrator“.
  3. If it throws an error saying “No WoW directory found Please manually select it” hit “Ok” and just navigate to the root directory of your WoW.
  4. After that a message windows should pop-up saying that “WDB String is out of Date Would you like to Update it?“. I usually press “No” because the automatic update feature is kinda broken.
  5. The main windows should open now:
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 905×434.

    Here is the place where first problems might start. The most common problem is “empty list”. ModelSwapper parses information about items from C:\Users\<Username>\Desktop\WoW\Cache\WDB\enGB\ite mcache.wdb. If the list is empty, hit Settings – Update Items from Cache. After the update end, you’ll need to restart the program.

  6. Once you managed to see the lists like shown in the picture above, you can start editing items. Your items table contains of items which YOU HAVE IN-GAME AND CAN EQUIP. Search for an item you want to change. For example, my character has Frozen Bonespike, so I just type Bonespike in the search box and it points me to the right direction:

    The search engine has found 2 “Frozen Bonespike” entries. This is because that item has normal and heroic versions. It doesn’t matter which one you own, we’ll change the appearance of both of them.
  7. Now, navigate to “Swappable items” table. It contains a list of ITEMS, YOU WANT TO SEE ON YOUR CHARACTER. I want to change (my) Frozen Bonespike to (new item) Continuum Blade. In the Swappable items box, type the item you are loooking for..
  8. Once you are done searching for the items, hit “Swap” button. It will say something like Swapped X for Y Successfully!. Since I didn’t know which of the Frozen Bonespikes is heroic, I double clicked another Frozen Bonespike and clicked Swap again.A couple of things to notice here:
    1. You can swap multiple items at once.
    2. Items don’t need to match. You can swap daggers to axes, swords to axes, axes to daggers and so on.
    3. If the item you were looking for did not appear in the list, it means you haven’t seen it in-game. There is a solution which involves manually editing the TXT file, where you have to provide an item ID and DISPLAY_INFO. To make the guide easier, there’s another method. For that, you’ll need an addon called AtlasLoot. You can find it here. If you have model swapper open, exit it. Load the game with that addon enabled. Open it by typing /atlasloot in-game. Type the item you are looking for in the box. Right click on the item to query server. If you can see item stats, you have succesfully added that item in the cache. This is the most easy way to add new items to your itemcache.wdb.
    4. Here’s a list of weapons with special glow
    5. It’s advisable to make all changes while having WoW game turned off.
  9. You can exit Model Swaper now.Result in-game:

    In order to remove all your changes, simply delete itemcache.wdb in C:\Users\<Username>\Desktop\WoW\Cache\WDB\enGB\ folder 

Spell Swapping:

In order to swap spells, you’ll need the following software:

  1. MyWarcraftStudio (or any other MPQ editor) – is necessary to open and create MPQ archives.
  2. DBC Editor – is required in order to open DBC files and edit spell IDs.
  3. (optinally) WoWModelViewer – while not necessary in order to swap spells, ModelViewer is good if you are looking for a cool swap. It shows a visual animation of the spell, which can make the choosing process a bit easier and faster.

First thing you need is a Spell.dbc. It’s a database which holds tons of rows and columns, which WoW is using to handle all spell visuals in the game.

  1. First thing you will need is to extract your current Spell.dbc file. In order to do that, repeat the following:
    1. Open MyWarcraftStudio
    2. In the upper left corner press “File” -> “Open MPQ archive…“. Now, navigate to your WoW installation folder. Usually found in program files. In your World of Warcraft folder go to “Data\enGB (or enUS – depending on your game localization)” folder and open “patch-enGB (or enUS – depending on your game localization)“. Hit OK.
    3. If you did everything right, you should see the following
    4. Expand “DBFilesClient” by click on the “+” symbol. Find Spell.dbc in the list, Right click on the Spell.dbc string and “Extract File To…“. Feel free to extract it anywhere you wish, just make sure you will find it later.
    5. When you are done extracting it, I recommend making a few copies of it because you will be using that file a lot of times.
  2. Now open DBC Editor. “File” – “Open” -> find your previously “Spell.dbc“. Depending on your PC hardware, it might take up to a minute to open it.
  3. Once opened, you should see the following:
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 683×351.

    It has a lot of rows and columns. Do not modify anything yet. We’ll just need to modify 1 value in there.

    1. Field 1 refers to the spell ID. Use to find spell IDs
    2. Field 131 refers to the spell visual. (THE ONE WE NEED, THE MOST IMPORTANT)
    3. Field 133 refers to the spell icon.
    4. Field 136 refers to the spell name.
    5. Field 170 refers to spell description.
  4. First thing is to find the visual appearance of the spell you are looking for. In order to do that, you need to know the spell ID. Go to and search for your spell. As for example, I want to modify my Shadowform (ID 15473) to Corruption of Time (ID 60422).
  5. In DBC Editor type the ID of the spell you are looking for in the search. I want to try the visual ID of Corruption of Time (ID 60422) so I type “60422” in the search.
  6. When you get the first result, make sure it’s point to ID (column 1). Don’t select anything and move the scroll bar up to field 131.
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 895×369.

    The visual ID of Corruption of Time is 12783..

  7. Repeat the process for spell your character has. I have Shadowform (ID 15473), so I go and type 15473 in the search. Navigate to field 131.
  8. Simply double click the cell and replace with new ID of the spell you want to modify with. I’m swapping Shadowform -> Corruption of time. Corruption of Time visual ID is 12783..
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 678×406.

  9. Now hit “Save“. Depending on your hardware, the saving can take up to 30+ minutes, so if it’s “Not responding”, it’s saving. During that time, your PC can lag.
  10. Once you are done saving spell.dbc, you can close DBC Editor now.
  11. Open your MPQ editor now. In MyWarcraftStudio for example, click on Pack -> Create MPQ Archive. Save it to …\World of Warcraft\Data\ and name it patch-6.MPQ.
    • Name must follow the following format: patch-X.mpq where X is a number between 4 and 9. 
  12. Click again on Pack and thenAdd Files to Archive. Click browse and locate your spell.dbc (the one you edited previously). When you find it spell.dbc select it and open it, but don’t click on OK yet.
  13. Change the name to “DBFilesClient\spell.dbc“. Hit OK
  14. Press Pack -> Save and Close Archive

You should be done now.

Some examples:

Red glow. Looks amazing in-game.

Black shadow form. Blame paint for quality.

In order to remove all your custom changes, simply delete patch-6.MPQ (or any other custom patch MPQ you did).

Mount Swapping:

In order to swap your mount model, you’ll need the following software:

  • WoWModelViewer – to find models of mounts
  • DBC Editor – to edit CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc database
  • MPQ Editor – to extract CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc and create new MPQ archives

First of all, you need to get a copy of CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc from your game. In order to do that, repeat the following:

  1. Open your MPQ editor. File -> Open… navigate to …\World of Warcraft\Data\enGB (or enUS if you are using US game client). Inside that folder, select patch-enGB.MPQ and open it. And you should see something like that:

    Expand “DBFilesClient” and find “CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc”. Right click on it and “Extract…” somewhere. You can close MPQ editor for now.

  2. Create several copies of CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc as additional backups. Now open WoWModelViewer, which will help us to find exact model of your old and new mounts.
  3. Once you have opened your WoWModelViewer simply type “riding” or “mount” into the File List search. You should end up with the following:

    And that start searching for your mount. Mounts are not named like they are named in-game. Each of the mounts have their own .M2 file and a skin which belongs to it. The only way to find your old mount is simply searching by close match results. For example you have which is available from vote shop and owned by half of the server. It has a “drake” in the name, so I type “drake” in the search and look at models of the each result. As you can see “netherdrakeelite.m2” matches my in-game drake.

    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 930×391.

    Now, you have to search for the skin of your mount. My one happens to be the first one “NetherDrakeEliteOPurple” but if you another Nether Drake like you will have another skin (NetherDrakeEliteGreen) simply go over to Animation Control and try each of the skin in the list. Once you are doing find your mount, write down both .M2 file name (in the list) and name of the skin in the animation control.

  4. Repeat the process for the mount you are looking for. For example, I want to modify my to Wrathful Gladiator’s Frost Wyrm. So I type “drake” again and start searching in every result. The name of the mount model is “armoredridingundeaddrake.m2”. I write this down. Then head over animation control and try each result found there. “RidingUndeadDrakeHeadPurple” looks like the Wrathful Gladiator’s Drake. I write this down as well.
  5. We are done finding the models and skins for both old (our) and new (the one we want) mounts. You can close ModelViewer now.
  6. Now open CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc with your MPQ Editor (I’ll be using MyDbcEditor). Open MyDbcEditor, hit on File ->Open.. and find the .dbc file you extracted previously. Click on Edit -> Search... (search functionality kinda sucks in MyDbcEditor). Type the name of your mount (my arena drake was NetherDrakeElite).
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1344×286.

    My arena drake skin was also purple, so I found my mount in the DBC file.

  7. I recommend to open MyDbcEditor once again (don’t close old one, just hit the MyDbcEditor.exe again). Again, File ->Open.. your dbc. Now, search for your new mount. This is how your desktop should look like:
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1363×735.

  8. Now, we will start modifying OLD MOUNT (in my case, the upper one) with NEW MOUNT entries (new mount at the bottom). Simply go over and copy/paste each data from new mount columns to old ones. When you are done, File -> Save and you can close MyDbcEditor now.
  9. The last step is creating custom MPQ file. In order to do that, open your MPQ editor (I’m using MyWarcraftStudio). Click onPack -> Create MPQ Archive. Place it to …\World of Warcraft\Data directory and name it patch-X where X is a number between 5 and 9. For example, I’ll use patch-8. Click “Save“. After that, click Pack -> Add Files to archive... Locate theCreatureDisplayInfo.dbc you have modified earlier. Open. You should see the following:

    Don’t press “OK” yet. In stead, you have to type DBFilesClient\ before the CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc, so it should look likeDBFilesClient\CreatureDisplayInfo.dbc, like so:

    Now, you can press OK. Then head over to Pack -> Save and Close archive.

  10. You can test your edits in-game. Log to your account and use your old mount.Result in-game:
    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1366×768.

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