Jump to content
  • We are looking for staff for the Wiki area!
    If interested please
    click here and select "Documentation Team"

  • MPQ File


    MPQ File Format


    All of the game data for WoW are stored in MPQ Archives. The format's capabilities include compression, encryption, file segmentation, extensible file metadata, cryptographic signature and the ability to store multiple versions of the same file for internationalization and platform-specific differences. MPQ archives can use a variety of compression algorithms which may also be combined.

    The definitive source for information on MPQ Files is http://wiki.devklog.net/index.php?title=The_MoPaQ_Archive_Format.

    The following summary only includes facts relevant for 1.12.X Client versions

    Technical overview

    All numbers in the MPQ format are in little endian byte order; signed numbers use the two's complement system. Data types are listed either as int (integer, the number of bits specified), byte (8 bits), or char (bytes which contain ASCII characters). All sizes and offsets are in bytes, unless specified otherwise. Structure members are listed in the following general form:

    offset from the beginning of the structure: data type(array size) member name : member description

    General Archive Layout

    The physical layout of the files looks like this


    In the following the components are discussed in the logical order of processing required to read and extract files from MPQ Archives

    Archive Header

    Header size is 32 bytes, maximum archive size is 4 GB.

    00h: char(4) Magic Indicates that the file is a MPQ archive. Must be ASCII "MPQ" 1Ah.
    04h: int32 HeaderSize Size of the archive header.
    08h: int32 ArchiveSize Size of the whole archive, including the header. 
    0Ch: int16 FormatVersion MPQ format version. 0000h for Classic WoW.
    0Eh: int8  SectorSizeShift Power of two exponent specifying the number of 512-byte disk sectors in each
               logical sector in the archive.
               The size of each logical sector in the archive is 512 * 2^SectorSizeShift.
               Bugs in the Storm library dictate that this should always be 3 (4096 byte sectors).
    10h: int32 HashTableOffset Offset to the beginning of the hash table,
               relative to the beginning of the archive.
    14h: int32 BlockTableOffset Offset to the beginning of the block table,
               relative to the beginning of the archive.
    18h: int32 HashTableEntries Number of entries in the hash table. Must be a power of two, 
               and must be less than 2^16
    1Ch: int32 BlockTableEntries Number of entries in the block table.

    Hash Table

    The Hash Table serves as a quick means of filename lookup without having to go through string comparisons. For each file in the archive, the full path is hashed using a proprietary algorithm (for source see http://wiki.devklog.net/index.php?title=The_MoPaQ_Archive_Format#Algorithm_Source_Code) resulting in three 32bit integers. The first of those hashes serves as primary lookup key for the Hash Table, the others are used for verification in case of a hash collision. In the case that two files have the same lookup key (hash collision), the first file is stored under that hash, and the second file is stored under the next free hash. So during lookup, if the second and third hash don't match, the algorithm goes down the list until it either finds a match of an empty entry. Each entry in the Hash Table looks like this:

    00h: int32 FilePathHashA The hash of the file path, using method A.
    04h: int32 FilePathHashB The hash of the file path, using method B.
    08h: int16 Language The language of the file. This is a Windows LANGID data type, and uses the same values.
               0 indicates the default language (American English), or that the file is language-neutral.
    0Ah: int8  Platform The platform the file is used for. 0 indicates the default platform. 
               No other values have been observed.
    0Ch: int32 FileBlockIndex If the hash table entry is valid, this is the index into the block table of the file.
               Otherwise, one of the following two values:
               FFFFFFFFh Hash table entry is empty, and has always been empty.
                         Terminates searches for a given file.
               FFFFFFFEh Hash table entry is empty, but was valid at some point
                         (in other words, the file was deleted).
                         Does not terminate searches for a given file.

    The Hash Table is encrypted using a proprietary encryption algorithm using "(hash table)" as key. The encryption algorithm is also documented at http://wiki.devklog.net/index.php?title=The_MoPaQ_Archive_Format#Algorithm_Source_Code

    Block Table

    The Block Table contains offsets into the File Data block for each File in the Archive. It also stores file attributes like compression or encryption. Hash Table FileBlockIndex points to entries in the Block Table. Like the Hash Table it is encrypted, using "(block table)" as key. Each Block Table entry looks like this:

    00h: int32 BlockOffset Offset of the beginning of the block, relative to the beginning of the archive.
    04h: int32 BlockSize Size of the block in the archive.
    08h: int32 FileSize Size of the file data stored in the block.
               If the file is compressed, this is the size of the uncompressed file data.
    0Ch: int32 Flags Bit mask of the flags for the block. 

    Known flags are:

       Flag name           Value    Meaning
    MPQ_FILE_IMPLODE       0x00000100 File is compressed using PKWARE Data compression library
    MPQ_FILE_COMPRESS      0x00000200 File is compressed using combination of compression methods
    MPQ_FILE_ENCRYPTED     0x00010000 The file is encrypted
    MPQ_FILE_FIX_KEY       0x00020000 The decryption key for the file is altered according to the position of
                                      the file in the archive
    MPQ_FILE_PATCH_FILE    0x00100000 The file contains incremental patch for an existing file in base MPQ
    MPQ_FILE_SINGLE_UNIT   0x01000000 Instead of being divided to 0x1000-bytes blocks, the file is stored as
                                      single unit
    MPQ_FILE_DELETE_MARKER 0x02000000 File is a deletion marker, indicating that the file no longer exists.
                                      This is used to allow patch archives to delete files present in lower-
                                      priority archives in the search chain.
                                      The file usually has length of 0 or 1 byte and its name is a hash
    MPQ_FILE_SECTOR_CRC    0x04000000 File has checksums for each sector (explained in the File Data section).
                                      Ignored if file is not compressed or imploded.
    MPQ_FILE_EXISTS        0x80000000 Set if file exists, reset when the file was deleted

    File Data

    Block Table BlockOffset points to the beginning of a file data block. Each file data block has a header of nSectors+1 int32 values, indicating offsets to each sector start (relative to the beginning of the file data block). The final value of this list is the total (compressed) file size, including the header. The size of each block can easily be calculated from the difference between two offsets. If the block is compressed, the first byte of every sector indicates the compression method used

    Extracting a file

    This is a step-by-step instruction.

    • Read the File Header, find the offsets to the Hash Table and Block Table
    • Read and Decrypt Hash Table and Block Table
    • Compute Hashes for the file (Full Path, all Slashes converted to Backslashes) => Hash0, Hash1, Hash2
    • HashTableOffset = Hash0 & (Header.HashTableEntries -1)
    • Starting from HashTableOffset, go through the Hash Table and compare Hash1 and Hash2 to HashTable.FilePathHashA and HashTable.FilePathHashB respectively until either a match or an empty entry is found. In the latter case the file you are looking for does not exist.
    • Find the Block Table entry which corresponds to HashTable.FileBlockIndex
    • Go to the file offset specified in BlockTable.BlockOffset
    • Read int32 values until you reach a value that is equal to BlockTable.BlockSize => SectorOffset[0] ... SectorOffset[n]
    • For every entry of SectorOffset[0]...SectorOffset[n-1], seek to BlockTable.BlockOffset+SectorOffset[x]
    • Read SectorOffset[x+1]-SectorOffset[x] bytes of data.
    • If BlockTable.Flags has a compressed flag set, the first byte of each sector indicates the compression method applied.
    • Decrypt and or decompress each sector as necessary, stitch them together, et voila, there is your file

    The Listfile

    Each MPQ in WoW 1.12.X contains a "(listfile)". This file lists the full archive contents, one file path per line, in clear text. Hashing the file paths provides lookup keys into Hash Table. The file is provided for convenience, as it seems. It is not used by the client

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Privacy Policy Terms of Use