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DBC (DataBaseClient) files are clientside databases containing data about items, NPCs, environment, world and a lot more.

Table content structures

This page describes the structure of DBC files. For a list of existing DBC files and their contents see the categories DBC, Vanilla, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. If you add documentation for a file, please add the correct categories (also the build number) as well.


struct dbc_header
  uint32_t magic; // always 'WDBC'
  uint32_t record_count; // records per file
  uint32_t field_count; // fields per record
  uint32_t record_size; // sum (sizeof (field_type_i)) | 0 <= i < field_count. field_type_i is NOT defined in the files.
  uint32_t string_block_size;

template<typename record_type>
struct dbc_file
  dbc_header header;
  // static_assert (header.record_size == sizeof (record_type));
  record_type records[header.record_count];
  char string_block[header.string_block_size];

String Block

DBC records can contain strings. Strings are not stored in record but in an additional string block. A record contains an offset into that block. Strings are zero terminated (c strings) and might be zero length. A zero length string then only contains one byte being zero.

Thus, if

using stringref = uint32_t;
struct example_record
  uint32_t id;
  stringref name;

printing the id and name of record i can be done by

// dbc_file<example_record> file;
printf ("record %u: %u, %s\n", file.records[i].id, file.string_block[file.records[i].name]);

or when going by offsets only:

// const char* file;
uint32_t record_count = *(uint32_t*) (file + 1 * sizeof (uint32_t));
uint32_t record_size = *(uint32_t*) (file + 3 * sizeof (uint32_t));
const char* records = file + 5 * sizeof (uint32_t) /* header */;
const char* string_block = records + record_size * record_count;
printf ("record %u: %u, %s\n", *(uint32_t*)(records + i * record_size /* id */), string_block + *(uint32_t*)(records + i * record_size + sizeof (uint32_t) /* name */));


DBC records can contain localized strings. Localized strings are a set of one string block offset per locale plus a bitmask up to Cataclysm. Beginning with Cataclysm, there only is one field containing only one string offset, thus disallowing providing multiple locales in one file.

The number and order of locale fields can be found at Localization. The record description might either mark a number of columns per localized field (e.g. 1-16) or treat all the fields as one column.