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World of WarCrafts: Making a custom RPG, Warcraft-style

Anne Stickney

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music, fan fiction and more. Sample the whole spectrum on our Arts and Crafts in WoW page.

Longtime readers may remember Murloc RPG, a game we featured way back in 2006. The game received an update earlier this year with the release of Murloc: Stranglethorn Fever. Hot on its heels is the latest release, Murloc RPG 2, all by Unmediocre. The game looks just like the World of Warcraft we know and love, with one small exception: Instead of playing a mighty Tauren or a Dwarven hero of the Alliance, you play ... a murloc.

That's right -- this Flash-based game lets you play as one of those fishy pests we've been killing off in WoW for years. Complete with quests, dialogue, combat, and the occasional chest to loot, Murloc RPG 2 isn't just an idle day's worth of messing about in Flash; it's a full-fledged gaming experience. So how did this all come about? Follow after the break where we have a quick chat with the maker of this incredibly detailed Flash homage to WoW.

World of Warcrafts: Hi, Unmediocre! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into WoW?

Unmediocre: My first Warcraft game was Warcraft 3. I remember me and my friends used to play a lot of LAN DotA in internet cafes back in the day. I'm also a big fan of Diablo and other Blizzard games. With so much buzz surrounding WoW, I had to check it out. I started playing and got hooked. There were just so many things to do! I was especially infatuated with how much love and care Blizzard put into their games.

Murloc RPG 2 looks tremendously complex. Do you have any kind of background in game design or animation?

I've studied a lot of programming, but nothing specific to game design or animation. I've also been messing around with Adobe Flash for over 10 years (which is a lot of fun). Nothing's more exciting to me than imagining and executing ideas from scratch! I grew up with games and will always have a passion for them.

OK, out with it -- why murlocs, of all things?

I love those slimy little creatures -- who doesn't? I remember hearing a rumor that murlocs would be the next playable race at one point and was completely gutted to find out it wasn't true! I was determined to make my fantasy a reality. Murlocs have such an interesting and mysterious background; there is so much potential there.

I remember the first Murloc RPG from way back in 2006 -- it was great! What kind of challenges were there in making a sequel?

I wanted to up the bar and improve on the first murloc RPG in every way. The plan was to make a mini-replica browser version of WoW. The sheer amount of coding required for this project was staggering. There are over 100,000 lines of code! I'm really happy with the result.

Can you take us through the process of creating a fan game? What kind of tools did you use to create it?

Before coding the actual game, I created a set of tools in Flash I like to call MUDKIT (Murloc Development Kit). These tools allowed me to edit a database of items, NPCs, quests, dialogue, monsters and more. All this data would be imported into the game on later builds. The rest of the game was also coded in Flash Actionscript 3.0.

I used WoW Model Viewer to get the graphics from WoW and an MPQ extractor to extract sounds. All the backgrounds in the game are in-game screenshots. Hard to take screenshots when you need an empty space in such a populated world! You can read more about the development process on my blog if you're interested.

Any words of advice for those who would like to try making games of their own?

Making a game requires a lot of time and effort, but it is such a rewarding experience. I've found that a clear plan saves you a lot of time and effort in the long run. The more you plan, the less changes you'll have to make, and the easier the game development process will be.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I'd like to thank Hill & Wynn Smith for the awesome WoW-inspired music they composed for this project!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Unmediocre, and good luck with future projects as well!

If you'd like a delightful diversion for an hour or three, check out Murloc RPG 2 on Kongregate, as well as Murloc: Stranglethorn Fever.

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.

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