Over on the Minecraft forums, a modder named "Rumsey" is currently recreating the entire world of Azeroth – the virtual realm residing in Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG – in Mojang's sandbox building PC game, Minecraft. The project is called Crafting Azeroth, and the first beta has already been released, weighing a hefty 2.17 GB zipped and around 24 GB unzipped.
"The Crafting Azeroth project is a full-scale reproduction of the World of Warcraft environment for Minecraft," Rumsey writes. "The creation of the map is heavily automated, assisted by custom software that I have developed. The continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms were the first to be generated."
As proof, Kalimdor (link) and the Eastern Kingdoms (link) can be explored directly within a web browser, but the actual 2.17 GB ZIP file can be downloaded via BitTorrent here and loaded into Minecraft. YouTube user svmgaming has also created an installation guide for Windows that will be useful to anyone who is having trouble getting started.
"I've marked this as a beta release, meaning that additional updates / fixes may come in the future," Rumsey writes. "As much as is possible, I will try to release these changes in the form of a patch that will only modify the blocks that need to be updated. This means you can start working on the map right away, without worrying about your changes being wiped out by a later update."
He says the current version of the map spans approximately 275 square kilometers and contains over 68 billion blocks. The peak of Mt. Hyjal is the highest part of the world, standing more than a kilometer above sea level. Due to Minecraft's height limitation, the world had to be broken up into seven altitude layers. Each layer is connected via a server-side plugin that teleports players as they approach the height limit.
In a Q&A, he explains how his software converts Blizzard's world into Mojang's blocky universe. "I developed software to convert the continents of World of Warcraft into Minecraft blocks using a process known as voxelization," he says. "The software converts everything in the game, including all the buildings and natural details, down to the individual tree stump. Once the parameters for the software have been set, the entire conversion process takes approximately 24 hours and requires no human intervention."
As one Minecraft gamer stated in the forum, "holy dogs**t this is amazing." Check out the whole post here, and be amazed.