How To: Run World Of Warcraft (WoW) in Linux Using Wine

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World Of Warcraft is one of the most successful games in history, with 9.3 million subscribers and counting. Believe it or not, the beta test of World of Warcraft actually had a Linux client. It’s true! When the game shipped, support for Linux was dropped and the game never shipped with a Linux client.

What a shame! The good news is, there’s been some positive collaboration between members of the Linux developer community who work on and contribute code to projects like Wine, Cedega and CrossOver. Because of this, installation and configuration of World of Warcraft is a snap for those of you who are interested in getting rid of your Windows partitions lying around if WoW is your game of choice.

We have 8 steps to complete to play the game:
1. Configure 3D drivers with Envy.
2. Install WINE and fonts.
3. Configure WINE.
4. Download (or install from media) the actual game.
5. Edit config.wtf
6. Create a Registry key
7. Install a Linux specific AddOn
8. Launch the game!

1. First, we need to check to see if we have correct and working video card drivers that will work with the game. Open a terminal and type in this command:
glxinfo | grep rendering

It should return with something like this:
direct rendering: Yes

If it says “no” then we have to install the right drivers.

If you have an ATI or nVidia card, the quickest way is to use Envy. Head on over to the website and snatch a copy of the script. Scroll about halfway down and you’ll see the link that ends in .deb – that’s what you want if you’re running Ubuntu or Debian.

Open up the Envy .deb file once it’s done downloading, and we should be prompted with an installer program, just hit the install button and follow the prompts. After it’s installed, we will need to start up the script by going into the Application Menu, then System Tools, then select Envy.

screenshot-envy.png

Select “Install the NVIDIA driver” (or ATI driver) and press Apply. This process takes about 5 minutes to complete, so go make a sandwich and reboot your computer when it prompts you to do so.

Don’t worry if it seems like it’s not making progress – just be patient. After rebooting, run the glxinfo | grep rendering command again, and this time it should respond “yes” this time.

2. Then, we are going to install two items before we can actually start installing the game.
a. WINE allows us to run Microsoft Windows executable files
b. To make things look pretty, we need to download two different font packs.

In Ubuntu 7.10, the following command will install all three items in short order. You can open a run dialog box by pressing Alt+F2 simultanously (or open a terminal), then paste in the following:

sudo apt-get install wine msttcorefonts ttf-xfree86-nonfree

Type in the password for your user account, and follow the prompts. After that command completes, we’re just about done preparing the system and can install the game *almost* as easily as in Windows.

3. Configuring Wine
By running the winecfg command, we can choose which sound driver to use (OSS or ALSA), and also switch compatibility modes – just like XP and Vista have done for quite some time, WINE allows us to switch between different operating systems to allow for better compatibility with various programs.

Some users have reported that switching WINE to use NT 4.0 compatibility, issues with patches or installations have been resolved. If you run into problems, you may want to try here first. I left it on Windows XP mode the entire time and had no problems, but your mileage may vary.

4. We need to download and/or install the game from media.

I personally have an old account that has been sitting dormant for approximately a year, and I’ve thrown away my installation media. The easiest way to install WoW and TBC is using the original CDs, but if you don’t have them, or have a pretty fat internet pipe, Blizzard helpfully provides online downloads via BitTorrent, so that’s the method I’ll document here today.

Since I’m showing how to install via download, here’s the two links you need. The first one is to download the original WoW game installation files, and the second link requires you to login to verify that you actually have The Burning Crusade expansion enabled on your account before you can get the BT download program for TBC from Blizzard.

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/files/pc/wowclient-downloader.exe
https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/account/download/clients/pc/bc-downloader.html

Both of these files utilize BitTorrent technology to allow users to download the entire game, except for the latest patch. These files are updated pretty often, so you usually don’t need to install more than one patch after you’ve got the game installed.

To run them, just open them up just like you would on a Windows computer. They should automatically open up in WINE, and after you select a download destination, you’ll have a pretty familiar window staring you right in the mullet.

screenshot-browse-for-folder-1.png

screenshot-0percent-blizzard-downloader.png

NOTE: Your internet bandwidth is going to be sucked up completely by the download client. If you need to browse the web or anything in the meantime while you download over 4GB of data, select the View menu in the download program and select preferences, then uncheck download from peers.

When these are done downloading and installing, we can go and get a few tweaks setup so that everything will run smoothly once the game is downloaded.

5. We need to setup the config.wtf file inside your WoW folder, by default it is located in the ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/ directory. If it doesn’t exist, login to the game once, and just exit right out. The game will create a default one for you.

We need to append a few items to this file to use the OpenGL rendering engine (instead of DirectX or Software rendering) and make sure we have everything setup to run properly under WINE.

You can run this command to edit the file:
gedit ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/wtf/Config.wtf

Then paste these lines at the end:

SET gxApi "opengl"
SET ffxDeath "0"
SET ffxGlow "0"
SET SoundOutputSystem "1"
SET SoundBufferSize "150"

6. Next, we create a registry key and value.
The following instructions to modify the registry are taken directly from the Ubuntu wiki page and is licensed under CC-BY-SA.

a. Find this key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Wine\
b. Highlight the wine folder in the left hand pane by clicking left on it. The icon should change to an open folder
c. Right-click on the wine folder and select [NEW] then [KEY]
d. Replace the text New Key #1 with OpenGL
e. Right-click in the right hand pane and select [NEW] then [String Value]
f. Replace New Value #1 with DisabledExtensions (Notice it's case sensitive!)
g. Then double click anywhere on the line, a dialog box will open.
h. In the value field type GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object

It should look like this:
regedit.png

7. Now we can install a Linux-specific AddOn for the game so that the graphics options are able to be modified in-game without crashing. Download this file and unzip it.
applytoforehead-4.zip

Copy the entire extracted ApplyToForehead-4 folder into the following location:
~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/Interface/AddOns/

If the Interface or AddOns folder do not exist, go ahead and create them.

8. We can launch the game from the desktop shortcut, or create one pointing to the wow.exe file within the WoW folder.

You should end up with the launch executing flawlessly:
fonts-installed-screenshot-world-of-warcraft-v2006080.png

Now just hit the Play button and enjoy the most addicting game since slot machines. On the character selection screen, make sure to enable out of date AddOns so that ApplyToForehead is loaded properly.

That’s it! If you have problems with running the game, please leave a comment and I’ll attempt to answer it, or look for support channels via the following wikis:

Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WorldofWarcraft
Anything else: http://www.wowwiki.com/Linux/Wine

And for your enjoyment, here’s a video. :)

  • http://www.grok-programming.com Chris

    Great guide! I followed it step by step on Ubuntu 8.04 and it worked like a champ without a hitch.

    Thanks a ton!

  • http://www.downfallguild.org Chris

    I finally decided to try out Heron and one of the big “Could I Switch To This Full Time” issues I had was if Ubuntu could play WoW.

    I followed this guide and it worked flawlessly. Thank you so much. There’s no better time to switch to Linux!

  • http://www.alspoetry.net Alan

    first of all kick ass guide, simply amazing…. I’ve been curious about running wow on linux for months, although I had never tried linux I had heard about the stability, so far I’m liking it as this is my first day running it, although it is quite complicated, but I’m sure a lot of stuff I do in windows would be to someone else
    Anyways a couple questions as I haven’t got wow up and running yet since I’m downloading it
    I have 2 computers, I put linux on this one I’m on now downloading wow after following your instructions to install wine and so on (I also after much frustration installed beryl or compiz whatever you want to call it).
    Anyways wow is up and running on the other computer which is networked and I can read all the drives, perhaps I could copy that over, actually I’m currently copying it after thinking that I could copy into the wine directory or whatever it is refered to as in linux…
    I read something about you running ventrilo, I’m gonna assume you do that about the same way as you do wow, is there anything I should know to install that? I run multiple copies of it in windows all the time, but I read there’s problems with the push to talk not working right unless you’re directly on vent…… I’m in a big guild raiding sunwell, so vent is a must….. also I’m kinda curious what is your performance difference from windows to linux? does it run mods and all that?
    I read a couple places that it’s a lot better, but I’m curious about frame rate and such….
    this computer isn’t quite as good as mine, it has a better processor but everything else is meh…. my computer is amd 3000 2gb ram, 512 ati saphire card, this one is amd 4000 x2 I think 512 ram and 128 nvidia video

    I’m tryin on this one first because obviously if it runs amazing on this one mine is just going to frickin rock, and I’m a little hesitant on switching fully as I have used dos/windows since before windows even came out, like back in the day lol I was farely young but I do remember when it came out.
    Any tips or feedback about the switch and all else mentioned would be much appreciated, I know this is long and I do apologize. Spent all day getting this far (updating linux from 7. whatever to 8.04 or whatever it is now took forever) so I just don’t want any set backs, or maybe just I’m worried I won’t like it.
    Hope to hear back
    Alan

  • http://www.alspoetry.net Alan

    I just sent you an incredibly long message with the wrong email address to reply to, I just set it up inside of linux and realized….

    please reply to this one instead of the last

  • Danny

    Heya! i used Ubuntu 7.10 and WOW runned without any prob.. now i installed Ubuntu 8.10 and here i cannot use shift-click to seperate stacks of items/link items/gear in chat, and also cannot use ctrl-rightclick to show items in the dressroom. any suggestions? right now im updating to newest wine and see if the probs still there.

    Greethings,

    Danny

  • Bdan

    I will try to describe the problem as well as I can to help anyone else who runs into this. I finished installing the games and doing all of the previous steps. But when I started WOW, just a black screen would come up and an error. I could hear the sound but no video. I was hoping this would create the config file but it didn’t. Hoping beyond hope as the noob that I am, I decided to just make a folder called config and paste the code that mute posted. It worked beautifully and now the game runs. If anyone does have a better way to have handled that, I would love to know but it seemed to work alright.

  • Danny

    Problem solved .. solution : needed to upgrade wine 0.9.59 to 0.9.61

  • Lindsea

    Hey, asked in the ubuntu forums, might as well ask here too. My computer has Mobile Intel(R) 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express Chipset family as a fake graphics/video card and I am pretty sure the driver isn’t working like it’s supposed to. Envy works with ATI & nvidia, so what an intel girl to do? Any suggestions?

  • Snip3rM00n

    I was able to get WOW to work on my version of Mandriva Linux. The graphics are wonderful and smooth and crouded areas run with little to no lag. However when I enter any building the graphics become really squirly especially the parts on the screen where there is text. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

  • Jeremy

    I have WoW installed on my Ubuntu on my laptop, and I finally got it so that when I open WoW the mouse moves fine, but the sound and the video glitch a lot and I can’t figure it out. It seems like i’ve tried everything. Help?

  • sokol

    Lindsea you say you have intel Mobile Intel(R) 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express Chipset, I am assuming this is a laptop. My suggestion would be checking for any drivers from 3rd party or google the model of video card on ubuntu and u should get people having same problem and there might be a solution. If not I suggest if this is a laptop get a better one, HP offers couple laptops for under $1000 with geforce 8600gt graphics card just my opinion. If you still cant get it working email me I will be looking into this situation you got going and try to respond to you. Going back to my problem I have installed wow in wine everything works but when I launch wow I my mouse pointer wont move its like its frozen anyone know what the solution is to this problem.

  • Lukas-Problem

    Hey, when i start up WoW, its completely un playable, as it runs at about 0.5 fps, maybe lower, please help me, as ive gotten rid of my Windows partition, im using the lates wine from http://www.winehq.com., and the glx rendering thing came back as a yes.

  • Lukas-Problem

    I almost forgot,, the Wwow Launcher doesnnt work either.

  • tysonh

    This is by far the best how to for Wow I’ve seen. I followed each step as listed and worked the 1st time. I’ve been trying to get wow to work for months. Thanks a bunch for posting this. :)

  • Eric

    I really got a lot out of your site. If I did not get side tracked I might have been up and running in one day. Instead, I got the black screen of death at log in screen. Another try I got no graphics on login screen and no graphics in game. I got fatal errors. I’m sure I’m missing a failure or two. BUT I went back to where I started, this page, and finished what I had started using muted config.wtf file and all was fine. I got an ego again and tried to change detail and distance after taking out of windowd mode. My mini map is now bright white. I went back and installed those config files again and same problem. CAN you help me with this problem? Sincerely, Eric

  • Eric

    Reflecting, one of my biggest problems was the screen flickering to the desktop throughout the game. My FPS was 40+. This tormented me for days. It was the easiest of all the fixes. Turn the appeance graphical effects to non while you are running wow.

    Hope you get something out of my torment.

    Eric

  • Eric

    I have read since last post that ATI is working on a solution to the minimap problem and that other cards may not have a problem.

    My minimap works intermitently usually outside.

    Eric

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  • irvo18

    ok guys this is possible, anyone can follow these steps there very easy and mostly copy and paste. one thing i would change would be config wine to give u a emulated desktop. you do that by going to the graphics tab and checking the box …. thanks alot now i can play wow awesome =)!

  • andre

    my wow screen flickers all the time, other than that works perfect.

    how do i fix the flickering?

    im using a dell inspiron 6000

    1.8ghz processor
    1gig ram
    radeon x300 gfx card
    60gig harddrive (running wow off 500gb external harddrive)

  • Nate

    I used Erics solution to the flickering screen as I was using Compiz Fusion with all the shiny bits enabled. Turning Visual Effects to “None” fixed that and this is running flawlessly.

    Oh and btw I simply migrated the whole WoW folder from my Vista Ultimate machine (no comment) and it’s just worked without a problem. I did however have to use the Config.wtf supplied by Mute though as I was getting a rendered enviroment but no buildings or characters. I did have to mod it a touch as things like default Realm name and my location (I’m in the UK) are obviously different so be aware of this people.

    Andre take a look at your appearance settings as mentioned above.

    Top guide, well written and everything covered.

  • Matthew

    I don’t know if this has been covered- I have read through, but every time I start WoW I get a critical error at the point where the opening cutscene should open to the login screen. This only happened after I downloaded all my patches. If you need more info, let me know

  • http://ndemandgaming.com Jason Hendrix

    I”ve followed all the steps and when i start WoW it looks as if the regedit isn’t working to run the graphics on OpenGL
    7600GS Video Card
    Core 2 Duo 1.8
    4 gigs of Ram

    Shows the Vector lines on the main screen and flips back to regular. And is VERY VERY SLOW.

    What am I doing wrong?

  • Siretu

    I’m installing WoW right now. I’m suprised it even started installing, I usally got some problems that makes it unable to work.

    Let’s hope for the best!

  • Corey

    Thanks for the information. Very helpful. Question though. I have had terrible download times with the updates. Running BC now. File size is 713mb. Says this will take 5 hours. This seems very flow. Is this a Bliz issue or possible a setting in Ubuntu (8.0.4)?

    Thanks.

  • Konner

    Dude you f***ing rule! My laptop broke down with WoW on it and i have been trying to use it on my Linux system ever since! I wish i could have found this sooner. You saved me from wasting my money on a game card which was activated right when my laptop broke down, i still have 15 days on it!

    Thanks alot,
    Konner.

  • Konner

    How do I install the CD? It brings up the WoW DVD thing but when I click the “Installer Tome.mpq” and run it with “Wine Windows Program Loader” it does nothing. Get back to me as soon as you can, I can’t live another day without WoW! AAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!

  • caleb

    when i put the burning crusade dvd in it recognizes linux as a mac osx system because all i see is mac osx options..:/

  • Jo

    I’m new to linux, so new, that the basics still avoid me. Following this “Hot To” to a T, I run into some problems on step 5, where I’m supposed to set-up the config.wtf file in my WoW folder.

    There is no file created already, and I ahve opened up the launcher, and closed it out, no luck, and the game crashes before I can do anything after I push play, to see if that works. What should I do?

  • Jo

    HAHA. So I found out what happened. There was a “run once” file, and then, it allowed me to open WoW without crashing. After I ran it, and logged on, there was a config.wtf file, and right after about 6 lines, was the lines I pasted into there. Now, I’m smooth as silk playing.

    Yopu should mention that in the How To, otherwise, people will be spending days trying to figure out that step.

  • Luke

    Ok, so I’m fairly new to Ubuntu and only have it as my OS on my old PC (which may be part of the problem since it is barely sufficient for WoW as it is). But I used to run wow on this comp before I got my old one anyways in Win XP. So I got it to run on Ubuntu but it’s really choppy and the texture looks really funny. The terrain is just weird lines and no actual grass or rocks or anything like that. So I wanted to show what it looks like but wasn’t sure how. So I just took a screenshot of it and you can download it at this link to see what I mean. http://savefile.com/files/1992341
    If anyone has a solution to this issue, that would be great. Thx.

  • Luke

    ok, that was supposed to say that I used to play wow on it before I got my NEW comp.

  • Joe

    When i download the new expaision will it effect the tweating i have to do?

  • amrit

    Hey, i’m not using this guide but i noticed another user has a similar problem to me, and that is Wow is really flickery when running. I’ve done as someone said and disabled all graphical effects. This reduced the flickering but hasn’t completely got rid of them.

    Just wondering if anyone can help?

    Noticed some other peoples problems so i’ll try helping with them. (In no particular order)

    -If you get an error whilst trying to start up wine, disable all special effects. (Had this problem and this solved it)

    -You need to run the Installer.exe with wine. You can try doing this straight from the cd. If not, copy all (and i mean all) the files to a folder which is easy to locate.

  • Kode

    I have two questions.
    First, when I tried to do step 6, I couldn’t figure out what I supposed to do, can anyone help me with this?

    Secondly, when I get to the login screen, its all black and I can’t get anywhere. I saw someone else had this problem to, but didn’t get an answer, can someone help me on this two things please?

  • Kode

    Well, I figured out the first one, I feel stupid now.

  • amrit

    @ kode

    try disabling all desktop effects, if you haven’t already

    also, i found a solution to my own problem. all i had to do was disable the mini map when i log in. simple.

  • Kode
  • Jonathan

    Hi. I’m trying to get WoW working on Xandros. I’m pretty new to Linux and I can’t configure the config.wtf. I don’t know if i’m doing it wrong or Xandros can’t do it. Is there anyway i can email it to someone with Ubuntu so they could fix it?

  • Eric

    Have you tried “muted”‘s congfig file linked above. Works as a good starting point for Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10.

  • Nw2LnX

    I just followed all of the directions perfectly. I have a problem though…

    If i run with with the openGL i get a fuzzy boarder with a black login screen so i cant click anything.

    If i run without openGL i get the full login screen background with the flying dinosaur thing yet there is no login section… just the background…

    Im new to linux and need help with this….

  • amrit

    i’ve got another problem :P, my wow has stopped working since the new update. It just doesn’t want to install it! any advice?

  • HoustonD

    Hey, I had already copied a running version of WOW into my Wine directory and had wow running on my lappy ubuntu intrepid ibex… only problem was the game lagged like crazy. I went through your directions and made the necessary changes, and now my game is at least playable, however, i have only 2 FPS. any suggestions.
    Like i said my only problem is my Frames Per Second..
    My email is [email protected]

  • Jonathan

    Hey. I’ve got WoW working on Xandros. But i get like 2-3 FPS. When i change the camera so i see everything from above, then i get like 5-6 FPS. is there anything that i should change in my config.wtf?
    Here it is :

    SET locale “enGB”
    SET portal “eu”
    SET realmList “eu.logon.worldofwarcraft.com”
    SET patchlist “eu.version.worldofwarcraft.com”
    SET coresDetected “1″
    SET hwDetect “0″
    SET gxColorBits “24″
    SET gxDepthBits “24″
    SET gxResolution “800×600″
    SET gxRefresh “60″
    SET gxMultisampleQuality “0.000000″
    SET gxFixLag “0″
    SET videoOptionsVersion “1″
    SET textureFilteringMode “0″
    SET accountName “Gizmokingan”
    SET movie “0″
    SET expansionMovie “0″
    SET Gamma “1.000000″
    SET readTOS “1″
    SET readEULA “1″
    SET readTerminationWithoutNotice “1″
    SET showToolsUI “0″
    SET Sound_OutputDriverName “System Default”
    SET Sound_MusicVolume “0″
    SET Sound_AmbienceVolume “0″
    SET farclip “177″
    SET particleDensity “0.900000″
    SET baseMip “1″
    SET spellEffectLevel “0″
    SET environmentDetail “0.5″
    SET weatherDensity “0″
    SET ffxGlow “0″
    SET ffxDeath “0″
    SET realmName “Shattered Hand”
    SET gameTip “58″
    SET gxWindow “1″
    SET mouseSpeed “1″
    SET Sound_VoiceChatInputDriverName “System Default”
    SET Sound_VoiceChatOutputDriverName “System Default”
    SET ChatMusicVolume “0.29999998211861″
    SET ChatSoundVolume “0.39999997615814″
    SET ChatAmbienceVolume “0.29999998211861″
    SET VoiceActivationSensitivity “0.39999997615814″
    SET checkAddonVersion “0″
    SET Sound_EnableAllSound “0″
    SET Sound_OutputQuality “0″
    SET Sound_EnableSFX “0″
    SET Sound_EnableAmbience “0″
    SET Sound_EnableMusic “0″
    SET Sound_MasterVolume “0″
    SET Sound_SFXVolume “0″

  • Jonathan

    And: If i add Set gxAPI ¨opengl¨ it doesnt work at all

  • Alex

    I’m having problems installing Wrath of Litch King… I’ve got the CD copied over but when I try:
    cd ~/Desktop/wowlk
    wine Installer.exe
    It comes up that a module is not found. Any hints/tip/solutions?

  • Max

    When I start WoW, everything workds normally, but when I eneter the character selection screen, everything f-es up. I can see through the character’s necks and the buttons start acting weird.

    Can you help me out?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Jonathan

    I really need help! anyone that know something to change in my config.wtf above?

    Thanks in advance // Jonathan

  • Distortion

    AM i the only person that is having troubles accepting the EULA? It says scroll to the bottom, click accept, etc. but it wont let me click.

    only reason im having troubles is because of that, PLEASE dont tell me im the only person having problems with it.

    any help would be appreciated.

  • Zarius

    Ok, as to the OpenGL stuff not working… some of the steps you took to getting WoW operational DISABLED your OpenGL, so naturally, if you activate OpenGL stuff that’s been disabled… it ain’t gonna work
    as to the ApplyToForehead… no longer a valid add-on as it was never updated for WotLK.
    as to the FPS… one might think that installing your system’s drivers would help… but, while it may, infact, resolve some of the issues, it has been creating an ubuntu-related issue… specifically that it keeps killing the bloody OS system files, so if you have a Radeon in your system, stick with the basic drivers, they work fine… your FPS is probably related to the fact that you are running a *higher end* windows-based program through a crappy windows emulator… i say crappy because most of the people writing the faqs for running WoW on linux aren’t experts with either linux or with wine. it’s playable, and you aren’t using winblows… just be happy… try tanking some of your in-game video specs.