Install and run World of Warcraft on Linux

While for most of the Windows software you can find an alternative program that run natively in Linux, for the game market is not so easy especially since it is more prone to the need to run exactly that game title and not a similar game.

Many games software houses are starting to follow the lead of idSoftware in making the games cross platform, but unfortunately we are still far from having all the games ported to any (major at least) platforms.

So here it is my guide on how to install and run World of Warcraft on a Linux distribution.

Preparation
Before start to even try to install World of Warcraft you have to check if your system is correctly configured to run it.

The first step is to check if the video drivers you are currently using  support the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI). To do that open a terminal and enter the following command:
glxinfo | grep rendering

Hopefully the output will be the follow:
direct rendering: Yes

If the answer is “No” World of Warcraft can still run, but it will be much slower since the graphics rendering will be done in software mode rather than directly by the graphics hardware. In order to fix this issue you have to visit both your Linux distribution web site and the video card manufacturer (I am referring to either Nvidia or ATI directly, and not the actual end manufacturer such EVga or BFG) for guidance since unfortunately there is no standard way I can suggest you.

The second step is to have a working Wine installation. For this step you can read my previous guide on how to use Windows software on Linux. I want to give an advice to the users of the 64 bits version of Kubuntu (but it may apply to other distribution): while is generally recommended to have all the software up-to-date, and this would include also Wine, I personally always had problems to install WoW with any version of Wine after 0.9.58; to avoid problems I suggest you the following:

  1. remove (but not purge so you can maintain any already installed program) Wine;
  2. download the 0.9.58 version from the official archive page (for other distribution go to the main download page, enter the section relative to your distribution, and look for the guide on how to get a previous version of Wine);
  3. install it;
  4. install Wine as described below;
  5. run World of Warcraft at least once to check that it runs fine;
  6. upgrade back to the latest version.

Finally you have to make is to have the installation CDs ready. In most recent Linux distribution the process of mounting/un-mounting the CD/DVDs is as smooth and automatic as in Windows so you can easily insert the first CD and launch the installer from there; for the sake of safety and efficiency, personally I create a folder on my machine, I copy all the installation files from the CDs to this folder, and I launch the installer from here, but againg it should not be necessary (unless you are actually expriencing installation problems when prompted to switch installation CD).

A very last, and optional, step is to open the browser and visit the Wine AppDB page about World of Warcraft. While you are installing the game you can read that page to check if there are particular changes not covered by this guide or specific details for your particular distribution/hardware.

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