Play World of Warcraft on Ubuntu Linux Smoothly

How-To Linux

Update 2009-10-20: Added instructions in creating a shortcut to run POL-WoW. Works fine under Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”.
Update 2009-09-20: New wow-dualboot2.pol file, if the previous one did not work. Also did minor changes in the intructions below.
Update 2009-09-06: If you left a comment prior to the URL change, you can read it here 20 Comments from Old URL. Then you can go back here to post a new comment/reply. Thank you and sorry for this minor inconvenience.

Now back to our regular show.

GNU/Linux Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” 64-bit, that’s my gaming machine, running on Intel Core2Duo with 6gb of RAM and a (now low-end) video card from NVIDIA – 7300LE.

And do you know that I can play World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Neverwinter Nights 2, WarCraft III TFT, and track my game time via Xfire? No, all of these games and Xfire does not have any support for Linux unlike Second Life which offers a native Linux client, or EVE Online which used to offer support via Cedega.

No crashes, cool graphics (for my 7300LE NVIDIA vidcard), and no problems at all even though I’m running a 32-bit game under a 64-bit Ubuntu Linux distro. How did I do that? How was I able to play smoothly?

Come, I will show you how you can run Blizzard Entertainment‘s World of Warcraft on your Ubuntu Linux gaming machine.

Before we begin, I want to inform you (again) that I am using Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” 64-bit. The steps below should be similar to any Debian-based distros like Linux Mint and well Debian (obviously). For other distros, just adjust it according to your distros methods and commands.

First of all, you have to install WINE and PlayOnLinux (POL is actually enough but you may need WINE later, if for example you are going to install the Curse Client for your WoW addons).

Once you have those two installed, you can start following the steps below.

Installing World of Warcraft

There are two paths you can choose from depending on how you want to install WoW. The first is installing the game on your Linux partition directly, and second is by linking your installation to your existing Windows XP game folder.

Install World of Warcraft On Your Linux Partition

If you are not a dual-booter, then you can install the game on your Linux partition by following these steps. Otherwise, you can go to the next section.

  • Run POL by going to Applications -> Other -> PlayOnLinux
  • Click the ‘Install’ button
  • Go to ‘Games’ and search for ‘World of Warcraft’
  • Simply follow the instructions
  • Then go back to ‘Games’ and search for ‘World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade’
  • Follow the instructions

There are no POL script for installing World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. You can not install the game as you normally would – “run the exe file” – because POL use different folders per WINE-application. The trick then is to the run Wrath of the Lich King’s installer file like this:

  • Press: ALT+F2
  • Enter: env WINEPREFIX=”~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/WorldOfWarcraft” wine “{PathToYour WotLK Installer exe file}”

If you copied the contents of your WotLK DVDs to your harddrive, then point the {PathToYour WotLK Installer exe file} (see above) to it. If you did not, then point it to your DVD drive.

What it does is run your installer via the POL ‘WorldOfWarcraft’ wineprefix, which will install it to the WoW folder installed via POL. If you don’t do this, your installer will say that you have to install World of Warcraft first, because it is reading the WINE registry located outside of your POL wineprefix.

Install World of Warcraft and Link to your Existing Windows folder

If you are dual-booting (which probably you are) to play WoW under Microsoft Windows XP, then there is no need to have duplicate copies of your WoW folder. This method will also save you 6gb of harddrive space 😉 One note however, this guide assumes that your Windows Partition is automatically mounted on boot of your Linux distro. If not, install NTFS Configuration Tool which is in Synaptic.

But if you are not dual-booting, or you want to install the game on your Linux partition directly, go back to the previous section and follow those steps instead. This section is only for dual-booters who does not want to have a duplicate installation of the game.

Just follow the steps below:

  • Download this POL file: wow-dualboot2.pol (right-click and save as)
  • Run POL by going to Applications -> Other -> PlayOnLinux
  • Go to Tools -> Run a non-official script
  • Select wow-dualboot2.pol and just follow the instructions

Now that everything has been setup, it is time to create a symlink:

  • Go to: ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/WorldOfWarcraft/drive_c/Program Files
  • If there is an existing “World of Warcraft” folder, rename it to anything you want
  • Go to your WinXP WoW folder
  • Right click on your “World of Warcraft” folder and select ‘Make Link’
  • Cut the newly created symlink and paste it here: ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/WorldOfWarcraft/drive_c/Program Files
  • Rename the symlink to: World of Warcraft

If for some reason, the shortcut icons did not show up on your menu and/or desktop, follow these steps:

  • Download this icon first: World of Warcraft SVG Icon
  • Right-Click on your Panel and select: Add to Panel
  • Select: Custom Application Launcher
  • Here’s what you need to do:
    • Type: Application
    • Name: World of Warcraft
    • Command: /usr/share/playonlinux/playonlinux –run “WorldOfWarcraft”
    • Comment: PlayOnLinux
    • Click the icon box and select the SVG icon you downloaded

Final configurations

The next set of steps are the final configurations you have to do to make your World of Warcraft on Linux as fast and as stable as it can be. These instructions are applicable to both direct and dual-booting installations, as well as, to those who did not use PlayOnLinux.

World of Warcraft Edits
  • Go to your folder: ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/WorldOfWarcraft/drive_c/Program Files/World of Warcraft/WTF
  • Open: (note: if you don’t have the file yet, login to the game once then logout)
  • Add the following and save the file:
  • SET gxApi “opengl”
    SET ffxDeath “0”
    SET ffxGlow “0”
    SET ffxNetherWorld “0”
    SET MasterSoundEffects “0”
    SET SoundBufferSize “150”
    SET SoundOutputSystem “1”

WINE Registry Edits
  • Open POL (Applications -> Other -> PlayOnLinux)
  • Select the entry ‘WorldOfWarcraft’ and click the ‘Configure this application’ button
  • Click the ‘Forward’ button
  • Select ‘Registry Editor’ then click ‘Forward’
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Wine
  • Right click on the folder/key ‘Wine’, select ‘New’ then ‘Key’
  • Name the newly created folder/key to: OpenGL
  • Select the ‘OpenGL’ folder/key
  • Right click on the empty space, select ‘New’ then ‘String Value’
  • Name the newly created string value to: DisabledExtensions
  • Right click on ‘DisabledExtensions’ and select ‘Modify’
  • Enter: GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object
WINE Configuration

Right after the step above, the PlayOnLinux wizard for the application ‘WorldOfWarcraft’ should still be open (if not, just re-open it as instructed in the previous instruction), follow the next steps:

  • Select ‘Configure wine’ then click ‘Forward’
  • Go to the ‘Graphics’ tab
  • Under the ‘Window Settings’ group, be sure that the checkbox ‘Allow the window manager to control the windows’ is the only one checked.
  • Under the ‘Direct3D’ group, select the ‘Hardware’ option as your ‘Vertex Shader Support’
  • Still in the same group, check the box ‘Allow Pixel Shader (if supported by hardware)’
  • Go to the ‘Audio’ tab
  • Be sure that the only checked entry is ‘ALSA Driver’
  • Under the ‘DirectSound’ group, choose ‘Full’ for ‘Hardware Acceleration’
  • Then check the box ‘Driver Emulation’ (
  • Click the ‘Ok’ button
  • You should be back to the POL Wizard for ‘WorldOfWarcraft’
  • Select ‘Simulate Windows reboot’ and click ‘Forward’
  • After which, simply click ‘Cancel’ to close the wizard window
Ubuntu Configuration Editor (gConf) edits

This instruction is mainly for Ubuntu as this is the distro that I am using. What is presented here is simply the re-mapping of some keys so you can use it in the game, for example: Print Screen and ALT keys.

  • Go to Applications -> System Tools -> Configuration Editor; or Press ALT+F2 and type: gconf-editor
  • Go to /apps/metacity/global_keybindings
  • Look for key name “run_command_screenshot” then change its value to whatever you are comfortable with (I use: <Control>Print)
  • Go to /apps/metacity/general
  • Look for the key name “mouse_button_modifier” then change its value to whatever you are comfortable with (note: be sure you put a value! I use: <SUPER>)

And you are done! Congratulations and welcome to the World of Warcraft on GNU/Linux!!

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