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  1. #1
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    This thread is a simple, yet complex enough, guide to help you get the most out of running World of Warcraft on Linux.

    Keep in mind, I cover a lot of stuff in this thread and it IS NOT this complicated to get World of Warcraft running in Linux- don't get intimidated because of the length.

    So, essentially If you want to skip to the meat and potatoes and just get it going, you can jump right to the blue text.


    I will do my best to keep this thread updated as time goes on and things change with the game, expansions, updates and Linux in general.

    Disclaimer-
    ***I assume no responsibility for any damages done to your systems, loss of data, etc***
    ***If you're going to install an operating system, know what you're doing***

    --------

    Firstly- I'll cover some general concepts and reasons to run WoW in Linux
    Again, the actual set up is the blue text below.


    The pros to using a Linux distribution:

    -Stability
    -Worry MUCH less about viruses and intrusions
    -Due to the way Linux runs Windows programs, there is very little, if any, performance degradation
    -The most advanced and customizable desktop environment anywhere, hands down
    -If you can use a Mac, you can use Linux. (they're both Unix based and very similar at the core)
    -The overall concept of software and where you obtain Linux software is a completely different approach to what you're used to (this is a good thing)


    The cons of using a Linux distribution:

    -It does take some tweaking to get it to run most Windows programs (typically no more than 5 min more than a Windows install)
    -If you're coming from Windows there is going to be a learning curve (no more than going to a Mac however)
    -It's not going to run 100% of your Windows games (or other programs)... know that before just jumping right in


    That being said, I have used Linux for about 5 years and, honestly, have tried going back to Windows but it never seems to stick, it's stable, it works, it works well.

    --------


    Okay, to get started. (Assuming you're going to install Linux on your system) If you already have Linux installed, skip to the blue text.

    Pick a good distribution. I recommend Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/, or Kubuntu http://www.kubuntu.org/ but, OpenSuse http://www.opensuse.org/en/ and Fedora http://fedoraproject.org/ are fine distros too.
    You can go to their websites and download the image files to burn to a CD or DVD.

    Ubuntu will allow you to install it inside Windows so you can try it out first (Probably can't run games in this environment however, haven't tried it, but you could get an idea of what a starting point would look like) http://wubi-installer.org/

    Also, keep in mind, you will typically have a choice on which desktop environment you want to use. Gnome (Ubuntu) is going to be more like Mac, KDE (Kubuntu) more like Windows.
    There are ways to have them both, pick the one you like, roll with it.

    Burn the downloaded image to a cd (or dvd) and boot your computer with it.
    Every installer, depending on the distribution you choose, will be different. Again, know what you're doing before you write any changes to your hard drive.

    Once Linux is on your system- Get your WoW folder over there.


    **Different install methods can be used to install WoW.**

    Since WoW is portable, your best bet on getting WoW on your Linux box is to copy the files directly onto your Linux partition from a Windows install. (typically WoW is installed on your windows system in C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft)

    You can use traditional install methods to install WoW, (put the dvds in your drive and wait) but who does that any more? Unless you enjoy spending an entire day downloading patches, etc. (PM me if you really want to do this I guess)

    If you set up a dual boot system, where you have a Windows partition and a Linux partition, you can either drag and drop the folder right over (recommended) or run WoW while in Linux directly from your Windows partition. (Doable, not recommended due to the way NTFS indexes files)


    THE MEAT AND POTATOES (the blue text)

    After you have your WoW folder copied over (or installed) to Linux, you will essentially need two things (typically) to run WoW

    1. --An up-to-date video driver (saw that one comin)-
    Linux Nvidia drivers share 95% of the code their Windows counterparts do. Excellent drivers, good config interface similar to Windows.
    ATI does not offer as good of support for their Linux drivers, but there are many people who have had good success and you're not out of luck if you use ATI

    A good, modern distribution will typically install video drivers for you when the system is installed and set up.
    (If not, google this, and install your video driver)


    2. --Wine (The windows compatibility layer used to run Windows programs in Linux)(Wine Is Not an Emulator)

    Keep in mind, there are various front end programs you can install on your Linux system to run Windows programs- Cedega http://www.cedega.com// is probably the most popular. It still uses Wine as a backend however, and it costs money.

    A Wine install by itself will suffice just fine for a program as simple as WoW (in the sense of its portability and lack of dependencies)

    To install Wine in (K)Ubuntu—open a terminal and type:
    sudo apt-get install wine

    After wine is installed on your system, type:
    winecfg

    This will create your .wine folder and a virtual C drive (drive_c) on your system and open the Wine configuration menu.


    ***Methods for configuring Wine to get the most out of WoW on Linux***

    Of course, I've tried about every setting known to man in here so I can share that info with you to get your precious Wow running as well as possible- typically better than Windows for me-- why is this possible people? That's right, very good. Because Wine is not an emulator... moving on-

    Wine can save various setting environments for your programs to run in, specific to each program

    click the 'Add application' button, browse to where you copied Wow.exe to, click 'open'

    Now when you have Wow.exe selected from the list, you can configure settings that will remain specific to that program. (You can, of course, do the same for other programs as well)

    With Wow.exe selected, click the Graphics tab
    The settings I have selected work very well. (Note: some people may have better luck with the "Emulate a Virtual Desktop" option selected. (Enter your native resolution in the boxes below it if you use this option)




    click the Audio tab
    The settings I have selected work very well.



    You are done with the Wine configurations!

    ***One last thing***
    In your file browser, locate your Config.wtf file (located in World of Warcraft/WTF/)
    Right-click it and select edit. (or 'open with' 'kate' or 'gedit')

    add this line anywhere in the file:
    SET gxApi "opengl"
    save the file.
    (You can play WoW without doing this, but your performance will likely suffer.)

    TIME TO PLAY!

    Basically, you can open a terminal and browse to your WoW folder
    LiNuX iS cAsE sEnSiTiVe (just like Mac. Remember? they're related)

    **Linux tip**
    You can use the Tab key to finish the line you are typing in a terminal. For example, you can type ‘cd /hom[TAB] and it will auto-complete to /home/ for you (this is handy for when you're browsing to the actual World of Warcraft folder, trust me)

    Once you're at your wow folder (should look something like $/home/user/World\ of\ Warcraft/
    Simply type:
    wine WoW.exe


    **Keep reading, once it's running for more tips**

    If it prompts you, select yes to reload default settings, this will re-write your old Windows settings in your config.wtf file, which is good. (It will also start WoW in a low graphics mode, so don’t freak out when it looks ugly.)

    Before even logging in, you can click Options and then Video. You can reference my screenshots if you like. Just make sure to leave triple buffering turned off one way or the other, or you'll likely experience occasional tearing.

    Also, many people (including me) have better luck playing in Windowed mode (unless you chose to emulate a virtual desktop from Winecfg (see above))





    There you have it people. Have fun and play away!





    ***Things to make your life easier*** (and maybe improve performance)

    I have included here http://eriksplace.com/shared/wow (right-click, save-as) a startup script that I've modified several times to get good results with.
    You can use this script (like a batch file) if you'd like. Simply edit the path to your World of Warcraft folder and save it. (to edit files, see above)
    (might have to rename back to 'wow' depending on how your browser saved it)

    Make it executable-
    Open a terminal and browse to the folder where you downloaded this file and type:
    chmod +x wow
    (now you can just click the file to run wow)


    Here is a good scalable icon you can apply to the file as well if you'd like http://eriksplace.com/shared/wow-icon.svg (right-click, save-as)



    ***Native Ventrilo client***
    Note: this is not Ventrilo, niether is it associated in anyway with Ventrilo. It's a native Linux client written by a private party that simply works... and works good. (Including push-to-talk)

    The Quick Connect option is awesome for connecting to random pug servers.
    http://www.mangler.org/


    ***Other cool Linux stuff***
    Will add stuff here as needed.

    ***Screenshots***

    My Desktop (When rotating over to see my who's talking in vent)



    ***Videos***
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWLA5Fw5gAY
    One of my favorite Linux videos (check it out and tell me that's not hot!) (OpenSuse with Compiz enabled)


    [edit: If it's going to be a sticky, it might as well adhere to posting standards. Chopped the larger images down to thumbnails linked to full-size images. - Cilraaz]
    Last edited by Erik765; 2010-07-03 at 03:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Very nice, this needs a sticky tbh. Very good job

  3. #3
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    I need to create a dual boot of linux again to test its performance out. I ran WoW under linux during TBC (about mid-way through) and was not impressed at all. The framerate was terrible under OpenGL, even with half of the effects disabled. Perhaps they've improved the OpenGL engine until now.

  4. #4
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Perhaps they've improved the OpenGL engine until now.
    It probably has a lot to do with better drivers that are available now too.

    I run with full settings (-shadows) and I can switch over to my Windows 7 partition and the performance is really no better.


    Chopped the larger images down to thumbnails linked to full-size images
    and, thanks for doing that I was lazy last night

  5. #5
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik765
    It probably has a lot to do with better drivers that are available now too.

    I run with full settings (-shadows) and I can switch over to my Windows 7 partition and the performance is really no better.

    and, thanks for doing that I was lazy last night
    I'm hoping to see a framerate comparison tonight. I already remotely shrank my boot drive's partition to open 30GB for Xubuntu/WoW. Just need to get Xubuntu and WINE installed and copy WoW over.

    The one thing that worries me is ATi's linux driver support.

  6. #6
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Xubuntu installed. WINE installed. WoW installed. ATi's latest linux drivers installed. Everything 100% updated.

    Framerate is fairly awful. I'm getting about 26fps in Dalaran. I dumped my config.wtf and started fresh (including the OpenGL option, of course). Still 26fps. My settings match yours 100%, except for resolution. I'm also getting some flickering in my UI. Time to load up Windows 7 for a comparison.

    Now on Windows 7 Ultimate. I have my standard set of programs running, as to not give it any non-real world advantage. I loaded the same character into Dalaran with an identical UI. I get 56fps. Not quite sure what the issue is in linux, but it's definitely suffering.

  7. #7
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Well, my guess is the ATI drivers.

    (You are using at least Catalyst 10.3 right?)

    Like I said personally, I get very similar performance from my Kubuntu 10.04 64bit than I do in my Windows 7 64bit Ult.

    The only "other" difference in yours and my setup is that I'm using Nvidia.

    Have you tried using WINEDEBUG=-all in front of wine? (Like it's referenced in my startup script bash file)
    WINEDEBUG=-all wine /home/username/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/WoW.exe

    Try it, it helped for me. Probably not going to double your frame rates, but it should improve performance somewhat.

    I can almost guarantee that it's the difference in the video drivers. Linux ATI drivers just don't really compare to Linux Nvidia unfortunately. Even more unfortunately, it's something that's completely out of our control.

    Try the debug flag, let me know.

  8. #8
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    I copied your shell script, so that's with the debug flag. And I'm using ATi Catalyst 10.4.

  9. #9

    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Hello all,

    I have an ATI HD4650 GPU, I have been pondering the idea on whether to get Linux or not.
    As I like the GUI and the fact I don't have to use anti-virus software and numerous other reasons.

    So would it be unwise to change? since Cilraaz says that it reduces your FPS in wow, that is critical for me as I need to have good FPS for raiding, otherwise it just annoys me

    I will try it soon enough though, to find out for myself. But any information that anyone has would be great
    http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/ww163/Jaqerainey/raineynezmoth1.jpg

  10. #10
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    JRainey,

    What is it that you consider good and need to have in order to raid? I get around 20fps in 25s with my stuff still maxed, and the same in windows.

    It's worth a try, some people have great success with ATI and others, not as much as with Nvidia.

    Just make sure you have at least Catalyst 10.3 drivers and you're using opengl and give it a shot.

    The biggest performance booster for Wow in windows or linux is higher cpu performance. (this doesn't always mean, unfortunately, more mhz since some cpu's are way less efficient than others).

    Keep me posted as to your experience.

  11. #11

    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    ATI's OpenGL drivers for Windows are supposedly really really bad compared to Nvidia. If the same holds for Linux drivers, it would explain why it's so bad on ATI.
    Never going to log into this garbage forum again as long as calling obvious troll obvious troll is the easiest way to get banned.
    Trolling should be.

  12. #12
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    ATI's OpenGL drivers for Windows are supposedly really really bad compared to Nvidia. If the same holds for Linux drivers, it would explain why it's so bad on ATI.
    That's likely a cause.

    As a side note: This should also help validate that Linux is not the cause of poor performance when using ATI. Since WINE is not technically an emulator, there should not be any performance degradation because of the OS. More likely it would be driver's ability to properly render opengl. In which case, Nvidia drivers are amazing on Windows and Linux at doing this, ATI drivers are not.

  13. #13
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Quote Originally Posted by JRainey
    So would it be unwise to change? since Cilraaz says that it reduces your FPS in wow, that is critical for me as I need to have good FPS for raiding, otherwise it just annoys me
    It was my experience now and in TBC that I had received lower framerates than in Windows. I'm not sure what video card I was using in TBC, though. It's possible I was on my old Radeon 9700 PRO at that point. I can't remember when I upgraded to my GeForce 8800 GTS G92. So I may have been on ATi both times that I've tried, which could be the reason my experiences were less than stellar.

  14. #14
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    I can't remember when I upgraded to my GeForce 8800 GTS G92.
    I almost challenge you to throw your 8800 in there, install a recent nvidia driver and see what it does. (/duel)

    I had an 8600gts I ran for over a year. (My gtx275 may have been a waste of money since I didn't notice too huge of a performance increase until I actually upgraded my cpu lol).

    Just a thought.

  15. #15

    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik765
    JRainey,
    What is it that you consider good and need to have in order to raid? I get around 20fps in 25s with my stuff still maxed, and the same in windows.
    Keep me posted as to your experience.
    I myself like 30fps or so, but when walking around Ironforge or out questing etc I like to have a constant 60 FPS. That is the highest I can go due to vertical sync

    I was also wondering, I know you can get word like software and powerpoint software in Linux, but do the files save to a format that is recognizable in Microsoft Office?
    The reason I ask is simply because my tutors in college look at students work in Microsoft office normally, although when we do our final hand-ins it's normally in PDF format.

    Also I would assume Linux would be less processor heavy compared to windows, as my processor is not the greatest, this is another reason for me to change to linux!
    (Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core Processor 4400+ - 2.30Ghz) - be meaning to upgrade, but meh! not got around to it yet ^_^

    Any knowledge would be great, thanks all
    http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/ww163/Jaqerainey/raineynezmoth1.jpg

  16. #16
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik765
    I almost challenge you to throw your 8800 in there, install a recent nvidia driver and see what it does. (/duel)

    I had an 8600gts I ran for over a year. (My gtx275 may have been a waste of money since I didn't notice too huge of a performance increase until I actually upgraded my cpu lol).

    Just a thought.
    The 8800 is now my wife's video card. I doubt I can convince her to give me 30GB of her hard drive to make a linux partition. She's not as in to these things as I am.

  17. #17
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    I have Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (2003, but /07 works too) installed and running- cuz I don't like OpenOffice (which, yes, will save files in MS office formats and is compatible).

    PM me if you want help with installing Office, since I don't really want to fill this thread up w/ off topic stuff too much.

    Same here, I use vertical sync and I get max in IF (around 60 of course). without vsync I can easily run over 100 in IF. (haven't checked in a while tho)

  18. #18
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    The 8800 is now my wife's video card.
    Lol, same here. I threw my 8600 in my wife's box... sad days then

    i claim victory by forfeit.

  19. #19

    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik765
    I have Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (2003, but /07 works too) installed and running- cuz I don't like OpenOffice (which, yes, will save files in MS office formats and is compatible).

    PM me if you want help with installing Office, since I don't really want to fill this thread up w/ off topic stuff too much.
    Office or openoffice?

    Nonetheless, thanks for replying Now I know for certain I will test linux out soon enough!
    Looks fantastic and your topic will be greatly beneficial when I go to install world of warcraft
    (Couple of weeks though too much college work to do)
    http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/ww163/Jaqerainey/raineynezmoth1.jpg

  20. #20
    Stood in the Fire Erik765's Avatar
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    Re: Complete WoW-on-Linux Guide (with screenshots)

    Office or openoffice?
    You can use either one. OpenOffice installs natively and saves and edits native MS Office files (Fully compatible)
    MS Office uses WINE.
    PM me if you need help installing MS Office.

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