How-To Play World of Warcraft on Ubuntu Linux Smoothly


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.


Follow up:

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

Continue on Page 2!

(If you need additional help, please post your questions in detail here: gameshogun forums)

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9 responses to “How-To Play World of Warcraft on Ubuntu Linux Smoothly”

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  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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