Running World Of Warcraft under Linux: Prologue

Update (September 2012): This article is out-of-date. Take a look at our guide to updating to Mists of Pandaria under Linux.

When I’d finally kidnapped enough children to get Exalted reputation with the Kalu’ak, I was pretty excited. Not because they gave me a magic fishing pole that let me breathe underwater, but because they gave me a pet penguin. I like penguins. I like them a lot. You see, I run World Of Warcraft under Linux.

GNU/Linux is a free operating system. It’s an alternative to Windows, or MacOS X. I’ve been running Linux exclusively on all of my computers for years, and I love it, but I love Warcraft too and that’s where we hit a problem. If you check the side of the battered WoW installation box you keep on top of your wardrobe you’ll see it lists Windows and Mac OS as supported operating systems, but there’s no mention of this Linux thing. WoW is not designed to run under Linux.

It’s quite possible to make it run, though. In fact, once it’s set up and configured correctly, it can run just as well as it would under Windows or OS X. It’s the “set up and configured correctly” bit that’s the problem. It’s not trivial.

I’ve had a few requests over Twitter for tips and tricks from fellow penguin-lovers. Initially, I planed to knock together a quick post listing a few useful configuration commands and settings, but I’ve decided to go one better. I’m going to put together a comprehensive guide on installing WoW on Linux. We’ll start with a fresh Linux installation, and go through each step as required. If I make any mistakes, or if things go wrong, I’ll document them (and hopefully document how I fixed them, too).

It’ll take me a while to put it all together, but I’ll try to post Part One soon. In the meantime, have you ever tried running WoW (or any other MMO) under Linux? How did you get on?

This series: Prologue | Installation