Tweaking Linux and WINE for World of Warcraft

It’s great that the World of Warcraft runs well on recent editions of WINE(Unbuntu/Fedora), but even when using OpenGL the typical Linux user can expect a frame rate reduction from 15%-30% over Windows XP.  However, I must point out that there are many reports of frame rate drops in Windows Vista and Presumably Windows 7(because of virtualization of XP apps).

All this is okay for typical grinding, leveling, and five man instances.  That said,  my GeForce 7950 GTX is only cranking out 30 FPS in low populated zones…  So for the bigger raids, PVP, and highly populated zones like Dalaran it can be frustrating trying to pwn at 12-16 FPS.  In fact my mission is to get at least 40 fps with the graphics card I have.

I was able to improve my frame rate by disabling mods like ‘Questhelper’ in battle grounds.  I added additional RAM to my system.  Although the frame rate boost was negligible; loading times were cut in half.

I also found this article at  The writer claims that adding an OpenGL registry key can dramatically increase frame rates on ATI cards, but also offers benefits to Nvidia ones as well.  I tried it, and got and extra 5-10 fps.  That, along with the RAM and disabling Questhelper has made Battle Grounds much more playable.

Here are the instructions for the key edits:

1.  Find HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Wine\
2.  Highlight the wine folder in the left hand pane by clicking left on it. The icon should change to an open folder
3.  Click right on the wine folder and select [NEW] then [KEY]
4.  Replace the text “New Key #1” with OpenGL (CaSe Sensative).
5.  Click right in the right hand pane and select [NEW] then [String Value]
6.  Replace “New Value #1” with “DisabledExtensions” (CaSe sensitive)

7.  Then double click anywhere on the line, a dialog box will open.In the value field type “GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object” (without the quotes).



Also check out this link to a previous article on Overclocking Nvidia Graphics Cards!

I’d like to finish by pointing out that Blizzard will likely have to create a new client for Windows 7.  The alternative is to run WoW in Windows WIN32 virtualization mode.  What do you think that will do to the average users ‘Frames Per Second’ rate?

The crazy part about this is that Blizzard has Linux clients running in their internal offices.  In a recent interview on Slashdot, World of Warcraft game Director, Jeff Kaplan states:

WoW is actually extremely Linux-friendly, internally. There are many Linux WoW servers and WoW clients. But, publicly, we haven’t released WoW on Linux, and don’t currently have any plans to announce that.

Then later in the interview, the questions is posed, ‘Is there any sort of vehicle that might allow the people who have gone through the trials and tribulations of getting it stable on Linux to share their experience?’

Possibly. It’s definitely not out of the realm of probability. But, at this time, we don’t have any plans to announce it on any other clients than we currently have.

So what I wonder is what to do with all the people that have average hardware that can barely run Windows 7 to begin with.  As XP becomes more outdated the only alternative for millions around the World is buy a new computer or use WINE/Linux.  Given that Blizzard already has many working servers and admits their own staff play WoW on Linux clients doesn’t it make sense to release it.  Because Linux is free and has great deal more third party software it would be an excellent option for Warcraft. That’s my take on the situation.  Thank you for visiting and Please comment on the subject!


If anyone that works for Blizzard is reading this blog…

Dear Blizzard,

Please release a Linux client for the World of Warcraft, even an unsupported one.  We don’t care if it doesn’t work perfectly on patch day.  Many of us are just sick of being pigion-holed by low quality, hardware intensive(Vista), Windows platform and the expensive hardware from Apple.  Bringing a beta Linux client to existing customers would provide a inexpensive alternantive platform for enjoying your software.

Considering the global recession and the hardware/software cost for people in developing nations, it makes a lot of sense.  Blizzard’s software would be more accessable to more potencial customers.  The immediate returns might not be great, but the ROI(Return On Investment) could draw in many more subscribers over the next few years considering the future and adoption of XP/Vista/Windows7 is so uncertain and costly.

your friend,



  • luisgoru

    i second that… just release it unsupported, like unreal tournament…
    now that i know you have it, its no sense to my to keep it too yourself…
    i enjoyed my trial period fair enough at ubuntu/wine so when i can officially (even not supported like unreal) play WoW at my ubuntu PC or my PS3, im glading paying the subscription (and im from the ones that think xbox live is stealing money and never will pay for play online)

    Comment | September 22, 2009
  • mattb

    The truth is that Linux is a better and better desktop platform year after year. It’s about digital freedom. Hopefully Blizzard will be a leader in the future.

    Comment | September 25, 2009

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