After mulling it over for a couple of days (and the puppy dog eyes and pouting bottom lip that my son gave me) I decided to take the World of Warcraft (WoW) on Ubuntu plunge. This all comes straight off of the heels of my brother-in-law’s successful installation on his Ubuntu 7.10 PC a couple of weeks ago. I figured that if it worked well for him it should for me too.
If you remember from my last posts, I purchased an Everex $200 Linux PC for my kids for Christmas. It has been running solidly. It’s actually a great computer for them. Since I dumped in an older nVidia FX5200 (or 5500, I forget) PCI card with 128MB of ram it runs even better. See? You should keep your old hardware. Never know when you’ll use it again.
The first thing that I did was head over to the “official” Ubuntu WoW documentation website and follow the instructions for installation. It’s a pretty short tutorial. Those are the kind I like. My brother-in-law highly recommended that I purchase the game first so that I could have the DVD-Rom. This was mentioned in the tutorial as well. This makes things much simpler to install. Good advice. I’m not sure if you can download a copy since I am completely new to this game but it doesn’t hurt to drop the $20 for the game anyway. Besides, you get a nice booklet that explains the game. Makes sense if you are completely new to it.
Of course I installed the game through the use of Wine. Nothing special about it. Just install the version that is sitting in the Ubuntu repository (sudo apt-get install wine). I have to say that I am very impressed with how much Wine is maturing. I even read over the weekend that the latest Wine supports Photoshop CS2 and Microsoft Office 2007. Pretty cool for those who need those programs to function in a Linux environment.
After the installation of the game, which went as smoothly as installing it on Windows – I’m sure, I had to download all of the patches before the game would start. This was the worst part of the install because I had to download a 692MB patch first and the download time was slow. This was after I opened all of the necessary ports in my router and forwarded them to my son’s PC. I think it took 5-6 hours. Ouch! I went to bed after a while so I wasn’t sure how long it really took. It was ready for me the next morning though. After that there were, I think, two or three other patches that needed downloading too. Those were really small downloads so I got those pretty quickly.
After those patches installed (it’s done automatically) then I could log into the game, after I had set up an account first (of course). Which by the way, it’s costs $15 a month to play WoW. It’s worth it. Anyway, after log in I noticed that the graphics were a bit choppy. I had to change the default DirectX setting to the OpenGL setting just like the Ubuntu WoW documentation recommended that I do. Also, I made a quick change in the Wine Windows registry. After that it played wonderfully. My brother-in-law claims that he gets better frame rates on his Ubuntu machine than his WinXP machine. How’s that for Linux coming out on top for a change?
Overall, setting up WoW on Ubuntu was a piece of cake. You like cake don’t you. I love the stuff. 😉 My brother-in-law gave us quite a few tips and was able to play online with my son over the weekend. He has been playing WoW for a number of years and his brother has been playing even longer. It’s nice that I can use the both of them as reference if I need help. My son is already on level 5 due to the help of them. Not sure if that’s good or bad but he’s having a blast anyway. That was my reward in the end. 😉