Thursday, October 4, 2007

WoW in Linux

Recently I started having technical difficulties while running WoW. I'm in Australia, and in addition to the lag problems a lot of other people have mentioned, even with the Oceanic servers, I was also having problems where at times I'd get randomly disconnected from the server.

Like a lot of people, I initially thought the server was to blame. However, I'd previously installed WoW in Linux as part of a different project of mine, (I've been using Linux in some form or another for close to a dozen years now, on and off...although Windows has remained my primary system for most of that time) and had already noticed in passing that my latency seemed a bit lower under Linux. I went back over to it a couple of times recently when a lot of other people were complaining of lag or dropouts from the server...and lo and behold, for me those problems entirely disappeared.

My ping times are consistently under 400 ms, (occasionally under 300 for brief periods) I never experience the types of disconnections I used to under Windows, and the OpenGL rendered graphics are really gorgeous, and moreso in some ways than Direct3D in Windows. On the negative side, the currently experimental voice chat wasn't working when I tried it this morning, but I'm fairly sure that's due to my sound card.

Of particular relevance to Hunters though is the fact that a below-400 ms ping time means I have at least some chance of being able to perform a proper 1:1.5 shot rotation, which is the recommended rotation for Marksmanship or Survival, without anywhere near as many stray shots. The other reason why this is a good thing is because if I'm not having stray autoshots between my specials, it raises my odds of having crit specials I've started seeing scenarios at times at least where I can fire Steady, Arcane, Auto, and get a 1k+ crit on both specials in a row. Pretty awesome stuff.

If you're interested in having a crack at doing this yourself, you can download Ubuntu and then go to the WoWWiki page for more information. If you do a search in Google for "Ubuntu wiki wow", (without the quotes) you'll also find a link to the Ubuntu wiki. You might want to go to that wiki anyway if you're new to Ubuntu in general, and have a read up about it. It does take a little bit of doing, as most things with Linux do, and if you're not technically inclined you might want to leave it...but if you're feeling adventurous, give it a try. :)

For non-American players, the lag reduction is probably going to be the single biggest draw, although some of you might be interested in seeing how things look with the different rendering engine, as well. It's very nice.


Pike said...

Woot! Much love for Linux.

I have been using Linux exclusively for nearly a year now, and since I started playing WoW about six months ago... well, let's just say I've never played WoW in Windows =) I have always played WoW via Wine in Kubuntu Linux, and I have very rarely had any problems. My boyfriend plays natively in Windows and experiences far more lag than I do.

A lot of people worry that setting up WoW in Linux is hard but to be honest it's not that difficult though obviously it depends a lot on your hardware and stuff. But the Ubuntu wiki has a really good guide, like you mentioned.

Karthis said...

I started my WoW playing in Linux, but after the pain of a number of patches, the great banning that swept up Linux players by accident, and a number of other problems I switched to Windows for my WoW.

Not only am I now playing on a platform that Blizzard actually supports, but my graphics are crisper, and my sound quality is higher. (And yes, this is on the same hardware) Now... I'm no Linux God, but I have run it long enough to know what I'm doing - and it just did not like WoW very much.

My distro of choice, btw, is Ubuntu.

Go figure.

Mera said...

Dont talk to me about Ubuntu - damn did i hate that thing. I could not get anything to work at all. tar.gz --- wtf? extracted it to somewhere, nothing ran.

Wireless drivers wouldnt work eiter. In short, reformat, XP, I win

Pike said...

@ Karthis and Mera-

I do acknowledge that I may have just gotten lucky with WoW in Kubuntu, I know a lot of people try really hard to get it working and can't, and it's hardly their fault. But I did (probably) get lucky with it all, WoW runs for me without issue, a very good framerate and flawless sound-- maybe it would indeed run better in Windows and maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but, I figure I don't have any reason to use Windows right now if Linux works fine ;) I never did get Windows working right anyway.

However, I am a very big proponent of the whole "Use the OS that works for you" theory. If Windows/Mac/whatever works better for you for WoW then definitely use it! I love Linux but I acknowledge that it's not for everybody ;)

Mirshalak said...

Mera, Pike's dead right.

As I might have said in the post, I've been using Linux on and off myself for close to a dozen years now...but the single main reason why it's gradually become a lot less is because I got very tired of having to do everything by hand when with XP it basically just works. ;-)

Linux only gets used by me now for very select, individual applications. Things like WoW or something else where for some reason I can't do what I want or need as well with Windows.

However for you, by all means...if Windows ain't broke, don't fix it. Do what works. :)

Karthis said...


Definitely.... I used Ubuntu for as long as I could, but when my user experience started to be hampered by the OS, it was time to switch.

Pity too, I have a big soft spot for Linux.