So, you want to play World of Warcraft (WoW) on a Chromebook.
World of Warcraft is one of the best MMORPGs of all time.
It’s no surprise that you’d want to try playing this game on your Chromebook.
Whether it’s for portability, work, school, or just to show off that you’re running WoW on a Chromebook, you’ve come to the right place.
You’re “sailing” (a la Budd) your way to getting some WoW action on your Chromebook.
Note that this is a huge guide, and you’ll probably need a bowl of Azshari Salad and a Flask of Ten Thousand Scars to get through this tutorial.
Read on when you’re ready.
Last updated: 1/8/21. This tutorial has been reviewed for accuracy. Use Linux beta if you have it first. Updated for Linux (Beta) feature on Chromebooks. Updated guide to ensure that it still works in 2021.
Why (and who) would want to play World of Warcraft on a Chromebook?
Given that this MMORPG is probably the most popular MMORPG on the planet, it’s obvious that players would want to play it on a Chromebook.
World of Warcraft houses a playerbase of over 12 million players at its peak, which has now dropped to and hovers around 5 million active players.
That’s still a ton for a game that’s over 14 years old.
So that’s why I wrote this guide.
I used to play WoW quite a bit back in the day, but since then I’ve moved on to other MMOs and genres (currently addicted to JRPGs).
But I still check in to the game once in a while to see the new updates.
The vanilla servers coming back is a good reason to start playing again, especially if they have a group finder feature.
I know this is enough to get me back in the game.
Update: Even now in 2020, I’m still playing WoW Classic and can’t believe how much I’ve spent on this game now. You’d think a modern MMORPG would take over it, but no. No Chrome MMO compares.
Your friendly neighborhood Goldshire tutorial
*(Cue the roleplayers.)
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to install, run, and play World of Warcraft on a Chromebook.
Of course, given that the game isn’t built for Chrome OS, we’ll have to do some major tweaking and hacking in order to get the game running.
Note that this tutorial won’t work for everyone- it’s not guaranteed to work for your particular Chromebook and things can easily break it (whether they be updates, code changes, patches, etc.).
But if you’re a hardcore fan of the game, wouldn’t it be awesome to bring WoW with you on your Chromebook? Play it in bed. Play it at the mall. Play it at school (or work) when you probably shouldn’t be. Or just play it on a Chromebook to show it off.
It’s worth a try.
Even if it doesn’t work out for you, you’ll still learn a ton about your Chromebook and you can also install other games and apps like RuneScape, Minecraft, Steam, and possibly even Roblox while you’re at it.
If you get stuck at any point, you can leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out ASAP. Or if you’ve found a better way of doing a step, leave a comment as well.
Readers have confirmed that this is still working in 2020. If you get an error, the first thing you should do is post a comment below so I can check it out and help you!
This may require a bit of tweaking to get it working
But remember, we’re taking a game that’s built for a completely different platform and basically porting it over to an underpowered, incompatible device by the way of third-party applications and programs in order to run and play the game.
You can’t expect everything to go smoothly and you can’t expect the best performance- let alone if you can even get it to work. Just wanted to throw this out there before you get your expectations up.
The entire installation will take a few hours, but most of it is due to switching to Developer Mode, installing the game, patching it, etc. the actual manual process only takes about 20 minutes or so.
For the most part, you’ll be letting your Chromebook idle and do its own thing while you can go play some WoW with your current setup.
Okay, enough rambling.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Chromebook prerequisites- hardware requirements
The first thing we need to go over is hardware requirements.
It’s important that your particular Chromebook has all the necessary hardware in order play World of Warcraft.
If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t make sense to go through this guide and waste time.
So, what exactly do you need in order to install and run WoW?
It’s pretty much two major components- a large hard drive, and an Intel-based processor.
First, let’s talk about the hard drive.
As you probably know, World of Warcraft is a huge game (40+ GB).
The majority of Chromebooks only have 16GB of space, so if this happens to be you, you’ll need to get some additional storage space.
There are two ways to do this.
Use an external hard drive with WoW saved on it
The first, and most practical way, is to simply get an external hard drive that’s compatible with Chrome OS.
Install the latest version of WoW on there. And then connect it to your Chromebook later on when we install Lutris.
The problem with this is that performance is already staggered on a Chromebook. When you load the game from an external drive over USB, it hurts the FPS even more.
Regardless, if that’s your only option, you may want to give it a try anyway. We’ll cover this in detail later.
Get a Chromebook with a giant hard drive
The second way is to buy a Chromebook with a giant hard drive.
There are a few models out there with giant hard drives that can save the entire WoW directory and still have plenty of space leftover for your other games and programs.
Of course, this means you’ll have to shell out extra cash.
But if your Chromebook is already dated and you happen to be in the market for a new one, you may be persuaded to buy one because it’ll make playing WoW on it that much easier (and not to mention smoother).
There are also Chromebooks that can have their hard disk upgraded. You can literally swap the current drive for a bigger SSD if you’re handy enough.
If you’re interested, you may want to check out this buyer’s guide of the best Chromebooks for Linux. It covers the best models and also goes over which ones can have their SSD upgraded.
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten the disk space requirement for WoW out of the way, let’s talk about the processor. This is probably the most important part.
Finding out what kind of processor your Chromebook has
The majority of Chromebooks manufactured all use Intel CPUs.
This is the only way to get WoW working as far as I know. If you already know that you’re running Intel, then you’re good to go.
If you’re not sure what kind of processor your Chromebook has, here are some easy to ways to find out:
- Look for Intel stickers on the Chromebook. This is probably the most straightforward way to tell. Find the infamous “Intel Inside” blue sticker stuck somewhere on your device- probably near the touchpad or keyboard.
- Look under your Chromebook on the bottom panel. There are a ton of stickers on the bottom and they should list some core components. Look for anything that has to do with the processor, like Intel Celeron, Pentium, Core, i3, i5, i7, etc.
- Check your Chromebook specs online. Just punch in the brand and model of your Chromebook on your favorite search engine and find the spec sheet. Then look for an Intel-based CPU.
- Use the “system” spec sheet. This method will tell you the exact specs and components of your Chromebook:
- Launch the Chrome Browser
- In the address bar, type in “chrome://system” (without the quotes) and hit Enter
- Look at the menu on the left, click on “cpu” (you may have to click on “Expand All” to see this)
- Look at the entry on the right and find what kind of processor your Chromebook has
Okay, so do you have an Intel-based processor?
If so, you can proceed and continue with this tutorial.
If not, don’t waste your time.
The only other way to is to purchase an Intel-based Chromebook if you really want to play WoW on a Chromebook.
They’re pretty affordable
Given that the average Chromebook only costs about $200-$290, it’s actually not that expensive to upgrade.
And newer models have a lot more processing power, RAM, and storage capacity compared to older ones.
They also have access to the Google Play Store, which adds millions of apps in addition to the Chrome Web Store apps. They’ve come a long way. Depending on your situation, it may be worth it to upgrade.
(Thinking about upgrading? Check out this buyer’s guide covering the newest Chromebooks.)
Other hardware considerations
The only other hardware issues you may want to worry about is strictly for performance.
I’m talking about the basics like RAM, storage space, and CPU.
Obviously, you’re probably coming from a Windows computer.
I’m assuming you have some basic knowledge of how these components vastly affect the gameplay experience.
Chromebooks aren’t that powerful and don’t have a reputation for being beast rigs.
The majority of them only have 2 or 4GB of RAM with either an Intel Celeron CPU and 16GB of SSD storage. While World of Warcraft doesn’t require the best computer hardware to run, Chromebooks will likely suffer from performance issues.
You’ll be running the game off of integrated graphics
Note that Chromebooks don’t have discrete graphics cards (GPUs), so all of the graphics processing is done by the Intel HD Graphics coprocessor.
While Intel HD has its share of unfavorable reviews, it’s actually pretty powerful and can even run a lot of today’s modern games without the need for a dedicated graphics card (on a Windows or Mac computer, that is).
Intel HD Graphics is more than enough to run World of Warcraft on pretty much near-max settings. It’s actually quite impressive.
Every Chromebook powered by Intel is equipped with this coprocessor, so you’ll be able to run the game even without a graphics card on a Chromebook.
WoW is pretty well-optimized
It might be because it’s so well-coded that it runs on a toaster, or that’s super dated technology by now.
I have an 11.6’’ Acer CB3-131 (2GB RAM and Intel Celeron CPU) and I’m averaging about 20FPS when I play solo.
In groups, it drops down to about 12FPS and fluctuates from there. This is surprisingly still playable and even then, I try to avoid partying when I’m on my Chromebook. Raids aren’t an option.
They freeze and lag the Chromebook to unplayable framerates.
But being able to solo quest on a Chromebook while I’m bored is just an awesome feeling in and of itself.
Newer Chromebooks have more powerful hardware
If you have a newer Chromebook, you’ll likely have better specs than I do, so you’ll probably get better framerates.
You can also turn down all the in-game graphics settings to boost your game’s performance (more on this later).
Okay, so now that we have the system requirements for WoW on a Chromebook out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Grab your favorite drink and let’s get started.
How to install World of Warcraft on a Chromebook
This tutorial consists of a few different parts.
The process is basically pretty straightforward:
- Prep Chrome OS
- Enable Developer Mode
- Download Crouton
- Install Linux with Ubuntu
- Install Ubuntu Software Center
- Install Lutris
- Install World of Warcraft
- Play WoW
We’ll be going through each phase of it in detail. But there’s an overview of the whole thing in case you’re wondering.
If you have Linux beta, try that first. It’s as simple as enabling an option in Chrome settings. If not, then stick with the rest of this tutorial get it the traditional way.
So, let’s get on with the first step.
Be sure to back up all your stuff
Install the game requires that we enable Developer Mode (Dev Mode), which will delete all your local data as a consequence.
There’s no way around this so you’ll have to back up all your data first. And be warned that there’s no opportunity to do this later.
Everything in your “Downloads” folder will be deleted, including images, videos, docs, spreadsheets, files, and other data.
All of your custom folders and directories you’ve created will be wiped as well.
Your Chromebook’s settings will also be reset to factory defaults.
If your Chromebook is enrolled in a school or work network (managed), you may end up unenrolling it or you may be blocked from enabling Developer Mode.
It’ll wipe everything
Your Chromebook will essentially Powerwash itself and restore it to factory settings, so you need to make sure to take this opportunity to back up all your stuff that you want to keep.
You can use any common storage medium to transfer your files to.
Simply connect an external hard drive, flash drive, or even SD card if your Chromebook supports it and transfer your files.
You can also save it to your Google Drive account, which is free to use and you should’ve received some additional free extra storage space upon purchase of your Chromebook.
(Don’t have any backup device? You may want to check out this quick buyer’s guide.)
Note that anything saved to your Google Account will be safe.
This means your Google Drive account, Google settings, Gmail, and everything else tied to your account is safe and can easily be imported into your Chromebook after it enters Developer Mode.
Use Google Sync
If you have Chrome Sync on, you can also sync over your logins, form data, and Chrome apps and extensions so you don’t need to transfer all that data over again.
I strongly recommend enabling Chrome Sync if you have a lot of data saved to your Chrome Browser. It’ll save you a lot of time.
Take this time to back up anything you want to keep. And then proceed to the plains of Azeroth.
Enable Developer Mode
This is the first step whenever you want to do some crazy stuff to your Chromebook.
Developer Mode lets us pretty much get full access to Chrome OS. This is what we’ll need to get Linux installed.
To enable Dev Mode, all you need to do is follow the magical steps:
Step 1: Press and hold “ESC + Refresh + Power Button” until your Chromebook reboots into Developer Mode.
Step 2: After it’s done rebooting, it’ll scare you with a warning prompt stating some important information. Read over it and then press “CTRL + D” to confirm and enable Dev Mode.
Press Enter when prompted.
Step 3: Wait
Your Chromebook will now switch over Dev Mode which will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Give it some time to switch.
Step 4: Enter Dev Mode
After it’s done rebooting, you’ll see another warning prompt saying that “OS Verification is OFF” or something like that.
Go ahead and press “CTRL + D” again so you can log in to your Chromebook with Dev Mode enabled.
If you press the spacebar or let it idle, it’ll automatically switch back to normal mode, which means you’ll have to enable Dev Mode again. It’s a security measure built into Chrome OS, so be sure you keep OS Verification off.
Note: You may have to do this every time you wake up, turn on, or reboot your Chromebook. It’s just one of the minor annoyances of staying in Dev Mode.
Step 5: Set up your Chromebook
Log in your Google Account and sync Chrome if you want to. Adjust your Chromebook’s settings. Do everything you need to do to set it up.
Don’t go all hardcore though because if you screw up later on, you may have to Powerwash it and start over again anyway.
When you’re done go ahead and proceed so you can get started with installing Linux.
If you get stuck or you’re having problems getting this to work, you can check out this tutorial that covers how to enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook– it covers the process in detail.
Installing Linux on your Chromebook with Crouton
To actually Linux, we’ll need to use a special file called Crouton.
It’s made by a Chrome developer and is readily available for download with a lot of community-backed support.
It’s the easiest and fastest way to get Linux installed on your Chromebook, so we’ll be using Crouton to do it.
So, first, you’ll need to download Crouton. You can get it from here.
Find the download link and download it. Get the latest version.
Note: If you have access to Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook, you can skip everything that has to do with installing Linux in this tutorial. Just jump to “booting into Linux.”
Note: It’s very important that it saves to the default “Downloads” folder that Chrome generally saves to.
If you’ve created custom folders or a custom directory, the code that you need to type in later won’t work.
If it saved in a different location, either move it to the “Downloads” folder or take note of the folder it saved to. You’ll need to refer to it later.
After you’ve downloaded the file, it’s time to install Linux.
Some things you should know
There’s a very helpful Crouton FAQ page you should skim over.
This answers a lot of common questions you may have about it. It’s also important to read it because of the huge variety of different Linux installations you can install.
For instance, if you have a touchscreen Chromebook, you may want to add the “-t” flag to enable the touchscreen when you’re using Linux. And that’s just one flag.
There are plenty of different things you can add to the code to make your installation custom. That’s why it’s important to read it.
You can choose from a lot of different Linux distros
And then there’s the wide variety of Linux distros and desktop environments you can install as well:
- Arch Linux
- Mandriva Linux
- Ubuntu MATE
- Bodhi Linux
- Peppermint Linux OS
- Pinguy Linux
- Ubuntu Kylin
- OS Loki
- Dream Linux
- Elementary OS
And that’s just a few of the popular ones.
There are literally hundreds more (about 600 distros exist) that you can download and install.
Each Linux distro varies in core components, performance, resource usage, and capabilities.
Not all of them will work with Crouton
Note that not all distros can be installed with Crouton, but you do have a nice selection of which Linux distro you want to snag on your Chromebook.
With each distro, they also vary in desktop environment in terms of how they look and how much eye candy there is.
For some users, this matters.
They want their desktop to full of animation effects and transition effects. Others prefer performance over looks and would rather have a bland, minimalistic desktop in favor of better speeds.
It’s up to you to do your research and choose the best Linux distro for your purposes.
We’ll be installing WoW using Ubuntu with Xfce
In this tutorial, I’ll be installing the Ubuntu distro, which is probably the most popular Linux distribution on the planet.
It’s widely supported and has excellent long-term support (LTS) so you don’t have to mess with upgrades and updates too often. There’s also a huge community backing it so you can get help from dozens of forums as well if you ever get stuck.
I’ll also be installing it with KDE, which is a very simple and basic desktop environment. My Chromebook doesn’t have the best specs, so I can’t install anything that’s too flashy.
I’d assume that the majority of Chromebook owners also don’t have a super powerful device, so the KDE environment would work best for getting the most performance out of the laptop so World of Warcraft will run as smooth as possible.
It’ll get the most resources instead of being wasted on the desktop environment.
You’ll have to modify the code to install your custom distro
Regardless of which distro you choose to install, you need to modify the code presented later in order to install the right one
And you need to modify it to install the right features as well (touchscreen support, media players, default browser, etc.).
If you need help, I wrote an entire guide dedicating to getting Linux on a Chromebook that covers all the additional flags and distros you can install. Read it over if you need some clarification.
Okay, so now that you’ve downloaded Crouton and chosen a distro- you’re ready to go, let’s install Linux. Be sure that Crouton is saved to your “Downloads” folder or else the following code won’t work.
Did you read all the stuff?
When you’re all ready, we’re going to install it.
Type in the following lines of code when prompted. Be sure to use exact casing as shown, and don’t include the quotations.
Step 1: Press “CTRL + ALT + T” top launch the command prompt.
Step 2: Type “shell” and hit Enter.
Step 3: Type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t – xfce” and press Enter.
Your Chromebook will begin installing Linux as Ubuntu with Xfce.
This could take a while, so be patient.
Step 4: Go through the on-screen prompts.
Answer the on-screen dialog when it prompts.
You’ll also be asked to create a username and password during the installation. Be sure you either memorize these credentials or write them down, because if you forget them, you’ll have to start over from the beginning.
Don’t forget them!
Step 5: It’ll then complete the installation. Be patient.
You now have Ubuntu Linux on your Chromebook with Xfce!
If you’re stuck, there are a few things you can try.
If you’re getting an error that reads:
sh: Can’t open /home/chronos/user/downloads/crouton
Be sure that you’re in Dev Mode. This is the main reason why Crouton can’t be found.
Remember, if you reboot or wake up your Chromebook, it’ll likely snap out of Dev Mode if you don’t keep OS Verification off.
Another thing you can try is simply deleting the Crouton file and then downloading it again. It magically works the second time around.
If both those options don’t work, try reading this troubleshooting guide. Follow the instructions exactly as shown and it should work.
And here’s a tutorial that covers installing Linux on a Chromebook that goes into detail you can refer to.
Boot into Linux
Okay, so now that you’ve officially installed Linux on your Chromebook, you can now boot into it for the first time!
Here’s how to launch Linux:
Step 1: Launch a command line if you haven’t already (“CTRL + ALT + T”).
Step 2: Type the following line of code (without quotes- haven’t we been over this?):
“sudo startxfce4” and hit Enter.
You’ll magically boot into Linux and you’ll be good to go.
Step 3: Log in to Linux
If it asks for your login credentials, just use the ones you created earlier that you were supposed to jot down.
If you forgot them, you’ll have to do a Powerwash and start all over. That’s why it’s important to remember them.
Okay, so now that you’re in Linux. You’re ready to move onto the next step.
Tip: You can switch between Chrome OS and Linux instantly.
Press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Left Arrow” to switch to Chrome OS, and press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Right Arrow” to switch to Linux.
This is useful if you need to do something in Chrome OS that you don’t know how to do in Linux.
Note that the Left/Right Arrows are on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard.
These are not the Up/Down/Left/Right arrows at the bottom. Don’t get confused.
Install Ubuntu Software Center
The Ubuntu Software Center is a directory full of Linux-compatible programs.
Think of it like the Chrome Web Store or the Google Play Store. It’s pretty much just a giant warehouse full of tasty programs and apps you can easily add to your Chromebook without having to use the command line.
By default, you should have USC pre-installed with your copy of Linux.
Just look at the menu bar and you’ll find USC somewhere. It’s not too difficult.
If you’re having trouble finding it or removed it, you can easily find it by clicking the Ubuntu button, then click on “More Apps” and then “Installed…” Scroll down and you’ll see USC sitting there.
You can also just search for “software” in the search field on your menu.
If you’ve tried all three of these methods and you still can’t find it, you can easily install it with just a bit of code.
Here’s how to install Ubuntu Software Center:
Step 1: Launch the command prompt
Press “CTRL + ALT + T” to launch the command prompt.
Step 2: Update Linux
Type in “sudo apt-get update” and hit Enter.
This will run an update which is important before installing software to ensure a smooth installation.
Step 3: Install the Software Center
Type in “sudo apt-get install software-center” and hit Enter.
Your Chromebook will now install Ubuntu Software Center and it may take a few minutes depending on your connection speed.
You can also try using Synaptic- an alternative to USC
Alternatively, you can try using Synaptic.
It’s another program directory just like Ubuntu Software Center but it’s a lot faster and has fewer bugs.
I’d recommend Synaptic from the get-go, but I thought I’d save a few steps for people who may not be familiar with Linux and save some headaches for people rather than causing confusion.
But if you’re looking for a better installer or you’re comfortable with making changes, check out Synaptic. It’s easier to use, faster, and just works.
Okay, so now that you have USC installed, we can move onto the next step.
Lutris is an opening gaming platform that’s built just for Linux.
It works with pretty much any Linux installation and is written in Python and uses Gnome 3 libraries.
It’s a game management center kind of like Steam, but it doesn’t sell any games. You must own a copy of the game or it must be freeware in order for you to add it to Lutris.
It’s pretty much a library of your games and it makes it easy to install, emulate, and play your favorite games on Linux.
Our goal is to support every game which runs on Linux, from native to Windows games (via Wine) to emulators and browser games. The desktop application and the website are libre software, your contributions are welcome!
It also happens to be the easiest for newbies who are new to Linux.
Lutris also has the ability to import games into your library from any source- including an external hard drive with World of Warcraft saved on it.
You can read more about Lutris here.
When you’re ready, let’s go ahead and install Lutris.
The first thing we need to do is install the software packages.
Then, we’ll update them. This is always done before or after installing anything- it’s best practice to prevent bugs and crashing.
Here’s how to install Lutris on your Chromebook:
Step 1: Set up the Lutris repository by typing the following lines of code (without the quotes):
“ver=$(lsb_release -sr); if ; then ver=16.04; fi” and hit Enter.
“echo “deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/strycore/xUbuntu_$ver/ ./” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/lutris.list” and press Enter.
And finally type:
“wget -q http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/strycore/xUbuntu_$ver/Release.key -O- | sudo apt-key add -” and hit Enter.
Step 2: Install Lutris by typing the following code:
Type “sudo apt-get update” and hit Enter.
Then type “sudo apt-get install lutris” and hit Enter.
Lutris will then install. Give your Chromebook a few minutes to do so.
If you get stuck, you can ask their support forums for help here.
Install World of Warcraft with Lutris
Okay, you’re almost done.
Can you hear the roleplayers in Goldshire yet?
Step 1: Create a Lutris account
First, if you haven’t done so already, you need to make an account on Lutris.
It requires a username and password just like you Battle.net account or Steam account.
You can create an account here.
Step 2: Install the Overwatch settings to Lutris
Don’t worry too much about this why we’re installing the Overwatch settings. I found that it works better than the actual World of Warcraft settings on default.
If you’re confident and comfortable with Lutrix, you can go ahead and install WoW and play around with the settings to tweak them.
However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, I’d suggest sticking with the Overwatch settings. I know, it’s not World of Warcraft, but it works pretty much the same way.
Both WoW and Overwatch are games made by the same developer- Blizzard.
You can install the Overwatch settings here.
As you install it, be sure to configure it for Overwatch settings as these work best for WoW. Don’t ask why.
Step 3: Add World of Warcraft to your Lutris library
After you’ve installed the Overwatch settings, it’s time to finally install WoW.
The whole point of the previous step was to install the Overwatch settings and use them for WoW for best performance.
Now, you’ll want to either install World of Warcraft directly to your Chromebook’s hard disk if it’s big enough or add the game to your library from your external hard drive.
If you’re installing WoW directly to your Chromebook’s SSD, you can add it to Lutris here.
Adding a game to Lutris from an external drive
If you’re adding WoW to your Lutris library from an external hard drive, you’ll need to take a few extra steps but it’s easy and straightforward:
Step 1: Connect your compatible external hard drive to your Chromebook
If you don’t know how to do this safely, here’s a tutorial that goes over connecting external storage to your Chromebook.
It’s written for Chrome OS, but it should work the same for Linux (since Chrome OS is built off of Linux).
If you find out you don’t have an external drive (or you don’t have one that’s compatible), you may need to purchase one that actually works with Chrome OS.
I wrote a brief overview of some of the best Chromebook-compatible external hard drives you may want to check out.
There’s really no other way to get the game running if you don’t have enough storage space directly on your disk than using external storage. Sorry.
Step 2: Add World of Warcraft to Lutris
Lutris is constantly evolving, so these directions may not apply exactly as shown.
You’ll need to add WoW to Lutris from your external hard drive.
If you haven’t already, get an updated and saved copy of World of Warcraft on an external hard drive. After you’ve done that, you can add it to your Lutris library.
Here’s how to do it:
- Click on the “+” button on the left-hand menu to add a new game.
- Specify the source of the game (look for an external storage drive).
- Navigate to WoW’s launcher and get the path (wow.exe or launcher.exe).
- Add it to Lutris.
- World of Warcraft will then appear in your Lutris library.
That should be it. Again, this is a general guideline and may not be exact.
Play World of Warcraft on your Chromebook!
Okay, if you’ve gotten up to this point, you’re just seconds away from embarking on your epic quest through the lands of Azeroth (as cheesy as that sounds).
Now you should have WoW added to your Lutris library and everything should be ready to go.
Go ahead and launch the game.
After you log in to your Battle.net account, the first you should do is celebrate.
Congrats. You’ve installed World of Warcraft on your Chromebook!
The last issue that we need to worry about is performance.
Getting better performance in WoW
Chromebooks aren’t the most powerful machines out there, so playing a game like WoW on it will heavily tax it if you’re not optimizing your graphics.
For starters, you should turn everything down to the lowest possible setting.
Go to your graphics settings and toggle everything to the lowest setting:
- Turn the display mode to windowed mode
- Turn off anti-aliasing
- Turn off vertical sync
- Turn the resolution down to the lowest setting
- Turn the texture resolution to low
- Turn off texture filtering
- Turn off projected textures
- Turn the view distance to 1
- Turn the environment detail to 1
- Turn the ground clutter to 1
- Turn the shadow quality to low
- Turn the liquid detail to low
- Turn off sunshafts
- Turn the particle density to low
- Turn SSAO to low
- Turn depth effects to low
- Turn the lighting quality to low
- Turn outline mode to low
Or you can just drag the general graphics quality slider to “1” (the lowest preset setting) and double-check that everything is turned down.
Just doing this should drastically improve your FPS. You should be able to somewhat play the game, though not optimally.
On my Acer CB3-131, I could play it, but not do anything too demanding on the CPU like raids or instances with a ton of players.
Chromebooks aren’t gaming laptops
The Chromebook is an underpowered machine that isn’t made for playing games like World of Warcraft.
You’ll have to bare with its performance if you really want to play WoW on a Chromebook.
After you log in to the game, cast some spells. Run around a bit. Go to a populated area. If your Chromebook doesn’t stutter, go ahead and adjust the graphics settings to your liking.
Slowly turn them up unto you hit the sweet spot between performance and visual appeal.
You’re now playing WoW on a Chromebook
Did you get it working?
At this point, you should be playing World of Warcraft on your Chromebook if everything went smoothly! Now go forth and heal some tanks standing in the fire!
If you couldn’t successfully set it up, check out the troubleshooting section below for some pointers to get WoW running.
Getting a game that’s natively made for Windows and forcing it to run on another kernel on a dual-booted, underpowered laptop is quite a stretch.
It’s obvious that things will go wrong and not work as smoothly as you expected. Everything from WoW updates to Ubuntu updates to program updates can cause the game to not work anymore.
The fact that most people aren’t familiar with Linux only adds to the pool of confusion, so errors are to be expected.
If you can’t get WoW running on your Chromebook, check out these troubleshooting tips.
This is probably the first approach I’d take if Lutris doesn’t work.
WINE is another program for Linux that allows you to run Windows-native programs.
It pretty much works the same way as Lutris and is easy to use with a ton of online community support.
Remember that if your hard drive isn’t big enough, you may have to use an external hard drive.
Once you install it to WINE, go ahead and see if you can run it. If you get stuck at any part, there are tons of resources online you can read.
If you can’t find an answer, leave a comment here or post a question in WINE’s support forum.
Use WINE Staging
WINE Staging is a testing platform that you can try utilizing if your game is freezing, crashing, or simply not launching properly.
After you install it, make sure you’re on version 2.16 or whatever the latest version is.
Then, find the file “config.wtf” and add the following lines of code:
SET worldPreloadNonCritical “0”
* env variables or hide them in a script
Then find the “winecfg” file and be sure that “CSMT” and “VAAPI” are both on.
WINE should also be set to Windows 10.
Set fluid detail to the lowest possible setting
If you’re crashing a lot, and you’re using wine-staging 2.16, you can try setting the “fluid detail” level to the lowest setting. This may help prevent WoW from crashing during gameplay.
Run in Win32 instead of Win64
This is another common fix. In the launcher panel, go to “Game Options” and enable “run 32-bit client.” The 32-bit version seems to have a lot fewer bugs than the 64-bit version.
“-d3d9” is just a magical command that seems to fix some issues of WoW.
- If you’re running WoW on WINE:
- Go to “Game Options” and make sure the -d3d9 command is entered.
- If you’re running WoW on Lutris:
- Create a .sh to load the game with the -d3d9 command.
- This is a simple shell script and is very easy to create.
- If you don’t know how to use this, see this guide.
Install WoW on Lutris instead of Overwatch
This may be something you considered earlier, but you can try simply installing World of Warcraft on Lutris instead of Overwatch.
Here’s how to install WoW on Lutris (using the WoW files):
Step 1: Install Lutris (see section above for detailed instructions)
Step 2: Get a Battle.net account
Step 3: Download World of Warcraft
Step 4: Configure Lutris’ Battle.net to load WoW from your SSD or external drive
Step 5: Download the Overwatch binaries from here
Step 6: Decompile them in your “Downloads” folder (in Linux, that is)
Step 7: Go to “Manage Runners”
Step 8: Go to “WINE”
Step 9: Go to “Manage Versions”
Step 10: Select “Overwatch 2.15 x 86_64” (or the current newest version) and download it
Step 11: Right-click on the WoW icon and go to “configure”
Step 12: Look for the section about the WINE version and configure it to use the Overwatch binaries you just downloaded. It should show up as a selectable item in the drop-down menu.
And that’s it. Try launching WoW that way instead and see if it works successfully.
Use a different Linux distro
There are few other Linux environments that have had success with WoW, namely:
- Arch Linux
You could try cycling through these distros as well. If you want to play the game enough and you’re that devoted to getting it on your Chromebook, it’s worth a try.
PlayOnLinux (POL) is another installer library you can use to get WoW running if you none of the other methods work, though support for the game may be hit or miss. I haven’t used this in a while, so I’m not up-to-date on what they’re doing now.
Did you get World of Warcraft running on your Chromebook?
Well, that’s about it.
After WoW updated to 7.3, lots of Linux players had a lot of trouble connecting to the server, freezing, crashes, black screens, and even getting their characters stuck in places like Northshire, Frostwall, Lunarfall, and Stormshield.
But now, WoW seems to have stabilized and can easily be played with just Lutris and the game.
The main issue that I’ve come across is simply performance and hard disk space.
Other than that, the game has no other major problems stopping players from playing it at this point (all minor issues out of the way, of course).
The game should install pretty smoothly at this point, but if you’re still having problems getting WoW to run on your Chromebook, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help out.
If you’ve found this tutorial to be helpful, let me know as well =].
Also, more onside telling a friend so you guys can all raid Argus…on your Chromebooks.
Thanks for reading.