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Not only is it doable but some gamers report that the extremely popular MMORPG World of Warcraft actually runs better on Linux:
The performance comparison is surprising—we found that World of Warcraft appeared to run faster under Linux, especially when switching in and out of the game, or running in windowed mode. Other games showed little difference. The major downside to using a program like Cedega to run Windows games is that developers have less incentive to port their games over, leaving Linux gamers out in the cold unless they want to pay a subscription to Transgaming or continually tweak alternatives. Also, there is some friction between the open-source community and Transgaming regarding the extent to which the latter gives its developments on Wine back to the community.
Kevin Glosser tested World of Warcraft and Cedega extensively:
I stress tested the game to make sure. I went to the worst place possible, where the game would be forced to calculate and draw more polygons to the screen than any other place. If you play WOW (with an Alliance character), you know this location to be the auction house in Ironforge. Here, it’s not uncommon to see over 100 players in the same location. It’s one of the flaws of the game, that currently everyone on the same team goes to the same city in the same spot, to sell their items they collect while playing. This will be fixed eventually, Blizzard has promised. Currently, it’s a huge test to any computer no matter the hardware available. My frame rates remained identical. It ranged from a low of twenty five to a high of ninety five. It was such an identical experience that the game stuttered in the one and only place it does in Windows. This being after you teleport in to the inn and go outside to walk to the auction house. When you get in range of it, the loading of all the player models causes a slight stutter on my computer. Words don’t express how impressed I was by my World of Warcraft experience. It is fully playable to say the least.
I don’t play WoW, or use Wine/Cedega, so I won’t be able to help much if you send questions. Most Linux distributions will have World of Warcraft discussion threads on their community forums and that is likely the best place for you to start. I have installed Enemy Territory, UT2004, and Quake 4 and have found that all three run extremely well on my Ubuntu box but unlike World of Warcraft they are native Linux games. I’ve throw together a few links for those of you who want to give this a shot:
So I had to try it. I installed Wine and WoW today and the whole thing couldn’t be easier. It’s fast, at 1600×1200 with every effect set at max levels, and super stable too. I’m actually kind of surprised. You can see a screenshot in the Gallery. I created a World of Warcraft category there and will post mores soon.
The process that I followed was super simple and uses Wine instead of Cedega. That means it doesn’t cost anything. If you’re a hardcore gamer you still might want to consider investing a couple bucks a month in Cedega though. It’s a good product.
Here’s what I did:
1. Followed the “Latest Wine with World of Warcraft Patch” and “Configuring Wine” sections on the Wine wiki
2. The World of Warcraft wiki suggests copying the WoW CDs to your hardrive but I just ran install.exe on CD 1 and installed it normally. It will look like it’s hanging but give it a minute or two (or three) and the install will kickoff.
3. I was prompted for CD 2 by the installer but it was not recognized. Running “mount /media/cdrom” fixed that.
4. Followed the “Configuring WoW” steps on the World of Warcraft Wiki.
The WoW Wiki and Wine Application DB should be able to help you troubleshoot your install if my summary doesn’t help.
World of Warcraft
TransGaming Cedega (Run MS-Windows games on Linux – Commercial)
TransGaming – Cedega FAQ
TransGaming – World of Warcraft Forums
Wine (Run MS-Windows games on Linux – Free)
World of Warcraft Unofficial TransGaming Wiki
Ubuntu Forums – Ubuntu Gaming
Ubuntu – HOWTO World of Warcraft
Ubuntu – World of Warcraft Wiki
Ubuntu – Wine Wiki
Gentoo – Install and update World of Warcraft with Wine
Gentoo – Install and update World Of Warcraft with Cedega
Sign BlizzPub’s World of Warcraft on Linux petition