in Games, HowTo

Running Guild Wars 2 On macOS Using Wine

At the beginning of 2021, ArenaNet announced that they would no longer be supporting the macOS client for Guild Wars 2. As a longtime player, I found this… unfortunate.

There are several ways to run the Windows client on a Mac including dual-booting Windows with Bootcamp, but that’s not an option for me. Running in a virtual machine like VMWare or Parallels is too slow, so that leaves some form of Wine which is a Windows compatibility layer. The old macOS 32-bit Guild Wars 2 client actually used a version of Wine to run. It wasn’t as good as when they released a 64-bit native client, but it worked for a time.

I tried several ways to run Guild Wars 2 using Wine before finding one that works for me. In this post I’ll explain how to set it up.

Note: Click on the images for larger versions.

My Machine

I am running a 2019 iMac with:

  • macOS 10.14.6
  • 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9
  • 32 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
  • Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB

So it really should be able to handle this really old game…

What I Tried

The first thing I tried was PlayOnMac 4.4.1. It worked alright for general PvE, but it was still too slow even on basic graphics settings and the code to install different WINE versions was broken. They fixed the download problem in 4.4.2, but they made that version require macOS 10.15+ for some reason.

The next thing I tried was a straight Wine build – version 6.5 (wine-devel-6.5-osx64) which I downloaded from here. This worked alright as well, a bit better than the PlayOnMac one, but didn’t have any nice config & install capabilities like some of the wrappers do.

Then I found Gcenx/WineskinServer. This did the trick.

I’ll step through everything I did to get Guild Wars 2 up-and-running at a reasonable framerate for me.

This looks like a lot, but I’ve just been incredibly verbose for those that need a bit more direction.

Download Stuff

We need to download two things:

  1. the 64-bit version of the Guild Wars 2 Windows installer from ArenaNet
  2. the latest WineskinServer (v1.8.4.2 at the time of writing – there’s a link under “Manually installation” (sic))

Generate The Wineskin Wrapper

Decompress the Wineskin.Winery.txz file we just downloaded by double-clicking it, right-click the Wineskin Winery.app, and select Open. You’ll probably get a dialog complaining about something and you’ll have to click another button that says Open.

Wineskin Winery - Main

Wineskin Winery – Main

Click the “+” to add a new engine.

Wineskin Winery - Add Engine

Wineskin Winery – Add Engine

Select WS11WineCX64Bit20.0.2 and click Download and Install.

Wineskin Winery - Engine Added

Wineskin Winery – Engine Added

When that’s complete, it will show up in the list in the main window. Next we need a wrapper, so click the Update button in the Wrapper Version section.

Wineskin Winery - Update Wrapper

Wineskin Winery – Update Wrapper

Click OK to download and install the latest one.

Back in the main window, click the Create New Blank Wrapper button at the bottom of the window.

Wineskin Winery - Create Wrapper

Wineskin Winery – Create Wrapper

Give it a name like GW2 and click OK.

As it sets itself up, you will get this window asking about Gecko a couple of times. Just click Cancel to skip it.

Wine - Gecko Installer

Wine – Gecko Installer

Once it has finished, it will show you this window. Click View Wrapper in Finder to show the new application.

Wineskin Winery - Wrapper Created

Wineskin Winery – Wrapper Created

The application will be in your home directory’s Applications folder. Once we’ve completed all the setup and installation, this is what you will run when you want to play Guild Wars 2.

Setting Up The Environment

When you run new application, GW2.app, you will be presented with the Wineskin main window to finish your setup.

Wineskin - Main Window

Wineskin – Main Window

Click the Screen Options button and turn on all the options.

Wineskin - Screen Options

Wineskin – Screen Options

Note (16 May 2021): After writing this up I experimented a little. You don’t need to turn on Retina Mode. With it off, the loading window will be a more reasonable size and the resolutions will still work properly when the game is running.

Go back to the main window and click Advanced.

Wineskin - Advanced Settings

Wineskin – Advanced Settings

Go to the Tools tab.

Wineskin - Tools

Wineskin – Tools

Click the Winetricks button in the Utilities section in the middle. Winetricks is a tool used to easily set some configuration and install other libraries and programs.

Wineskin - Winetricks

Wineskin – Winetricks

We are going to install an application, several libraries, and change a couple of settings.

Under the apps section, select 7zip. (I don’t know if this is strictly necessary for what we’re doing, but I have it installed, so I’m including it here.)

Under the dlls section, select d3dcompiler_47 and d3dx9_43.

Under the settings section, choose fontsmooth=rgb and win10.

Click the Run button and you should get a confirmation dialog.

Wineskin - Winetricks Install

Wineskin – Winetricks Install

Click Yes, wait for it to install and set everything up, and close the window.

Back in the Advanced Settings, choose the Advanced tab. If it is not on, turn on the last setting to disable Gecko installation. This will prevent that window we saw earlier from popping up all the time.

Note (25 June 2021): This may already be turned on. It is possible a newer version of the wineskin wrapper does this for you.

Wineskin - Advanced Advanced Settings?

Wineskin – Advanced Advanced Settings?

Click the Install Software button at the bottom of the window.

Wineskin - Install Executable

Wineskin – Install Executable

Click the Choose Setup Executable button and select the Windows Guild Wars 2 installer you downloaded earlier.

Installing Guild Wars 2

The first thing it will do is a bunch of downloading and updating…

Guild Wars 2 - Updating Itself

Guild Wars 2 – Updating Itself

Once it’s finished with that, you will be at the main Guild Wars 2 window with a bright INSTALL button. Click that. This will pop up a save dialog that’s hard to read (because we have the Retina thing on), but it should be installing in the correct location: C:\Program Files\Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 - Install

Guild Wars 2 – Install

Now it will begin the main install process.

Guild Wars 2 - Login Screen

Guild Wars 2 – Login Screen

When the install is completed, or you interrupt it to copy over the data file, you will be asked to set the executable for this wrapper. Choose the Gw2-64.exe we just installed.

Wineskin - Choose Executable

Wineskin – Choose Executable

Copying The Data File From An Old Installation

If you have an old installation of Guild Wars 2 and don’t want to re-download the ~50 GB of data, you can close the window with the “x” in the top-right and copy over the data file.

This is where the data file is on the macOS client:

Guild Wars 2 - macOS Data File

Guild Wars 2 – macOS Data File

You need to right-click the Guild Wars 2 64-bit.app file and choose Show Package Contents.

Find the Gw2.dat file and copy it to the wine installation we just completed. To find that, go to your home Applications/Wineskin/GW2.app, right-click it and choose Show Package Contents. (Note this is not the system Applications folder – it’s in your home directory.)

The file we want to replace is here:

Wineskin - Guild Wars 2 Data Location

Wineskin – Guild Wars 2 Data Location

Play!

Once it’s all installed, you should be able to play! For reference, these are the graphics settings I’ve been using lately:

Guild Wars 2 - Graphics Settings

Guild Wars 2 – Graphics Settings

You will have to play around with your graphics settings to get something that works for you.

Useful Extras

Getting Back To The Wineskin Settings

To get back to the Wineskin settings for your GW2.app to install new things or to adjust your settings, go to your home Applications/Wineskin/GW2.app, right-click it and choose Show Package Contents. Then double-click Wineskin.app.

Icon

An icon isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s nice to see it in the dock when Guild Wars 2 is running. If you have your old macOS installation, you can click the Browse button next to the icon and navigate to /Applications/Guild Wars 2 64-bit.app/Contents/Frameworks/Gw64.framework/Versions/GuildWars2.111959/Resources/app.icns

Wineskin - Ready To Roll

Wineskin – Ready To Roll

Double-Click Speed

I found the default double-click speed super annoying. To change it, go to the Advanced -> Tools tab and click the Registry Editor (regedit) button. This will run the Windows registry editor for your installation. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Mouse section and double click the DoubleClickSpeed entry to enter a new value. I use 1000.

Wineskin - regedit

Wineskin – regedit

Caveats/Bugs

So far it’s been pretty solid. Things I’ve noticed:

  1. Because I set Retina Mode on, the main Guild Wars 2 login screen is tiny. Not that big a problem since it handles the resolution properly in-game.
  2. I get a very occasional crash when switching maps. (Twice in the three weeks I’ve been playing with this version?)
  3. Sometimes your character ends up mounting inside the ground & it takes a while to resolve itself. It then plays all the events that happened while “paused” and launches you across the map… This used to happen with the old macOS client, but seemed to have been fixed in the native one. Annoying, but not a deal-breaker.
  4. Participating in large events can be slow – not too surprising since it used to happen before anyways. It’s definitely slower than the native client was, but so far it’s playable for me. It might not be good enough for competitive PvP or WvW though.

Conclusion

If you have any feedback on ways to improve this process or ways to improve perfromance, please leave a comment below.

That’s it. I hope it works for you and I’ll see you around Tyria!

Praise Joko!

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21 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this! A very detailed walkthrough, I was able to get the game running in no time.

    Have you tried running the game since the September 21st 2021 build update (#119,984)? It just crashes for me and prompts me to email the crash report to Anet. Would deleting and reinstalling fix it?

    • I have run it since that update, but using a new way to install it. I was trying to get set up for the DX11 change, so I started from scratch. I haven’t tried the old installation since the update.

      When I find some time I’ll write it up, but the short version is:

      • I installed Vulkan 1.2.189.0 from here
      • In the Winetricks section of my instructions, instead of installing a bunch of stuff I only run one custom command (click the “custom” checkbox): dxvk_macos.verb

      This lets me run fine with the latest updates.

      It will also “run” with the DX11 beta, but all the text is just colour blobs for me. This is a known issue on other systems, so doesn’t seem to be related with WINE/Vulkan. Hopefully it will be fixed in the future.

  2. I can confirm that doing the settings steps (apps, dlls, etc) causes the issue stated by Jerrilka and Sibachian, in which Wine gives a weird error message about not finding an executable, and requiring installation to the C Drive.

    I can also confirm that Shinypants is correct. I used the engine WS11WineCX64Bit20.0.4, in wrapper version Wineskin-2.9.0.8-4 to create the wrapper. I immediately clicked to Install the software, chose the GW2Setup-64.exe, which I had moved to the same folder as the GW2 Wineskin I had created, and it worked. I am now patching the game. They obviously made some changes to Wine in the last couple updates, that eliminated the required steps of adding the apps and dlls and such.

  3. Thanks for this! So I’m having trouble accessing the application. I downloaded it and it was able to run fine. But if I leave the game I am not able to reload the application. Any ideas of how to fix this? I tried to redo the installation but the same thing happened.

    • Check that “Windows EXE” is set properly in the advanced options. This is the Windows program that the wrapper will try to run when you double-click GW2.app.

      If you go to the Advanced options in your Wineskin.app (2nd to last last image of this article), you can set the path to the exe manually at the top.

  4. I get as far as the step of – ‘set the executable for this wrapper’

    Unfortunately, if I close the client this doesn’t come up and it also seems to restart the entire downloading process for the data. I haven’t tried logging in as I left it to download overnight. Game data doesn’t seem to save on any of the drives.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    MacOS Mojave 10.14.2 – could this be an issue?
    Latest Version of WineSkin etc

    • If you go to the Advanced options in your Wineskin.app (2nd to last last image of this article), you can set the path to the exe manually at the top.

      The game data should be stored in the same place as the exe, which is inside the GW2.app we created (GW2.app/Contents/Resources/drive_c/Program Files/Guild Wars 2/).

      MacOS Mojave 10.14.2 – could this be an issue?

      Probably not? macOS is generally pretty compatible between patch versions. (But if you can update to 10.14.6, you probably should for security fixes.)

      Latest Version of WineSkin etc

      Which version is that? The current version of WineskinServer is the same as the one I used for this – 1.8.4.2 (see Download Stuff).

      • Hi Andy, thanks for the response!

        I’ve got it working by doing a fresh install. Managed to find the saved data too, so I uploaded that to the new app.

        Thank you for sharing your solution! I look forward to getting back into the game. Was gutted when they pulled the plug!

  5. THIS IS AWESOME. Thank you so much for taking the time to make this guide. Some of the options changed with the new version of Wineskin but I was able to fumble my way around it. Again thank you.

  6. I was so hopeful but it failed halfway through… when installing the GW2 executable file, I get a serious error preventing the program to continue to run… :/

      • for me, it says “no new executables found! maybe the installer failed….? if you tried to install somewhere other than C: drive (drive_c in the wrapper) then you will get this message too. all software must be installed in C: drive.”

        • I ran through this process twice on two different machines to write this up, but it’s possible I missed something or there is some difference in setup that causes this. I’m not sure how to troubleshoot it right now. Maybe someone who has run into this and solved it will chime in with a solution…

          • I didn’t have to do the “disable Gecko installation” as you described (it was pre-set). So I think the problem may be with a new version of wineskin.

          • Oh – that’s interesting. What version of WineskinServer are you using? I used 1.8.4.2 which is the latest (as of today – 25 June 2021).

            I used wrapper 2.9.0.7-rc4 (as seen in the pic above). What version did you use?

            I can’t find any release notes for the wrapper, so I can’t find out what’s changed.

          • The one it updated for me was wrapper version 2.9.0.8-3

          • Hi Andy!

            First thanks for the tutorial 🙂

            I also had the same problem as described above. Im on a Macbook Pro M1.

            I started experimenting abit though and Im going to have to come back to you with results since my download speed is so slow. But apparently creating a new wrapper, and just installing software directly after that apparently did the trick!? But we’ll see if i’ll be able to run it at all since I didnt do the advanced settings bit…

            Thanks again, will update results!

          • Quick followup to my post Andy!

            It worked! Without doing any settings apparently. Just downloading the wrapper and then clicking “install software” right away.. Very strange, but im happy since it worked!