in Games, HowTo

Running Guild Wars 2 With DX11 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. At that time I worked out a way to set up and use Wine to run it.

Since then, the Wine set up and capabilities have changed. So this post is an update to my previous one to simplify the process and enable DX11 which is what Guild Wars 2 now uses.

(Click the images for larger versions.)

Requirements

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 “Manual installation” or if you use homebrew you can install using that)

ARM-Based Macs

Does it work with ARM-based Macs? I don’t know since I don’t have one. If you want me to test it you can contact me and send me a machine 😃. Otherwise you can try it and let me know in the comments below.

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 WS11WineCX64Bit21.2.0 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.

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.

You can then close Wineskin Winery as we no longer need it.

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 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

First we need to update winetricks to the latest version. Click the Update Winetricks button in the lower-left and let it update.

Wineskin - Winetricks Update

Wineskin – Winetricks Update

Next we are going to install the dxvk library (which enables DX11), and change the wrapper to Windows 10.

Under the dlls section, select dxvk1102_macOS (or a more recent version if available).

Under the settings section, choose 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.

Finally we will turn off folder mapping from macOS to Windows. This is not strictly necessary, but it keeps the installation cleaner and can help prevent accidents…

Go to the Advanced tab and deselect the Map User Mac OS X folders in wrapper option.

Wineskin Winery - Do Not Map Folders

Wineskin Winery – Do Not Map Folders

Installing Guild Wars 2

Now that Wine is set up, we need to install Guild Wars 2. 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.

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 which should be set to 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.

At this point, if you already have the GW2 data from a previous install and don’t want to re-download the ~60 GB of data, you can close the window with the “x” in the top-right and copy over the data file (see below).

Guild Wars 2 - Login Screen

Guild Wars 2 – Login Screen

When the installation is complete, (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

Now you can quit Wineskin. To run Guild Wars 2 now, you just need to run your GW2.app.

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 ~60 GB of data, you can copy over the data file.

To get to the file, you need to right-click the Guild Wars 2 64-bit.app file and choose Show Package Contents. This is where the data file is on the old (official) macOS client:

Guild Wars 2 - macOS Data File

Guild Wars 2 – macOS Data File

Find the Gw2.dat file and copy/move it to the wine installation we just created. To find the right location, 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, 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

These are the graphics settings I have been using:

Guild Wars 2 - Graphics Settings

Guild Wars 2 – Graphics Settings

Note: Make sure you Enable DX11 Rendering in the graphics settings.

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

Note that the first time you run it will be even slower than normal as it needs to build & cache the shaders. It gets better given time.

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

Caveats/Bugs

So far the DX11 version has been pretty solid – even better than the DX9 version. I think the main problems have to do with shaders and there’s not much we can do about that. The issues I’ve noticed are:

  1. Loading screens when moving between maps can be quite slow.
  2. Every time you run it, it has some slowdowns/hitching at the beginning that slowly sort themselves out. I believe this is a shader-related issue with using Vulkan (which is what is being used to emulate DX11).
  3. 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 it is 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 performance, 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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