Running old World of Warcraft clients on Apple silicon devices

On Intel-based Apple devices it was possible to run old WoW clients through the Wine translation layer. With Apple Silicon and the removal of 32-bit executable support this is no longer possible, but thanks to Microsoft and Parallels there is an alternative.

Wine and Wineskin

Previously for running old World of Warcraft clients on mac it was recommended to use Wineskin. This is a sort of Wine manager that allows you to package a Windows app and its own Wine instance into a macOS application. Neat, tidy, and handy. Even though Apple Silicon with Rosetta 2 is supported by Wineskip old 32-bit WoW clients do not run anymore with this setup.

Wineskin Winery is a handy way to package and run Windows apps on macOS

Wineskin Winery is a handy way to package and run Windows apps on macOS

Packaged apps behave like typical macOS apps

Packaged apps behave like typical macOS apps

Sadly old 32-bit x86 game clients do not run on Apple silicon devices

Sadly old 32-bit x86 game clients do not run on Apple silicon devices

Windows on ARM and Parallels

Microsoft is also present on ARM chips, mostly Qualcomm ones. This makes it easier for Parallels to offer a working Windows instance on Apple silicon devices. Just install and run Parallels and it will install a 64-bit ARM version on Windows and share files with your mac. Then just launch WoW and you are done. You will however have to buy Parallels in the long run though. Windows 11 on ARM can handle 32-bit and 64-bit x86 Windows applications while previously on Windows 10 only 32-bit emulation was supported.

WoW 1.12 Apple silicon
WoW 1.12 Apple silicon - Orgrimmar
WoW 1.12 Apple silicon - Thunderbluff

World of Warcraft 1.12 runs quite well on Parallels Windows

The game seems to be running fine, although I did notice an odd camera rotation behavior where it could rapidly move around and below the character. Disabling Hardware cursor should limit this behavior greatly.

WoW 1.12 works through Parallels pretty well (low res HDMI capture)

WoW 1.12 works through Parallels pretty well

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