My struggle with Wine and Lord of the Rings Online

16 March 2009
by Jeremy WhiteJeremy White

So I'm blessed with a wonderful wife. She helped support our efforts around World of Warcraft by playing WoW with me (up until I got sick of it at about level 40). Last summer, we decided we wanted to tackle Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). That is, we wanted to bring the Windows version to Mac and Linux.

So we both got accounts, and started playing. The idea was that I'd be the perfect beta tester, so that as we worked to officially support it, I could be a lead tester.

Nicely, the game engine itself works great in CrossOver and Wine. Unfortunately, the launcher, the main program that does updates and gets things going, is a .NET application, and it doesn't work. It's really the key to genuinely supporting LOTRO.

Now you can get around that, with a variety of pretty tough work arounds. So I've been using those for the last 6 months or so, and she and I have been gaming happily. We're up to level 47 now, and are having a great time. (As a digression, I need to boast about my wicked cool rig. I've got a Linux box hooked into our 40" Samsung LCD TV, with MythTV for our TV. And then when it's time to play, I get to play this gorgeous game on this beatiful large screen TV. My wife is often quite jealous 😊 ).

Unfortunately, our work on the launcher has become a nasty 'Tar Baby' that is deeply frustrating. I've had 5 different developers look at bugs in the launcher over many months, and I've even spent several weeks myself.

This happens every now and then with Wine. We'll get one application bug that is just a humdinger and it takes us forever to break through it. I remember that Project 2003 took us over a year to find. But when we finally did, it was a one line fix. We're having a similar struggle with Service Pack 1 for Office 2007. This is just one of the most maddening things about Wine. We'll get it eventually, but it's deeply frustrating along the way.

But this has been a lovely dimension to my job; it's fun to have my extra curricular activities dovetail with my day job like this. Now just to find a kinship on Vilya...


About CodeWeavers
Founded in 1996 as a general software consultancy, CodeWeavers focuses on the development of Wine – the core technology found in all of its CrossOver products. The company's goal is to bring expanded market opportunities for Windows software developers by making it easier, faster and more painless to port Windows software to Mac and Linux. CodeWeavers is recognized as a leader in open-source Windows porting technology, and maintains development offices in Minnesota, the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world. The company is privately held.

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New Comment

Posted 2009-03-16 18:15
I've had pretty good success with Everquest II with cxgames but that game is equally as boring as WOW. I've been playing Age of Conan lately, and I like the setting. I think it's worth checking out. But that's another one where the loading page just doesn't work with wine. Though at least this one doesn't rely on the hornets nest of .Net framework. That just doesn't seem to play nice with Wine.
Bill Barber
Bill Barber
Posted 2009-03-23 20:59
LOTRO is my primary reason for purchasing Crossover.. when I looked on the Compatibility Page, it's listed as an Honorable Mention, meaning CodeWeaver was able to get the game installed and running with 'minimal testing'... sounds a bit different than the 'pretty tough work arounds' mentioned above... I've installed using Win2000 on my imac, and am now getting some odd errors.. I'll follow the link mentioned above, and see if i have any success.. but wish this game fell into a different category than "Honorable Mention" if there are such issues getting it to run...

Harry Davis
Harry Davis
Posted 2009-03-28 17:09
"The applications in this category have either been minimally tested by CodeWeavers and found to install and run, or have been reported by others to install and run"

That's the definition of Honorable Mention.  LOTRO doesn't qualify as "Known not to work", as it does install* and people have regularly reported it to run with effort.  ...and it doesn't qualify as "Bronze" as the package as a whole (specifically that damned launcher) doesn't work at all and it is not (yet?) officially supported by Codeweavers.

All of those "Silver" ratings from members are severely misleading.  One should never go by just the user ratings, especially if that's the criteria for purchasing the software.


* Installs properly from CDs and the Mines of Moria electronic distrubtion.  The current trial installer is .NET based and doesn't work.  
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