How to play classic Blizzard games on Mac OS X Mountain Lion
Since the release of Lion, Apple has discontinued its Rosetta software for OS X, which allowed PowerPC Mac applications to be run on Intel computers. This means that some legacy Blizzard games can’t be run on the latest Intel Mac computers. Annoyingly, Blizzard have said that they don’t currently have a timeline for Intel compatible releases of these games.
Fortunately, through the use of free, open-source tools, one can still play these classic games on a modern Apple operating system. This post will demonstrate how one can install and run Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and Starcraft: Brood War on OS X Mountain Lion using Wineskin, a program that allows one to run Windows programs. This tutorial can probably work with Lion, though it’s untested.
1. Install Wineskin
Wineskin is essentially a way of installing Wine applications for Mac OS X, and makes it easy to turn Windows applications into Mac applications. You can specify application specific settings, including which version of Wine you want to use, which will be useful for our Blizzard games. You download an application called Wineskin Winery, which will allow you to create wrappers for our programs. Get the latest version of Wineskin Winery here. I used 1.7, but the latest should work fine.
2. Create a wrapper
To install a Windows program via Wineskin, you need to create a wrapper. Open Wineskin Winery. The first time you start the Winery, you won’t have any Wineskin Engines. A Wineskin Engine is basically a version of Wine. Unfortunately, Wine is a very complex program, and subsequent updates seem to suffer regressions, meaning a program that worked with an older version of wine may not work with a newer version of Wine. Wineskin will allow you to specify which version of Wine you’d like to use for each application. The following lists the versions of Wine that worked for me:
- Starcraft: Brood War: WS8Wine 1.1.35
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction: WS8Wine 1.4
- Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne: WS8Wine 1.5.19 (latest)
Press the ‘+’ button in the bottom left to install an engine.
Once you’ve installed an engine, click “Create New Blank Wrapper”. You may be prompted to install a Gecko and/or Mono engine, just click OK and let it do its thing.
You should get a prompt once this is done. Make sure you click “Show Wrapper In Finder”. You should get something like this:
This is showing the contents of ~/Applications. The Warcraft III file is the application itself, and is what will eventually be dragged into your main Applications folder. Before we do this though, we need to install the Windows program and configure it.
3. Install software
Right-click the application file (in this example Warcraft III) and click “Show Package Contents”. You should see a Wineskin file like so:
This is the tool that will allow you to configure the Wineskin application. Double-click on it.
You’ll now need to Install Software, so click on the relevant button.
Click “Choose Setup Executable”. I installed my games using installers downloaded from Battle.Net. If you create an account and enter a unique cd-key, you can download installers from there. You could probably install the game from the cd using this method as well, but you’re on your own there.
NOTE: If you ARE using the installers from battle.net, it’s important to know that you first have to download a separate “downloader” application, which will then download the actual installer. The good thing is, the Mac downloader application will download both the mac installer AND the windows installer, which is good news, since the windows downloader doesn’t seem to work so well under Wine. So, when you’re getting the games from battle.net, click on the Mac icon to get the Mac downloader, and then run it. Once the downloader’s finished, you’ll see that you’ll have downloaded the windows .exe installer, which you can open with Wineskin as above.
The installer should run just like it would on a Windows machine.
TIP: Don’t change the default install directory, and uncheck the “Create desktop shortcut” checkbox.
TIP: If you’re copy-pasting a cd-key, remember that you use CTRL-V (not command-V) to paste from the clipboard in Wine applications
Once you’re done, you’ll get a prompt asking for the .exe for the program.
- If you’re installing StarCraft, you’ll want /Program Files/StarCraft/StarCraft.exe
- If you’re installing Diablo II, you’ll want /Program Files/Diablo II/Diablo II.exe
- For Warcraft III, it doesn’t really matter at this point, since you’ll have to change it later anyway.
4. Install expansions and patches
Don’t run the game yet. Run the Wineskin utility again and navigate to the expansion installer as before. You can also do this with the patch files, but most people find it much easier to just update the game within the game by connecting to Battle.Net.
- The installer for StarCraft includes the expansion, but you’ll probably still want to patch it
- Sometimes Wineskin will have issues where the Installer won’t start. I had this problem with installing the Diablo II expansion. Also, sometimes the app won’t close properly, and will stay in the taskbar. I found that by killing the app via Activity Manager and trying again seemed to work anyway.
- After installing a patch, it’s probably best just to quit the installer with Command-Q, rather than clicking OK and running the game, since there might be a bit more configuration to do
5. Configure the wrapper
- If you’re installing StarCraft, and you want to play on battle.net, you’ll need some extra fonts. Open the Wineskin utility, click Advanced, click the Tools tab and click the Winetricks button. Make sure Winetricks is up to date by clicking “Update Winetricks” down the bottom. Once that’s done, expand ‘fonts’ and check ‘allfonts’, then click the Run button on the right. Once that’s done, you should be able to access battle.net in-game without crashing.
- If you’re installing Diablo II, I couldn’t get it to run fullscreen, but it works fine in a window. Open the Wineskin utility, click Advanced. Under Configuration, add ‘-w’ to EXE Flags.
- If you’re installing Warcraft III, you’ll need to go to the same page, and make sure the .exe path points to “/Program Files/Warcraft III/Frozen Throne.exe”. ALSO, the cutscenes don’t work. To make sure the game skips them, you’ll have to navigate to the the Warcraft III folder and rename the Movies folder to something else. You can still watch the cutscenes using VLC or something though.
Click “Test Run” and check it runs. I did find that sometimes Warcraft III would get stuck on the splash screen, but quitting and trying again worked.
6. Finishing touches
- Drag the application (found in /Users/[your-username]/Applications) to the main Applications folder, and it should run like any application
- In the Advanced options in the Wineskin utility, check “Option key works as Alt”. Comes in handy in Diablo II and Warcraft III.
- You’ll probably want to set a nice icon for the application. I just searched for an image and then used http://iconverticons.com/ to convert it into a .icns file. You can replace the icon via the application’s Wineskin utility (open your Applications in Finder, then right-click the Application icon and click “Show Package Contents”)