Can you play WOW (World of Warcraft) on the Steam Deck? Yes, you can!

Here's how to get questing on WoW from your Steam Deck

Can you play WOW (World of Warcraft) on the Steam Deck? Yes, you can! Image shows the Steam Deck with the WoW logo on its screen, on a blue background.

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The notion of vanquishing foes and performing spells on a handheld appeals to plenty of World of Warcraft players, so can you play WOW on the Steam Deck? While Steam has made thousands of AAA and indie titles available to gamers, the Linux-based operating system on its handheld console means that compatibility issues can crop up from time to time. This can impact MMOs such as World of Warcraft in particular. However, that doesn’t mean you have to call it curtains for your hopes of playing WOW from your Steam Deck. In this article, we’ll discuss the WOW game’s compatibility and performance on the Steam Deck, Valve’s portable gaming PC.

Is World of Warcraft Steam Deck verified?

One of the questions that comes up when considering playing WOW on the Steam Deck is whether the game is officially verified for this platform. Unfortunately, since WOW is not available on Steam, it’s not eligible for Steam Deck verification. Moreover, the PC version of WOW is typically designed for Windows, whereas the Steam Deck operates on a Linux-based OS. While this means you can’t run World of Warcraft natively, it doesn’t therefore mean that it’s a completely impossible feat. Running WOW on the Steam Deck requires some additional steps and an extra dash of patience, but it can be done by downloading Battle.net onto your console and running it with Proton.

Can I play World of Warcraft on the Steam Deck?

Despite not being too straightforward, it is possible to play World of Warcraft on the Steam Deck. Even though World of Warcraft is not officially supported on the console, you can still successfully run the game using the right compatibility tools and installation process. In this case, you have to install the Battle.net launcher to get access to Blizzard’s gaming library. Here are some brief step-by-step instructions for downloading Battle.net onto a Steam Deck:

  1. Enable the desktop mode on your Steam Deck. To do this, press the Steam button and select “Switch to Desktop” from the power options list.
  2. Open up the web browser (Firefox is installed by default), and head over to the Battle.net website (https://www.blizzard.com/en-us/download/). From here, download the Battle.net desktop app installer for Linux!
  3. While the download is in progress, open the Steam Deck’s Discover software store. Search for and install “ProtonTricks”. This will enable some utilities to get Battle.net working properly later.
  4. Once the download completes, click the downloaded installer (.exe file). Select the option to open it with ProtonTricks.
  5. In ProtonTricks, choose the “Select the default wineprefix” option. Then choose “Run EXE inside wineprefix”. This should start the Battle.net installer.
  6. Follow through the Battle.net installation prompts. The default install settings should work here, and after it finishes, Battle.net will launch.
  7. If Battle.net crashes or has issues, you may need to further toggle some Proton compatibility tool options. But hopefully, it will launch fault-free and allow you to access your Blizzard game library, including WoW, Diablo IV, and Hearthstone!

How does World of Warcraft perform on the Steam Deck?

You might be wondering how well World of Warcraft runs on the Steam Deck. Despite initial doubts due to the Steam Deck’s Linux operating system, WOW performs surprisingly well on it. In fact, many players have reported smooth gameplay and an enjoyable experience on the Steam Deck, and it got high praise across Reddit.

When downloading the game, you have the option to choose between World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft: Classic, and World of Warcraft: Classic Wrath of the Lich King. It’s recommended to download the version you wish to play, but you can also choose to install multiple versions to test their compatibility on the Steam Deck. Keep in mind that the download size can vary, with the maximum size reaching approximately 85GB.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

Can I install add-ons for World of Warcraft on the Steam Deck?

Yes, you can install add-ons for World of Warcraft on the Steam Deck. The ConsolePort add-on, for example, allows you to play the game with the Steam Deck’s controls, providing a more comfortable gaming experience.

Final thoughts

The Steam Deck offers gamers the convenience of playing World of Warcraft on the go, allowing you to explore Azeroth wherever you are without the need for a gaming PC. While it takes a little longer to install, it is possible to have a Blizzard games library by installing Battle.net onto your console and making sure it’s running the correct version of Proton to smooth out compatibility.

However, if you need more information, various other guides across the internet and YouTube exist to get you questing in no time. WoW isn’t the only title you might struggle to find on your Steam Deck, but the determination of gamers has seen them find solutions to playing other games not compatible with Linux, including Fortnite as well as Destiny 2.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.