So you have World Of Warcraft or are about to get it and you want or need help. I've made this guide to answer the most common questions. First you want to know what you need to play or the old "Will my computer play WoW? Well Blizzard says you can run this game with: Windows® System 98/ME/2000/XP * Intel Pentium® III 800 MHz or AMD Athlon 800 MHz Recommended: Intel Pentium® IV 1.5 GHz or AMD XP 1500+ MHz * 512 MB of RAM Recommended: 1GB * 32 MB 3D graphics card with Hardware Transform and Lighting, such as NVIDIA® GeForce™ 2 class card or above Recommended: 64 MB 3D graphics card with Hardware Transform and Lighting, such as NVIDIA® GeForce™ FX 5700 class card or above * DirectX® 9.0c (included) and latest video drivers * 6 GB or more of available hard drive space * 4x CD-ROM Drive * A 56k modem and an Internet connection Recommended: 512Kb download and 128Kb upload or faster broadband connection Mac® System OS X 10.3.9 * 933 MHz or higher G4, G5, or Intel processor Recommended: 1.8GHz G5/Intel or better * 512 MB RAM Recommended: 1GB DDR * ATI or NVIDIA video hardware with 32 MB VRAM or more Recommended: 64MB VRAM * 6 GB or more of available hard drive space * 4x CD-ROM Drive * 56k modem and Internet connection Recommended: 512Kb download and 128Kb upload or faster broadband connection *Note: Due to potential programming changes, the Minimum System Requirements for this game may, and most likely will, change over time. <u>The Burning Crusade Expansion requires:</u> Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4); Windows XP (Service Pack 2) * Intel Pentium® III 800 MHz or AMD Athlon 800 MHz Recommended: Intel Pentium® IV 1.5 GHz or AMD XP 1500+ MHz * 512 MB RAM Recommended: 1 GB * 32MB 3D graphics processor with Hardware Transform and Lighting, such as an NVIDIA GeForce 2 class card or above. Recommended: 64MB VRAM 3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability, such as an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 class card or above * DirectX compatible sound card * 512Kb download and 128Kb upload or faster broadband connection Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer * 933MHz G4/G5 processor Recommended: 1.8GHz G5/Intel or better * 512 MB RAM Recommended: 1GB DDR RAM * NVIDIA or ATI graphics processor with 32MB VRAM Recommended: 64 MB VRAM Windows Vista Windows Vista is the newest operating system from Microsoft and there are several things to note. Windows Vista will require more power and memory to run, and at this time many people have had many problems with it running WoW and problems in general. You might want to look at the support forum and see the Vista thread made by Blizzard. Try to run as administrator and if necessary try running in Windows 2000/XP compatibility mode if problems occur. As for what you will need to run WoW on Windows Vista here is what most people are saying is needed to run WoW well on Vista. CPU: Dual Core CPU, Core 2 (Intel) or X2 (AMD). Vista is better at breaking up tasks for multicore CPUs than XP. WoW will run on one core while all background programs will run on the other. Blizzard has also added dual core support in the game engine but at this time it's only tacked on and you will only see about 2-4% increase in framerates. Memory: 2GB of dual channel memory. Everyone says Vista setting idle just after bootup is using about 512MB or more of memory. You could run WoW with 1GB but you would be running out of memory and will have studdering in medium or high traffic areas. Video: Look at the list for AGP and PCI-E cards below and the cards that cost $115 and up will be about right to run WoW well enough on Vista. Hard drive: You will want a 7200 rpm SATA hard drive with 16MB of cache. As for size 200GB should be the smallest you will want. All Platforms *A keyboard and mouse are required. Input devices other than a mouse and keyboard are not supported. Recommended: Multi-button mouse with scroll wheel <u>Personal Opinion</u> Thats what Blizzard says but this is what I think you should have to play. <u>OS</u>: I did run Windows XP Home and run just fine. Vista service pack 1 is running ok with some tweaking. <u>CPU</u>: I had an AMD XP 2700+ (2.1Ghz) And the game runs just fine with most every setting at medium. Here are the best "bang for the buck" at the different price levels. <u>Dream</u>: Core 2 Extreme QX9650 ($1,030) <u>High End</u>: Core 2 Quad QX6700 ($540) <u>Upper Midrange</u>: Core 2 Duo q6600 ($230) <u>Midrange</u>: Athlon 64 X2 6400 ($170) or Core 2 Duo E6750 ($190) <u>Lower Midrange</u>: Athlon 64 X2 5600 ($122) or Core 2 Duo E4500 ($120) <u>Low End</u>: Athlon 64 X2 3800 (AM2) ($50) or Core 2 Duo E2160 ($70) <u>MEMORY</u>: 2Gb is what is really needed! 2Gb will allow you to run with less lag because more of the world is in memory. Don't hesitate to get 4Gb of memory as many newer games as well as Vista really need that much. Note that windows Vista 32 bit version will only be able to use 2.7 or 3.2GB of 4GB of memory. If your motherboard supports it buy dual channel memory. Dual channel will give you about 10% more performance over two regular sticks of memory. You must buy dual channel memory in matched pairs so for 2Gb you will need to buy a matched pair of 1GB sticks and your motherboard must support dual channel memory. <u>Graphics Card</u>: This is where WoW really sucks up the power. I would recommend: AGP $90: Radeon HD2600 PRO $120: Radeon HD 2600 XT PCI-Express $75: Radeon HD 2600 XT (256MB) $110: GeForce 8600 GTS (256MB) $135: Radeon HD 3850 (256MB) $150: GeForce 9600 GT (512MB) $200: GeForce 8800 GT (512MB) $250: GeForce 8800 GTS (512MB) $300: Two GeForce 9600 GTs (512MB) in SLI $400: Two GeForce 8800 GT (512MB) in SLI <u>Sound</u>: I have a Sound Blaster X-fi XtreameMusic, now called XtreamGamer, and it is very nice (About $80). Asus now has the Xonar DX soundcard at $90 half the price of the Xonar D2X card but still has 85% of it's quality and goes toe-to-toe with the XtreamGamer soundcard. NForce 2 or higher chipset motherboards have good on board sound if you need free sound. <u>CD-ROM</u>: COME ON! Get a DVD-ROM drive or burner. LiteOn has some good drives for $20-30 US dollars. <u>Input Device</u>: <u>Mouse:</u> Get rid of that ball type mouse and get a optical mouse. An optical mouse needs no cleaning like the ball of the old type, and if you get a good one, will be more precise. For gaming I still like a corded mouse but do what you like. The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (Model B7G-00004S) at $30 is good. The Logitech G5 for $45 is the best mouse for most people. The Logitech MX Revolution ($75) is the best mouse you can buy. <u>Keyboard:</u> As for keyboards The best of the best is Logitech's diNovo Edge ($150). Logitech's G15 keyboard ($70) is very good for the high end power gamer and it's macro feature is legal to use in WoW so long as you are still at the keyboard. Cheaper but still good keyboards are the Saitek Eclipse ($35), Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 (Model B2L-00002) ($20), and the Logitech UltraX (Model 967568-0403) ($20). <u>Connectivity</u>: I did run a 56k Modem as broadband was unavailable in my area. I now have a 3 megabit per second broadband connection and it really helps when theres a lot of players in a small area like during a raid on a town or a 40 man instance run. I did well but for Ironforge and downloading the massive patches with the 56k connection. Patches have been between 25 and 500 Megabytes and took many hours to download on dial up. Try to download the patch from somewhere else instead of the Blizzard downloader because it is really bad. I got mostly 200ms-450ms ping times with my 56k connection and it's not uncommon to hit some bad lag and get disconnected from the server. With my broadband connection I get around 175ms and I've yet to see a ping above 275ms during average game play. Get broadband if its in your area and budget but remember to get a good router with a hardware firewall (stateful packet inspection) and QOS (Quality Of Service). QOS will give your game packets higher priority over anyone else using the router at the same time. Think about getting a software firewall as well as people on broadband are the #1 targets of hackers. D-Link and Linksys makes good routers with hardware firewalls. Zone Alarm makes one of the best software firewalls but requires an intermediate level computer user. Norton's internet security is bloated but is simple to use and protects well. <u>Troubleshooting</u> Now that you have what you need to run the game something has happened that prevents you from playing. As ALWAYS make sure you have the latest drivers for your chipset, video card, sound card, and run Windows update. Also you should backup then format your hard drive about every 6 months or so, you never know what junk gets on it. And speaking of junk its a good idea to have Ad Aware, SpywareBlaster (for IEs active x) and Spybot Search And Destroy on your system and to update and run them once a week. Microsoft also has a free spyware, adware, and malware program that seems to be good called Windows Defender. <u>Updating WoW</u> This game has large patches between 25 and 500+ megabytes, it's several gigabytes to go from version 1.0 to the latest 2.3.3 patch. That's a bit of a download even if your on broadband but it really hurts if your on dial up. Blizzard uses BitTorrent and you will need to modify your firewall and or router to allow it to open multiple ports or your download speed will be really slow. If you choose to use the Blizzard downloader then opening those ports will also open you up to attacks! So try to find somewhere else to download the patches. Just do a search for World Of Warcraft Patch and you should find several places. You can also use a program called XFire to download the patch. Stratics has checked the program and it seems to be safe. It also allows you to add friends to a list and when they are on you can see what game they are playing and what server they are on. Here is a guide as to how to open the needed ports: Blizzard Port Guide Here is the link to Xfire. If you have a router there is a link just below the software firewalls to their router configuration page. <u>Connection Problems</u> If your having problems with lag and can't seem to fix it try pinging the login server. You can not ping the game server as they are behind a firewall but you can run a trace route to the login server to see if there is something in the chain that is causing problems. Heres how to do it in Windows XP. Click Start then Run and in the box type cmd and press enter. Now a small black box will pop up with text saying something like C:\Documents and Settings\(your computers name)>. now type the following: tracert us.logon.worldofwarcraft.com>c:\tracert.txt Now press enter and wait for 2-4 minutes while a trace route is done. When it goes back to showing c:\Documents and Settings\(your computers name)> then it is done. Now use windows explorer to go to your c: drive and you should see a 3kb .txt file named tracert.txt that will show you all the steps along the way to the login server. The first two or four hops will be your ISP and the last on that list that shows a ping should be attens.net. All the ones past attens.net will not show a ping because they are behind a firewall. If the first two pings or so are high it's a problem with your router or ISP and if it's attens.net with a high ping it's Blizzards problem. All the ones in between are servers/routers on the general internet and theres not much that can be done about them. You want to keep your ping time below 200ms or so but up to 300ms or so is playable. Here are the IP address of the four datacenters. Boston, Massachusetts: Nightfall, Retaliation, and Stormstrike battlegroup servers: * 220.127.116.11 * 18.104.22.168 Dallas, Texas: Rampage, Ruin, Shadowburn, and Vindication battlegroup servers: * 22.214.171.124 * 126.96.36.199 * 188.8.131.52 * 184.108.40.206 * 220.127.116.11 * 18.104.22.168 * 22.214.171.124 * 126.96.36.199 * 188.8.131.52 Los Angeles, California: Bloodlust, Cyclone, Reckoning, and Vengeance battlegroup servers: * 184.108.40.206 * 220.127.116.11 Seattle, Washington: Emberstorm and Whirlwind battlegroup servers: * 18.104.22.168 * 22.214.171.124 * 126.96.36.199 * 188.8.131.52 The test server IPs are: PvE: 184.108.40.206 PvP: 220.127.116.11 <u>“I just downloaded the latest patch and now I just get a black screen or it can't connect to the login server”</u> This is mostly caused by your firewall. When you get to the point where it stops you may see a window asking you to allow WoW.exe or other similar name access, click yes and see if there is a box that says "never ask again" and check that too. If you get a black screen do the three finger salute (Press Ctrl, Alt, Delete). You should see a box asking you to allow wow.exe or WoW-X.X.X-patch-enUS-Downloader.exe on the net (where the Xs are the patch number). Just click on the box that says don't bother me again and then press allow (May be different for different firewalls). You may have to do this each time there is a major publish or patch but its a small price to pay to help keep hackers out. If that don't work remove WoW off the allow list in your firewall then it should ask you again to allow it the next time you start it. Make sure to read what the program name is as a sneaky hacker might slip something in. For information about internet connection tweaking try Broadband Reports. Even though it's mostly about broadband there is plenty of information there about dial up connections too. <u>The Blue Screen Of Death</u> This is mostly caused by overheating or bad drivers. First try using SpeedFan or another program that will tell you your CPU temperature. My AMD XP 2700+ (2.1Ghz) runs at about 105-110 Fahrenheit. If any CPU is running in the 140-150 Fahrenheit you need a better heatsink/fan or lower your overclocking of the CPU. A good heatsink is the Thermalright IFX-14 ($65) with the Scythe SY1225SL12M fan ($10), $75 total but worth it's level of performance with almost no sound. Something cheaper but still good is the Cooler Master Hyper TX2 ($22). For water cooling the HydroGen/HT Fusion Dual by MSI and Watercool is good. If cooling down your computer does not help try uninstalling and reinstalling your drivers. Make sure to take out the registry keys left behind with a program like RegCleaner and go to Tweakguides and check out his guides on ATI and Nvidia drivers that show you how to uninstall, install, and tweak the drivers. Also clean up the wires in your case. Get the round IDE cables and go to Radio Shack and get some of that black split tubing and stuff the power cables into the split tubing. Do this while your computer is OFF and UNPLUGGED! Also think about getting a SATA hard drive as it uses a small round cable. You may need to make a floppy disk, bootable CD with the SATA drivers if you installing Windows XP or older OS on a blank hard drive. Thats the main problems people have that I can think of right now so now for some tips. <u>PS/2 Mouse help:</u> To make the most of your old PS/2 (round plug) mouse do this. In Windows 2000 (may be different for different versions of windows) click start go to settings then control panel. Now click on the system icon and go to the hardware tab and click on device manager and go to mice and other pointing devices. Click on PS/2 compliant mouse (if there) and set the sample rate and input buffer length to as high as they will go (100 reports per second and 300 packets on mine). To keep your computer running strong do these things from time to time. Every Day Update your virus and spyware definitions. Viruses and spyware spread in a matter of hours so check for updates every day or set it up to check itself every 1-6 hours. Reboot when programs crash. Crashed programs can cause other programs or even the OS to crash so reboot to wipe the memory. Every Week Preform a full virus and spyware scan. You never know when or where you will pick something bad up. Do a complete backup. Better safe than sorry. You should keep up-to-date drivers, patches, programs, ect...on a second hard drive or DVD-RW. Run Windows Update. Microsoft normally waits until the second Tuesday of every month to release patches but some high security patches get released as soon as they are made. Every Month Update your programs. To keep things stable use your programs built in updater or go to Version Tracker Check for new drivers. To keep your hardware stable and running fast keep your drivers up to date. Most people should not use beta drivers. Defragment the hard drive and, the registry, and clean junk files. A good program is CCleaner, it can clean junk files and clean the registry. You can use the built-in windows defragmenter but a much better one is Diskeeper But you have to pay for it. Also Microsoft has made a good program to speed up your boot times called BootVis that you should run once a month. Every Year Clean your PC case. Use a vacuum cleaner hose to carefully clear out the dust in the case and off the fans. You should also use a can of air at the same time to blow dust from hard to reach areas and use the hose to suck it up before it falls far. Reinstall Windows. Back up all your files then format the hard drive and reinstall Windows. This will clear out pieces of deleted programs that were left behind old parts of updated drivers that were not removed and get rid of anything that virus and spyware scanners might have missed. Here are several places to learn about computer hardware and forums to ask questions. Hot Hardware Tom's Hardware Here is a link to a place that has great tweaking guides. Tweak Guides For more advanced tweaking here is a BIOS tweaking guide. BIOS Optimization Guide Heres the links to Blizzards tech help forums and FAQ Blizzards Faq Blizzard Support Forum Enjoy this troubleshooting guide.