As soon as Steam Deck was announced, I couldn’t wait to install & try WoW with it! Even though I started with “easier” MMOs to install like ESO, BDO & New World (since they’re already on Steam, and even though unsupported the process is much more direct), it’s finally time to tackle the biggest beast of all of them, and play World of Warcraft on Steam Deck!
Even though the process seems daunting at first look, trust me, you won’t need more than 10 minutes to reach the point of just waiting for WoW to download & install on your Steam Deck! 😁
What’s more, you can also find info on installing add-ons, as well as optimizing your settings for longer play-sessions at the end of this article!
Install ProtonUp-Qt for Required Compatibility
Sadly neither the default Proton version of Steam Deck, or the experimental one, have the necessary compatibility to let you install the BattleNet launcher, and consequently World of Warcraft.
Fortunately, there’s a Proton fork by the user Glorious Eggroll, the proton-ge-custom, that gets frequent updates and offers compatibility with a lot more games and tools than the Valve-supported fork does.
- Make sure you are in Desktop mode (hold the power button for a couple of seconds, and Switch to Desktop Mode will show up as an option).
- Open the Discover app on your taskbar, search for “Proton”, and install the ProtonUp-Qt application, that will let you easily add proton-ge-custom to your list of Compatibility options for any game (without conflicting with any existing ones of course!).
- Simply launch the app once it’s installed, make sure “Install for:” has Steam chosen, then click the Add Version button on the bottom, and choose GE-Proton, and the latest available version (7-41 at the time of writing). Simply hit Install, and you are ready to go!
In case your Steam app was open in Desktop mode, just Exit, and start it again, so that the new layer is available for you to use.
Download & Install Battle Net on Steam Deck
If you don’t already have a web browser installed on your Steam Deck’s desktop mode, go ahead and click the “Discover” app in your taskbar, then simply install your favourite browser, or go with the recommended one, Firefox.
- Then, simply head to Blizzard’s website, and download the Battle Net client from the menu bar on top. (You can’t simply run an .exe on your Steam Deck without Windows (or other complex setups), therefore the best way to launch the Battle Net client, is through Steam itself!)
- Open Steam (in desktop mode), and go to the bottom left, Add A Game -> Add a Non-Steam Game…
- Then click Browse…, and then the Look in: dropdown on top, and choose the /home/deck directory.
- By scrolling down, you can find your Downloads folder, and inside, the Battle.net-Setup.exe file (make sure you have picked File Type: All Files in the dropdown below).
- Now simply find your newly added “game” in your Steam library (still in Desktop mode), click the Cog wheel on the right, and choose Properties. Under the Compatibility tab, check the option “Force the use of a Specific Steam Play compatibility tool“, and then choose GE-Proton7-41 from the list (or the latest version you downloaded). In case you can’t see this option, you need to exit the Steam application, and start it again.
- Now just hit Play, and you will be able to install the Battle Net client as you would normally on your PC. Make sure to uncheck the “Launch Battle.net when you start your computer“, and I suggest you leave the installation directory as default (C:/Program Files (x86)/Battle.net).
- Make sure to also choose “Keep me logged in” when you enter your login details, so that you don’t have to type them every time.
The client itself is only 300~ MB in size, so even if you need to uninstall World of Warcraft to save some space, you won’t have to go through this whole procedure again!
Download & Install World of Warcraft on Steam Deck
By now you should be able to launch Battle Net normally, so simply go to World of Warcraft from the list of games, and hit Install.
- All 3 games (Retail, Classic & Classic WotLK ) will work, so make sure you’ve chosen the correct one from the dropdown, or simply install all of them if you want!
- I suggest you uncheck both boxes: Enable Auto-Update & Create Desktop Shortcut. Auto-update will only work with the client open, while it’s best to avoid a WoW shortcut, unless you want to type in your login details every single time.
- You will need around 85GB~ in order to install the Retail version, so if you didn’t clean up your Steam Deck storage yet, now is the time! Then, you can simply click the “Start Install” option, and wait!