Star Wars: The Old Republic on Mac

[Update 1/3/2012: BioWare had a recent interview with Massively about native Mac support for SWTOR. Check this post for more information!]

One of the most anticipated games this year, Star Wars: The Old Republic, is finally about to launch. For the early birds that pre-ordered the game, you folks are probably already enjoying it with the early-access option.

Despite the excitement, many Mac users were disappointed to hear that, unlike World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic (“SWTOR”) will not support Macs, at least not right now. There were numerous thread posts on the Official SWTOR forums during Beta testing over discussion on how to get the game to run on a Mac.

I could be wrong but it seems like a good number of the threads have been either deleted or moved, rightfully so since the Beta is over and the game is ready to launch. However I wanted to lay out the current and future options for you MMO folks.

No Native Mac OS X Support. What now?

Luckily, the game is fully compatible when ran under Boot Camp. During the Beta, there were discussions on which Windows 7 version to install, and the verdict reached that you should try to install the 64-Bit Windows 7
over the 32-bit option.

SWTOR currently is reported to be running smoothly under Boot Camp with a few users having minor hiccups with the the graphics card, which can quickly be remedied by upgrading the graphics driver.

After much research, Boot Camp currently is the only way that you’ll get the full experience of playing Star Wars: The Old Republic on your Mac.

If you’re not familiar with how to install Boot Camp on your computer, check out our previous post on How to Install Boot Camp. Also check out this site that has helpful information on installing SWTOR on Boot Camp. One thing I’d like to point out is, make sure you have enough space on the Windows partition. 100GB for the partition seems to be a good number, due to the space Windows 7 takes up as a default and the rather-large amount SWTOR takes up (30GB).

Verdict: Boot Camp currently works best and works perfectly.

 

I don’t want to install Boot Camp on my Mac. Any other options?

Sure. Well the only feasible option right now are virtualization apps like Parallels 7 ($79.99 > $42.99, one of the cheapest prices I’ve seen) and VMWare Fusion 4 ($49.99 > $39.99). I personally use Parallels 7 and have been using the Parallels family since their version 3, I believe. I don’t have any complaints about them and I could confidently say that Parallels 7 has come a long way in terms of development. The performance numbers of the Parallels 7 is quite impressive, especially against the VMWare Fusion 4. Check out a full comparison review by Ars Technica between the Parallels 7 and VMWare Fusion 4 here.

 

Does Star Wars: The Old Republic run well on Parallels 7 / VMWare Fusion 4?

Let’s make this clear. You’ll get the most performance out of Boot Camp and neither of these two options will beat SWTOR running on Boot Camp.

That said, SWTOR players that have played on Beta and Early Access seem to be pretty pleased with the performances under Parallels. I can’t speak for the VMWare as of yet, but the initial reports look positive. Check out these forum posts on Macrumors and MMORPG. It looks pretty promising if you ask me.

 

How about WineHQ or CrossOver Games?

Many folks play Windows games using wine wrappers such as WineHQ and CrossOver Games. While the folks have been able to make some decent progress on getting the SWTOR to run, it hasn’t quite made it. The last thing I read from WineHQ was that while players are able to hear the sounds, they’re unable to see any video in-game. There are also server time-outs and crashing every now and then. Regardless no one seems to have been able to get the game to work properly at all under Wine so far.

However the Wine community is very much active and the folks are anxious to get SWTOR to run ‘natively’ on Mac OS X with the help of the Wine wrappers.

If you’d like to read more, check out the following links:

WineHQ Star Wars: The Old Republic

CodeWeavers CrossOver Games – Compatibility: Star Wars: The Old Republic

Wineskin Forums Star Wars: The Old Republic

 

So will we see a native Mac OS X version of Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Bioware and Lucasarts hasn’t confirmed or denied anything about the Mac version of the game. The community of gamers who own Macs has grown massively over the past few years and it seems reasonable that they release a native Mac version of the game, like what Blizzard did with the World of Warcraft.

SWTOR currently runs on the HeroEngine which currently does not support Macs, unfortunately. There’s a documentation by HeroEngine that you should check out. The details of any hope of a Mac version of SWTOR is extremely thin at best, so it seems like waiting out for a native Mac version doesn’t seem like an option right now. However, with Boot Camp and Parallels being reasonable options, I’d think you just might want to experience the ‘force’ right away :)

 

Okay, so really, what now? Do a TL:DR version.

  • SWTOR can be run on Mac
  • Boot Camp is best
  • Parallels 7 runs ‘fine’
  • VMWare Fusion 4  (not sure, probably works just as well)
  • CrossOver Games – doesn’t work
  • WineHQ – doesn’t work
  • WineSkin – doesn’t work
  • Native Mac support unclear at best, no plans announced. :(
Go and enjoy the game now! :) May the Force be with you ;)

Update 12/22/2011

@AVpoetical on Twitter reported to us that VMWare Fusion is running ‘ok’ with minor lag issues, running on a 2010 15″ MacBook Pro (2.66GHz i7 8G RAM, GT330m NVIDIA).

Thanks!

AVpoetical
@dgtalcupcake Running ok,some lag issues-full restart after a 6 hour session is needed lol I am running: 2.66GHz I7 8Gram GT330mNVIDIA
12/22/11 11:08 PM

 

Update 12/20/2011

Google Plus SWTOR Boot Camp works

Looks like we have another confirmation by our reader that SWTOR on Boot Camp works quite well! Cheers, Tad, and thanks for letting us know!

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