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[100% Unofficial] How to play GW2 on Mac OS after the Mac client is gone - [Merged]


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There's a lot of confusion about GW2 ending Mac client support, so let's make a thread of player resources about what to actually do about it.

Please chime in with your own experiences but focus on what you've actually tested to keep the volume of speculation low. I'll try to keep the top post updated as an ad-hoc community resource until we figure out something better.


IN GENERAL:

What we know:

  1. As of February 23, 2021, the Mac OS 64-bit client will no longer allow you to log in.
  2. In January, Anet announced: "Starting February 18, … the Mac client will no longer work after this date."
  3. Apple is transitioning their hardware to a new CPU type. So Macs come in two varieties:
    • older Intel chips — these run x86 code natively
    • new ARM ("M1"/"Apple Silicon") chips — these have a different instruction set but they CAN run code compiled for x86 Macs using a special software translation layer called Rosetta, which likely has a performance cost but should be pretty seamless once you've set it up
  4. The Guild Wars 2 Win64 client — that's the thing you're most likely going to be using once the Mac client disappears — can work on non-Windows OSes through a "compatibility layer" application like Wine (e.g. here is the Lutris wrapper for Linux).
  5. Rosetta is, at least in theory, compatible with Wine.
  6. If you have an Intel-based Mac, you could also choose to dual-boot Windows. One advantage of this approach is that you're just running GW2 on Windows natively, which is an officially supported platform. (In which case you don't need most of what I'm posting below.)

What we don't know:

  1. Whether any solution outlined below will continue to work for any given GW2 release.
  2. Whether any solution outlined below will work on your hardware/software.

SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS:

NOTE: This is all "void your warranty" type stuff, don't expect any tech support from Anet, don't run any software as administrator if you're not comfortable with what it's doing, &c.

1. Dual-booting Windows (Intel Macs only)

What is it: installing an entire copy of Windows on your Mac hardware.

Benefits:

  • Best performance: no extra layers or emulation.
  • Stability: closest to how Windows GW2 is intended to run.

Drawbacks:

  • You need to make room on your system for another OS.
  • You have to reboot to switch between Mac OS and Windows.
  • Some Windows features are limited until you buy an OS license key.

1.a. BootCamp

(last updated: Feb 25, 2021)"Out-of-the-box" support: YES :heart:

Instructions:

  1. Verify that you have an Intel CPU (Apple Menu > About This Mac, check the Processor entry on the first tab).
  2. Backup your machine! (E.g. using Time Machine.)
  3. Follow Apple's instructions for installing Windows 10 or the more detailed ones here.
  4. Note: if the Windows installer fails with a "KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAILURE" bluescreen, it's ok to simply retry a few times.
  5. You may be unable to connect to the Internet while Windows installs. Because Bootcamp can only install the Wi-Fi and internet-related drivers after Windows is done installing. If you get stuck, you can click “I don’t have internet now” during the Windows install.
  6. Boot into Windows and download the Guild Wars 2 game client for Windows (most likely you will want 64-bit).
  7. If you have other software you use during play (Discord, for example) you will want to install a copy of that on the Windows partition as well.

(See also: GW2 forum thread.)

You may want SharpKeys to remap the "Command" key to something useufl, or Mac Precision Trackpad to fix your Macbook trackpad settings.

TODO: Add information about disk space requirements.

2. Wine-based compatibility wrappers

What it is: an application that "translates" API calls made by Windows executables to ~equivalent ones in Mac OS.

Benefits:

  • Easy task switching: games still run inside Mac OS.
  • 100% free (except for CrossOver).
  • Can work with Apple Silicon.

Drawbacks:

  • Degraded performance: you're adding extra layers to every single thing the game does, basically.
  • Possibly unstable or difficult to configure.

2.a. PlayOnMac

(last updated: Apr 20, 2021)"Out-of-the-box" support: No/Not yet"Do-it-yourself support: YES :heart:

Detailed instructions:https://asmaloney.com/2021/04/howto/running-guild-wars-2-on-macos-using-wine/

2.b. Porting Kit

(last updated: Jan 10, 2021)"Out-of-the-box" support: No/Not yet"Do-it-yourself" support: YES :heart:

"Do-it-yourself" Instructions:(Tested on Intel hardware / Mac OS 10.15.7 "Catalina" / Porting Kit 4.1.0)

  1. See Porting Kit installation instructions and license info on on their website.
  2. Start Porting Kit. Go to Library. (Search for "Guild Wars 2" to see if there's an "out-of-the-box" installer you can use. If there is, you can probably skip this stuff.)
  3. Select "New Custom Port."
  4. Name your application "GW2", "Guild Wars 2," &c.
  5. In Advanced Settings: select Engine: "WS11WineCX64Bit20.0.2" or later.
  6. In Destination Select: rename the app (e.g. to "Guild Wars 2 Win64" so it doesn't conflict with your current Mac client).
  7. Download Anet's 64-bit Windows client (Gw2Setup-64.exe) from guildwars2.com.
  8. Wait for the installer to run. Allow GW2 to download all of its data, then close the application without logging in.
  9. "Guild Wars 2" will now appear on the left sidebar of your Porting Kit Library tab.
  10. Right-click on "Guild Wars 2" and select "Launch Wineskin App." Change the executable to "drive_c/Program Files/Guild Wars 2/Gw2-64.exe" (by default it will be "nothing.exe"). Also, under "Advanced Tools">"Wine Configuration," make sure the Windows version is set to "Windows 7."
  11. Now launch GW2 using the little play button, check your graphics settings, rebind keys as needed (when playing through the compatibility layer, both Cmd and Ctrl will be read as "Ctrl" by the game you're playing).

TODO: Verify ARM/Rosetta support with latest Porting Kit.

3. Running Windows as a virtual machine

TODO: Describe

3.a. Parallels

TODO: Add section

4. Streaming

What it is: You pay a company to run the game in their data center

Benefits:

  • Performance isn't affected by your hardware: as far as your home computer is concerned, you're basically watching videos. (Potentially you can use this to play GW2 on platforms far, far below its system requirements).
  • Minimal local resources — you'll need to install the service client, but you can also delete your local copy of GW2 to free up tons of space.
  • Should work fine with Apple Silicon Macs.

Drawbacks:

  • Your Internet connection matters (both bandwidth and latency).
  • Some game-slowing situations become uglier/glitchier when you are streaming.
  • You have to pay a subscription fee.

4.a. Nvidia GeForce Now (subscription required)

TODO: Add section

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M1 MBA 8/8 core 16GB. Parallels 16 + Windows 10 arm build 21370. (7 Processor + 8GB allocated)   1920 x 1200 settings all low.  EOTN: FPS 50 - 30 (20s when near dragon storm event)

I now play using Crossover on my M1. Because I did not pay for Parallels.  By default, Crossover's performance is worse then Parallels. However, if you install d912pxy, its performance is better

@"ASP.8093" said:(Tested on Intel hardware / Mac OS 10.15.7 "Catalina" / Porting Kit 4.1.0)suggest on [how to] more mention written about obsolete intel cpu's or new M1. It make some understanding for people who read that.

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Been experimenting with Porting Kit (i.e. Wineskin) because that's the one I have working at a baseline level.

Stability is great so far. Only trouble I've had is the client sometimes gets stuck during its auto-update cycle, but that's solvable by just closing stuff manually. Once you're in game, it's about as stable as the native client.

Performance? :grimace: Feels like my laptop aged seven years when I run GW2 through the compatibility layer.

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looks mac users can not panic absolutelyParallels Technical Preview + Windows 10 Arm Preview Virtualisation + 32bit Guild Wars 2 + 1440p UltraWide resolution + Max Settings Preset to Appearance.I have less fps on new geforce wiht that resolution's and settings ..looks great on m1 !

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@lare.5129 said:Parallels Technical Preview + Windows 10 Arm Preview Virtualisation + 32bit Guild Wars 2 + 1440p UltraWide resolution + Max Settings Preset to Appearance.I have less fps on new geforce wiht that resolution's and settings ..looks great on m1 !

Any specific reason you picked the 32-bit client?

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@"lare.5129" said:I have less fps on new geforce wiht that resolution's and settings ..looks great on m1 !

In this vid you keep constantly dropping below 15-20 fps (around 1:03 you dropped to 8 because you turned your camera around -stopped watching beyond this point) in an instance you're alone in. So no, you don't "have less fps on new geforce" LOL

I mean it's great you can play it on whatever you want to play it on. But if you're trying to make a competition out of it (again) for whatever reason, at least don't bend the facts.

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@Sobx.1758 said:In this vid you keep constantly dropping below 15-20 fpsit is great result. Look at resolution: 34401440 ! it is not 19801024!Set same setting on 2060 with 4-x fattest notebook design and you will see same or less fps as me.

@Linken.6345 said:Aint the 32 bit client discontinued?no. It is able to download as always.

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@"ASP.8093" said:There's a lot of confusion about GW2 ending Mac client support, so let's make a thread of player resources about what to actually do about it.

Please chime in with your own experiences but focus on what you've actually tested to keep the volume of speculation low. I'll try to keep the top post updated as an ad-hoc community resource until we figure out something better.


IN GENERAL:

What we know:

  1. Anet has announced: "Starting February 18, … the Mac client will no longer work after this date."
  2. Apple is transitioning their hardware to a new CPU type. So Macs come in two varieties:
    • older Intel chips — these run x86 code natively
    • new ARM ("M1"/"Apple Silicon") chips — these have a different instruction set but they CAN run code compiled for x86 Macs using a special software translation layer called Rosetta, which likely has a performance cost but should be pretty seamless once you've set it up
  3. The Guild Wars 2 Win64 client — that's the thing you're most likely going to be using once the Mac client disappears — can work on non-Windows OSes through a "compatibility layer" application like Wine (e.g. here is the Lutris wrapper for Linux).
  4. Rosetta is, at least in theory, compatible with Wine.
  5. If you have an Intel-based Mac, you could also choose to dual-boot Windows. One advantage of this approach is that you're just running GW2 on Windows natively, which is an officially supported platform. (In which case you don't need most of what I'm posting below.)

What we don't know:

  1. Whether any solution outlined below will continue to work for any given GW2 release.
  2. Whether any solution outlined below will work on your hardware/software.

SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS:

NOTE: This is all "void your warranty" type stuff, don't expect any tech support from Anet, don't run any software as administrator if you're not comfortable with what it's doing, &c.

1. Wine-based compatibility wrappers

1.a. Porting Kit

(last updated: Jan 10, 2021)"Out-of-the-box" support: No/Not yet"Do-it-yourself" support: YES :heart:

"Do-it-yourself" Instructions:(Tested on Intel hardware / Mac OS 10.15.7 "Catalina" / Porting Kit 4.1.0)

  1. See Porting Kit installation instructions and license info on on their website.
  2. Start Porting Kit. Go to Library. (Search for "Guild Wars 2" to see if there's an "out-of-the-box" installer you can use. If there is, you can probably skip this stuff.)
  3. Select "New Custom Port."
  4. Name your application "GW2", "Guild Wars 2," &c.
  5. In Advanced Settings: select Engine: "WS11WineCX64Bit20.0.2" or later.
  6. In Destination Select: rename the app (e.g. to "Guild Wars 2 Win64" so it doesn't conflict with your current Mac client).
  7. Download Anet's 64-bit Windows client (Gw2Setup-64.exe) from guildwars2.com.
  8. Wait for the installer to run. Allow GW2 to download all of its data, then close the application without logging in.
  9. "Guild Wars 2" will now appear on the left sidebar of your Porting Kit Library tab.
  10. Right-click on "Guild Wars 2" and select "Launch Wineskin App." Change the executable to "drive_c/Program Files/Guild Wars 2/Gw2-64.exe" (by default it will be "nothing.exe"). Also, under "Advanced Tools">"Wine Configuration," make sure the Windows version is set to "Windows 7."
  11. Now launch GW2 using the little play button, check your graphics settings, rebind keys as needed (when playing through the compatibility layer, both Cmd and Ctrl will be read as "Ctrl" by the game you're playing).

TODO: Verify ARM/Rosetta support with latest Porting Kit.

1.b. PlayOnMac

(last updated: Jan 10, 2021)"Out-of-the-box" support: No/Not yet"Do-it-yourself support: No(?) :skull:A Linux script exists at https://www.playonmac.com/en/app-1126-Guild_Wars_2.html but I haven't been able to get this working on Mac at the moment.

Just to add to the discussion, in case people skim to the headers (and skip ASP’s point #6), I’d just like to repeat that

If you have an Intel-based Mac and enough hard drive space, Bootcamp is a legit option.

(I just finished installing Windows and GW2 on my 5 year old Macbook. It works! Plus we can use addons like TacO now.)

Here is Apple’s article on the Windows on Bootcamp process: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

(In case others have trouble: when Windows installs, it can’t connect to the internet. Because Bootcamp can only install the Wi-Fi and internet-related drivers after Windows is done installing. If you get stuck, you can click “I don’t have internet now” during the Windows install.)

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@"Chrysline.2317" said:Here is Apple’s article on the Windows on Bootcamp process: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

(In case others have trouble: when Windows installs, it can’t connect to the internet. Because Bootcamp can only install the Wi-Fi and internet-related drivers after Windows is done installing. If you get stuck, you can click “I don’t have internet now” during the Windows install.)

Thanks! I adapted this to a small set of instructions in a new section.

One part I'm not sure about without testing it myself is how much disk space to allocate to the Windows partition (I know GW2 wants like 60 GB for its data).

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@ASP.8093 said:

@"Chrysline.2317" said:Here is Apple’s article on the Windows on Bootcamp process:

(In case others have trouble: when Windows installs, it can’t connect to the internet. Because Bootcamp can only install the Wi-Fi and internet-related drivers after Windows is done installing. If you get stuck, you can click “I don’t have internet now” during the Windows install.)

Thanks! I adapted this to a small set of instructions in a new section.

One part I'm not sure about without testing it myself is how much disk space to allocate to the Windows partition (I know GW2 wants like 60 GB for its data).

You’re welcome and thank you too for compiling these!

I’m not sure of the disk space myself since my old early 2015 Macbook 12-inch (I got it as a gift) only has 256 GB. Apple’s support page on Bootcamp mentions a mininum of 64GB for the Windows 10 OS. Then it says to give it 128GB for future Windows updates. (With a caveat that the startup disk needs to have at least as much free storage space as the Mac’s memory.)

I’m only guessing here: if someone has a lot of space maybe 64GB for Windows + another 64GB for future Windows updates + 60GB for GW2 + GB free space to match your RAM + GB of anything else you plan to install?


For my laptop (a few hours before this post): I was able to allocate around 115 GB for my Bootcamp partition. It’s kinda patchwork for my laptop at this point (since I’m hoping to buy a new laptop in a few months) I pray the lack of free space and absence of Mac’s thermal throttling doesn’t hurt it too much.

Aside from vanilla Windows 10, my Windows only has GW2 and GW2 TacO installed. I set Windows updates to be delayed by 35 days :lol: so it doesn’t take up space for now. I uninstalled bloatware and didn’t sign-in to any of my OneDrive and Microsoft accounts on Windows to make sure data doesn’t sync/download. (I’m also not good with accidentally disconnecting wires that’s why I didn’t go for installing Bootcamp on an external drive.)

I imagine people with 512GB or more on their internal drive wouldn’t have to worry so much about space. :lol:


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A note about the iMacs from before 2012: Bootcamp will not let you install Windows 10 but I read that you can force it manually and run into multiple driver problems. One can try and replace with older drivers to alleviate some of the issues. Because of this and limited storage, I'm trying a Linux install first on my wife's 2010 iMac. But i'm running into driver issues as well.

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Hi i am the person who made that youtube video.Maybe i can clear somethings up.

@"lare.5129" said:looks mac users can not panic absolutelyParallels Technical Preview + Windows 10 Arm Preview Virtualisation + 32bit Guild Wars 2 + 1440p UltraWide resolution + Max Settings Preset to Appearance.I have less fps on new geforce wiht that resolution's and settings ..looks great on m1 !

What i shown is to stress test with max settings, thus the bad frame rate. In all time playing, i suggest switching to Performance settings. Performance mode is around 20 to 60 fps @ that resolution, but of course does not look as pretty.

In my limited time testing, i can say there is not much difference in terms of the MacOS version then the 32bit Windows version.The minor differences is as follows:

  1. Slight input lag on Windows version.
  2. Client loading to Char select screen takes a long time. (Can be minimised by allocating to Windows VM 8GB ram / 2GB video / 8 cores)
  3. Micro lag, some texture seems to cause split second lags.. I can't pinpoint.
  4. My MacBook Air does run cooler when running GW2 in windows.

A few things to clarify

@Linken.6345 said:Aint the 32 bit client discontinued?

Emulation for my Windows 10 Arm version allows only 32bit. 64bit require you to pick the dev build.

For M1 Macs, i think parallels is the only and easiest way to continue playing the game.

I tried CrossOver. Does not work IMO. Maybe someone here have a suggestion on how to get it to work?

  1. I install CrossOver (20)
  2. Select Application (Guildwars2)
  3. They auto select Windows 7 64bit bottle.. install 64bit GW2 client.
  4. Then i hit the CoherentUI error issue.
  5. So i set command run -32 (32bit)
  6. The download for the client begins.. but keep crashing after a short download.. So i give up there.
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GeForce now seems pretty reasonable at max settings, provided you are close to a datacenter. I need to play around with it a bit. My primary system is a iMac 5k (though I usually play on a 1440p secondary monitor), and other than the annoyance of having to play at 1080p (which don't get me wrong, is annoying as hell!), the service is otherwise entirely playable on max settings.

I can't dual-boot because this iMac is also my media server and work machine, but it looks like I can run GeForce now on my second (2k) monitor and have similar performance to what I was getting natively. Not bad for $5 a month I guess if I have to do something.

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@"Qida.5648" said:I tried CrossOver. Does not work IMO. Maybe someone here have a suggestion on how to get it to work?

  1. I install CrossOver (20)
  2. Select Application (Guildwars2)
  3. They auto select Windows 7 64bit bottle.. install 64bit GW2 client.
  4. Then i hit the CoherentUI error issue.
  5. So i set command run -32 (32bit)
  6. The download for the client begins.. but keep crashing after a short download.. So i give up there.

I had the same CoherentUI error at step 4. What worked for me was to navigate to the C drive of the Guild Wars 2 bottle (which was created after steps 2 & 3) and manually open the Gw2Setup.exe instead of letting CrossOver attempt to automatically do it. Because I opened the Setup.exe from within the bottle, and not from some other location, it seemed to work. Two ways to get to the C drive within the bottle:

  1. Right-click the bottle in the CrossOver UI > select "Open C: Drive" > look in both Program Files folders for the Setup exe file
  2. Manually navigate to the folder: ~/Library/Application Support/CrossOver/Bottles//drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Gw2Setup.exe

I'll admit I'm a little unsure after-the-fact how I was able to install the 64-bit version by clicking what appears to be the 32-bit Setup exe, but I just used whatever the CrossOver app placed in the C drive folder after having confronted the CoherentUI error. The end result for me is that using the Gw2Setup.exe within Program Files (x86) installed the Gw2-64.exe, along with the 50gb Gw2.dat file, within Program Files in the drive_c folder.

One more thing: After I successfully installed the Guild Wars 2 bottle, launching the app from within CrossOver would give me the CoherentUI error again and fail to launch the game. CrossOver's launcher icons, whether created automatically or manually, aren't working for me. So the workaround is that I navigate to the C Drive folder by clicking the "Run Command…" icon > Browse button > navigate to and select Gw2-64.exe > Run button. Not convenient, but so far has successfully launched every time for me.

*note 1: I'm running Catalina on an Intel MacBookPro 16, 2019 -- hopefully M1 w/ Rosetta 2 would behave similarly

*note 2: I've only been testing CrossOver for a couple of days now. It's working ok. Biggest annoyance I've found is that the option key does not translate to the alt key, so any control keys I'd set to using opt/alt no longer work, and I had to remap them. However, using alt-drag to split stacks in inventory isn't working, and there's no way to remap it in the GW2 UI. This is not a problem using the native Mac client, and it wasn't a problem when I ran GW2 in Boot Camp three years ago, so I wonder if this is a coding issue in CrossOver's GW2 implementation. If anyone has experience with running CrossOver using other apps – any tips on getting the alt key recognized?

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PlayOnMac seems to have issues downloading Wine packages, so scripts will fail unless you somehow have the correct Wine package already installed.

Porting Kit is based on Wineskin, so I perfer to use the latter, I find it easier to tinker with. The original version by doh123 is no longer available; Gcenx is continuing the project, and managed to make it work on Catalina, Big Sur and Silicon.

I built a wrapper with Wineskin-2.9.0.7-rc4 and WS11WineCX64Bit20.0.0, but I’m on Mojave so I have no way to test if it works on Silicon. Since I’m not a developer I can’t sign the app, so it may give you a “Guild Wars 2.app is damaged and can’t be opened” error. In that case the Terminal command “xattr -c /path/to/Guild\ Wars\ 2.app” should fix it.

To modify it, you can right-click on the wrapper, select “Show Package Content” and launch the Wineskin app inside it. There’s a setting to map Option to Alt, I’m not sure if it should be selected or not.

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I tried PlayOnMac. I installed GW2 manually without a script using the defaults for everything. It runs, doesn't look awesome by default, and the framerate is very "bursty". Drops when looking around. I would see this in the official client as well, but it seems to be worse.

I haven't started messing with any settings yet since it took so long to download the entire game again :-)

I looked at the Linux script posted above and don't see that it does much other than provide a nicer interface to select some options, check some minimums, and handle a cursor issue. Ultimately it would be great to produce a script, but it is runnable without one right now.

So if anyone else tries it and has some success - and can offer solutions for performance - please let us know...

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I had the same CoherentUI error at step 4. What worked for me was to navigate to the C drive of the Guild Wars 2 bottle (which was created after steps 2 & 3) and manually open the Gw2Setup.exe instead of letting CrossOver attempt to automatically do it. Because I opened the Setup.exe from within the bottle, and not from some other location, it seemed to work. Two ways to get to the C drive within the bottle:

  1. Right-click the bottle in the CrossOver UI > select "Open C: Drive" > look in both Program Files folders for the Setup exe file
  2. Manually navigate to the folder: ~/Library/Application Support/CrossOver/Bottles//drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Gw2Setup.exe

I tried your suggestion and it works on the M1 Mac! Thank you.

Although I still ran into issue when downloading the GW2.dat file.. It still crashes after downloading 5% - 10%, then have to restart, but at least the progress is not loss.

So instead of downloading, I open my MacOS GW2 version (view package content, copy the GW2.dat into the bottle) And it works.

Ok, so I can confirm the follow 2 ways work for M1 Macs for now.

  1. Parallels + Windows Arm + 32bit GW2 (Free for now) - (Future you may need Windows 10 license + Parallels software)
  2. Crossover 20 (Windows 10 bottle / GW2 client 64bit) (14 days free for Crossover, after which you need to buy Crossover)

In terms of performance. crossover seems to be bad. My mount would disappear and suddenly load in, (Something I always encounter when I used to play on a surface go tablet).

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Really appreciate these posts!

I can't try every variation myself, so if anyone wants to make a step-by-step set of instructions for PlayOnMac, Crossover, Parallels, &c., I'll gladly copy it into the first post.

(I have a recent-model Intel laptop so I'm probably going to try dual-booting this weekend. The PortingKit/Wineskins performance isn't very great right now.)

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