D2 and Macs

maxicek

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Dec 24, 2019
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D2 and Macs
During the life of this twenty year old game, the Mac has undergone many changes - Including three changes of processor family. Blizzard has had a long history of supporting the Mac. Most CD versions of the Diablo 2 were shipped as a hybrid disc that can install on both Mac and PC. Unfortunately these discs are not much good for Mac users these days as this was in the days of OS 8 and PowerPC based Macs.

This guide is intended to help anyone with a Mac get Diablo running, whatever version of OS and processor you are running on.


Mac OS Overview
This section gives an overview of the operating systems available since the launch of Diablo 2. The hardware changes go together with an OS change, so they are mentioned here.

OS 9
Two different processor families can use OS9:
If you have an old Motorola 68040 Mac (most probably called a Quadra), old CD versions of the game should include the Mac installers. This is the only known way to play versions before 1.10 on a native Mac client.

Power PC processors were introduced in 1994. For this processor you need to use the Carbon installer, which installs 1.10 as a default.


OS X until 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)
All versions of OS X up until 10.6.8 Snow Leopard can use the Carbon installer.


10.7 (Lion) until 10.9 (Mavericks)
10.7 removed the Rosetta layer that allowed D2 to work on the Intel processor, breaking the Mac version of D2. For these OS versions alternative methods need to be used to play D2.


10.10 (Yosemite) until 10.14 (Mojave)
Blizzard released a native web installer for 10.10. This is the installer currently available from their website. This installs version 1.14b as default. There are often problems running the game after patching to 1.14d, generally the client not launching or crashing almost immediately. This can be solved by either restarting the computer and launching again or repeatedly trying to launch the game.

Recommended Solutions:
- Official Blizzard Client
- Wine (May be more stable than the official client)


10.15 (Catalina)
Catalina removed 32bit application support, so the native Mac installer no longer works. Once again alternative methods are needed for playing D2.

Recommended Solutions:
- Bootcamp
- CodeWeavers Crossover 19
- VMWare Fusion Player 12


11 (Big Sur)
Big Sur starts Apple's switch to ARM processors. Bootcamp will not be available on ARM processors, but Apple will include Rosetta 2 to allow Intel programs to work on ARM.

Recommended Solutions:
- Bootcamp (Intel only)
- CodeWeavers Crossover (assumed ARM or Intel)
- VMWare Fusion Player 12 (ARM or Intel)


Solutions

Official Mac Client
If you have a CD Key, you need to change it to a download key first. The old key will still work if you are installing from CD on a VM or something.

You can then use the newly converted licence on your account.


Bootcamp
Bootcamp makes your Intel based Mac dual bootable, so you can run everything natively as a Windows PC, making this the fastest way to run any Windows application on your Mac. The disadvantage is that you have to reboot every time you want to play.
Price: Free + Windows licence


Wine
I use Wine to run 1.14d in Mojave. I find it more stable than the official Blizzard client, and the big advantage is that you can get all the text modifiers to work to enable RWM etc. (see guide here)
Wine does not currently officially support 32bit applications in Catalina, however there are un-official builds that do. I have never tried this, please let me know how you get on if you do.
Price: Free


CodeWeavers Crossover 19
Uses Wine and custom code to allow 32bit applications in Catalina. The fastest way to run D2 in Catalina without using Bootcamp.
Price: 38 USD


Virtualisation
Virtualisation is running a program in your Mac OS that can run a different operating system and applications. This is easier than Bootcamp as you do not have to reboot. You can also create multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) so you can run different versions with their own OS. This is the easiest way to time travel on the Mac. The disadvantage is that you are running an OS within an OS, meaning it is slower. If you use Windows 2000 or something for 1.07 or 1.00 Classic it will run well, but I struggled with Windows 7 (required for 1.14).

VMware Fusion Player 12
System Requirements: 10.15 Catalina
Price: Free for personal use + Windows licence
Earlier versions of VMWare Fusion you had to pay for, it is only free since version 12.

Parallels Desktop 16
Price: 79.99 USD + Windows licence

VirtualBox
Price: Free (GNU v2) + Windows licence


Windows Licences
If you are running an old version of D2 in a Virtual Machine and won't go on the web, probably the easiest way to get it running is to use a Windows version of a similar age. I used Windows 2000 Professional for Classic through to 1.10, it works really well and used much less disc space. You will need to use google to find a copy though.

Windows XP or later is required for 1.14. You don't actually need to buy a copy of Windows 10 to get Bootcamp running though, you can actually run it without a product key. If you want to get an activation key, there is more information here


Other Stuff
GoMule and RunCounter are both written in Java, so will work with whatever method you decide to use, as long as they can access your save folder. So you can run D2 in Wine / Crossover and run GoMule on a Mac.

ATMA is Windows only, so if you are time travelling install it in your VM.


Version History
1.0 - First Version
 
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