How to Play WoW on a Slow Computer

by Laurel Storm ; Updated September 22, 2017

Playing World of Warcraft can quickly become frustrating on a slow computer. Despite the game's relatively low system requirements, players using older computers will find that the graphics become choppy and slow. This makes navigating crowded areas or participating in the game's group content almost impossible, and can quickly result in character death even when playing alone. If you own a slow computer, there are several ways you can improve its performance and increase your enjoyment of the game.

Shut down any other program you may have running. All programs running on your computer take up a certain amount of memory; if too much memory is taken up by other programs, World of Warcraft will slow down.

Remove any custom user interface or addon you may have installed for World of Warcraft. Each addon also takes up memory, and running too many will not leave enough memory for the game itself to use. Navigate to the game directory. If you have an Interface folder, rename or delete it completely.

Remove the game's temporary files. These files can become corrupted and lower the game's performance. Navigate to the game directory and remove all files found in the Cache and WTF folders. They will be created again with default values the next time you play the game.

Start the game by double-clicking on the game's icon. Click on the "Options" button to the right, then on the "Video" button that appears in the center of the screen. Select "Effects" from the menu on the left of the window that opens. Click on the first slider found under the "Video Quality" header and drag it to the left until it reaches the "Low" setting. Click "Apply." Close the game and start it again.

Tip

  • World of Warcraft is always being updated, and new problems may arise at any time. The official World of Warcraft Technical Support forums are always kept up to date and offer the most recent solutions to any issues that may occur.

Tip

  • When you are shutting down all running programs, keep in mind these might include antivirus, firewall and other security programs you may normally want to have on. While these programs will impact your game performance, if you do shut them down, always restart them when you are done playing. The game uses the "Projected Textures" option in the "Video" settings to signify dangerous objects that may appear during gameplay. While turning this option off may improve performance, it can severely impair your gameplay and as such is not recommended.

About the Author

Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.