PWO on ReactOS

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ReactOS is an alternative, open source Operating System which aims to be binary-compatible with Windows software and drivers, and to feel as close to Windows as possible, but developed from scratch with the view of providing a free, open-source and secure alternative[1]. While PWO does not officially offer support for ReactOS, given that its eventual goal is to run Windows software as close to native Windows as is technically achievable, there may well come a point in time whereby PWO becomes by default compatible with the OS; and, through the use of Virtual Machines such as VirtualBox, other systems by extension.

Our resident Admin Jinji regularly beta-tests ReactOS via a VM; and has taken it upon himself to test new builds and determine the feasibility of PWO running on the system in the future. This article details the current results.

Current Status

While PWO installs to ReactOS successfully and will attempt to run, ReactOS does not automatically install several needed dependencies, so some advance preparation is needed to enable it to function successfully. It is, however, perfectly possible to get PWO to open, load and even attempt to login. Unfortunately, the game is still not actually "playable", as ReactOS has a faulty WinHTTP implementation that means the game fails to connect to our server and will instead try to connect to the local computer - resulting in the player logging in to a black screen, most GUI elements being blank, and no way to interact with anyone. This is likely due to an incomplete reimplementation of the required Windows code (the same behaviour can be observed trying to play on Linux with Wine), and is something currently out of our control to fix.

Latest observations (as of 19 August 2022)

  • PWO is capable of being fully installed from the standard installer. Note however that it may be advised to download the installer from a separate computer and transfer it over via a USB or CD, as glitches in ReactOS currently mean that attempting to download the installer from our site directly may cause the system to experience severe slowdown.
  • PWO also requires the following dependencies to be installed to run successfully. These can all be installed via "Applications Manager":
    • DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2010)
    • Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Runtime
    • Mesa3D Graphics Library
      • Make sure to check "Use Mesa3D" when installing, as ReactOS's default Direct3D implementation does NOT work!
    • Microsoft XNA Development Framework may also be useful for this and many other games
  • If you are running ReactOS in VirtualBox, you will also need to alter your Machine settings to enable 3D Acceleration:
With ReactOS not currently running, click in the main VirtualBox Window:
Settings > Display > Tick "Enable 3D Acceleration"
  • PWO should now be able to be opened and will present a fully-functioning login screen, and will even appear to allow you to login. Unfortunately, the game will not connect to our server, so you will be presented with a black screen as described above.


  1. What is ReactOS?