Launcher problem with LOTRO

After several weeks of off-and-on efforts, I have managed to get two MMOs running in Devuan 3.1 (Beowulf) using Lutris. Star Trek Online, and Lord of the Rings Online. In-game performance of both has been excellent. It’s amazing, but the common claim “runs better than it does in Windows” seems to be true. :slight_smile:

In both cases, I interrupted the game installer to manually copy the bulk of the game files since I don’t have a very fast ISP connection and didn’t want to wait literally days for the download to finish. Then I restarted the installers and let them finish, and they recognized the files as expected, saving the huge downloads. The STO install process created a shortcut that works fine. The LOTRO install also created a shortcut, but it doesn’t function as expected.

Here’s the problem: When I start LOTRO using the shortcut, the launcher will randomly do one of three things. 1 - it starts like usual and I can login and start the game. 2 - it puts up the splash screen but prints a message about ‘Download complete!’ and then sits there. No ‘checking product’ message or progress to the boxes to enter login details. I have to kill it and try again. Or 3 - It gives that ‘Retrieving list of downloadable content’ message and two cores of my CPU go to 100 percent load and stay there. This also never resolves, so I just have to kill the process.

So far, these ‘wrong’ reactions have not occurred when using the Lutris panel to launch the game, only the shortcut. This makes me think that the Lutris panel is setting something that is missing with just the shortcut. When I go into the .config/lutris directory and check the .yml files, they seem to be OK. Initially, the LOTRO file did not have a working directory (and the shortcut did not work at all) but I simply used the STO file as a model and added the working directory. It has since ‘worked’ as already described – producing random screwups as often as properly launching the game.

The LOTRO installer is rather notorious for not doing the job of installing the game properly in Windows. I’m not sure how the Lutris script and the LOTRO installer interact. If it didn’t put in the ‘working directory’ where it needed to, could it have missed some other setting that needs to be fixed? Where else can I check besides the .yml files in the config directory?

Hmm, is there a time limit on editing posts? I can’t edit this anymore, so I have to reply to my own post.

Today the problems DID occur with launching from the Lutris panel, so it happens either way. Now I’m really anxious to figure this out. How do I know it can’t just do this constantly and keep me from logging into the game for days? I’ve been trying to figure out all the options in the ‘config’ part of Lutris since this is probably invoked in either start method. It really seems like a missing command argument or environment setting.

Well, here I am only a few minutes later can cannot edit the previous post. Must be a very short time limit.

Anyway, I’ve got something completely bizzaro to add. When I started investigating text files in the game directory, somehow or other the Lutris stuff was watching/controlling what I did. When I clicked on a text file to open it with a text editor there was a huge amount of disk activity and I got a popup notice that the config in the game directory was ‘being upated’ – as if looking at a text file required hundreds of megabytes of files to be shuffled or re-written or something. And then when I clicked the launcher to try to run the game it happened again – a lot of disk thrashing and a popup that the game config was being updated. Huh?

One question, why don’t you just install LOTRO from Steam? According to ProtonDB, it seems it works pretty well there. STO is also available on Steam, but its reviews on ProtonDB seem to be more divided, still, most of them are positive.

Steam is a subscription service. Is it possible to use Proton without subscribing to Steam? If it is possible, and there are some instructions available, I might try it. But really, the setup I currently have works beautifully once the game is loaded and I get logged in. No problems have occurred with actually playing the game – yet, at least. :slight_smile: It’s getting the launcher to behave that is the problem right now.

What I have been seeing from searching around is that this behavior is apparently common in Windows also… weird, because it doesn’t do that to me in Windows.

Steam is a subscription service.

No, it isn’t! Steam is an app store that sells windows games, and its not subscription based.

Creating an account is free, and you only need to pay for the games you buy. But, in this case, these two games are free.

So Steam is comparable to the google Play Store, where you can buy apps, but also download free apps. So its like that, but for windows games.

Check the links: LOTRO and STO.

The best thing that Steam has, is that they have their own Wine fork called Proton, and it includes patches to make windows games more compatible with Linux. If you install the Linux Native version of the Steam client, it includes Proton, and you can configure it to run windows games. The site I mentioned before,, has a community database that list how compatible are games with Proton, and includes things like parameters and environments vars that you may add to increase compatibility.

If you wanna know how to install it, you’ll need to check your distro documentation to see how.

Well, it’s a commercial product and that’s the concern even if I misunderstood the business model. If they are making their money by selling games, then it’s probably spyware like Android, reporting everything you do back to home base, and also probably blares advertising in your face. I’d rather be able to use Proton without Steam but we shall see. Star Trek Online, which was working so well at first, has become a nightmare today. Every map change causes a screen freeze and I have to kill and restart the game. So much for ‘perfect’ game performance…

Look, don’t use Steam if you don’t want to. But the thing I’m noticing from your previous assumption that it was a subscription service, and now that the assumption that it serves you ads, (which it doesn’t, by the way) its showing that you are making assumptions and taking them as facts, instead doing an small research.

Well, it’s a commercial product and that’s the concern even if I misunderstood the business model.

Of course its commercial! Unless you want to pirate your games (or only play free/open source games), you will have to deal with something commercial, steam or not.

Does it spy on its users?

I wasn’t able to find anything that confirmed that after googling. On the other hand, I was able to find that Origin is spying its users. Steam is the most used games store, so I would guess that a product like that gets a lot of scrutiny - especially from the linux community, and if it was spying on its users, there would be reports about it.

As an end user, I cannot assure that it doesn’t spy. But I do know that after starting at least one time connected, it lets you start your games in “offline-mode”, that is, without internet connection, which goes against the idea of spying its users. (of course, thats only for single player games. Playing offline is not possible for online games, like these MMOs).

As far as I know, steam makes its money by selling games, and by charging developers for offering their games on its store. (LOTRO and STO may be free to download, but Steam nonetheless charges the developers for offering the games on the store)

But I want to clarify that my point is not really "You have to use Steam! ", or being a steam fanboy and defend it from everything. There are in fact valid arguments about not using steam, like how they censor and remove without previous notification visual novels or like, contrary to the GOG store, they are not DRM-free.

The only thing that I found slightly annoying and which caused this entire comment is that it seems that you are making assumptions and taking them as facts (nowhere says steam is subscription based! And there are no complains about ads coming from steam. Where you got that idea?)

Every map change causes a screen freeze and I have to kill and restart the game. So much for ‘perfect’ game performance…

Anyway, putting the entire steam thing aside, I hope you good luck solving this!

Yes, most games are commercial products. I don’t mind interacting with gaming companies directly, and I even pay them money. It’s fine if they remember who I am and what I bought from them. That’s normal business.

What is not fine is surveillance capitalism. Consider: Android is a ‘commercial’ product. On top of the phone system! Instead of simply asking people to pay a fee for their phone OS, Google has successfully inserted itself into billions of people’s phone services so they can spy on what they do and use the info to target them with advertising. And sell the info on for who-knows-what further uses. The phone system is a commercial enterprise in its own right. And it’s fine to have to pay some money for a service. It’s not fine to be spied on in the process and that’s the problem with Android. (And these days with Windows. Microsoft has learned from Google and become another spyware company…)

While I don’t know for certain how Steam works, it seems unlikely to be a free ‘pass-through’ for the game companies. Remember, if you aren’t paying for it, you are not the customer, you are the product being sold to someone else. They must be using their ‘middle-man’ status to extract ‘value’ from their customers somehow or other. Thus my preference for trying other things before using Steam.

My ‘research’ is in progress, and it’s going well over-all. My interest was not in Steam’s business model but in getting games I like to play to run on a free (in both senses) OS without being spied on. Despite some hitches, I think Lutris will be sufficient for my needs.

That said, I did notice there are entries for Steam in the Lutris game runners. Two different ones. One is just “Steam” and I guess that’s for Linux native games, and the other is Wine Steam. I wonder which one would contain Proton? I’ve already got Wine with Lutris itself, but I wonder if “Wine Steam” means their customized fork Proton? Or standard Wine?

Also, I reset the graphics in STO to default. No more freezes in a few more recent sessions.

it seems unlikely to be a free ‘pass-through’ for the game companies. Remember, if you aren’t paying for it

But its not a free pass-through, Steam charges the developer for publishing and also gets a 30% cut of every sell, and most of the games on the steam store are for paid. And for those few that are free, Steam charges for publishing anyway (I don’t know the details for publishing, since I’m not a game developer. I don’t know if its only one payment, or after that is recurring or something. But I do know the very act of publishing has a cost)

Maybe creating an account is free, but everything else cost money. But I don’t want to continue this, because I really don’t want to force you to like steam!

If anything, I tend to think its better to support GOG instead, since they only sell DRM-free games.

All this steam conversation started just because I saw you had problems with this games, so I google them, found they were on steam, and then checked their entries on protondb and it said they worked fine with proton. Thats it.

I did notice there are entries for Steam in the Lutris game runners.

Wine steam is for running the steam windows client through wine. I’ve read that there are games that only work that way. But I haven’t tried to run one yet that requires the windows client through wine.

The one that is just “steam” is for the Linux client. The linux client would be the one that has proton.

But, I don’t use steam through Lutris, so I don’t know how good it is. I use Arch Linux, and steam is available in the official repos, so thats what I use.

Yes, once I solve the problems of the large MMOs I’m very interested in GOG. They have many classic games, often actually revised/remastered from the originals. I definitely noticed the DosBox among those game runners. :smiley:

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