When Apple announced its Metal gaming API, many Mac gamers rejoiced and wondered when their favorite games would take advantage of it. Well today World of Warcraft players on Macs will finally get Metal support in a huge pre-expansion patch for WOW’s Legion expansion.
If you aren't familiar with Metal, here's the description from Apple's Metal Programming Guide:
The Metal framework supports GPU-accelerated advanced 3D graphics rendering and data-parallel computation workloads. Metal provides a modern and streamlined API for fine-grained, low-level control of the organization, processing, and submission of graphics and computation commands, as well as the management of the associated data and resources for these commands.
A primary goal of Metal is to minimize the CPU overhead incurred by executing GPU workloads.
Confirmation of Metal’s inclusion in today’s Legion prepatch came in a discussion thread posted in the WOW Mac Technical support forum:
Allygory: “Is new patch bringing Metal support? I think I heard about this on the alpha, is it coming?”
Rommax: “It is! All video cards that support it will default to using metal in the patch tomorrow, assuming you’re running OS X 10.11+.”
Ryegeleye: “I sure hope Nvidia releases an update to their web drivers, because lord have mercy.”
Incaely: “Stock performs better than web driver anyway with Metal.
Sierra updates the stock driver to the 355-series, which is good as Sierra beta web driver still sucks with Metal. ”
World of Warcraft and Metal on my 5K iMac
I recently returned to playing WOW after an extended absence. I’ve been playing on my 5K iMac and I’d forgotten how much fun World of Warcraft can be for players. I've been very busy leveling the fishing profession, and doing Garrison quests and other things.
I’m also running the macOS Sierra beta, and the game has actually been performing pretty well already considering that my OS is beta 3. I’m looking forward to seeing if Metal brings any performance enhancements when the patch goes lives later today.
I have my fingers crossed for at least a bit of improved graphics performance from Metal. My 5K iMac is a late 2014 model, with a 4 Ghz Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon R9 M295X video card with 4GB of video RAM. So it should be quite interesting to see what Metal can do on my iMac.
I probably should have tried the Legion beta, but I was too preoccupied with getting used to WOW after being away for so long. But I’ll find out later today what Metal will bring to WOW’s gaming performance on my computer.
Today's patch is just to lay the groundwork for the Legion expansion that comes at the end of August. So I'll leave you with this video overview of what Legion will offer Mac gamers next month:
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