#0 - Sept. 15, 2010, 5:11 p.m.
Blizzard Post
The new Cataclysm Launcher allows you to stream game data while you play. This will reduce the time you spend downloading, installing, and patching World of Warcraft. We’d like to get your feedback on the toolset and gameplay experience.

What’s changed:

We've redesigned the Launcher to explain your installation progress. You will see a new progress bar with sections (Red, Yellow, Green) that represent the amount of data you currently have installed.

There are three stages of download progress:

- SETUP (RED): Core game content is being prepared. You cannot enter the game at this time.

- AVAILABLE (YELLOW): Major game content is not completely applied. You can play, but your game experience will not be ideal.

- PLAYABLE (GREEN): Final game content is almost complete. You may experience a few game issues with playing at this stage.

All World of Warcraft data will continue to download and apply whether you wait in the Launcher or are playing in-game. If you find the play experience undesirable, you may exit the game and allow the Launcher to continue the download. This may improve the play experience for users with low bandwidth.

Let us know about your experience with the new Launcher. When sending feedback, let us know what your connection speed is and what stage (Red/Yellow/Green) your progress bar is showing. This will help us optimize the Launcher and get you in the game faster.


Q. The launcher says I need to download 16 gigs of data. Why so much?
A. In order to fully test the new Launcher and streaming system, all game data is being provided by the Launcher (or the game.) The PTR installer did not provide any game data, nor did it re-use any of your existing retail game data .

Q. If the PTR installer didn’t install any game data or reuse any game data, then why did it take so long to install?
A. The installer pre-allocated 16 gigs of space on your harddrive. Depending on the speed of your hardware, this may take anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes.

Q. You are requiring a full reinstall for PTR. Does this mean I will have to reinstall my WoW retail client when I buy Cataclysm?
A. No. However, as with the prior two expansions, there will be a lengthy patching process to migrate users from the prior major version (3.0) to the new major version (4.0). Data for this patch will be downloaded in advance via the background downloader.


Q. Since the new system still uses P2P, do I only seed when I’m also downloading something, or will I uploading data to other players all the time?
A. As with the prior system, when you have downloaded all data, you will no longer seed.

Q. When Cataclysm is released, will P2P be used when downloading while in the game?
A. Yes. However, this has not yet been implemented.

Q. The background downloader currently allows me to continue downloading after exiting the game. Can you add that feature to this new system?
A. We intend to add this feature before Cataclysm is released.

Q. How much data is in each stage for a full Cataclysm installation?
A. For users with medium to high bandwidth connections, about 5% of the data is red (required), about 70% of the data is yellow (base gameplay), and about 25% of the data is green (extended data). Users with low bandwidth connections should read the next question below.

Q. What if I have a low bandwidth connection?
A. Users with connections below 1 MB/sec will be required to download all data before entering the game. (These users will see all of their data under the “Setup” stage of download.) Users with connections above 1 MB/sec will have the option of entering the game before all data has been downloaded and applied. Users at any bandwidth may exit the game and resume the download if they find the play experience undesirable.

Q. How is data assigned to each stage?
A. Data is assigned to each stage based on the relative need for that data. Red is required to get into the game, yellow is data needed for base gameplay, and green is for variants of base game data (higher-resolution graphics, alternate sounds, other flavor data).

Q. How do I know when the entire game is downloaded?
A. The progress bar will reach 100%, and then will not be shown on subsequent launches (until there is a new patch released).

Q. Will I still be able to download patches from mirror sites?
A. Yes, standalone patches will still work.

Q. Will the downloader still use P2P / bittorrent?
A. Yes.

Q. Will large patches still be downloadable in advance through the background downloader?
A. Yes.

Q. Will it be possible to download the entire game before I begin playing it?
A. Yes.

Q. Is this mandatory?
A. No. Users will have the option of playing before all game data is downloaded and applied. They may choose to enter the game, or they may choose to wait.

Q. On patch days, will I be able to start the patch download before the realms are back up?
A. Yes.

Q. Will I still be able to download a patch once and copy it to multiple machines?
A. Yes, as long as you have fully downloaded the entire patch. However, as with the prior expansions, patches from a previous major version (all patches prior to 4.0) will not work with the new major version.