In what seems to be the biggest confirmation of patch 4.0.1 for tomorrow, Blizzard has announced that the streaming launcher, which has been active in the Cataclysm beta for some time, is going to be deployed to the live game. Included in the post is an FAQ about the launcher.
If you haven't seen the new launcher yet, here's a quick rundown. The launcher allows you to download a critical set of data required to play the game, noted by the red stage. After that critical set of data is downloaded, you can play WoW but will potentially experience issues because the majority of the game content is not downloaded, noted by the yellow stage. Once a majority of the game content is downloaded, the downloader goes green, meaning you will still be downloading content but the game will be in a more stable, playable state. Hit the jump for the official announcement.
WoW.com and our sister site Big Download have teamed up to provide you with some lightening fast mirrors of patch 3.3.5. These patches are for the Mac and PC versions, and will only work with North American versions of WoW. The European and international versions of the patch are not out yet -- they're coming next week.
According to Eyonix, the background downloader for patch 3.3 will begin its work soon. There were some reports that it was turned on yesterday for a short time, when it began to deliver a roughly 450mb pre-patch file. However this time, Blizzard is turning it on for good.
Eyonix points out that the background downloader should provide a faster download than normal. Go into the preferences of the downloader and check "Don't throttle background download" to see the new speed in action. However, this option has often been known to interfere with WoW and other applications accessing the intertubes, so I recommend you only turn it on when you're not going to be doing a lot of online activity.
This does point to patch 3.3 coming soon. Whether or not that soon is next week is too early to tell, but usually Blizzard runs the background downloader for a couple of weeks before rolling out a patch. But who knows -- we haven't heard anything yet on (or off) the record.
Update: Many readers are reporting that the downloader is now active.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.
Blizzard updated the launcher again today without warning and hopefully without incident -- unlike Monday, when everything went awry, errors abounded and people were unable to connect.
There is no indication that patch 3.3 is anywhere near downloading or anything other than a small tools patch. There has also been no word from Blizzard yet on exactly what this patch does, but it is required if you want to log into the game. The patch is very small and only takes a handful of seconds to download and apply.
We'll keep an eye on this issue for any problems, but as of this writing, all is well.
They also mention that the app just got another update, to version 2.2.25, and all of the release notes are posted over on their site. They're also looking for help -- if you're a C# developer, or know one who can work on their rogue and hunter models, be sure to let them know. Since the program is open source, anybody who knows the code can jump in and add their own features, or fine-tune the class choices, which then helps out everyone who uses the software. Rawr is definitely an excellent resource for anyone looking to get their gear perfected -- it's a free download for Windows on their site right now.
Update: Since this post was written, the app has been updated to 2.2.27. That was fast!
Here's another step in patch 3.2's slow march forward: the background download has begun. The first 273 MB chunk of the patch file is now available in a Blizzard Background Downloader app near you. Blizzard has been using this method to pre-distribute parts of patches as they get finalized for quite some time now, to lessen the bandwidth strain on patch day.
What does this mean for the patch's ETA? Not much, I'm afraid. All we can surmise from this is that some parts of the patch artwork are ready to go. The time between the background download becoming available and the patch going live varies widely, from less than a week to over a month. We'll just have to wait and see.
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.
It doesn't take keyboard gymnastics to prevent your account from getting hacked. As a new player, you're bound to be concerned – and if you do any digging at all, you're also bound to uncover a tangle of acerbic, rather arcane-sounding comments (many of them on posts right here at WoW Insider) about what operating systems, browsers and browser add-ons are most secure.
You really don't have to change your entire computer system simply to keep your WoW account safe. This week, WoW Rookie rounds up a selection of WoW Insider posts that show you how (and why) to keep your WoW account from being hacked and prevent your computer from spilling its beans to the world at large.
Our sister site Big Download has the PC patch files for patch 3.1.1 mirrored. The download is only 8 megs in size, so it shouldn't take you too long at all if you download it from them. However while the Blizzard downloader is working now, you might not have much luck later on. The Blizzard downloader has been known to crumble under intense usage (I know it's counter intuitive given the Blizzard downloader works off torrents, but it's what happens).
Big Download will be getting the Mac patch up soon enough, and we'll update this post when they have it.
Patch 3.1 may be here sooner than we expect. As of this evening, people exiting WoW should see their background downloader start up in order to deliver patch 3.1 -- or at least parts of it.
As to whether this means we should expect the whole shebang to go live on Tuesday, I still wouldn't bet on it. Not only have there been indications that the devs are willing to delay Noblegarden if they have to to keep testing the patch, It seems like class balancing work still has a bit to go.
With this in mind, it seems most likely that what we're getting now is mostly finalized art and zone files that won't change before the patch goes live. But whether we have one more week or one more month, the preparations are underway. We're one step closer to the Argent Tournament and Ulduar!
[Thanks to everyone who gave us a heads up on this!]Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
We had a great time on the WoW Insider Show this past weekend -- Turpster and I welcomed back Michael Sacco (formerly known as Belfaire on the official forums and now a blogger here on WoW Insider) and manly man Matthew Rossi to talk about what's coming up in patch 3.0.9, what we thought of the dual spec news we heard last week, and our progress (or lack thereof, apparently) on the Love is in the Air event. We also answered lots of emails from listeners, and speculated on what Blizzard's future release schedule might look like.
And a huge thanks to all of our listeners for hitting 4,000 fans on our Facebook page -- Turpster's song is coming soon (hopefully next week), and as a mini-reward this week, by request, here's a downloadable version of Sammy T's great "Meat of the Show" song (just right-click save as, and if you do anything with it, be sure to let us know).
Our next goal has to do with our Twitter page -- as we announced on the show, if we can get "over 9000" Twitter followers there, we'll do a video version of our podcast, either with ingame video or Turpster and me on camera ourselves. So tell your friends and Twitter followers to check us out over there. Enjoy the show, and we'll see you as always next week.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [Ustream] Listen to the unedited recording in Ustream. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
However once you download the version above, run the installer, and then run the game you'll be presented with the requirement to download another patch. This patch will bring you up to the latest 3.0.8 version of PTR client.
To put it another way: the version you get from the official download page will be updated upon installation. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's wrong.
This took Alex Ziebart and I a bit to realize, and we wanted to be sure that we shared this with you right away. Enjoy your PTRing! We should note that the server names are a bit odd right now, but Alex is on the 3.0.8 PTR with his character he copied over earlier. Edit: Pukka clears up the situation a bit more for us nicely: "Unless you were in the beta, you will not be able to access any WotLK content (or characters above 70 for that matter). Also, on the copy page, PvE lands you on a Spanish PvP server, and PvP lands you on a US English PvE server."
Wrath of the Lich King appears to be downloadable after all. If you go into your account menu, you can access the "World of Warcraft Installer." You'll be presented with an application which allows you to select to download Wrath.
The download currently does not work – it gives an internet connection error. This is to be expected. I would fully expect that the download will work after 12:00am EST Thursday.
We have the Wrath downloader up at our sister site Big Download for the PC and MAC (which runs on AOL networks so it's not going to go offline), or you can get it from Blizzard's site (which we all know goes offline when more than 10 people decide to view it at once). If this is your only way to get Wrath tonight, expect to have to wait a bit for the Blizzard downloader to work – but you'll at least get it. Update: It should be noted that since this story went live, Blizzard has said this download is currently unsupported. Of course, this could change quickly - and we fully expect it to change around midnight tonight. Be assured: the download is from Blizzard and by Blizzard. Not some third party site.
Lyonthri posts in German that Wrath of the Lich King will be available for download next Thursday.
I'm scratching my head here too. This was brought to my attention a short time ago, and has since showed up on MMO-Champion as well. So something is definitely up. We're paying attention to the Customer Service Forums tonight in hope of getting some more clarification from Blizzard.
The full German text of Lyonthri's post, along with a Google translation, appears after the break.
Update 4:40 a.m. EST: Claudiog has clarified his earlier point that he said there should be no expectation of a digital download being available on release day, not that there would not be one. Updated 3:17 p.m. EST: Lyonthri has since updated his post informing us that he is not saying there will be a digital download available on release. He apparently misspoke.
The digital download for Burning Crusade took a few weeks to get going, and while Claudiog can't say if the Wrath version will take as long, he does mention it won't be available immediately.
This is important if you're living someplace far off and are expecting to be able to download Wrath the night it releases. While there will no-doubt be places around the internet where you can do it – you will have to use those places at your own risk.
You'll hear it here when the digital download does finally go live, but don't expect it anytime soon.