Zarhym (Blizzard community manager) announced in the Cataclysm forums that the launcher as well as the patch download process will be getting overhauled as well. This new system will include a color-coded progress bar similar to a stoplight system.
What does this mean for players? Once you're into the yellow part of the download, you can actually log into the game and play. Things that are missing will likely be along the lines of art, model and sound files. While this might cause lag or strange graphic issues, it will allow for players to get back onto their servers faster during patch days.
Those of you in the beta will see this relatively soon. However, it will require that you re-install the beta client from scratch.
The full blue post and instructions after the break.
Filed under: Cataclysm