Blizzard Launcher (the application may actually be called the "World of Warcraft Launcher") is a utility application introduced with patch 1.8.3 to ostensibly provide news links and a minimal set of pre-launch configuration options for the actual game and the patch downloader. Behind the scenes it would also theoretically provide some measure of scanning and protection from trojan viruses and third party cheat programs.
With patch 3.0.8, the launcher was redesigned with a new look. Also added to the "Options" menu was a bare-essentials "Game Preferences" panel, "Downloader Preferences" panel, and a "Parental Controls" link to the "WoW Account Management" website.
- Act as a scanner and warn the user of malicious software.
- Provide news links about WoW and Blizzard.
- Control the options of the Blizzard Downloader in regards to pre-patching.
- Update the game. New in Patch 2.1.
- Options button to show options panel.
- Minimal pre-launch game preferences.
- Patch downloader preferences.
- Button link to Parental Controls web page.
- Public Test button link to PTR login web page.
- ? button to show web links panel.
- Community page web link.
- Forums page web link.
- Blizzard Store page web link.
- Technical Support page web link.
- Parental Controls page web link.
- First run "optimization". New in Patch 4.3.2.
There was a bit of controversy regarding the Launcher as it was scanning the computer for malicious software, which some people believed to be an invasion of privacy.
The new Launcher may present a security issue. It does not obey the 'default' browser setting of Windows, and thus launches Internet Explorer when any link is clicked. Although this may be fixed in the future, in the past the 'Trial' Launcher has been observed to have some links obey the Default setting, and other links not obey the setting. Thus it could be said that although the Launcher is claimed to aide against some malware, its own behaviour and history of poor coding removes any benefit it may give in this regard.
In Mists of PandariaThis section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria. This section concerns content that is not yet released.
The Windows version of the launcher has menus at the top-left of the window. The Mac version has the menus at the top-left of the screen (standard location).
In CataclysmThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
In the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the launcher will be updated to "stream" installation and patch data. The new launcher is broken up into three stages of download progress:
- SETUP (RED): Core game, or 5% of content, is being prepared. You cannot enter the game at this time.
- AVAILABLE (YELLOW): Base game, or 70% of content, is not completely applied. You can play, but your game experience will not be ideal. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.
- PLAYABLE (GREEN): Extended, or 25% of content, is almost complete. You may begin playing at this stage with few game issues. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.
The Updater and Downloader have been integrated closely into the Launcher, resulting in less application switching when patching and installing.
Later text, for patch updates, for color coded streaming status (percentages and other specifics were removed):
- SETUP Core game content is being prepared. You cannot enter the game at this time.
- AVAILABLE Major game content is not completely applied. You can play, but your game experience will not be ideal.
- PLAYABLE Final game content is almost complete. You may experience a few game issues while playing at this stage.
OptimizationThis section concerns content that is not yet released.
It will reorganize the game files currently installed on your hard drive to integrate all previous patch files, essentially "cleaning up" what’s on your computer and reducing the full installation size and will process these cleanups with no additional hard drive space required beyond what the patch is adding. Because of that you may see them appear more frequently with patches.
Here is the message (it may launch a web browser to show this message) it gives when it first runs:
- World of Warcraft Public Test Launcher.app 220.127.116.118 - As of PTR Patch 5.2.0 build 16486 on 26-Jan-2013.
- World of Warcraft Launcher.app 18.104.22.1686 - As of Patch 5.1.0A build 16357 on 10-Dec-2012.
- World of Warcraft Launcher.app 22.214.171.1243 - As of Patch 5.0.4 build 16016 on 28-Aug-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.app 126.96.36.1990 - As of Patch 5.0.4 build 15961 on 11-Aug-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.app 188.8.131.524 - As of Patch 5.0.4 build 15929 on 2-Aug-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.app 184.108.40.2060 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15762 on 19-Jun-2012.
- No version change, but new look as of Patch 5.0.4 build 15913 on 31-Jul-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.app 220.127.116.117 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15589 on 25-Apr-2012.
- World of Warcraft Launcher.app 4.2.1 (2756) - As of Patch 5.0.4 build 16016 on 28-Aug-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2747) - As of Patch 4.3.4 PTR build 15595 around 12-Jun-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2736) - As of Patch 4.3.3 build 15354 on 13-Apr-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2730) - As of Patch 4.3.3 build 15354 on 3-Apr-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2727) - As of Patch 4.3.3 build 15354 on 28-Mar-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2706) - As of Patch 4.3.3 build 15354 on 28-Feb-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2685) - As of Patch 4.3.2 build 15211 on 6-Feb-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2683) - As of Patch 4.3.2 build 15211 on 31-Jan-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2650) - As of Patch 4.3.2 build 15148 on PTR on 3-Jan-2012.
- 4.2.1 (2617) - As of Patch 4.2.2 on 11-Nov-2011.
- 4.2.1 (2609) - As of Patch 4.2.2 on 9-Nov-2011.
- 4.2.1 (2608) - As of Patch 4.3.0 build 14899 on PTR on 28-Oct-2011.
- 4.2.1 (2588) - As of Patch 4.3.0 build 14809 on PTR on 9-Oct-2011.
- 4.2.0 (2552) - As of Patch 4.2.2 on 30-Aug-2011.
- 4.2.0 (2551) - As of Patch 4.2.2 on PTR on 16-Aug-2011.
- 4.2.0 (2506) - As of Patch 4.2.0 around 10-Jul-2011.
- 4.2.0 (2492) - As of Patch 4.2.0 on 28-Jun-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2483) - As of Patch 4.2.0 on PTR 15-Jun-2011.
- World of Warcraft LauncherB removed.
- World of Warcraft LauncherB 4.2.0 (2451) - As of Patch 4.2.0 PTR 6-Jun-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2453) - As of Patch 4.2.0 on PTR 6-Jun-2011.
- World of Warcraft LauncherB 4.2.0 (2410) - As of Patch 4.2.0 PTR 18-May-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2375) - As of Patch 4.2.0 on PTR 18-May-2011.
- World of Warcraft LauncherB 4.2.0 (2366) - As of Patch 4.2.0 PTR 15-May-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2374) - As of Patch 4.2.0 on PTR 13-May-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2346) - As of Patch 4.1.0 3-May-2011.
- 4.1.0 (2317) - As of Patch 4.1.0 26-Apr-2011.
- 4.0.1 (2210) - As of Patch 4.0.6a.
- 4.0.1 (2120) - As of Patch 4.0.3a.
- 4.0.0 (2104) - ?
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.exe 18.104.22.1684 - As of Patch 5.0.4 build 15929 on 2-Aug-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.exe 22.214.171.1240 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15762 on 19-Jun-2012.
- No version change, but new look as of Patch 5.0.4 build 15913 on 31-Jul-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.exe 126.96.36.1990 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15762 on 13-Jun-2012.
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.exe 188.8.131.523 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15726 on 23-May-2012 (version didn't change, but a warning alert that the launcher was updated appeared).
- World of Warcraft Beta Launcher.exe 184.108.40.2063 - As of Patch 5.0.1 build 15699 on 18-May-2012.
- 220.127.116.1147 - As of Patch 5.0.4 build ????? on 20-Jul-2012.
- 18.104.22.16830 - As of Patch 4.3.3 build 15354 on 3-Apr-2012.
- 22.214.171.12406 - As of Patch 4.3.3
- β Patch 5.0.1 (Beta): 64-bit client now downloaded by the launcher.
- Patch 4.3.2 (31-Jan-2012): "Optimization" feature added.
- Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): The PTR temporarily had its own launcher called "World of Warcraft LauncherB" that was called from the regular launcher, but was later removed.
- / Patch 4.0.1 (12-Oct-2010): New Cataclysm Launcher. It allows you to play although not all files have been downloaded (red - yellow - green state).
- Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20): The "Show Launcher" checkbox has been removed; this behavior is now active by default.
- Patch 2.1.0 (22-May-2007): The launcher will now start the game automatically, unless the "Show Launcher" option on the login screen is checked.
- Patch 1.8.3 (15-Nov-2005): Added.
- β News