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Does the Battle.net desktop app have to be installed to install, update and play Blizzard games or is the program optional such as the GOG Galaxy client?

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    Unfortunately it is required. This is a major reason I have considered dropping Blizzard as a game source. The Terms you agree to allow the application to silently monitor all of your communication and hardware to protect against cheating. However, even while a game is not running, the monitor process still runs. Terrible design, borderline illegal depending on what traffic (bank transactions) is being monitored. – Travis J Sep 28 '16 at 22:22
  • @TravisJ you can tell the launcher to quit completely when you close the window, rather than simply minimising itself. – Hong Ooi Sep 28 '16 at 23:59
  • @HangOoi - The launcher may quit, but the monitoring process will remain. – Travis J Sep 29 '16 at 0:45
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    Wow, that's good to know. I haven't played a Blizzard game in a while, and I guess I have less incentive to start again. – Nelson Sep 29 '16 at 2:15
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    @TravisJ not true, you can check for yourself in Task Manager. (The Battle.net update agent can sometimes take a while to unload, but it will go away after a few seconds.) – Hong Ooi Sep 29 '16 at 5:57
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Yes, the launcher is required to run at least some Blizzard games, according to this post by a Blizzard employee:

When you run a Desktop Shortcut for some of our games - currently Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and the Warlords of Draenor Alpha - they will require the Desktop App to run.

However, that post is a couple years old. According to the WoWWiki page on the Battlenet Desktop app:

This replaces the launcher for all Blizzard games, and works similar to the older launchers, with background updates, repair tool, and more.

It appears that the launcher is not necessary to play all games, but in order to keep them updated to their current version, it looks like it is required for most Blizzard games.

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    It's not required for Overwatch at least. I just went into my program files and opened it up manually. Tried the same thing with Diablo 3 and it opened the blizzard client though. – VanBuzzKill Sep 28 '16 at 16:26
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    It's not strictly required for World of Warcraft either. To be clear, it is needed to patch the game to current, but if your game is current then it can be launched directly from the executable without opening the launcher (I launch executable from Steam so that I can use Steam's overlay while playing). – Unknown Zombie Sep 28 '16 at 17:57

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