I have DSL internet with low bandwidth and would like to avoid downloading 18GB at 170KB/s download speeds. I own World of Warcraft on DVD but I can't find my Cataclysm disk, but I do have my old WotLK disc.

Am I able to save myself some time by installing WotLK and then have the patcher bring me up to Cataclysm somehow, or does it not work like that?

Is there anything I can do to avoid downloading the full game?


1 Answer 1


The World of Warcraft launcher will always patch the game up to the latest version and download any expansion content that your account is eligible for. It is very much dependant on the 'product level' of your WoW account. A lot of Cataclysm content was actually changes to 'classic'/'vanilla' WoW zones, this content will be downloaded regardless.

The WoW launcher allows you to 'stream' the game while playing, obviously this wouldn't be very good for doing PvP/dungeons/raids as you would essentially be downloading while playing, but it does mean that you can install just part of the game and still get into the game while the rest is downloading. It is also required to set the 'product level' of your account for your download.

Logging into WoW once the base amount of information has been donwloaded (ie: the launcher gets to the 'playable' stage) - will update the Launcher configuration file to specifically only download expansion information for the account you have. In your case it won't change anything as your account level is for all expansions but this can result in a much smaller download.

  • 3
    The full game download no matter what expansions you have, what you have access to is determined after login.
    – Blem
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 6:18
  • 1
    Nope, tested this myself with a copy of WoW just with Battle Chest when I created an account on the American realms, it doesn't download the full game - otherwise it wouldn't start downloading a huge chunk of data after upgrading your account. The expansions are all encapsulated within their own MPQs.
    – kalina
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 14:29
  • Here is some further investigation for you, you are required to log into WoW while the game is being downloaded in order to set the account product level, the account product level is stored in WTF/Launcher.CFG as 'downloaderTags' and 'expansionLevel'. Once these values are set the game only downloads this content.
    – kalina
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 14:37
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    @pixel actually, the WotLK disc contains the 3.0.1 patch, so all you need to play is that disc, no need to install vanilla/TBC first
    – Kappei
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 14:58
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    @QAppei - While your statement is true, using the WoTLK disk to install World of Warcraft is a mistake, you are better of using the streaming installer. You would have to patch multiple times until you reached 4.0.1 which introduce the steaming client support, then install all the patches up to the current patch, before you could even attempt to log into your account.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 16:48

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