So you want to get back into World of Warcraft (WoW) again after taking a break for a few years and you don’t want to wait to install 10 CD’s worth of files and then wait hours and hours for World of Warcraft to patch itself… or you just bought a digital copy and need to download the game.
Your first instinct might be to try and find some of the latest copies of the CD-Roms online somewhere (probably a sketchy website), download them, and wait for minimal patching. But this is definitely not going to be the fastest way.
Turns out, the ABSOLUTE FASTEST way to download World of Warcraft and any of it’s patches is to download it through the launcher straight from blizzard. You can get this World of Warcraft Launcher straight from the World of Warcraft website. But that’s not the end of it. I have a couple tips which will further increase your World of Warcraft download speed from Blizzard’s own server.
World of Warcraft’s downloader / launcher utilizes the bit torrent’s peer-to-peer file transfer protocol to save on Blizzard server bandwidth. This means that the files you are downloading might come from someone else sitting there waiting for their copy of WoW to finish downloading. This presents a problem because world of warcraft’s launcher’s bit torrent application is not terribly efficient. In fact, it was utilizing my uploading bandwidth at such a high rate to send the file from my computer to my peers, that my download speeds were bottle-necked and limited to around 300KB/s… Which is terrible if you have a 10MB/s internet connection.
People with slower internet connections or people with extremely limited upload bandwidth lines will find this tip extremely useful.
Now sometimes this peer-to-peer transfer does work fine and you will get great download speeds… but in my experience it is very inconsistent and the fastest way to get your downloads and patches done is to disable peer-to-peer file transfers. This is doable via an option in the World of Warcraft Launcher’s menu. (See image below)
By selecting Options -> Downloader Preferences you have the ability to uncheck Peer-to-Peer transfers. This will close all peer-to-peer connections and enable an HTTP Direct Download straight from the Blizzard server. When I did this, my speed immediately jumped from 300KB/s to 1MB/s and even hit speeds of over 1.7MB/s!! Obviously, this significantly shortens the waiting period required until you can start playing the game.
Speeds will be further increased during Blizzard’s off-peak hours, such as early in the AM. For example, at 8:00am this morning I was able to hit the super fast speed of 1.7MB/s. However during peak playing hours, like 8:00pm, my HTTP direct download transfer speeds were significantly slowed to around 600KB/s. It is during these peak hours that the peer-to-peer transfer is designed for. At that time Blizzard’s servers don’t have the bandwidth to give you the fastest speeds. However! It is also during peak playing time that there will be the maximum amount of peers to transfer with. So if you are trying to update during peak playing times, it is possible that the peer-to-peer transfer might give you somewhat of an increase in speed. You can play around with it and see that works best for your time and your internet connection.
At the very least this should give you something you can fiddle with so that you can get the maximum download speed possible. It certainly saved me some time!