I'll start off by saying i was not able to play WoW on Friday night because i was downloading a 1.68 GB patch, 4.01, stage one, all day. The download was slow and no amount of tweaking made it go any faster. When i got bored staring at the screen, i used Bittorrent and opened the file manually in the "updates folder", in the WoW folder itself.
Day two: I went to try and play again on saturday because for some reason i thought i had something i signed up for (a raid or something) and stage two was ready for download. At this point i got curious and typed my frustration into Google, thinking maybe the search engine had the answer. Nothing really there either. I asked Kerry, my life long friend if she had experienced anything strange and she called me crazy.
I checked my battle.net account and sure enough, it said i had been selected for the beta test of Cataclysm, and congrats and all that. So when stage 2 (3.8 gb) was done downloading, the game opened up and started downloading two 648mb patches, each which took about an hour, and my connection is good. Then i saw the Cataclysm screen for the first time. Initially i thought i had done something wrong that i did not have it installed already.
I clicked install, and waiting began again, this time i slept. 16.8GB install, which took almost 3 hours on my Quadcore Laptop. Sheesh. When i woke up this morning (sunday) i grabbed the computer and opened the program only to assaulted with another 6.1b download. At this point the game will be playable, but there will be further downloads in the background. The way the new launcher works is like this:
You play wow at your own risk and its slow if you have not downloaded all of the update yet. There are three stages at which you can start playing, all of which are slower than waiting for the download to complete. It works the same way the trial edition works, in that it sends the information direct if you have a fast connection, you may not see any difference.
Update: As of 5 minutes ago, the launcher increased the download size to 11.5gb left to be downloaded. So if your keeping track: