Currently, players launching an out-of-date client get a pop-up about the latest patch and have to restart the client. This becomes a nuisance when frequent optional updates are released. The new patcher will work like a standard MMO launcher, detecting which files aren't up to date and downloading new versions. "A big-ass progress bar will tell you what's going on and how much work is left," explains Topknot, "and an unnecessarily huge button allows you to play the game once it is ready."
The new patcher is currently on the test server and should be making its way to the main game with the winter expansion. In the future, the patcher will be able to download updates in the background and may be able to download content in stages, giving new players access to character creation while the game content downloads.