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I have noticed many times over that my Diablo 3 launcher has gotten stuck either at the checking for update stage, launcher initializing stage, or downloading a small 2-4 MB patch stage, all which should obviously take no time at all.
Recent solutions I have found to fix this for me have been:
a) Waiting for several minutes or more for the game to launch on its own
b) Restarting the launcher several times like you're rolling the same D20 down a mountain over and over again
c) Exit the launcher and attempt to disable the agent from task manager
But just tonight I realized that there is one fool-proof solution that has worked every time and takes much less effort!
Step 1: Go to the Diablo III Technical Support Forums
Step 2: Log in to your account and proceed with full intent to open a new thread detailing the same problem that you have been having over and over again.
Step 3: That's it! Before you have a chance to create a new support thread, your launcher client will finish doing whatever it is you were meant to think it was doing, and the game will start!
I don't know if this is some miracle bug fix, or if there's something magical at work here, but I can honestly say this is how I've finally been able to get the game to launch when one of these problems has come up.
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