More Beta Buildup

  • #1

    (Source) With relatively little of the game included in the upcoming beta, Risingred of the official Battle.net board raised a series of questions, trying to get at the heart of the real function of beta testing for Diablo III. While you may be just itching to start your crusade into the twisted heart of the DiabloWiki.com - Burning Hells Burning Hells, if you haven't been following beta news lately, you may be disappointed. This article aims to set expectations straight and reveal what Blizzard intends beta testers to, well, test.

    As far as the content included in the beta, which was vaguely mentioned in our press event coverage, Bashiok posted that the team "want(s) the spoilers to (be at) a minimum," with the beta cutting off shortly after conquering the DiabloWiki.com - Skeleton King Skeleton King. The story that is revealed may act as a mind-boggling cliffhanger to run our salivating mouths. Nothing like a little more hype, right?

    But the true purpose of the beta lies at the structural level. Bashiok elaborates:


    Official Blizzard Quote:



    We're testing client and server stability. We want to make sure the game is running, and running well, on a wide range of systems, and the server infrastructure that runs Diablo III is completely new, so we need testing on that front as well. Quite right, we're not necessarily looking for gameplay related testing, although we do hope to see feedback on the various systems and see what people like/don't like from the first few hours of play time.

    The reason for the testing is also due to the platform which Diablo III will be using to bring players together. Battle.net 2, while a far-reaching online social gaming platform, is not so uniform that games can simply be "popped" in and support magically works. The Battle.net Diablo III experience has been and is being hand-crafted to fit the look and feel of the game, as well as its unique game mechanics and systems. This means that the online experience has never seen the light of day, in spite of Battle.net 2 being featured with Starcraft II. Bashiok noted that the system "is completely untested, which is the top reason for the beta, followed closely by personal system testing, patching systems (also new), and gameplay feedback."

    Regardless, the beta still promises to be tons of fun, and Bashiok promises that "nothing is cut out. Some systems and skills won't unlock because you simply won't hit those points or levels, but it's very much the game from the start to the Skeleton King."

    Furthermore, the beta might not be that far away, if the launch of the official Beta FAQ/Overview page on Blizzard's official site means anything. In addition, yesterday's conference call confirmed a two-month window for the beta, and Zarhym's call to update our beta profiles may be not-so-subtle hinting. Here's to hoping!

    [dfans]
  • #2
    Indeed. Im holding my thumbs, or toes, whatever works for the BETA.

    Thanks Magistrate for these news!

    Swedish Official Fansite www.Diablo3pvp.se

  • #3
    Gamescom is in two weeks, I really hope they'll announce the Beta start date there!
    Rísta - ráða
    Fá - freista
    Biðja - blóta
    Senda - sóa

  • #4
    Quote from Dauroth

    Gamescom is in two weeks, I really hope they'll announce the Beta start date there!


    I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I doubt it. They usually save major announcements for their own event (Blizzcon), for major interviews, or for their own news feed on their site/through Twitter/forums, which instantly is picked up by hundreds of fansites across the web.

    It would certainly fit the time bill, though, I'll give you that.
  • #5
    Well, I'm going to say the announcement is over a week away. Last year, they announced StarCraft II's beta at the conference call a little less than a week before it started. So, since they aren't sure of the exact date, it must be a while off. Gamescom seems a little far away though. But maybe my brain is just telling me that because I want it sooner.
  • #6
    Quote from Magistrate

    Quote from Dauroth

    Gamescom is in two weeks, I really hope they'll announce the Beta start date there!


    I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I doubt it. They usually save major announcements for their own event (Blizzcon), for major interviews, or for their own news feed on their site/through Twitter/forums, which instantly is picked up by hundreds of fansites across the web.

    It would certainly fit the time bill, though, I'll give you that.


    The beta isn't a major thing.
    :monk: /facepalm
    Monk > Wizard > Barbarian > Demon Hunter > Witch Doctor
  • #7
    if the way wow patches are run is any correlation, generally posting of the official FAQ / overview(patch notes type stuff) is a sign that the release is only days away. Fingers crossed!
  • #8
    Quote from Scottehs

    Quote from Magistrate

    Quote from Dauroth

    Gamescom is in two weeks, I really hope they'll announce the Beta start date there!


    I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I doubt it. They usually save major announcements for their own event (Blizzcon), for major interviews, or for their own news feed on their site/through Twitter/forums, which instantly is picked up by hundreds of fansites across the web.

    It would certainly fit the time bill, though, I'll give you that.


    The beta isn't a major thing.


    Quite the opposite, it is a major thing. It's their chance to test out their hardware and software infrastructure to make sure when the game goes live that millions of players aren't going to be without a game. As for it being announced at Gamescom, it's certainly possible and fits into the Q3 time frame they established for the beta. For a major announcement like the release date I'd expect that to be at Blizzcon.
  • #9
    Quote from KargosofUldum

    Quote from Scottehs

    Quote from Magistrate

    Quote from Dauroth

    Gamescom is in two weeks, I really hope they'll announce the Beta start date there!


    I'm not going to say it's impossible, but I doubt it. They usually save major announcements for their own event (Blizzcon), for major interviews, or for their own news feed on their site/through Twitter/forums, which instantly is picked up by hundreds of fansites across the web.

    It would certainly fit the time bill, though, I'll give you that.


    The beta isn't a major thing.


    Quite the opposite, it is a major thing. It's their chance to test out their hardware and software infrastructure to make sure when the game goes live that millions of players aren't going to be without a game. As for it being announced at Gamescom, it's certainly possible and fits into the Q3 time frame they established for the beta. For a major announcement like the release date I'd expect that to be at Blizzcon.


    No need to announce beta loudly because most of the people won't be getting in it'll be a waste of time on Blizzards part.

    1000 beta keys being sent out @ last years blizzcon which is 1000 loyal Blizzard followers, that's alot of testers already.
    :monk: /facepalm
    Monk > Wizard > Barbarian > Demon Hunter > Witch Doctor
  • #10
    a beta announcement at GC could be possible. Why not? Thousands of fans there. And last year they announced the crafting systems there, wich in my eyes was a big reveal? Plus the time frame is very possible.

    I'm still hoping it will be announced before GC, but if not then would be a good time for them to do it as well, as there will be a lot of coverage from press and fansites that will be there as well. Let's face it: it's the biggest event with this kind of media attention for a while. After that the only thing left is blizzcon, wich in my eyes is way to far a long, and outside of the Q3 window.
  • #11
    I don't care if it's only a very limited infrastructure test, I want my randomized dungeon fix now! :D Here's hoping :)
  • #12
    Quote from Scottehs

    No need to announce beta loudly because most of the people won't be getting in it'll be a waste of time on Blizzards part.

    1000 beta keys being sent out @ last years blizzcon which is 1000 loyal Blizzard followers, that's alot of testers already.


    1000 testers is absolutely nothing if you're looking at an infrastructure that more than likely needs to be able to support at least 1-2 million customers. We can safely assume based on Blizzards track record that the game will hit 1 million copies sold - so even if only 10% of the people who own the game are online at any given time (a reasonable number based on mmo statistics) you end up with a constant minimum server load of a 100.000 people. So let's say betatesters are a more zealous bunch and 50% of them are online at any given time - those 1000 keys would come up to about .5% of the minimum expected server load. Even if as a stress test Blizzard wants to reach 10% of this minimum server load assumption they will need at least 20x as many players - and keep in mind that these numbers are very conservative - imo the beta won't be a small scale thing either.
  • #13
    Quote from BoyC

    Quote from Scottehs

    No need to announce beta loudly because most of the people won't be getting in it'll be a waste of time on Blizzards part.

    1000 beta keys being sent out @ last years blizzcon which is 1000 loyal Blizzard followers, that's alot of testers already.


    1000 testers is absolutely nothing if you're looking at an infrastructure that more than likely needs to be able to support at least 1-2 million customers. We can safely assume based on Blizzards track record that the game will hit 1 million copies sold - so even if only 10% of the people who own the game are online at any given time (a reasonable number based on mmo statistics) you end up with a constant minimum server load of a 100.000 people. So let's say betatesters are a more zealous bunch and 50% of them are online at any given time - those 1000 keys would come up to about .5% of the minimum expected server load. Even if as a stress test Blizzard wants to reach 10% of this minimum server load assumption they will need at least 20x as many players - and keep in mind that these numbers are very conservative - imo the beta won't be a small scale thing either.


    1000 people is more than you'll see in your daily life, think about it.
    :monk: /facepalm
    Monk > Wizard > Barbarian > Demon Hunter > Witch Doctor
  • #14
    Quote from Scottehs

    Quote from BoyC

    Quote from Scottehs

    No need to announce beta loudly because most of the people won't be getting in it'll be a waste of time on Blizzards part.

    1000 beta keys being sent out @ last years blizzcon which is 1000 loyal Blizzard followers, that's alot of testers already.


    1000 testers is absolutely nothing if you're looking at an infrastructure that more than likely needs to be able to support at least 1-2 million customers. We can safely assume based on Blizzards track record that the game will hit 1 million copies sold - so even if only 10% of the people who own the game are online at any given time (a reasonable number based on mmo statistics) you end up with a constant minimum server load of a 100.000 people. So let's say betatesters are a more zealous bunch and 50% of them are online at any given time - those 1000 keys would come up to about .5% of the minimum expected server load. Even if as a stress test Blizzard wants to reach 10% of this minimum server load assumption they will need at least 20x as many players - and keep in mind that these numbers are very conservative - imo the beta won't be a small scale thing either.


    1000 people is more than you'll see in your daily life, think about it.


    Not if you're a game server. Also, as an MMO developer I can assure you that 1000 testers on a game architecture of this scale are only a drop in the ocean ;)
  • #15
    Quote from BoyC

    Not if you're a game server. Also, as an MMO developer I can assure you that 1000 testers on a game architecture of this scale are only a drop in the ocean ;)


    I would imagine they are also expecting a million or more players at release, so testing their servers with only 1000 or even 5000 players wouldn't be a very good test for them.

    As a point of reference, Starcraft II sold just shy of 2 million copies in it's first month out. While Diablo 3 may not reach the same mark, it wouldn't be in their best interest to plan for a tiny amount of people to be on the severs and just assume everything will work fine.
  • #16
    Quote from ZombieMuse

    Quote from BoyC

    Not if you're a game server. Also, as an MMO developer I can assure you that 1000 testers on a game architecture of this scale are only a drop in the ocean ;)


    I would imagine they are also expecting a million or more players at release, so testing their servers with only 1000 or even 5000 players wouldn't be a very good test for them.


    Exactly. Also the way these tests tend to work is a pretty iterative process (speaking from experience here): you let in a bunch of people, there is a big spike in server load for a few days and then it evens out as people get bored with the short content or the bugs or whatever. You might also find issues that need to be fixed, that takes some time. Then you let some more people in to get another spike in server load and check the fixes, and so on. I'm quite certain we'll be seeing the same thing here: waves of beta invites going out as they shoot for ever higher server loads and check different configurations/fixes. At the end of the beta a lot of people will have played D3, more than likely ranking in the tens of thousands.
  • #17
    Well although it will definitely be the smallest beta, theres no reason for them to have told people to opt in for it unless they were going to give out more keys than the 1000 that they did at Blizzcon. It will be small, but only 1000 people is definitely way too small.

    Also, if you live in a city you'll definitely see more than 1000 people. Just saying.


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  • #18
    It is going to be so painful if I don't get into the betalol
  • #19
    They will probably release about 1000-5000 at first then give out more once they get an idea of how their servers run initially. I hope...
  • #20
    Quote from boomstick08

    They will probably release about 1000-5000 at first then give out more once they get an idea of how their servers run initially. I hope...


    This his how almost all online games work for their betas. They will add more users in waves and then right before the beta closes they will have a stress test where they invite a very large number of people compared to past waves. (At least that's the general model.)
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