(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 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 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!