After 3 years, "Diablo 3" fans have likely learned that expecting a release date anytime soon is purely self-torture and that the game will be finished "when it's done." After all, this is Blizzard we're talking about. Those same fans do have something to look forward to, though: the "Diablo 3" external beta, which we first reported on back in May. At that time, the beta was targeting the third quarter of 2011, which officially starts in just over a week. So will the world will get its first taste of "Diablo 3" in July? Absolutely, 100% not.
How do I know this? It's simple, really. Seems that Blizzard is holding a July press event dedicated to the "Diablo 3" beta at their campus in California. Information and assets from that event are embargoed until August 1, which means the beta won't be out before then...unless Blizzard really wants to screw over those in attendance of the event, which seems unlikely.
It does, however, bode well for the progress of the beta, which will likely launch in a relatively short span of time after the August 1 date. Granted, that's a big assumption to make, given that this is Blizzard, but we're an optimistic bunch and there's no point in promoting a beta that's still months away. (Then again, there's no point in promoting a game that's three years away, but hey, what do I know?)
Since the event is dedicated solely to the "Diablo 3" beta, we expect to learn some of the more pertinent details about its release, including the release date, contents and how folks will be able to register to participate. If I were to guess, I'd say it'll at least include some PvP elements, as a wide-scale beta is the best way to put class balancing through the ringer.
So, "Diablo 3" fans: Mark your calendars for August 1. Should be a doozie of a day.