With Reporting by Kara Warner
As we reported a few weeks ago, big news about the "Diablo 3" beta was scheduled to be released today and we're going to stick to that. Blizzard released information regarding the upcoming beta for the anticipated hack-and-slash RPG, including the contents and features contained in the beta. Unfortunately, a release date for both the beta and the full game remains a mystery.
Rob Pardo, the executive vice president of game design at Blizzard, spoke about the lack of a release date for the full game, saying, "We learned our lesson on 'Starcraft'...where we set an actual release date and blew by it by like a year or something. Typically nowadays we only release dates when we know we can hit them, so like 3 or 4 months before the game comes out. We are working hard to get to this year, but it's going to be tough. So either we make this year or it goes into next year."
The 3 or 4 month time-frame means a 2011 release is extremely unlikely, as "Diablo 3" will have to go through a beta phase before the final game can be released.
As for the beta, Alex Mayberry, a senior producer on "Diablo 3," confirmed that "I know when the beta’s coming out, I just can’t say. I can say soon."
Blizzard was willing to reveal the contents of the beta, however:
"You'll be able to try out all 5 character classes and experience the early stages of 'Diablo 3' from the start of the game through the Skeleton King encounter. You'll be able to interact with new and returning characters in New Tristram and fight the reawakened evils emanating from the cursed Tristram Cathedral. You’ll also experience the randomized elements of 'Diablo 3' as well many of the new system designs that take many of the core 'Diablo' design elements to a whole new level."
It's a surprising amount of content considering it'll be offered for free to those who enter the beta. The length of the beta, from when it starts to when it ends, has not yet been determined, but Blizzard suggests that if you're interested in participating, you should configure your beta opt-in settings, which will ensure that you're on the list of potential recipients.
Beta details weren't the only things that were revealed. Big news about the Auction House in "Diablo 3" is coming at you shortly, so stay tuned.