Diablo 3 F&F Beta Revealed; Hints DotA-style Gameplay Mode

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅07.09.2011 21:42:12

This weekend a wealth of information on Diablo 3, Activision Blizzard’s upcoming online Action-RPG, has been leaked to the public through various fansites, from in-game screenshots to datamined gameplay characteristics. The sudden nature of these releases pointed to two things: the Friends and Family Beta was active and the Closed Beta was soon.

Confirmation of the imminent start of D3 Closed Beta came this morning with the announcement on the official Battle.net forums that Beta keys were being sent out to a lucky few. Few, that is, in terms relative to those who want one; thousands will likely be chosen over the course of the Beta period.

FYI, we’re getting very close to starting the closed public beta test for Diablo III. You might start seeing some new reports about the beta client as we’ve begun limited external testing with employees and their families, and there is no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for that. We look forward to sharing more info about the beta test in the near future. Stay tuned.

If you have a beta license, you are free to show, share, or talk about any portion of the beta content to which you have access, as this beta test is not confidential.

Influential Starcraft 2 Shoutcaster Sean “Day[9]” Plott revealed:

Hi my name is Sean and I have a Diablo 3 beta key. Yes. Yes I do. [..]

following which other internet personalities who have been promoting eSports (and especially Blizzard games) noted they had also received keys; it’s likely that Press who have a strong relationship with the company will see one too. The Beta is not covered by an NDA so detailed legitimately sourced information, screenshots and similar will no doubt be published as those who haven’t had the chance to try the game have the opportunity to and wish to gush about it.

You’re probably now wondering how you get into the Closed Public Beta. Well, it won’t be easy and your chances will likely be slim.

1. Sign up for a Battle.net account and make sure you have opted in to Beta Testing, including performing a up-to-date scan of your system.
2. Keep an eye out for fansite Beta Key competitions running on large gaming hubs such as curse.com, diablofans.com and MMO-Champion.com. If past history is anything to go by there will be significant numbers of these.
3. Have gone to BlizzCon 2010. Entry to ‘a future Blizzard game Beta’ was one of the perks on the ticket, though this may be referring to the forthcoming SC2 expansion ‘Heart of the Swarm’.

You will be notified by e-mail if you have received a Key, so be sure to check your spam folders whilst not falling for the scams likely to be prevalent over the next few months.

We don’t know how long the Beta will last. Seeing as it only consists of part way through the first Act (of four) it’s difficult to see just how much in-depth testing is required from it. As a marketing opportunity it can’t be understated however, and it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see the Beta client become the basis of a demo following the games’ release.


image credit: PlayDotA.com

In other news, datamined information from the Diablo 3 Beta Client threw up something of a surprise – a DotA style gameplay mode. For those who aren’t aware Defence of the Ancients was a Warcraft 3 Use Map Setting which broke into the eSports scene and spawned a number of successful online competitive action-RPG games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Valve’s DOTA2. Riot, the makers of LoL, uses the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) label for these games, and it fits pretty well. The recent surge in eSports interest has centered around these MOBAs to some extent, and Blizzard has been playing catch-up ever since.

Indications at BlizzCon 2010 were that the Blizzard entry into this field would be a map+gameplay mode created with Starcraft 2’s highly customisable editor. Delays had some commentators suggesting that they had missed the boat and would be left behind, but it may be that SC2’s somewhat open (see: free with the game) content delivery system would be an impediment to leveraging it as a microtransaction monster. Enter Diablo 3.

Recent design decisions have meant that Diablo 3 will be an online-only game, essentially an MMO without that persistant-world malarkey. The reasons are many and varied, but are summed up by a) piracy, b) exploits and c) money. Microtransactions will be a major part of the core Diablo 3 economy through the use of a Real Money Auctionhouse, but even more importantly the closed nature of the platform makes the sort of services and LoL etc. offer possible for a non-zero fee. Blizzard’s first foray into the MOBA genre may therefore come with Diablo 3, a move not yet hinted at by the Irvine-based company.


Diablo 3 should be released in Q4 2011, at the usual $60/£40 RRP PC game price point.

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