Bashiok replied to one of the thousands of “beta news plz naow!” threads, with a useful tidbit.
We’re still looking good for third quarter, which is before the end of September.
We’re preparing ourselves for an extremely limited, and extremely rough beta. The number of people let in will simply be dependent on concurrency of active players (we want to keep it full), and rough because we expect many issues as we’re trying out a lot of new hardware and systems all at the same time. We’ll get it ironed out before release of course, but while most of our other game tests have been of seemingly releasable products, we’re preparing for this one to be a true beta.
The info I’ve been hearing from people (who know people) is that the Diablo III beta likely won’t start until September. That’s not guaranteed, of course, but it seems logical. If they were going to start it in the first two or three weeks of August, they’d have given us a release window during the last conference call. As we know, they gave no beta update at all then, other than to repeat their “3rd quarter 2011” estimate.
Bashiok’s post here does nothing to contradict that, and seems to support most of our conjecture that the beta will be small, fast, and probably open to a lot of testers, as Blizzard will need a lot of people to keep up high concurrency numbers to properly stress test the servers. Those are good things, as far as I’m concerned. Better chance for more of us to get into it, and less waiting for the final product!