Blizzard on the Tiny Diablo III Demo

RisingRed started a thread to ask about the demo-sized DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Beta, and got some elaboration from Bashiok about what the gameplay goals and technical aims if the test are.

Bashiok: 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.

Also… we wanted to the spoilers to a minimum, and they’re there, up front and center in Act 1 after the Skeleton King. So that’s where we cut it off.

why not just release the “beta” as a public demo so everyone who wants to play this game later will see if they can run it.
Bashiok: Because we’re starting with essentially a ‘single’ server to test the system out, and so it’s necessary to keep it full, but not overflowing. To do that we carefully monitor concurrency and then hand out extra keys when/if it dips.

Don’t you guys have QA labs just for this purpose? It just seems to me that you don’t even need to test this game, really. I can’t imagine how long it will go, can’t be very long at all, because you aren’t exactly new to the online game scene. All of this stuff in D3, it’s been done before by Blizzard and it’s down to as close to a science as it’s going to get.

Is this going to be a very open beta, like SC2, at least?
Bashiok: We have a huge and talented QA department just for purposes like these, yes, but it’s still no comparison to thousands and thousands of players hammering the system. We can run simulations to see what breaks just from over-crowding, but it’s ultimately no comparison to real players testing the system.

But we also do want player feedback on systems and how the game feels and plays for the content that’s available. The first few hours are the most crucial for any game, so we definitely want to make sure we get them right.

This will be the most limited beta in recent memory, and because of of how new the back end is, we expect it to be the most unstable as well.

I don’t care what the content of the beta is as long as it is successful in its goal. There’s talk of feedback on game systems, but there’s game systems that won’t even show up, and talk of how the game feels in the beginning but from what I understand, there’s stuff cut out.
Bashiok: There’s a pacing and flow to the beginning of every game, and if you take stuff out that will appear in the final release, you aren’t testing the flow.

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.

To clarify further, there’s no universal “bnet2” server blade and we just install different games on it. The service Diablo III will run on is completely untested, which is the top reason for the beta, followed closely by personal system testing, patching systems (also new), and gameplay feedback.

Like most of you guys, I was surprised to realize just how little game content there was in the beta. However if this results (as we hope it will) in a small beta = short beta = sooner release… who’s complaining? Besides, this way if you don’t get in at least you know you’re not missing all that much…

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

10 thoughts on “Blizzard on the Tiny Diablo III Demo

  1. They can only do a limited beta because they’re just running a “‘single’ server”?
    Dang, too bad people can’t run it locally or something like that…

  2. so our chances of getting on this beta are tinnyyyyyyyyy 🙁 bummer. and i know that it probably means a sooner release date , but say its december. thats like 4 months away D: with nothing for us average joes haha

    • Yeah I was getting my hopes up that this would be a really open beta so that I’d almost for sure get in. I still might but chances are low.

  3. I was schooled a bit in that thread.
    It’s just…after playing WoW since release I guess I just assumed that they’d wave a magic wand and all of the web stuff would work out of the gate, because they’re really experienced with these systems now.

    It works very well in WoW, the matchmaking. The servers are very stable and even on my crappy connection I rarely lag (unless I’m downloading something, or if the game is patching in the background). I suppose I was applying this luxury to the D3 beta test which, in retrospect, was rather stupid.

    But horribly disappointed that the beta will be small in scope, in terms of numbers. But the reason Bashiok gave was perfectly valid, I suppose.

  4. I am not really surprised by this. I kind of expected (hoped?) that this would be the case. It makes me actually want to take part in the beta, knowing I am not spoiling much but still being able to try everything out. I think it’s a great decision on their part. (Not to mention the indication that the beta might be a relatively short one!)

    • oh absolutely. i wouldnt want the beta to reveal too much but i was hoping the amount of people on it would be a decent size. if they want to test there mechanics i would see it more relevant to test more people :S imo 🙂

  5. Very interesting, thanks RisingRed.  This certainly defines the scope of the beta and puts a few trolls to bed.

  6. Small beta =/= short beta imo. If they are testing the back end from scratch, then that will take a while I’d imagine. As was said, shortest beta in memory yes, but also the most unstable.

  7. I took the “limited” comment to refer to the playtime length of the beta. Sure they will start with a single server but will need to expand that out to stress test the server farm.

Comments are closed.