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…

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