The bonus beta areas we posted about earlier have now been confirmed, as a functional section accessible through the Diablo 3 Beta. I spent the past hour exploring in the area myself, and took a few screenshots for documentation.
There are three areas, the Festering Woods and the Fields of Misery are large surface areas you reach via waypoints. The Drowned Temple is the third area, which should occur between the other two, but is just a small series of stairways with a non-functional dungeon entrance at the bottom. Dungeon entrances that don’t work are very common in this area, as you’ll see if you view some of the screenshots. There are numerous ones throughout the areas that highlight and hover, but have long, bugged code names and none of them can be entered. (A very few do work though, and they have normal names. You see the Forlorn Farm in the screens below.)
The monsters in these areas are largely different than what we’ve seen thus far in the beta. Lots of huge charging beasts, goatmen (who often emerge several in a row out of tiny foxholes), various attacking trees (who create poisonous pods all over the ground around them that are quite damaging), carrion bats, ghouls, ghostly spirits, and more. It’s a few levels higher than any previous beta content, and while my Wizard wasn’t in any real danger of dying, I was constantly out of Arcane Power, as the monsters had more hitpoints, plus I was playing a three-player game. I could instantly see why using at least one Signature Skill will be necessary for Wizards long term.
As for how I got into the area… a friend found someone else with the Festering Woods waypoint, and shared it to me. We still don’t know how someone got over the fence from the cemetery in the first place; I think it might have been an unrepeatable event, from some partial disconnect or weird bug, which is why no one knows how it was done. Now people with the waypoint are just sharing it with friends, and soon enough practically everyone in the beta will have it.
I don’t see any reason Blizzard should really care; you don’t see any plot or story info in those areas (the quests aren’t working; just some of the events), and it’s almost like an end game for beta characters, since the monsters are a few levels higher than anything in the Cathedral or the Leoric fight and with their different/new tactics they’re nasty.
None of the screens below are exactly spoilery; as none show any plot or story or big events, but if you’re trying to prevent your eyes from seeing anything not in the beta, don’t click. They’re sorted with numerous others in the Beta Datamined Images Gallery.
Gameplay videos of these areas can be found in a subsequent news item.