In our forums, Overpowerd points us to a Chinese gaming site that’s advertising a “first wave” Diablo 3 beta key to the first 2000 people who place a pre-order for Diablo III. This seems too good to be true, and when RisingRed reposted it in the B.net forums, Bashiok said… that it was.
The Google translation of the d.163.com (formerly Diablo3.cc) article about this is basically gibberish, so it’s possible that this “2000 beta keys” thing is a mistranslation or misunderstanding. But it seems to be a deliberate way to hype pre-orders when the beta keys may or may not be available, further down the road.
It’s weird to think that it might be a scam, since 163.com is the official online partner to Blizzard (and numerous other major gaming companies) in China. They run the official WoW and SC2 servers, handle sales and translations, and are (apparently) poised to do the same for Diablo III. They’ll clearly get some beta keys, which they may disperse to their pre-orders. But from what Bashiok said, I wouldn’t go placing a pre-order with them. At least not in hopes of getting a beta key. (Not that I live in China anyway.)
Update: Apparently it was a bad translation/misunderstanding. They were actually offering fans a chance to register for a sort of raffle to win beta keys. Not guaranteeing them a beta key with a pre-order. Here’s KuangTu’s explanation, posted in the comment to this news item and on B.net as well, with Bashiok’s reply.
That was a complete misunderstanding. There is no such thing said on the website about ? the first 2000 register guaranteed to have a beta key?. There is an explanation link though mentioned the register number goes really fast, and ?it?s almost 2000 people signed up already.? Now I see it?s over 20k.
…it?s not a hoax or scam, but a really bad timing on when to post this D3 beta key raffle page. I?m sure d. 163 . com/diablo3.cc will get some key from Blizzard, but definitely not that many. That thread destroyed the good name we?ve tried to put up as a D3 fansite, not just in the eyes of Diablo fans, but also in Blizzard. Now the site is forced to talk to Blizzard through official PR channel to clear things up and to get the site’s link unblocked. Nevertheless, personally, I didn?t like what 163 .com did with that beta key “opt-in page”, bad timing, poor explanation, and I think they should at least get the key before putting up the page.
Bashiok: Hrm. And I like the Diablo3.cc guys. I will investigate why it was blocked and if it should continue to be. I’m guessing not.
Either way, no one has beta keys, and no site has been promised or should be expecting beta keys.