Diablo 3: Blizzard’s Longest Beta Test Ever

If it seems like you’ve been waiting forever for Diablo III… you have! As Risingred documents in this forum thread, the time between Diablo III’s announcement and release, and the time between the start and finish of the Diablo III beta are both the longest in the history of Blizzard Entertainment.

Diablo II: Beta started 3.4.2000 and ran until 29.6.2000

LoD: Beta started 3.5.2001 and ran until 29.6.2001

SC2: Beta began 17.2.2010, and ran until about a week to its release, which was 27.7.2010

WoW: Beta began 19.3.2004, and ran right up until release on 23.11.2004

D3: Beta began (publicly) 20.9.2011 and will run until 1.5.2012

Diablo III has also beaten every other Blizzard game from days of announcement to opening of the beta by about 170 days, and it will also be Blizzard’s longest public development.

And this doesn’t even include the fact that D3 was announced a whopping seven years after D2X’s release. Consider this; World of Warcraft was released in North America in late 2004, and the rest of the world in early 2005. (Except for parts of China, where it’s still pending sufficient bribes governmental approval for release.) You know all those new gamers who think they’ve been playing WoW for their entire lives? That’s not even as long as we waited between D2’s release and D3’s announcement!

Thankfully, now that the end is in sight, we can look back and laaaaaaaauuuuuuuugh.

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36 thoughts on “Diablo 3: Blizzard’s Longest Beta Test Ever

    • I’d guess this is an appropriate space to report that D3 was announced in 8/2008? which is when i started grad school.  I graduate with my masters on 5/5/12.  They made a game and I got a degree during the wait.  Sad part is, they will make a lot more money than me. Well, maybe not.  C’mon auction house!!

      • Actually D3 was announced on late June 2008, so it’s before you started grad school 😛

  1. Homestretch.
    In the upcoming weeks.
    Just about everything is set as it will be at release.
    There’s really no saying what may change before release.
    “Soon” was too soon.

    Things that take less time than developing Diablo 3:

    World War 1.
    The Manhatten Project.
    Every Apollo mission.
    Giving birth to five babies, allowing for 3 months rest before the next conception.

  2. Am I terrible at math, or was the WoW beta actually longer based on the dates in this post?  

    • As far as the dates of the public betas go, yes. WoW’s lasted 249 days and Diablo 3’s will have lasted 224. But Diablo 3 had a non-public “beta” and WoW went straight from internal/friends and family alpha to the closed beta, so it’s kind of hard to compare the full length of their betas due to Blizzard’s change in testing phase logistics/semantics.

      • This. From the dates posted, WoW had a longer beta, but I don’t have solid dates for the other “versions” of the beta. Diablo III’s “public” beta did indeed last longer from this perspective.

        As I said in the thread, I also give D3 a handicap because WoW was a massive undertaking for Blizzard who, at the time, was still a pretty small company with no experience making an MMO. 

  3. LOL nice references!

    And Apoc, laughing is all that we can do to keep our sanity thinking how long we’ve waited!

  4. Just in case the actual years in between D2 and D3 did not age us enough, the wait has.  To think I was starting High School…

  5. To think I was 6 years old when my parents achilly let me play diablo and i have been playing it on and off for all these years! And dear god! How long I have waited is insane for Diablo 3 don’t get me wrong I love diablo 2 and 1 but I just wana get my hands around D3 so i can love all three!

  6. Quote:
    “And this doesn’t even include the fact that D3 was announced a whopping seven years after D2X’s release… You know all those new gamers who think they’ve been playing WoW for their entire lives? That’s not even as long as we waited between D2?s release and D3?s announcement!”
    I don’t understand the sense of entitlement you display with regard to the period of time between one game being released and its sequel being announced. Blizzard has not by statement or implication indicated that it seeks to publish sequels in the narrowest possible window. Nor do I think you, or any gamers, really desire Blizzard games be developed in such a fashion. While I could understand a sentiment expressing a desire to ‘play and enjoy as many Diablo games as I can get, as soon as I can,’ the above statement goes quite a bit beyond this, indicating a tone of outrage at the schedule Blizzard has set developing their games. That schedule is determined by priority, strategy, resources, and yes, even revisions, all to the goal of making the best game possible. If you and I have anything in common, that is what we ultimately want.
    You aren’t owed a Diablo sequel in 1, 5, or 20 years. You can want it and be excited for it and frustrated when you don’t have it, but any entitlement you feel is misplaced.

    • Interesting that you choose to read bemused exasperation at an objectively and  comparatively lengthy delay as, “entitlement.” 

      I believe you will search this post in vain for words such as, “demand,” “deserve,” “unacceptable,” etc.  I didn’t even bring up the various Blizzard North debacles.  If anyone should be upset by this lengthy wait, it’s ATVI stock holders. (A group that I can actually number myself among, though my handful of shares are far from a motivating factor in anything I post on this site.)


      • I do read entitlement into your tone and phrasing. I think bemusement is a cover for dissatisfaction in an unbased expectation.
        More than anything, I’m curious which ‘various Blizzard North debacles’ you reserve mentioning (not that I know what you would gain by mentioning them). Do you refer to Flagship Studios, Castaway Entertainment, and Hyboreal Games?

        • I have no problem standing up and saying I felt slighted by Blizz while WoW had its reign (a reign that will likely continue even post-D3 release).  Being a Diablo-only fan, it chaps my ass listening to all the D3 is too much like or not enough like WoW garbage.  So leave dude alone.  As far as entitlement, have you ever read WoWer message boards?  or just the Blizz D3 boards which are probably 90% WoWers?  plenty of entitlement going on there.  not trying to troll, its just how i feel.  you don’t have to like it.  thats fine.  i haven’t liked Blizz treatment of Diablo over the past almost decade.

        • How is it an unbased expectation?

          What other company, what other game outside of Duke Nukem has such a ridiculous amount of time in the public eye before it is even playable?

          This is not the gaming industry standard. Of course we expect delay from Blizzard, but this was just asinine amounts of time waiting for a simple ARPG. 

        • You seem to have a gift for creating negative connotations in my every remark.

          I refer to the fact that development began on D3 in 2000, shortly after D2’s release, and that due to umpteen problems that have been detailed elsewhere (often by me talking to Max and others) the whole thing got shelved in 2005 and restarted almost from scratch at Bliz Irvine. Without assigning blame to anyone, I’d say an experienced, competent gaming studio working on a hugely-anticipated AAA title for 5 years, to no result, qualifies as a debacle.

    • Because shut up, I read about two sentences. You’re an idiot. You obviously don’t know how long we’ve been waiting, so just stfu and leave. 

  7. “Thankfully, now that the end is in sight, we can look back and laaaaaaaauuuuuuuugh.”

    I’ll only be laughing if the game is good. If the game is mediocre, like SC2, then I will be… disappointed. And if there is one thing I do not like, it is to be… disappointed.  👿

  8. so what’s really to blame for the long development cycle? is it jay wilson’s incompetence? or is D3 really such a huge project?

  9. I don’t know. If this game turns out to be something like duke nuke ’em, then it’ll be a sad day indeed. However, I doubt that will ever happen with a bliz product. Less than a month away.

  10. So what exactly are you trying to say, Flux? You are unhappy with the long wait between D2 and D3? or is it that Blizzard spent most of their resources in the last decade on their cash cow called WoW, instead of putting more effort in D3?

    What I get from your post (and others, since they mostly contain the same theme), is that you are unhappy that your favorite franchise Diablo has been pushed aside for WoW which has generated millions for Blizzard and Activision (which you are a shareholder of). I don’t see any problems with that, yea I would have liked D3 to come out 5 years earlier, but why would Blizzard pull out people working on WoW expansions to finish D3 when the subscription numbers of WoW were going up (3-4 years ago) at that time. Would you leave this site if it’s generating tons of money for you for a part time job? I would guess no. Why would Blizzard do anything different?

    Lastly, I have rarely seen any post from you which doesn’t portray WoW in a bad light (you brought up WoW in this post for no apparent reason). You should probably be grateful that Blizzard is what it’s today(financially) largely due to WoW and you also happen to be a shareholder of the parent company Activision. If your goal is to rile up the anti-WoW posters in this forum, then I guess you do a good job of it, but I would say playing a ‘terrible’ game like WoW is better than doing nothing for 10 years and waiting for D3.   /rant

  11. Well, I waited for SC2 for very long time too and it’s fantastic except BNET 0.2.  I hope Diablo3 will be great too and I think it will be judging from what I have played in the beta.

  12. Well, I’m just glad that there are people talented enough and motivated enough to make games that I enjoy playing.  Sure, it’s been a long time.   It might have been nice to get it sooner.  Then again, it might not have if it resulted in significant negative changes in quality and fun.  However, I think the development team has poured their heart into making the title, and I believe it’s going to show once we get a chance to experience it wholly.  

    I try to look at it this way, though.  The team cares so much about the Diablo franchise that they’re willing to spend more time on it than any of the other titles.  That might not be true, but it makes me feel a little bit better enduring the wait.

  13. It took me a solid minute to realize the reason the dates made no sense was someone was using European dates…
    Sometimes…. I’m special…

    • By European date format you mean the non- USA format.

      DMY is the most common date format and is used in Australasia, Latin America, Northern Africa, Central, SE, W Asia. (3,2000 Million people)

       YMD is used in China and Japan predominantly. (1,500 million people) 

      MDY is used almost exclusively in NA. (310 million people)

      • DMY in Canada too!! 😀

        We like to use the oppo of the US, just to make everything more difficult of course

  14. Prolly too late to post but after reading all these posts I can only think of all the WoWers sitting there impatiently watching us Diablo fans getting all the attention for so so so long. Hahahahahahaha 😆

  15. The game was announced too soon. It was too easy to keep plugged in on every little detail that transpired. The wait has been quite miserable.
    I’m going back to the old school approach where I preoccupy myself and hear about stuff when it actually hits the market, this goes for Blizz titles as well.
    Once more for the record: The wait has been miserable.

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