It has arrived everyone. Put the tinfoil hats away on beta start up, and get them primed for release speculation. The Diablo III Reaper of Souls Friends and Family Beta Test has begun and the closed beta is shortly on the way. I think it’s safe now to say Flux was wrong on his late 2014 Reaper of Souls release date prediction, but I don’t want to jinx it.

    Here’s the official news from Blizzard:

    In the past, participants in this particular phase of public testing usually only include friends and relatives of Blizzard employees. With Reaper of Souls, however, we’ve decided to buck that trend and extend invites to valued media contacts and key members of the Blizzard community. We’re also inviting 3,000 of our most active Diablo III players from around the world who’ve opted in for beta testing—something we’ve never done for any Friends and Family Beta test before!

    Participants in the Reaper of Souls Friends and Family Beta are not required to abide by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). As a result, you may see coverage in the form of articles, videos, streams, and forum posts appear over the next few weeks regarding various features and changes in the expansion. When reviewing this coverage, please keep in mind that the Friends and Family Beta is still an early glimpse at Reaper of Souls, which means that all content is subject to change before release. We also encourage you to be mindful of story spoilers, as the Friends and Family Beta includes the entire expansion, excluding the final boss fight.

    There doesn’t seem to be any NDA so we can post screenshots, full info, stream gameplay, etc, and we’re all furiously-downloading and installing the RoS demo right this moment. Expect Diablo IncGamers to be filled now with heaps of reports from all of us on our new experiences and feel free to let us know what you’re eager to hear more on.

    Our Friends and Family Beta is just the first step of public testing, and by the end of the year we will be moving into Closed Beta. Since our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta test will also feature all content in the expansion (again, excluding the final boss fight), invitations will be extremely limited. However, we’ll continue handpicking community members to invite to the Closed Beta and bringing in additional players through opt-ins to ensure that all of our features like the Crusader, Mystic, and Adventure Mode get the testing they deserve.

    If you’re interested in participating in the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, please make sure you’ve opted-in for beta testing. You can do this by adjusting your Beta Profile Settings under the Account Management section of your Battle.net Account. Please note that opting in to the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta will not guarantee you access, but it will at least give you a chance at joining our beta test.

    In tandem with all this good news is wait for it….more good news. The PTR will be coming soon for loot 2.0 and as we know it the last patch before the xpac!

    Around the same time we begin our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, we will also be launching our Public Test Region (PTR) for Patch 2.0.1! This patch will feature updates including Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, our new difficulty system, the addition of Clans and Communities, as well as balancing and tuning for all five Diablo III classes.
    Anyone with the Battle.net Desktop App and Diablo III license will be able to participate in PTR testing.

    We’ll have more information on how to access the Public Test Region when it launches.
    We’re incredibly excited about kicking off our public tests for Reaper of Souls, and look forward to collecting your feedback. The End of Days is coming!

    Okay take a breath, take it all in. What are your thoughts on this huge news? Bummed you didn’t get in yet? Excited for the open beta? Sound off in the comments!

    Update: Install pictures if you want to live vicariously.

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