The Diablo Podcast #25: Beta, Beta, Beta!

Flux is joined by Neinball and Exile as they answer listener questions about the Diablo 3 Beta. When will it start (soon!), how long will it last (less time than you expect), how do you get into it, and much more.

The twenty-fifth episode of The Diablo Podcast is now online for your listening pleasure. In this show Flux, Neinball, and Exile discuss the imminent start of the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Beta, and answer numerous listener questions about the beta test. What will be in the beta, when will it start, how do you get into it, how long will it run, what does Blizzard look for from beta testers, how did Blizzard handle other recent beta tests, and much more.

Short Beta Coming Soon?

I was surprised by how short both Exile and Neinball thought the Diablo 3 beta might be. Listen to the show for their opinions and reasoning, but after thinking it over, they’ve got a point. I shall explain:

The Diablo 3 Beta test will consist of just Act One and probably the Arena. We know that Blizzard has Act One nicely-polished, plus as they’ve repeatedly told us, Normal difficulty is balanced to be absurdly easy rather gradual in the difficulty ramp up. So testers won’t be running into brick walls of excessive difficulty, or many bugs, and there won’t be high end/late game character/skill/item/runestone/etc balancing going on.

What does that leave that needs testing? Technical support stuff, of course, given all the different computer systems that players will log on with. But in terms of game stuff? Just Diablo 3 over, basically. And it’s not like is a new system at this point. It’s been pretty well broken in by a year of SC2. So once they can get good function from the game creation controls, chat channels, LFG controls, trading system, Arena matchmaking, etc… that’s pretty much all they need to test before the release.

Compare it to SC2; that game’s beta started in mid-February, and the game was released in late July; 5.5 months later. SC2 had a shorter development time than D3 has had, and 2.0 debuted with SC2, and the SC2 beta was the entire MP game, with endless balancing and testing and unit-tweaking, etc. D3 is hitting a mature, and will require a tiny fraction as much balancing and play-tweaking as SC2 did. Furthermore, the SC2 team wasn’t crunching frantically to make a year-end deadline. All that considered, I don’t think the D3 beta test will run anywhere near as long as SC2’s did.

Will it?

The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3 Beta, The Diablo 3 Podcast


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  1. I am the only one who hates when the main topic title has the BETA word? Every time I see it, I skip a bit and then…the betrayal, the deception men!

  2. Actually, WoW broke in bnet for D3 and that’s one thing at least we should all be able to appreciate. Because of WoW, we’ll have shorter maintenance times, awesome web apps like the armory, more server stability, and more security. That’s in addition to the insane matchmaking system they have; it’s so complex that it’s kind of nuts. These are all things that we’ll be benefiting from in Diablo III.

    But I think it goes beyond safe bet and into “sure thing” that this will be a very short beta. Maybe three months, if they stay true to their 2011 word. They’ve been far too adamant about that to not hit it. Like it says in the podcast, there simply isn’t a lot to test. Release will be the actual beta, imo.

  3. I hope I get into the beta.. *crosses fingers*

  4. I like what I’m reading in the last paragraph…short beta=diablo 3 SOON!

  5. Instead of purposefully crossing out both absurdly & easy I think you mean’t to only cross out absurdly 😉

    Just hope I’m lucky enough to test eventually (hope they still need some higher end systems for testing, hah)

    Edit: is it just me or are all the emote faces really small now?!

  6. I would be shocked if the first act takes longer then 6 hours to get through. 

  7. is it really no possibility whatsoever for us to just have an open beta right from the start?  🙂 🙂

    anyway what’s the point of closed beta anyway, I’m sure their mature infrastructure can handle it now 😛

  8. I think beta will be there very soon and it will not be that long as SC2 beta.

    Looking at all the recent comments from Blizz, its clear that things are going well with D3. Normally they are super cautious with what they say, but what we hear in the last months is definitely showing all possible signs of Green Light =)

  9. I don’t think “spy” is an entirely kind word. But um… check back this weekend.

  10. They are interested in old machines with low specs >> yyyyyeah, thats why i couldn’t even go through the opt in lol. my guess is they have a VERY specific range of system specs they want for the beta. That is maybe why many people will not even be able to subscribe for the beta.

    Nice show. I like it alot more then I did the previous podcast.
    Well…I hoped for a december release, but the arguments discussed in the podcast actually made preety much…I’ll go for the next year version…as it was discussed.

  11. Love that you’re doing podcasts about the Diablo universe, I’ve said that before but I wish you could get together and buy some mikes or tweak each one to work together. Currently Flux has to much mono making me want to crank up the base to max while the other guy has too much base so I feel I have to turn that base up and down all the time.
    Check it, optimize the output sound.

    • I got a new headset a few weeks ago, which improved my output sound. Unfortunately, when I plug it in via the USB adaptor, I get much better sound with more bass in my voice, but there’s a clicking sound when I’m talking. It was obvious on the weekly news show with Elly 2 weeks ago. And I’ve not used it with the USB plug since.

      I’m going to try using my old tower for recording next time, since my laptop can’t seem to interface properly.

      • See if you can sound check with the guests also so it’s less difference in volume and base.
        Just a suggestion. Keep up the exellent work.

  12. Site member Nizaris will be attending the press event, see this thread for more info:

  13. I agree with your take on the matter Fluxx. Another thing to point out is that Bashiok recently claimed that they are still targeting a 2011 release and that must mean that the internal Beta-plans cannot exceed the 3-4 month mark anyway. Whether it will be short enough for the game to be released in November, as claimed by the ‘insider source (prob fake) remains to be seen. I am pretty sure that some info will leak before the 1st of August, but the reliability of that info is a whole different matter altogether.

  14. Wait… was it officially confirmed that beta is only act one? Also, how would they get the classes as balanced as they claimed they wanted to without giving us access to the high level skills and traits? How else would we be able to give feedback on rather or not we can stand the 2 minute cooldowns, etc.?

    • It’s not been publicly confirmed, but I can say it as a fact.

      • All of act one? Most of act one?

        • Dunno. We debated that on this podcast; if bliz will hold out the act boss, or some plot stuff. I won’t be surprised if they do.

          What I know for a fact is that the people at the bliz event will be playing the demo, And they will not not see anything other than Act One.

          • Well then I’ll reiterate my second question, how do they expect to fully test things out and balance skills and traits well if we only have access to the early tiers? Just because the first few tiers get tested out a lot doesn’t mean you can extrapolate out balance from them when the top tiers can have much different mechanics (like long cooldowns)…

    • well … you can balance skills and traits relative to other skills and traits (low tier ones to be accurate)
      1. of all ,its just math
      2. they gathered alot of experience with this kind of balance , and i have no doubt they get help from WoW people
      3. dont underestimate internal testing – no one of us can claim we have real  grasp of development just because we look some “making of DvD`s” , press events , or follow the developement of _other_ Games.
      even though the community of Blizzard games is more involved in the developement of games than fans of other developer i would still bet my left hand thats it is still less than 3 % , we are merely “popularity-meter” no assistent developer.
      4. in diablo we are in no direct competition with one another unlike WoW or SC2, thus a flawless balance is not even required.
      if your class and specc in WoW is not viable for raid and PvP Blizzard screwed up and you wont be taken to the raid or in Arena groups and you will wonder ; why am i paying for this ?!
      if a race in SC2 is too weak or too strong at a particular timing or unable to beat a certain unitcomposition Blizzard screwed up, it wouldnt be acceptable for esports if 1/3 of the races is too weak to consider playing it at all ,or so strong that you have to take it to compete. ( in SC2-Beta there was also no campaign mode only skirmish )
      In Diablo 3 – on the other hand , we are not required to be in a group, we are only required to beat a predictable ai with a determined strength. everything else is sheer Bonus ( from the design point of view).
      i mean you are playing with other people ( maximum of 3 other ) ,preferably friends. and i cant imagine that anyone will outrage in disbelief because you are not pulling your own weight as good as other player in the group.
      and the PvP portion of the game is also a bonus, abilities in arena can have other properties, than in PvM – and there are also no rewards which represent ingame power – so after all you will never be forced to play pvp to get the items you want / need.

      • Be all that as it may, Jay Wilson said during the crafting sanctuary panel that even though getting all the different builds in perfect balance would be impossible, they want to get the class balance a lot better than it was in Diablo 2… Considering how different each skill, trait, and rune effect can be, I don’t see how they can achieve that without us actually testing it. Blizzard have said time and time again how the players can find design flaws a lot better than the internal testers and many times things are made apparent by the players that they had not even begun to expect… So yeah, it doesn’t make sense for us not to have access to the higher stuff at some point… My guess is that if they restrict the PvM testing to Act One only then they will probably give us max level characters to use in the Arena just so they can see what the higher tiers of skills and traits add to the mix…

        • you are just assuming – as i already said the real developement is beyond our grasp – so how can you even begin to say things like:
          “I don’t see how they can achieve that without us actually testing it. Blizzard have said time and time again how the players can find design flaws a lot better than the internal testers and many times things are made apparent by the players that they had not even begun to expect… So yeah, it doesn’t make sense for us not to have access to the higher stuff”
          can you give me quotes that said they would testing to balance the endgame ? (endgame specificly – no overarching general – the beta community is so helpful comment )
          do you work for a Triple A Game company ? how can you know and say those things in such a matter of fact faishon ?

          • You are the one assuming I meant it as they are definitely going to do that… I was asking how they expect to achieve the level of balance they claim they want to reach without letting the players test the full gamut of skills and traits… No I do not work for any game company, but judging by what they have done and said in recent history, it seems odd to limit it so much… And yes CMs have said many times that during the betas and PTRs of WoW and SC2 that players have found problems in the balance that they did not even begin to foresee and I don’t see why Diablo 3 would be any different…

  15. I guess it is more a question about and server stability and testing on all possible hardware than balancing the classes. For that the whole game needs to be available for beta and they would never do that.

    • They probably won’t even have to focus on server stuff this time around. It’s likely to be a pure bug-fixing beta.

      The d2 beta only lasted like two months. They don’t really need or benefit from a long beta for an ARPG.

  16. My guess is this beta will be very similar in level cap and size of the act. I highly doubt we’ll get the entire first act to play.

    • My thoughts also. I say they are capable to make an entire different act just for beta. Only with random events and nothing from D3’s lore or plot.

  17. Hmm I not sure what you will be able to do in the Beta, in wow you could do everything if i remember correctly i was around 55(max 60) when one of the beta:s closed. I guess some people would get the story spoiled if it were the complete game, but i can not see any reason beside that to not have all or most of the features included.

    I cannot see the point of making something new just for testing, usually its better to test something as close to the real thing as possible.

  18. “It’s not been publicly confirmed, but I can say it as a fact.”

    Flux, please do elaborate. Or would you rather not? 😛

  19. I don`t know why people still assume we`re gonna get some bigger chunk of the cake than expected..beta…why would they reveal too much to begin with? Why  the full act 1? THEY WOULDN`T.

  20. I think the test will be A1 with all the basic systems in place, as well as a possible level and skill cap. Part of the reason for this is because they want the testers to be able to enjoy the full product to the fullest, even after testing the game. It wouldn’t be the same if You would buy the game You already played and finished for free just to see that besides balancing, there is no new content and it’s pretty much the same thing You’ve been playing. One can still throroughly test the systems with these limitations and the balance will not be anywhere close to perfect when it’s released anyways.

  21. “It’s not been publicly confirmed, but I can say it as a fact.” Please, Flux, HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS???

  22. Hey Flux is anyone from your staff will be attending the Blizzard media event today?

  23. You forgot to add “www” to the address and it is probably a fake.

  24. When is the exact time for press event?

  25. I think it’s an all day event so it could of started at 9 or 10 am today.

    [quote]When is the exact time for press event?[/quote]
    all attendees of the press event are under NDA until August 1
    but I am eagerly awaiting for some info from the event to be leaked
    I doubt if we’ll get screenshots, but somebody, somewhere will post some of the questions and answers, trading system info and beta info

    of course we all will then spend 2 days and 100 posts debating whether or not the leaked info is real 🙂

  27. It’s fake. We’ll know when the beta starts.

    • Yeah, look at the border that they used for the email. That isn’t anything I have seen for diablo. It almost looks like a SC one.

  28. Here is to leaked info!

  29. So um… this podcast episode is still not up on the youtube page… maybe you guys should wait to post the news about these until after the episodes have been uploaded there…

  30. Please send me an invite if anyone here gets the beta cause I am very unlucky. I have been a diablo fan since the 90’s from diablo. I am not the newbie diablo 3 fan. Please send me an invite =)

  31. Ok…so i’ve never been in a beta before.
    Can someone tell me how hard (or rare) it is to get into a beta? For instance, did anyone here get into the SC2 beta??
    Is it 1/10, 1/100, or 1/1000 change you’ll get in??
    …I HAVE TO GET THE DIABLO 3 BETA….Has been my favorite game my entire life.

  32. Its X (places) in Y (folk with Bnet accounts) of cause you can increase your chance via blizzcon tickets. The numbers is unknown out side of the blizzard beta guys.

  33. Wow!!  Thanks *so* much for forming a podcast around my “beta format” question/forum post.  It’s great to see the site admins taking user questions and turning them into an open discussion / podcast.  Very well done.

    Now I wish I had spent more than 3 minutes listing out the questions I posed 🙂  If I had given it more thought I would’ve realized that there’s absolute no way they’d put cinematics in there 😛 (In-game cutscenes – maybe since they are likely part of questing) but cinematics … man, i”m an idiot 😛

    A couple follow up / perceptions of my own to add in:

    >> 1 <<
    I do predict that blizzard has at least entertained the idea of creating pre-fab higher level characters.  This could be done for either (or both) of the following: They could create a mini-demo-like segment that plays though higher level game content and allow us to create pre-fab lvl 40 characters just to test out “how well the game scales”.  Perhaps they feel confident in their ability to do this themselves, but at a minimum it would certainly generate a lot of buzz on forums about how the skills and runes combos appeal to the user community at higher levels.  And secondly, I could certainly see blizzard allowing us to create pre-fab high level characters that can do arenas [only].  That way they can test arena balance.  They’ve said they don’t want to focus too much on PvP, but they will certainly want some level of user-balance testing at max level methinks.  These toons could be max level and have a fixed gear set or perhaps have some vendors that have diff weapons for you to choose from to experiment a little.  This has been done before in WoW betas so I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up for D3.

    >> 2 <<
    If they don’t have any single player in the D3 beta, then we won’t be testing anything about Followers.  Perhaps tho, they don’t care about testing that.

    >> 3 <<
    Re: Changing loot drop rates.  This question wasn’t really wondering, “Will they adjust drop rates for items they see dropping too often (or not often enough).”  But rather, I was wondering since they Beta is only a limited time, and in addition, changes [if needed] will take time to be implemented/tested/deployed, I was curious if they would consider artificially tuning-up the drop rates so users could see better items sooner and thus provide the associated feedback (so Blizz would have time to implement a change if the better items are not doing what they were intended to do). 

    However, if the beta is, in fact, only Act 1 (and I’m still very much hoping that it’s not; I’d much rather prefer demo-like “segments” of all Acts) then perhaps they don’t need to tune-up drop rates.  Since Act I will only be a few hours at best and if that’s all people can play then Flux is right and folks will be running act I like a million times over the course of the beta and we will eventually see all the best items that can possibly drop from those zones.

    >> 4 <<
    Re: Crafting / armor dyes.  I agree with 9-ball.  I think they will put in as much as they have a beta (e.g., “through act 1”)

    >> 5 <<
    Re: Beta is just Act 1.  If this truly is the case, then I don’t see how the beta needs to last all that long.  If the Beta is just Act 1, then anyone who gets a beta key will play it heavily for a few weeks but with such a limited amount of gameplay, all blizz will really be stressing is a) how well the game plays on certain setups (particularly low-end models) and b) how much capacity they seem to have on their end to support a larger user base [than their internal testers] … and then start making many purchases for new servers in preparation for game launch and opening night.  So really all they’ll be doing during the beta test is optimizing code to make the game run smoother/faster rather than gameplay adjusting.


    P.S.  Thanks again for selecting my forum thread to spotlight in a TDP.

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