Reaper of Souls may not reach the majority of us until next year, but it’s going to be supplanting Hearthstone on Twitch within the next few weeks. Blizzard have stretched the definition of their traditional Friends and Family beta to include 3000 of Diablo’s most dedicated players, and failed to slap any of them with an NDA to prevent the spread of videos, streams, and forum posts on Westmarch and the rest, like warm butter across bread.
Beyond that, Blizzard will launch a closed beta before the end of December.
The beta will feature all parts of the expansion bar its very final boss fight, and invitations will be “extremely limited”. That said, Blizzard plan to pluck deserving players from the community for inclusion once the beta is launched, and bring in more through Battle.net opt-ins to test out the new Crusader class, Adventure Mode and suchlike.
That last option is your best chance. Head to your Battle.net account and ensure you’ve opted-in via the Beta Profile Settings page in Account Management.
“Please note that opting in to the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta will not guarantee you access,” warn Blizzard. “But it will at least give you a chance at joining our beta test.”
Confusingly enough, the dev team also plan to feed their 2.0.1 patch to the Public Test Realm at more or less the same time as the beta goes live. That means a chance to play with far-reaching changes you might have thought of as ‘expansion’ features – Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, a new difficulty system, Clans and Communities, and the teeteringly rebalanced five existing classes.
As always, all you’ll need to participate in PTR testing is a copy of Diablo III and the Battle.net desktop app.
In short, there are a handful of ways you can play Reaper of Souls before its release – or, failing that, watch others play it while dedicating your own efforts to turning a deep shade of emerald. Will that be you?