During the conference call for the first quarter of 2011, Blizzard for the first time officially announced that the beta test for Diablo III is slated for a start in the third quarter of this year. At the time of the announcement in May, Blizzard reportedly began with internal testing of the game ? which is sometimes called "Friends & Family Alpha" as employees can give relatives and close friends access to it.

Diablo III is becoming a reality... beta test to start in five weeks time?
Diablo III is becoming a reality… beta test to start in five weeks time?

Now a few more details about the beta test have become available. Apparently certain US media outlets are invited to a NDA-briefing on July 27th, with the NDA expiring on August 1st. Thus it is expected that the beta starts at this date or only slightly afterwards. If previous beta tests are any indication, Blizzard randomly selects users who are signed up for their Battle.net service as participants. Usually this is done in multiple phase, so if you aren’t one of the lucky bunch in the first phase, you might get selected for one of the follow up phases.

As for the actual release of the game, while there is no officially fixed date, Blizzard is working hard and still aiming for a release in 2011.

Diablo III is the much-awaited extension of the Diablo series, that debuted in 1997 and was continued in 2000 with Diablo II and in 2001 with the add-on Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. Contrary to the first installments of the Diablo series, Diablo III will feature rich 3D graphics. This should give a more modern experience when fighting the denizens of hell again. Since the announcement in 2008 Blizzard already detailed the available character classes and certain features of the game on their website.