For organizational efforts, we're opening a new question to follow up on the plans for sponsoring Beta participation. To note the point of the motion, I'll quote Oak's statements on it.

[...] wouldn't it be great if we could get great questions and answers... even before the game comes out?

A lot of games run a closed beta period, meaning a select few get the chance to play the game for testing purposes before it's released. StarCraft II was being beta-tested for many months prior to its released, for example. Many other games have beta-tests as well, especially ones with an extensive multiplayer gaming mode.

The idea is to check if there's some way for stackexchange to get a few gaming.se users beta keys for upcoming high-profile releases. I'm not quite sure how one can arrange it, I'm just throwing the idea out there, if anyone has any ideas. Getting a few members to participate in the beta of Diablo 3 or Guild Wars 2, for example, could do wonders for our traffic - both during the beta period, when other beta-testers will be drawn to our site, and after the game is released - when will we have many ready-made questions and answers.

My relevant response was that we've gotten the green light to go forward with this, but I need your help in starting this prospect to move forward. I can act as our representative to contact companies for the opportunity, and of course I still carry the purse, but I'll need your help with the basic aspects of research to begin the movement. Namely:

  • What game/companies should I look at? (Yes, I know Blizzard and Arenanet(Guild Wars), and I'll still like to do the Might & Magic thing as well. But in case anything else stands out, don't hesitate.)
  • What can you find out about the Beta that I should know before trying to make contact? Do as much research on the requirements for eligibility as you can.
  • Anything else that can be used to our advantage in securing a place, really.

The selection of users for eligibility into the Beta slots we earn will be determined based on how many slots we can get. So let's see how awesome we can get it for this community! ♪

Please use answers here to indicate the upcoming Beta options we have, especially any in-depth data on the lines of research or other data I can use to help secure our slots.

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Here's a reasonable looking list of upcoming betas that we could potentially research: gamescales.com/Beta-SignUp.html –  bwarner Jun 9 '11 at 17:52
    
@bwarner ...Hellgate?! What?! I should get into that purely on the basis of my tragic and badly judged lifetime subscription purchase. –  FAE Jun 9 '11 at 17:55
    
@Fallen Looks like open beta for Hellgate starts soon. joystiq.com/2011/06/25/hellgate-open-beta-starts-next-thursday –  bwarner Jun 26 '11 at 2:53
    
@bwarner Thanks, caught that. :) Also for reference, this is the feed for Massively.com's Betawatch, which is a weekly article which reports the status of various betas MMO's (alpha/beta/open/closed/etc.) –  FAE Jun 28 '11 at 12:27

4 Answers 4

Blizzard's Diablo III

OK, as mentioned, this is an obvious candidate.

Summary

(nothing of the following is certain)

  • Beta to start "Summer 2011". According to this article the beta will be coming no sooner than August 1st (since that is when media are allowed to start using information about the beta they will be receiving in July). It also speculates that it will likely start soon after that.
  • No NDA.
  • There will probably be some age / minimum specs / geographic limits.
  • Will undoubtedly be extremely popular.

Details

Blizzard had an extended beta-testing periods for all their latest games, and a closed beta for Diablo 3 has already been announced. One of the best sources I know for information is this page on diablowiki.net.

In addition, a Blizzard representative said:

There's actually still a guide available for StarCraft II, and much of the info is still accurate for the process to opt-in for the Diablo III beta. http://us.starcraft2.com/beta-faq.xml

Finally, Blizzard sort-of confirmed that there will be no NDA for the beta.

Update: Unrelated to gaming.se, if you want a chance of being in the beta, Please re-download the beta tool, as per the instructions in this thread.

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In order to get randomly selected for the beta, you have to have opted in to beta participation with your Battle.Net account (and you must have at least one Blizzard game). Any of our members that are interested should start by doing that, to help increase the potential number of beta participants we have. –  bwarner Jun 9 '11 at 18:50
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@bwarner but don't we want to do it the same way media sites do it, which I'm sure is not by individual users opting-in for betas? –  Oak Jun 9 '11 at 18:55
    
I definitely think we should request keys the same way other media and fan sites do. But let's say that we get 3 keys. If some of the people we normally would've given them to happen to get selected by Blizzard, that means we can give them to someone else. And the more people we have randomly selected, the more overall participants we can have. –  bwarner Jun 9 '11 at 20:00
    
@Grace It sounds like Blizzard is starting to contact "the media" about the upcoming beta, so if we're going to try to get media consideration, we likely need to do so now. diablofans.com/topic/25582-were-off-to-see-the-beta –  bwarner Jun 29 '11 at 11:48

Heroes of Might & Magic VI

Starts June 28th and should be available to all who pre-order the game. Here's a link to their official forums that has more information on the subject.

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4. So when is the Beta starting?

If you pre-ordered you’ll get access to the Public Beta, which will be the last stage of the Beta process (meaning the game will be stable enough to be playable and enjoyable). There is no official, definitive date for the Public Beta as of yet. However, you will soon receive a newsletter with practical information, and we’ll give you a starting date for the Beta as soon as possible.

I haven't seen any restrictions regarding NDA's, but that's probably because it doesn't spoiler the campaign and just lets the players test the game.

Securing a place shouldn't be a problem (simply pre-order), though the developers might still like us helping out on the Q&A side of things. Given how busy they seem to finish the game, they might even be happy to offload some of the question answering on their forums.

Beta is now available!

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Playing as we speak, so hopefully some others will join me! –  Ivo Flipse Jun 29 '11 at 3:09
    
Just wondering if there's anyone else in the beta yet, so I have someone to discuss the game with and see what questions we could ask. –  Ivo Flipse Jun 30 '11 at 17:30

Dota 2

The hype for this game is huge mainly because the development is lead by IceFrog, one of the developers of DotA, and produced by VALVe.

The beta is actually closed but Gabe Newell confirmed at Gamescom 2011 that VALVe will launch soon (3 weeks maybe) a "by-invitation" closed beta. You can register here, and pray to get a key.

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DotA-like games already generate a lot of strategy questions, getting into this one could be great! –  Oak Jun 10 '11 at 13:36
    
I wonder how DotA 2 will fare against LoL. Guinsoo v. IceFrog, go! –  Raven Dreamer Jun 11 '11 at 21:40
    
@Raven Lol a Dota are similar but not real clones. There are little differences and Lol is free to play. I don't think that Dota 2 will kill LoL, probably it will kill Heroes of Newerth. –  Drake Jun 11 '11 at 22:17
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oh, I agree. Free-to-play is the way to go, these days. –  Raven Dreamer Jun 11 '11 at 22:18

ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2

Beta Information

There will be both closed and open Beta. Closed beta testing is on schedule to start before the end of 2011

The first Guild Wars game was a serious success, selling over 6 million units as of 2009, and the upcoming Guild Wars 2 is getting a lot of gamer interest thanks to the series of articles the developers publish on their site, so the next game is likely to get really popular.

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