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Blizzard plans to have the gaming community test out two of its major upcoming releases. Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo says that they're going to enlist gamers to beta test both Blizzard All-Stars and the expansion for Diablo 3.
"We will do betas for both for sure," tweeted Pardo in response to a fan inquiry.
Blizzard All-Stars, previously called Blizzard DOTA, is the company's foray into the MOBA genre. Players split up into two teams, with each player taking on the role of prominent characters from Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo games. Each team then tries to destroy the other team's base while defending their own. Over time these characters can level up and develop new abilities.
This simple gameplay formula, first seen in the Warcraft 3 custom map Defense of the Ancients, has inspired the mega-hit League of Legends as well as prominent competitors Dota 2 and Heroes of Newerth. Breaking into this genre won't be easy for Blizzard. A beta seems like a good way to try and win over fans of other Blizzard games or the competing MOBA games.
In the case of Diablo 3's expansion, a beta could be a way to bring players back. Player numbers have certainly dwindled since the D3's launch last spring, with players either being disappointed by the sequel or simply running out of things to do. Blizzard could lure both groups into buying the expansion by doing another small preview like they did with the base game. The beta might also encourage people to start playing regular old D3 again, which would be a boon to Blizzard if it makes the real-money auction house more active.
Pardo didn't provide dates for the All-Stars or D3 expansion betas. That's not surprising, as the company hasn't announced release windows for the full products either.