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If you play Diablo 3, you may soon get the chance to try out the new expansion pack Reaper of Souls. Blizzard has announced that the first phase of testing is officially underway.
The first phase for Blizzard betas is usually limited to friends and family of employees. However, this time around Blizzard plans to also invite members of the press as well as long-time D3 players. About 3,000 of the most active players will receive keys for this part of the beta test.
Even if you're not one of the lucky few invited to the early beta, you won't be left completely in the dark about the new expansion pack. There's no non-disclosure agreement for the testing so testers are free to share details, videos, and screenshots.
"When reviewing this coverage, please keep in mind that the Friends and Family Beta is still an early glimpse at Reaper of Souls, which means that all content is subject to change before release," Blizzard says. "We also encourage you to be mindful of story spoilers, as the Friends and Family Beta includes the entire expansion, excluding the final boss fight."
The Friends and Family Beta will give way to morph into a standard Closed Beta by the end of 2013. Blizzard will invite additional players who have opted-in for testing through their Battle.net account. They won't guarantee access to everyone, though. Beta keys will be in short supply because of how much of the expansion's content is available in the test. I guess they're concerned that a lot of players will decide not to bother buying Reapers after playing and replaying the bulk of it in beta.
The Closed Beta will be accompanied by the start of public testing for Patch 2.0.1. This update will set the stage for Reaper of Souls by adding a number of features including Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, and Clan support. All of the existing D3 classes will be rebalanced as well. The PTR testing for Patch 2.0.1 will be open to anyone who owns D3 and has the Battle.net Desktop App installed on their computer.
Reaper of Souls introduces a fifth act to the campaign set in Westmarch. Players must battle the undead forces of Malthael, the angel of death. While fighting this new threat, players will acquire new loot and recruit a Mystic to modify their items. Players can also restart their adventure with a new Crusader class character.
The expansion has been confirmed for PC, Mac and PS4 thus far. On PS4, Reapers will be bundled with the base game in an Ultimate Evil Edition.