Reaper of Souls Beta May Start in 2013

Josh Mosqueira hopes for a beta this year, and answers other questions about the Reaper of Souls expansion

The first beta test of the Diablo III expansion Reaper of Souls may begin in 2013, according to game director Josh Mosqueira. That surprising bit of news came out of a rapid fire Q&A interview he gave with the Korean site Players Cut.

This doesn't mean players will be in a Reaper of Souls beta this year; there are multiple levels of testing done internally at Blizzard for new projects, before beta testing is opened to the public. There was no discussion about it, since this was part of a simple Yes/No/Maybe style interview with Josh Mosqueira. Here was the question asked:
Q: I hope that Blizzard Entertainment can produce the first beta test of Reaper of Souls within this year.
Josh Mosqueira: Yes
We will have to wait and see if that hope materializes into reality, in a beta that is open to players this year. Mosqueira emphasized that much more info about Reaper of Souls will be provided at BlizzCon; this was also mentioned by the community managers, and it sounds like most of the specifics for the expansion will be nailed down by then.

Apart from the Q&A section, Josh Mosqueira talked a little about the difference between the Crusader and the Paladin class seen in Diablo II, and his hopes for the expansion.
Paladins and Crusaders
What makes Crusaders and Paladins different? The Crusder and the Paladin originate from the same order. But while the Paladins went west to spread the Zakarum faith, the Crusaders are an elite detatchment, an elite order within the Paladins. They were chosen because they had the strongest capacity to embody the power of the Paladins. They splintered off and became their own sect. What's really cool from a lore perspective is that there are only a fixed number of Crusaders. Every Crusader takes on an apprentice, and when one Cruader dies, the apprentice takes on the role, the shield, and the name of their master.

Reaper of Souls
As a long-time fan of Diablo, my expectation is that people really enjoy all the new changes we have. There are a lot of changes coming. We're taking the best parts of Diablo III and trying to make them better, and at the same time we want to give players a lot of options when it comes to how they play the game. I'm really excited for players to try out the Crusader, to see Malthael in action, to see his Reapers, to get a sense of the darker tone of the game. But more importantly, I want players to find really awesome items, have a lot of fun running Loot Runs and exploring a lot of the other end-game content modes that we'll be adding to Reaper of Souls.

Jump past the break for the other questions that Josh Mosqueira answered, and the full video. Note that there are some slight lore spoilers for Reaper of Souls, although he gave a "Maybe" to some of the specific questions about lore.

Here are other questions asked, lightly edited for clarity. First up are the questions to which Josh Mosqueira replied Yes:
  • It is because of my impatience that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls was revealed at gamescom instead of BlizzCon.
  • In the opening cinematic of Reaper of Souls, Tyrael's sword did not do any harm to Malthael. That implies that Malthel's chosen behavior is just and righteous.
  • The reason Malthael has created Reaper is similar to Tyrael's motivation to create the Horadrim and end the Eternal Conflic.
  • Malthael has turned into the Angel of Death, and this is a different case from the corruption of Izual.
  • Imperius, Auriel, and Itherael also show up in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
  • Deckard Cain predicted the appearance of the Angel of Death, in The Book of Cain.
  • There be a new historian who suceeds Abd al-Hazir and Deckard Cain, in Reaper of Souls.
  • Pandemonium Fortress in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has changed drastically when compared to that of Diablo II.
  • Hell without Azmodan and Belial is in a state of chaos, without leaders.
  • Players can experience battles again against elite demons, as well, in Reaper of Souls.
  • Westmarch is located in the west of Khanduras in the map of Sanctuary.
  • Warrior, the hero of Diablo I, also gave inspiration for the creation of the new class Crusader.
  • Crusaders have stronger spells than Paladin.
  • Crusaders can use two-handed swords.
  • Crusader's Wrath resource is different from Barbarian's Fury.
  • Reaper of Souls has the same PC system requirements as Diablo III vanilla.
  • I hope that Blizzard Entertainment can produce the first beta test of Reaper of Souls within this year.
  • Much more information about Reaper of Souls will be available at the upcoming BlizzCon in November. (Josh Mosqueira: "Yes, yes yes!"
  • I personally want to put a Josh Mosqueira monster as an Easter Egg in Reaper of Souls, and kill it.

These are the questions that Josh Mosqueira did not agree with, giving them a No:
  • Deckard Cain's prediction on Itherael, the Archangel of Fate, has already come true.
  • In the Diablo III animation Wrath, Archangels get covered with Diablo's blood. This has something to do with Malthael becoming the Angel of Death.
  • From Westmarch to Pandamonium Fortress, is all the exploration in Act V of Reaper of Souls. (Mosqueira: "No, there will be more.")
  • The playtime and exploration of areas of Act V amount to maybe 2-3 Acts in Diablo III vanilla.
  • The higher a player's Paragon level is, the easier he or she can play Reaper of Souls.
  • Crusader is the same being as a Paladin, only a different name.
  • There is a possibility that Reaper of Souls will be released for PC and consoles at the same time.

Finally, the questions to which Josh Mosqueira provided a Maybe:
  • Malthael the Angel of Wisdom, is not the Angel of Wisdom anymore in Reaper of Souls, but the Angel of Death. Therefor, Malthael was deprived of his status as archangel of Angiris Council.
  • Covetous Shen is in fact Malthael.
  • In the ending cinematic of Diablo III vanilla, Tyrael says, "I will now stand as wisdom." That already implied the Reaper of Souls at that time.
  • It is since the destruction of the Worldstone, that Malthael has gotten somewhat different.
  • Malthael has Pandemonium Fortress, because he needs the Hellforge to destroy the Black Soulstone.
  • Players will encounter at least one of: Mephisto, Baal, Diablo, Andariel, Duriel, Belial, and Azmodan in Reaper of Souls.
  • The tragedy of Leoric's family line, also appears in RoS.
  • Adria is hiding somewhere, dreaming of the return of Diablo.
  • Pandemonium (presumably this meant Paragon 2.0) and Loot 2.0 will be available to players who do not purchase RoS.
  • There is a Blizzard employee who resembles the Crusader.
  • Reaper of Souls will be released in the market in 2014.
  • The beta build of Reaper of Souls will be developed, based on the trial version available at gamescom.

That was a wide range of questions, and Mosqueira was a good sport through it all. We will have other interviews with Josh Mosqueira and much more news about Reaper of Souls, as we go through all the info that came out of gamescom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or via our RSS news feed, to keep up with all the latest Diablo III news!
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