Here is a bit of news that should put some perspective on when the just-announced Diablo III expansion will arrive. All signs point to a 2014 release, but it's quite possible fans will get their hands on Reaper of Souls in the first or second quarter (read: speculation). That's based on recent news that a beta will take place in 2013.
But don't get your hopes up about getting a taste before a retail release. Blizzard’s Josh Mosqueira confirmed during an interview with Korean site Players Cut that a beta test will indeed arrive this year, but reportedly didn't elaborate further. It's quite possible that the company will initially test the expansion pack with friends and family, and then move on to a multiplayer test limited to a select group of pro-gamers, members of the press and so on.
Keep in mind that Blizzard launched its multiplayer-only test of Heart of the Swarm back in September 2012 that allowed participants to "promote" the upcoming game with previews, gameplay and screenshots. The retail version arrived on March 12, 2013, placing roughly a six month "polishing" window between the beta and the final build. The same window could apply to the Diablo III expansion, if not less given it doesn't serve as a second part in a trilogy.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Mosqueira hinted that Reaper of Souls will also eventually be made available for the PlayStation 3 version. "Our philosophy has always been we work on one project at a time," said Mosqueira. "We've got Diablo III on PC, we released it and then a small team splintered off to work on Diablo for the current consoles. Now the team's really focused on Reaper of Souls for PC. So if you look at the past, you can probably infer what the future might bring. We don't have any announcements at this point."
Reaper of Souls was announced last week during Gamescom, promising a new level cap of 70, a fifth act to the main storyline, a new Crusader class, and new spells and abilities for the current crop of player classes. It also promises more randomized environments to explore, new epic quests, new monsters to defeat, and a substantial update to the loot experience.
"From the beginning, Diablo has always been about the struggle between good and evil, and Reaper of Souls explores the darker notes of that conflict," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "This expansion also represents a big milestone in the ongoing evolution of Diablo III."
Expect to hear more about the expansion pack during BlizzCon 2013 taking place this November.