Play Diablo III Today: Blizzard Launches ‘Open Beta Weekend’

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Do you have a valid account and a decent Windows- or Mac-based rig? You can play Diablo III this weekend, no special beta or V.I.P. access necessary. In fact Blizzard says the Diablo III client is available for download now. Why? Because the company’s conducting a three-day “stress test” of the game in the buildup to its official launch next month.

I just grabbed the client on my MacBook: It’s about 58MB. The installer says the download total is about 4GB, and that I’ll need upwards of 15GB of hard drive space, fully installed. All that, to see the game’s preliminaries while teaming up with friends and playing as any of the five character classes, level-capped at 13.

(MORE: Diablo III Gets a Release Date: You Can Go to Hell on May 15)

But hey, a chance to fool with Diablo III early! See how it performs! Unexpectedly bump your April-May discretionary budget by whatever a new high-end processor/graphics card runs! (Actually, you’ll probably be fine — Blizzard’s recommended system specs for the game are, if anything, below average.) In any case, you’ll want to get moving now, because the weekend beta kicks off today, April 20 at 12:01 p.m. PT and only runs until Monday, April 23 at 10:00 a.m. PT.

What’s the difference between the weekend beta and the ongoing closed, invite-only one? Blizzard says stress testers won’t be able to post to the beta forums or be given “Beta Bucks” to test the company’s currency-based auction house. Also: Korean players won’t have access due to “regional differences” in the games, though Blizzard notes it’ll shortly launch an invite-only beta for Korean players as well as those in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Once the stress test concludes, Blizzard notes the closed beta will continue through May 1, after which — barring unforeseen issues — the company goes into full-on launch mode, prepping for Diablo III‘s no doubt splashy May 15 debut.

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