Barbarians Beware: Diablo III Closed Beta Begins

The Diablo III closed public beta has begun. Earlier, Blizzard had opened the "Friends and Family" beta, but now, it is selecting players from those who opted in to the Diablo III beta via their accounts.

Note, that won't mean everyone will get a beta key. Some will, but many will not. In addition, Blizzard will be providing keys through beta promotions and giveaways.

The closed public beta is so new, there aren't even any beta keys being auctioned on eBay ... yet. Truthfully, we fully expect there to be beta key auctions, soon.

And there may be plenty of takers.  Based on what Blizzard says on its site, if you haven't received a beta key in your email (beware of phishesrs) or if you've checked your account and don't see the D3 beta there, you'd better hope for a chance via a promotion or giveaway.
Participants in the closed public beta will have a chance to play all five of the classes (Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard). Players will be able to run through part of Act I. Co-op play, one of the favorite parts of Diablo I and II, will be available, as will crafting and some basic character customization.

As far as "when" the game will release, it's been available for pre-order on sites such as since mid-2010. There's still no indication from Blizzard as to when the game will release, and still has no date available, either.