The open beta stress test netted lots of data for the imminent launch.
I know quite a few poor individuals - some of whom might be in this office right now - who have anticipated the release of Diablo III with a posture resembling a heroin addict's. The loot. Oh, the clickable loot. Many players received a sweet taste this past weekend, just to see if the product was worth it, with Blizzard's open stress test designed to flex the muscles behind Diablo III. The queues to log in may have been frustrating, but one of Blizzard's community managers Micah Whipple reported the servers had a peak concurrency rate of more than 300,000 players and a total population much higher than that.
"I think we peaked at around 300k concurrent," Whipple - known as Bashiok on the Blizzard forums - Tweeted on Saturday. "Total users? I don't know... a lot."
The concept of an open beta stress test on the servers is something that Blizzard has used in the past. The plan is to basically open the flood gates and get an approximation of how much traffic the servers and code will get when the game launches. The data isn't a perfect snapshot of what you'll get when the game goes wild, but it gives the engineers something to work with.
All the testing you can muster can predict the real world though. I participated in the World of Warcraft open stress tests back in 2004, and thought they went swimmingly, but when no one predicted the deluge of subscribers when the game launched. Blizzard doubled the number of WoW servers in a month, and they were still unstable for a good six months before they got a handle on it.
I don't know if Diablo III will prove as wildly popular as WoW, but I'm happy to see Blizzard is testing as much as they can.