The StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta is live! No NDA in effect.

About an hour ago as of this writing, the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta has officially been opened. The thing being tested mainly, as in the Wings of Liberty beta a few years ago (jeeze, has it really been that long already?), is the multiplayer experience and balance between the new units.

If you need a refresher on some of the new units featured, we did a writeup on it back during last year's Blizzcon, which you can find here and with some more updated notes here.

Want to increase your chances of getting into the beta? Start playing some StarCraft. Blizzard put out this Q&A on the beta, which we've conveniently quoted below!

How are beta test participants selected from the opt-in pool?

Beta testers are chosen according to their system specifications and other factors, including recent StarCraft II activity (and an element of luck), when selecting individuals during each round of invitations. Our goal is to have a wide variety of players and system types.

Will there be any other ways to get into the beta besides the opt-in?

We’ll be providing beta entry giveaways through various promotions on our sites, as well as through fansites and community VIPs. We’ll have more information available on these promotions as they approach.
How many players do you plan to invite to the beta test?

The number of players we invite will be based on our testing needs. If during the course of testing we determine we need more players to participate, we’ll invite more.

Which game content will be available in the beta?

To start off, we will be focusing on the multiplayer experience only. We’ve added an exciting array of new units and abilities to the terrans, protoss, and zerg, and we’d like to have as many eyes on them as possible.

Will [AWESOME SWARM FEATURES X, Y, AND Z] be available in the beta?

Additional Heart of the Swarm features will also become available in future phases of the beta test. More details will be announced at a later date.

How long will the beta test last?

We have not determined an exact end date for the end of the beta test. We will notify participants when the beta test is nearing completion.

Will Mac users be able to participate in the beta?

Yes, Mac users will be able to participate in the beta at the same time as Windows users.

Which languages are supported in the beta?

While the Heart of the Swarm beta will be accessible in all regions, the languages supported for the beta will only include the following: English, German, French, and Korean. Support for additional languages may be added later.

Do I need StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to participate in the beta?

No, you do not need to have purchased StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to participate in the beta. With that said, your level of Wings of Liberty activity may play a role in your chances of being selected as a beta tester.

Also notable about this beta is that there is no NDA in effect, so if one of us here at GameZone manages to get in, you can expect to see some great, unique content. So tell us GameZone faithful – did you get into the HOTS beta? If so, are you liking it?

Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! Follow him on Twitter @VGHC_Deitis and check out Video Gaming Hard Corps, where he is a local tournament organizer for the S. FL. Fighting Game Community.