Blizzard have announced that the closed beta test for Diablo III has begun today.

The first wave of invitations to the beta have been sent, and more will be sent out during the test period.

In the Diablo III closed beta test, participants will be able to fight their way through part of Act I as any of the five hero classes -- barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, and demon hunter -- and go head-to-skull against the Skeleton King, taking him on alone or playing cooperatively with other adventurers. They'll also get to meet up with some of the artisans, followers, and other key characters from Sanctuary, and try out the game's skill and crafting systems.

"This closed beta test is an important milestone for us as we enter the final stages of development on Diablo III," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Our goal is to create the best action role-playing game experience to date, building on everything we've learned since the release of Diablo II and incorporating the powerful features of the new Battle.netŪ platform. We hope players enjoy participating in the beta test and we look forward to hearing their feedback."