Guys, I'm not here to report bugs or to complain about the build. I'm here to voice my opinion that the game is probably not as close to being released as many of you think. I simply listed the bugs I have encountered as support. I know there's a beta feedback forum, but that's not my purpose with this post.
As for those that state the beta is for stress testing only, I would have to disagree. If server load is the only thing that's being tested, Blizzard would not update the beta at all with feature changes. Things like removing the scrolls and caldron probably won't alter server calls that much. Things like how stats are being displayed DEFINITELY won't affect server load. If they are concerned about people losing interest in play testing the beta, just send out more invites.
While I think stress testing is definitely part of this beta's purpose, I don't think it's the ONLY purpose. The beta is definitely not as up-to-date as their internal version, but none of us know how far apart the two are. I would venture to say that the beta is relatively close given the betas I have been in before, as well as the betas my company releases into the public realm. I could be wrong, of course, and I recognize that. I'm simply making an assumption that appears to be probable based on my experience.
If you are convinced that the beta is totally different from the internal version, let me try to explain this in a different way. Software development usually split the code base into two general categories: trunk and branches. The trunk is the main development code base. This is what the developers work off of towards release. Branches are specialized versions of the trunk. They are used for many purposes, e.g., testing a new feature to see if it should be included in the trunk, releasing as a beta for internal and external testers, or packaging for a conference demo (like Blizzcon). Unless it's to test a special new feature for feasibility purposes, branches generally don't enjoy their own extensive path of development. I seriously doubt Blizzard would allocate valuable manpower just to create a totally separate branch for the beta. What's more likely, in my opinion, is the beta lies close to the trunk and gets updated with the most recent stable build from the trunk. The beta is different from the trunk, on the other hand, because it contains some custom code, whether to restrict the end of the game to SK or to point to a beta server. In other words, other than necessary code changes, Blizzard would not intentionally code up something totally different and buggy just for releasing a beta. Sure, the most recent stable build might be a few weeks behind the most recent nightly build, but it shouldn't be night and day between the two.
I also never said the beta will be the same as the release. Software development cycle has many stages, e.g., alpha, beta, RC, release, etc. Of course the release will not be like this beta. However, the release will be an improved derivative of this beta. Seeing the number and types of bugs in the latest beta, I think we have some time before the actual release.
All in all, I am highly impressed with the quality of the beta and will continue to play it for a long time. I just hope my opinion can convince some of you that "Blizzard, just release the damn game as it is now!!! It is DONE!!!" is probably not very correct or even desirable.
My system setups are as follows:
1. Core 2 Quad Q9300 / Radeon 4870 / 8 GB RAM / Windows 7 x64
2. Core i7 Q720 / Radeon 5850 / 8 GB RAM / Windows 7 x64
3. 2011 MacBook Pro (Core i7) / Radeon 6750 / 8 GB RAM / Snow Leopard
I have had the same problem with the launcher on systems 1 and 2. Other bugs I have seen are shared between all 3. Note that the bugs are not consistent, i.e., they don't show up predictably.