The first expansion pack for StarCraft II is one step closer to completion. Blizzard announced this week that StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm has now opened up its multiplayer beta testing to players outside of Blizzard's offices.
The post on the game's official website says, "This multiplayer-only test will initially be limited to a select group of pro-gamers, members of the press, Arcade contest winners, and shoutcasters." Blizzard will open up beta testing to other players in the weeks ahead and will also work with fan sites to hold contests for letting even more players in the beta.
There is no NDA for people who have been picked to participate in the Heart of the Swarm beta test so it's likely we will see a bunch of hands-on previews for Heart of the Swarm posted up on a number of websites.
This first expansion pack for StarCraft II will focus its single player campaign on the Zerg faction, but the multiplayer beta will include new content for the game's other two sides as well. The launch of the beta means that Blizzard is likely to release the final version of Heart of the Swarm by the end of 2012 or early 2013.