Codemasters today announced that they will be commencing beta for 3,200 testers the first part of February! If you are getting the Dragon Empires newsletter than you are already registered for beta....if not, we suggest you do that now!
Here is a bit from the official news entry:
Current plans are that in around two weeks we will start Beta 0.5 where we will be testing new server code. Throughout this phase 3,200 testers will be invited to join the beta program. We have introduced this phase to ensure that, going forward, we have as stable a code base and beta as possible. You can't build a house without good foundations after all! Once the Beta0.5 code has proven itself we will quickly start adding in the features needed in Beta1 and future beta phases.
Beta0.5 will be a relatively short test before we start the much more playable Beta1 test. Beta0.5 will strictly be a server stress test and so other than explore the world there will be little for players to do, so don't worry too much if you miss out. We will individually mail selected testers closer to the time with instructions on how to join and download the client.