In commonly defined terms, the process goes something like this:
Announce → Alpha → Early Beta → Closed Beta → Open Beta → Release.
WAR has finished the Live Head Start stage, and is now in Open Play/Full Release.
The stages of the WAR Beta testEdit
Was the very early testing stage, carried out purely by internal Mythic testers.
Brought in testers from outside the company, mainly people already known to Mythic - friends, family, quality testers from other games, GOA employees, and so on. It is roughly estimated that this stage involved a couple of hundred people. This stage is sometimes referred to as "Friends and Family Alpha".
Was where the community started to get involved. Closed beta invitees were chosen from a list which took into account computer system specs, community involvement, subscription to the newsletter, and previous game experience. Competition winners were also be invited to take part at this stage, as long as they met the eligibility requirements. The closed beta was split into a North American beta (managed by Mythic), a European beta (managed by GOA) and an Oceanic beta (also managed by Mythic). Not everyone joined the Closed Beta at the same point, instead the number of people involved was gradually increased over time. Note that in this stage testers were required to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA - a legal document stating that they will not disclose details about the game to others) before being allowed to test the game, meaning that for legal reasons only those aged 18 or over could take part. The NDA was lifted on 19 August 2008. 
- Guild Beta
- was the section of Closed Beta that opened testing up to large numbers of people invited from specially selected Guilds. Like all other Beta testers, these Guild members were required to sign an NDA.
- Preview Weekend
- ran from Friday, August 22nd through Monday, August 25th. This was an invitation only event open to previous Closed Beta players and those receiving an invitation from Mythic.
- Preview Weekend Plus
- ran from Friday, September 5th through Saturday, September 6th. This was an event open to attendees of the original preview weekend, and was intended as a final test run prior to the start of open beta.
Unlike some MMOs, the Open Beta won't be entirely open for WAR, where anyone can download the game and hop in. Instead, everyone who pre-orders the Collector's Edition got a chance to take part in the final beta testing stage, as well as winners from big media promotions and a host of new people selected from the ranks of those who signed up for the newsletter. Anyone who pre-ordered the Standard Edition from Mythic's selected retail partners also received access to Open Beta and Head Start.
The new Mythic Account Manager web site  became active on 15 August 2008. People with pre-order codes or beta codes created a WarHammer Online account. Open Beta client download began 18 August 2008 via Fileplanet.  Open Beta started on September 7th, and will ran for a week. FilePlanet  was offering a limited number of open-beta codes for their paying customers.
All Closed and Open beta accounts were scheduled to be wiped off the servers on September 14th.
Live Head StartEdit
This was a special stage of the game offered to those who pre-ordered either the Collector's Edition or standard version of the game. Those participating in the Live Head Start began playing the official retail, live version of the game before anyone else. Starting Sunday, September 14th, at 1pm EDT, all Collectors Edition Pre-Order players were invited to begin officially playing WarHammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
On Tuesday, September 16th, all Standard Edition Pre-Order players began the live game. The game was live and open to all players on Thursday, September 18th.
The game was scheduled to ship on September 18, 2008, with a simultaneous release in USA/Canada, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. WAR was also scheduled for launch in Russia, in early 2009.
During the last few months of 2007, the focus of the Closed Beta was on "Focused Iterative Testing" to selectively test different specific parts of the game without overloading testers with too many distractions. The development teams working on the game were able to provide the community with regular updates on their progress. Testers finished up the major RvR phase of the testing schedule, making sure that the core game systems are firmly in place before extra features were added.
- Beta Update - Part 1
- Beta Update - Part 2
- Beta Update - Part 3
- Beta Update - Part 4
- Beta Update - Part 5
- Beta Update - Part 6
- June 2008 Newsletter with Guild Beta Announcement
2008 saw the Beta successfully negotiate several stages on the way to release, including the Guild Beta, the lifting of the NDA and the Preview Weekend. Closed Beta finished with the ending of the Preview Weekend.