Fortunately, clarification has arrived, with word that 50,000 public slots in the open beta will be available on a "first-come, first-serve basis." The beta itself will run from August 17 through August 26, with registration starting on August 5 via FilePlanet.
The game formally launches a few days after the beta ends, on September 1, with retailers offering a variety of pre-order bonuses, including early access and items. An Xbox 360 edition of the Cryptic-helmed MMO is slated to arrive by the end of the year.
Damn - I'm on holiday from the 20th onwards.
Guess I have to decide within 72 hours if it's any good.