Neverwinter's closed beta is closer than you might think, as Cryptic has just posted the dates of the three weekend events coming up. The beta weekends begin on February 8th, with successive ones starting March 8th and March 22nd, and will be available to residents of North America and Europe to those lucky enough to be accepted.
To tempt people into shedding some cash up front, Cryptic is prepared to dangle guaranteed beta invites to those who purchase a $60 or $200 pre-order Founder's Pack. In addition to the closed beta access, the $60 version contains a head-start to the open beta, a title, an armored horse mount, a mask, and a direwolf companion. The $200 pack has an even longer open beta head start, an exclusive Menzoberranzan Renegade playable race, a closed beta code for a friend, a spider mount, a panther companion, and priority access to the game.
Alternatively, Cryptic's offering a $20 basic pack that will not contain a closed beta key, but will give players a few in-game items and 12 additional inventory slots.
[Thanks to Paul for the tip!]