Torn City Beta
The Torn City Beta was a test run of the game prior to its official release on 15 November 2004. The beta began in August of 2004. The servers were reset at the end of the beta in preparation for the game's official release, and users who wished to continue playing had to create new accounts. This was Torn's first and only server reset.
The game's owner, Joe Chedburn (known as Chedburn  in game) met Quacks  and SandyClaws  (Previously known as GodPants) through another online game in the early 2000s. Chedburn had the idea for Torn and Quacks and SandyClaws worked together with him on the programming. The exact date of when the beta for Torn went live is unknown, but the Web Archive shows the website live as early as 11 August 2004. All three of the founders were students at the time, and SandyClaws has said he is "nearly positive [Torn] all started during the school year," so the date for Torn's founding is unlikely to be earlier than August. 
Few records of the Torn beta survive. As a result, much of the information about the beta has been lost to time, and most information available is through player interviews. Human memory regarding a short period over a decade and a half ago is not perfect and few to no official records exist, so this information cannot be officially verified, but is the strongest info available. The beta changed in massive ways over its run, meaning something that may be true for the beginning of the beta may not be true for the end and vice versa.
The best current information on the beta suggests Torn was a very barebones version of itself in the opening days of the beta. The Gym, Properties up to a Mansion, and Jobs were available at the beginning of the beta, but the only job available was the Army Job. Crimes and Attacking were both added later on in the beta.
Items were likely added throughout the beta as time went on. Player interviews point to there most likely being 68 items available (Item IDs 1-68) at the end of the beta, with the last item added before the beta's end being the Small First Aid Kit. The first item added after the beta finished would have been the Simple Virus.
During the beta and for some time after it, the amount of cash players had on them was a public stat displayed on their profile.
By the end of the beta, the six basic city Jobs and several of the crimes that are available today had been implemented, and a basic attacking system existed.
Table of items available at the end of the beta
* Modern images are displayed for each item. Torn did not have images for items at the time of the beta.
** These items had different names during the beta, and were changed to their current names at varying times during the main game's run. See the historical notes section of the items' pages for more details.
After the servers were reset upon the closing of the beta, players who wanted to continue playing had to sign up for new accounts for the main game. Player retention rates from the beta to the full game are unknown.
A poll was run among the player base in 2005 to see if players preferred Torn servers to be reset at regular intervals like they were at the end of the beta, or to be ran continuously without resets. Exact results of the poll are unknown, but the option to never reset won the poll.
One of the earliest concepts of Torn, which possibly predates the Beta going live.
The login screen for the Torn Beta as it appeared in August of 2004.
An example of how player profiles appeared during the beta*
* This profile is from shortly after Torn's official launch, and not the beta. Profiles had no major visual differences between the beta and the early game.
- Sandyclaws, private communication 24/01/22