Blizzard explains why consumers of the digital version of Diablo 3 are locked to the Starter Edition for 72 hours.
On Thursday Blizzard originally stated that as of patch v1.0.3, consumers who purchase the digital version of Diablo 3 -- either through the online store or Battle.net -- would be restricted to the Starter Edition for the first 72 hours. This means players can only play in Act I up to the Skeleton King, and they can only level up a character to 13. Matchmaking is available but only with other Starter Edition players, both auction houses are closed off, and Global Play is unavailable.
But hey, Blizzard thanks you for the $60 purchase nonetheless.
"Outside of the issue that we fixed, digital purchases do require a review period before they kick over from Starter to Full editions," a Blizzard support agent posted. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is a necessary step to combat fraud and other malicious activities that can weaken everyone's play experience. The delay is no longer than three days, and is often much quicker than that. Hang tight."
Apparently here's what Blizzard doesn't want to see: gamers purchasing the digital copy and blowing through the game before the company discovers that a fraudulent credit card has been used, or the funds somehow become unavailable before the transaction closes. In fact, Blizzard makes this somewhat perfectly clear in Friday's lengthy explanation to Kotaku.
Here's the letter:
For security reasons and to help ensure the integrity of the game and auction house service, players who purchase the digital version of Diablo 3 may have to wait until payment verification is complete before they can access certain game features. (See below for a full list of restrictions associated with digital purchases). While most payments are approved and restrictions are lifted within a day, in some cases it can take up to 72 hours to complete this process.
Similar to World of Warcraft, these restrictions were put in place to deter credit card fraud, which in turn helps reduce gold spam and other harmful activities that can have a negative impact on the game experience for everyone.
However, as an unintended consequence of these security measures, players who purchase the game digitally after patch 1.0.3 are temporarily being capped at level 13 and not able to proceed beyond Act I. We are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share.
Aside from the two unintended restrictions noted above, below are the standard security-related restrictions that will be in place for digital purchases until payment verification is complete:
· No public game access for unverified digital purchasers
· No auction house access (real-money or gold) for unverified digital purchasers
· Unverified digital purchasers cannot trade items or drop items for other players to receive
· Unverified digital purchasers are not able to chat in any public or game channels
· Unverified digital purchasers cannot attach a custom message to friend requests, but they can send/accept friend requests, and play with their friends
· Global Play is not available for unverified digital purchasers
Again, we want to be perfectly clear that these are temporary restrictions (often lifted within a day and at most 72 hours) associated with digital purchases for the protection of players. We appreciate player feedback and will continue to evaluate the best methods for ensuring a positive game experience for everyone.
Sigh. The Diablo 3 drama seems to never stop. Still, the game rocks and performs great despite previous launch issues.