In another fantastic move by Blizzard to prove to us that online-only single-player is the future, new restrictions have been implemented on all digital versions of Diablo III. If you decided to shirk the brick-and-mortar part of buying Blizzard’s latest money press, then you may find yourself sitting with the Starter Edition of the game for up to three days, despite having paid the full amount.
What this means is that you will be capped at level 13; you won’t be able to get further than the end of Act I; you can only play online with other Starter Edition peasants; you’re barred from both the gold and real money Auction Houses; and you won’t be able to play in any other territory other than the one you’re actually in (ie no Global Play).
Why is this happening? According to Blizzard it’s “for security reasons and to help ensure the integrity of the game and auction house service.” Also, update 1.0.3 might have done something it wasn’t supposed to.
A Blizzard rep said that restrictions are nothing new, as digital versions of World of Warcraft feature similar restrictions to “reduce gold spam and other harmful activities”. However, it sounds as if the level 13 cap and blocked progress from Act 1 are unintentional restrictions on digital copies of Diablo III that cropped up as side-effects of patch 1.0.3. The same Blizzard rep said that they “are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share”.
As for the Auction House restrictions and barring of Global Play, those restrictions are intended. It’s all down to credit card fraud, and Blizzard says that in some instances it takes up to 72 hours to verify credit card payments. When you’re dealing with real money in Auction Houses, you kind of need to be careful. That’s the optimistic way of looking at it! The pessimist in me is screaming: this is Blizzard trying to protect their money-making Auction House and another example of them making their problems the paying customers’.