Oh, digital purchases, when will your convenience be outweighed by policy? What's that? Right now? Something strange appears to be afoot in Whimsyshire! People who have been purchasing Diablo 3 directly from Blizzard since the 1.0.3 patch have been greeted by both a new security policy and a botched implementation of said policy.
In the period of time between the point of sale and when your credit card transaction actually clears, Blizzard considers your purchase "unverified" and will be subject to the following restrictions for a period of time, which they say will take at most 72 hours:
- 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
That's already a bit of a raw deal. However, in an extreme act of negligence, Blizzard was mistakenly serving the Diablo 3 "Starter Edition" (rather than the Standard Edition) to players with a recent purchase, which includes all of the restrictions listed above, a level cap of 13 and an inability to progress beyond the Skeleton King, an early Act 1 boss.
Blizzard says in a statement to Kotaku that this is unintended:
For security reasons and to help ensure the integrity of the game and auction house service, players who purchase the digital version of Diablo III 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.
Naturally, the internet reaction to this whole ordeal is extraordinarily negative, especially when combined with the mostly ill-received 1.0.3 patch. Trust me, you really don't want to read the Diablo 3 forums right now.
In the meantime, I'd probably recommend people who are still interested in picking up Diablo 3 to just grab a physical copy from just about anywhere games are sold. Despite its DRM and additional security measures, it remains an incredibly fun co-op game.