According to an official post on the Blizzard forums, the company has said that the latest patch will introduce a new policy that will require new buyers of the digital version of Diablo 3 to be restricted to the Starter Edition for the first three days (though sometimes less.)
Citing fraud concerns, Blizzard has instituted a number of restrictions on new Diablo 3 purchasers who buy the digital version (boxed copies don't seem to be affected.) According to Blizzard, the Starter Edition has the following restrictions:
-Act I up to the Skeleton King is available
-Level 13 cap
-Matchmaking available only with other Starter Edition players
-No Auction House access (Real Money or Gold)
-Global Play is not available.
The game's fans are not happy about this either. Many of them are complaining that their characters have been locked retroactively after the patch went up, some saying characters as high as level 30 couldn't gain anymore experience. Still others are saying that they were not told in advance that they would be denied access, suggesting this program went into effect before Blizzard announced it.
The crux of the anger is that Blizzard is charging full price for Diablo 3, while not allowing fans to access the game.
Here are a few representative samples of the outrage that followed this announcement:
"The big issue is that you are tying up people's $59.99 (which IS reflected on my online banking) and then not releasing the full version of the game. You are punishing us for not purchasing the game in a retail store," said Battle.net user Killyourface.
"Three days? That's ridiculous, where was I informed of this? Charged right away but can't play for days? Fraud," writes Capermatt.
"Not really happy with this answer at all. Can I keep my $60 until you decide to give me the game that I paid for? I didn't pay $60 to kill the skeleton king for 3 days...I paid for the full game. Give it to me the moment I pay for it or give me my money back." -- Roon.
We'd balance those out with some statements of support from the community...but we honestly haven't seen any yet.
Diablo 3's incredibly rocky (some would say "absolutely horrible") launch continues. At this point we're starting to wonder if the Diablo brand has actually sustained damage from all the non-stop issues.