New Diablo 3 buyers get restricted access for 72 hours, community roars

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 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.


  • astro_man26 - June 22, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    I am not saying it is a great practice. I for one condone it. It is not a good business model, especially considering you have to be online to play the game (if the purchase doesn't go through, they cancel your account). I was just putting into perspective a ridiculous article which does not reflect the whole reality of the 'issue'. I have been very frustrated with Blizzard with the whole 'always online' DRM that they have put in place. I bought the game on day 1, and have suffered some error 37. A very frustrating experience... I also understand, though, that major AAA titles launches always suffer problems because of the million people hammering the servers. So, always-online DRM: bad! Error 37? you get it with COD and other games when they launch.
  • mockraven - June 22, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    I don't think you meant the word "condone" (which means "to approve of"), from the context of it. You meant you don't support it, right? Regardless, it was a very underhanded move to implement their change in the digital distribution policy without informing people of the change or actually adding it to their policy in their Terms of Sales. Again, the biggest complaint is that people bought a product, expecting immediate access to that product and they find out after they spent their money that they don't *get* that product until sometime later. According to these people complaining, the money has already left their bank accounts or paypal accounts on the financial side of things; so the exchange of payment has already taken place. Another thing I've noticed on the Blizzard side of things is that they've been removing staff posts and responses from the forum threads discussing this. Their new forum sticky is also a completely different story from their former sticky, changing their claim from "you only get the starter edition for now" to "the starter edition lock is a bug" (not verbatim, but a summary). I find the way they're handling this issue very disturbing as they're not being forthright to their customers. Blizzard representatives shouldn't have to cover and completely change their story. If there was a misunderstanding then they should clarify it but leave a history of their announcements along with the corrections so that they don't destroy the trust their customers have in them. I don't deny Blizzard's claim that it's trying to stem the flow of gold sellers/spammers, after all these people need to protect their business. At the same time they need to protect their investment, which is their legitimate customers, and to which their current actions are harming.
  • astro_man26 - June 22, 2012 7:46 a.m.

    Have some of you actually read the Blizzard post and the reasonning behind it? Until Blizzard has authentified the transaction, you get the starter edition. Gamers do not get stuck with starter for 72 hours, this can be done in a matter of minutes, UP TO 72 hours. Just like when you go to the grocery store, you wait until the transaction is verified and confirmed, then you take your purchases, and leave the store. It is because of poorly written articles like those (no verifications, no understanding of what you are writing about) that false rumours appear. Paiment through? Full game for you! Standard practice in the brick and mortar stores.
  • MantraBeamer - June 22, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    Well played, troll. However, as soon as payment is approved in your examples, you get the goods you purchased (and you do not leave the store until you do); such is not happening in Blizzard's case. The money gets transferred from the credit card owners' accounts instantly (to which many have already testified), yet the product they purchased *IS TAKING* much longer to come through. Obviously, you joined in with no knowledge on the situation.
  • mockraven - June 22, 2012 9:39 a.m.

    I've been following the forums since reading this article. The biggest outrage is mainly that nobody gets *prior* notice (e.g. no notices on the digital games list, the purchase pages, or even on the Terms of Sale *at the time* they bought the game... Though it was in the tech support forum sandwiched between 10+ other stickies under the topic "Stuck at Level 13?" which has been removed since last night). That said, these people are standing at that metaphorical cash register while the cashier jealously guards those bagged groceries for 2-3 days when the people who bought their metaphorical groceries thought it was just a pay for it and leave with your stuff immediately deal. Then there're the people who bought their game a day or two before the practice started but the 72-hour wait was retroactive so people who had already gotten to the later Acts and were lvl 30 or higher suddenly had restricted play the next day. In addition that "UP TO 72 hours" has been no less than a 30-hour wait thus far and longer for others who have posted about how long their wait was. Also, there's a major technical issue with the "unlocking" stage where you have the arduous task of first loading the game, then completing a questline (again) that involves working your way to killing a story boss in order to *verify* whether or not your account is unlocked, completely exiting the game, changing your password, reloading the game, doing the same questline again, and hoping that it worked. I've been watching this closely so I can decide if I ever want to give Blizzard my money again. So far, I don't.
  • astro_man26 - June 22, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    Didn't insult you, don't insult me. Thank you.
  • azureguy - June 22, 2012 3:21 a.m.

    This is insane, Blizzard is destroying their good reputation in record time. Many issues and complaints Blizzard was faced with in the past were within reason and at least somewhat acceptable - the "real name in forums" thing, the always-online and no LAN feature of StarCraft 2 (this game has an offline mode for singleplayer at least) and all the WoW hate for Pandas and everything - not perfect, but not completely bad either. But Diablo III turns out to be the biggest bad boy this year so far. If this goes on, they'll lose the trust of their fans (Diablo fans at least) and Valve will be the only US-based company to enjoy 100% trust in the business. I mean, who else can claim to be so trusted that people IMMEDIATELY believed the rumors of the Steambox. Would you believe a Blizzcube? I doubt it.
  • Shinn - June 22, 2012 2:32 a.m.

    This is so wrong, it's ridiculous. How can Actiblizzard be allowed to get away with this? If this affected the boxed version I installed (after hours of failed attempts) I would be demanding my money back under the consumer guarantees act. One of the few times it pays to live in NZ I suppose, at least we have that layer of protection.
  • KnowYourPokemon - June 21, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    Wow... what in the hell happened to Blizzard. Absolutely pathetic of them.
  • Sovtek - June 21, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    This is why I never have, nor will I ever support digital distribution. "We will fuck the legitimate player in failed attempts to thwart the fraudulent!" I have never bought a Steam, game, nor bought any game on any digital ditribution "platform", for exactly these types of reasons. Poor saps don't even have a paper game manual to fap to for three days while their accounts get un-fubar'd.
  • ElwoodFiore - June 21, 2012 4:55 p.m.

    You guys are forgetting one thing. this is diablo 3. It has many glitches and exploits. Ill share this with you, Just make a starter account get it to 13 and then buy the game, allows accsess to act 2+ because it continues you after the skeleton kings waypoint. lol.....good old fucking blizzard.
  • LordGremlin - June 21, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    See, stuff like this should be illegal. Blizzard must be fined. Laws - they need some work when it comes to software. This includes all countries.
  • mockraven - June 21, 2012 2:11 p.m.

    While I get they're trying to discourage the gold sellers from just making new accounts and spamming daily (Somehow I even get friend requests from them. Ugh!), this is the wrong way to do it. When a person buys a game they should full well have access to all of it as soon as the exchange occurs. They're essentially paying full price for the demo with the promise of a game in 3 days. You could get a physical copy faster than that and complete with a physical backup copy of the game for the same price or cheaper, negating any benefit the digital distribution has at all. Were I to talk a friend, who is new to the Diablo universe, into buying the game and (s)he buys it thinking we could have a D3 marathon over the weekend while we both have free time, both of us would be outraged at this 72-hour wait. With the way things around this game are progressing, I doubt I'll be a hardcore fan for D4, whenever that will be. I loved Diablo and Hellfire, I loved Diablo 2 and Lord of Destruction, I like Diablo 3 but not if Blizzard keeps shooting the nerf cannon and screwing over its loyal customers. Honestly, at this point, I've stopped telling my friends how awesome Diablo 3 is and have been looking forward to playing Torchlight 2 with them instead. I know that so far more of my friends have pre-ordered Torchlight 2 (T2?) than currently own D3.
  • Craza - June 21, 2012 4:11 p.m.

    It's like you and I were separated at birth. I never bought the game because I was playing on my boyfriend's account and wanted to see if it was really a game I wanted to drop $60 on myself. At first, I was into it and actually liked it. Then, once I finished Nightmare mode and went into Hell, I stopped and asked myself, "Why am I playing this? Am I actually having fun?" I found that I didn't know why and I sure as hell (Har) wasn't enjoying it. I stopped playing immediately and haven't gone back since. Picked up AC: Brotherhood with a GameStop gift card and was so much happier (Climbing and enemy frustrations aside). I said to myself, "Now, THIS is a game that deserved my money." My boyfriend was going to buy Diablo for me for $55 as a graduation present so we could play together. I told him I was grateful he would do something like that, but that I would not have him or myself pay full price for this game. Even he has told me that he only plays the game so he can sell things on the real money auction house and get his $55 back. So far, he's earned just over $3.50. And that's what it's turned into. People just selling things on the RMAH or AH instead of playing and enjoying the game. Instead of looking forward to playing with a group of friends and conquering the (very limited) quests and areas, it's all about the loot so people can make a quick buck. It's pathetic, and I will not tolerate anyone I know dropping that much money for such a lame attempt from Blizzard. I told my boyfriend he could buy me the pre-order for Torchlight 2 because it also came with the first one all for $20 on Steam. Two excellent games with the true spirit of Diablo intact (As it IS from the developers of the original Diablos). I told him to buy two copies--one for me and himself-- and that would be a great graduation gift. So, when TL2 comes out and we can play together, we'll have spent $40 for two copies on a game with great style and real sense of "Diablo-ness", and with great co-op accessibility. Win/Win!
  • mockraven - June 21, 2012 6:50 p.m.

    Sounds awesome that you'll be playing with your boyfriend! My husband and I are actually planning on playing with our friends who are engaged. It's funny how Diablo-esque games make great couples games. :P Here's hoping that Torchlight 2 comes out soon and lives up to expectation!
  • Mamudo - June 21, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    Damn, Blizzard is fuckin' up!
  • Bloodstorm - June 21, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    It's not really that bad. If you have a life (i.e. a job, school, college) then buy it on Tuesday, and then the entire game will be waiting for you on Friday to spend the long hours of the Weekend toiling away at. Just don't do yourself the disservice of playing up to that point and getting yourself hooked. It's no worse that 3-day priority shipping on anything you buy on the internet that has to be physically shipped. If it is that much of a hassle, got to your local store that sells games and enjoy it instantly.
  • ParagonT - June 21, 2012 1:33 p.m.

    I think the point is that they should have no ground to keep you from your purchased game. I'm sure if every game did that, you'd probably have a problem with it as well. It doesn't effect you from what I infer, so it's easier to dismiss it.
  • Bloodstorm - June 23, 2012 6:32 a.m.

    Well, I'd say technically it would affect me more than someone who already owned the game before this kicked in effect, as I've been considering buying this, but haven't made up my mind. How does this affect that? doesn't really. I'd just go get it at the retail store 15 minutes away if I was really hell bent on playing a ton of it.
  • ParagonT - June 24, 2012 8:05 p.m.

    Thats good that your only 15 minutes away, although people like I, am not. Anyway, it said people had trouble gaining exp due to it, so it does affect those people. Anyways, it doesn't seem like you are ever going to get it, thus reinforces my statement.

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