As reported yesterday here at Game Rant, Blizzard has placed some baffling restrictions on players who decide to forgo purchasing a boxed copy of Diablo 3 and instead buy the game digitally. With an issue of this magnitude affecting the fastest selling PC game of all time, players deserve to know the reasons behind the limitations Blizzard has imposed.

That much needed reasoning was finally provided by Blizzard in a statement issued to Kotaku.

“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.

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.”

Not only will gamers who purchase a digital copy of Diablo 3 not be able to progress through more than a quarter of the game until the rest is finally unlocked for them, they will also be missing out on a key aspect of the Diablo experience: the social backbone of the game.

Mowing down wave after wave of Hell’s minions has always been much more enjoyable with a buddy or two, but thanks to these restrictions, new players are limited to private games. This may be and well good for those who have an extensive friends list, but what about consumers who don’t have anyone to play with and still want to get in on some multiplayer demon slaying right from the start? They are limited to seeing the sights of Sanctuary solo until their game is verified, and they’re also cut off from chatting in public and game channels during that period.

Digital purchasers will also be missing out on the Auction House. While there is a divide between Diablo 3 players on whether the Auction House should even be in the game in the first place, Blizzard played up this feature extensively before the title’s launch. Regardless if the general consensus among gamers is for or against the Auction House, it seems bizarre to lock players out of a feature that provides Blizzard with additional revenue.

Blocking players from key aspects of a huge title immediately after purchase is bad business sense.  A game can lose its luster in 72 hours, if not sooner, and a consumer can be totally soured by not being able fully use a product right after they buy it. Gamers are known to be a vocal group, and negative impressions and opinions can spread across the internet like wildfire.

While Blizzard should be applauded for attempting to take steps to counter credit card fraud, that applause should be held until Blizzard takes steps to prevent it in a way that protects bona fide consumers while allowing them to fully enjoy their purchase right out of the gate.

Ranters, do you feel that this is a good move on the part of Blizzard, or another bungle among bungles that have plagued Diablo 3 since release?

Diablo 3 is now available on PC and Mac.

Source: Kotaku