Editor’s note: Blizzard reached out to let us know that the 72 hour time frame is a maximum waiting period. For many users, the wait is significantly shorter, often a day. Those waiting the full 3-day period do not represent the norm. Additionally, the level 13 and Act I limitations placed on players were unintentional. Blizzard is in the process of removing those restrictions. Unverified digital players will continue to see restrictions on auction house usage, public game access, item trading, chat and Global Play. Again, this is part of the restriction that lasts at most 72 hours, often less time. ^MF

Original story:

The release of Blizzard’s Diablo III has been anything but smooth sailing, with reports of recuring server issues, problems with “item duping” and now credit card fraud, which is overshadowing what is unquestionably a quality game at it’s core. Blizzard has responded by releasing hotfix patches to address some of the key issues, and the lanch of the auction house was delayed to ensure better security and fair trading. However, the problems still persist and now more drastic measures have been put into place to curb these security issues. If you plan on purchasing Diablo III digitally, brace yourself for a waiting period before the full game becomes available.

A new patch that Blizzard has issued for Diablo III, patch 1.0.3 to be specific, has placed limitations on those purchasing the game digitally though their Battle.net account and online store for the first 72 hours after they start playing. While the game itself is playable, you will be limited to the “Starter Edition” that essentially acts as a demo, limiting what you can do in the game and how you are able to play. Some of the limitations include your attainable level being capped at 13, Act 1 only being available up until the Skeleton King encounter, the inability to take part in Global Play and no access to the auction house, regardless of whether you wanted to use real money or in-game gold. After this waiting period, the full game will open up and the aforementioned restrictions will be lifted.

The time frame is a projection from Blizzard, as some might gain access to Diablo III’s core features quicker, while others might have to wait the entire 72 hours. Blizzard has stated that all digital purchases have to go through a “review period”, a time period in which payment can be verified and the account validated, before the full version of the game will be available. They have stressed that 72 hours is the maximum time you will have to wait, while most will see it lifted within a day. While this might seem like a relatively short wait fro most people, this will feel like an eternity for those who want to buy the game and dive right into the experience.

So what is the reason for Blizzard hampering the formative hours of the Diablo III experience? The countless stories we have been reading about “item duping” (exploiting glitches and hacks to create duplicates of rare and valuable items) and the potential for fraud in the auction house make this fairly obvious. Blizzard has, in a statement released to Kotaku, confirmed that credit card fraud and gold farming are root causes for these restrictions. In many online games, fraudulent activity and people creating sockpuppet accounts to gain money and in-game intems is becoming more commonplace and harder to control. How effective this initiative by Blizzard will be has yet to be seen.

This only applies to copies of Diablo III purchased digitally, so those who own the retail version will bypass these restrictions entirely. There is no word on how long this will be in effect, or if the restrictions will be eased or tightened anytime soon. This is one of those unfortunate cases where the misdeeds of a relatively small group has tainted the entire pond.