Earlier today, Blizzard posted in its forums that players making a digital purchase of Diablo III would only open up the Starter Edition version of the game for the first 72 hours. No reason was given so we contacted Blizzard to find out why. Late this evening, they issued a rather lengthy response.
A Blizzard spokesman issued the following to Shacknews:
"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."
Blizzard did note that the original post in the official forums was slightly incorrect in that players will be able to complete Act I, not just stop at the Skeleton King:
"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."
The rest of the response details the restrictions are because of the security-related measures and will be lifted once the credit card is verified. No mention is made of the Starter Edition:
"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."
There you have it. The main goal is to deter credit card fraud. And while the restrictions are similar to the Starter Edition, they are not the same. It appears these restrictions will be lifted in a future patch.