Blizzard clarifies stance on Diablo 3 digital purchases

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.


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.

    Contributing Editor
    From The Chatty
    • reply
      June 21, 2012 8:15 PM

      John Keefer posted a new article, Blizzard clarifies stance on Diablo 3 digital purchases.

      Earlier today, Blizzard posted in its forums that players making a digital purchases of Diablo III would only open up the Starter Edition version...

      • reply
        June 21, 2012 8:35 PM

        Seems like Blizzard's problems as of late are less in the actual games and more in their PR and disseminating information about issues that do occur.

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          June 22, 2012 3:24 PM

          100% agreed. A lot of whining might have been prevented with more transparency or details

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        June 21, 2012 8:52 PM

        Well, that sounds more reasonable at least.

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          June 21, 2012 8:54 PM

          A "smaller" shit sandwich is still a shit sandwich.

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            June 22, 2012 7:22 AM

            It goes down easier if you hold your nose when you take a bite.

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        June 22, 2012 7:04 AM

        I find this a good measure to stop credit card theft.

        Just because some guy in russia managed to steal my credit card because it was stored in plain text on Sony's servers doesn't mean I'm okay with 6 china-gold-farmer accounts being bought and unlocked immediately.

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          June 22, 2012 8:49 AM

          now why does it have to be a "guy in Russia" , in fact, people that attacked Sony last year were form US and Europe, not Russia! :)

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        June 22, 2012 7:14 AM


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        June 22, 2012 7:40 AM

        in other words... dont be dumb and buy it on friday thinkin the transaction is gonna go through.... that would mean waiting till Monday for it to go through... 72 hours.... comeon people....

        • Zek legacy 10 years
          June 22, 2012 7:44 AM

          I know right, how can people be so dumb??

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          June 22, 2012 8:16 AM

          Although I can understand and appreciate when a business does this (as long as it is clearly disclosed), it's not really "dumb" for people to assume/expect when they purchase the game it will be immediately playable.

          A person's Friday night with one credit/debt card may play out a little like this:
          - Ordered Chinese food, ate it immediately
          - Rented 3 movies at Redbox, received them immediately and gave one to the kids who are currently enjoying it.
          - Ordered downloadable content for Dance Central for the wife, and laughed as she was making a fool of herself with the new songs only minutes later.
          - Crap! Forgot to pick up cat food and beer! Off to Target. Oh look at this, Mass Effect 3 is on sale! Grab that to play when the TV is free, although I could play it now and kick the wife off the TV...
          - Filled up on gas.
          - Finally home and ready to order and play Diablo 3, only to discover I can't play the game to its potential for 3 days to protect Blizzard in case I'm a deadbeat.

          So on the contrary, I'd have to say it would be rather "dumb" to assume I could purchase it on Friday and play it to my liking through the weekend. It doesn't make logical sense when compared to similar goods/services you purchase daily. About the only time someone generally "expects" a regular transaction to take 3 days processing to reach resolution is when paying bills.

          Again, if clearly stated that's perfectly fine and a business can choose to do that. But in that event I can still understand frustration on the consumers' part considering what's generally expected and practiced in regards to entertainment purchases.

          • reply
            June 22, 2012 8:19 AM

            Obviously that should read So on the contrary, I'd have to say it would be rather "dumb" to assume I could purchase it on Friday and not play it to my liking... but I'm sure you get the idea...

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            June 22, 2012 8:27 AM

            I would rather they fix the botting/spamming/hacking than have your random off-shoot case work. Sorry. You only buy the game once, but the economy lives on much longer.

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              June 22, 2012 8:47 AM

              I can clearly see and understand business decisions behind doing this, even if it were strictly for selfish reasons in case of insufficient funds, etc. A business is there to make money, and Blizzard is generally there to do that AND enforece quality.

              I'm just saying I can understand the frustration of someone like myself, who wants to jump right into the game and play the hell out of it, who suddenly cannot.

              It's not human nature to drop a lot of money on a game, sit down to play, and gleefully discover you have to wait for the clock to pass enough time before you can truly play it freely. Humans are emotional/sensory beings and when it comes to enjoying entertainment, if you rip that away from them they're not always going to happily just sit back and say "oh golly, I guess I'll have to play it next weekend instead so Blizzard can take care of all the illegitimate players."

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                June 22, 2012 9:18 AM

                It is a one-time event. It's not like every day you want to play this you run into the problem. It happens once total. The problem is, the botters are using invalid CCs to purchase tons of accounts and play/spam until they get denied, and just repeat. It ruins the economy. That is something real that is happening right now.

                So say you buy your game and get to play immediately, great. A month later the economy is going to be fucked proper.

                Again, this is a one time single event for a digital purchase. I get what you're saying, but I'd rather have the game last longer than 3 months. Also, I don't care because I already have the game on my one account so this change literally is only a bonus to me.

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                  June 22, 2012 10:13 AM

                  There are better ways to handle this that doesn't annoy the new customers. If you are worried about the fraud aspect they could keep some of the restrictions without impacting users. They could keep the 72 hour restrictions on the auction house, trading, and being able to talk in the chat channels but allow people to progress through the content.

                  Can't blizzard keep track of the IPs and proxy servers used to buy the fraudulent copies and blacklist them.

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                    June 22, 2012 12:09 PM

                    Considering this change is simple to implement and enforce, and would only POSSIBLY (not even guaranteed) affect users once total, this seems like a very good solution. Most of the people up in arms about this either already have the game (thus will never affect them) or aren't going to buy it anyway. [citation needed]

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                      June 22, 2012 10:10 PM

                      Alot of this is principle based. I can't imagine going to buy some clothes and having to fill out a form to pass a fraud check before coming back 3 days later to purchase something. Even if the fraud check took only 5 minutes I'd still take my business elsewhere, I'd feel like they were treating me like a criminal!

                      Imagine how you'd feel if your local supermarket or grocer asked you to do the same? You're likely to kindly tell them to fuck off and go somewhere else.

                      Fraud exists and affects every business differently but the solution isn't to punish the customer.

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          June 22, 2012 9:39 AM

          How dare someone buy a game on payday!

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            June 22, 2012 9:44 AM

            Stop being poor so you can stop working and buy your games on legitimate weekdays.

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        June 22, 2012 7:44 AM

        ESPECIALLY if you have BofA because they sometimes wait a week to process a payment

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        June 22, 2012 8:56 AM

        I love Blizz titles, but even I steered clear of buying D3 digitally. After the shit I went through with ME3 from Amazon on Origin, I'm only buying digitally through Steam.

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          June 22, 2012 12:11 PM

          Considering the patcher itself is downloading the game anyway, I don't see what you even gained/lost here. Digital purchases from Blizzard are fine.

        • Zek legacy 10 years
          June 22, 2012 12:23 PM

          To be fair, you own D3 digitally whether you like it or not. The disc is just an installation shortcut.

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            June 22, 2012 12:27 PM

            Oh yeah, I know that. I'm specifically referring to things like the waiting period Blizzard has thrown up on D3, and the installation problems Amazon customers had with ME3. Steam seems to be the only place that I am confident in buying games digitally. Hell, my old Direct2Drive stuff was even a pain in the ass.

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