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Blizzard puts restrictions on new Diablo III players

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Diablo III (Blizzard)

If you're just now getting around to Diablo III, you might want to buy a retail copy instead of downloading one.

In its most recent patch of the game, Blizzard Entertainment has capped how far players who purchase a digital copy of the game can advance in the first 72 hours. Despite inevitable protests to the contrary, it doesn't look like the company is planning to change its mind about the decision.

Blizzard explained in a forum post that new owners of the full-priced digital edition would essentially be restricted to the 'Starter Edition' for the first three days (sometimes less). Players will only be allowed to progress as far as the Skeleton King in Act One (which is basically a re-do of the game's demo) and no players will be able to advance their characters beyond Level 13 during that period.

New digital players are also not allowed to access the game's auction house, play with people in other parts of the world or play with people who aren't locked into the same Starter Edition. Blizzard didn't explain the specific rationale behind the 72-hour restriction, but presumably it's meant to thwart troublesome users like gold farmers, spammers, and those previously banned from the game.

The decision to restrict new players comes on the heels of Blizzard deciding to offer full refunds to some players in South Korea who were affected by the game's well-documented server issues during its launch. Any South Korean user who is below level 40 in the game can apply for a refund between June 25 and July 3.

That decision comes roughly three weeks after South Korea's Fair Trade Commission launched an investigation into the company after receiving a flood of consumer complaints. Blizzard originally said it would not offer refunds, but changed its mind as government pressure mounted.

It hasn't been a particularly smooth ride for Diablo III. The game's initial launch was plagued with brutal server problems, raising the ire of the franchise's rabid fan base. Still, the game remains a smash hit for the company. It was the industry's best selling game last month and is likely to be one of June's best-selling games as well.

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