It seems that Blizzard, creators of Diablo 3 have walked into a bit of a kerfuffle (technical term) in their bid to clamp down on credit card fraud, botting and auction house shenanigans: owners of the digital version of the game (not the physical, store-bought copy) are limited to the first chunk of game and locked out of numerous pieces of content and functionality until their accounts are “verified” which can take “up to 72 hours”. It seems the first two patch points – no progress beyond the level cap and the Act 1 Skeleton King boss is “unintentional”, but it’s caused quite the commotion regardless.
The patch effects include the following:
* Act I up to the Skeleton King is available
* Level 13 cap
* Matchmaking available only with other Starter Edition players
* No Auction House access (Real Money or Gold)
* Global Play is not available
* Players attempting to connect to Diablo III Starter Edition in a region other than their Battle.net account’s home region will receive Error 12
You can read some less than enthusiastic responses on the official forum, which includes people yelling, reports to the Better Business Bureau, more yelling, promises of credit card chargebacks, yet more yelling and…oh. I already mentioned the yelling.
Elsewhere, you can read a 28 page thread about some of the problems taking place in-game, along with much anger and gnashing of teeth. A word of caution: I have no idea what some of the things specific to the more intimate aspects of the game they’re referring to are, and the last time I invested myself so heavily in a fantasy setting was the Hero Quest boardgame so I’m probably not the best person to ask.
As far as the Auction House goes, there’s been trouble waiting in the wings in the build up to it going live – Blizzard recently whacked thousands of accounts while waiting to hit the on switch, and anybody in the business of account theft would be rather excited about the whole affair.
All the same, cheating in gaming is nothing new and everything from PC based MMORPGs to multiplayer console shooters have had their fair share of hacks, bots, cheats and scammers. By the same token, stolen credit card details used on gaming accounts are unfortunately a fact of life and locking gamers out of content will probably prove to be about as popular as that always-online DRM the kids love so much.
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