By Nathan Grayson on May 15th, 2012 at 8:00 am.
About a month ago, Blizzard made a rather large boo-boo and ever-so-briefly released something called the Diablo III Starter Edition. Mere milliseconds (in Blizzard time) later, the traditionally cold, calculating powerhouse said “Uh, whoops,” pulled the plug, and told everyone who’d so much as laid eyes on the build that it was actually just a weather balloon. Humanity, evidently, wasn’t ready to know about the Starter Edition. But now I guess we are, for some reason.
For the first 30 days of Diablo III’s debatably eternal life, the Starter Edition will only be available to those who’ve looted a Guest Pass from that vile, pustule-ridden demon that is friendship. An unspecified number of Guest Passes are included with every boxed copy of Diablo III, and it’s up to you to hand them out as you please. After that, it’ll be freely available to everyone – so no more using precious, precious golden tickets to pay for groceries or bribe police officers.
The Starter Edition is, however, rather limited – far closer to WoW’s free trial than a truly free-to-play experience. Once you grind the Skeleton King’s bones to make your figurative bread/literal money, it’s time to either start over or fork over. Also, leveling comes to a halt at 13, and both auction houses are plastered with “No you allowed” signs. So it’s basically a 1-2 hour demo with a different name.
This, of course, is hardly unheard of. Blizzard included Guest Passes with StarCraft II as well – though admittedly with a limit on time instead of progress. I’m curious, though: do those of you who get these passes ever use them? Do you eagerly shove them into your friends’ hands and then skip away like some kind of demonic Easter bunny? Or do you let them languish in the ruins of your box, lost to the ravages of time like so many hastily discarded instruction manuals?