Hellgate’s Open: Diablo Starter Edition Bug Squashed

By Nathan Grayson on June 29th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

We apologize for the inconvenience. You may now murder me and continue on your way.

Sometimes, videogames are confusing. Except with Diablo III, in which case they’re always confusing. Most recently, Blizzard’s opus – made up of one part hack, one part slash, and one part commerce - introduced a baffling up-to-72-hour set of restrictions for new players. Among those, however, two – a halt to all progress beyond Act One and a demon-tickling level cap of 13 – basically turned the full price product into a glorified demo. Fortunately, however, a new patch has looted those items and put them up for sale on the auction house of non-existence.

“Leveling and Act I content restrictions for unverified digital purchasers have been removed with patch 1.0.3a. Please note that this change will not take effect until your game client has been updated to the most recent patch,” wrote Blizzard on its official forums.

It is, however, important to note that the following restrictions are still alive and kicking in the name of credit card verification.

  • 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

So that’s inconvenient – which kind of flies in the face of the idea of games as a “service,” but I’ve already ranted about that. Even so, I still hold out dim hope that one day Blizzard will see the light and carve out a standalone single-player mode. Today, however, is definitely not that day, so I suppose I’ll just throw heaps of money at Torchlight II and Grim Dawn until somebody gets the message.

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72 Comments »

  1. neofit says:

    “a new patch has looted those items and put them up for sale on the auction house of non-existence”
    Thou art a poet!

  2. jon_hill987 says:

    I don’t believe for a minute this was a bug, I think this is what they fully intended to do before the uproar.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      It certainly seems odd that a ‘bug’ would fit so well with a logical progression of Blizzard’s game plan…

      • ReV_VAdAUL says:

        As a comment I read somewhere, may have been here, from a soldier stated, it seems like fairly standard military tactics of keep pushing till you meet resistance then take one step back and hold.

        • woodsey says:

          That’s what it struck me as too.

          I was under the impression that they’d actually announced the 72 hours thing in the patch notes along with everything else, but perhaps not.

    • briktal says:

      I don’t know, WoW doesn’t have the level restrictions.

    • Screamer says:

      I agree, punting a bug as feature/restriction does seem a bit odd…..

    • MaXimillion says:

      To me it seemed more like they realised they had a problem, and just reused the starter edition as a quick fix, planning ot change parts of it as a “bug” when they had more time.

  3. Stromko says:

    It only took them, what, two weeks? Long after those customers who unwittingly bought Diablo 3 without knowing about this three-day waiting period have already been verified.

    If some unknown first-time game company had done everything Blizzard did, they’d be done in this business.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Actually possibly not true. I bought it at that time and 5 days later all restrictions/bugs were still in effect. Got refund and got the hell out of dodge

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Oh stop hyperventilating. Several first time companies have released products that didn’t even work period and managed to go on to success and fame if they also had a second project in the pipeline that ended up being well receive.

      I realize the RPS comments section are irrational Diablo hate central, but you need to get a grip on reality. Blizzard is the most successful video game developer/publisher out there. Period. Minor things like this are not hurting it any more than mosquito bites hurt you.

      Sure they might make 5% less money on Diablo 3 than if everything had been handled better. I am sure that will just cripple them…:rollseyes:

      • Lyndon says:

        See the problem isn’t that it it’ll crippple them. No one is saying it will cripple them. But the truth is it shoul cripple them. I don’t care i this is the most successfull compant ever cause I ain’t an investor. Right? Do you get that? That there’s a fundermental differance between consmers and investors. In this case Blizzard arse fuck consumers ,in theory, to serve their investorts. You’re saying well it’s okay because the investors made a lot of money. But I literally do not give two shits whether investors made money I only care whether the product is a good consumer propduct. And frakly fucked up “bugs” (Fucking deliberate scare quotes there mind) ruin it froma consumer perspective. DO YOU MOTHERFUCKER ACTUALLY OWN BLIZZARD STOCK? SHIT WELL THE WHY THE FUCK ARE DEFENDING THEIR ACTIONS BASED ON A BOTTOM LINE. YOU DON’T PROFIT FROM.

        People be stupid as shit yo.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          The investors are making lots of money because tons and tons and tons of people buy their games. They cannot ALL be wrong.

          It is not about “owning there stock”. It is about being an adult with a job and realizing that they are a bunch of people trying to make products and sell them for money. And they are actually extremely good at it. And no matter how much people want to rage about DRM this, or OMG this business practice is horrible that, no one is making them buy the game.

          Blizzard doesn’t owe you anything. You don’t have to buy Diablo. Think about that. Think about it long and hard.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            They most certainly CAN be wrong. When has collective intelligence of The People ever been anything other than below average.

            I mean… The populous has never been known to make good decisions.

          • psyk says:

            But devs are supposed to listen to the gaming masses? lmao

  4. pkt-zer0 says:

    “So that’s inconvenient – which kind of flies in the face of the idea of games as a “service,” but I’ve already ranted about that.”

    I don’t really see how that would change if the game was a “product”. Actually, isn’t your problem here that the credit card verification service isn’t instantaneous?

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Nope. The problem of credit card verification taking time is Blizzard’s problem, not his. What they have done is made their problem the problem of all new users in the game, as well.

      • Screamer says:

        It seems to be Blizzard’s modus operadi, make everything the customer’s problem. Oh you get lag, must be your internet connection then. Oh you got hacked, you must have keylogger/spyware then.

      • derbefrier says:

        is it? its pretty normal for a CC purchase to take a business day to go through anywhere. do you guys not have bank accounts? . i hardly think its reasonable to blame this on blizzard. They are actively trying to prevent fraud and cut down(highly successful i might add ) on gold spam. you guys seem really short sighted sometimes. . its something the buyer may be annoyed by at first i mean i would be too for sure but threre is a bigger picture, the greater good if you will, the long term stability of the economy and community. for anybody here that ever played D2 online and had to suffer through countless gold spammers this is a godsend

        • Baresark says:

          It takes time for the purchase to go through when you use a CC. They aren’t waiting for approval at all though, approval is instantaneous. No one is denied their purchase in order to wait for the transaction to go through, three days later. Same thing for checks. Stop making excuses for them. In your own words, “do you not have a bank account?”

    • Kyrall says:

      I don’t think any of us have a problem with the idea of games sold as a “product” – that’s a good, solid idea that we can all be comfortable with.

      I feel that the problem is when games are sold as a “service”, but the “service” is not particularly good. At least for the customer…

    • yutt says:

      “Actually, isn’t your problem here that the credit card verification service isn’t instantaneous?”

      So that is why McDonald’s makes me wait 72 hours before I can eat my meal.

      • Lemming says:

        And why I had to pay $60 up front in that restaurant I went to, then wait 72 hours before I was allowed to eat the food.

  5. Tolkfan says:

    What’s the point of restricting access to public games for unverified digital purchasers? Trading is disabled, so what damage can they do while playing with other players?

    • bonjovi says:

      wait a minute, if the purchase is not verified why give the user access to the game at all? If they decide to give unverified purchases any sort of access it is good customer experience, isn’t it? or am I missing something?

      • Somerled says:

        You missed the enormous, glowing whale of a fact that no other game has the same restrictions for unverified purchasers, including MMOs, which will let you play in public spaces. Ever bought a game on Steam and been able to play it within hours, if not minutes? Ever bought a box game at a store and been told they’ll hold on to it for you until your payment clears? In fact, how often does this treatment ever happen to you?

        To answer Tolkfan’s more reasonable question: unverifieds can’t join public games because then they can gold spam … somehow. Trust they’ll find a way. Blizzard’s just trying to draw a sharp line between spammers on unverified accounts and the rest of us cash cows.

        • Baresark says:

          What’s the difference to a gold spammer if they have to wait three days or not? There isn’t one. The time limit is not stopping gold spammers, that is just proof that what people see is all their is. Just because you haven’t seen a gold spammer doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

          • Somerled says:

            Because you can ban a spammer’s account and keep the money from their purchase only after the payment clears. Otherwise, they just cancel the charge, pick up a new copy, and start all over.

            At least, that’s the theory. In practice, fixes like this are just bailing water from a sinking ship anyway.

    • weego says:

      Join parties and spam party chat with gold / powerlevelling spam… because they cant join general

  6. Klatu says:

    I know this won’t be popular here (or most other places either) but for the paying customers who have been verified this has been a godsend. The amount of gold-spam has dropped to zero, the in-game chat system was unusable with gold ad after gold ad after gold ad scrolling madly up the screen.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Give it a week, it’ll happen again

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Well yes, many things if approached with the mindset of “fuck you, got mine” don’t seem as bad. However some people have empathy for other people who want to play games. Heck even if you don’t have empathy it is wise to think that while you weren’t negatively affected this time round if the practice became common you probably would then start getting caught on the negative side of it.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        But it is not THAT big of an inconvenience. An up to 72 hour period (in most cases, much less than that) were you can’t give items to others, or buy them from an auction house. In exchange, you get less spam.

        Note: I have not actually played the game, so I don’t know if, in fact, it is a huge downside, but it really seems like only a small inconvenience.

        • chuckles73 says:

          Except if, for example, you had a friend coming over for the weekend, and late Friday evening you decided that Diablo 3 sounds like fun. So you both buy it.

          Then you can’t give loot to your friend until Monday evening, when he has left.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Oh my god, how will you go on living! Stop constructing fantasy scenarios and get back in touch with reality. These are minor annoyances there for an explicit purpose which they mostly solve.

          • PopeJamal says:

            This is not a fantasy scenario. I, in fact have done that very thing, and it was actually pretty awesome to be able to throw together an impromptu LAN party. In fact, there were at least six people that I know of personally that did this very thing with SC2. We’ve also done it with:
            -Magicka
            -Frozen Synapse
            -Terraria
            -Dungeon Defenders
            -Age of Empires 3
            -Killing Floor

            and probably a few more. So just because YOU are fine with it, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect anyone, and it doesn’t make it OK.

            It amazes me how people can exclaim that “the golden age is upon us!” whenever corporations are slowly giving us less and less options. Some of you people are so easily bought off and duped, it’s almost literally nauseating.

          • psyk says:

            “together an impromptu LAN party. In fact, there were at least six people that I know of personally that did this very thing with SC2. We’ve also done it with:”

            SC2 huh? that would be starcraft 2 the game with no lan?

          • Wisq says:

            “The golden age is upon us” because indies are finally offering a viable alternative to the ridiculous “mainstream” (“AAA”) publishers.

            In fact, IMO, the indie market is the true successor to the games industry I remember from the 90s, and the “AAA” market is just a weird mutant offspring that hasn’t died yet.

        • Baresark says:

          Not being able to give items to people is a mere inconvenience, it’s true. But the level cap is fucking stupid. You can blow through the first chapter and hit the level cap in 4-5 hours. I would be pissed off if I bought the game and had the level capped. Imagine having a free weekend, buying the game, going to play it only to discover you can only play content for a hand full of hours.

          Everyone seems to conveniently be blind to this part of it. I am all for them denying people auction house use and the ability to trade items till the are verified. This makes sense if it’s actually stopping the gold spammers. But the level cap… that’s just the move of a bunch of useless assholes.

          • Lamb Chop says:

            Right, which is why the level cap got patched out as a bug.

          • piratmonkey says:

            Er…except that’s not a thing anymore. So everyone is happy!

    • jon_hill987 says:

      You know how else they could reduce gold spam? Get rid of the auction houses and increase loot drops so you don’t need them. Simple.

    • Baresark says:

      I don’t know, the easiest way to over come this would be an ignore list for the chat window. You know, that thing many other games have. If they are gold spammers, just ignore them and they won’t come up in chat. But that would be far too simple. No, they need to hurt paying customers to do it.

      • Klatu says:

        Bit late with this reply but there is an ignore option in the chat system, problem was the spammers were cycling through names every five minutes. So you would ignore/report ‘Irgoldseller’ and five minutes later ’1rgoldseller’ would pop up. Basically you were playing whack-a-mole on the spammers.

  7. Avenger says:

    Wait, let me get this right,
    you get this crap when you PAY FOR IT right?

    I just don’t get this “service” business. Maybe I am getting old, but I just don’t get it.
    What will this industry be like when our children are old enough to play games?
    Will they just pay 60€ so they can maybe have a chance to see a screenshot of the next installment of Diablo, and enter for a chance to maybe play the first mission once?

    • danielfath says:

      No, mate for 100$ you get to see the case (which only the UBER masters will play if they part with 40$/month), for 60$ we lowly peons can just smell the case via special It-Doesnt-Exist transfer protocol. You’ll also get exclusive access to Blizzard newsletter spam. And a concrete brick.

  8. Flamekin42 says:

    Introduce a set of stupid laws that benefit no-one but you and add to them one extra-stupid one, so obviously senseless that public will go nuts. Then cancel the additional law, exclaim “Are you happy now?!”, proclaim yourself a democratic government and do nothing about the initial set of laws.
    Oh wait, we’re supposed to talk Diablo here.

  9. Quasar says:

    The funny thing is, I can’t work out why anyone would give a fuck anymore. Surely everyone’s finished the game the first time around, realised that the higher levels are dull and stopped playing by now?

    • Hunchback says:

      Mostly true, but there are still tons of people who haven’t bought the game for one or another reason.
      Blizzard have planned D3 to last DECADES, so i guess they aren’t so worried about the first 1-2 months of it’s existence. They’ll probably start bombarding huge patches with content soon, the PvP patch, an expansion in 2014, etc etc… Most people who have already finished the game will probably come back to check on the new stuff, other people will finally decide to buy it after upgrading their pcs, reading enough reviews, quitting their jobs or whatever other reasons they have for not buying it still…

      So that’s why they are making all the patches and shit.

      • Vorphalack says:

        > ”the PvP patch, an expansion in 2014, etc etc”

        Hardly a bombardment. They only reason that PvP is even a patch is because they rushed D3 out the door with the feature missing. D3 will get no new content (excepting PvP and balance tweaks) until the next expansion. This is not an MMO.

        • Hunchback says:

          Well i don’t work at Blizzard so i really can’t tell anything for sure, but judging by past press releases from Blizzard, they have implemented the “random event” system with the idea of constantly streaming new events all over the place in order to add replay-value to the game.
          It could all be lies and marketing (aren’t those synonyms?), but it could be they WILL do it once they have the big bugs and imbalances sorted out.

          As for the PvP – ye, i guess they “rushed” it. If you can rush a game after ~10 years of development.

      • fish99 says:

        They’ve already said there won’t be any content patches.

        What there will be is an expansion but knowing Blizzard that could take 3+ years to make. D3 isn’t an MMO though, there’s no money from subs coming in and there’s no reason for Blizz to keep updating the game once the main bugs are fixed and the promised PVP is added. The player base has already dropped by 90% due to people finishing the game, and in another months time that will be 99%.

        I don’t get why people keep confusing D3 with an MMO. The game has 12-16 hours of content, and that’s if you fully map every area. If you rush through it’s more like 4 hours. I’ve seen people get from 1-60 in a day, without cheating. It’s not WOW though, it wasn’t designed to keep you playing for years.

        • Gusj says:

          There are no subs, but they do have the auction house. They want people to stay in the game and spend their money there forever.

          • Vorphalack says:

            I think they are banking on the inherently addictive nature of loot-em-ups to do the work for them. Right now there are no significant content additions planned. That might change in the future, but i’d wager not before the next expansion at the earliest, if ever.

        • Hunchback says:

          Can’t agree with you there, D3 might not be an MMO but as Gusj mentioned – it has the real money AH and it’s supposed to somewhat replace the WoW subscriptions that are constantly going down, until they launch a new MMO. Or at least that’s what Blizz are hoping for, i guess.

          Also, i won’t say it’s impossible, but doing 1-60 in 1 day must really be a massive grind and would really take some 24 hours or so. Finishing normal takes about 12 hours, maybe a bit less if you are experienced and know what you are doing. My first hero took me about 90-100 hours to reach Inferno (and thus level 60 a bit earlier at the end of Hell).

          As for reasons to patch etc – It doesn’t have to be an MMO for them to properly patch it. Blizz might be anything you want, but they ARE the best dev company out there considering game support, community and – patching. Hell, they are still patching Star Craft 1…

          • fish99 says:

            We’re not talking about patches that fix bugs, the post I replied to was talking about Blizz having a plan to add loads of free content to keep people playing for 10 years, which they don’t. Blizzard have specifically said they won’t be adding content outside of paid expansion packs.

            As for the RMAH being a serious income source – no, it’s not going to happen, because everyone already stopped playing. There’s 1,600 people in open games on the EU servers right now (compared with 40,000 a few weeks ago), from a game that sold 6 million. Spend 10 minutes on the auction house and you’ll see the number of items has dropped hugely in the last few weeks.

            And that’s no surprise at all. Why would anything more than a tiny hardcore crowd keep playing a game for years when it only has 12 hours of content? Blizz know this too, hence why they told people not to expect more content.

    • fish99 says:

      I’m sure most people have finished with D3 by now and player numbers confirm this, but one thing I would disagree with you about – the higher difficulties are actually more fun due to the greater challenge (esp from champion packs/elites) and due to having more rune options. Normal was just too easy.

  10. Hedenius says:

    As much as I love reading about games on RPS, I vey rarely play computer games. But over the years Diablo 2 has always been on my harddrive. I still play it from time to time. By now I’ve completed the game multiple times with every single class on hardcore in singleplayer.

    Yes. The women loves me.

    Despite this I have zero interest in Diablo 3.

    I understand I’m not in the key demographic, and Blizzard couldn’t care less about my 60$. But I find it interesting how fast I went from “I will buy this the day it’s released” to “I could not care less”.

    So those 60$ will now be directed towards Grim Dawn och Torchlight II. And hopefully we will see a drop in D3-players once these games are released. It’s an interesting time for ARPGs and Diablo is no longer the obvious choice.

    Since this is RPS I leave you with this:

    One day Blizzard will wake up to a grim dawn and see the (torch)light.

    Yes. I’m a wizard with words.

    edit: While the military tactic analogy further up in this thread is fitting, this is just a classic case of anchoring. Something used in marketing and politics every day. Say you want to raise a tax by 5%. Let everyone know you will raise it to 10%, knowing this will cause a strong negative reaction. Drop it to 5% and people will think you listen to them.

    • psyk says:

      “So those 60$ will now be directed towards Grim Dawn och Torchlight II. And hopefully we will see a drop in D3-players once these games are released. It’s an interesting time for ARPGs and Diablo is no longer the obvious choice.”

      One day I hope to see a drop in people like you

  11. Joe says:

    I can’t believe those bastards are trying to make money off their game, itz criminal……

    • danielfath says:

      I can’t believe those bastardz want me to play a worse game for 1/3 price of torchlight 2 with equal amount of content.

  12. str4 says:

    I posted about this somewhere else, but: I bought the game during the up to 72 hours lock down thingerwhatsit. My card and digital purchase were verified in about 3 hours though. I take my time, and I enjoy the story and stuff, so I didn’t even come close to getting outta act 1 or past level 13 in that amount of time.

    I don’t know how many people playing it for the first time, this far into it’s release, are going to be powering through and skipping all the story content though. Y’all’d know better than me. I could see it having effected (affected? I don’t know the difference.) some people.

    • Somerled says:

      “effected (affected? I don’t know the difference.)”: On the internet, you can know the difference. It’s affected (even though “effected” grammatically works and makes it a much more fun statement).

      Anyway, don’t pigeonhole the whiners into the powergaming, story skipping, can’t-enjoy-it-for-what-it-is crowd. The whin–I mean bitching is more about the principle than the inconvenience. Better to fight for rights no matter how insignificant, than to give ground. Give them an inch and all. Imagine a world where you don’t get to play the game you paid for in the way you want; not for a good reason mind, but because the publisher just isn’t sure you belong to its community yet. Some people might be hitting that barrier right now.

      • psyk says:

        “Imagine a world where you don’t get to play the game you paid for in the way you want; not for a good reason mind, but because the publisher just isn’t sure you belong to its community yet. Some people might be hitting that barrier right now.”

        I buy a racing game, I want to play it like a FPS…..WHY CAN’T I PLAY IT LIKE I WANT TO WHYYYYYYYYYYYY

  13. weego says:

    More exciting posts about how D3 is terrible and no one plays it anymore, how Blizz is horrible and doesn’t know anything about business. All of it rationally grounded in reality.

  14. piratmonkey says:

    Where can I declare my opinion that “D3 is terrible and also boring” as fact here?

  15. Lemming says:

    “Even so, I still hold out dim hope that one day Blizzard will see the light and carve out a standalone single-player mode.”

    As much chance of that as Bioware cutting their losses and rejigging SW:TOR into a single-player RPG. the companies we loved in the 90′s have long since drained the good will they had from me.

  16. geldonyetich says:

    These kind of restrictions only make sense if they’re being slammed with Real Money Trade crooks gaming their system at every turn. In which case I’d say they were thoroughly unprepared for Diablo 3′s success by virtue of overlooking a rather important vulnerability.

  17. psyk says:

    How many times have paradox fucked up now and they still seem to get an easier ride, lol.

    Most of the crap that got slung at blizz has turned out to be angry internet men on a troll fest because they felt hurt by a big faceless company.

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