Security features introduced in the latest Diablo III patch have left some gamers unable to progress past Act I and level 13.
Blizzard has announced a raft of restrictions that will apply to purchasers of Diablo III from digital distribution services - and admitted that a bug is restricting some buyers still further.
Diablo III is unique in the action role-playing game series as being the first version to require an always-on internet connection, even for offline play. Introduced to curb piracy, the feature has left Blizzard facing criticism for not-infrequent server outages that render the game completely unplayable when the servers are overloaded.
The introduction of an auction house service, which allows players to trade in-game virtual items for real-world cash and vice-versa, has led to Blizzard upping the security - and it's doing that by introducing temporary restrictions for buyers of the downloadable version.
'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,
' Blizzard confirmed in a statement to press today. '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.
Those who have purchased a digital downloadable copy of the game will find themselves unable to access public multiplayer games, unable to make purchases or sales through the auction house for real-world money or in-game gold, unable to trade items or drop items for other players to pick up, unable to chat in public or game channels, and unable to customise messages sent as part of a friend request. Players will also be unable to access the Global Play feature until their payment has been verified.
'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,
' Blizzard added. 'We appreciate player feedback and will continue to evaluate the best methods for ensuring a positive game experience for everyone.
While that's a fairly hefty list of restrictions, some players are finding their games locked down even further. '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,
' Blizzard admitted. 'We are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share.
So far, no timescale for fixing the bug has been provided.