UPDATE:

Blizzard has released the following statement following the news we posted this morning regarding the restrictions placed on new Diablo III players. The developer states that the level and act cap are an unintended consequence of a security update, and that it is working to fix those bugs as soon as possible.

The statement also goes into a little more detail as to why the restrictions have been implemented, saying that they are designed to deter credit card fraud, "which in turn helps reduce gold spam and other harmful activities that can have a negative impact on the game experience for everyone."

The full text:

“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. 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.

"Similar to World of Warcraft, these restrictions were put in place to deter credit card fraud, which in turn helps reduce gold spam and other harmful activities that can have a negative impact on the game experience for everyone.

"However, 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. We are working to correct this as soon as possible and will provide another update when we have more details to share.

"Aside from the two unintended restrictions noted above, below are the standard security-related restrictions that will be in place for digital purchases until payment verification is complete:

• 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

"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. We appreciate player feedback and will continue to evaluate the best methods for ensuring a positive game experience for everyone."

ORIGINAL:

Those who purchase Diablo III digitally are restricted to the Starter Edition for the first 72 hours, Blizzard has announced.

The change was brought in with patch 1.0.3, and means that only act 1 up to the Skeleton King is available, that there is a level cap of 13, that matchmaking is only available with other Starter Edition players, and that there is no access to either auction house. Global play is also unavailable.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is a necessary step to combat fraud and other malicious activities that can weaken everyone's play experience,” read an official post on the Blizzard forums.

“The delay is no longer than three days, and is often much quicker than that. Hang tight.”

In related news, Blizzard is giving full refunds to South Korean gamers who suffered from various connection errors during Diablo III's launch, following an investigation into the company’s Seoul office by the Korean government last month.

South Korean law allows customers a full refund for any product within seven days of purchasing it.

A post from Blizzard on the Korean Battle.net stated that any Diablo III player under level 40 could apply for the refund between June 25 and July 3.

Blizzard also said that from hereon, it would accept returns from Korean players with characters that were less than level 20, provided the application for a refund was made within two weeks of the game purchase.