A post on Battle.net explains that newly purchased digital editions of Diablo 3 will be limited to a starter edition for up to 72 hours after purchase. That means you can only get as far as level 13, and can't progress past the first significant boss of the game, the Skeleton King. The gold and auction house will be closed off and you'll only be able to play with other starter edition players. Essentially, you won't have access to the full game for three days after purchase.
An official blue post on the Battle.Net forums explains why: "Outside of the issue that we fixed, digital purchases do require a review period before they kick over from Starter to Full editions. 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," writes support forum agent Kaltonis.
"The delay is no longer than three days, and is often much quicker than that. Hang tight. :)"
It looks as though this might be an effort to stop banned players from re-buying and instantly re-accessing the game, and could help keep gold spammers out of global chat. Restricting every new customer seems like an extreme solution to the problem, especially when this is the screen from which you buy the game online:
There's no mention of a three day restriction period, and there's still a message there suggestion that the real money auction house is "coming soon." Digital purchases are often an impulse buy. I picked up Diablo 3 online because I wanted to play it straight away, if I was buying it today I would rather swing past ye old fashioned shop to buy a box and get full access to the game much sooner. I can only imagine the frustration of running into a barrier a couple of hours in with no warning.
The three day account restriction was added in the recent 1.3 patch , which went live a couple of days ago. What do you think of the new 72 hour restriction?