This new Starter Edition for Diablo 3 is exclusively available via Battle.net and allows you to play your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I and advance to level 13 without having to pay a penny. Gamers will remember that this is essentially what was offered in the Beta version of the game. Nevertheless, the move is definitely a gesture of goodwill in the aftermath of critcism the game has received and the firestorm of backlash in the light of an admission that Battle.net account names and passwords were compromised to hackers earlier this month.
While Blizzard certainly aims to make amends, this might prove to be a great time to check out Diablo 3 if you haven’t already. To get the Starter Edition of the game, just log into Battle.net and sign up for this edition of the game via the “Your Game Accounts” section of the site. Alternatively if you have not created a Battle.net account (i.e. you have never played World of WarCraft, StarCraft II, etc) you can create one and this Starter Edition of Diablo 3 will be added to your account automatically. The third way to get this free version is to grab the D3 game disc from someone you know (of course, our site advocates that you ASK this friend permission first) and then install the game, then log into your Battle.net account to get the game added.
There are some caveats to the Starter Edition. First, any progress or achievements you make while playing this game will carry over if you do upgrade to the full version, so what you are doing will not go in vain if you do purchase the game. At that point some of the restrictions will be removed, which manifest themselves only in the Started Edition of the game.
The restrictions will be that you can only play up to the Skeleton King in Act 1 and play up to a level 13 cap. In adition, matchmaking is only available with other Starter Edition players and there is no auction house access of any kind, be it for real money or just in-game gold.
Stay tuned to Gaming Illustrated for all the latest Diablo 3 news!