This is huge. Diablo 3 players in South Korea are being offered refunds as compensation for Error 37, the launch day malfunction that prevented many from accessing the game after purchase. The Wall Street Journal have a translation of Blizzard's post on the Korean Battle.net, confirming that players under level 40 can apply for a refund between June 25 and July 4. After that, a refund policy will be enforced whereby players under level 20 can request their money back within two weeks of purchasing the game. The offer comes after significant consumer backlash and the raiding of Blizzard's Seoul office by Korea's Fair Trade Commission.
There's no word of a similar offer being extended to players in other territories, and it seems unlikely without the ironclad consumer protection laws of Korea on our side. But this is a canny move by Blizzard - a positive and pragmatic approach to appeasing the voice of dissent. Players who worked through initial connection problems to reach levels beyond 40 can be reasonably said to have gotten their money's worth. Blizzard were also keen to point out how stable the service has been of late, which, to their credit, it really has been. The statement was delivered to Eurogamer.
"As we announced previously, Diablo III represented the biggest PC-game launch in history and became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. However, as discussed in our earlier post-launch update, despite our very aggressive projections in terms of server infrastructure, Diablo III players initially experienced some difficulty logging in to the game due to the sheer number of people accessing our servers at the moment the game launched and at peak times."
"In the weeks following the game's May 15 launch, we added hardware infrastructure to improve capacity, and during that time the game's European servers were accessible and stable for the great majority of the time. Since June 2, players in Europe have been able to consistently access and play the game in their home region, though we occasionally perform routine maintenance from time to time. We are continuing to work around the clock to provide the best possible service and deliver a great gameplay experience for Diablo III players around the globe."
TL;DR: You don't know what you've got til it's gone.
I've popped Anne Robinson and the chap from BBC Breakfast an email to see if they can't work out a similar deal for UK players. In other news, Diablo was recently updated to version 1.0.3. Blizzard has released the official patch notes.