While the auction house FAQ and guide are welcome additions to the Diablo III website, it's the announcement of "Global Play" that's probably the most newsworthy of all the D3 updates made today. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has friends I'd like to adventure with in Europe, so this should finally solve the problem we've had of being forced to create both a North American and European Battle.net account:
Want to take on the hordes of the Burning Hells with a friend from halfway around the world? In Diablo® III, you'll be able to play on game servers in regions outside your own, with a few restrictions, using Battle.net®'s new Global Play functionality. Here's how it works.... Diablo III's global game servers are grouped into three distinct game regions:
• The Americas - For players in the US, Canada, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. • Europe - For players in the European Union, Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, and Middle Eastern countries such as Israel and the United Arab Emirates. • Asia - For players in South Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
In general, players will create characters and play in their "home" region, which is determined by where they live (specifically, the country of residence registered to their Battle.net account). Global Play gives players the ability to switch to any of the other game regions via the in-game options menu, either before or after they log in to the game.
Note that characters, items, and friends lists do not transfer across regions. Playing on a different region's servers means you'll be creating characters and friends lists specifically for that region, and you'll be accessing the gold-based auction house for that region.
In addition, players will only have access to the real-money auction house (where applicable) when playing in their "home" game region. That means that, for characters outside of your home region, items cannot be bought or sold in any real-money auction house. The focus of Global Play is simply to give you the ability to play Diablo III together with your friends in any region.
The real money auction house lockout is a bit disappointing, but I can understand why they're doing it. There's also a Global Play FAQ if you have any other questions that need answering:
Can I play my hero in another region?
Heroes are available to play only in the game region in which they were created, and you are not able to move a hero from one game region to another. Each game region has its own independent hero list, and you can have up to a total of 10 heroes per region (counting both normal and Hardcore characters) at a time. You will be presented with a region-specific hero list whenever you change game regions.
Will my shared stash be accessible across regions?
Your shared stash will not be available across regions. As with your heroes, stashes in each region exist independently from one another, and items cannot be transferred between game regions.
Can I use the auction house in other regions?
Players are able to use every game region’s gold-based auction house. However, players are only able to use the real-money auction house (where applicable) when playing in their home region. As with items and heroes, auction houses are region-specific, and players cannot buy or sell items across game regions. See the Auction House FAQ for more information.
For example, a North American player who logs in to his or her home region (The Americas) will have access to the real-money auction house and gold-based auction house for The Americas. If that same person switches to play in the Europe game region, he or she will have access only to the gold-based auction house for the Europe region. When the player switches back to The Americas, the gold- and real-money auction house for The Americas will be available once again.
Does it cost anything to change which region I’m playing in?
No, changing play regions is free.
Can I change my region back if I want?
You can change your play region as many times as you’d like.
Can I transfer my character to another game region?
There are no hero-transfer services available for Diablo III. We do not have any plans to allow players to transfer characters between regions.