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DiabloJan 3, 2020 10:00 am CT

Celebrate Diablo’s 23rd anniversary with the annual Darkening of Tristram

Diablo 3 Darkening of Tristram Portal

Another year has ended, which means we are celebrating a new anniversary of the release of the debut of the very first Diablo game, originally released on December 31, 1996. Diablo turned 23 at the end of last month, and while you can now purchase the original game from GOG.com, Blizzard annually indulges our nostalgia with the Darkening of Tristram. The event portal opens Friday, January 3, at 4:00 p.m. PST, and the cultists began appearing around Sanctuary as of the 31st. Both portions — cultists and portal — close January 31st at 4:00 p.m. PST, giving you an entire glorious month to reap event rewards.

Diablo 3 Darkening of Tristram Butcher

What is the Darkening of Tristram?

The Darkening of Tristram refers to the plot of Diablo 1. You are on a journey to free the original town of Tristram from the Lord of Terror. Diablo and his hellish minions await you from the Cathedral, which has become a killing field in Archbishop Lazarus’ phony search for the lost Prince Albrecht. We explore the Cathedral in Act 1 of D3 to rescue Deckard Cain and defeat the Skeleton King, so this version of the Cathedral will be familiar to players new to the franchise origin.

As with previous anniversaries, the Darkening of Tristram comes to us via Blizzard’s RetroVision, where graphics are adjusted to resemble the original game (including retro monster models such as the Butcher). The music and UI are similarly adapted to mimic D1, to give you that full 1996 gaming experience. For the full RetroVision breakdown, check out our post from the 20th Anniversary event.

Diablo 3 Darkening of Tristram

How do I get started?

Kicking off the anniversary event is relatively straightforward. Hunt the cultists in Adventure Mode to find clues leading you to a portal into Tristram’s past. Alternatively, navigate to The Old Ruins in Act 1, and look for the red pentagram on the map labeled “The Darkening of Tristram.”

Blizzard’s official news post states that completing anniversary event activities yields “unique transmogrification effects, achievements, portraits, pets, and more.” The cycling image from their news post shows new banner options, the baby Butcher pet (complete with cleaver and meat), and unique portrait frames. The Red Soul Shard legendary gem is again available to obtain from killing The Dark Lord. These rewards are exclusive to the event, so you have to knock out all requirements before the portal closes on January 31.

Heed the whispers of madness, drawing you closer and closer to the dungeon that started it all. Adventure forth, brave hero, to survive and reap the rewards or die like so many forgotten souls. Join us in fighting back the hellish hordes in the Darkening of Tristram event.

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