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Diablo > Diablo 4Jul 10, 2023 6:00 pm CT

Everything that’s in Diablo 4 Season 1, Season of the Malignant

Diablo 4 Varshan the Consumed

Diablo 4′s first Season, the Season of the Malignant, will launch on July 20 with a host of additions to the game — many of which you’ll only be able to access by making a new seasonal character. That means starting the game over from scratch, keeping some of your Renown (map unlocks and Altars of Lilith), but none of your gear, gold, or anything else. For better or worse, the new season in Diablo is a chance to start fresh.

But Seasons in Diablo 4 are a little different than what we’ve seen in past games, including new gameplay mechanics, additional story content, and a Season’s Journey to play through. Let’s cover everything that’s included in Diablo 4 Season 1.

What’s in Diablo 4 Season 1?

Here are the main features of Season 1:

  • New Malignant monsters. The Season revolves around new corrupted creatures showing up in Sanctuary. These monsters are the Malignant, a new type of enemy that has the special Malignant affix. These creatures are faster and more relentless than other types of monster, and killing them awards Malignant Hearts.
  • Malignant Hearts to socket into gear. To summon a Malignant creature, you first have to kill corrupted monsters until you locate a Malignant Heart, which will summon a Malignant elite so you can claim the heart for yourself. These hearts go into infested sockets on the rings and amulets that drop in the Season, and they grant your character new powers unlike anything yet seen in Sanctuary.
  • Malignant Tunnel dungeons. These replayable dungeons are a good place to hunt down Malignant Hearts, and even offer ways for you to target specific drops. You’ll be able to farm for Malignant Hearts as well as fight a new boss: Varshan the Consumed.
  • New gear to collect. There’s a host of new items coming to the Season of the Malignant. In addition to the new infested sockets that can appear on rings and amulets — which of course means new rings and amulets — there are also six new Unique items and seven new Legendary Aspects to discover.

What we know about the Season 1 story

We know that Diablo 4 Seasons will feature  new story, but it won’t be a continuation of the main story campaign. According to the most recent developer livestream, Seasonal stories be new questlines that take place after the completion of the campaign, but they won’t continue the core story, so don’t expect to see much — perhaps not anything — from major characters like Lorath and Neyrelle. To find out where that story goes, we’ll need to wait for the game’s first expansion (and we have no ETA on that yet). Instead, Seasonal stories will be more like side quests, perhaps along the lines of the Hawezar quest helping a Crusader find her mentor, or potentially a zone’s Act storyline.

The story of Season 1 focuses on discovering the source of the corruption in Sanctuary, alongside the Cormond, a former priest in the Cathedral of Light. Cormond narrates the Season of the Malignant trailer, and the story of the Season will be in not just discovering the secrets of the Malignant but also in answering the question is it really a good idea to rip the festering, corrupted hearts of these monsters from their bodies and then wearing them around our necks? At least I hope that question gets answered.

As a new character, we don’t know much about Cormond, but hopefully we’ll find out. Why is he a former Priest of the Cathedral? How did he find out about the Malignant, much less how to rip out their hearts and turn them into powerful bling to fight evil? We don’t know just yet.

The Diablo 4 Season Journey and Battle Pass

The Season Journey will be familiar to players who played Diablo 3 Seasons: it’s a series of achievements, and completing each chapter will earn caches, new legendary aspects, new titles, and help you progress through the Battle Pass. You’ll also be able to earn the Scroll of Amnesia, which allows you to completely reset a character’s skills and all Paragon tiles — yes, all of them — letting you start from scratch. And unlike respeccing in the current game, which costs gold, the Scroll of Amnesia is completely free.

The Battle Pass will only be available to Seasonal players. As you progress through the Season Journey, you’ll earn Favor to advance through Battle Pass tiers. There are 90 tiers in the Battle Pass, 27 Free Tiers and 63 Premium Tiers, and the pay-for Premium tiers only reward additional cosmetics — not any additional gameplay power. Free tier rewards include Smoldering Ashes, a currency you can use to buy Season Blessings to give your character a boost, like extra XP, better gold drops, or longer elixir duration. All of the Smoldering Ashes are on the free tier, and paid players don’t get any extra. Even if a player buys a tier skip to progress through the Battle Pass faster, they won’t unlock any Smoldering Ashes until they hit certain level requirements — Season Blessings can only be earned by playing the game.

If you bought the Digital Deluxe or Ultimate editions of Diablo 4, it includes access to the Premium Battle Pass, otherwise the Premium pass will cost $10 and the Accelerated pass (which includes 20 tier skips and extra cosmetics) will cost $25. But again, even if you skip straight to a Tier that rewards Smoldering Ashes, you’ll have to wait until you are the appropriate level to purchase Season Blessings.

Season Blessings only apply to Seasonal characters, but once the Season ends these characters will be transferred to the Eternal realm and becomes permanently added to your roster there. Once the season is over, all of the buffs will be gone. So if you’re considering leveling an alt, you might want to prioritize a Season character for the XP boosts you can obtain.

Diablo 4 Season 1 starts soon, on July 20, so get ready to head out there and kill some Malignant monsters, my friends.

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