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Diablo > Diablo 4Jul 19, 2023 8:00 pm CT

Everything we know about Seasons in Diablo 4 — including the new Battle Pass system

Diablo 4 will be have a seasonal content rotation similar to Diablo 3’s, and the game’s first Season I now live, so you can jump right into Season of the Malignant! Each Diablo 4 Season is a substantial content update, including a new seasonal quest chain and story content as well as quality of life changes, balance updates, new Legendary items, and a new Season’s Journey.

But Diablo 4’s Seasons will also include a Battle Pass system. This includes a rewards track that’s tied to the Season’s Journey with a free tier and two different paid tiers — and a lot of players are pretty anxious about the game’s monetization, particularly after the launch of the microtransaction-heavy Diablo Immortal.

Fortunately, I think Diablo 4 is hitting a good stride with its Seasonal system. It’s taking everything good about Diablo 3 Seasons, with the regular addition of fun new mechanics and a Season’s Journey to play through. But on top of that it adds significant new story quest and features — as well as that Battle Pass. The Battle Pass will offer you the ability to unlock buffs as you level, but every gameplay boost on the Battle pass is on the free rewards track — paying for the Battle Pass only gives you access to cosmetic items. There’s no pay to win here, because spending real money can only buy cosmetics.

So let’s take a look at just what Seasons will be like in Diablo 4.

What are Seasons in Diablo 4?

The biggest draw of Diablo 4’s new seasons will be the story quests, which will expand the game world in a way Diablo 3’s seasons didn’t. We can expect each season to be a major content patch, with new character and zones as well as new abilities, mechanics, and gear.

Season 1 is all about corruption spreading through Sanctuary. We’ll learn how to fight new Malignant monsters (and tear out their hearts) alongside our new friend Cormond, a priest from the Cathedral of Light.

Originally Posted by Joe Piepiora (Official Post)
Each Season’s new questline will reveal more of the world of Sanctuary and your character’s place in it. Here, we get an opportunity to introduce new characters or revisit old ones while exploring the lore and content of the season.

However, we’ll still have the expected seasonal content. Each Season you’ll start with a fresh character to level, with new gameplay features to give each season its own flair. In Season 1, it’s all about Malignant Hearts, which you can collect from corrupted monsters and then socket into your gear to gain additional power. These hearts have powers along the lines of Legendary Aspects, and should offer new, interesting ways to compose builds. Here’s a list of all the Malignant Hearts available in Season 1.

Long-time players will have a bit of a boost on seasons, as the Renown from Altars of Lilith and discovering zones in the map will carry over into the Season, so if you can start with up to two Renown in each zone — but you’ll have to grind for the rest. If you’ve already finished the game’s campaign, you’ll also be able to skip it on your seasonal characters. If you haven’t, you’ll need to play through the campaign start to finish before you can do Cormond’s quest chain and start collecting Malignant Hearts.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Official Post)
Seasons will introduce fresh concepts and ideas into the world of Sanctuary, for all wanderers to enjoy while simultaneously iterating upon your baseline experience. Above all, we want Seasons to be celebratory moments; something to look forward to and enjoy with your friends and other members of the Diablo community.

In short, expect Diablo’s 4 Seasons to be everything we had in Diablo 3 and then some.

When will Diablo 4 Seasons start?

The Diablo team plans to release new Seasons quarterly, and Season 1 is now live and will last until October. We expect each season to be immediately followed by another season — if Diablo 4 follows the Diablo 3 model, there will only be a week or two of downtime between seasons, with a patch in between.

The Diablo 4 Season’s Journey and the Battle Pass

The Season’s Journey returns from Diablo 3, but in Diablo 4 it’s heavily tied to the Battle Pass — each Season will have a new Battle Pass with new rewards. As in Diablo 3, the Season’s Journey includes various objectives divided into chapters. As you complete objectives, you’ll earn a variety of seasonal rewards, from useful crafting materials to Legendary Aspects for your Codex of Power.

But finishing objectives will also grant you Favor, which advances you through the Season’s Battle Pass. You can also earn Favor from everyday activities, like completing quests, participating in events, and just killing monsters — but focusing on objectives will give you a big boost.

What’s included in the Diablo 4 Battle Pass?

The Battle Pass includes 27 free tiers and 63 premium tiers. As the names imply, the free tiers are available to everyone, while the premium tiers will require you to pay $10 for the premium track or $25 for the accelerated track. Both of these passes will include all premium tier rewards, but the accelerated track also includes tier skips, so you can skip over tiers and progress through it more quickly to unlock everything — the devs suggest it’s ideal for people who jump into the Season late but want to collect their rewards, but with fairly long three-month Seasons, I don’t think the average player will feel the need.

The free pass will award you with cosmetics and a currency called Smoldering Ashes, which is used to purchase Season Blessings. These Blessings give you a variety of buffs, such as increased XP or gold, that will last for the Season. You’ll pick the buffs you want and you can buy more than one if you earn enough Smoldering Ashes.

The Diablo team has stressed repeatedly that the premium tiers do not offer any player power: all you get by purchasing the premium tiers are cosmetic items and a premium currency (Platinum) that can be used to buy additional cosmetic items from the in-game store. Buying either premium Battle Pass will not help you gain levels, weapons, gear, currency, or anything else: it will only award additional cosmetic items. If you buy the Battle Pass, you’re doing it because you want more transmog and customization options, not to be more powerful in-game.

While the accelerated pass does include tier skips that will advance you through Battle Pass tiers more quickly, these tier skips will not unlock any Smoldering Ashes currency immediately. That means players can’t start out the season and buy the accelerated track to immediately get a bunch of Smoldering Ashes to spend on Season Blessings to power-level through the season. Each tier that awards Ashes has a level requirement, so players with an accelerated battle pass will still have to play just as much as anyone else to unlock Season Blessings to power themselves up.

The Diablo team has repeated this over and over again, so I will as well: there is no player power locked behind real money purchases in Diablo 4. All purchases are optional cosmetics.

Diablo 4 cosmetic shop

What’s available in the Diablo 4 in-game store?

The in-game shop also won’t sell any power boosts: only cosmetic items. Every power boost in the game you can earn by playing the game, and no amount of money will speed things up.

Originally Posted by Kegan Clark (Official Post)
If players choose to buy something, it should be because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. It should also be clear to players exactly what they are getting before they choose to buy, with no unpleasant surprises.

Cosmetics in the store are all purchased for Platinum, which you’ll either earn through a premium Battle Pass or purchase with real money. Once you’ve purchased an item, it will be available for all applicable characters on your account — so if you purchase a Necromancer armor set, all Necromancers you create will be able to use it. Purchases are tied to your Battle.net account, so they’re available regardless of the platform you play on.

Even though I’m a big fan of transmog, I have to say these store-bought cosmetics don’t feel wholly necessary. While the in-game store does have some cool looks, the game itself has a ton of cool looking items and transmog options out of the box. When looking at comparisons between gear sets earned in game and gear sets from the shop, sometimes I like in-game gear better and sometimes I like the store gear better — but it’s usually a toss up. If you don’t want to spend money in Diablo 4, you won’t have to wear a clown suit. The game features a robust transmog system as well as armor dyes, and you’ll be able to keep your character looking great without spending a dime.

Overall, Seasonal play in Diablo 4 sounds like it takes everything that’s fun about Seasonal play in Diablo 3 and adds more to it. And though I know there’s a lot of trepidation about the Battle Pass, it  it’s mostly adding rewards to the existing Season’s Journey — and giving us the option to buy more cosmetics if we want to.

Originally published August 18, 2022; updated July 21, 2023

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