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Diablo > Diablo 4Jun 26, 2024 10:00 am CT

Everything you need to know about Diablo 4 Season 5 and its Infernal Hordes

Diablo 4 Class Campfire

Diablo 4 Season 5 starts on August 6, and we had a preview with a short PTR period that was available for PC Battle.net players from June 25 to July 2. The PTR featured the whole of Season 5, including the new Infernal Hordes event and Fell Council battle. But whether you’re eager for another new end-game event or not, there’s a lot to look forward to next season, which will be a brief one, but will add a lot of content for both seasonal and non-seasonal characters.

Here’s what we know about Diablo 4 Season 5, its PTR, and the short Season 5 schedule.

What are Infernal Hordes?

Making their debut in Season 5, these hellish new dungeons throw waves of enemies at you, and in between each wave you can choose a new Infernal Offer, which adds a new challenge to the next wave — and more rewards to go with it. Each wave is a quick 90 seconds, and you need to survive them and kill all enemies. As you progress, you’ll earn Burning Aether, which will unlock Spoils of Hell at the end of the run, rewarding gold, materials, or gear.

If you complete every wave, you’ll go on to battle the Fell Council, the same Zakarum priests who guarded Mephisto’s soulstone in Travincal — a place we’ll be returning to in Vessel of Hatred. There are five Fell Priests to fight, but the encounter will pit you against three of them at random, making each run a bit different.

Infernal Hordes have three tiers of difficulty, with Tier 1 available in World Tier 3, Tier 2 available in World Tier 4, and Tier 3 available in World Tier 4 at level 100. Rewards will scale with difficulty, so expect more gold and better gear as you progress.

But the hardest part of the Infernal Hordes may be actually getting to them. The event requires an Infernal Compass to start, and after getting the first one through a quest, the rest are rare drops from everyday game activities. Finding more Compasses (and higher quality compasses) to even start this event can be a challenge. I’m hoping they’ll make this easier when the season starts this summer.

All in all, it seems like a fun late-game activity that will further broaden your gaming and gearing options once you’ve tired yourself of Helltides, Nightmare Dungeons, Whispers, and The Pit. Such a variety of activities makes the long grind to level 100 more interesting, and the Diablo 4 team has done a great job building out the game in recent seasons. Here’s our guide on running Infernal Hordes to get you started with the event.

Big updates coming to unique items

This season won’t include a huge loot rework, but it includes significant buffs to unique items, which fell behind during Season 4 when everything else was buffed. Because unique items didn’t benefit from the new tempering system that gave gear extra affixes, they simply had fewer stats and became far less compelling.

While Season 5 isn’t adding tempering to uniques, it will buff uniques across the board and add some of our favorite tempering affixes to them — so while you can’t customize with your preferred tempering ability, they will get some new abilities from the tempering pool. All uniques will be updated, though we won’t see most of them on the PTR, so we’ll only see their final stats when Season 5 launches in August.

We’re also getting new uniques, and a lot of them: there will be fifty new unique items, which are all designed to be powerful enough to compete with Season 4’s powerful tempered legendaries.

And more!

Infernal Hordes and updated uniques are the biggest features of Season 5, but there are more tweaks and quality of life improvements coming. Here are some highlights:

  • It’s easier to summon endgame bosses. After killing an endgame boss, the altar to summon it will respawn so you no longer have to zone out, reset the dungeon, and fight your way back in. Summoning Varshan will now only require Malignant Hearts (the other materials will be removed), and The Beast In Ice is now located in a normal dungeon — you won’t need to craft a special Nightmare Sigil to summon it.
  • It’s easier to double up on Whispers and Helltides. It will now be easier to complete Whispers in Helltide zones, and there will always be enough Whispers during a Helltide to get a full 10 for a reward.
  • Treasure Goblins carry more loot. Hunting down Treasure Goblins was sometimes disappointing, so in Season 5 they’ll drop more gear, more gold, and more crafting materials, including a chance to drop Scattered Prisms.
  • More classes can wield more weapons, which also means the affixes on many weapons will be modified to make them more useful to more classes.

How to test Diablo 4 Season 5

The Diablo 4 PTR is live right now, though it will only be available until July 2. Only PC Battle.net players can participate in this test, and you’ll download the PTR through the Battle.net client. Once installed, you should find your characters already copied over, or you can make a new character just for testing.

Here’s how to install the Diablo 4 Season 5 PTR:

  • Open the Battle.net app and select Diablo 4
  • Select the “Public Test Realm” option in the dropdown menu above the Play button
  • Select the PTR client and click Install

Once installed, just be sure the PTR is selected in the dropdown and click Play to get online, and leave your feedback on the PTR forums.

Season 5 features will also be on Eternal Realms

One thing about Season 5 that gives me pause: all of thees features will also be available to Eternal Realm players. While I think it’s great to build out the base game — Season 4’s itemization change and rift-like Pit dungeon are also available to seasonal and non-seasonal players, and will remain once the season ends — it does leave very little for the season itself. Originally Diablo 4 promised seasonal storylines, but they’ve proven to be quite sparse. In Season 4, players had a short Iron Wolves quest chain and a less short Iron Wolves rewards track, but the itemization overhaul was available to everyone, seasonal or not.  In Season 5, the quests to open up Infernal Hordes will be available to seasonal and non-seasonal players.

In my mind, it begs the question: why play a seasonal character? It does offer a new Battle Pass and Season Journey to grind through, as well as leaderboards. But the past two seasons haven’t had any unique gameplay — which has been a highlight Diablo 3 seasons since seasonal themes were added in 2018.

We’ll have to wait and see if Blizzard adds anything to Season 5 to make playing a seasonal character more appealing, and how Blizzard fleshes out seasons in the future.

Season 5 will be the shortest season yet

But perhaps this rather abbreviated season theme is necessary, because Season 5 will be a relatively short season. We know that Season 6 will start when the Vessel of Hatred expansion launches on October 8, so Season 5 will last just two months, when seasons to date have been three months long. Perhaps that’s just not enough time to enjoy a broader season theme or quest.

What about Season 6?

All we know about Season 6 is that it will start on October 8 alongside Vessel of Hatred. That feels like an odd time to launch a season, as we’ll probably all be jumping into the new story with our favorite characters — though I suppose it will be as good a time as any to roll a new Spiritborn alongside the new season.

However, the timing makes me wonder if we’ll get another light-weight season that’s primarily focused on overall gameplay changes in the expansion rather than offering a unique theme to play with. With Season 5 still on the horizon, I don’t expect any news about Season 6 soon, but I’ll update this post when we have details.

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