Diablo 4 is here, but while its critically acclaimed story campaign and grindable endgame activities are available to play now, the game's first live service season actually hasn't begun yet. Once it does, though, fans can expect new gameplay offerings, quests, and a reward-filled Battle Pass, with everything tied together by Season of the Malignant's unique theme.
While the nitty gritty specifics of the seasonal gameplay loop aren't fully known yet, we do know quite a bit about Season of the Malignant's release date, story, its new content, and the Battle Pass. Here's a full overview of everything we know so far.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Start date and time
Blizzard has confirmed that that Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant is scheduled to go live on July 20 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, so you won't be able to engage with most of its content until then. Once it's active, the season is expected to last until October. This is because the developers previously said that Diablo 4 seasons will be "quarterly," so Season of the Malignant (and all future seasons) is expected to last about three months. Blizzard hasn't given the season a concrete end date, though, so those plans could change.
Notably, you'll need to finish the Diablo 4 campaign before you can access Season of the Malignant's quests and content, so we recommend playing through it now. That way, you'll be able to jump into everything the season has to offer right when it launches, giving you the maximum amount of time to reap the rewards.
The patch for Season of the Malignant is now available to download. While you won't be able to load into the Seasonal Realm and make a seasonal character until it begins, characters on the Eternal Realm will be able to get Season of the Malignant's new Legendary Aspects and Uniques to drop.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Theme and story
Similar to other live service games like Destiny 2, Diablo 4 seasons will have a theme and a title that reflects it. Season 1's is Season of the Malignant, and will be centered around a new corruption called "Malignance" that's invading the world of Sanctuary and infecting everything and everyone it touches, including humans, Lilith's demons, and other creatures.
Only a new character named Cormond (pictured above) knows how to halt the spread of the corruption, but to do so, he'll need your help to ward off Sanctuary's many dangers. Thus, the majority of the season's story will revolve around your collaboration with Cormond as he works to combat the growing Malignance.
Note that Season of the Malignant's narrative takes place after the events of the base Diablo 4 campaign, and is thought of by the developers as a relatively standalone story. Presumably, this is how future seasonal narratives will be structured as well.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Gameplay details
During Season of the Malignant, Elite mobs throughout the game will have a chance to spawn as Malignant versions with some special new buffs and attacks. Defeating them will drop a Malignant Heart, which you can then interact with by using the season's unique Cage of Binding item. Doing this will spawn an even stronger version of the enemy supported by hordes of minions, but once you kill them, you'll be rewarded with a Caged Heart that you can slot into armor pieces for valuable Malignant Power bonuses. These are similar to Legendary Aspects and Unique effects in that they can overhaul your build with new effects and abilities.
Malignant Power bonuses get progressively stronger as you push into endgame World Tiers and engage with content like Nightmare Dungeons, and in total, there are 32 Malignant Powers split across four categories. Notably, you'll be able to break down old Caged Hearts to obtain a material used to craft Invokers, which are special items you can take into infested dungeons called Malignant Tunnels. At the end of these, you can use Invokers to target farm-specific Malignant Power types by spawning bosses. For more information on all 32 Malignant Hearts and how they interact with sockets on your items, check out our full guide here.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: New items
Throughout the season, players will also have a Season Journey to progress through by completing various gameplay objectives. When finished, these will give rewards such as a Mastery title, a new Scroll of Amnesia item that allows you to instantly reset your skills and Paragon Board for free, Favor XP for the Battle Pass, and new Legendary Aspects.
Speaking of Legendary Aspects, Blizzard has confirmed that there will be seven new ones available to use in Season of the Malignant, along with six new Unique items that can drop. These will be available in the Eternal Realm as well, so you don't have to engage with Diablo 4's seasonal reset to enjoy them.
|Ahavarion Spear of Lycander||Uber Unique Staff||All||Gain a random Shrine effect for 10-20 seconds after killing an Elite enemy. Can only occur once every 30 seconds.|
|Azurewrath||Unique Sword||Barbarian||Lucky Hit - Your Core Skills have up to a 20% chance to Freeze enemies for 3 seconds and deal 0.75-1.5 Cold damage to them.|
|Fleshrender||Unique One-Hand Mace||Druid||Debilitating Roar and Blood Howl deal 0.5-1.0 damage to Nearby Poisoned enemies.|
|Lidless Wall||Unique Shield||Necromancer||Lucky Hit - While you have an active Bone Storm, hitting an enemy outside of a Bone Storm has up to a 5-25% chance to spawn an additional Bone Storm at their location. Each of your active Sacrifice bonuses increases the chance by 25% and the total number of additional Bone Storms you can have by +1.|
|Eaglehorn||Unique Bow||Rogue||Penetrating Shot has a 30-80% chance to fire an arrow that bounces off walls and scenery. Hitting enemies from behind with Penetrating Shot will make them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.|
|The Oculus||Unique Wand||Sorcerer||Gain the effect of the Teleport Enchantment for free. When you Evade using Teleport Enchantment, you are taken to a random location.|
|Audacity||Utility Aspect||General||When there are at least 5 Close enemies, Stun them for 2-4 seconds. This can only occur once every 20 seconds.|
|Craven||Mobility Aspect||General||You gain 20-40% increased Movement Speed when moving away from Slowed or Chilled enemies.|
|Ancestral Charge||Offensive Aspect||Barbarian||Charge calls forth 4 Ancients who also Charge, dealing 50-100% of normal damage.|
|Subterranean||Offensive Aspect||Druid||Poison Creeper’s active also casts Landslide in a circle around you. Earth Skills deal 10-20% increased damage to Poisoned enemies.|
|Gore Quills||Offensive Aspect||Necromancer||Blood Lance will consume Blood Orbs to also conjure lances from them. Each additional Blood Lance deals 20-50% of normal damage and prioritizes targeting un-lanced enemies.|
|Pestilent Points||Offensive Aspect||Rogue||Every third cast of Puncture is Poison Imbued with 100-150% of normal potency.|
|Searing Wards||Offensive Aspect||Sorcerer||After spending 200-100 Mana your next Firewall is free to cast and will destroy incoming Small Missiles.|
You also won't have to hunt down Altars of Lilith and map locations for Renown again if you have already, though you will still need to do side quests and complete dungeons.
Something important to note is that all of the seasonal gameplay content will be available to all players, regardless of whether or not they buy the Premium Battle Pass. That means you don't need to buy it in order to complete the story with Cormond, engage with the new Malignant Powers, and finish the Season Journey.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Season Journey
The Season Journey is seven separate chapters full of objectives for you to complete for Favor. You can do any combination of each chapter's activities to complete it and move on to the next chapter. The Favor you earn will help you progress both in the game and Battle Pass. For each chapter completion, you will also earn a cache.
- Chapter 1 - First Journey Cache (contains herbs and jewelry), of the Ancestral Charge Aspect (Barbarian), Subterranean Aspect (Druid), of Gore Quills Aspect (Necromancer), of Pestilent Points Aspect (Rogue), of Searing Wards Aspect (Sorcerer)
- Chapter 2 - Second Journey Cache (contains Scattered Prisms and jewelry), Bold Chieftain’s Aspect (Barbarian), Shockwave Aspect (Druid), of Exposed Flesh Aspect (Necromancer), of Surprise Aspect (Rogue), of Frozen Orbit Aspect (Sorcerer).
- Chapter 3 - Third Journey Cache (Contains Legendary Salvage and jewelry), of Encroaching Wrath Aspect (Barbarian), Dire Wolf’s Aspect (Druid), of Decay Aspect (Necromancer), of Imitated Imbuement Aspect (Rogue), of the Unbroken Tether Aspect (Sorcerer).
- Chapter 4 - Fourth Journey Cache (contains some Malignant Hearts, Forgotten Souls, and jewelry), Earthquake Aspect (Barbarian), Lightning Dancer’s Aspect (Druid), Coldbringer’s Aspect (Necromancer), Umbrous Aspect (Rogue), and Gravitational Aspect (Sorcerer).
- Chapter 5 - Fifth Journey Cache (contains late game crafting materials, Nightmare Sigils, and fine jewelry), Craven Aspect (You gain 20-40% increased movement speed when moving away from Slowed or Chilled enemies.
- Chapter 6 - Sixth Journey Cache (Contains late game crafting materials, Nightmare Sigils, and jewelry), of Audacity Aspect (When there are at least 5 close enemies, Stun them for 2-4 seconds. This can only occur once every 20 seconds.)
- Chapter 7 - Seventh Journey Cache (contains late game crafting materials, jewelry, and a Scroll of Amnesia, which refunds all allocated Skill and Paragon Points).
The Favor you earn from completing your Season challenges, can be used to purchase the Season Blessings.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Battle Pass rewards
In addition to new gameplay content, Season of the Malignant (and future seasons) will also feature a 90-tier Battle Pass with a wide variety of rewards. To progress through its tiers and unlock their items, players will need to accrue Favor XP by slaying monsters, completing quests and World Events, and finishing Season Journey challenges.
It's important to stress that while seasonal Battle Passes are a core part of Diablo 4's monetization, Blizzard has promised that gameplay items like Season Boosts (XP boosters) and Smoldering Ashes (a currency that allows you to unlock and upgrade Season Blessing buffs) will be available on the Battle Pass' Free reward track. Additionally, since they have level requirements, folks won't be able to get these unlocks early by buying Battle Pass tiers.
Fans can expect the following items to be available from the tiers:
|Tier 1 (Premium)||Warded Mustang mount & Coldiron Barding||All|
|Tier 2 (Free)||Artisan’s Tunic chest transmog||All|
|Tier 3 (Premium)||Coldiron Vessel focus transmog||Sorcerer|
|Tier 4 (Premium)||Heartglow Lantern mount trophy||All|
|Tier 5 (Free)||Balanced Sword one-handed sword transmog||Barbarian, Necro, Rogue|
|TIer 6 (Premium)||Strength Test Emote||Barbarian|
|Tier 7 (Premium)||Coldiron Sagaris one-handed axe transmog||Barbarian, Druid|
|Tier 8 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 40)|
|Tier 9 (Premium)||Coldiron Aegis shield transmog||Necro|
|Tier 10 (premium)||Coldiron Hauberk chest transmog||All|
|Tier 11 (Premium)||Coldiron Jambiya dagger transmog||Necro, Rogue, Sorcerer|
|Tier 12 (Free)||Artisan’s Knickers legs transmog||All|
|Tier 13 (Premium)||Lurking Title Prefix||All|
|Tier 14 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 15 (Free)||Balanced Axe one-handed axe transmog||Barbarian, Druid|
|Tier 16 (Premium)||Survivor Title Suffix||All|
|Tier 17 (Premium)||Watch Those Fingers! emote||Druid|
|Tier 18 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 53)|
|Tier 19 (Premium)||Coldiron Shear one-handed scythe transmog||Necro|
|Tier 20 (Premium)||Coldiron Breeches legs transmog||All|
|Tier 21 (Premium)||Coldiron Lamina totem transmog||Druid|
|Tier 22 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes,||All (get to level 56)|
|Tier 23 (Free)||Artisan’s Boot feet transmog||All|
|Tier 24 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 25 (Free)||Balanced Dagger transmog||Barbarian|
|Tier 26 (Premium)||Coldiron Headsman two-handed axe transmog||All|
|Tier 27 (Premium)||Karamat’s Bane mount trophy||All|
|Tier 28 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (Get to level 62)|
|Tier 29 (Premium)||Cage Puppetry emote||Necro|
|Tier 30 (Premium)||Coldiron Bracers arms transmog||All|
|Tier 31 (Premium)||Coldiron Recurve bow transmog||Rogue|
|Tier 32 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 66)|
|Tier 33 (Premium):||Coldiron Greaves feet transmog||All|
|Tier 34 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 35 (Free)||Balanced Mace one-handed club transmog||Barbarian, Druid|
|Tier 36 (Free)||Artisan’s Bracers hands transmog||All|
|Tier 37 (Premium)||Dagger Tap emote||Rogue|
|Tier 38 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 71)|
|Tier 39 (Premium)||Coldiron Bastard Sword two-handed sword transmog||Barbarian, Necro|
|Tier 40 (Premium)||Coldiron Casque head transmog||All|
|Tier 41 (Premium)||Thoughtful Examination emote||Sorcerer|
|Tier 42 (Free)||Balanced Wand transmog||Necro, Sorcerer|
|Tier 43 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 44 (Premium)||I Will End You! emote||Barbarian|
|Tier 45 (Free)||Banner of the Malignant mount trophy||All|
|Tier 46 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 47 (Premium)||Talisman of the Cage mount trophy||All|
|Tier 48 (Free)||2 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 78)|
|Tier 49 (Free)||Eldritch Title Prefix||All|
|Tier 50 (Premium)||Awoken Coldiron Barcers hands transmog||All|
|Tier 51 (Premium)||Coldiron Estoc one-handed sword transmog||Barbarian, Necro, Rogue|
|Tier 52 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 80)|
|Tier 53 (Premium)||You Will Die! emote||Druid|
|Tier 54 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 55 (Premium)||Malignant Censer mount trophy||All|
|Tier 56 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 57 (Premium)||Gilded Coldiron Pillar staff transmog||Sorcerer|
|Tier 58 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 82)|
|Tier 59 (Premium)||Malevolent Title Prefix||All|
|Tier 60 (Premium)||Awoken Coldiron Greaves feet transmog||All|
|Tier 61 (Premium)||Coldiron Simulacra focus transmog||Sorcerer|
|Tier 62 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 86)|
|Tier 63 (Premium)||Worm Title Suffix||All|
|Tier 64 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 65 (Premium)||Heartglow Brazier mount trophy||All|
|Tier 66 (Premium)||Gilded Coldiron Crozier staff transmog||Druid|
|Tier 67 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 68 (Free):||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 89)|
|Tier 69 (Premium)||I Will Rip Your Soul Apart!||Necro|
|Tier 70 (Premium)||Awoken Coldiron Breeches legs transmog||All|
|Tier 71 (Premium)||Coldiron Maul two-handed hammer transmog||Barbarian, Druid|
|Tier 72 (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 90)|
|Tier 73 (Premium)||Hero Overwhelmed Headstone||All|
|Tier 74 (Premium)||60 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 75 (Premium)||Artisan’s Headwrap head transmog||All|
|Tier 76 (Premium)||Gilded Coldiron Guillotine two-handed scythe transmog||Necro|
|Tier 77: (Free)||1 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 90)|
|Tier 78 (Free)||Monster Title Suffix||All|
|Tier 79 (Premium)||Die! emote||Rogue|
|Tier 80 (Premium)||Awoken Coldiron Hauberk chest transmog||All|
|Tier 81 (Premium)||Coldiron Cudgel one-handed club transmog||Barbarian, Druid|
|Tier 82 (Free)||2 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 97)|
|Tier 83 (Premium)||Gilded Coldiron Arbalest crossbow transmog||Rogue|
|Tier 84 (Premium)||66 x Platinum||All|
|Tier 85 (Premium)||Coldiron Rod wand transmog||Necro, Sorcerer|
|Tier 86 (Premium)||Prepare For Oblivion! emote||Sorcerer|
|Tier 87 (Premium)||Gilded Coldiron Poleaxe polearm transmog||Barbarian|
|Tier 88 (Free)||3 x Smoldering Ashes||All (get to level 100)|
|Tier 89 (Premium)||Awoken Coldiron Casque head transmog||All|
|Tier 90 (Premium)||Awoken Warded Mustang mount & Awoken Coldiron Barding||All|
If you have the Premium Battle Pass, here are the rewards at the very top of the pass, as levels 89 and 90.
Awoken Coldiron Barding Mount Armor
Awoken Warded Mustang Mount
Awoken Coldiron Skill Cosmetic Helm
How much does the Diablo 4 Battle Pass cost?
Diablo 4 Battle Passes have three distinct tiers, with each giving access to different types and amounts of rewards and two requiring real-world money in order to purchase. We've listed each tier and their costs below.
- Free: Free for all players, gives access to Free reward track
- Premium: Costs 1,000 Platinum (£8.39 / $9.88), gives access to Premium reward track
- Accelerated: Costs 2,800 Platinum (£20.99 / $24.99), gives access to Premium reward track, 20 tier skips, and an exclusive cosmetic
If all you care about is gameplay, you'll probably be best off sticking with the Battle Pass' Free tier. If you want lots of extra cosmetics to use for fashion, though, you'll probably want the Premium Battle Pass. The Accelerated tier — essentially just a separately-sold version of the Battle Pass bonus you get from buying the Diablo 4 Ultimate Edition — is quite expensive, but does give you a significant head start on progression and includes a unique cosmetic item.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Get prepared
We have a bunch of guides here at Windows Central to help you in your journey through Sanctuary, but if you want the best start to your first seasonal journey you'll want to check out 'How to prepare for Diablo 4 Season 1' for info on logging in with your non-seasonal character to make sure your map is unlocked, and our guide to leveling as fast as you can to make that journey to level 50 a bit less grueling.
Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant: Announcement trailer
Below, we've embedded the official announcement trailer for Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant for easy viewing.
Diablo 4 is out now and is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. It's one of the best Xbox games for fans of dungeon crawlers and hack-and-slash combat, and we've been having an absolute blast with it.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.