Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant releases later this month, here's what's coming

Diablo 4
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • When it arrives, Diablo 4 Season 1 will kick off the game's seasonal live service releases that will regularly add new content to Blizzard's hit ARPG.
  • In a new Diablo livestream, Blizzard announced that Diablo 4 Season 1 — also known as Season of the Malignant — is scheduled to begin later this month on July 20 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET.
  • The season is themed around fighting the Malignant, a force that's corrupting everything and everyone in Sanctuary. To do so, players will work with a new character called Cormond.
  • When it goes live, the update will bring new Malignant Elite mobs to the game that drop Malignant Hearts you can eventually turn into items that add powerful buffs to your gear. These will get stronger as you progress into the endgame, and players will be able to break them down to create Invokers used for target farming.
  • Season of the Malignant is also adding several new Legendary Aspects and Uniques that will be available in both the Eternal and Seasonal Realm. These will be usable in the Eternal Realm on July 18, which is when Blizzard is patching most of the season's content in ahead of its full release.

After a long wait, we finally have a release date for Diablo 4 Season 1. The upcoming update represents the start of Diablo 4's live service plan, in which Blizzard will continually add new types of content to the ARPG over time.

During a developer livestream and in an accompanying blog post, Blizzard announced that Diablo 4 Season 1 — also known as Season of the Malignant — is scheduled to go live later this month on July 20 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET and will introduce new story content along with several new gameplay systems and mechanics. Its narrative takes place after the base Diablo 4 campaign events and is themed around the arrival of a deadly corruption that's infecting everyone and everything throughout Sanctuary. Players will work with a new NPC character called Cormond to battle this corruption and stop it from completely infesting the world.

While playing during Season of the Malignant, Elite mobs encountered throughout the game have a chance to get infected by this corruption and become Malignant. Malignant enemies have unique buffs and attacks, but when you defeat them, an object called a Malignant Heart will drop that you can then interact with using a new item called the Cage of Binding. This will spawn a more powerful version of the monster along with hordes of smaller enemies that support them. Killing this one will spawn a Caged Heart, which you can then equip onto gear pieces for unique and powerful bonus effects. Blizzard says these will be extremely useful when putting together the season's best Diablo 4 builds, so hunting them down will definitely be important.

There will be 32 Malignant Powers across four categories that you can use with these Caged Hearts in total, with their effects improving as you get farther and farther into the Diablo 4 endgame. Hearts can also be broken down into materials that you use to make Invokers, which you then will take into corrupted dungeons called Malignant Tunnels. At the end of these, you'll be able to use Invokers to target farm-specific types of Malignant Powers from a spawnable boss.

The developers also confirmed that Season of the Malignant will add 7 new Legendary Aspects and 6 new Unique items as well, which will be available on both the Eternal Realm (non-seasonal characters) and the Seasonal Realm, where your seasonal character will be. Notably, these will be added to the Eternal Realm two days before the season's launch on July 18, as this is when Blizzard is patching most of the season's content into the game. There will also be a 90-tier Battle Pass as well, complete with tons of class-agnostic cosmetics, class-specific weapon skins, and more.

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.


Diablo 4: Ultimate Edition

The Ultimate Sacrifice from your wallet to our Blessed Mother, the Ultimate Edition of Diablo 4 comes with a bunch of cosmetics, the Premium Battle Pass and 20 tier skips for you to enjoy.

Buy on:  Xbox | PC (Battle.net)

Brendan Lowry

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.