Diablo 4 season resets: Here's why you will actually love it.

Image of Diablo barbarian kicking a non-believer into a hole
(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

It’s no surprise to most Diablo fans that game director Rod Fergusson announced that you need a Seasonal character to participate in the Battle Pass and Seasonal Content. But this has caused a lot of conflict on social media between those who say “duh, this is what Diablo is about” and those who are new to the game and hate the idea of playing with a new character to get the extra content. There are some who are pressuring Blizzard to reverse their decision, which in turn, would no doubt anger the core fanbase. I for one hope they stand their ground on this and don't bend to what will eventually be a short-lived drama.

In this, albeit structured, rant — I want to convey to readers why Seasons are an essential part of Diablo-style ARPG gameplay, and I am imploring the newcomers to Diablo to play the Seasonal content and judge it for themselves. Sit down and hear me out. 

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While some new players think it's pointless to abandon their hard-earned characters and start over, veterans believe that resets are necessary. What may help is to understand a little about what a Season is, so let's start there.

What is a Season in Diablo? 

A Season in Diablo is a fresh start where all players begin with no gold, materials, items, or characters and have to create a special Seasonal Character. Historically, they tend to last around 3-4 months at a time and are accompanied by a large rebalancing patch and new content to make the season exciting and interesting to existing players. In Diablo 3, the Season Journey rewards players for completing chapters, those rewards are generally cosmetic such as new wings, pets, portrait frames, and such, but at certain stages you are also rewarded with powerful equipment. You can also find the equipment by playing the game normally, but the season chapters are a faster way to get it and help you level up quicker.

In the images above, you can see how chapters look in Diablo 3, and how they take you through various challenges associated with leveling a brand-new character.

Essentially these chapters hold your hand through the numerous endgame mechanics too, making you learn how each element of endgame content works to complete the final more difficult challenges. The challenges range from "get to level 50' to 'beat this boss on the most insane difficulty in under 10 seconds'.

You don't have to complete all of the most difficult challenges to receive rewards, cosmetics are given for each chapter, but the best items certainly are given in the final chapter.

Diablo 4 Battle Pass preview

The Diablo 4 Battle Pass looks very similar to the Diablo 3 chapter system (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

From what we have seen so far of the Diablo 4 Battle Pass, its segments will work in a very similar fashion. With steps to complete which are associated with leveling a brand-new character. Yes you will need to level again (although you can skip the campaign once you've completed it one time), but you will be showered with rewards for doing so.

Cosmetic rewards and the resulting characters from your Season journey can be kept forever, and will rollover for use into the Eternal Realm at the end of the season. You will be able to use these characters for any story expansions that come later as part of Diablo 4's live service, so nothing is really "lost," especially for those who prefer a more traditional campaign-focused experience. 

Love that new game experience? You'll get it over and over with Diablo 4's seasons

The beauty of Seasons, is the community get to experience the whole game as a new experience every few months. Starting on equal footing, learning the new meta whatever that may be. Imagine you want to jump into Diablo 6 months after release, but all of your friends are level 100 already and doing World Tier 4 content? You're already on the back foot and trying to catch up, but Seasons eradicates that. You can literally jump in on Season 1 or Season 20 and be experiencing the same exact game and stage of character development as everybody else. 

Seasonal resets create fair leaderboard competition between players, allowing both veterans and new players to start fresh on an equal footing. The resets also keep the game fresh, preventing it from becoming stale. Action RPGs are not meant for players to remain at the highest level forever and farm the same items over and over, so resets are vital to keep things interesting. Moreover, each reset unites the community, creating peaks in the game’s life cycle that make players keep returning.

Respected Diablo Content Creator Rhykker explains this very succinctly in his latest video on the controversy. Even Rhykker had his doubts about the Seasonal format when it was first introduced to the base games, but became a believer after playing his first Season. Regular fresh starts guarantee a new and exciting experience every 3-4 months.

Other action RPGs such as Path of Exile, Wolcen and Grim Dawn enjoy seasonal resets that work on a similar 3-monthly time cycle. You can choose whether to take part in the seasonal content, or just complete the story as it is in the base game and expansions on a fixed character.

New mechanics make each Season different, and sometimes we get to keep them forever

With each Season, along with the balance changes, a mechanic is introduced that changes up the gameplay in an interesting way. In Diablo 3 season 28 we got the Altar of Rites which was another set of challenges to complete and unlocked incredible powers and boons for our players. For the first time ever, we got double Primal Ancient drops (the most rare drop in the game), pets picked up crafting materials, and salvaged trash for us rather than having to teleport to town amongst a plethora of other fun tweaks.

Previous Seasons introduced huge changes to Followers, you could fully equip your follower with equipment and weapons, and legendaries — whilst also passively benefitting from those legendaries. A theme so popular it was kept for the full game. 

Diablo Seasons

The Altar of Rites completely changed the game in Season 28 of Diablo 3 (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

Leaderboards for each class are also reset, and the race to the top is on once again, something the top players enjoy immensely.

In Diablo 2: Resurrected, we also had Seasons albeit they worked slightly differently, they tend to just revolve around periodic resets of the leaderboard which is referred to as the Ladder. The new Seasons come with a new Ladder, sometimes new Diablo 2 runewords, and again class balance changes. In recent Seasons we've had Sundering Charms added, to break down insane monster resistances in the harder difficulties, new Horadric Cube recipes, and Terror Zones which are similar to Diablo 4 Helltides in being areas of high monster difficulty in return for higher XP and rarer loot. These have stayed in the full game. 

A chance to try a new class

I appreciate many people cherish their first characters, and I do too, but a Season will enable you to try out a new class. You can likewise do this on the Eternal Realm too, but having the reset every quarter really inspires you to experiment in more ways.

I’m a Rogue player by default, and my first character was a Rogue, but I’m excited to give Sorcerer a whirl in the first Season (or whatever other class I’ve picked by then). Leveling one with the rest of the playerbase, and my friends, won’t feel arduous, and there will be new content to discover on the way.

Diablo 4 had three resetting betas prior to release, and we couldn't get enough of it

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Diablo 4 had an early access beta, followed by a general open beta, followed by a Server Slam. Throughout these three weekends, only Act 1 The Fractured Peaks was available, and you could only level a character to 20-25. However, people did it, multiple times, we couldn't get enough of doing the same content over and over. None of the content carried over to the full release in June, but we did it for the cosmetic rewards that DID carry over. 

If you played through all of these betas, leveled multiple characters, got an Ashava mount cosmetic through the skin of your teeth just to say you could — you my friend are ready for Seasons.

Need I remind anyone of the Ashava Mount Trophy that people struggled to obtain just to flex in the full game? This is a small taste of what Seasons are all about. If you played through all of these betas, leveled multiple characters, got an Ashava mount cosmetic through the skin of your teeth just to say you could — you my friend are ready for Seasons.

Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 with Season Reward Cosmetics of Galactic Wings and Taennin the Tiny pet

Nothing will beat the feeling of completing every chapter in my first ever Season and having these wings to show for it. (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

The cosmetic reward for completing Season 17 of Diablo 3 was the Galactic Wings. I had never completed every chapter of a season before Season 17, assuming that getting to a Greater Rift Level 70 was too tough for my ‘casual’ abilities. But when I saw these wings, I needed them. I left my casual status for good, and grinded hard the whole season to get these wings at the end and I’ve never forgotten my first experience, proving to myself that yes I could play the harder difficulties with enough attention to my equipment. 

The wings were my trophy, and I wore them every season after as cosmetics transfer over and are wearable on any character, seasonal or not. No Ashava pony horn is going to equal how I felt getting these wings, but perhaps something in the Diablo 4 Seasonal content will.

(Editor note: My Ashava pony horn is awesome, thank you very much 😤. — Jez Corden)

Is one-character power creep really how you want to play Diablo?

Diablo 4

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Some have said that the new paragon systems in Diablo 4 allow for endless character progression, and actively encourage it. This is a valid point and it’s true that with the number of nodes on the paragon board, you can just endlessly upgrade an existing character. You can still do this on the Eternal Realm, but to what end and how rewarding is it really? For me, endless power creep is neither fun nor engaging. I don’t want to play for 4 hours to add +4 to my willpower or +2 to my dexterity.

There are many other games that handle endless power creep very differently, but I would say that those games have completely different fan bases with a completely different set of expectations, and that’s fine. Please let us keep Diablo as it is.

Despite my love for Seasons, I do understand that Blizzard could have been more transparent in their marketing of the Diablo 4 Battle Pass. Something that may have been clear to those of us familiar with Diablo, clearly was not for the new players. The Diablo 4 team has done such a fantastic job in marketing Diablo 4 that they’ve attracted a whole new audience, and it’s great to be sharing this game with more people than ever. But with that new audience, come new expectations and Blizzard should have been clearer about those from the start. This being said, for future seasons, Blizzard are not making you buy the Battle Pass. If Seasons and the reset just don’t appeal to you, then of course you don’t have to play them. You can play your Eternal Character as much as you want and even use them for any further expansions that come out, and expansions are coming. These will no doubt require a high-level character to play, and you will be able to jump in with any one of your existing characters to just enjoy the story if that’s what you like. In fact, that’s exactly what my colleague Zachary Boddy is going to do, as they have admitted they just don’t like the idea of resetting. 

The point is though, that players are not being forced to play Seasons or indeed Diablo at all, we need to normalize admitting a game is just not for us and moving on to other games without demanding drastic changes to a long-enjoyed format we as the core Diablo audience love.

Try the first Season, it may surprise you

Screenshot of Diablo 4.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Players should keep an open mind about the seasonal reset and try out the fresh start for a new and exciting experience.  To urge Blizzard to change the format now before experiencing what the Season has to offer is uninformed and dare I say it, entitled behavior from new players.

For those that bought an edition of Diablo 4 that includes the Battle Pass, you already have the first pass and have nothing to lose by trying it out. Who knows, like me, you may learn to love it.

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.