Blizzard’s Diablo IV has taken the gaming world by storm for the last few months, with millions of players across console and PC taking on the demonic Lilith in an effort to save (or, at the very least, slightly improve the lives of) the denizens of Sanctuary. Whether they’re raising armies of the dead as a Necromancer, smashing enemies as the Druid’s werebear, or using one of the game’s other three classes to beat back Lilith’s forces, players around the world have all done their part to defeat evil. Now, with the release of Diablo IV’s first Season nigh, it’s time to take a closer look at how it will be changing and what players can expect when they hop back into the game on July 20.
Called Season of the Malignant, the first season of Diablo IV is the beginning of the game’s continued live service updates. The theme of Season of the Malignant is all about a festering corruption spreading across Sanctuary and will tie directly into all of the new content being added to the game, including all-new powers to earn through the Malignant Hearts, new Unique items and Legendary Aspects, infected malignant monsters, a new type of Dungeon, and more.
As was the case with the Seasons in Diablo III, this gave the developers at Blizzard a chance to experiment and expand on the base game of Diablo IV with new mechanics and themes, while also giving players a chance to start fresh with new characters and experience the content together. “New players will be able to jump into Seasonal Realms and play through the main campaign as they learn the basics and then go straight into the Season content and new systems introduced. They will also be able to progress along parts of the Season Journey and Battle Pass as they play,” said Joe Shely, Game Director on Diablo IV.
“Hardcore players will be able to create characters and experiment with new builds or classes but with a new twist with all of the seasonal updates. Seasons add an entirely new way to customize characters and build up their power as they take on end game challenges.”
As with previous Diablo games, the idea around Seasons is to give players a chance to start the seasonal journey fresh and on an even playing field. With this fresh start, players can journey through new content with an established favorite class, try out new builds that they have been curious about, or engage in the seasonal mechanics for a new experience altogether.
But just what are those aforementioned mechanics? In Season of the Malignant, players will be introduced to a new threat through a questline that picks up in the wake of the events of the main campaign. A new character named Cormund will be accompanying you on a journey to solve the mysteries of a new malignant corruption spreading across Sanctuary.
As the story kicks off, you will start seeing the Malignant corrupting the monsters and the land with grotesque masses and tentacles. It is also manifesting itself in a new type of dungeon called Malignant Tunnels, which are areas of the world completely overrun with malignancy and filled with Malignant Monsters. You can enter these shorter dungeons for focused ways to farm for Malignant Hearts and tap into their new powers.
“The Malignant is a form of corruption that infects the existing monsters within Sanctuary. You will notice that the monsters will have multiple levels of malignant infection that you will be able to visibly identify from the level of disgusting masses and tentacles on them,” said Shely. “When you take down corrupted elite monsters and attempt to capture their Malignant Hearts, they will be reborn as fully corrupted monstrosities even more powerful, and you must take them down before you can cage their hearts and use them to boost your own power.”
These Malignant Hearts are a way to add even more power to your character with unique traits and abilities that are just as strong as Legendary Aspects. Malignant Hearts will have four different types; Vicious which is an offensive type of power, Brutal that grants defensive power, Devious for utility, and Wrathful which is an overall superpower. As you earn necklaces and rings throughout the season, they will contain specific sockets to insert certain types of Malignant Hearts into. After they have been socketed, the new powers will work in conjunction with your other legendary affixes.
In addition to the joy of experiencing the new content and mechanics, there are also plenty of reasons for players to make their way through the Season of the Malignant. The Season Journey in Diablo IV will be structured similarly to how it worked in Diablo III, with a multi-chapter objective system where players can earn rewards as they complete the various chapters. You will not need to complete all objectives to finish a chapter, so players can focus on the ones they are most interested in pursuing. However, if they complete all objectives in the Season Journey, they will be rewarded with a unique Title from that season.
There will also be a variety of rewards from the Season Journey, including existing and new Legendary Aspects. You will also be able to earn what we call ‘Favor’ from the Season Journey which can be used to progress through the Battle Pass where you can earn even more rewards.
All in all, the first Diablo IV Season is shaping up to be a literal game-changer in more ways than one. From new aspects and power to new types of dungeons and enemies, there should be something for every Diablo IV to sink their proverbial teeth into when it launches today.
This is only the beginning for Diablo® IV, with new events, stories, seasons, rewards, and more looming on the horizon.
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