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When does Diablo 4 season 1 start?

What’s new in Diablo 4 season 1?

A hero of Sanctuary captured a Malignant Heart in a cage in Diablo 4 season 1 Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

On July 6, Blizzard revealed the Diablo 4 season 1. Formally called Season of the Malignant, the season takes place after the game’s main campaign, and will tell a side story about the spread of a new kind of corruption over the land of Sanctuary. And this newfound evil will, of course, net you and your friends some powerful tools to help you slay demons and save the world.

In this Diablo 4 season 1 guide, we’re going to go over when you can play Season of the Malignant and what we know about it.

When does Diablo 4 season 1 start?

A new hero in Diablo 4: Season 1, Season of the Malignant stands in town with a staff in one hand Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Season 1 of Diablo 4, Season of the Malignant, will hit live servers on July 20. Blizzard confirmed in its season 1 breakdown post that you can start the new content at 10 a.m. PDT. The season goes live at the same time globally, which means we can tell you exactly when you can login, start a new character, and start playing Season of the Malignant on Thursday, July 20.

  • 10 a.m. PDT for the west coast of North America
  • 1 p.m. EDT for the east coast of North America
  • 6 p.m. BST for the U.K.
  • 7 p.m. CEST for western Europe / Paris
  • 2 a.m. JST on July 21 for Tokyo

Season of the Malignant will run for roughly 12 weeks, which Blizzard said is the minimum amount of time for a season in Diablo 4. That puts the Diablo 4 season 2 launch window sometime in October, just a few weeks ahead of BlizzCon 2023.

What’s new in Diablo 4 season 1?

A ghastly enemy with tendrils stands with its arms wide open in Diablo 4: Season 1, Season of the Malignant Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Season of the Malignant adds the new Malignant Heart mechanic to Diablo 4, which Blizzard says will enable some “stupid” powerful builds.

The idea here is that Elite enemies will have a chance to spawn as “Malignant” creatures. When you kill them, you’ll be able to interact with their corpse. Doing this will start a new event where the enemy will return to life in a much harder form and summon a bunch of cronies to aid them. Killing the creature a second time will drop a Malignant Heart for you to take with you.

These Malignant Hearts act as special gems that you can place in your three jewelry pieces throughout the entire season. But, unlike gems, they each have their own Legendary-like power associated with them and are extremely powerful. Essentially, your characters will be able to sacrifice three gem slots for three bonus Legendaries for the entire season.

Blizzard promised over 30 new Malignant Heart powers for season 1, a new boss fight, and several new Unique items and Legendary Aspects.

How much is Diablo 4 season 1 and how do you play it?

The premium armor sets for Diablo 4: Season 1, Season of the Malignant shows five heroes standing in metal, demonic armor Image: Blizzard Entertainment

All Diablo 4 seasons are free content updates to the game. All you need to do to start farming Malignant Hearts and experience the new story mode is to login, create a seasonal character, and head to Kyovashad in-game to start the quest. (It bears repeating that the seasonal content is only playable on a fresh, seasonal character.)

The caveat to the “free” price tag is that Blizzard is also selling a Diablo 4 battle pass with each of its seasons. This has become relatively common practice in games like this — including Blizzard’s own Overwatch 2 — and the studio certainly doesn’t seem to be breaking the mold.

There are three pricing options for the battle pass:

  • Free
  • Premium — 1,000 Platinum ($9.99)
  • Accelerated — 2,800 Platinum ($24.99)

The free track comes with the seasonal update and will net you in-game rewards like the new Seasonal Blessing mechanic and other small goodies. (There are 27 total items on the “free” track). The Premium battle pass unlocks the paid track, which comes with 63 paid-only items as you level up, including emotes, weapon skins, armor transmog, and more. The Accelerated battle pass is the same as the Premium, except it instantly levels you up to battle pass rank 20 and comes with an exclusive emote.

Blizzard has reiterated many times that all purchases related to the season are cosmetic only, and that paid players will never have an advantage over free players.

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