During Diablo 4’s pre-season period, starting a new character was simple enough. The biggest choices you needed to make were your class and your hair type. But now that Diablo 4 season 1 is here, each new character will come with a new choice: Do you want to play in the Seasonal Realm or the Eternal Realm?
In this Diablo 4 guide, we’ll help make the decision a bit easier so you can jump into the game and start slaying monsters.
What’s the difference between Seasonal Realm and Eternal Realm?
When creating your character during a season, you’ll be asked to select a “Hero Realm,” and the game will prompt you to choose between the Seasonal Realm and the Eternal Realm. But what does that even mean?
The Seasonal Realm includes everything in Diablo 4 — the campaign, the open world, everything — plus the most recent content additions, like the seasonal content that only exists for about 12 weeks. The Seasonal Realm is also the only place where you can progress your battle pass or the Season’s Journey.
The Eternal Realm is Diablo 4 without any seasonal bells and whistles — no battle pass, no Season’s Journey, no special seasonal mechanics.
Should you choose Seasonal Realm or Eternal Realm?
Blizzard recommends you select the Seasonal Realm, and so do we — even if you’re a new player.
But Blizzard’s text in the selection menu is a bit misleading, especially if you’re someone who just wants to play a new game the way it was “intended.” But the Seasonal Realm is where Blizzard wants you to play. And if you’re concerned with being overwhelmed, don’t be! You won’t be able to see any of the new, seasonal stuff until you beat the campaign. So you’ll get the true vanilla Diablo 4 experience until you’re ready for the more advanced mechanics.
Almost all players are going to gravitate toward the Seasonal Realm, so it’s almost certainly where you’ll find your friends if you’re jumping in to play in a group. Seasonal players cannot play with Eternal characters, so be sure to double check first if you’re looking to play with buddies.
Even if you’re not sure how much you’ll be able to play, or it’s nearing the end of a season when you start, it’s still best to choose the Seasonal Realm first. When the seasons ends, your Seasonal character will automatically transfer to the Eternal Realm — including all your progress, but minus any Season-only items you had on you.
Basically, all the cool stuff is going on inside the Seasonal Realm, and you aren’t missing any of the normal game by being in there. Plus, Blizzard tends to balance the game around the Seasonal powers — or at least that’s what the studio has done with season 1 — so you’ll likely feel much weaker if you play outside of the Seasonal Realm.
And just to reiterate: you’ll still be able to access your Seasonal character in the Eternal Realm later — forever and always — unless you delete them.
Is there ever a reason to choose the Eternal Realm?
As we mentioned before, Seasonal Realm characters can only play with other Seasonal Realm characters, and the same goes for Eternal Realm characters. If you want to jump in and play some dungeons with friends who are using an old Eternal Realm character, you shouldn’t make a Seasonal Character.
Similarly, you need to start a whole new character from level 1 to play in Seasons. If you’re coming back to an old character and want to see what it’s like for that class after you level up a bit more, then you’ll need to play in the Eternal Realm or level up a new version of that class.
You also might want to play the Eternal Realm because you’re most of the way through the campaign already on an old character. Finishing the campaign on any character — even a Seasonal one — will unlock the ability to skip the campaign for all future characters. So if you’re already on Act five of six on an Eternal Realm character, it's probably worth finishing the campaign out there first and then starting a seasonal character.
And, finally, if you really hate the Seasonal mechanic for the current season but you still want to slam through some Diablo dungeons, you can play in the Eternal Realm to avoid the new stuff.