The more you play Diablo 4 and other Diablo games, it becomes less about the titular antagonist and more about that loot grind. And to keep things fresh, developers often release a seasonal update that will require players to start anew. Now that the latest iteration of Diablo has been out for a month, the expected seasonal content is upon us; that begs the question, when is the Diablo 4 Season 1 release date?
The recent developer livestream revealed that Diablo 4 Season 1 is set to be released around July 20, 2023. That’s less than two weeks from now.
With it, Diablo 4 Season 1 will bring a new cluster of changes both for gameplay balancing and fresh content to plow through. But first, let’s address the most important questions regarding Diablo 4 Season 1.
Will You Need to Create a New Character?
Yes, if you want to access the new Season 1 content right away.
That’s how seasonal content works for Diablo 4, all Diablo games prior, and most other loot-based isometric ARPGs in the same vein. To access Diablo 4 Season 1 and its new content, you’ll have to create a new character and level them up again.
There will be new challenges, quest missions, and objectives to pursue along with new rewards which are exclusive to Diablo 4 Season 1, aptly called ‘Season of the Malignant.’
However, this process doesn’t exactly mean you’ll painfully have to start from scratch. You’ll retain some of your previous characters’ milestones and exploration progress.
What Will Carry Over to Diablo 4 Season 1?
Levels and characters surely won’t but there are ways you can make the leveling process a lot less tedious or less time-consuming.
For starters, the developers have opted to carry over certain milestones from previous characters– particularly those who have finished the Diablo 4’s campaign, here’s the list of what will carry over in Diablo 4 Season 1:
- Campaign Skip (assuming you’ve finished the campaign on at least one character)
- Renown Points & Rewards (including Skill Points, Potions, & Paragon Points)
- Altars of Lilith
- World Map Discovery (no more fog of war)
- Weapon and armor transmogs
Everything else is left behind in the Eternal Realm or the default domain/server where your old characters reside. You can’t bring along Stash items, Aspects, Upgrade Materials, or Gold and other inventory currencies like Murmuring Obols.
The idea here is to even the playing ground for everyone who wants to join Diablo 4 Season 1.
What Will Happen to Old Characters?
One of the biggest worries for Diablo 4 and its seasonal content from new players is that old characters will be wiped since the term ‘reset’ keeps getting tossed around. That’s not true.
Nothing is going to happen to old characters– especially those who have been leveled to 100. They’ll remain in the Eternal Realm or Diablo 4’s permanent content server or domain for non-seasonal content. There’s a separate and independent Realm for seasonal content.
Thus, if you have no plans in partaking in the seasonal content, you can just play your old characters with no worries about time constraints or running out of time before the seasonal content ends.
How Long Will Diablo 4 Season 1 Last?
Speaking of which, the tradition is that each seasonal content for every Diablo game, starting from the old and retro Diablo 2 is that it will run for three to four months.
Diablo 4 isn’t breaking tradition here. Season 1 will run for three months until it expires. You can expect every other succeeding season to have around the same duration. That’s three months or so of leveling up and pursuing the new quest line and game mechanics.
Seasonal Progress Will Merge with the Eternal Realm Once It’s Over
What happens after Season 1 or any other season ends? It gets exported to the Eternal Realm or the permanent content for Diablo 4 before it disappears.
Your seasonal characters will presumably be given their own character slots in the Eternal Realm, and all the items in your seasonal Stash will be transferred to the Eternal Realm Stash.
This way, if you want to give your old Level 100 characters the new items to tweak their builds, you can do so, although it’s worth noting that items or Aspects in the seasonal content for Diablo 4 will also be available in the Eternal Realm eventually (or sometimes right away). The seasonal content mechanics, however, might not transfer over once the season ends.
What’s New in Diablo 4 Season 1?
The meat of Diablo 4 Season 1 revolves around a new season-exclusive questline, which we previously stated as Season of the Malignant.
It will introduce a new character named Cormond, a priest who will train and instruct players in capturing Malignant Hearts. Players can then harvest these Malignant Hearts and convert them into power boosts that can significantly alter their character builds.
Certain enemies will be afflicted with corruption in the game world and these will drop the Malignant Hearts. Collecting 32 of these Malignant Hearts across four categories will provide some unique bonuses according to the developers.
New Bosses and Additional Gameplay Mechanics
To add to the Malignant Heart hunting, there will also be Malignant Tunnels which are new and replayable dungeons in Diablo 4 Season 1.
Apart from Malignant Monsters, a new boss named Varshan the Consumed will be waiting for players in the Malignant Tunnels.
Sure enough, you can expect some rewards proportional to the danger level as this new boss will be treating the players like fresh meat.
Battle Pass and Season-exclusive Cosmetics
This one has also been announced prior and it will be one of the most common milestones you can pursue in Diablo 4 Season 1 and future seasons.
Like most other Battle Pass systems, such as that from Genshin Impact or Honkai: Star Rail, there’s a separate, premium reward track for the Diablo 4 Battle Pass which costs around $10 to unlock for the whole season (three months).
The Diablo 4 Battle Pass is only available on seasonal content. As for the Battle Pass rewards, they’re mostly cosmetic improvements that are exclusive to seasonal content. The rewards are spread across 90 tiers.
Naturally, you’d progress the Battle Pass track– both premium and non-premium, by completing challenges, quests, and seasonal content milestones such as the aforementioned Malignant Hearts and Malignant Tunnel systems.
New Shop Cosmetics
The in-game microtransactions (MTX) Shop in Diablo 4 also comes with new stuff– cosmetics only. Blizzard was somewhat secretive regarding the new cosmetics in the MTX Shop but players are advised to keep checking as the Shop’s stock keeps getting rotated.
Some of these are also presumably season-exclusive cosmetics though they usually cost real money in order to purchase.
If you’re interested in joining Diablo 4 Season 1, we advise maxing out Renown Bonuses and Altars of Lilith on your highest-level character so as to make your Season 1 grind smoother. There’s still a bit of time before Diablo 4 Season 1 starts on July 20, 2023, at 10 a.m. PDT.