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Diablo 4 Season 1 start time, date and Season of the Malignant details

The Diablo 4 Season 1 start time and release date is here, so find out the latest on Season of the Malignant's new questline, boss, battle pass, and more.

Diablo 4 Season 1 start time: Cormond standing against a red tinted background with a clock icon next to them.

When is the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time? Diablo 4’s first season of content, which is titled Season of the Malignant, is upon us. The game launched in June with an amazing main story to complete and activities to grind, but the time has come for a dose of new content, and Season 1 will deliver that in spades. But, when is the Season 1 release date and time?

With the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time, you’ll get a new Diablo 4 Battle Pass to work through and a new seasonal character to build up. The fresh content isn’t just confined to the Battle Pass though – there’s a new questline to enjoy, a new boss to face, and a new power to wield. That’s a whole lotta ‘new’, and if Blizzard manages to match the quantity with quality, it could cement Diablo 4 as one of the best RPGs of recent times. Here’s everything you need to know about Season of the Malignant so you know your way around the debut season.

Diablo 4 Season 1 start time

The Diablo 4 Season 1 start time is Thursday, July 20, 2023, at 10am PDT/ 1pm EDT/ 6pm BST on PS5, PS4, Xbox, and PC. The official website has a countdown towards the following times:

  • 10am PDT (West Coast NA)
  • 1pm EDT (East Coast NA)
  • 6pm BST (UK)
  • 7pm CEST (Western Europe)
  • 3am AEST (Australia)
  • 2am JST on July 21st in (Japan)

The first season is called Season of the Malignant, and will introduce Diablo players to the live-service content of the game. This gives us a taste of what’s to come as Blizzard aim to offer four seasons a year, starting with Season of the Malignant.

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Details on Season of the Malignant, including the release date and start time, were revealed by Blizzard during a developer livestream, which you can check out below. A pre-season patch, which arrived on July 18, added new items to the game and delivered sweeping balance changes ahead of the new season.

Unfortunately, these don’t seem to have gone as planned as the community is currently in uproar even the balances changes which has nerfed the majority of endgame builds ahead of the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time. However, it’s likely that the Season of the Malignant powers, like the Malignant Hearts, are designed to make up for the loss in power players have experienced in the two days prior to the Season 1 release date. If not, players will have a much harder time in endgame activities will significantly weaker builds yet tougher enemies in Season of the Malignant activities.

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Despite Diablo 4 launching many weeks ago, we’re only now getting the first season of themed content. This has been done so that players can dive into the main Diablo 4 story without having to worry about the seasonal grind right away, especially given that players will need to have completed the campaign before they can access Season of the Malignant content anyhow. This is because, although Season 1 does not continue the cliff-hanger ending, it does take place after the conclusion of the story, with Lilith defeated but destruction in her wake.

Blizzard has said in the past that it plans for seasons to be released on a quarterly cadence, so we can expect them to last around three months. That means we’ll be enjoying (hopefully) Season of the Malignant up until mid to late October.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: A character interacting with a Malignant Heart.

Diablo 4 Season 1 new content

Diablo 4 Season 1 – also known as Season of the Malignant – features a questline starring a new character called Cormond, a new power gained by finding Malignant Hearts, a load of new cosmetics, and a new boss called Varshan the Consumed. 

Below you can find details on each element of Season of the Malignant.

Diablo 4 Season 1: An official image giving a biography of Cormond.

Stand Against the Malignant questline

The overarching theme of Diablo 4 Season 1 is tied to a new, terrifying enemy type that has descended upon Sanctuary – Malignant Monsters. Described as “decaying abominations” that “roam Sanctuary in a frenzy, mindlessly attacking anyone in range without hesitation”, you can start to see why we’re quite keen to get rid of them. As a deviant form of Lilith’s sinister machinations, the Season 1 story takes place after the main campaign.

The new questline for the season is called Stand Against the Malignant, and introduces Cormond as a new character that will guide you through it. He’s a “former priest of the Cathedral of Light” who will help you defeat Malignant Monsters and harness the power of the Malignant Hearts that drive them.

Diablo 4 Malignant Hearts: All of the Season 1 Malignant Heart types.

Malignant Hearts

Malignant Hearts drop after defeating various strengths of Corrupted enemies during Season 1. There are 32 different types of Malignant Hearts, and they are “build-altering” items that each come with unique bonuses. These are the main mechanic of Season 1, before they are removed and a new feature is introduced for Season 2.

Here are all the Malignant Heart types:

  • Vicious Heart – this is an offensive power that drops from Vicious Malignant Monsters or can be crafted at Cormond
  • Brutal Heart – a defensive power that drops from Brutal Malignant Monsters or can be crafted at Cormond
  • Devious Heart – this is a utility power which drops from Devious Malignant Monsters or crafted at Cormond
  • Wrathful Heart – this is described as a super power that drops from Wrathful Malignant Monsters or can be crafted at Cormond

It’s likely that you will want a diverse selection of Malignant Heart types to expand your build and increase your power. While being decked out in Vicious Hearts would lead to some massive and irresistible damage numbers, you would suffer elsewhere, lacking utility and defence.

Slaying Partly Corrupted enemies, one of the Malignant Monster types, will drop Malignant Hearts that can be captured by performing a ritual with the Binding Cage provided by Cormond. However, attempting to capture the Malignant Heart will cause these Partly Corrupted enemies to turn into Fully Corrupted enemies that will give you a tough fight. Once defeated though, you’ll earn a special type of Malignant Heart that can be slotted into Infested sockets in your jewelry, in place of a standard gem.

Thankfully, these Malignant monsters are color coded so you know what you’re up against before you go in. This is especially useful as each Malignant monster type has different effects and abilities to be on the lookout for.

If you’re looking to race to max level right after the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time, then your goal will be to acquire these strong powers from Malignant Hearts and slot them into your gear. These complement the already existing build-crafting features, namely the skills, passives, and class mechanics for each of the game’s classes. So, there will be plenty more opportunities for build-crafting during Season of the Malignant which will (hopefully) see our power increase to new heights. Though, after the pre-Season 1 patch, this might not be the case, to many player’s dismay.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: A Malignant Heart item drop on the ground.

Malignant Tunnels

Malgnant Tunnels are new dungeons that are being added to Diablo 4 Season 1. You’ll be able to grind these for specific (and likely, the best) Malignant Hearts. These look to provide a new challenge during Season of the Malignant that will put our skills to the test while also giving us an opportunity to enhance our builds.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date

This new dungeon type is also where you’ll encounter the new boss, Varshan the Consumed, who looks just as freaky as you’d expect. Nevertheless, we hope there’s enough boss variety in the Malignant Tunnels, as this is one of the main complaints about the base game dungeons.

New Uniques

Patch 1.1.0 added six new Diablo 4 Uniques in the pre-Season 1 update on July 18, alongside seven Legendary Aspects. These Uniques are:

  • Ahavarion Spear of Lycander (Uber Unique Staff—World Tier 4): Gain a random Shrine effect for 10-20 seconds after killing an Elite enemy. Can only occur once every 30 seconds.
  • Azurewrath (Unique Sword – Barbarian): Lucky Hit – Your Core Skills have up to a 20% chance to Freeze enemies for 3 seconds and deal 0.75-1.5 Cold damage to them.
  • Fleshrender (Unique One-Hand Mace – Druid): Debilitating Roar and Blood Howl deal 0.5-1.0 damage to Nearby Poisoned enemies.
  • Lidless Wall (Unique Shield – Necromancer): Lucky Hit – While you have an active Bone Storm, hitting an enemy outside of a Bone Storm has up to a 5-25% chance to spawn an additional Bone Storm at their location. Each of your active Sacrifice bonuses increases the chance by 25% and the total number of additional Bone Storms you can have by +1.
  • Eaglehorn (Unique Bow – Rogue): Penetrating Shot has a 30-80% chance to fire an arrow that bounces off walls and scenery. Hitting enemies from behind with Penetrating Shot will make them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
  • The Oculus (Unique Wand – Sorcerer): Gain the effect of the Teleport Enchantment for free. When you Evade using Teleport Enchantment, you are taken to a random location.

And here are the seven new Legendary Aspects available right now:

  • Audacity (Utility Aspect – General): When there are at least 5 Close enemies, Stun them for 2-4 seconds. This can only occur once every 20 seconds.
  • Craven (Mobility Aspect – General): You gain 20-40% increased Movement Speed when moving away from Slowed or Chilled enemies.
  • Ancestral Charge (Offensive Aspect – Barbarian): Charge calls forth 4 Ancients who also Charge, dealing 50-100% of normal damage.
  • Subterranean (Offensive Aspect – Druid): Poison Creeper’s active also casts Landslide in a circle around you. Earth Skills deal 10-20% increased damage to Poisoned enemies.
  • Gore Quills (Offensive Aspect – Necromancer): Blood Lance will consume Blood Orbs to also conjure lances from them. Each additional Blood Lance deals 20-50% of normal damage and prioritizes targeting un-lanced enemies.
  • Pestilent Points (Offensive Aspect – Rogue): Every third cast of Puncture is Poison Imbued with 100-150% of normal potency.
  • Searing Wards (Offensive Aspect – Sorcerer): After spending 200-100 Mana your next Firewall is free to cast and will destroy incoming Small Missiles.

These were all confirmed and detailed in the Diablo 4 1.1.0 patch notes, which also saw several bug fixes and balance changes ahead of the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: A character from each Diablo 4 class wearing the new Coldiron armor set

Battle Pass

A new season means a new battle pass to grind, and Season of the Malignant’s Battle Pass is stuffed with goodies, including armor sets, mount armor, and more. The free track has 27 tiers, while if you pay to upgrade, you’ll get all 90 tiers of rewards. You can find more details on the Battle Pass further on in this Season 1 breakdown.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: An image of the Seasonal Realm and Eternal Realm character creation process.

Seasonal Character

Starting with Diablo 4 Season 1, players will be able to create a Seasonal Character which can take part in the unique additions of the update. Players can begin the leveling process fresh each season before the character is retired to the Eternal Realm, where they will remain playable though without the benefits of a current Seasonal Character.

To participate in Season 1 and future Seasons, a new character must be made on the Seasonal Realm. While you don’t need to purchase the Battle Pass to play the Seasonal content, you must have completed the campaign at least once before, however.

A Seasonal character will start with:

  • The ability to skip the campaign
  • Immediate access to your mount
  • All previously discovered Altars of Lilith and the corresponding Renown
  • All previously discovered areas of the map and the corresponding Renown

This is a great opportunity to experiment with another class, especially as Season 1 will likely update the meta and shift the ranks in the Diablo 4 tier list. See where each class ranks and perhaps pick a new class as your Seasonal Character in Diablo 4 Season 1. With a 32 new powers available during Season 1 in the form of Malignant Hearts, players will surely create new and wildly powerful builds before the features leave and are replaced with something new in Season 2.

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Nevertheless, this feature has drawn significant criticism, especially from newcomers to the series afraid of having to restart the process with each season. Depending on how Season 1 goes, it’s possible that Blizzard will make further changes to this feature to accommodate a wider and more diverse player base than the series has previously seen, but only time will tell on that front. Given how central it is the series, we don’t expect to see any sweeping changes, particularly a removal of the feature.

The changes that have been made so far, however, have been received well. For instance, you will not have to explore the map all over again, nor will you have to find all the Altars of Lilith. This takes the busy-work down a notch so you can focus more on the action and new content that comes with the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time and release date.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: The Season of the Malignant Battle Pass rewards and unlocks.

Diablo 4 Season 1 Battle Pass

The Diablo 4 Season 1 Battle Pass begins on July 20, 10am PDT/1pm EDT/6pm BST/7pm CEST and will include 27 free tiers and 63 premium tiers, unlocking:

  • Smoldering Ashes (free) – used on Season Blessing boosts
  • Seasonal cosmetics (premium)
  • 666 Platinum currency (premium)
  • Coldiron armor set
  • Awoken Coldiron Barding mount armor
  • Awoken Warded Mustang mount
  • Five new mount trophies
  • Weapon skins
  • Emotes
  • Headstones

The Premium Battle Pass costs 1,000 Platinum, while the Accelerated Battle Pass – which gives you 20 tier skips to get you closer to the tastier rewards near the end of the pass – costs 2,8000 Platinum. Remember, the Smoldering Ashes will still need to be unlocked through play to grant the Season Blessing gameplay boosts. As such, you will not be able to pay real money to skip the grind and gain power quicker compared to those without the Accelerated Battle Pass.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: The Season of the Malignant Battle Pass and Chapters.

Diablo 4 Season 1 Season Journey

The Diablo 4 Season 1 Season Journey objectives are yet to be fully revealed, though players should expect a variety of missions to complete as they progress through the chapters.

These objectives look to include short tasks like collecting specific resources or completing local events, to taking on dungeons in different regions. It’s possible that later chapters could even see players tasked with completing endgame activities like Nightmare dungeons, Diablo 4 Helltide events, Diablo 4 world bosses, and seasonal activities.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date

Nevertheless, rewards will be earned for completing a certain number of objectives to progress to the next chapter of the Season Journey, such as brand-new Legendary Aspects, a Mastery Title, and a Scroll of Amnesia. This Scroll provides a free skill tree and Diablo 4 Paragon Board reset. Furthermore, it will also be key to leveling up your Battle Pass quicker as the Season Journey also provides Favor. No doubt these will be handy rewards that will help you as you level your Seasonal character and progress through Diablo 4 Season 1.

Diablo 4 Season 1 release date: A Necromancer wearing new armor from the Season of the Malignant shop.

Diablo 4 Season 1 shop

That’s right, the shop will also be getting a big update alongside the Diablo 4 Season 1 release date. There will be new equipment, armor, accessories, mount and mount armor bundles for you to peruse.

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Is Diablo 4 Season 1 worth it?

If you’ve been enjoying what you’ve played since launch, then Diablo 4 Season 1 certainly looks to be worth playing because it takes the action and build-crafting to new heights, as well as providing new quests and cosmetics.

What’s more, all of the content besides the Premium Season of the Malignant Battle Pass, containing new cosmetics, is free to all players. Yes, you read that right. The seasonal questline and new gameplay features, like the Malignant Hearts, are actually free to all players, alongside the 27 free tiers of the battle pass.

So, if you’re a big fan of Diablo 4 and want some fancy new cosmetics for your character, then you can purchase the Premium Season 1 Battle Pass. Otherwise, we recommending diving right into the action in Season of the Malignant at no extra cost to experience the new story and features.

That’s all you need to know about Season of the Malignant and the Diablo 4 Season 1 start time and release date. Pick your favorite of the Diablo 4 classes and gear up with our Diablo 4 walkthrough to get the best possible start in the debut season. After all, there’s a host of new feature and challenges for us to complete before the season’s out.