Our trip to Sanctuary has just begun. While Diablo IV's player base has been busy dealing with Lilith and her plans to create Purgatory on Earth, something else has been brewing beneath the surface. Something that will twist the hearts of men and beast alike. Something, malignant. And now that something is ready to burst forth, sweeping over Sanctuary like a plague. Are you prepared to stem the tide? Or will the darker natures of humanity win once and for all?
Season of the Malignant is hitting the shores of Sanctuary later in the month, and while you won’t be able to use your previous characters to tackle all that the season has to offer, that doesn’t mean that you have to walk blindly into these new dangers. The story of season 1 revolves around the titular Malignant Curse, which emerged in Sanctuary shortly after the events of the main campaign. Your seasonal character will be summoned to Kyovashad to meet Cormund, a former priest of the Cathedral of Light. Cormund is the closest thing to an expert on this curse that Sanctuary has, and he has discovered a way to turn the power of this curse against itself, a new set of items called Malignant Hearts.
These hearts can be placed into gem slots, allowing for - in the developers' own words - ‘stupid, new broken builds’. Hearts can be obtained from Corrupted variants of elite enemies, most of which will be found in the new dungeon type, the Malignant Tunnels. These malignant hearts come in 4 types, and 3 of these types correspond to a jewelry color type. As you might suspect, a heart can only be equipped if the jewelry color matches. The fourth type of heart is colorless and is able to be placed in any jewelry item. As such, colorless hearts are by far the most rare and valuable type. These malignant hearts allow you to channel 1 of 32 powerful new abilities.
But outside of that, what can we expect in this introductory season? Apart from the new corrupted enemy variant, Malignant Tunnel dungeons, and Malignant Heart items, Season of the Malignant features a 7 chapter storyline, where each chapter is made up of multiple objectives to complete. Alongside the story, there are 7 new Legendary Aspects and 6 new Unique Items to experiment with, as well as a new boss that can be found in the malignant tunnels, Varshan the Consumed.
As seasonal content isn’t accessible on the Eternal Realm, you will need to make a seasonal character placed in the seasonal realm. But you won’t necessarily be starting from scratch. Renown, Altars of Lilith and map exploration is all account-wide, giving seasonal characters an edge when it comes to leveling. In addition, if you have finished the main campaign in the eternal realm, you’ll be able to skip it in the seasonal realm, getting right to the Malignant Curse content. When the season finally does end, you won’t lose your new character either, they’ll be transferred to the eternal realm with your other characters, minus their season-exclusive gear and abilities. Season of the Malignant will last for 3 months and is scheduled to arrive at Sanctuary on July 20th, giving players plenty of time to prepare for the arrival of the Malignant curse. Are you prepared?