What does Diablo 4 Season 1 update include and when is the release date?

The first update of Diablo 4 will be significant. Here’s what you need to know about the new content of the update, the challenge rifts, the release date, and more.

Diablo 4 has a lot to address, especially considering the issues that plagued Diablo 3 and Diablo Immortal… ahem, everything. But (at least upon its release), Diablo 4 has shown that it accomplishes its mission. The game is fun and addictive, but Blizzard Activision wouldn’t be what it is without following the current trends in the gaming industry. That means the company has developed Diablo 4 with a live-service and challenge rift system.

When Diablo 4 initially launched, the game didn’t have seasons or challenge rifts. Players could only explore a few open-world locations, participate in group events, and delve into dungeons to acquire increasingly powerful loot. However, Activision Blizzard promised that seasons and challenge rifts would be introduced, and although that day isn’t today, the developer livestreamed today to let the audience know what to expect.

Diablo 4 Season 1: Release Date and Start Time

Shortly after Diablo 4’s release, Activision Blizzard posted a blog announcing that the first season and battle pass would launch between mid to late July. Well, now we have a more specific release window.

In today’s livestream, we learned that Diablo 4 Season 1 (named “Season of the Malignant“) will release on July 20. There is currently no information about the season’s end date, but Blizzard has confirmed that characters from your season will transition to the “Eternal” realm when Season 2 begins. While the character will retain much of the progress you’ve made, some season-specific items will no longer be available at that time.

Furthermore, we now know that Diablo 4 Season 1 will launch on July 20 at 10:00 AM PDT, 12:00 PM CT, 1:00 PM ET, 6:00 PM GMT, and corresponding times globally (at least according to the current schedule of the team). The development team also mentioned that a major patch will be released on July 18 before the official launch of Season 1, but we are still awaiting more information on that pre-season update at this time.

How much does the Battle Pass cost in Diablo 4 Season 1?

Like many battle passes, Diablo 4’s pass is divided into two parts: a free track and a premium track. The free track is… well, free and will include 27 unlockables. Meanwhile, the premium battle pass will cost 1000 Gold (equivalent to $10). Additionally, you can spend 2,800 Gold (around $25) to purchase an accelerated battle pass, which functions similarly to the premium battle pass but automatically unlocks 20 tiers of rewards. If you have purchased the Diablo 4 Ultimate Edition, that version of the game will come with an accelerated battle pass (but only one of them).

Since the battle pass is seasonal, does that mean you’ll have to buy a new one each season? At this time, it seems to be the case. While many games with seasonal battle passes allocate some premium currency as rewards for the battle pass, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Diablo 4. If you want Gold, you’ll have to buy it from the store. If any changes to that system occur, they may not be introduced until future seasonal updates.

However, note that you don’t have to purchase the battle pass to access the rest of the content in Season 1 update. For that matter, you don’t need to buy the battle pass to access the most crucial content on the battle pass. The only thing that “free” players won’t be able to unlock in challenge rifts is the premium cosmetic items. All other unlockables will be available to all players. Even Smoldering Ashes (unlocks gameplay enhancements) will be available to both premium and free battle pass owners. However, since those Smoldering Ash rewards are tied to your character’s season level, you may not be able to unlock them early just by purchasing the battle pass.

What else is included in the Diablo 4 Season 1 update?

Each part of Diablo 4 is designed to keep the game alive between major expansions, and that holds particularly true for the upcoming season.

The Malignant part takes place after the main campaign of Diablo 4, so you’ll need to complete that campaign with a character before accessing the seasonal realms. However, anyone playing on those realms will witness a malevolent force (pun intended and intentionally challenging) corrupting the creatures of Sanctuary, warping their hearts and turning them into even greater and more dangerous threats.

Everything in the seasonal realms (from regular beasts to humans and even demons) is affected by this malignant force. This part will also revolve around a new character, Kormind, who is trying to cure the plague. Appropriately, the main advertising gimmick of the Season of the Malignant will revolve around that threat.

All elite monsters in the game have a chance to spawn as Malignant versions of themselves. These malignant variants are more powerful than usual and also come with some malignant affixes. Once the creature is defeated, it will drop Malignant Hearts, which can be socketed into devices like gems and used to unlock certain structures and potentially broken affixes (in a good way).

However, unlike gems, once a Malignant Heart is equipped, you can’t remove it. You can only replace it with a new/different heart. Additionally, Malignant Hearts have a unique color pattern and can only be socketed into matching-colored sockets. Ultimately, players can collect over 32 affixes of Malignant Hearts. Throughout the Malignant part, participants can also acquire new Legendary Aspects, new Unique Items, and even Malignant gear (more powerful than usual). Furthermore, anyone desiring a specific Malignant Heart can use the Summoner in the Malignant Depths, which are special areas that spawn malignant enemies more frequently than they appear in the wild. If you’re feeling bold, you can even face Varshan the Consumed: a new end-game boss lurking in this dangerous new region.

The seasonal track, the Journey, is divided into seven chapters, each with its own goals and rewards. For example, in the first season, players can earn crafting materials, unique Legendary Aspects, and Priority. The first two are self-explanatory, but Priority is crucial for progressing through challenge rifts. The more Priority you earn, the more tiers you unlock in the Battle Pass.

How will character resets work in Diablo 4 Season 1?

For the most part, Diablo 4’s battle pass seems pretty standard, but it does cause quite a bit of controversy: You cannot use the same character for each season, and you cannot transfer an existing character to a seasonal realm. Whenever a new season arrives, players must create a new character and start from scratch.

Why? Well, according to the developers, each new season is designed to reset the core experience. You can still keep your main character that you used for the campaign, but to receive seasonal rewards, including the battle pass, you need to start anew. It’s a pause, but on the positive side, at least this system gives you a reason to try out different classes and builds.

The good newsis that you won’t lose all the progress of your character up to this point. After completing the campaign with an existing character, you can “migrate” some of that character’s progress to your seasonal character. Specifically, here’s what you can retain:

  • Your mount
  • All previously discovered Lilith’s Relic rewards
  • All previously discovered areas on the map
  • All previously earned Renown rewards (appropriate level)

So, if you’ve made significant progress with an existing character, you’ll genuinely start the season with some advantages. Although the Diablo 4 team states that you’ll need to manually “migrate” your existing character’s progress to a character in the seasonal realm, they haven’t precisely explained how that system will work.

Just note that you’ll only be able to perform that migration process once per season. Therefore, make sure to migrate the progress of the character you’ve unlocked the most items/information with.

That’s most of what we know about Diablo 4 Season 1 so far, but we’re sure to bring you more information as it becomes available!

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