Diablo 4 Guide: Season of the Malignant

If you were looking for a Diablo 4 Season 1: Launch Times and Everything You Need to Know guide, you've come to the right place. As a live service title, developer Blizzard will periodically update the game with new content in addition to releasing a Battle Pass each quarter. On this page, as part of our Diablo 4 guide, We'll run you through our Season 1: Launch Times and Everything You Need to Know guide so you can be ready to go the moment Diablo 4's servers go live.

When Does Diablo 4: Season 1 Begin?

Diablo 4's Season 1, named Season of the Malignant, begins on 20th July 2023. You can find your region's exact launch time below.

  • North America: 10am PDT / 11am MDT / 12pm CDT / 1pm EDT
  • UK/Ire: 6pm BST
  • Europe: 7pm CEST / 8pm EEST
  • Asia/Oceania: 2am JST / 1am AWST / 3am AEST

What is Season 1: Season of the Malignant?

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Image: Push Square

Season of the Malignant is the name given to Diablo 4's first post-launch season of content, the biggest draw being the limited-time Malignant Heart mechanic. This mechanic is introduced to players via a post-campaign quest featuring a new character, Cormond. This former priest of the Cathedral of Light will teach players how to capture these nightmarish apparitions of Lillith's corruption and use them to unleash all-new build-altering powers.

In addition, a new boss fight is being added to the game, along with the "highly replayable" Malignant Tunnels Dungeon. Six unique items and seven Legendary Aspects will be introduced in addition to cosmetics as part of both the premium and paid tiers of the Season of the Malignant Battle Pass.

Each Season will run for three months, and players will need to have completed Diablo 4's Campaign (all six Acts and viewed the Epilogue) in order to meet Cormond and begin Season of the Malignant proper. You will then be able to create a Seasonal Character.

How Do Seasonal Characters Work?

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Diablo 4's approach to live service content is its Seasonal Characters, which exist in a separate pool known as the Seasonal Realm. Any character you might have created previously will be locked to the Eternal Realm.

As noted previously, players will need to have beaten Diablo 4's Campaign with a character on the Eternal Realm in order to create a Seasonal Character. And while yes, that definitely does mean you need to start levelling a new character from scratch, there are a few things worth bearing in mind.

By beating the Campaign, you are free to skip it entirely with all future characters, meaning you don't have to deal with any Main Story Quests. In addition, your Mount is available from the outset, and all of your previously unlocked Altars of Lillith still apply (meaning you will likely start with enough Skill Points to kickstart a build). Finally, all discovered areas on the map will remain revealed, meaning you are free to go wherever you like. Season of the Malignant, therefore, offers players the opportunity to try out another of Diablo 4's five Classes, diving into a world expertly crafted to support the experience.

Once the season ends, Seasonal Characters will be transferred to the Eternal Realm, along with all progress made and the contents of the player's Stash coming along, too. Of course, anything Season of the Malignant specific (like Malignant Hearts) will no longer be accessible. Blizzard's rationale for the system is it can introduce crazy, potentially broken mechanics into the Seasonal Realm, leaving the Eternal Realm as a baseline.

What are Malignant Hearts?

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Malignant Hearts are the core of Season of the Malignant. There are 32 Malignant Hearts, broken into four broad categories that correspond with colour and keyword: Vicious (Orange, Offensive power), Brutal (Blue, Defensive power), Devious (Pink, Utility power), and Wrathful (Black, Super).

Further, the colour of a Malignant Heart also corresponds with special Malignant Sockets, which replace the normal Sockets of Jewelry found during Season of the Malignant. The aim of the game, then, is to seek out Malignant Monsters that match the colour of the Socket you are trying to fill.

Malignant Monsters roam Sanctuary and, once defeated, will drop Malignant Hearts associated with their colour. Unwanted Malignant Hearts can be salvaged at Cormond's Wagon for Ichor, and once you have enough Ichor, it can be used to craft the category of Malignant Heart you need.

A full list of all 32 Malignant Hearts available in Season of the Malignant can be seen below:

General

  • The Picana (Vicious, Offensive): Critical Strikes electrically charge the enemy for 0.75-2.50 seconds, causing lightning to arc between them and any other charged enemies dealing 68-136 Lightning damage.
  • The Dark Dance (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): Every 5 seconds while above 60% Life, Core Skills cost 68-51 Life instead of your Primary Resource. Skills that consume Life deal 10-20% increased damage.
  • Tempting Fate (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): You gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage, but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage.
  • The Lionheart (Brutal, Defensive): You gain 10% Barrier Generation. You Heal 3-7 Life per second while you have an active Barrier.
  • Revenge (Brutal, Defensive-World Tier III): 10-20% of incoming damage is instead suppressed. When you use a Defensive, Subterfuge or a Macabre skill, all suppressed damage is amplified by 250% and explodes, dealing up to 1360-2040 Fire damage to nearby enemies.
  • Prudent Heart (Brutal, Defensive-World Tier III): You become Immune for 2.0-4.0 seconds after you lose more than 20% Life in a single hit. This effect can only occur once every 110 seconds.
  • Determination (Devious, Utility): Resource-draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
  • Retaliation (Devious, Utility-World Tier III): Deal 510-680 Fire damage to surrounding enemies whenever a Crowd Control effect is removed from you.
  • The Calculated (Devious, Utility-World Tier III): After spending 150-200 of your Primary Resource, your next attack Stuns enemies hit for 2 seconds.
  • The Malignant Pact (Wrathful, Super): Cycle through a Malignant bonus every 20 kills:
    Vicious
    Gain 20% Attack Speed.
    Devious
    Core and Basic Skills have a 15% chance to fully restore your Primary Resource.
    Brutal
    Every 21 seconds, gain a Barrier absorbing 85-102 damage.
  • Creeping Death (Wrathful, Super): Your damage over time effects are increased by 30-40% for each different Crowd Control effect on the target. Unstoppable monsters and Staggered bosses instead take 110-130% increased damage from your damage over time effects.
  • The Barber (Wrathful, Super-World Tier III): Critical Strikes and all subsequent damage within 2.0-4.0 seconds is absorbed by your target. Then, the absorbed damage erupts onto surrounding enemies. Stored damage is increased by 10% per second.

Barbarian

Focused Rage (Vicious, Offensive)
After spending 100-60 Fury within 2 seconds, your next Non-Basic Skill's Critical Strike Chance is increased by 20-30%.
Resurgent Life (Brutal, Defensive)
While below 40-60% Life, you receive 50-60% more Healing from all sources.
Punishing Speed (Devious, Utility)
Your Skills have a 20-30% chance to Knock Down all enemies for 1.25 seconds when that Skill's Attack Speed is higher than 35-20%.
Ignoring Pain (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV)
Incoming damage has a 5-15% chance of being ignored and instead Healing you for 17-68.

Druid

The Moonrage (Vicious, Offensive)
Kills have a 5% chance to summon a Wolf Companion to your side for 20-30 seconds. In addition, gain +3 to Wolves.
The Agitated Winds (Brutal, Defensive)
When 8-13 Close enemies, automatically cast Cyclone Armor. This cannot occur more than once every 10-20 seconds.
Inexorable Force (Devious, Utility)
Up to 30-50 Distant enemies are pulled toward you while you have an Ultimate Skill active.
The Unconstrained Beast (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV)
When you are hit with a Stun, Freeze or Knock Down effect, there is a 40-60% chance to automatically activate Grizzly Rage for 3 seconds.

Necromancer

The Sacrilegious (Vicious, Offensive)
Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.
The Decrepit Aura (Brutal, Defensive)
When at least 5 enemies are near you, gain an aura that automatically curses surrounding enemies with Decrepify for 5-15 seconds.
Frozen Terror (Devious, Utility): Lucky Hit
Up to a 10-20% chance of inflicting Fear for 2.5 seconds. Feared enemies are Chilled for 20% every second.
The Great Feast (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV)
Each Minion drains 1.0-2.0 Essence per second but deals 50-75% increased damage. With no Minions, this bonus applies to you and drains 5 Essence per second.

Rogue

Cluster Munitions (Vicious, Offensive)
Lucky Hit: You have up to a 20% chance to launch 3 Stun Grenades that deal 26-32 Physical damage and Stun enemies for 0.50 seconds.
Trickery (Brutal, Defensive)
When you use a Subterfuge Skill, leave behind an unstable Shadow Decoy Trap that Taunts enemies. The Shadow Decoy Trap will explode after 6.0 seconds dealing 680-1020 Shadow damage. Cannot occur more than once every 5 seconds.
The Clipshot (Devious, Utility)
Lucky Hit: Up to a 20-40% chance for your Cutthroat Skills to Slow by 40% for 3 seconds and your Marksman Skills to Knock Back enemies.
The Vile Apothecary (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV)
Your attacks have a 5-15% chance to apply all Imbuement effects at 40-50% of normal potency.

Sorcerer

Tal’Rasha (Vicious, Offensive)
For each unique element you deal damage with, you deal 7-12% increased damage for 3-10 seconds.
Spellbreaking (Brutal, Defensive)
After taking Elemental damage, gain 20-40% Resistance to that element for 5 seconds.
Spite (Devious, Utility)
When you are afflicted with a Crowd Control effect, there is a 20-40% chance that the same enemy and enemies around you are also afflicted with the same effect for 3 seconds.
Omnipower (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV)
Core Skills that launch a projectile consume all of your Mana. For every 45-35 extra Mana consumed, you launch an additional projectile, and the damage is increased by 3.0-5.0%.

Did you find this Season 1: Launch Times and Everything You Need to Know guide for Diablo 4 helpful? Be sure to check out the rest of our expansive Diablo 4 guide coverage.