Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant – Story, Malignant Hearts, & Renown Carry Over

Season of the Malignant comes with a new season mechanic, legendary aspects, seasonal quests, and the introduction of the battle pass system.


Image via Blizzard

Diablo 4’s first season, titled “Season of the Malignant,” has finally arrived and will have players returning to Sanctuary to combat a new corruption that is spreading across the land and infecting everything in its path. Players will have new mechanics like Malignant Hearts to find and use for upgrading, new legendary aspects to use and create new builds with, and cosmetics to allow for more customization.

This will be the true beginning of the live-service approach to Diablo 4. With the game planned to be supported for many years, this will serve as a benchmark for what players will likely see and expect as the game progresses.

Related: Diablo 4 Complete Strategy Guide – Crafting, Locations, Endgame, & Error Codes

Diablo 4 Season of the Malignant (Season 1) Guides

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Below you will find all of our current guides regarding Season of the Maglinant, including details on the new seasonal mechanics, Seasonal Journey, and any other information we’ve found that will be helpful for players.

How to Participate in Season of the Malignant

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To take part in Season of the Malignant, players will need to create a seasonal character and have completed the campaign. They can then access the season quest line, mechanics, and other endgame content, as well as advance their Seasonal Journey and Battle Pass. players will not have access to this content again, as it will be replaced the following season, so get in while you can.

What is the Story of Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant

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The story of Season of the Malignant revolves around a new corruption that is spreading through Sanctuary called the Malignant, which is infesting creatures and turning them more deadly and bloodthirsty. Players will meet a former priest of the Cathedral of Light named Cormond, who is trying to stop the spread of corruption. With their help, you’ll explore, slay, and discover what you can about this new threat and hopefully find a way to stop its spread and from destroying all in its way.

This will not be a continuation of the main storyline in Diablo 4 but rather a self-contained side story. New main story additions will be included in the two planned expansions for the game.

What are Malignant Hearts in Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant

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Season of the Malignant will include a new mechanic called Malignant Hearts. These gem-like items will provide new powers similar to legendary effects to help you create “stupidly powerful” builds. The items can be found by defeating Malignant elite enemies, who can spawn after killing elite enemies that drop Malignant Hearts. You will need a Cage of Binding to collect them, unlocked via the seasonal questline.

Once you have defeated these enemies, you can trap the hearts and turn them into Caged Hearts, which can come in four variations; Devious, Vicious, Brutal, and Wrathful. These can be socketed into your jewelry that matches the heart’s color. Doing so will give players big buffs to their power and abilities, making for some powerful new builds and playstyles. There will be 32 Malignant powers for players to find and use, and as you level up and fight stronger enemies, you’ll be able to get stronger versions of the Malignant Hearts.

Additionally, these hearts can be broken down and used to create Invokers, which you can take to Malignant Tunnels, a new dungeon type found in the world, and be used to target farm specific Malignant Hearts and features a new boss battle with Varshan the Consumed.

The Seasonal Journey in Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant

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The Seasonal Journey is a new way for players to progress and unlock content during a season and unlock boosts to help you earn more exp, gold, and chances to get Malignant Hearts.

The Seasonal Journey is separated into chapters, each with different tasks for players to complete to earn Favor, which progresses the battle pass. Once you complete a certain number of tasks, you will progress onto the next chapter of the Seasonal Journey and unlock several rewards like Legendary aspects and caches of items.

Does Renown Carry Over to Seasonal Characters in Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant

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Renown earned through certain activities will carry across to seasonal characters in Diablo 4. For starters, all areas and Altars of Lilith unlocked will carry over, meaning you won’t need to explore those areas or find those Altars again. Additionally, the Renown associated with those activities will carry across to seasonal characters, so new characters can claim the first three Renown unlocks, including Skill Points and Potion Capacity, right from the beginning of the Season.

To unlock this progress for your seasonal character and all other characters, present and future, you must log in to a character after the seasonal patch is released on July 18. This will apply that character’s progress to your whole account, meaning you do not need to do it again. In this case, log in to your character with the most progress to get the biggest benefit.

Related: Diablo 4 – Early Game Tips & Tricks For Beginners

It’s worth noting multiple characters can be logged into and have their progress saved, as they will all overlap and combine, so you don’t need to worry about doing all on one character or if you log into a different one by mistake.

Once the season is over, your seasonal character will be moved to the Eternal Realm, where you can continue to play them with all your collected and stash items moving too. However, seasonal-specific features and items like the Malignant Hearts will not transfer.

Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant Trailer

The trailer for Season of the Malignant gives players an overview of the world and story of the season.

The Developer Livestream segment regarding Season 1 offers plenty of insight and details from the developers.