Diablo IV is off to a tremendous start, exciting and delighting (and horrifying) new fans of the series and franchise veterans alike. Returning to its roots, Diablo IV brings back the dark and demonic in its aesthetic, visuals, and gameplay. Explore solo or with friends as you fight to protect Sanctuary.
We wanted to give you a deep dive into the inspiration behind the Malignant Hearts, a core gameplay item, and what you can expect in our inaugural season, Season of the Malignant.
How will the malignant hearts affect player behavior? Anything you can share about what new mechanics or strategies players will have to keep in mind?
Malignant Hearts are one of the key features of Season 1. They are very powerful and have effects on the same level as any legendary aspect in the game. They can switch up specific class abilities or provide universal power growth for all classes. Malignant Hearts can also drop with increased stats, so players are definitely going to want to keep farming them throughout the season.
A good strategy is to farm the hearts you want for your build. You can do this by going into Malignant Tunnels and using an item called the Invoker, which allows you to summon a Malignant Monster that will drop a specific type of Malignant Heart. If you are looking for more offensive instead of defensive, you can summon a monster that is guaranteed to drop offensive only if you use the correct type of Invoker.
There are four types of Malignant Hearts, and you will want to farm the types best for your build using this strategy.
What about the dungeons and the world in Sanctuary? How will they change?
The Malignant has spread throughout Sanctuary, and the corruption is reflected nearly everywhere. Players will find Malignant Monsters roaming throughout the world, during events, Helltides, and in dungeons. As long as you have a Cage of Binding, you can capture the hearts of any Malignant Monster wherever and whenever you come across them.
We have also added a new type of dungeon called Malignant Tunnels for this season. These are shorter than a typical dungeon, but they are completely infested with the Malignant and are the most efficient places if you consistently want to farm for Malignant Hearts. At the end of the tunnels, you can find these horrible malignant masses, and those masses are where you will use your Invokers to summon a monster that will drop a heart type of your choice.
What were some of the inspirations behind the malignant designs of the new enemies and map?
At its core, the concept of “Malignant” is a seething and disgusting manifestation of pure hatred that corrupts everything it touches. We wanted to hone in on the vile nature of this corruption, which is why we called it malignant. That name alone should indicate that this isn’t just a standard evil or darkness. Malignant is a disgusting manifestation of hatred that oozes and pulsates with slime and tentacles.
We had this visual in mind when creating the infected creatures and land to show the vile nature of the malignant as it slowly creeps its way through the world. Malignant Tunnels are a perfect example of this. When you enter a Malignant Tunnel, you should feel icky and disgusted and even get a sense of how horrid of a smell your character is probably experiencing just from the visuals you see. The art team took inspiration from some of the dungeons we included in the base game, which have this squirmy malevolence creeping along some sections.
It’s been a blast making Sanctuary a little grosser for our first season.
Finally, how about the malignant hearts themselves? What feelings were you hoping to evoke in players as they collect the hearts on their quest?
With the 32 Malignant Heart Powers waiting to be found, we really wanted players to feel excited about collecting and experimenting with different powers. The player can equip three “Caged Hearts” at once, socketing one into their amulet, and each of their rings that have a socket whose color matches that of the heart in question. With this limitation, picking and choosing the most useful powers for your build of choice becomes essential.
Seek out Malignant Monsters, take advantage of the Malignant Tunnels, and make sure you are stocked up on Invokers so you can have a steady supply of hearts and be at the top of your game throughout the season.