It’s time to finish Diablo 4’s campaign now

Diablo 4‘s first season, Season of the Malignant, arrives on July 20 – and it almost sounds like a mini-expansion for Blizzard’s popular dungeon crawler. The season brings a new quest sequence, which takes place after the events of the main campaign, as well as a new gameplay mechanic revolving around insertable evil hearts that will supercharge your character and allow for “stupidly broken” new character builds. It also interacts with Diablo 4‘s first battle pass to unlock new cosmetics and bonuses for seasonal characters.

But there are two major season entry requirements. The first – widely publicized, if not well understood – is that you must create a new level 1 season character to participate in the season. (Don’t worry, you won’t lose your old characters, nor your season characters when the season ends.)

The second requirement is less well known, but was confirmed by Blizzard in a Frequently Asked Questions posted on the official Diablo website on Thursday. You must complete Diablo 4‘s campaign on one character to access season content on or after July 20.

On one level, this makes perfect sense. The season’s storyline follows that of the campaign, and the Maligne Hearts mechanic is clearly intended as an add-on for those already familiar with the game’s systems. In Diablo and its action role-playing kind, seasons are generally seen as a clean slate challenge for veteran players.

On the other hand, there are many reasons why you may not be ready Diablo 4campaign yet. Maybe you’ve been busy, on vacation or playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (or, in my case, all three). It’s also a side effect of how the game is structured differently from previous Diablo games.

In Diablo 2there is nothing to do But play the linear campaign on repeat while you’re inside Diablo 3, alternate activities in the game’s free-form Adventure mode will not open until after the first campaign run is completed. In Diablo 4however, you can easily level up your character (and have a great time) doing side quests, run through dungeons, and explore the open world without touching the campaign quests. Level scaling is in effect throughout the game and most parts of the world are open to explore. I spent my first two weeks in the game messing around like this, and only recently have I realized that if I want to join in on the seasonal fun, I better move on.

What’s the fastest way to complete Diablo 4’s campaign?

Diablo 4‘s campaign is substantial, but it’s not a behemoth. If you stick to the critical path, avoid distractions (easier said than done), and ignore those side missions, it should take about 25 to 30 hours to complete. You got this!

Here are a few things you may want to know:

  • The campaign has six acts (plus a short prologue and epilogue).
  • Acts 1 through 3 are the most substantial and can be tackled in any order. They also branch out into multiple quests in places. Tackle them however you like, but taking them boringly in numerical order makes the most sense.
  • Once you’ve completed these three acts, you’ve broken the back of the game. Acts 4 to 6 must be performed in linear order and they will not take as long as the first three. Acts 4 and 6 are relatively short, although Act 5 is quite long.
  • While there are no strict level requirements for the quests, each act does have a recommended character level to start with: Level 1 for Act 1, Level 10 for Act 2, Level 15 for Act 3, Level 30 for Act 4, Level 35 for Act 5 and level 40 for Act 6 (although level 45 may be safer).
  • Whether or not you keep up with these recommended levels depends on which world level (Diablo 4-speak for difficulty) on which you play. World Tier 2 (Veteran) is more difficult and you risk getting stuck with some bosses, but the extra XP you get from playing at this level is enough to keep you from grinding outside of the campaign quests. It’s probably the fastest route through the game. On World Tier 1 (Adventurer) you will probably need some other XP resources. (Higher levels are locked until you first complete the game.) Anyway, if you feel like you need to grind up some XP, head to dungeons – that’s the quickest way to level up.