Since Season 14 there are new Season Themes every Season. Those are unique in their mechanics and implications for the game. Traditionally, we had a variety of environmental and pure character stats enhancing Season Themes. Below you can find an overview of every Seasonal Theme from the past as well as the current one!
Echoing Nightmare (S26)
Season 26 brings us the Echoing Nightmare, the first Seasonal Theme that introduces a brand-new activity to the game!
Today’s Nephalem must stand their ground until they are inevitably overwhelmed or defeated. Players must collect a Petrified Scream from defeated Greater Rift Guardians to gain entry to the Echoing Nightmare. Transmuting a Petrified Scream in Kanai's Cube summons a portal that players can enter to face the horrors of the Nephalem's past.
Echoing Nightmares are a new rewarding endgame activity set within the memories of fallen Nephalem. You must first acquire a Petrified Scream from a Greater Rift Guardian, and then cube it to enter. Once inside you'll be challenged with an endless wave of enemies until you are either overwhelmed or killed. Your goal here is to reach Wave 150 as fast as possible. Read our complete Season 26 Echoing Nightmare Guide for full information on how it works, and check out our brand new Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and our META post for the best strategies!
Rewards include Legendary Items, Blood Shards, a bunch of Experience and a Whisper of Atonement to augment your gear.
The Lords of Hell - Soul Shards (S25)
Season 25 introduces Soul Shards. There are 7 unique Soul Shards, based on the Lords of Hell, which give players demonic new powers. One of the 3 Prime Evil Soul Shards can be socketed into Helms while one of the 4 Lesser Evil Soul Shards can be socketed into Weapons. Each Soul Shard can be upgraded 3 times using a new seasonal-exclusive consumable, the Hellforge Ember.
Lesser Evil Soul Shards
Socketed into Weapons
Dregs of Lies
Essence of Anguish
Remnant of Pain
Stain of Sin
Prime Evil Soul Shards
Socketed into Helms
Fragment of Destruction
Shard of Hatred
Sliver of Terror
Soul Shards can drop everywhere but are more likely to drop from Act Bosses and Rift Guardians. They do not require you to be level 70 to drop meaning you can find them while leveling. You can even force drop specific Soul Shards since every Act Boss drops a guaranteed (or 50% chance in some cases) specific Soul Shard. They cannot be acquired through Kanai's Cube or from Kadala however they are not so rare, so you should not have trouble finding a proper one for your build. Salvaging them grant you some Imperial Gems and more rarely a Flawless Royal Gem.
Soul Shards drops at Rank 0 and can be upgraded up to 3 times to unlock new powers using a new consumable, the Hellforge Ember. These can be found anywhere with a droprate similar to Ramaladni's Gift.
Additionally, Soul Shards can be used as Caldesann's Despair (Augments) on your gear. A Rank 0 Soul Shard will create a Rank 50 Augment and every additional Rank increases the power of the Augment by 25 levels, meaning Soul Shards are a great way to fuel you with Rank 125 Augments!
Some builds obviously benefit more than others from Soul Shards. Regardless, Soul Shards completely blow Ethereals out of the water in terms of power creep and all builds will gain a great power boost from them. Check out our Season 25 Tier Lists to discover which builds get the most out of Soul Shards!
Finally, as they are a seasonal theme, Soul Shards will disappear when Season 25 ends, with no chance for non-seasonal players to get their hands on them as Soul Shards can only drop in Seasonal play.
Overall, this Season Theme has a very big impact on the game and the META. Read our Soul Shards Guide for full details on how each of them works!
Ethereal Memory (S24)
Diablo 2 left players with fond memories when it released more than 20 years ago, and with Diablo 2: Resurrected launching in September 2021, Blizzard introduces a seasonal theme to honor that legacy. For this seasonal theme, we were inspired to reimagine how Ethereal items could manifest in Diablo 3, with 21 iconic weapons from Diablo 2 making a return. In Season 24, Ethereals are rare, powerful, and fleeting weapons.
Ethereals are powerful rare weapons that can only be found during Season 24. They have incredible stats, a random Legendary power, and a free passive for your class. Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them. Here is a short overview how Ethereals look like:
- The Ethereal Itself
There are 3 different weapons available for each of the 7 Classes:
Doombringer, The Grandfather, Gimmershred
Astreon's Iron Ward, Khalim's Will, The Redeemer
Buriza-Do Kyanon, Doomslinger, Windforce
Bartuc's Cut-Throat, Jade Talon, Shadow Killer
Blackbog's Sharp, Blackhand Key, Soul Harvest
Arioc's Needle, Ghostflame, The Gidbinn
Mang Song's Lesson, The Oculus, Wizardspike
- The Legendary Power
Ethereal items always spawn with a random Legendary power.
- The Ethereal Stat Rolls
Each Ethereal comes with its own fixed set of powerful affixes. While some have a static value, many have a wide stat range. This means the difference between good and bad rolls is significant and something you should look for.
- A Class Passive
This is just icing on the cake because a fifth passive is not going to make or break your build but it sure helps!
The Disciples of Sanctuary (S23)
Season 23 kicks off our brand new Follower system revamp! Players can now equip Followers with a total of 14 different item slots which include the Follower Relic Item, Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Gloves, Bracers, Belt, 2 Rings, Neck, Pants, Boots, main-hand weapon, and off-hand. The Season 23 launch also introduces the new Follower feature Emanate, which allows the player to gain the intended effect of certain Legendary Powers and Set Bonuses when equipped on the hired Follower.
Here are the Legendary Powers that emanate:
- Broken Crown
- Homing Pads
- Spaulders of Zakara
- Custerian Wristguards
- Nemesis Bracers
- Gladiator Gauntlets
- Gloves of Worship
- Dovu Energy Trap
- Rakoff's Glass of life
- Avarice Band
- Krede's Flame
- The Flavor of Time
- Sage's Journey (3) Bonus
- Cain's Destiny (3) Bonus
Shadows of the Past (S22)
During Season 22, activating a Shrine or Pylon will spawn in a shadow clone of your class. The clone's power will scale with your character and will last for one minute or until death. Activating a Shrine/Pylon will spawn in a shadow clone of your class. This clone will randomly have 1 out of 3 predetermined builds. This clone's power will scale with your character and will last for 1 minute or until you die. See below for the shadow clone variations that can spawn when activating. Check out the individual Build variations for each class in the official post.
In addition, for the duration of Season 22, Kanai's Cube will have a fourth slot. You will have the option to choose any power for this one, but it won't stack with powers from other slots.
Shadow Clone Mechanics
Here is a short overview of the Shadow Clone Mechanics:
- Clones spawn for 1 minute from shrines
- They scale with your sheet damage
- They deal more damage with more legendries equipped
- They usually one-shot stuff easily on T6 (even at level 1)
- In parties they scale with the person who clicked the shrine
- Only party members within 2-3 screens will get a clone
- They spawn with a pre-selected set of abilities
- Every class has three different sets of abilities that can be chosen
- There is no timer or indicator for when they are active
- They stay behind when you change floors
- They die when you die (or the person who clicked the pylon in parties)
Clones are useful for the following things:
- Fast 1 to 70 leveling
- Speedfarming lower Tiers up to Greater Rift 110
- Oneshotting T16 Rift Guardians while you wear Cain's Destiny set and watch
- Destroying Elites and Rift Guardians up to Greater Rift 125
It can be worth playing around pylons in a different way than usual to to the high power of Shadow Clones in midrange Greater Rift Tiers. Especially for weaker characters and non-meta builds it will be useful to time them for when you have a big pull prepared so that the clones can obliterate the screen. Towards the high-end, their power drops off significantly due to Greater Rift scaling and their lack of proper damage scaling, which is tied to your sheet DPS. This means that after Greater Rift 125, their effectiveness will fade quickly to the point where you don't have to care about them at all anymore beyond Greater Rift 140 at the very max.
Trials of the Tempests (S21)
During Season 21, your character will occasionally (every 90 seconds) channel an elemental power which unleashes into the environment for a limited time:
- Rain meteors from the skies around you.
- Breathe lightning.
- Summon a wall of flame.
- Release twisters of pure energy.
- Crush your foes under the weight of rolling snowballs.
The theme and its procs are one of the defining factors for your success or failure in Season 21. Not really relevant or noticeable in speed farming, they become all the more powerful in slow runs and pushing scenarios, as you get more of them and have more time to play around them. The overall gain over nonseason pushing is between 6-12 tiers, depending on class, build, luck and your ability to use it effectively.
Each of them have their unique pattern and strategies for most effective use. If you want to learn more about how to play around and push with them, feel free to check these Guides:
Season of the Forbidden Archives (S20)
For the duration of Season 20, the slots in Kanai’s Cube that allow you to equip three additional Legendary powers will not be restricted to their usual categories. While normally a player can equip one power each from the Weapon, Armor, and Jewelry categories, Season 20 players can mix and match between all three! This might allow you to run two Weapon powers with one Armor power. Or perhaps you might choose to run three Amulet powers instead. The choice is yours, and we’re as eager as you are to experiment with the new build opportunities this creates!
Season of Eternal Conflict (S19)
All players will benefit from the Pandemonium buff during Season 19. For each stack of this buff, you’ll receive a small boost to movement speed and bonus damage, ultimately capping out at 50% movement speed and 100% damage at 1000 stacks. In addition, reaching certain killstreak goals will trigger a special effect and cause even more mayhem on the battlefield:
- 15 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy
- 30 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies
- 50 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky
- 100 Kills: Five massive Energy Twisters are unleashed
- 150 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies
- 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky
- 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything
- 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above
- 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause
- 1000 Kills: Diablo appears!
Season of the Triune (S18)
For the duration of Season 18, all players will benefit from the Power of the Triune buff, which will periodically summon circles around the battlefield that provide one of three random buffs:
- Triune of Love (Power): Players in the circle receive a 100% damage bonus while active
- Triune of Determination (Resource Reduction): Players in the circle receive a 50% discount on resources spent while active
- Triune of Creation (Cooldown Reduction): While standing in an active circle, any skills currently on cooldown come off of cooldown more quickly
Season of Nightmares (S17)
For the duration of Season 17, all Seasonal players will benefit from the Set bonus provided by Legacy of Nightmares. This means that everyone will enjoy the powerful benefits of the “no Set” Set and any and every Ancient Legendary you find is that much more valuable. This season bonus led to the creation of the Legacy of Dreams gem for S18 with Patch 2.6.6.
Season of Grandeur (S16)
For the duration of Season 16, all Seasonal players will benefit from the legendary power of the Ring of Royal Grandeur. This means you do not need to hunt down or equip the item to benefit from its Set bonus-enabling ability! Bear in mind that this buff does not stack with additional Rings of Royal Grandeur, whether they be equipped directly on your character or via the Jewelry slot in Kanai’s Cube
Boon of the Horadrim (S15)
During the Season 15 all Horadric Caches earned from bounties are doubled. This means that each time you complete a full set of five bounties in an Act, you will receive not one, but two Horadric Caches, for twice the bounty rewards!
There are a few things to keep in mind with this effect:
- The bonus cache does benefit from difficulty level; it is essentially as though you completed twice the bounties the rewards inside the Horadric Caches are otherwise unaffected; drop rates or the amount of individual rewards have not been altered
- The bonus cache earned from Challenge Rifts is not affected
Season of Greed (S14)
For the duration of Season 14, all Treasure Goblin spawns will be doubled. This means that each time you encounter a Treasure Goblin in the wild, they’ll be accompanied by an exact duplicate of themselves for two times the loot, chaos, and fun!
There are a few important details to keep in mind with this effect:
- This does not affect goblins encountered via Bandit Shrines, Goblin “Rift” packs, or in the Realm of Greed
- Duplicate Whimsydale portals created by the Rainbow Goblin will enter the same instance of Whimsydale
- The Insufferable Miscreant is not affected by this buff
Enjoy the unique themes of the different Seasons. We will keep you updated here!
Written by Rob
Reviewed by wudijo
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3